Steve Harmison is a north east sporting hero, a key member of the England cricket team that won the Ashes in 2005.

Coming from the famous sporting home of Ashington, birthplace of Jackie Milburn, he is also a Newcastle fan.

After helping his country to win The Ashes, Steve Harmison was given a seat for life at St James Park by Freddy Shepherd.

Interviewed after Sunderland’s relegation, the former cricketing star says that it is ‘amusing’ that the Mackems have gone down after their reaction to Newcastle United’s recent relegations.

However, he claims that if you asked any ‘hardened, Newcastle fan’ and they were honest, ‘everyone to a man would say yes’ to having the derby matches return as soon as possible.

Hmmm, not so sure about ‘everyone’.

As for how Newcastle United are doing, Steve Harmison states that Rafa Benitez ‘has taken a lot of Championship-calibre players’ and done ‘amazingly’ well in the Premier League this season.

Declaring he is not a ‘massive Mike Ashley hater’, Steve Harmison appears to have a strange definition of what ‘stable’ means, saying ‘The club [Newcastle] is stable under him [Mike Ashley] but it is standing still. It’s not as volatile, or up and down as other clubs…’

Well, in the last seven Premier League campaigns, Newcastle have been relegated twice under Mike Ashley, plus two very near misses. You can’t really get any more ‘up and down’ than two relegations and two promotions in these last nine seasons.

in fact I would say ‘volatile’ is exactly what the club is under the current owner, with these past three transfer windows seeing fans fearing Rafa is going to leave, as the manager has made clear each time that ‘promises’ have not been kept by Ashley.

The only way to achieve ‘stability’ is if a club has real ambition and shows it, this will never happen whilst Mike Ashley owns NUFC.

Steve Harmison talking to Sky Sports:

“It is scary how far the club [Sunderland] has fallen.

“From a tongue-in-cheek point of view, it’s amusing as Sunderland fans were basking in the glory when Newcastle were relegated a couple of times.

“But, for the hardened Newcastle fan, if you honestly asked them would they like to have the derby back, everyone to a man would say yes.

“A Newcastle-Sunderland derby season goes to the workplace, the houses, the families. It’s like two cup finals a year.

“That is now a couple of years away, at least. But, in reality, its light years away.

“We’re currently doing well under Rafa Benitez but we have got to keep him.

“Europe next season might be a stretch but if we don’t move forward now we never will and, while Rafa is there, we’ve got someone who knows how to do the job properly.

“He has taken a lot of Championship-calibre players and looks likely to finish ninth in the Premier League with them. That’s credit to the players, but it also shows the respect they have for the manager, buying into ideas.

“He’s done amazingly to get the team to the position they’re in.

“I’m not a massive Mike Ashley hater.

“The club is stable under him but it is standing still. It’s not as volatile, or up and down as other clubs, but you’d like him to spend a bit more money.”

  • Keeganontherebound

    Oh it’s stable all right – paralysed under the weight of the owner’s capacious rear.

  • Rich Lawson

    I hate Cricket and Rugby,just concentrate on winning the Ashes back pal.

    • Leazes.

      Cricket isn’t really a sport more a passtime and social occasion, and the Ashes was only invented to give them a 50% chance of winning something.

      • Rich Lawson

        Old men with beards sitting in the Directors box at Lords,bemoaning the number of ”commonwealth” players who have slipped into the game rather than an Eton v Harrow side !

        • Leazes.

          Self important back slapping bunch of [email protected]

          • Rich Lawson

            It’s Victorian really,but part of our heritage !!!

          • Leazes.

            Well its popularity certainly doesn’t extend to crowds, and a survey said it was of interest to about 19% of the public and 100% of the BBC News team…. I can imagine it would be nice if you were included in the whole set up but they like to keep the riff-raff out.

            By heritage … is sort of like the changing of the guards at buckingham palace… but not as fast.

          • Rich Lawson

            Bloke I used to work with and 5 of his mates went to Headingley dressed as Mexicans just to get p####d and enjoy the sun,no interest in Cricket or who was playing what so ever,says it all really ?

          • Leazes.

            Yes it does…. but some of them tell you its all about the tactics and strategy and you don’t understand the intricacy…. nonsense its about social networking and cucumber sandwiches.

          • Jezza

            There wasn’t any social networking or cucumber sarnies when I was playing cricket in and around the Durham coalfields in the early 80’s.

          • Leazes.

            Then it wasn’t cricket it was probably baseball.

          • paul mclaughlan


          • Jezza

            You’re just being silly now. It was a cricket league.

          • Jezza

            Don’t you remember “Botham’s Ashes” when the whole country was gripped?

          • Leazes.

            I’ll be gripped when Botham turns to Ashes!

          • paul mclaughlan

            My uncle (who watched it in Australia) was going on about it a few years back. I had no idea what he was going on about.

        • Jezza

          It’s not always like that stereotype. Cricket was hugely popular where I grew up just South of the Tyne and it was all ordinary working class lads from comprehensive schools like myself who played and followed the sport.

          • Leazes.

            It’s not a sport if you don’t break into sweat and stop for the contest for tea.

          • Jezza

            You’ve obviously never played cricket have you. It’s not darts or snooker, you know. Do you really think you don’t break sweat running up 30 or 40 yards to bowl flat out over after over in the summer sun or dashing 22 yards between wickets for every run?

          • Leazes.

            I’ve scored a match but they weren’t terribly pleased with my effort and confiscated the board and numbers. I have a friend who is well into it to the extent he doesn’t recognise one day or 20-20.

          • Rich Lawson

            I remember getting dragged to Ashington a few times when I was a kiddie cos me dad wanted to see Rohan Kanai (?) playing for them.Me mother and I slipped off to the picture house where there always seemed to be an Elvis film on.

  • Mike

    Stick to cricket mate when were you last talking to “hardened” Newcastle fans?

  • Rabid Dog

    Interesting that a “I’m not a massive Ashley hater, the club is stable” quote comes out from the club’s preferred media partner….. just sayin

    • Leazes.

      Ah that might be it…. either that or fear of losing his free seat!

  • Leazes.

    Funnily I’ve just become a massive Steve Harmison hater….spooky!

  • Anthony Richardson

    Stick to cricket Steve, and because I love seeing the SMB’s going down, I’m not a hardened NUFC fan? Righto!

  • Alex

    It only looks ‘stable’ at the minute because we’re in the eye of the storm.

    • Leazes.

      We’ve only just come up… what is he talking about stability!

      • Guest 2

        One previous top 10 finish in 11 years. Now, that’s stable!

      • Geordie far away..

        Financial stability….. you lot are always looking for a negative spin… we are in a far better financial position than a lot of clubs.

    • ghostrider

      It’s been stable since Ashley came in and got to grips after due diligence.

  • Weyhhadaway

    Financially we are a gold mine and golden nugget Ashley is mining us till we are dry. Talk of stability is a joke, we teater from window to window trying to stay in the Prem on a shoestring and have failed to do so twice. Unfortunately the financial down side was offset by the sale of the best players each time and our continued support. Maybe we should take a leaf out of the Arsenal fan book the next time there is a down turn and just stop spending your money. Stay away, because as long as we keep spending he will keep taking. We got away with two relegations and laud ourselves for our loyalty, but sometimes tough love is required to bring about change. Let the Makum demise be a warning, we too could unfold if the coach changes and the team disbands.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose


  • Wor Monga

    An article like this is just the thing to get the real club haters out in force Jackie…ya’ knaa the ones that divvent gan and never have a good word to say about the club…they love these articles, they really do…because anybody who loves the club and has the nerve to say it is regarded as a heretic and should be burned at the stake…

    …Harmison’s done it in his sport and he deserves an opinion because without a shadow of a doubt he loves the club, but in truth the club is only in a stable position because of one man who had the ability to form a good team out of the complete shambles of what went before…the owner knows nothing about the game and he has very little interest in the club or this area other than to make it known in no uncertain terms that he will not allow the whole package to make any further demands on his not inconsiderable fortune…yes, in times of need he has very, frugally loaned the club (aka himself) money in times of dire need which has saved it from incurring heavy interest charges from other lending sources, but to say that he has stabilised the club is at best misinformation, and at worst a damned lie…

    …the 2nd season after promotion is always the hardest especially after just surviving the 1st one…players relax, they want rewarded, and others have to go after giving good service, to be replaced…we’ve bypassed the hard part already, and have a united side that can compete with the top end of the division, but only one man can take these players further, and attract the right material in…but he needs the right support, and the use of the money that the club has rightfully earned, which unfortunately depends on Ashley…

    … and I get the impression most of the commenters on here are hoping he won’t do the right thing…just to prove themselves to be right!!!

  • Guest 2

    ‘Piece over on Sky now suggesting the leech wants 380-400 million. The fat oaf has no shame at all. He wants to profit from the success of Rafa’s talents, despite his own neglect and abuse of the club.

    Harmison sounds like a bit of a [email protected] as well going off those comments. Happy as Larry that the Mackems are down again, and the only thing stable about Ashley is his greed and ineptitude in owning this club.

  • David2211

    I love it when people give an opinion and say things like “every Newcastle fan” or “we all” etc. Who are you to speak for the whole fan base?

  • Lord

    Under Ashley, the club is financially stable but bankrupt when it comes to ambition.

  • magpiefifer

    What’s Harmy on!?
    He may be a NE sports hero,but he should stick to cricket with inane comments like that.I really thought he would have a bit more insight into how things are with NUFC – silly sod!

  • Leicester Mag

    Proving yet again being a sporting hero is no antidote to being as thick as 🐖💩

  • Dillon Tovak

    It goes to show that Sunderland’s plight has got people 💩ing themselves and lowering their standards of what we should be grateful for.

    • Jonas

      just because were better than them, as are Burton, does not at all make things ok. Does for them though.
      the clubs are dissimilar except for geography which is no basis to gage against

  • robbersdog

    Ashley has given Steve Harmison a seat in the Director’s Box at St James’s Park, so he doesn’t have to pay to watch games, gets one of the best seats in the house and some fancy match-day hospitality.

    If Mike gave me the same perks, I’d quite like him too!

    • Leazes.

      No Shepherd gave him the seat.

      • Alreet

        Now he sits on a ledge in ashleys a**e

  • Mirandinha9

    The difficulty is that even if Rafa walked because of Cashley’s unwillingness to adequately invest in the team, 50,000 fools would still turn up at SJP every fortnight. Still they would go and this loyalty is what Cashley exploits season after season. People putting money in his pocket – that’s what makes him tick.

  • Martin Rooney

    Harmo’s right Shearers wrong clubs are saddled with debt and the TV moneys coming down. Spurs are taking on £708m of debt LFC Everton man city and chelsea owe their owners about three years income its staggering and any club of decent size will take advantage when the next TV deals,are even lower.

  • Toonrobbybobson

    How many times have we been here with Ashley.

    This time he actually has the right circumstances to actually build something… only took 11 years.

    I mean if he took the shackles off and gave Rafa the money to steadily invest in the squad to stabilise us on and off the pitch in the boardroom, training ground, academy with time things could change. People might just see the point in keeping a sensible financial footing but Ashley is too volatile based on past history.

    He has the perfect situation to build now and if it doesnt happen now it never will. There are not many buyers out there unfortunately. He needs to stop treating Rafa and the fans with contempt and support the club properly. Let Rafa run it and turn it into something. Hes never going to get anybody better.