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Opinion

Imagine being a younger fan who knows nothing else but Mike Ashley owning Newcastle United

7 months ago
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As a Newcastle fan it always helps to have a bit of perspective.

Having the ability to be able to compare and contrast what is happening at the club compared to days gone by.

Newcastle United has rarely been a well run club, certainly in most of our lifetimes.

There is a reason as to why there has been no league title for 90 years, no domestic trophy for 60+ years, with even the Fairs Cup triumph now 50 years in the past.

In my supporting days I saw the tail end of the Lord Westwood era, which then became the Gordon McKeag years, before John Hall proved successful with his takeover, then selling out to Mike Ashley.

Fair to say all four periods of ownership/management of the club have seen ups and downs but we aren’t exactly comparing like with like.

The Westwood/McKeag years were ones where there was lack of direction and ambition, lacking the skills as well to make the club successful.

John Hall had a kind of plan and really fell on his feet when Freddie Fletcher overhauled the commercial side of the club, the cherry on top of the icing on that cake of course being when Fletcher also provided the link that helped deliver Kevin Keegan as manager.

For over four years you had an intoxicating period where fans really felt they were part of something, as owner, manager, players and fans all pushed in the same direction, with revenues generated all going to help the club grow.

That all fell flat though as the Hall/Shepherd families took more and more money out of the club in salaries and share dividends as they crept towards their eventual exit when they would make the really big bucks from Newcastle United. Kevin Keegan saw that progress was ending and walked out, the club insisting on selling players such as Les Ferdinand to improve the financial figures ahead of the share flotation. NUFC ending up going into a first Champions League campaign with free transfer oldies Rush, Barnes and Pearce, a massive wasted opportunity.

However, nothing could have prepared us for Mike Ashley.

Nobody could claim that what had gone before had been perfect, apart from those four years under Kevin Keegan maybe, but at least whoever owned the club, did all dream of the team being successful on the pitch.

Which brings us to Mike Ashley and younger Newcastle fans.

When I say younger though, you don’t actually need to be all that young to really know nothing else but life under Ashley.

Unless you were born before 1990, all of your adult life supporting Newcastle United has been with this manipulative tyrant in charge.

A frightening thought that give it a few years and there will be people in their 30s who know nothing but an NUFC with him in charge. Many of those with kids of their own, even some heading towards having grandkids, not able to really talk about the days before Mike Ashley arrived at St James Park.

We can all list any number of disgraceful things he has done since arriving at the club but for me, not even being interested in trying to win something is the most damning of all.

Surviving in the Premier League on the lowest possible spend in order to keep giving Sports Direct their worldwide TV exposure and keep PL revenues flowing in, that is the club’s mission statement under Mike Ashley and I honestly feel truly sorry for our younger supporters who know no different.
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