Excitement. Now there is a word that’s alien to Newcastle fans these days. That ship sailed long ago.

Other clubs in the Premier League have had an exciting summer. Wolves, Fulham, West Ham and Bournemouth to name but a few, sides who have found money when NUFC have had to face turbo-charged austerity.

You see, investment brings optimism. It generates a feel good factor. It creates hope for a new season.

In our case, just like last summer, the buzz quickly died off once May turned to June. By July there was dismay and now there is pretty much widespread anger at Mike Ashley and his regime. They have let a huge opportunity slip by. All the fans know it and every sensible commentator covering the club knows it too.

An attempt was made by the regime to justify this cack-handed approach with that joint statement. They seem to keep telling themselves they’ve had a brilliant summer window. The supporters beg to differ. It has been average at best. The club’s manager is left to soldier on with his players against a backdrop of the people versus Mike Ashley.

The owner’s PR machine has now embarked on info wars. Furiously using its stooges to tell all them ‘Noocarsell’ fans that they should appreciate what has gone on under the flag of Sports Direct.

Would Dennis Wise be happy to see the Ashley approach foisted upon his beloved Chelsea? Sell to buy, with a few desperate loan deals to cut the corners?

A cabal of pro-Ashley spokesman who have no affinity or feel for Newcastle United are now trumpeting the owner’s low rent model. Regardless of what the likes of Keys and Gray say, the fans know that it’s punching way below it’s weight.

We’ve seen two eras where Newcastle Utd have been right up there and challenging. Kevin Keegan had them on song, then Bobby Robson brought it back for five more wonderful years. It didn’t take massive amounts. It was all done with solid levels of investment. Prior to Mr Ashley we were regulars in European football – that is an undisputed fact.

We all know Rafa could rekindle those halcyon days, but under the Ashley model, he’s expected to work with one hand tied behind his back. It cannot go on like this.

At the heart of the matter this summer was a lie that Rafa Benitez could have every penny generated by the club to spend on new players. He was right to be wary and back away from a new contract because the small print has told a different story.

The key strategy they’ve used to side step the spending is in the structure of the outgoing deals. One word: instalments.

While this approach, they would doubtlessly argue, yields the maximum value, it also delivers staggered payments. The transfer kitty isn’t then bolstered like we all immediately think when we see a headline saying ‘£22m deal for Mitrovic to Fulham’. That fee will be coming in tranches over the duration of his Fulham contract. Rafa doesn’t just get a cheque for £22m.

Allied to that is the issue of wages. We’re not competitive on pay in comparison to other Premier clubs.

Then we have the mystery that surrounds recruitment. They refuse to spend seriously on anyone over 26.

And they don’t seem to sanction payments for new players in instalments, when every other team does that in order to get the new faces that they want.

Throw in the club’s maddening ability to drag transfer deals out for weeks on end and it’s a borderline Mickey Mouse outfit.

Exciting? Not a bit of it. A season of slog lies ahead and who knows what will happen at the end. The only person to blame for this is Mike Ashley.

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  • Paul Patterson

    Regardless of excitement, I’ve never come across a football club or business (delete as appropriate) that deliberately goes out to annoy, mislead, confuse and alienate it’s customers.

    • TheFatController

      Come on Paul, he’s brought stability to a club who were never threatened by relegation for 15 years and had a hidden debt on stadium expansion equal to the cost of buying Riyad Mahrez and paying his agent.

      The man’s done so much, it brings a tear to my eye… we were all over the place before he came. All over Europe each year that is.

      • Ron

        At least we go to Ireland pre season, European football isn’t a dream.

        • Leazes.

          Technically the Tyne is tidal to Wylam and salt water, so you can say we go overseas for ever away game.

          • Kenny

            i used to spend summer weekends at my grans cottage in Ovingham. great area along with Wylam

          • Leazes.

            Its a nice area, the boathouse pub in Wylam has a good selection of ales at reasonable prices.

            highly recommended.

          • Carverlier football

            In the top 10 in the country I read recently. I’ve only been in The Ship though

          • Leazes.

            Boathouse has good location just over the bridge

          • Ron

            Watch out for the trolls under it – get every where you know!

        • TheFatController

          I am waiting for an apologist to start openly weeping on tv when they consider the unappreciated effort put in by Ashley….to dismantle slowly all the hard work of Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson before he arrived.

          We’re lucky he’s giving us a dose of reality and tearing down the big club that they helped build. We were spoilt, and tough love is much better in the long run.

          We’ll only appreciate the ‘reality check’ he’s giving us long after he’s gone. Apologists know this, and fear the pain we’ll suffer when we realise we can’t pay our debt of gratitude and regret the lack of appreciation shown.

          • Paul Patterson

            Two 2nd places, 4th place, 3rd place. Two FA cup finals. An FA cup semi final. Champions league qualification x2 Champions League 2nd group stages, UEFA Cup semi final TWICE. Now? Slim pickings . .

          • Ron

            To dismantle anything is easy for M A that’s why he’s the shape of a wrecking ball.

      • Superdooperhooper

        Just think how much money the fans have saved on all that inconvenient travel . Hooray for Mike !

    • Leazes.

      Driving fans away so you can deliberately create a family section at one third the income revenue was a masterstroke!…. it looks like the place is still full.

      Then the chronicle starts a campaign to ‘bring back the noise’ not fully understanding why it left home in the forst place.

  • Ron

    Was the banished word “truth”, at least when MA speaks anyway?

  • Ashley-out

    the transfer window brought in 2nd rate shirt fillers, none of them good enough to start and a £16m striker sitting on the bench as Hoss makes another ass of himself.

    • Paul Patterson

      In fairness, he’s our top scorer this season . .

    • 1957

      Lee Ryder says it’s the Hoss’s form that I’d keeping Rondon out… I suspect it’s not running around enough in training, something Hoss excels at apparently. In the bizzare world of NUFC I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hoss continue to be selected even if he doesn’t score again for three months.

  • Kenny

    special offer at Tesco, Chivas Regal 35cl, tenner a bottle.

  • Carverlier football

    Said it before and I’ll say it again – you can’t mention installments without mentioning every player sold in the last 4 or 5 years. Rafa might not get £22m for Mitrovic right now but in the last year (whether we get it in one go or monthly, I don’t know) he should’ve got £6m for Sissoko, £5m for Wijnaldum, £2m or more each for Thauvin, Janmaat, Debuchy, Townsend, Cabella, £4m for Cabaye (just about I think…), plus anybody else sold in that period. That’s £25m right there and doesn’t include Hanley, de Jong, or anyone else sold for smaller fees (or that I’ve forgotten). And that’s even assuming we don’t get part of this summer’s sales up front.

    • Paul Patterson

      In football, you can’t make a go of a club if you sell players and get the money in on a drip feed and then in the same breath buy players and insist that the money goes out all at once.
      Helping your rivals whilst hamstringing yourself is suicide to success. But then again that’s never been Ashley’s interests for NUFC . .

      • Carverlier football

        If it’s done consistently and well managed it’s not ideal but I don’t think there’s a massive problem with the strategy – in theory it means there should be a relatively consistent kitty available for new players from sales year on year and helps cashflow planning. Trouble is it’s not clear that we’re investing that consistent income into new players and worse, it conveniently gets forgotten about when the regime pleads poverty

        • Superdooperhooper

          Creative accounting at it’s finest ! As long as they can pull the wool over the eyes of 50 thousand ground fillers each game then the club are happy . And somehow they do!

          • Carverlier football

            Actually given that transfer fees will be amortised over the length of a player’s contract anyway it doesn’t change the accounting at all – but it does give them an opportunity for wool-pulling!

    • Lord

      You’re absolutely right and the actual amounts are spelled out in the most recent set of published accounts (page 31 to be precise).

      At the end of 2017 season, we were still due £60.7m of outstanding fees from other clubs due to be paid to us for the sale of registrations.

      £38.7m of that to be recovered in more than 12 months (implying £32m received between July 2017 and June 2018).

      There’s no way Ashley released all available funds to Rafa this summer.

  • Stephen

    I used to look at Stoke City under Tony Pulis with the long ball tactics, thrown or kicked and think to myself ‘ The TV companies wouldn’t buy this if all the teams played like that.
    Now I consider would the TV companies be interested if all these the teams toool Ashley frugal approach
    At the end of this season( regardless of which division). The loan signings go back and the Manager leaves
    Being a Newcastle fan is like being a turkey looking forward to Christmas.

    • Leazes.

      I don’t think Sky are terribly pleased with Ashley for using their TV money to buy bits of High Street as opposed to buying better players….

      …..you would have thought that they would ‘have a word’ in the ear of their pundits who condone the siphoning off of the clubs income!

      Meanwhile at the chronicle….they’re wondering when the next transfer window opens….

      ……speculating on the ‘jam tomorrow’ angle.

      • Ron

        Never mind jam tomorrow – to boost sales Chron would even write about “butter” in the hope you’d spread it!

      • Superdooperhooper

        The chronicle are now saying John hall’s dream of 11 geordies might happen because of the U23 team that beat the mackems . Because all of them will make the step up to the first team won’t they ? Like you say jam tomorrow

  • Mrkgw

    Valid points and the enjoyment and buzz has been squeezed right out of all things Newcastle. Rangers got rid of Ashley and with continual pressure, it’s possible that we will too. Difference being of course that he is deeply embedded into the club – at Rangers, his work was in it’s infancy. Still, the big push has started and we all need to support it if the good times are ever to return.

    • FatParosite

      I think we will only ever get rid once we are in TV blackout… Namely league one obscurity. Only through an utter fall like that will Ashley not see us as a viable opportunity to sail his S*** Direct flag. So Benitez stays till the end of his contract keeps us up we will still be at least 3 years off redemption.