Mike Ashley – Enough is enough.

A plea on behalf of the city of Newcastle, its football club and football as a whole……GO! And GO NOW!

After eleven long years of Mike Ashley’s ownership of Newcastle United, I thought I’d just about seen it all. Joe Kinnear, the Keegan affair, Wonga, Sports Direct Arena, boycotts, oh and of course, two relegations. But just when I thought Ashley couldn’t get any lower, he proves me wrong again, pulling the rug out from under Rafa Benitez. How could I be so naive?!

Make no mistake, what Mike Ashley has allowed one of the great clubs in English football to become, is a footballing tragedy. Surely now, as he continues to pillage the Premier League for all its worth, the football world must finally realise that this man has no place running a club like Newcastle United.

When you approach Newcastle city centre, either by car or train, St. James Park is immediately recognisable. Proudly standing tall on the Newcastle horizon, the stadium is the burning epicentre of the city. The throbbing heartbeat. The iconic footballing cathedral on top of the hill that draws 52,000 worshippers every other week.

Newcastle, unlike London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham or Glasgow, a one club city. One stadium. One team. The be all and end all.

Under Ashley’s shameful stewardship however, Newcastle United’s soul has been torn out. The famous Newcastle United that the footballing world once knew, died the moment Mike Ashley bought the club. In the decade that followed, Mike gradually morphed it into something that has no place in modern football – a cheap, nasty, hideous version of a football club modelled around Mike Ashley’s business plan – Sports Direct United.

His sole interest has always been to spend the bare minimum in order to maintain a place on the super-rich Premier League gravy train, and to pocket all the financial rewards that came with it. Nothing more, nothing less. The club has been run by ‘yes men’, lackeys and henchman, who’s only motivations are financial reward and keeping themselves in a job.

When it comes to those currently running the show at St James Park, the only man who shares the hopes and desires of those who travel the length and breadth of the country in the name of Newcastle United, is Rafa Benitez. And this summer, he has been royally shafted.

After years of anger and frustration, Benitez brought a new-found sense of optimism to the club. It seemed that the penny had eventually dropped and that Mike had finally found a manager with the stature required to be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom.

It’s pretty basic stuff, give one of the elite managers in world football the resources he needs, he will then build a club that is more than capable of holding its own, and everyone from fans, to manager, to owner, is happy. Simple.

As this is Newcastle United however, the next self-inflicted crisis is never more than a stone’s throw away. It seems like every so often, Mike actually gets a kick from sabotaging his own club, just so he can show everyone who’s boss. This summer was one of those moments.

In classic Newcastle United style, despite the huge profits made from selling players like Mitrovic, Merino and Mbemba, Newcastle have shamefully failed to build on last season’s impressive tenth place finish by giving Benitez nothing but crumbs to spend in the transfer market.

Once again, in order to save a few quid, Ashley has gambled on what we already have being enough to survive. Clearly for a man of the calibre and professionalism of Rafael Benitez however, this is not an approach that he can tolerate long-term.

Tragically, it now seems incomprehensible that Benitez will remain at Newcastle once his contract expires in May. But who could blame him for walking away? Benitez is a man who’s achievements in the game entitle him to far better than this, and after all, Newcastle need him more than he needs them.

If Mike Ashley cannot trust one of the greatest managers in the world to run the club, then it’s quite clear that he can’t trust anyone. So just what is the point in Newcastle going forward?

Why should fans bother to continue paying their money in order to help fund Mike’s Sports Direct football franchise anymore?!? Year after year, the club go nowhere and achieves nothing – but incredibly, that’s the club’s target! If Rafa can’t change that, no one can.

Once Rafa walks away at the end of the season, I fear the club may well implode. After all the years of benign emptiness that Ashley has given Newcastle, Rafael Benitez represents the last hope for most Newcastle United fans. Once that last flicker of hope is extinguished, then it could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many.

The repugnant, rotting disease that Mike Ashley has infected the club with over the past decade will spread like wildfire into the stands and terraces too. Without Benitez, the club will officially become pointless and defunct in terms of competitiveness and ambition.

Until the day comes when Mike Ashley finally departs, Newcastle United will go on festering in football purgatory. Only when that day does arrive, can the city reclaim its soul and the glorious cathedral in the heart of Newcastle’s city centre once again roar – restoring hope and pride to all those whose football club has been stolen.

So please Mike, do us all a favour and go. In the name of the city of Newcastle, in the name of Rafael Benitez and in the name of football, go and GO NOW!

You can follow the author on Twitter @TheAndernator

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  • TheFatController

    Most clubs losing their manager at the end of a season start to implode before he actually goes.

    And most of those clubs have the benefit of knowing they will at least be getting a good manager, for many maybe an improvement.

    Whereas we know we’ll be moving from Rafa to a Gordon strachan, or Pardew (Kinnear was brought back, so don’t be surprised on that last one….)

    • Carverlier football

      Spot on. We might survive this season but it will be more of a struggle than last. Season after we’re knackered…

      • TheFatController

        Season after we’re Pardewed ….

  • FatParosite

    I’d love to think that would have an effect. Alas like your title suggests NUFC is dead. Refusal to blame those that walk through SJP gates has allowed the husk to carry on and with those fans the only people who can turn off the life support we are witness to that disease taking hold and our club as it staggers through the premier league indefeasibly slow to make any impact zombified but listless.

  • Kenny

    11am at the trolls masters dump, be there if you can to get rid of him and his vermin

    • FatParosite

      Sing loud for me Kenny…..

      • Kenny

        👍

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Obviously you’ll not be there parosite, talk a pof game online though

  • FatParosite

    ‘But what should we make of this joint-statement? Why isn’t Mike Ashley one of its co-authors? And should we be cynical about the timing of its release?’

    When local media write this about the joint statement you know we have to battle with those lickspittals too…

  • Paul Patterson

    When he goes I can imagine that he will want to keep future revenue from shirts and the club shop as a condition of sale..

    • Tony English

      I’d imagine his conditions of sale would be so prohibitive that any sensible buyer would find negotiations impossible.

      Only a ridiculous offer from a middle eastern oil baron or Russian oligarch is going to shift him.

    • ghostrider

      He might need to if people think he has to sell it for half its value.
      He gave his price and nobody has the balls to pay it. Why?

      Who really wants to take on a club like this where fans are just waiting to spew bile and hatred at the first sign of things not going the way they expect?

    • Leazes.

      Huge problem

  • Tony English

    Article sums it up perfectly. The lack of support offered to Rafa is criminal.

    In a time of huge TV deals, sponsorship and gate receipts – it’s unfathomable that every other club in our division can invest a fair portion of that income, yet we can only spend 74% of the money raised from player sales?

    The only ending to this episode will be like Bullseye, the doors sliding open and Rafa saying “look what you could have won”.

  • ghostrider

    So you want rid of him.
    Standing outside a sports direct store will rid him will it?
    Mike Ashley will just get up grab his keys and a few papers and just walk right out of Newcastle United football club, slamming the door behind him with a note on that door saying ” take care of your own club now I’ve left it in your capable hands……free of charge.”

    Eh?

    How about buying the club or go around with a begging cap to all business people in the city and ask….no, beg them to take on the club….or put out an SOC (save our club) to the worlds business people, including Sheikh’s and oligarch’s.

    Try all this before you really expect Ashley to hand the club over.
    If you can’t do any of this then stop moaning. Seriously stop moaning and just get on with supporting and being a fan of Newcastle United as you’ve always done through thick and thin, haven’t you?

    People fail to realise what was spent when we got relegated. We didn’t get relegated through lack of spending.
    This club has had to exceptional players in Mike Ashley’s reign.

    Of course it’s had it’s bad managers as well as good managers and average managers, like always in its entire history.

    Now because the club has some profit from the transfer window, it’s a travesty.
    If Ashley had sold Mitrovic for 5 million, some fans would have been up in arms. ” Why has he let Mitrovic go for cheap.”
    Some would have been happy because it would have lessened the profit for him which is their key to being a fan of Newcastle United now with most emphasis on hatred rather than focus on what really matters, which is on the pitch.

    Moan as much as you want. But do it in a place that doesn’t create a bad knock on effect for players that are getting ready to fight a season.

    Protesting outside of a sportsdirect store borders on petty at best and embarrassing at the other end of the scale, with a lot of head shaking in between.

    Only when you’ve managed to hound this man out and got in new owners in, you better pray to someone or something that the new owners do not literally destroy this club in short order…because if they do, you can’t decide to blame it on Ashley…because one thing Ashley will do with this club if he ever does walk out. He will leave it as ready to go with no hidden debts and most likely with some incoming collateral.

    And to think this all started because one man (Keegan) spat out his dummy when he didn’t get the superstars he thought a billionaire would provide and who couldn’t work with others.

    • Gary Hammell

      Classic sheep!!!

      • ghostrider

        We’re all classic sheep.

    • TheFatController

      You are priceless when you set yourself up with imaginary scenarios of people’s behavior so you can criticise that behaviour

      ‘I know you all think he’ll just walk away after today’s protest, but I’m so much more savvy than you I can tell you he won’t…’

      You’re such a bizarre writer, you come on here wound up writing monologues of rants and passive aggression.

      I love it though. I always think ‘There he goes, making up weaknesses in others to set up telling us his strengths’

      Do you not have friends you can talk yourself up to or is this site it?

      • ghostrider

        Yes I have friends. My family. I also have acquaintances. And you?

        • TheFatController

          It’s the internet, I could claim to be the world’s Greatest friend – On the World Wide Web , you can do and say anything you like.

          As you trolls have discovered.

          • ghostrider

            You asked.

    • Tony English

      “People fail to realise what was spent when we got relegated” – that’s a nonsense, I think most are fully aware what was spent.

      Ashley gave big money to a poor manager.
      He made bad signings and we struggled.

      That was then…this is now.

      Ashley gave little money to a good manager.
      He made budget signings and we struggled.

      We can have it both ways, it’s possible that his actions in both these instances is wrong.

      I do agree that protesting outside his store is counter productive and a bad idea (for now) as I think it turns the camera towards the fans. The tide of media coverage is starting to turn against him and I really do think that the broadcasters who are lining his pockets will be highlighting the lack of financial support for the manager this season, we need to ride that wave first and not give the media an opportunity to portray the fans in a bad light.

      • TheFatController

        Are you an Ashley PR man trying to get your message ‘don’t go today’ across.

        ‘It’ll turn the attention on the fans?’
        Yes, no one will be thinking mike ashley if they see the protests on the news….he’ll not be getting any negative attention from it.

        Mike who? the nation will say.

        • Tony English

          I’m criticising Ashley non-stop, even in the post you’re claiming is a PR message. I criticised him in the post below where I think his underfunding of Rafa is criminal. You won’t find one word anywhere from me supporting him.

          I detest the bloke.

          It is possible to hold that viewpoint and disagree with a protest (at this time).

          As I’ve said before, the common view now is that it’s TV money, not gate receipts, that finance the clubs – right?

          Well they are paying a hell of a lot of money to televise the product, and they want to see their money on the pitch, spent on star players, not in Ashley’s bank account.

          Their 24hr rolling news pundits are already praising Rafa and criticising Ashley, I think we need to keep that front and centre when they talk about Newcastle, if we protest it’ll be Dennis Wise on there saying “they don’t like cockneys”.

          That’s my opinion. It’s not PR.

          • TheFatController

            The protest is ‘if Rafa goes, we go’

            You turn up to say to Ashley ‘you’re staying, but don’t think you can get away with lying to us and the manager’

            ‘Keep lying, lose our support. Simple.’

            If people can’t even turn up to a protest, he knows you’ll never follow through on anything else. You turn up, he’s not so sure he can get away with it again.

            That’s what the protest is for, to show a unified front of ‘this really is the last time’…

          • Tony English

            I understand that, and if thats the way it plays out and is portrayed in the media, fine.

            I just think in certain quarters, it’ll be twisted to the old “who do the fans think they are, they’re not a big club, Ashley saved you” cr ap, it might be hijacked.

            Anyway, I am totally NOT PR. He’s a cn ut.

          • TheFatController

            We’re only talking to Ashley today – it’s between us, the fans and Ashley, anyone else is irrelevant – Ashley can’t have a revolt, today we tell him we’re getting our act together so he might well be getting one.

            So maybe he should stop lying and thinking his actions have no big consequences

            What Paul made on thinks has no influence on this ‘message to Mike’, why fear his possible spin ?

          • Tony English

            I hope you’re right and I’m wrong, and I don’t question the motives of the fans going to it, I just worry it will be a distraction.

            We can see how the protest is covered and portrayed and come back to this conversation later.

          • TheFatController

            There’s nothing to distract from. He’s not selling unless we’re like the mackems.

            All that we can do is make him fear not spending, lying, not investing, not listening to or trusting football people etc

          • Tony English

            There IS something to distract from. The very thing you’re trying to draw attention to.

            The story we agree on is Ashley is pocketing too much and not supporting the manager…that’s the story, that’s what the broadcasters are ALREADY saying.

            As soon as his PR can use a protest to change the narrative to “they just don’t like cockneys” then they can turn the media’s glare onto fans and make excuses.

            As I said. We’ll see.

          • Tony English

            So I’ll momentarily stand corrected….the tide against Ashley I had previously noted on sky didn’t materialise…quite the opposite for reasons we now see across the message boards…I didn’t see that coming…lets see Shearer’s comments on MOTD.

            And skewing the coverage of the protest by Ashley apologists wasn’t required, as they didn’t cover the protest.

      • ghostrider

        Ashley employed a manager he believed was capable of doing a job in McClaren.
        McClaren came with plenty of plaudits, much more than any negatives about him.
        He didn’t get short changed and he didn’t buy bad players.
        The entire set up was pretty good.

        It seems something went wrong with how the players responded to his management style and ways, but that can happen to many managers if they lose the impetus.

        As for Ashley giving little money to Rafa for budget signings. Not true.
        Rafa got a fortune when we were relegated under him.
        Rafa then got more money to sort out the team for the premier league. It was his buys not Ashley’s budget that scuppered some of his signings…not to mention being unable to ship out players he didn’t want to cover the shortfall and choosing to blacklist them rather than use them…until desperation forced his hand.

        Rafa made bad signings as well as good. He concentrated on signings he didn’t need against what he should have bought.
        Those signings ended up being shipped out of loan.
        Luckily Rafa’s neck was saved by two fortunate loan deals who hit the ground running, in the main for the rest of the season which ensured we survived comfortably.

        • Tony English

          History rewritten..

          “McClaren came with plenty of plaudits”
          wally with the brolly – sacked by England making U-turn after U-turn on selections and formation – humiliated by ‘speaking’ Dutch – sacked by Wolfsburg – 8pts in 10 games at Forest left by mutual consent – sacked by Derby…a free agent when appointed….

          “something went wrong with how the players responded to his management style” you don’t say.

          ..the money Rafa spent…generated from sales…

          ..and the players Rafa couldn’t shift, nothing to do with the massive wages they were on due to the contracts they were given under the previous regime.

          ..and when Rafa makes a good signing they are “fortunate loan deals”.

          Blinkers.

          • ghostrider

            I didn’t like McClaren. I was begging for him to be sacked well before he was eventually sacked.
            The point I was making was, he came with plenty of plaudits and a track record which was basically fairly decent, no matter how anyone tries to dress it down.

            On that basis he was trusted to do a job. He failed.
            The players he bought or were bought for him, or were scouted….were decent players and players with loads of potential.
            There’s no doubting that.

            Ashley’s mistake was most likely his loyalty to McClaren, thinking it would all right itself.
            The reality was, he was backed with an excellent transfer kitty.
            So the end result is, Ashley backed him and the club to the hilt to gain a good seasons.
            The players and McClaren, collectively, let the club down….not Ashley.

            The man even handed Rafa a massive wage to try and rescue the club.
            All this stuff is merely brushed under the carpet because that’s not what fans want to hear. They need to hang on to clear bad issues about Ashley.

          • Tony English

            The signings made by McClaren and Carr were (for the most part) signed with one eye on resale.

            Players who believed they were doing us a favour by signing for us, who saw us as a shop window enroute to a bigger Premier League team.

            This led to a team that lacked spirit and had no stomach for a relegation fight.

            This was a direct consequence of the blueprint for signings laid out by Ashley. A bit like the clothes in his shop, they already had ‘for sale’ tags on them from the first minute they were on display.

            Whatever Rafa’s wages, he has only ever spent a portion of the cash generated by squad sales, and if you think you can defend that – fine – personally I think it’s an opportunity missed.

          • ghostrider

            He hasn’t only spent a portion of cash generated by sales, at all.
            That is a fallacy.
            As for Players signed with one eye on resale, I would argue two sides to the story.
            Buy in well scouted potential and see which potential gets realised in terms of betterment of the team/squad and also should any clubs come sniffing for the much improved player, then they pay big money if that player chooses to get unsettled and want away.

            You can’t blame the club if a player gets his head turned by a bigger club or a club they feel is better for them.

          • Tony English

            The only part of that post you got right is “I would argue” …yes you would.

            You look at numbers of Rafa sales and Rafa purchases and come back with the numbers.

            Show me the sums that disprove my point. You’re wrong. Just admit it.

            Those players didn’t have their heads turned, they were sold the club as a stepping stone.

          • ghostrider

            How about you show me the sums. You’re the one going on about it.

          • Tony English

            “He hasn’t only spent a portion of cash generated by sales, at all. That is a fallacy.”

            Is it….

            Ok, here’s 10 minutes work cribbed from the trusted nufc couk site and transfermarket.

            I’ll leave you to argue about the cost of loan fees, and how much they eat into the £33.5 million profit Rafa has made on player sales.

            For every Slimani, Rondon and Kenedy loan in, we’ve had a Mitro, Cabella and Thauvin out…

            …no need to apologise.

            RAFA SALES = £151.4 million
            Townsend £13
            Cisse £5
            Wijnaldum £25
            Cabella £6.3
            Janmaat £7.5
            Sissoko £30
            Tiote £1.1
            Darly Murphy £2
            Thauvin £9.9
            Gibson £6m
            Merino £10
            Selz £4
            Mitrovic £22
            Mbemba £7.2
            Armstrong £1.75
            Toney £.65

            RAFA SPENDS = £117.9 million
            Selz £5
            Gayle £10
            Ritchie £12
            Hayden £4
            Hanley £5.5
            Clark £5
            Diame £5
            Yedlin £5
            Daryl Murphy £3
            Lazaar £3
            Atsu £6.2
            Lejeune £8.7
            Jacob Murphy £10
            Manquillo £4.5
            Joselu £5
            Merino £6.5
            Dubravka £4m
            Schar £3
            Muto £9.5
            Fernandez £6

          • ghostrider

            What are you getting at?

          • Tony English

            You can read right?

            Rafa sales v Rafa purchases – he has only spent a portion of the money he has brought in.

            Apology accepted.

          • ghostrider

            My argument is, he hasn’t done anything with money. The club have done the money deals, not Rafa.
            You give him too much credit.

          • Tony English

            Except that’s not your argument, that is a different argument.

            “He hasn’t only spent a portion of cash generated by sales, at all. That is a fallacy” is you’re argument.

            Now you’re trying to put the emphasis within that comment on the HE to wriggle out of the rest of your comment.

            You’ve lost that argument.

            You’re as disingenuous as Ashley.

          • ghostrider

            No argument to lose.
            A portion of the cash generated is far off the mark in his overall tenure.

          • Tony English

            You’re allowed your opinion, that’s fine, but not your own facts. Keep shuffling the figures to suit your own ends, keep up the semantic gymnastics my friend.

            The centre stripe on last seasons shirt was black, feel free to give me a shout when you want to argue that it’s white.

          • ghostrider

            Try not to make your own facts up to suit an agenda, also.
            Merely following a route set out for you does not give you factual info.

          • Tony English

            You will be able to back that statement with quotes from our above discussion won’t you? You will be able to highlight my made up facts?

            If you’re on a PC Ctrl C to copy, Ctrl V to paste – On a mac Command C, Command V.

            I look forward to it.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          This is the worst defence I think I’ve ever seen you make, you’re slipping & it’s sad to see. McClaren as a manager is as much use as a chocolate fire guard

          • ghostrider

            For us he didn’t work out. His CV overall isn’t as bad as is being made out.
            But what counts is what he does here and he failed because the players that were bought helped him fail. Both as inept as each other but all could have tried much harder.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            He won a Dutch league with a team that rolled the dice & spent big (at the time) their paying for it now relegated & almost out of business. He was woefully out his depth at De Wolfe despite a huge backing. Ditto with Forest, he’s a good no.2 that’s it

          • ghostrider

            Scraping the barrel for put downs. Have another go at at evaluating McClaren.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Ok after that he blew money & big leads at derby failed to get them promoted. Came to Newcastle & blew a fortune got us relegated. Totally forgot! He went back to twente and done nothing. He’s spent £269 million in his managerial career mostly after twente & he’s won nowt since

          • ghostrider

            McClaren has failed at a few clubs but he’s been a success at others and fairly decent at others.
            He is Middlesbroughs most successful manager.
            He was named manager of the year in Holland.
            He won Twente their only title in their history.
            He did a great job at Derby first time around.

            I don’t even like him as a manager because of how he managed us but I’m not going to diss his entire career because of it.

            I would never have him back if I could help it. But still.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Failed at more than he was successful, as I pointed out his spending have twente in the league below and staring liquidation in the face.

            Derby a success? He had them way ahead twice by about March & failed to take them up. Failure

          • ghostrider

            Barrel scraping.
            Leave it at that.

          • Damon Horner

            On a different day Des he will be saying he doesn’t care what Rafa has done at other clubs, only what he does with us and here he is defending McClaren’s CV while being this forum’s biggest critic of a CL winner.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            In regards to his hatred of Benitez, a think a Spanish waiter plowed his other half years ago & Benitez reminds him of said waiter hence the hate.

            I changed my opinion today when he defended mclaren, it’s impossible to defend that clown anywhere

  • Kneebotherm8

    It is the Sports Direct Stadium in all but name………..and to a lesser extent we are Sports Direct United……

    • Steven05

      R.I.P. NUFC

      We miss you

      • Kneebotherm8

        Yes he’s claimed our identity for his own ends….