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Tyne Talk

In 11 years of Mike Ashley at Newcastle United these other clubs have dared to dream

7 months ago
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What is the point of any football club?

Well looking in the history books I think that at least in the UK, they became the main way that the working man let his hair (flat cap) down after a hard week grafting.

It was the working man at play, packing into football stadiums for their Saturday entertainment.

Having a few pints and talking before and after the matches about the standard of refereeing and especially re-enacting those glorious moments when the star players had turned on the skill.

Nothing that much has really changed in terms of the basics, apart from a more diverse crowd demographic, especially when it comes to more women attending matches.

However, for Newcastle fans especially, because I am one of them,  I don’t think very much has changed at all.. Just normal people turning up to watch their team, hoping for some entertainment and dreaming of one day winning something.

This Mike Ashley era has though really dragged us down to a place where we thought we’d never visit.

We have had other dodgy/not fit for purpose NUFC owners in the past but never before have we seen anybody like Ashley.

A business plan where survival in the Premier League at the lowest cost is the only aim. No interest whatsoever in the football side of things and actually no intention of even trying to progress and potentially win something.

What if it hadn’t happened, what if somebody else had bought the club?

No guarantees of course that things would have been any better but no reason why they might not have been.

Excitement, drama, even winning something, or at the very least competing, could that have been us?

This is a brief look at what has happened at other clubs since Mike Ashley took over at Newcastle in 2007:

PREMIER LEAGUE

2016 Leicester win title (and quarter finalists in Champions League in 2016/17)

FA CUP

Winners

2008 Portsmouth

2013 Wigan

Finalists

Cardiff, Everton, Portsmouth (again), Stoke, Hull, Villa Palace

LEAGUE CUP

Winners

2011 Birmingham

2013 Swansea

Finalists

Villa, Cardiff, Bradford, Sunderland, Southampton

EUROPA LEAGUE

Winners

2008 Zenit

2009 Shakhtar

2011 Porto

2014, 2015, 2016 Sevilla

Finalists

Rangers, Dnipro, Werder Bremen, Fulham, Braga, Benfica, Ajax, Marseille

It isn’t a case of saying that any/all of these clubs are rubbish, or lesser than Newcastle United. It is simply a case of saying that if these clubs can do it, why not us.

I still think over a period of time that Newcastle could then build and one day be getting in amongst that top six and potentially qualifying for the Champions League and just maybe, build and build from there. However, at the very least, there is no reason why NUFC can’t be like these clubs above and having a go at trying to win things, you know…trying to compete.

We all know about the comparisons with the 11 years before Mike Ashley arrived: runners up in the Premier League, competing in the Champions League and UEFA/Europa most seasons, FA Cup finals and so on.

Ashley’s people will spread the word that football is very different now and impossible to repeat all of that. I’m not convinced it is impossible but I am certain that this attempt to smother any idea of Newcastle being able to compete for any honour whatsoever, is a deliberate strategy of Ashley and his minions to keep us all in our place.

The insult of the ‘delusional’ Newcastle fans ironically being cultivated the most by our club’s own owner.

These next 11 years will see many more surprise packages, maybe not another Leicester amongst them, but who knows?

That is the key, nobody knows what could happen if a club gets lucky with a few signings (Vardy, Mahrez, Kante at Leicester for example) and with a well run and properly financed Academy you happen to bring through a handful of very good players, maybe you just happen to come by a very good manager who knows what he’s doing and what it takes to win trophies (Rafa?).

Under Mike Ashley though, we will never ever be surprised, except in a bad way.

As always, Newcastle fans don’t expect success, all we want is a club that tries to be the best it can be.

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