Eddie Rutherford, Head of facilities at Newcastle United, has had a multi-part interview with the Chronicle published this week.  In it he defended the club from mounting social media focus by supporters on the cleanliness and deterioration of St James Park.

Following the interview many have had their say on whether he put up a satisfactory argument and whether or not the complaints about the stadium have been excessive.

Less discussed, it seems to me, was how much Rutherford agreed with supporters about the training ground, he repeatedly made the case that improvements are needed, that everyone knows that, but that the club simply will not fund it.

It was over a month ago when Newcastle MP (and supporter) Chi Onwurah presented her petition to parliament asking for “action to prevent unscrupulous football club owners from exploiting the clubs”, her concern that Newcastle United specifically was failing to provide “investment in players, training facilities and community engagement” and further “that the owner Mike Ashley has not made this support forthcoming.”

Mike Ashley strenuously denied this.

In a letter to the Secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright complaining about Onwurah’s petition, Ashley argued “Our training facilities have improved significantly during my tenure. They are fit for purpose and very clearly do not have a negative impact on performance.”

Rutherford, in his interview, has contradicted this view and agreed with Onwurah and supporters.

He said “we know we need a [new training] building long-term” adding “it’s common knowledge we have plans for the training ground” and “we have one pitch outside we want to upgrade – there are plans” also there are ” lots of things we want to do and the same at the academy.”

Not only does he disagree with his boss and think that improvements are required, he goes further and accurately identifies the cause of the delay in making those improvements and it’s exactly what supporters and Onwurah have said all along.

It’s five years since the club obtained planning permission for work at the training ground and Rutherford is blunt about why that work has not started “If I say I want all this money to do everything I want to do in one go, I’m not going to get it.”

Being resigned to the fact that necessary improvements will not be funded by “the board“ only serves to emphasize the point made by Chi Onwurah in her petition and makes a lie of the statement Ashley made in his letter to Jeremy Wright. It’s satisfying to have people in leadership positions at the club publicly recognise this.

You can keep in touch with all of Chris Holt’s blogs via NUFC Miscommunication, NUFC-Ashlies Blogspot and BigChrisHolt on Tumblr

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  • Paul Patterson

    Everybody knows the whole club needs an overhaul, but the money won’t be used to do it, nor will it go on transfers.
    However, if a high street shop is ripe for a takeover . .

    • Pezza

      It’s extremely naive to think Nufc has not bought players because SD has bought a department store.

      Paul, you’re not Jezza/Wezza, be realistic.

      • Kenny

        Troll, f##k off

        • East Durham Mag

          Seconded.

        • Pezza

          Fair point Kenny, any list if simpletons should include you.

          • Wor Lass

            “.. list if simpletons ..” Really? Loser.

        • Wezza

          Another alias blocked.

          • Pezza

            Oh dear, the thickest Nufc fan has blocked me, how will I cope without conversing with such a genius?

          • Pezza

            Duplication ignore

      • Westdentoon

        Nah, it’s because that schitthouse of an owner has pretty much cast us adrift in a sinking boat with nee paddles!
        The stinking rotten b*strd could’nt give a F*ck about this club and any ‘fan’ that thinks otherwise is off their trolley!!

      • Superdooperhooper

        So where’s the money gone ? The club has made a 20m profit in the summer and collected 120m TV money. You tell me where is it ?

        • Pezza

          It looks Ike we had around £30m (from an o/d of £11m in 2017) in the bank at June 18. That’s fine up now to £50m.

          We have an extra £20m in debtors.

          We know that player/coaching bonuses for finishing 10th were about £15m, wages were about £95m

          • drc74

            hows your dads cxck this morning, has he gave u a nice facial

          • Pezza

            Wow, I drop out for a week or so and the quality of contributor has actually gone down.

          • drc74

            not really, your troling people and trying to defend the indefensible, your lord and master, aka the fat slug is getting it from all quarters and still u defend

          • drc74

            come on then cxnt face, bring on the trolling, u orrilble little paedo cxnt, bring it on

          • Pezza

            Ha ha, were you on university challenge?

          • drc74

            didn’t ned uni to get my, 30k job, hows that sd gun working for

          • drc74

            COME ON THEN PXSS FACE, BRING IT ON

          • Pezza

            Bring it on? What high jinks.

            Are you suggesting we have this face to face?

            Splendid idea

          • drc74

            love to txsser you complete pxick, thing is im not travelling to Manchester

          • Pezza

            How about today? Otherwise my next match is Manchester United away and you don’t appear to travel.

          • drc74

            im out the country at the moment, in caleta

          • drc74

            can i ask you a serious question, why do bother to troll, i mean this shxt could happen to your club one day, why defend ashley, its not only newcastle hes fxcking over, its people who works for him and the people who helped him build his empire, and now its customers who bought products and vouchers for HoF, so why do u defend him, please give a serious answer

          • Pezza

            I’m not a troll as you put it, I simply have a different view to you.

            This is my club and I want the best for it. I’d have loved us to buy key players in the summer. I happen to think we’ve kept our powder dry with a view to make a sale more likely.

            As for HoF, Ashley didn’t run them when they went bust. These things happen

          • Pezza

            Well, I’m not trolling. I simply have a different opinion to you.

            I agree he’s made mistakes but look at the chat on here, most if his sins are made up.

            the club looks to me to be readied for sale which is presumably what you want

          • drc74

            Its all gone quiet over there…. u edl wxnker, 😂

          • Pezza

            Udl? That’s about if a shift, where does that come from

          • Pezza

            I’m likely to go for a pint at Bodega but I bet it’s Secrets for you.

          • drc74

            why would being gay be a problem

          • Pezza

            No problem with you being gay simply that you seem quite hard and I didn’t want to meet up with you getting the wrong idea.

          • drc74

            ooooer missus

          • drc74

            you trolling piece of shxt, you cant answere my question about being gay, PMSL

          • Pezza

            I have no issue with you being gay happy to meet for a glass of rose

          • drc74

            vodka for me :)

          • Pezza

            Lovely, ironically it will be Brighton for my next home game

          • Superdooperhooper

            Yeah OK fleckman the wage bill was 95m. That’s cos we had Messi neymar and Ronaldo playing for us that season . I completely forgot about that .

          • Pezza

            No, we had an £85m wage bill in the EFL without provision and bonus. We added to that last summer and this along with the £15m bonus to players and staff for league position.

          • osmosis

            Is this t1t actually serious? Wow. Give it up ffs

          • Pezza

            Some problem with the figures? They are correct

        • Sickandtired

          In the kitty for the next dinosaur English ‘Coach’ when Rafa walks (i.e. McClaren summer Mk2).

  • Pezza

    Stretching a point really, the article was pretty clear but the waters muddied by an increasingly rubbish Holty.

    Come on Chris, you are better than this.

    • Ram Kishore

      I don’t really understand how the waters were muddied?.
      U also say that article was pretty clear..

      • Pezza

        The original article in the Chronic was clear. Chris has looked for an angle to take a swipe at the club

  • Steven05

    This feels like a time when the fat cancer loner has never been more on the ropes – go for the knockout

  • Leazes.

    Yes he has totally contradicted his boss hasn’t he!

    You just have to look around the place to see the lack of care and attention, it wasn’t like this under Shepherd, he was actually a bit houseproud.

    Whether its the tacky advertising plastered all over the concourses or the puny information screens which replaced larger ones or cracks in the floor in the Leazes concourse (subsidence oh dear), or the entrance stairway to the Platinum Club with retaining bolts projecting at head height through the walls from some addition on the other side, and a trip away from a law case! Frayed carpets and broken furniture not replaced, amateur hour signage….. [add your own here]

    Its Regie Perrin’s Sunshine Desserts all over again but Ashley’s pig farm mentality reflects what he’s done to the whole club…..and he cant hide it behind mealy mouthed words! We have eyes….everything done on the cheap or not done at all!

    Why did the club give away its development land?

    • Paul Patterson

      Wasn’t there a picture online somewhere of the toilets in a state? It was referenced by Chris Waddle on Sky I think . .

      • Scott Robinson

        Was there ever a worse toilet than the old Gallowgate, if it could be called that. Wonder who cleaned and serviced it ‘Titan Arum’?

        (google it as a fact for the day what it does over 100 years and it smells)

        ‘Unlike plants which bear flowers and die afterwards, the corpse flower is a giant, 7-foot-tall flower that blooms two to three times every 100 years. Although the blooming flower releases sulfur and smells like rotting corpses, any known instance of its flowering attracts tourists all over the world’

        • Benmagpie

          Horrendous. You’d come out of there with more pish soaked into your bell bottoms than you left in the trough. Whenever i catch myself romanticizing about the good old days I remind myself of the gallowgate bogs, the deathly crush, and the fighting.

          • GlasgowMag

            Yip the crush was a nightmare remember arriving about 12pm when I was 12 just so I could get a good standing point at the top!! By the end of the game Me and my pals always ended up in the middle bloody dangerous times expecially with the penned in high fencing!! Can’t remember the fighting so much but the atmosphere and singing was a lot better after a while used to start it myself also used to spread all the way round the stadium!! Also getting searched every game was a bit of a nightmare!! On another note police escorts to the station on away games were always interesting especially with the local nutters following either side!! fun days no family enclosures then!!😂😂

          • Benmagpie

            Not fighting in the gallowgate necessarily but in general in those times. Being chased by Stanley wielding scousers in Liverpool, man city fans with bats, having to hide your scarf unless you were up for it. I wouldn’t take my son if it was still like that. I do now.

          • GlasgowMag

            Your right about taking your son no chance it was a Hillsborough waiting to happen. I suppose also the fighting element was to do with the times bloody hell everyone wanted to kick the [email protected] out of you from the skinheads (not much fun when you were a mod) to the plastic fizzy bikers and then the fighting between schools!! No problem with kids with weight problems in those days because basically you had to run everywhere from the nutters 😂😂!!

          • gordon

            Wasn’t the E-Wing of the West Stand designated as a family section in the 80’s. Trouble was it was right next to the away fans in the Leazes so was regularly infiltrated by ‘rowdies’. Definitely remember one game against Carlisle in Keegan’s promotion year (as a player) when things were distinctly lairy in there 😄 We won 5-0 if I remember correctly.

          • Sickandtired

            Spot on. I got smashed up in the Mayfair when home on my first leave from joining the Forces. Screams of ‘skinhead’ followed by at least 25 pairs of boots and fists!

        • Billmag

          Loads never even used it, my wet legs and feet can vouch for that.

        • Big Hairy Man

          I remember once considering putting a pair of wellies in a haversack in case I couldnt hold on till the match finished.

      • Down Under Mag

        Yes there was, it looked like a health code violation. I’m not sure I agree with Rutherford suggestion that “the roof had leaked the night before and we couldn’t paint it before the match because it was still wet and you can’t paint wet walls”… the state of that toilet looked far more than even a few months of neglect let alone a couple of days worth of damp!

        • Paul Patterson

          Is the picture available anywhere?

        • Pezza

          Utter nonsense. It looked exactle as described, a leak, regenly fixed and awaiting nature to do its thing before paint

    • wheyayeman

      It’s beyond unacceptable, at what point can the FA (who generally do sweet FA) or any other parliamentary body step in to assist our city and club to eject this scumbag from us. Everything he owns is tarnished neglected and stripped of it’s former value and beauty.

  • JohnnyH

    New troll ; pezza

  • JohnnyH

    I keep banging on about this but we get eye watering sums of TV money from the Premier League, whose own ‘guidelines’ say the money should be spent by clubs on improving recruitment, ground and training facilities, development programmes, community work etc…..

    The fact this absolute $hithouse is getting away with this, speaks volumes about the cesspit the game has become.

  • Leicester Mag

    He could be exposed in crotchless jock strap and not bat an eyelid, no morals. Couldn’t give a flying ruck unless his precious sports direct is damaged

  • Down Under Mag

    If we do ever get a new owner (and no doubt we will once fat man has ran things into the ground to the point of it not being financially viable any more) we are likely looking at a new ground and move away from St James because the renovation cost will be too much and we a have no hope of expanding the ground now that Ashley has sold off the surrounding land.

    • Ram Kishore

      Renovation would be much better than moving away, new ground will always cost more with ever increasing inflation.. plus we already have 50k+ stadium. Unless we do a atleast what Everton were under Moyes with a decade of top 10 or top 8, i see lesser requirement for a stadium expansion.
      The new owners would be better served with investment on training ground, academy and others. Just a opinion

      • Toonrobbybobson

        Disagree. If investment is made in a new location and stadium the commercial revenues can go up. It can be a made a specifically designed hub to attract more beyond football and aid the club. You see it all over sports now.

        But I thought the same as the OP. The stadium will get to a point its so far behind it isnt viable or unattractive to investors/nee owners.

        • Sickandtired

          I think that’s where we are now with Fatty taking the Gallowgate land for himself.

      • 1957

        The sad fact is the ship has sailed in terms of expanding the ground for me. It will cost around 4x per seat more than building a new stadium due to the restricted access an the grounds location in the city centre, the inflationary costs are just as applicable to both options.

        • Sickandtired

          The original H&S plan (£300 million) included the Gallowgate land (for Hotels, Flats, Conference Center) not just expanding the ground.
          Fatty of course has relieved the Club of that land and is developing it for himself.

    • Pezza

      Yes and no, if we need to expand beyond a few thousand, it’s economic to move but its unlikely permission would be given to change the land use very quickly.

      As for renovation? You are sat on the other side of the world making judgement from a Twitter feed, don’t be so silly.

  • David Sorsky

    I have been located in the Leazes end since I was unable to afford the Platinum prices…..so I was moved.
    I use access 5 and the toilets next to it….
    In the last few seasons I have seen no sign that the surrounding area of the push button flush in the cubicles have been cleaned…..absolutely filthy!
    So too are the walls of these cubicles….what price a cleaning product and a bit of elbow grease ?
    Do nufc not have cleaners ?

    • Paul Patterson

      No, the owner is taking the club to the cleaners . .

  • magpiefifer

    Fit for purpose – my A$$!!!

  • Sickandtired

    Spent the budget on wheelie bins for players ice baths…