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Opinion

Mike Ashley : Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing

5 months ago
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Newcastle fans are now in their twelfth year under the rule of Mike Ashley.

If any supporter doesn’t understand/accept just what a disastrous football club owner he is by now, then they really are a lost cause.

His shameful running  of Newcastle United has for the most part being a local story, who cares about a football club at the other end of the country that you have no association with?

That of course largely applies to the media as well as the general public, the London-centric obsession usually meaning  you aren’t a story if it doesn’t happen in the capital, apart from the obvious (Liverpool, Man Utd etc).

This summer though, the agenda has changed for the better.

Mike Ashley went to such extremes this summer, even the national media couldn’t ignore it.

Apart from the malicious (Wise, Keys, journalists with an agenda) and ignorant (Gray, Shola etc), it couldn’t be ignored this time how the NUFC was behaving.

After very little investment in the team last season after promotion, to have a top class manager in Rafa Benitez approaching the final year of his contract and instead of backing him, you insist on a £20m+ summer transfer profit, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that it has disaster written all over it.

All the media published the tables of transfer dealings, Newcastle sticking out like a sore thumb at the bottom. Almost every other rival club with net spending at least £50m higher than Newcastle’s, Brighton and Huddersfield, amongst others, doing everything they can to back their managers and survive/progress in the Premier League.

Mike Ashley simply laughed at both Rafa Benitez and the fans, getting his minions to stir up the likes of Dennis Wise and Richard Keys to defend the indefensible.

As the high street falls on ever harder times, you have the perfect scenario for Mike Ashley, who has made it his business to ruthlessly exploit failing brands and become a multi-billionaire.

With the likes of House and Fraser and Debenhams in a desperate state, Ashley is like a fox let loose in the hen house.

The thousands and thousands of customers and staff of these brands/companies are now getting increasingly agitated. Along with Sports Direct shareholders themselves who were treated as total mugs last week by Mike Ashley.

Some Newcastle fans are disappointed that ever increasing negative stories about Ashley’s conduct with his retail empire don’t join the dots up with what he has done to Newcastle United.

I wouldn’t worry about that, it will increase over time and of course we are selfishly more interested in our local problem.

Mike Ashley’s people have claimed now that he will ‘generously’ knock £100m off any sale price, to which many Newcastle fans worry that the lack of spending on players has been just him preparing to make that money up via other means.

Again, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Surely you must know that when we finally get rid of him, Mike Ashley is going to make sure that he leaves a massive mess behind him, one that will take a lot of cash and work to bounce back from.

However, all that matters is that we reach that ground zero moment as soon as possible, because that is when our club can start to live and breathe again.

We just have to plough on in the meantime and continue to try and add to the pressure on the NUFC and Sports Direct owner, he once thought all publicity was good publicity, but I get the feeling now that Mike Ashley is realising that even that reasoning has its limits.
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