We saw a total farce on Thursday morning as a blatant Mike Ashley PR play saw Jamaal Lascelles get a one year contract extension, which was presented by the club as some kind of big positive sign of Newcastle United moving forward.
Lascelles had been given a new six year contract in October 2017, taking him up to June 2023, the one announced today extending that to June 2024.
It all seemed pretty feeble and disappointing that both Jamaal Lascelles and Rafa Benitez went along with it being presented this way- but nothing that serious and only really an embarrassment for the pair of them that they were prepared to go along with this Ashley/Bishop transparent nonsense.
However, we weren’t to know just how worse it would get this afternoon.
Earlier this week it had been announced that Jamaal Lascelles would be doing various press stuff towards the end of this week, today’s PR feel good stunt now making clear why the media chats had been arranged.
This afternoon though, Jamaal Lascelles really stepped out of line.
We all understand that current players are not going to slag off the club’s owner.
However, they should stay neutral and not get involved in taking Mike Ashley’s side against the fans either.
Jamaal Lascelles crossed that line today, saying ‘..hearing him [Mike Ashley] speak and seeing what he’s like as a man. He’s a nice guy. I know fingers are being pointed at him, but I think it was a positive meeting and if it could happen more, I don’t think it would do any harm. If there are divides, I think it creates problems. If everyone in Newcastle stopped the negativity and tried to form a unity, that would help.’
I’m sorry but this is totally unacceptable from the Newcastle captain.
How exactly is Mike Ashley a ‘Nice Guy’?
Does giving Jamaal Lascelles a few million via a new contract make the owner a ‘Nice Guy’?
Was he a nice guy when he had the club discriminating against cancer victim Jonas Gutierrez?
Was Ashley a nice guy when he and his people repeatedly lied to Kevin Keegan (and the fans) and forced the NUFC legend out of the club?
Was Mike a nice guy when he treated Alan Shearer the way he did?
Was Mike Ashley a nice guy when misleading Rafa Benitez one transfer window after another and broke ‘promises’, as the manager keeps telling us?
As for divides and negativity, there is only one person responsible for that and it is Jamaaal Lascelles’ new best friend.
It is quite unbelievable that Lascelles is even suggesting you can blame the fans for the shocking form, the worst start to the season in 120 years.
The rubbish football and shocking results are down to a combination of Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez and the players, NOT the fans.
If Newcastle fans want to boycott the Wolves match, or indeed do any other protests against this rotten club owner, it isn’t his (Lascelles’) place to be criticising them.
Quite frankly, he should be having a good look at himself, rather than lecturing fans.
Jamaal Lascelles has done well overall as a Newcastle player but he is no superstar.
The defender had a decent season when Newcastle got promotion, although arguable Ciaran Clark outperformed him, then last season he (Jamaal Lascelles) had a really good season. However, this season so far the captain has been poor to average, the reality being that £6m buy Federico Fernandez has easily been Newcastle’s best defender.
In fact, I would say that it is easy to say that only three players have done ok this season and those are Fernandez, Dubravka and Shelvey.
Lascelles hasn’t been terrible but he hasn’t been good, certainly not good enough to be lecturing the fans who pay his wages about letting down the team.
Newcastle fans haven’t exactly been vociferous in their support at home matches this season but little surprise considering all five games were defeats and the football overwhelmingly bad.
However, those 50,000 supporters have been remarkably restrained in terms of not getting at the manager and players, I can’t think of another club where the supporters would keep off their backs to such a degree.
We (the fans) all want unity and no divides at Newcastle United but understand this can only be possible when ‘Nice Guy’ Mike Ashley sells up.
In the meantime fans (if they attend) a game should get on with supporting the team when at St James Park and Jamaal Lascelles and the rest of the players should now start and do what they are paid to do, which is win football matches.
“Speaking honestly and it might not be what everyone wants to hear…I think it’s important everyone is together, especially when we’re right down at the bottom of the table.
“I think the meal was really positive, having a sit down meeting for the first time, hearing him [Mike Ashley] speak and seeing what he’s like as a man. He’s a nice guy.
“I know fingers are being pointed at him, but I think it was a positive meeting and if it could happen more, I don’t think it would do any harm.
“If there are divides, I think it creates problems. If everyone in Newcastle stopped the negativity and tried to form a unity, that would help.
“When there are problems going on around, off the pitch, it does have an effect on you as players.
“It would help if everyone came together and put all that bad energy into positive energy, helping us get three points. That’s what everybody wants.
“It’s my prime years. I’m a centre-half and centre-halves don’t get to their prime until 26 or 27.
“I have still got a lot more to offer and knowing I’m here for another six years is a great achievement for me.
“It’s a thing off my mind and now I can just focus on what I’m doing on the pitch.”