Recent weeks have seen Newcastle United revisiting their eve of season statement.

With Newcastle fans left in disbelief at a summer transfer window that had delivered a £20m+ profit rather than the quality of player that was desperately needed, Mike Ashley and his minions somehow got Rafa Benitez and Jamaal Lascelles to put their names alongside Lee Charnley in a joint statement of positivity (see below) the day before the first match.

It was typical Mike Ashley, fans left in disbelief at the line that was being spun of the squad being magically so much better despite such a shocking failure to allow investment.

Many supporters gutted that the manager and captain had been willing to go along with this but guessing that with the transfer window now closed, there was little point in dissenting, instead hoping to somehow produce decent results purely via the use of unity and positive thinking.

Three months and 11 games on, Newcastle haven’t won a single match via unity and positive thinking.

Newcastle fans so far proved correct in their worries about the dismal failure to invest in players who are fit for purpose and giving extra impetus to the ongoing protests against the club’s owner.

When asked recently about the fan protests and especially the planned boycott of the Newcastle v Wolves match on Sunday 9 December, Rafa Benitez said that he wanted to see the fans in the stadium supporting the team.

Obviously he was never going to tell them to stay away but should have maybe gone down the line of saying he understood the fans needed to do whatever they think is right – but for those at the match to get behind the team.

Nevertheless, the manager’s quotes produced headlines that said Rafa Benitez tells fans not to boycott.

On Thursday we saw a similar story with Jamaal Lascelles.

It is difficult to imagine that there weren’t at least some conversations in advance of the captain meeting the media after his new contract was announced, about the best line to take in terms of the current dismal situation at the club. Conversations that would have possibly included Rafa Benitez but certainly would have involved some of those doing Mike Ashley’s bidding.

In his interviews Jamaal Lascelles trying to bring more unity to the club but stumbling in the process.

No need to bring ‘Nice Guy’ Mike Ashley into the conversation, just so long as fans, players and manager are on the same page that is what’s important.

After his initial comments on Thursday, Jamaal Lascelles did later appear to try to clarify and dilute the more contentious things he’d said earlier. Attempting to get the message over that he was simply trying to improve the situation.

However, surely the captain should have accepted that involving Mike Ashley in any way, either of his own volition or having been prompted to do so by Ashley’s people beforehand, was going to produce a negative – rather than his supposed intention of producing more unity and bringing people together.

The reporting of the new contract and Jamaal Lascelles’ press conference/interviews did see a couple of key points conveniently ignored.

Lascelles already had five years to go on his contract and this was conveniently missing from pretty much all the reports I read, I bet most neutrals assumed that the captain’s existing contract was winding down when reading about this spectacular new six year one.

It is so transparent a PR story for Mike Ashley, the new Lascelles contract, that it is painful. The owner desperately looking for a positive story that portrays him in a better light – convincing the popular Lascelles to stay for six more years etc etc – whilst conveniently ignoring that he was already tied down for five of those six years.

Another point that didn’t make most (any?) reports was that whilst Jamaal Lascelles is now asking Newcastle fans not to protest or boycott, this summer he and other senior players led the squad in going on strike, refusing to carry out their media duties until Mike Ashley backed down on agreeing an acceptable bonus schedule for the players this season. The fans of course overwhelmingly backing the players in their stand against the owner.

The bottom line is that apart from Mike Ashley selling up obviously, the only thing that will bring more positivity and unity, is the team winning matches. By refusing to properly back Rafa Benitez, Ashley has made that very difficult – lets just hope it doesn’t prove to be a case of making it impossible.

Newcastle United official announcement – 10 August 2018:

Dear supporters,

As the transfer window closes and attentions turn to the start of the season, we wanted to make this joint statement, on behalf of everyone at the club.

Doing good business in a transfer window is about ending the window clearly stronger than when you started and we believe we have done this. The view we all share is that we have a better squad now than the one that finished tenth last season and all involved have worked tirelessly to make this happen.

Collectively, we must extend praise to Steve Nickson and his recruitment team. Their operations are year-round, but they have worked day and night in recent months to support efforts to enhance the squad.

We are all excited about the seven players who have joined us this summer. Their combined experience in the Premier League and at an international level – with three of them appearing at this summer’s World Cup for their respective countries – cannot fail to strengthen us.

Martin Dúbravka and Kenedy have already proven themselves to be fantastic players here and we are confident that Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schär, Yoshinori Mutō, Salomón Rondón and Federico Fernandez will be excellent additions to the dressing room.

Given our finishing position last season, we already had a team of players who were more than capable of performing well in the Premier League. They have shown heart, guts and determination and the inference that they are ‘Championship’ players and not good enough is unfair and untrue. The players all believe in themselves and in the quality of the squad, and we all believe in the players.

Now, it’s about all of us pulling in the same direction, for the good of the club. This came through strongly in a recent positive call between our owner and senior members of the squad, who agreed that better dialogue going forward will benefit all parties and is in the best interests of the club.

With the transfer window now closed, the focus should be on unity and getting behind the efforts on the pitch.

We know our supporters are incredibly passionate and we know that passion will be channelled into supporting the players we have in black and white on Saturday, and every matchday thereafter home or away.​

Lee Charnley, Managing Director

Rafa Benítez, Manager

Jamaal Lascelles, Captain

  • Wezza

    The “nice guy” is reported to have threatened to knock out a goader in a curry house. The truth must hurt! Wonder if the KBA will try and spin that!

    • Paul Patterson

      It could very well be spin in itself to garner sympathy in certain circles. It’s getting very grainy in the PR steaks these days . .

      • Wezza

        Yes that’s a good call! Nailed it!
        Poor FCB!
        Sadly for KBA, their PR is as clear as crystal and their fooling nobody! To think Bishop gets paid for this!

      • Leazes.

        what circles

        • Paul Patterson

          The dodgy ones- Keys, Gray, Merson, Allardyce, Jordan, Wise, ignorant and biased southern media etc . .

          • Leazes.

            Ah….. Tax dodging circles

          • Cockneytrev

            Exactly,, this is so at a future date, one of the mentioned can say ” he’s even getting accosted during a quiet meal”

  • Paul Patterson

    Also, I’m guessing that this mornings reports of Ashley being approached in a London restaurant are also false.
    They may be true, but with this regime take nothing at face value . .

    • FatParosite

      Is anything in the Sun real?

      • Paul Patterson

        Not even the t!ts on page three.

  • Leazes.

    The hypocrisy of Lascelles!

    The dishonesty and treachery of Ryder and Douglas at the Chronicle!


    • Kenny

      that`s a good start to the morning.

  • Tweed Mag

    Any young person hoping for a career in PR should study Ashley/KBA and see first hand how not to do things. They set up Lascelles yesterday and he will have to play like Roy of the Rovers for the rest of the season to redeem himself. I don’t know how much he is going to earn every week, but it will be a fortune compared with the vast majority of fans who turn up in the hope that the team do well. The fans will support the team, but the players are the ones who have to win every header, defend like they are at the Alamo, create chances and hit the back of the opponent’s net on a regular basis. It is no good trying to shift the responsibility on to the fans when there is nothing to cheer on the pitch. There are some good players at Rafa’s disposal, so it is about time they got their backsides in to gear and woke up to what Ashley is doing to the club.

    • Leazes.

      absolutely….. really shockingly poor PR…. even the pizza house meeting where they lined up the chronicle to help….. just blatant nonsense.

    • FatParosite

      The year extension is quite clearly to bump up his January price. Lascelles will be aware that staying at Newcastle will damage any chance he has of getting in the national team despite ‘I’m staying even if NUFC go down’ Bishop penned rhetoric. Chelsea WILL come knocking if they have any chance of the title half way into the window.

    • magpiefifer

      The cynicism of Ashley knows no bounds, and he seems to have assistance from the naivity of players.We know where this is going – a nice fat cheque into Ashley’s pocket from the sale of Lascelles!

      • panther

        Engineered so Lascelles can’t stay as now being a pariah, he goes to champs league, the slug gets even more money he doesn’t need

    • Cockneytrev

      I agree,, they have been a PR nightmare, but the national and local media have not really picked up on it,,,

      • Leazes.

        You don’t expect Ryder or Douglas to say boo to a goose……that’s their master’s voice.

    • panther

      Just saying but they were massacred at the alamo

      • Leazes.

        I forgot that…..but you are right it was a defeat and an abject lesson in PR…… We copied it for Dunkerque.

      • Tweed Mag

        Oops, but you know what I meant . . .

  • Down Under Mag

    Lascelles is the CAPTAIN of the club, do you honestly think that him coming out criticising Ashley, the manager or fellow players would actually help at this stage?? He is clearly trying to sort stuff out off the pitch to help on it. Not sure exactly what people are expecting – “Right lads, just signed this new bumper deal for a years extention and guess what…the owner is a proper TUNC, the manager is wastign his time as his tactics are useless and the fans?? Keep going guys, we love it when you boo your own players and moan all game , it is major motivation to get the ball and I can’t wait to step out there in front of empty seats with whoever is actually there infighting with those outside the ground protesting, what a place to play football, we are sure to stay up!”.

    • Leazes.

      You seem very mixed up?

    • FatParosite

      Is there a salient argument anywhere in there…??

    • Tweed Mag

      Infighting is not good, we all agree on that. The point most people have made is that Ashley has failed on so many different fronts and to cap it all he does not appear to be bothered one bit. Lascelles was at best naive yesterday, at worst set up by KBA. Either way it was a PR disaster and Ashley has lost again.

    • panther

      Your laying the blame at the wrong door, go and see the nice guy who sacked a cancer patient

    • Kneebotherm8

      He didn’t need to call him a CNT……..he just needed not to call him a nice guy…….

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    It was naïve at best to think that players like Perez would be able to perform in The Premiership on a regular basis.
    It was also risible that the incoming dross was lauded so much because some of their performances for their previous clubs did not warrant their signings in the first instance.

    Typical Ashley & Co thinking that last season’s great escape could be repeated by this rag tag bunch plus a another raft full of losers brought in !

    • Leazes.

      Who was naive….. the fans and Rafa knew the score! Ashley knew the strength of the squad as well?

      That leaves the salesmen….. selling the dream and season tickets for the owner….. Ryder and Douglas knew as well…. but they spin it differently.

  • panther

    Lascelles is dead to me now, bet he’s gutted

    • Leazes.

      Think Gallowgate flags should burn his tribute banner.

  • HarryHype59

    Lascelles is just another employee of SD United, albeit a very well paid one. He couldn’t really say Ashley is a Conniving, Underhand, Narcissistic, Tyrant, could he?

    • Leazes.

      Not when he’s just handed him a £20k a week pay rise….. that would be most ungracious!

      The sooner we get rid of this parasite, the better.

      • HarryHype59

        Lascelles will double his wages when Ashley sells him in the next window!

        • Leazes.

          Summer….. He’s going to get a huge loyalty bonus and will get in excess of the now £60k a week from Spuds or Chelsea or West Ham….. done himself the world of good as well as damaging himself like Ameobi in the eyes of fans.

  • Lipsyla

    Bang on. Another puppet of the regime who has sold his soul for a few more pieces of silver.

    • Leazes.

      20,000 pieces of silver a week more buys a lot of goodwill.

  • Themoscow72

    What people must remember is that Lascelles is captain of our football team and has a massive responsibility on his shoulders and he only wants the best for the club. He and the other players together with Rafa that the protests are affecting the players and will only result in relegation. If that is what you want fair enough but that will mean Ashley will remain until promoted again and we can find a buyer.

    • kingfisher

      He did’nt find a buyer when we were promoted last time.He does’nt want to sell,we and he deserve to be in the Championship.

    • 1957

      I knew a player who was at the club in the late 80’s who claimed that the issues around the club at that time had no effect on the players as he eloquently put it… ‘ we were c##p anyway, we couldn’t get any worse’

      • Themoscow72

        The fans backing against Man Utd and Arsenal played a massive part in the victory mark my words a team which finished tenth.
        Got you two tickets for the Wolves game no charge on me just meet me in the three bulls. Bought a few to break the boycott.

        • Wezza

          and who was to thank for finishing tenth? Because it certainly wasn’t the FCB.

        • Icky (Heaton)

          We are nothing with this cretin in charge!

          Sickening, a complete and utter @ss licker!

    • Wezza

      Utter tripe.
      Of course, relegation would be no fault of the FCB, for continuing to provide “every penny” right? You’re a pathetic troll.

  • 1957

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see Benitez accept Big Mike’s 30 pieces of silver next

    • Themoscow72

      Two tickets together for Wolves on me. Meet you in the Bulls.

      • 1957

        Sorry to disappoint you but we’re going with a friend and his wife for a weekend away in Madrid… I’m sure you can find someone else to take Mike’s freebies this time.

        While we were out last week and talking about people who post here my pal told me he used to work with Russell about 7 years ago…it’s a small world

  • Paul Cannell

    That’s why Charnley gets the big bucks