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Opinion

Jamaal Lascelles has just met Mike Ashley – Doesn’t make much sense to me

4 months ago
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Another mad week at Newcastle United which included winning an actual football match.

We all saw Lascelles’ comments about Mike Ashley and his advice for any fans thinking of protesting against the owner. When I first saw the comments I was astounded. Quite literally.

Straight away I was ready to fire away with an article, but I thought I would take a day or two to gauge the reaction of other fans, local media etc.

That was probably a good thing…because if I had written something on Thursday afternoon, given how angry I was with his comments, I probably would have written something naive along the lines of ‘sell out’ – In retrospect, that would be an overreaction, but my admiration for our captain has probably decreased.

Jamaal Lascelles was used as a tool for Keith Bishop’s PR comedy road show. Except in this instance, given the positive reception from some fans to his new contract and the lack of local media response to Lascelles’ comments, it would appear Keith Bishop has won this latest battle.

Everyone is talking about Jamaal Lascelles and fighting between ourselves when all attention should be diverted towards Mike Ashley. The problem is that most fans, and the local media, have no intention of directing their anger towards Mike Ashley. In fact, given that 50,000 turn up at SJP every week, I would hazard a guess to say that a lot of them aren’t even angry at all with Mike Ashley.

I seem to remember an NUFC related statement a while ago in which Rafa and Lascelles signed a letter along with Charnley calling on everyone to pull together. Coloccini came out with a similar statement too when he was captain.

What really annoys me about this, and it also annoys me when the manager and captain come out with “no negativity” and “we need the fans to support us”, is that we always do. We always turn up every week, we always sell out away games in our thousands. The rallying calls to fans make no sense.

It is take take take with Newcastle United and to be frank, I am sick of it. There is no such thing as pulling in the same direction. It’s either Mike Ashley, or Newcastle United.

Funny how Lascelles, the captain of the club for two and a half years now, has only just met the owner?

Doesn’t make much sense to me.

I feel for Lascelles as he has now come across as putting himself in a position in which he was more than happy to stand up for his teammates (in bonus row for second summer in a row) earlier in the summer but not the fans. Perhaps it suggests that the players are willing to stand up to Mike Ashley but only when it is in their financial interests.

If the truth be known, any Newcastle player getting a new contract shouldn’t be thanking Mike Ashley, it is the fans who will be paying their wages. As everyone knows, Mike Ashley doesn’t put any money into the club. The club is running to make ends meet.

That means all of the money that goes on transfer fees or wages are made by what the club makes. The majority of what the club makes comes from the fans and the Premier League. So a message to all the players, especially the captain, you have the fans to thank far more for your ‘new contract’ than you do Mike Ashley.

What I will say though, is that this is much much bigger than Rafa Benitez or Jamaal Lascelles, and I think they need to understand that.

The most important thing at every club is the fans, and the club itself. Without the fans there is no football. There is no club, and there is no team. Football without fans is nothing.

It is just a shame that the vast majority of Newcastle fans are the most gullible in the country. Or is it just the hope of success that makes us that way? I am astounded that Lascelles signing a new contract (again it’s not a new contract, you are an idiot if you think so), or talk Rafa will sign a deal, is actually appeasing some fans. I have said it before but where on earth have you been for the past 11 years? Genuinely. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Alas, my opinion on this whole Lascelles debacle is that the captain, the manager, the local media, the majority of fans who turn up at SJP every week and sit there in silence, only opening their mouths to slag off the players or the referee… all of them have stuck up two fingers (in some cases quite literally) to those fans that are trying to make a positive difference to the club they love.

When Mike Ashley does leave the club for whatever reason one day, and this terrible era at NUFC comes to an end… how will you be remembered?

I will not criticise one person for going to the Wolves game, it is your money, your team, your prerogative. What I would ask is, what are you doing to combat Mike Ashley?

Will you be remembered as being a part of a group fans who actively tried to change the club for the better?

Who took a stand because of their love for the club and the city, or will you be remembered as going along with the actions of an owner who had such disdain for the city of Newcastle, as someone who did nothing but sit idly by and do nothing as our club drifted away into footballing irrelevance.

One thing is for sure now though, those fans that are going to the Wolves game with the motto “support the team, not the regime”… you are now very much supporting the team AND the regime.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn
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