It is nine days now since Mike Ashley made an appearance on Sky News and told Newcastle fans that a sale of the club was imminent and we could even part ways before welcoming 2019 in.
Whatever his real reasons for making these comments, they were clearly done to get headlines and grab somebody’s attention.
The question is, whose attention?
The overwhelming reaction of Newcastle fans was to simply laugh at what he had to say, supporters believing here we go again with Mike Ashley. The interview aimed at pushing his usual agenda of muddying the waters, raising hopes, putting doubts out there, whether to justify making it a third January in a row when not a single player is bought and/or the ongoing PR campaign from his people against Rafa Benitez.
So that when the inevitable split happens and Rafa walks away in disgust, Mike Ashley can claim he did everything he could to sell the club, just like when he had the club embarrassingly put in the latest Fans Forum minutes, claiming that Newcastle in the summer had tried to buy any number of players for sums above the current club transfer record.
After the Sky News interview, we asked the question: ‘Do you believe what Mike Ashley has said about selling Newcastle United?’:
The Mag – Wednesday 5 December 2018:
Thanks to everybody who voted (1,182 in total) and as you can see, an overwhelming outcome…
10% (119) Yes, Ashley’s telling the truth this time and NUFC will soon be sold
90% (1,063) No, same old nonsense from Ashley ahead of a transfer window and club won’t be sold
An online poll in these past 24 hours by IfRafaGoesWeGo backs up that position above, they asked ‘Do you think that the club will be sold and that new owners will be in place before the end of January 2019?’, in response 87% of Newcastle fans said no.
I don’t think there has ever been a bigger divide/disconnect between what the media are reporting with this takeover and what the fans believe.
Both local and national media journalists are insistent that this time it is different, everybody from The Chronicle to The Mail saying that this time it could definitely happen, that there are willing buyers trying to get a takeover done.
However, Newcastle fans are seemingly refusing to entertain it at all.
As to the reasons why?
There is the usual scepticism about the newspapers, due to most of what we read about transfers and suchlike never happening, the same with all the previous claims of Mike Ashley selling up and sources saying whatever.
Then if fans do believe that the journalists are getting information from informed sources, there is then the belief that the info is from Mike Ashley’s people, thus completing the circle. Mike Ashley claims he is selling the club, newspapers report this, then Mike Ashley’s people tell the papers that this is definitely the case (Ashley willing and set to sell NUFC) and the media back up their story.
Mike Ashley has lied to the fans so many times.
Is this all fair on the media? Probably not.
They get the stick for reporting what they are told and as well as the undoubted lines being pushed by Mike Ashley’s people, the journalists insist that they are getting info from other side, whether it is the Peter Kenyon camp or whoever.
The truth is that only one man is responsible for this mess and he has been responsible for it for over a decade now.
I really hope that on this occasion we (the fans) are all wrong, and the media are proved correct on this occasion, and can take great pleasure in reminding us so, many times, when the new owner is in place in January.