A warning for The Magpie Group
Mike Ashley is not your normal billionaire businessman.
I welcome the new action announced by The Magpie Group on Thursday but with caution.
I think they were right to suspend previous plans back in December for three reasons.
To give any potential takeover a chance, to avoid being blamed for bad results at a crucial time and because at the time of the heightened protests, very few would have participated with talk of a 40,000 plus crowd likely for the Wolves game.
I respect the opposite views of taking our foot off the gas etc when he was rattled but my opinion is that the feeling wasn’t strong enough then. It certainly is now and nobody can be in any doubt that our owner is playing games.
I would warn the group though, to make sure they don’t play into Ashley’s hands. Even today (Friday 18 January), Sky are stating that he is a serious seller without even challenging the claims. He is using fan unrest to imply that he is a victim despite his good intentions. The Magpie Group should perhaps ask Sky to be more assertive in their dealings with him.
He is an unorthodox character and thinks on a strange wavelength for a wealthy man. I don’t know where his spite and stubbornness come from and have a place in a progressive business.
So what makes him so different? I think it’s easy to take things at face value. Yes he wants maximum return for minimal investment, is driven by money and was rattled by protests against him and his businesses. These things are true but there is another bitter side to this man and The Magpie Group should be very wary. What I am saying here is that he is very complex and there are two sides even to his obvious ambitions.
On the money front, I don’t think staying up or keeping Rafa comes into it anymore and he knows that will be costly. With hundreds of millions, through being relegated, losing the club’s main asset and losing value at stake, surely he should back the manager and care for the fans.
Any progressive businessman/woman protects his or her revenue streams. A mere £20m (to spend in the transfer market) that the club already has (or had) would help enormously.
What is he playing at? My view is there to be seen in my previous articles: vindictiveness and spite the motivators. A logical person with money in mind would speculate to accumulate. His bizarre actions should be flagged up for use by all media outlets, therefore The Magpie Group need a leader or spokesperson to highlight.
A multi billionaire being rattled is not necessarily a good thing but at least it sends his PR machine into overdrive, perhaps the Magpie Group could again get air time on television, to counter this. It would need somebody to represent the group who can really get the message across.
So what can we do?
Boycott a live TV game as long as there is worthwhile backing.
Fans need to pull together, this won’t happen by itself, a leader is needed.
A slur on his businesses, characteristics, mannerisms and actions, has to be a priority.
The media battle has to be won, to avoid instances like today with Sky defending his willingness to sell, without challenge.
As in a game of chess, don’t dive in, think about it before acting, again better planning is needed, that means a team of strategists.
Ask for face to face meetings, sounds far-fetched but it could work.
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