It was Sir John Hall who delivered Newcastle United into the hands of Mike Ashley.
Taking the money and running, almost 12 years later the former NUFC owner still refuses to accept any blame for the misery that has played out since.
Sir John Hall still claiming: ‘Mike Ashley came with the best intentions…I firmly believe that.’
We get Mike Ashley claiming now that he won’t sell Newcastle United to just anybody, only to someone who can take the club forward, Hall also claimed this back in the day and since taking Ashley’s money.
The simple truth of course is that it is all about the bottom line with all of them, only caring about the amount of money on offer rather than the identity of whoever is handing it over.
Lazy people might see the breakdown between Mike Ashley and the fans starting in September 2008 when Kevin Keegan walked out and sued the owner for constructive dismissal after being repeatedly lied to.
However, it was long before then when the foundations were laid.
Tony Jimenez revealed last year that he and Dennis Wise were actually working for Mike Ashley and Newcastle United long before being officially announced in January 2008 after Kevin Keegan was announced as replacing Sam Allardyce.
Jimenez stating that he and Wise were part of the interviewing process and met with Kevin Keegan before Ashley offered him the job.
To suggest Mike Ashley came with the ‘best intentions’ when only seven or eight months later he appointed Kevin Keegan and told him he had the final say on transfers in and out, whilst having already got Dennis Wise in position to have the final say on transfers instead – unbeknown to Kevin Keegan, tells me there were absolutely no ‘best intentions’ from very early on.
I do agree with Sir John Hall though when he says there is no chance of Newcastle winning anything, or even trying to in reality, until Mike Ashley has sold up.
However, for anybody to seriously believe that Ashley has genuinely been trying to sell the club takes some doing, considering he put it up for sale in 2008 and 11 years later he still owns Newcastle United.
If he has been trying then he hasn’t been trying very hard.
Sir John Hall speaking to The Daily Star:
“Mike Ashley came with the best intentions…I firmly believe that.
“He wanted to globalise Newcastle and to use the club to market his brand of goods in the Far East.
“But he fell out with supporters pretty quickly and for too many years now, it’s been a holding operation.
“The club is in limbo.
“Mike has had enough and for everyone’s sake, the sooner he moves on the better. That’s my fervent wish for 2019.
“But it’s imperative whoever he sells to has the finance to take this magnificent club forward.
“It’s not just about coughing up £300m, and from what I hear there is nothing yet on the table, but having the resources to change the whole club and buy players who can take us to where we should be.
“A lot has changed, fortunately in Rafa Benitez, we have got a world class manager and the fans are as passionate as ever.
“I’ll be celebrating if we manage to draw this one
“Back then [when Hall owned NUFC] the aim every season was to win the title, now it’s all about survival.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs, probably a few more downs in recent times.
“I have often tried to get my head around why it’s been so long [50 years without a trophy].
“In my day, maybe we tried too hard.
“Had we won the league under Kevin, I am convinced Newcastle’s history would be very different
“The harsh reality is that today, more than at any time since 1969, we are probably further away than ever from winning something.
“And there is no chance of doing so until there is change at the club.”