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Opinion

Mike Ashley hasn’t made mistakes at Newcastle United

2 months ago
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I keep reading/hearing about how Mike Ashley has made mistake after mistake at Newcastle United.

People keep telling me that if only he hadn’t made this and that blunder, the club/team could have been successful.

Pundits saying that if only the NUFC owner realised where he was going wrong, he could avoid repeating the same old mistakes.

The thing is though, Mike Ashley hasn’t made any mistakes at Newcastle United.

He knows exactly what he is doing and has been doing it for pretty much all of these 12 (TWELVE) years he has owned Newcastle United.

I am seeing comments as we speak, Newcastle fans saying that ‘Even if Rafa Benitez is persuaded to stay and given a proper transfer budget and freedom to spend it, just watch that daft Lee Charnley mess the signings up, not manage to get them over the line’…etc etc.

The truth is, Lee Charnley is simply a fall guy for the owner.

Mike Ashley employs him as an office manager (on office manager wages compared to those who do run rival Premier League clubs) but exposes him to ridicule to deflect away from the owner.

Lee Charnley is the only named executive at NUFC, he is the only member of the Newcastle United board.

How much clearer can it be!

Any number of times when bad things have happened at the club, too countless to mention. We have then heard from Mike Ashley himself, or his minions planting media stories, saying that the owner has no real input on the running of the club or involvement in decision making. In other words, blame it on Lee Charnley!

I repeat, it is not a mistake that he employs Lee Charnley and claims he makes all the decisions, it is just a cynical ploy. As the widespread media reports have stated, it is one of Ashley’s inner circle, Justin Barnes, who the owner has given the authority to when it comes to NUFC.

What a mistake employing Joe Kinnear was…

Well no, Mike Ashley did it twice.

JFK was a terrible decision as manager but even worse as Director of Football, at least that is what Mike Ashley would have us believe.

In reality, Kinnear played a blinder…for the owner.

Ashley was panicked into buying players in January 2013 to avoid relegation, a problem directly related to him refusing  to allow investment build on the team that finished 5th the previous season.

With no intention of buying any players for the foreseeable future, Ashley then appointed Joe Kinnear on 18 June 2013 to coordinate and identify the buying of players…

No players were bought in the summer 2013 transfer window, not a single player bought in January 2014.

Joe Kinnear ‘resigned’ from his DOF post on 3 February 2014, a few days after that window had closed.

A Director of Football who didn’t sign a single player in the only two transfer windows he was in the job for.

What an incompetent…

I’m certainly no fan of JFK’s ‘talents’ but come on, surely nobody swallows this one.

Surely no sane person can believe that the reason Newcastle went 18 months without buying a singe player, was due to Kinnear’s incompetence?

It is blatantly obvious that just like Lee Charnley, his job was to stand there and take as much of the flak as possible away from Mike Ashley.

In that January window, Yohan Cabaye was sold for £20m as well, yet no replacement (or any other player for another position) bought in.

Once that January 2014 window closed, it was a case of job done and take Ashley’s pay-off/bonus.

It was no mistake either with Kevin Keegan.

Mike Ashley told Keegan that he would have the final say on transfers but all along he had Dennis Wise waiting to be announced as well, as soon as KK agreed to come back to the club. Ashley secretly making Wise the main man with power over transfers. It was no mistake by Mike Ashley when Kevin Keegan walked out, Ashley orchestrated it all himself, knowing full well that Keegan would never stand for being so blatantly undermined.

The appointment of John Carver was no mistake either from Mike Ashley. The owner saw the ultimate candidate for his management model, somebody promoted so far beyond his capabilities and past CV, the perfect stooge to just train and pick the team, with a minimal salary and no expectation whatsoever of having a say on transfers. Carver of course almost achieved the impossible in relegating the team from what looked a 100% safe position when Pardew did a runner, instead the team only staying up on the final day of the season. If they had finished even only a couple of places higher, I am sure that Mike Ashley would have given John Carver the job permanently.

They weren’t Mike Ashley mistakes either when he sacked Chris Hughton despite promotion and Premier League mid-table, or when discriminating against Jonas Gutierrez when he had cancer. These were conscious decisions by Ashley and his people.

Mike Ashley knows exactly what he is doing at Newcastle United.

Of course it makes no sense in terms of the team being successful on the pitch but then that isn’t what he is all about.

The club’s owner wants the club to crawl along from season to season, hoping to survive in the Premier League on as little money as possible. Always keeping money back for if/when he next relegates them, or as was the case this past season, taking £33m out of the club’s cash flow, rather than letting it be invested in the team.

It was no mistake when he took on Rafa Benitez as manager either. He knew the Spaniard had the skills to sort out the mess he (Ashley) had caused at the club, in terms of instant promotion back to Premier League revenues. However, it was also no mistake that once Rafa had turned the ship around and had them heading for promotion, Mike Ashley then refused to let him buy a single player in the January 2017 transfer window and has undermined him as well in the following four Premier League transfer windows.

It won’t be a mistake by Mike Ashley if Rafa Benitez walks away, it will because in his own head he will be happy for it to happen as he doesn’t see the disaster that we all see it would be. For Ashley it will just be a return to the stooge manager doing as he is told, not complaining about transfers and on minimum (for a PL manager) wage.

Same with Salomon Rondon, the NUFC owner sees it as common sense and not a mistake, in refusing to pay £16.5m for a 29 year old. Whereas the rest of us see £16.5m to seal a permanent deal for your best player as a massive bargain at today’s PL prices.

Maybe the best one is when Mike Ashley gets media, neutrals and many Newcastle fans believing that he made a mistake when he bought NUFC, as though it is something he has been regretting ever since.

The truth is quite the opposite, as Newcastle United had helped massively grow both his retail empire and personal wealth over the course of these past 12 years.

The only mistake that has been made is that of Newcastle fans, who understandably never realised until some way down the line, that this was most definitely the devil in disguise who had taken over their football club.

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