When The (Mike Ashley) Boat Comes In
Mike Ashley likes a gamble but claims he doesn’t have the stake money to compete at the top table.
Whilst that may be true, it’s not just finances where he falls short, it’s ideas.
In 2012, the newly appointed Man City Chief Executive Ferran Soriano spoke to his staff for the first time and told them they would have to do things differently.
“If you sail competitively, then you know that when you are first, all you have to do is watch what the second boat does. If you do the same, and you are sharing the same wind, you will win.”
City were not the first boat, they weren’t even the second, perhaps third or fourth.
“So we had to do things differently, and hope the first boat don’t notice us. We had to take risks, take a different route, try to innovate. Being the second boat means trial and error. We must hope that whoever is ahead isn’t paying attention or doesn’t think our ideas are good, even if they are. But of all the things we have done differently, the creation of the City Football Group with the sister clubs was our strongest idea. That one had most power; but also most risk.”
I wonder where our Geordie Armada is in this boat race?
Yes Man City have money, and the real big boys are looking to sink them with FFP rules, but they also have creative thinkers, a plan, an idea.
A feeder club called ‘City’ on every continent, playing in blue, creating a fan base, developing playing and management talent around the globe, creating a legacy.
So what could Ashley do a little differently?
Nothing I’ve seen could convince me that he is a man with long-term insight or vision, he’s just a poster boy for monetary gain, but maybe in Rafa Benitez he has an asset he could use better? Maybe the owner needs to step away from the table and allow the manager to play his hand?
We certainly know Benitez understands that part of his job is to connect with the fan base, we know he can create an atmosphere of togetherness with the team, we know he wants to manage for ten more years, we know he wants to leave a legacy, but above all, we know he wants a challenge.
So here’s my challenge to Ashley….
…hand Rafa the keys, don’t put another penny in, and go and sit in the sun for ten years.
Let him run the show HONESTLY with the Premier League money and gate receipts the club generates, let him create a legacy, an academy, appoint staff from top to bottom that he believes in, let him surround himself with what he needs, utilising every ounce of his experience, fully implementing his ideas on how a club should be run.
He doesn’t need Man City’s money, he just need’s Newcastle United’s money.
It may be the best route we have to steer us towards a robust club we can be proud of and maybe we might get close to a little success on the voyage.
A lot of us dream to have a business that runs itself whilst we put our feet up, that we can eventually sell on for a mint, letting go for a short while could be the best thing the owner could ever do.
The club is a far more attractive proposition for would be buyers with Rafa at the helm…and Ashley back on the beach.
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