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Opinion

Doubts as to Mike Ashley having Plan A never mind Newcastle United Plan B

4 weeks ago
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Mike Ashley planning ahead with Newcastle United.

I never believed it back in the day and I certainly don’t believe it now.

In years gone by we were often told about five years plans.

Mike Ashley and his people giving the media the story that what was happening at a particular moment in time, was actually part of a carefully constructed longer-term strategy.

The best example being when all the stars aligned and somehow Newcastle United finished fifth in the Premier League in 2011/12.

Mike Ashley and his minions wanting us to believe it was careful planning, rather than this being  a combination of…

Some players (Enriqoe, Jonas, Coloccini) who had remained due to Mike Ashley failing to find a buyer after the 2009 relegation.

Chris Hughton’s skilful management (before being sacked when Newcastle were mid-table), 

Graham Carr discovering contract clauses that allowed Cabaye and Ba to be signed on the cheap.

Luck.

So many games won by the odd goal, usually brilliant efforts by Cisse, Ba, Cabaye or Ben Arfa.

So the storyline put out after the fact, was that we were supposed to believe that the fifth place had happened due to direction flowing down from the very top.

A funny kind of five year plan though when it included relegation in 2008/09, 2009/10 in the Championship, sacking the manager in 2010/11, that fifth place in 2011/12, followed by only surviving potential relegation when winning the final away game of 2012/13 and having to desperately recruit five signings in January 2013 to fight off that possible relegation (again).

If you want to extend that onwards, the Mike Ashley era of careful planning  then included 18 months (January 2013 to summer 2014) without buying a single player in two windows.

Rather than careful long-term planning, it sounds more like chaos theory.

So when it comes to standing here in June 2019, where do we stand when it comes to Mike Ashley’s latest Plan A, Plan B….?

What we do now is that we have a Premier League club that is totally lacking when it comes to both boardroom level and a professional team running the non-football side of things.

Lee Charnley was like the proverbial civil servant finding himself promoted, seemingly only due to the fact he had been at the club in a junior position for a number of years, was cheap and would follow orders without question.

Quite shocking  that Lee Charnley is the only token board member (to satisfy legal requirements of having somebody named), whilst he is also the only visible executive when it comes to running the non-football side of things.

Reality is that Newcastle United don’t have a strategy guided by experienced football people, instead it is Mike Ashley and his Sports Direct retail inner circle, making it up as they go along.

That surely is the story of NUFC in recent years, no plan and Ashley attempting to crawl from Premier League season to PL season with as low a spend as possible.

There is no plan, short or long-term.

Rafa Benitez as never been allowed a budget since promotion, instead every signing  he has to go to Lee Charnley who has to then go to Mike Ashley for the ok.

If this takeover fades away, no way Rafa will be staying for more of this.

He will disappear, just like any pretence that Mike Ashley had even a Plan A.

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