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Everything that is wrong at Newcastle United can be tracked back to Dennis Wise

3 years ago

It’s proving a bit hard to stay grounded at the minute.

I’m going to assume most people using The Mag will be tuned into the constantly updating cycle of internet news and will have spent recent weeks incessantly refreshing Twitter, googling the integrity of certain reporters and furiously researching the background of anyone connected with the Bin Zayed Group.

Some characters have lost the plot altogether and are scrutinising flight paths and inspecting the contents of skips outside St James’ in the hope of identifying some breakthrough in the suffocating silence being inflicted on our support these past few weeks.

The frustration is intensifying and creating some waves. At the weekend the collective fury of the population of NUFC fans on Twitter was directed at Pete Graves, the Sky Sports presenter, after he committed a heinous faux pas. For anyone unaware, Pete is a Newcastle fan and resident who regularly offers updates on events at the club when questioned by desperate Twitteratii. He is generally very popular and considered a valuable insider, but that reputation took a serious kicking when he posted a picture of himself with Dennis Wise, labelling the snivelling little twerp a “legend” and describing him as one of the best he’s ever seen. Alright, Paul Ince was in the photo as well, but his presence wasn’t enough to dilute the crime in question.

Pete was subsequently vilified for this, initiating a climb down that involves deleting the tweet and protesting that he was going to tell on the wrongdoers to Kevin Keegan. Now I think this is a classic example of social media going ballistic and from Pete’s perspective I can understand to an extent. As a national journalist, his agenda stretches further than Newcastle United, and it might be that he found Wise to be decent company. However, to post this picture at this time was at the very least shortsighted and at worst, thick as mince.

There are plenty of people out there who have done Newcastle a wrong un down the years. People have caused us damage in opposition shirts, some going as far as donning the shirt of the mackems and turning up here brass neckedly representing the forces of evil, shamefully trying hard and despicably celebrating when miscarriages of justice are perpetuated. In the long run though, they’re just blokes doing a job, and if you were to ever meet them over a pint, you would judge them on their own merits. Wise is different I’m afraid.

Everything that is wrong here, all the misery of the past 12 years, can be tracked back to Dennis Wise.

Ashley’s appallingly unprofessional ‘jobs for the boys’ decision to appoint him and allow him to operate over the head of proven alchemist Keegan is the sliding doors moment that saw the club implode. Fans and Ashley have been at odds ever since and the club has lumbered on in a dream-like state of zombification, stumbling in and out of the Championship until it totters to this massive, generation-defining crossroads.

Meanwhile, the stumpy little rat has poked his head up occasionally, bad mouthing the fans on TV and doing errands for Ashley in a career move that seems unusual for such a negotiating and management genius, thought he’d have been snapped up by now by some progressive, ambitious club.

I actually can’t stand his punchable little place and would respectfully request The Mag not to use that stock picture of his sneering little visage next to Ashley, that always seems to ruin my day whenever it comes out. Please instead just throw a picture up of Alan and Les celebrating against Man U, any pic of Philippe Albert, or that lass who ran on at the Champions League final.

This is why it felt so wrong of Pete Graves to glorify time spent with Dennis Wise. He is the personification of a club gone wrong. And now, right now, that wound is as raw as ever. Rafa has held things together for the past three years and his decision to stay/go is pivotal. It’s not just about the man either, as Rafa walking away means hope goes too, his departure a silent endorsement of the fact that Mike Ashley refuses to allow this club any inkling of ambition to move forward. The takeover chat has only intensified this of course, with potentially three outcomes for the future of the club:

1) BZG takes over, funds a better future. Ashley goes, Rafa most likely stays.

2) No takeover, but Rafa stays, lending likelihood that the squad will grow more competitive and the new season may be alright, perhaps.

3) Rafa goes, no takeover. It’s yet another strung out red herring and we’re stuck with Sports Direct FC. Hope leaves and shuts the door behind it.

I genuinely think that option 3 will be the final straw for many. Despite the recent years of unrest, infighting and semi-protestations amounting to not much, this will be too close to the edge. Option 1 has an element of the unknown, as it’s uncertain how rich they are, whether they want Rafa etc. It can surely only be the start of something better though and you can taste the desperation for it to happen.

Certain people in the NUFC Twitter world must have developed twitches they are so fervently strung out about these two pillars of uncertainty. Meanwhile rumour and non-stories float around the internet while a wall of defending silence is presented by the club’s latest show of disdain for its supporters.

The backlash for those who try is vicious. Any journalists advising caution over the takeover potential are pilloried as miserable old sods. Stories rounding up the thin pile of facts and assessing the more prominent rumours though, are dismissed as click bait and cast aside amid cries for new information (spoiler alert – there is none). Shot messengers everywhere.

I wonder if this is symptomatic of the pain of the last decade. We’ve all had such a kicking that pleading for freedom from it all comes off as lashing out at the nearest innocent bystander. Other clubs go through transition, but not like this, and not as definitive as the coming movements at SJP.

I recently saw someone do a Premier League predictor table for the coming season, which I pointed out was ridiculous before signings, manager changes etc. No one could be as ill-defined as Newcastle at the moment, as our destiny could be to challenge the top six, or spend the season anchored to the bottom, awaiting the euthanasia of The Championship and the long limbo that follows.

Something needs to happen.

Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf


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