A few years ago I wrote in defence of Mike Ashley, stating that he had saved the club…
With the awfully sad departure of Rafa, the impending appointment of Steve Bruce and the fading probability of a takeover, now is the time to take stock of what it is to be a Newcastle fan and that is a depressing position to be in.
I have seen worse teams, the likes of Scott Sloan in an oddly disjointed team and strip hasn’t vanished, seeing Newcastle rock bottom of the Second Division in 1992 still resides in my memory and driving with my youngest brother to Leicester on 2nd of May 1992 knowing that we could be driving home a 3rd tier club, will always be part of my Newcastle journey.
Maybe it’s the nostalgia of my youth, but there was somehow still some hope then, the young team of local lads that Ardiles assembled belonged to us, the return of Keegan inspired hope and ultimately took us to within an inch of the holy grail. Now it seems that there is no hope, no plan, no purpose and seemingly no point.
A few years ago I wrote in defence of Mike Ashley, stating that he had saved the club financially and we had acquired a decent enough team. That was true, but any goodwill or support that he had from me is long since gone and while I try to keep a sense of proportion, there is a real sense of hatred towards him as a human being.
He bought a club in haste and soon regretted it; clearly understanding that he knew nothing about the sport and that he had no hope of repeating his success in business. I don’t mind that, if he isn’t cash rich and can’t compete with Man City that’s fine, we don’t demand that.
What irks us as a collective is that clubs like Watford and Bournemouth who are poorer financially than us, somehow regularly splash the cash on players while we scramble around for loan deals and bargain basement strikers like Joselu.
Where has the money gone is a valid question because something doesn’t really appear to add up; sure attendances don’t matter that much, but they do still bring in revenue alongside the riches of TV income. We used to make lots from merchandise, yet somehow under a Retail Genius this income stream seems to have fallen???
What is galling is that we had a manager who was able to work within these constraints and even make a profit in transfers, a manager who united the players on the pitch and the fans in the stands even when the style of football was to be honest, a little dull.
Yet despite this unexpected slice of luck, Mr Ashley felt that he still knew better, that his way was correct, that players aged 29 or over should never be signed (has he seen Ronaldo in the last few years???). A man that knows nothing about football and cares nothing for the club that he owns, felt that he had a better plan than the best manager that we have arguably ever had. And so Rafa finally had enough of this and toddled off to China, ironically without any ill-will from us Newcastle fans.
In the vacuum that has been left, we faced the need to acquire a manager to join this mess. That pool is limited. With the prospect of a takeover and influx of cash, the type of manager who would join us was probably significantly better than it now is; let’s face it, if you look into your soul, even as a Newcastle fan would you join us as manager?
Assuming we get a manager, and such is my current despair that I am doubting that will happen, then we need to significantly invest in the playing squad.
Last season’s leading scorers have both departed, not that one of them was really ours anyway, leaving our attacking options as Gayle and Joselu, a combination that strikes fear only in the Newcastle support, rather than opposition defences. The rest of the squad performed magnificently, but you have to fear that it was down to having a genius coach more than anything else, and none of the names mentioned in connection with us fit that bill.
So only days before we kick off in China, things are bleak, things are very bleak. I haven’t made my mind up on whether to cancel the direct debit, boycott a match, boycott them all, or just grin and bear it.
Previously we might have said it’s never dull as a Newcastle fan, but right now it absolutely is and the worst thing of all, is that I am now simply depressed and resigned more than angry and that is the work of our Dear Leader.
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