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Opinion

The relentless Sky Sports pro-Mike Ashley PR coverage gets ever worse

1 month ago
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Sky Sports are continuing to do a great job on covering Newcastle United this summer.

For Mike Ashley that is.

The most disastrous self-inflicted summer the club has had in living memory.

Yet Sky Sports find angle after angle to prop up Ashley.

Yes, they have also had fans and ex-Newcastle players interviewed and would claim this is ‘balanced’ coverage.

However, it is clearly not, they have been gratuitous with some of the things they have came out with.

Last weekend we saw the predictable rolling out of John Carver and Shola Ameobi to push the pro-Mike Ashley line, Carver stating:

“He (Steve Bruce) has got a lot of people’s support in the North East.  Loves the football club…but not just that, he has got a good record in the Premier League.”

On Wednesday we saw reporter Tim Thornton of Sky Sports standing outside St James Park and doing a piece to camera:

“The one thing that Steve Bruce will have in his favour is that he’s a local boy, he understands the people up here.

Bruce has had so much success throughout his career.

“He is vastly experienced and if anybody can come in here and unite the fans and the club, it is probably Steve Bruce.”

Also this midweek, an article appeared on the Sky Sports website (with no journalist’s name attached) and all the short article was about, was saying that Sky Sports understood that Sean Longstaff was very ‘excited’ about the chance to work with Steve Bruce. There were no quotes at all from anybody, including Sean Longstaff.

Obviously whenever he will be asked about the new Head Coach, Longstaff will do the same as all the players do in these situations and say all the right things.

However, this was clearly just a gratuitous favour from Sky Sports for Mike Ashley, building up this underwhelming choice of Rafa’s replacement. Why would Sean Longstaff be especially ‘excited’ to work with Steve Bruce, you can believe it if it was somebody appointed who was a Champions League winning, double La Liga winning, double Europa League winning world renowned boss but no disrespect, not when it is a run of the mill manager/head coach who has won nothing. Are we supposed to believe that as a kid Sean Longstaff was running around with a Wigan/Palace/Birmingham shirt so bewitched by the Bruce style of football, rather than Real Madrid or Barcelona or his hometown club?

It is also Sky Sports who are relentlessly pushing the supposed Man Utd desperate to sign Longstaff story. We are supposed to believe a storyline of Mike Ashley determined to hang onto the best young talent etc etc and fighting Man Utd interest off, yet there has been no bid…

Man Utd have already paid £15m for Daniel James who has never set foot in the Premier League and £50m for Wan-Bissaka who is the same age as Sean Longstaff. They have also bid £80m for Harry Maguire, if they were really interested in seriously trying to sign the midfielder, they would have made a formal offer. Newcastle are in an absolute mess with zero ambition, make no mistake, if they were desperate to sign Longstaff this summer we’d have seen a bid.

Then Friday morning has seen Salomon Rondon sign for Rafa Benitez and Dalian Yifang.

Pete Graves of Sky Sports after that Salomon Rondon move to Dalian Yifang was confirmed today:

“Salomon Rondon’s wage demands almost scuppered his move to China.

“None of the English teams were prepared to go anywhere near what he was asking for.

“Fair play though, its his last contract and he’ll be exceedingly well paid.

“Enjoyed watching him at #NUFC.”

Salomon Rondon on big wages in China, what a surprise…

If Rafa Benitez had stayed at Newcastle, he would have accepted lower wages than what he could get in China. Likewise, Salomon Rondon would have signed for Newcastle if the club had ambition and Rafa hadn’t been forced out and would also accepted lower wages than he will be getting in China.

It is the line though which says ‘Salomon Rondon’s wage demands almost scuppered his move to China’, the insinuation that Rondon’s greed was so over the top that it was ridiculous even by Chinese Super League standards. The further insinuation of course being, that there was never any chance of Rondon ever signing for Newcastle because of his greed, rather than Mike Ashley refusing to back Rafa.

There has been absolutely nothing I have previously seen put forward suggesting Rondon’s wage demands would be a problem in moving to Dalian Yifang.

Salomon Rondon ended the Premier League season and went straight into international duty, preparing for and then playing in the Copa America.

He then exited the competition exactly three weeks ago and was always going to have a few weeks belated rest and recuperation.

A few days after the striker exited the Copa America, Rafa Benitez was announced as Dalian Yifang manager and it was reported straight away that he would be signing Rondon.

No doubts at all have been expressed since that point and sure enough this past week saw the Chinese club meet the release clause, the medical go through and personal terms agreed without any reported hitch.

Miguel Almiron got knocked out of the Copa America at exactly the same stage as Rondon and he hasn’t even met up with the Newcastle squad so far, so Rondon’s signing is actually probably a bit ahead of when you would have expected it, rather than being delayed due to demands of excessive wages.

Sky Sports aren’t the only culprits of course but they are the most powerful and their long running sympathetic stance towards Mike Ashley is not a new thing.

For Newcastle fans, dealing with Ashley is difficult enough without sections of the media so brazenly having his back.

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