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Ian Holloway tells Mike Ashley that Newcastle United belongs to ‘The Community’ and not him

2 weeks ago
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Ian Holloway has been discussing the goings on at Newcastle United.

One thing for sure, no matter what happens in the actual matches, there is always plenty to talk about off it.

For somebody like Ian Holloway, this quite chaotic and mad summer is a gift, so much to discuss.

On Mike Ashley, the former QPR manager declares: ‘He must have something about him as he’s a fantastic business man. He’s here there and everywhere. He’s self-made but I don’t see it as Newcastle belonging to him, they belong to the community. Unfortunately he’s the custodian of it…’

You are never going to get former managers slagging off current managers, or very rarely anyway, and Ian Holloway acknowledges it is a arad act to follow but backs Steve Bruce: ‘I’m very pleased for a very good man. You’re never going to replace Rafa because Rafa was a bit special.’

No matter what is said when an appointment is made, it is results in the long-term that will dictate what fans and others think, Ian Holoway on that point: ‘Hopefully Steve’s appointment will go swimmingly well and all those Geordies will be dancing up to the ground.’

Not sure how many will be dancing up to St James Park on Sunday, or indeed how many will be dancing after the final whistle – but this is the point where the real pressure kicks in, both for Bruce and the squad, especially the new signings.

Ian Holloway has been talking to thesackrace.com about Newcastle United, Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez, Steve Bruce and the Newcastle fans

On Steve Bruce as a manager:

“The fact is that he’s such a wonderful fella and I know a lot of supporters probably won’t feel that because he got a bit of stick at Sunderland. In the end Villa gave him a bit of stick even though he got them into the Play-Off final.

“They lost, but it wasn’t his fault and he’s got promoted four times, he’s a record holder in that regard and he’s an ex-Manchester United captain who worked under Sir Alex Ferguson, so he can’t be a bad choice can he?”

On whether Newcastle fans will warm to Bruce due to Sunderland connection

“Listen he’s so experienced I don’t think any of it matters. What he needs to do is get his personality imprinted on what he would see as his club.

“With him coming from Newcastle, it’s a very special bond. You’ve got to go where the work is, you’ve got to do what you can and you’re always going to believe you’re going to win and you’re going to do well.

“The fact of the matter is he’s so experienced and he knows how to manage upwards. So obviously the fans have lost Rafael Benitez, who they loved, I thought Rafa did a spectacular job.

“I’ve always said to myself, ‘What would one of these great managers do on a smaller budget in the Championship’, and he proved it, he got them promoted back to the Premier League.

“He did it for the fans under difficult circumstances as Mike Ashley is not popular in Newcastle. So, if there’s anyone who can bring it back for them, if they’re patient with him, then I think it’s Steve.

“Who’s really going to want to take over that role after losing Perez and losing Rondon? I’ve been thoroughly impressed with what Steve has said so far, and he will not be a puppet and he won’t be pushed around.

“He knows what he’s doing and hopefully he will rub off on Mike Ashley a bit, because really Newcastle with their support base should be, and are, a massive football club. So hopefully they can start moving up the table.”

On what he thinks Bruce and Newcastle’s expectations for next season:

“When you had a minus six goal difference last year, you finished 13th, you scored 42 goals and let in 48 and you’ve lost the two players who scored a large percentage of those goals, then you hope that Joelinton pays off immediately.

“Normally when a player moves from abroad, they take a bit of time to settle in. If he can get a couple of goals and Newcastle fans can grow to love him, then you don’t know what can happen.

“Almiron who they signed last season, he could come to the forefront. He’s got a bit of pace about him and Steve always gets the best out of people.

“I’m very pleased for a very good man. You’re never going to replace Rafa because Rafa was a bit special.”

championship form table

On Mike Ashley:

“He must have something about him as he’s a fantastic business man.

“He’s here there and everywhere. He’s self-made but I don’t see it as Newcastle belonging to him, they belong to the community.

“Unfortunately he’s the custodian of it and he has to make sure that somewhere along the line that the club keeps growing.

“All I can see is the fans don’t think he’s spent enough money and they don’t think he’s doing what they want.

“Hopefully Steve’s appointment will go swimmingly well and all those Geordies will be dancing up to the ground.”

To read Ian Holloway’s full column go to thesackrace.com

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