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Opinion

We have to stop letting Mike Ashley get away with this at Newcastle United

2 weeks ago
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It is Groundhog Day at Newcastle United.

We are now entering December, the festive period, and at roughly this time every year, we see the same newspaper articles, with the Chronicle being the main protagonists, doing the rounds on a possible Newcastle United takeover.

These are embarrassingly poor articles on ‘Peter Kenyon’s one-year anniversary’ (yes really!), how ‘the Mexicans’ are now interested in buying Newcastle United, or my personal favourite in which a dentist originally from Newcastle, who now lives in Dubai, provides inside knowledge on an NUFC takeover because he just so happens to live in the country where the rumoured buyers originate. You have heard this all before and I expect it to be no different come Christmas 2020.

Yet, this isn’t the Groundhog Day I refer to. There is a bigger picture at play here.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie Groundhog Day, first, get down to your nearest blockbuster and pick up a copy! In short, Bill Murray plays a weatherman who is covering the yearly emergence of a groundhog from its hole, only to be caught in a snowstorm and an eventual time loop where he relives the same day again and again.

Have we seen something like this before at Newcastle United? We certainly have!

Where is the outrage? There is none. Like Lee Ryder slipping Steve Bruce some leading questions, I am aware I am answering my own here but bear with me.

This is the problem you see. This is the ‘groundhog’. That is, every year Newcastle Untied reach this stage, and not just in terms of takeover rumours, but in terms of problems on the pitch, problems in terms of investment, recruitment, communication etc. and it is viewed in the microcosm of that specific moment. Journalists, and most fans alike, are incapable of seeing, or even thinking, about the bigger picture. They are only interested in the here and now.

The small picture, as it has been for the past few seasons come December time, is this:

Newcastle sit above the relegation zone, they are doing ok, a few great results and a few terrible results.

There are areas of the squad that can obviously be improved. The style of football is terrible, but the manager can’t do anything about that because his hands are tied by the club’s recruitment policy.

Yes, the owner is terrible, but given the right price (350 million) he is willing to sell the club and we are informed that there are willing buyers out there who are ‘looking at the books’… There are a few bright players in the squad, January is on the way and the owner has assured fans that despite the club being for sale, he is willing to invest in the squad again. For the moment, the club’s Premier League safety is paramount to achieving any future ambitions.

Where is the outrage? Well there is none because year after year, that is how journalists and some fans continue to view Newcastle United. In the small microcosm of the specific moment we are in. It is a reaction to individual events rather than a proactive campaign to change a sequence of events. Much like the board that they claim they ‘criticise’ or ‘hold to account’, they are incapable of viewing the bigger picture.

On the other hand, if you look at the bigger picture you will see that this is a club who have gone from being continually amongst the top 20 clubs in Europe (from about 1995-2008), to one that survives to promote a national sports shop ran by its owner.

A club that refuses to invest, and instead strips away its own assets. A club that does not communicate with its fans. A club that lies to and disrespects its own heroes. A club that has been proven in court to have misled its own fans and the media. A club that was proven in court to have discriminated against one of its players because he had cancer. A club that does not try and does not want to win every single football match it takes part in.

So where is the outrage? Once again, there doesn’t seem to be.

There were even a few comments after the Aston Villa game that the defeat was a ‘typical overreaction’ from Newcastle fans.

Well, I would argue the opposite. Instead, I think that every defeat is not met with enough of a negative reaction. In fact, every single ‘event’ that takes place at the club is not met with enough anger and venom.

Stop letting Mike Ashley get away with it.

Incredibly, the Chronicle are running articles this week asking if Miguel Almiron should be dropped. HA! Talk about not seeing the bigger picture here. Jesus Christ.

I can’t even find the last negative article written about the club in the Chronicle. There was an article on Benitez’ chat with Mike Ashley, however, as per usual it was a rehash of quotes rather than any sort of opinion related piece on Mike Ashley’s disastrous running of Newcastle United.

Incredibly, they have the cheek to put out a ‘5 things we learned’ article post Aston Villa, when it is obvious that over the course of 12 years, they have learned fu.. all!

This comes as no surprise considering that the football editor Mark Douglas suggested that some Newcastle fans needed to “educate” themselves when it comes to the way the Chronicle covering NUFC.

Now it might just be me…but what a condescending way that is to talk to/about fans of Newcastle United. I can’t seem to get my ahead around a non-Newcastle United supporter telling actual Newcastle United supporters to educate themselves on the opinion of their football club.

A little bit of context to this was that the Newcastle fan in question argued that the Chronicle aren’t doing enough to put pressure on Mike Ashley. To which Mark Douglas replied with a link to 15 headlines since 2009 that provide otherwise.

Only 15 headlines! Since 2009! And I believe only three of those were since 2014! Three! Astonishing.

It is astonishing that they really think that 15 headlines is doing enough. If the truth be told, it’s been 10+ years of Mike Ashley now, which is roughly 520+ weeks. The fact that there is not a minimum of 520 headlines to show in that link suggests that they really don’t care and really are not doing enough.

If local journalists put as much effort in defending Newcastle United and their fans from Mike Ashley, then they do defending themselves from the opinions of Newcastle fans, then we may be slightly further forward in this disastrous situation we find ourselves in.

So why is nobody doing anything about it? I have no idea.

Where is the outrage? It is a question I keep coming back to, time and time again. Why is nobody angry?

I’m sorry, I just don’t understand.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

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