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Opinion

A (nightmare) vision of the future as Mike Ashley marks 20 years ownership of Newcastle United

9 months ago
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To mark the 20th anniversary of Mike Ashley taking over Newcastle United, Lee Charnley has agreed to a wide-ranging interview with The Chronicle.

Lee began by saying that not only is it the 20th anniversary of Mike Ashley buying the club but he has also now been its Chief Executive for 13 years.

He said when he first got the job he was sure lots of people probably said ‘Lee who?’ but now everyone knew what he brought to the role.

He admitted that he may have made some mistakes in the past but now he felt he’d really got to grips with being the Chief Executive.

He said that one of the mistakes he’d made in the past was not communicating with the fans. He said he hoped to hold the first Fans Forum meeting in nine years (since 2018) in the near future but the problem was trying to find a group of fans who agreed with everything he said.

In the meantime he had some important and exciting announcements to make for the 2027/2028 season.

The club had managed to find a new shirt sponsor and were pleased to announce West End Loan Sharks would be sponsoring their shirt for the coming  season. Lee said that they are an exciting company with innovative and effective ways of making sure that their customers didn’t miss any of their repayments.

Echoing the words of Derek Llambias when he revealed that Wonga were going to sponsor Newcastle, Lee Charnley said this new deal would ensure ‘that Newcastle can regularly compete for honours at the highest possible level.’ Stating that he hoped the club could have a real go at the EFL Trophy.

The Chief Executive adding that the money that West End Loan Sharks were giving to the club would enable them to finally upgrade the training ground.

Unfortunately, the plans that had been drawn up in 2013 had been left in a drawer at The Fraser Group Arena for the last 14 years and had been eaten by mice, so they couldn’t be implemented. Instead the money they would get from WELS would pay for a new paddling pool for the players to cool down in and a couple of tins of paint. He also said the training centre would now be renamed the Joseph F Kinnear Centre in honour of a man who filled so many different roles for the club.

He also said the club were still hoping to bring in some new players before the end of the transfer window. Instead of just looking at cheap, foreign imports, loan players and free transfers, they were also going to look at players that were no longer attached to any club. He said this had resulted in the club signing Andy Carroll for a third time as the only club he was attached to was The House of Smith. He appreciated that Andy hadn’t played first class football for a while but he was sure that with a bit of extra training he would be ready to take his place in the first team by the beginning of next year.

Lee also said that they hoped to bring in some other players before the end of the transfer window but the fans had to be realistic as they couldn’t expect to compete with the likes of Brentford or Burnley.

Lee commented that they hoped to have a new manager in place before the start of the new season and the supporters would be surprised by who they had lined up. He refused to confirm or deny that the manager of the Mongolian National Premier League team, Goyoo, a certain Alan Pardew, was at the top of his shortlist.

He also said that next season he hoped the team would be playing in front of an almost full stadium and the club had thought of a new and exciting way of filling the ground. From now on anyone who spends more than £10 at any local Sports Direct or House of Fraser store will be offered a free ticket to a match at The Fraser Group Arena. He said that instead of playing ‘Local Hero’ before matches they would now play Fraser Group advertising jingles instead so that this new group of supporters would feel at home.

In further news about the ground he confirmed that the club was looking to sell the few remaining patches of ground outside The West Stand to developers. When asked if this wouldn’t mean that more iconic views of the ground would be lost forever, Lee replied that he didn’t know what all the fuss was about as Mike Ashley didn’t have any problems viewing the ground from his private helicopter as it flew back to London.

Finally, Lee confirmed that despite the club being first put on the market since 2009,now 18 years later they are no nearer to finding a buyer who would meet their valuation of the club and Mike Ashley expected to own Newcastle United ‘for the foreseeable future’.

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