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Opinion

Mike Ashley has abdicated duty of Newcastle United to communicate with media and fans

7 months ago
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Has Mike Ashley definitely furloughed almost all Newcastle United staff (who aren’t players or senior coaching team)?

If so, why has he passed the responsibility to the government to financially take care of his staff?

Has Mike Ashley now followed Liverpool’s lead and reversed his decision to furlough most of his NUFC staff, if indeed he did do it in the first place?

Why has the NUFC owner not continued to pay casual matchday workers during this time of no games to help them out during this difficult period, as so many decent Premier League clubs have done?

Why has Mike Ashley taken full season ticket money in advance by direct debit from so many Newcastle fans (many of who will be struggling  badly financially during this crisis) for the 2020/21 season, despite nobody having a clue when that season will kick-off?

Why has Ashley continued to take monthly direct debits to pay for the 2020/21 season rather than wait until we know when that season will start, why not give those thousands of NUFC fans (many of who will be struggling badly financially during this crisis) a payment holiday period as responsible PL clubs have done?

The answer to all the above is that nobody knows.

Why does nobody know?

Well…because Mike Ashley sees himself as having no duty to communicate anything to media or fans during this time as national and international crisis. Nor will he allow pathetic minions such as Lee Charnley to communicate either, even though he is supposed to be Managing Director of Newcastle United.

Maybe the most shocking question of all, is why the media that regularly cover Newcastle United, let Mike Ashley get away with it?

Why aren’t they demanding answers from Ashley and Charnley?

If they are contacting the club/Lee Charnley/Mike Ashley and they are refusing to explain and justify all of the issues/questions above, then they should tell us AND call out Ashley and NUFC for this dereliction of duty to the fans, wider community and indeed all taxpayers who now appear to be having to fund the pay of most staff at Newcastle United.

So you will have Newcastle fans who had their full season ticket money taken from them on 25 March 2020 for next season and those same fans (like all taxpayers) are now funding the pay of the staff Ashley employs BUT they are not worthy of any explanation or justification of that from Newcastle United and the club’s owner?

The media only feed on scraps now that are tossed their way by Ashley’s club, so I just don’t understand why they are so terrified of upsetting Mike Ashley. Why refuse to speak out and condemn how he is acting when you get next to nothing off him anyway? Are you really so desperate to get access to hear that Nabil Bentaleb would love to stay at St James Park or that Andy Carroll should be fully fit by 2027?

At the start of the season, seven months ago, Mike Ashley via Lee Charnley, admitted (see below) that the club had failed to fulfil their obligation to communicate properly with Newcastle fans and that would definitely be changing this season.

A promise to ‘communicate clearly and proactively’…’to let fans know where we are heading collectively’…’We want to give you more of an insight into what happens across the club and you will therefore be hearing more from me’…

Not only have Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley failed to do any of the above, failed to answer or explain any key questions or decisions, failed to make any public statements on fan concerns and their actions, they have added a whole extra layer of contempt and disdain for the supporters.

Amongst the many staff that Mike Ashley has furloughed, are the entire media department.

These are the people who have kept the Newcastle fans in touch with players, doing interviews and features etc. As well as giving other updates and info on social media, interacting with fans.

However, that has also all gone now with the furloughing of so many staff, included in the lost interaction and distraction for supporters, are the popular retro games that were running ‘as live’ on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm. The 4-4 Arsenal game and 5-0 Man Utd one shown on the club’s official YouTube channel, with NUFC media staff doing a build up on social media, then during and after the matches doing updates and features, with media and fans interacting and getting into the spirit of it. All that now cut short totally since the staff now on leave and financed by the government.

Quite unbelievable, I haven’t seen any other club come close to such a closing down of all its operations, not communicating with media and fans regarding important decisions and issues, plus offering absolutely nothing now to help supporters get through these difficult days, weeks and months.

Scunthorpe United, 20th in League Two are keeping up a full (actually better!) service to their fans than normal.

Embarrassingly, Scunthorpe are doing far more for NUFC fans than Mike Ashley and Newcastle United are. On Saturday they ran ‘as live’ their 2-1 win over Newcastle in 2009, then today they had former NUFC player James Perch picking his top manager (not Alan Pardew!) and the best ever 11 players he played with, including seven from Newcastle and apologising for Jonas Gutierrez missing out.

The Mike Ashley circus has well and truly closed down until further notice and the clowns are nowhere to be seen or heard.

Lee Charnley – 11 August 2019:

“We want to communicate clearly and proactively, but it is important that we do so at the right time.

“I accept we need to do more from a communication perspective moving forward.

“There is certainly a need to communicate more as a club and to let fans know where we are heading collectively.

“That goes beyond the responsibility of just the head coach or manager in isolation; something we have relied on far too heavily in the past.

“We want to give you more of an insight into what happens across the club and you will therefore be hearing more from me, as you are today, and from our staff across the football club…”

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