The House of Ashley – A Modern Day Classic
From the opening gambit of his ‘book’ on Newcastle United back in 2007, Mike Ashley has carefully woven a thriller full of intrigue passion plot and subplot, carefully drawing the audience into an all encompassing tale in the classical mode.
From the hope and expectation of the early chapters with promises and appointments of established local heroes thrilling the crowds, with whom our topless beer swilling author hero mixed freely throughout the early pages…
Before plunging the reader mysteriously into a dark plot that overtook one of our greatest symbols of hope and saw him usurped by a strange and motley crew who wouldn’t have looked far out of place in Victorian Whitechapel.
Through the quirks of purchases made from viewing YouTube videos to the man who found names hard to recall, either accidentally or deliberately, the book took a potentially humorous twist of an even darker sort. Upper management came and went and the fans were led to a foggy place where the truth was somewhere out there but never believably explained or within grasp.
Major appointments were made, providing glimmers of hope. Yet bizarrely, the ones who were funded to succeed, never had the abilities to do so, while the capable ones were levered from position in mysterious manoeuvrings that only made sense if you had the mind of the author himself, or bought into the complete lack of ambition theory with maintaining the status quo being the lofty aim.
The most dramatic chapters saw the club plunged into relegation not once but twice, while sheer emotion rained down on the renaming of the stadium to a very modern sounding arena…surely a winner imagined the author.
Perhaps the hope that followed the promotions was the most intense and most absorbing emotion of all.
Particularly the latter, that saw Rafa Benitez begin to build solid foundations in the premiership with what was truly only a championship squad and starved of funds to do so. Rafa was beginning to take all of the limelight from the author himself and an immense jealousy for this popular figure ensued, leading to the plot that would be the darkest moment in recent years, where it was suggested heavily that Rafa left Newcastle because he was greedy…was that really in keeping with the man we all knew, or were such tales being dreamt up within our very own four walls of power.
The teasing chapters followed, where light would appear at the end of the tunnel, only to be quickly quashed and dismissed as tyre kickers and time wasters.
Amanda Staveley appeared to materialise mysteriously, then fade into the ether.
Fans began to drift, fearing the author’s own words that he may “Own the club forever”, free tickets given out to fill the gaps while most true fans had chosen to boycott the club leaving the self-serving to sit in their ritual silence and justification.
Suddenly the final chapters began to emerge in recent days like an unbelievably unachievable dawn, so wonderful that most chose to distance themselves from it, in case of being swallowed up and spat out yet again. It seemed finally the author had sickened of the book and finished it.
A classic novel though, would not be that without the twist coming through via a subplot at the end. What that may be we can just speculate.
Perhaps we have agreed SD stadium advertising rights for the coming years.
Perhaps he still owns merchandising rights.
Perhaps he has agreed to truly sponsor with the correct payments and benefits to keep his logos firmly in our sight.
Maybe even number nine bar is set to become quite simply “Ashley’s”…
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