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Top man from The Times welcomes ‘liberation’ of Newcastle United from Mike Ashley’s occupation

5 months ago
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Henry Winter is arguably the best football writer around.

Whilst he isn’t a paid up member of the Newcastle United fanbase, he does have a lot of affection for the club, the supporters and the region.

Chief Football Writer at The Times, Henry Winter has regularly over the years called out Mike Ashley for his running of the club and taken the side of the fans.

Winter repeatedly saying (see below) that Ashley has to sell Newcastle United.

Now of course we do indeed to be on the brink, with the Saudi PIF financed bid set to remove Mike Ashley from our lives.

Appearing on the Sky Sports Sunday Supplement, Henry Winter has yet again spoke really well, saying that for Newcastle fans this is ‘a liberation after the occupation by Mike Ashley of their great club after 13 years.’

Henry Winter speaking on Sky Sports – Sunday 26 April 2020:

“The bigger issue for the Premier League will be broadcast rights, not human rights.

“There are two narratives at play here – first, the desire by Newcastle fans, effectively, to have a liberation after the occupation by Mike Ashley of their great club after 13 years. It’s been a cold, sterile experience, even as an outsider, to go up there. You could see how much they were hating the joylessness.

Newcastle fans are not stupid; they’re not expecting to win the league or the Champions League but they want a chance; they want some hope that they can see pride in the shirt, see attacking football, see the likes of another David Ginola or Alan Shearer. They’ve got some decent players but it’s a very under-resourced squad.

“I’ve read a lot of pieces and seen things on social media about Newcastle fans and the desire to get rid of Ashley but go to Newcastle, spend time with the fans, experience what’s happened in Newcastle during this 13-year ‘occupation’ and you’ll understand why the fans are so keen to move Mike Ashley out.

“The next issue is whether the Saudis are the right owners for the club. You might have one or two politicians piping up but I don’t think the Government are going to get involved. There are serious human rights concerns and I think if the takeover does go through, there will be demonstrations outside the ground but if anything is going to derail this bid – and I do think it will go through – it will be the issue of broadcast rights.

“The Newcastle fans are in the middle of this. I’m backing them on this. I think this is a huge moment for them but I think we need to urge some caution that, when the takeover does go through, the focus on human rights in Saudi Arabia will become even more intense and Newcastle United fans and the club have to be aware of that.”

Henry Winter writing in The Times – 13 April 2019 (after Newcastle had won 1-0 at Leicester):

‘Newcastle’s owner, Mike Ashley, either has to sell up or become a proper owner, somebody who invests properly, and gives Benítez the assurances he needs for the future, sorting out the training ground, and also making permanent Salomón Rondón’s loan deal from West Bromwich Albion.

With more time under Benítez’s tutelage and work on the training ground, the instinctive understanding and complementary gifts of Rondón, Pérez and Miguel Almirón could prove a formidable attacking trident.

Ashley should be pleading with Benítez to sign a new deal, give him more funds to strengthen the team and then push on next season.

Newcastle should be challenging for seventh, as Leicester City were.

Ashley’s handling of what should be a straightforward situation — back the manager, respect the fans and reap the dividends — is so strange…

The huge potential of the club was again confirmed by their magnificent 3,000 following outsinging opposing fans who outnumbered them 10-1.’

Henry Winter speaking to BBC Radio Five Live – 5 February 2018:

“Newcastle United’s most important asset, along with Rafa Benitez, their most important asset is their fan base…this incredible support.

“It has been said a million times, it doesn’t need to be re-emphasised – they are fantastic.

“Without them, the club is nothing.

“The club is just 11 guys on the pitch, it is just bricks and mortar, and a slightly lack of soul in the boardroom – everyone can see that.

“What makes Newcastle tick, as with most clubs, but particularly with Newcastle because of the way it dominates the city, emotionally and geographically – that stadium – the fans are absolutely key.

“Ashley, sitting in London, has got to listen to these people.

“He has got to sell up, he has got to move out.

“I can’t believe that he sleeps particularly easily at night know he is getting vilified, quite rightly, by sane people.“He has to sell up, he has to move on.”

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