When Mike Ashley blew his chance
With every passing hour, we are hopefully another hour closer to the end of Mike Ashley as Newcastle United owner.
Over 13 years we have seen two relegations, with 10 managers appointed.
Undermining Kevin Keegan, pinning the hopes of Tyneside on Alan Shearer, the JFK saga (manager AND director of football), all the way through to bringing in Rafa Benitez, then bidding him farewell and replacing him with the underwhelming Steve Bruce, it hasn’t been a happy time for the Sports Direct retail supremo in the North East.
Mike Ashley was loved when he first arrived at St James Park, he got rid of the unpopular Sam Allardyce and brought back Kevin Keegan, he would be found in with the travelling toon army at away games, donning the shirt and really painted himself as one of us.
It very quickly turned sour though, he appointed Dennis Wise as Director of football and undermined Keegan, King Kev left and the fans wasted no time in making sure Mike Ashley knew he was no longer wanted at St James Park.
Although it hasn’t been all bad for Ashley, in 2011/2012 NUFC were going along well, Alan Pardew was in charge and Newcastle were in the hunt for a top four finish, that’s right, under Mike Ashley’s ownership Newcastle United were pushing for top four. With the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba, Ben Arfa and January signing Pappis Cisse, the black and whites were enjoying a strong campaign, victories over Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sunderland and Everton to name but a few.
Newcastle ended the season finishing fifth…get the passport out, we were back in a European football competition, things could only get better from here, right?
At a normal club, you’d like to think they’d reach for the stars and make an attempt to build on what most fans and media alike claimed was a successful season however, this has been anything but a normal club under Mike Ashley and the NUFC hierarchy decided otherwise.
Instead, the Magpies only made one signing that summer, in came Vurnon Anita for a reported fee of £6.7 million (funded by the sale of a number of squad players), a versatile defender/midfielder from the Dutch League, this was it.
Qualified for Europe and spent a measly fee on a squad player, Anita struggled with the pace of the Premier League and never really made an impact, he was labelled by many as too small and too weak.
This was extremely frustrating for supporters, here we were back in European competition, could we push even further, a little bit of investment in the team would have possibly taken us to the next level, instead the season that followed was a battle with relegation and some disastrous performances.
The decision not to allow any net investment in the team/squad was a clear lack of ambition that shone through.
This has been evident throughout the current regime, we as supporters have never demanded success, contrary to what the media make out, what we hope for and would like to see, is a team that gives its all on the pitch each week and an owner that attempts to take the club forward.
In summer 2012 that was the chance to do so and they/he failed – the club failed, the management failed, Mike Ashley failed,
Mike Ashley blew his chance.
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