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Mike Ashley – 13 Newcastle United matches that define his 13 years era owning the club

5 months ago
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After 13 years, the reign of Mike Ashley at Newcastle United is seemingly coming to an end.

Once again we could have hope again that Newcastle United can get back to being a football club.

Now I don’t mean winning trophies or challenging for the title… not that we were winning trophies anyway!

Importantly, we just want a team that we can be really proud of again, one that tries, and represents the city it is based in, in a satisfactory manner.

I thought I would take a look back at 13 games over the last 13 years that sum up the Ashley era.

The ones that made me lose hope, or the ones that left you walking away from the ground with a sick feeling in your stomach. I think a lot of these are individual to the person writing so would love of course to hear what others think.

16th May, 2009 – Newcastle 0-1 Fulham

Defeat in the p.ssing rain. A week before we were relegated at Aston Villa, I still think this is the game that put us down and said more about that season than the final day.

Playing in our new strip, we were garbage from start to finish. Our best player from that season, Bassong, was sent off, meaning he would miss the final game and as Diomansy Kamara scored for Fulham, you just kind of knew that that was that.

9th January, 2011 – Stevenage 3-1 Newcastle

A full Championship winning season behind us and things were starting to look up again. We had zoomed out of the Championship and made a good start to the season.

However, the sacking of Chris Hughton suggested that Ashley had not quite changed. Battered by a team in League 2, Pardew’s men were wimp. It was embarrassing and a sign of things to come.

5th January 2013 – Brighton 2-0 Newcastle

Thousands of fans made the long trip to the south coast for the second season running in the FA Cup. only for Pardew to put out a sub-par team and effectively throw the cup for another season.

Shola Ameobi was sent off, in what was one of the worst NUFC performances that I have ever seen. This was pretty much a month after we had made the long trip to the south of France only for Pardew to put out a similarly rubbish team (losing 2-0 to Bordeaux), and throw the game… and effectively throw our cash down the drain.

14th April, 2013 – Newcastle 0-3 Sunderland

The first of many defeats to Sunderland. We were horrific from start to finish and it ended with Di Canio sliding on his knees in front of the main stand.

We should have known then but I think if any game on this list signifies how far we had *not* come under Mike Ashley, then this was it.

27th April, 2013 – Newcastle 0-6 Liverpool

Only a couple of weeks later, you would be expecting any side after the defeat to Sunderland to come up with some sort of reaction. We got the total opposite as a very very average Liverpool side destroyed us.

A year previously we had battered them at SJP. The start of NUFC staring truly into the abyss under Mike Ashley.

1st February, 2014 – Newcastle 0-3 Sunderland

It couldn’t happen again could it?

With goals from Johnson and Colback, this game showed any doubters that there were real real problems with Alan Pardew and his side. A week after losing Cabaye to PSG (and not replacing him).

A certain Luuk de Jong made a sub appearance… needless to say he didn’t do anything.

21st December, 2014 – Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland

The third and final Sunderland game on this list. A last minute winner from Adam Johnson pretty much sealed Pardew’s fate (although he did leave on his own accord).

Just where the f… do we go from here? With Jak Alnwick in goal and Sammy Ameobi starting the game, this was a side in dire dire straits.

Our only option from the bench was an 18 year old Adam Armstrong. It couldn’t get much worse than this I thought at the time.

May 2nd, 2015 – Leicester 3-0 Newcastle

Having been knocked out of the cup away to Leicester earlier in the season, in one of the worst performances I have ever seen, it got even worse in the league as we stared at another relegation.

Janmaat and Williamson sent off. John Carver had truly lost the plot and not one Newcastle player dared even come close to the fans at the end of the game.

We would of course stay up on the final day.

28th November, 2015 – Crystal Palace 5-1 Newcastle

I didn’t think Steve McClaren had made a bad start at NUFC up until this point but boy did this defeat set the alarm bells ringing.

Beaten by any Alan Pardew team is bad enough but 5-1 at Crystal Palace…

It is amazing that McClaren would last for another four months after this.

2nd April, 2016 – Norwich City 3-2 Newcastle

For me, if there is any game of the Mike Ashley era where I came away from a game feeling sick, deflated and like I never wanted to watch football again, then this was it.

Benitez had come in and we had some hope. We were playing well and Mitrovic had scored two. Then a last minute Norwich goal pretty much made relegation inevitable (and at that moment, keeping Rafa was no realistic option).

What could have been if that Olsson strike had gone the other side of the post…

17th April, 2017 – Ipswich 3-1 Newcastle

Many people may forget this but there was a point in Rafa’s Championship season where NUFC were all over the place. I mean they were atrocious. This day was a fine example.

No signings in January, seemingly discontent from Rafa, we were ambling towards the finish line.

It looked like we would throw it all away after this game. I can’t remember many games in which an away end had been more dismayed by an NUFC performance.

29th November, 2016 – Hull City 1-1 Newcastle (AET  and penalties)

Just like the Norwich game previously mentioned, this was less about the performance and more to do with the gut-wrenching heartache of defeat.

We were so close to the cup semi-final and we really should have beat Hull on the evening. One of those nights where you come away and think ‘I’m really never going to see Newcastle win anything’.

17th August, 2019 – Norwich 3-1 Newcastle

This season has turned out not to be a complete disaster with Bruce ushering Newcastle away from the drop zone, albeit with a horrific brand of football and a lot of luck.

At the start of the season, the pressure was on and it looked like being a long hard year after Norwich picked us apart at Carrow Road. The writing was on the wall…

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

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