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Opinion

Mike Ashley has influenced my devotion to Newcastle United more than the virus

4 months ago
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The Newcastle United takeover, football suspended, football now returning, Mike Ashley actions (and inactions), dealing with the virus situation in general, playing matches behind closed doors.

All subjects that as a Newcastle United fan you have had to deal with in recent months.

Ahead of the Magpies returning to competitive action, we have asked some regular and irregular contributors to The Mag, to answer some varying sets of questions relating to themselves and NUFC.

Next up now is GToon.

Has the virus situation made you think that football / NUFC is more or less important as a distraction/ hobby in your life?

People’s lives are more important than any kind of game.

Unfortunately, Mike Ashley has influenced my devotion to Newcastle United more than the virus.

If you could press a magic button, would you choose to have pubs open as normal, or fans able to go to football matches as normal?

Easy one there. I don’t drink!

With hindsight, do you think Premier League football was suspended at the correct time in mid-March, or should it have happened earlier, or maybe you think later…?

I think at the time there was a lot of demand for emergency services so I think it was the right thing to do. I was amazed at how quickly the virus spread, so yes it was the right thing at the right time.

Being a Newcastle United fan, has that been a help or a hindrance in coping with these virus impacted times?

It’s been nice to chat with other fans on The Mag and I think the takeover has kept my mind busy for the last few weeks.

Is it the right decision to complete the 2019/20 season?

I can’t stand Liverpool so I’d love to see them fail to win it but I think it’s right that the league should be completed. There is too much riding on promotion and relegation for it not to be concluded.

Is football without fans pointless, or is it just not as good?

It’s not as good without fans. I think there could be some unusual results over the next few weeks too, without crowds. Crowds do influence the ref and the flow of the game so I expect a few upsets, especially with the big clubs who might have the odd penalty awarded against them now.

Do you think at least a small percentage of fans should have been allowed into games when the Premier League resumes?

I think that would be hard to do. It’s the getting in and out of the ground that is hard to do whilst maintaining social distancing.

What observations do you have about the media coverage of the potential takeover?

I’ve made quite a few comments on this. I think it’s absolutely disgraceful.

The hypocrisy of some papers like the supposedly “independent” beggars belief. I’m yet to see an article that describes what the investment could mean to the region, never mind the club. It’s all focusing on the negative every time and giving disproportionate coverage to those against the deal.

The media are peddling the “sportswashing” angle but they could just as easily say it’s SA starting to make progress and develop as a nation.

There’s two ways to look at it and unfortunately the media seem to have made their minds up already.

Do you think the Newcastle United takeover will happen?

I think it will happen. I think the delay is purely the Premier League making sure they get an agreement on piracy before they approve it. They want SA on board so they can earn even more money from future TV negotiations.

What do you think about the way Mike Ashley has ran Newcastle United during this virus crisis (furloughing staff, no refunds on tickets/season tickets, advance payments taken for 2020/21 season tickets etc etc)?

I think it’s exactly how I thought he would behave. For any given scenario I would expect Mike Ashley to take the cheapest option with no regard for the impact his decision has on anybody else. It’s his blueprint for success.

If the takeover didn’t happen and the 2020/21 season kicked off with Mike Ashley still owning the club, what would be your position as a fan?

It would be one more season with me losing more interest and just waiting for us to get relegated.

Do you think the takeover is taking this long because there is something stopping it happening, this is just how long it takes, or do the Premier League have to be seen to taking a long time…or any other thoughts on why no announcement yet?

As I said above, I think it’s about getting a deal for the EPL or at least some kind of agreement on piracy before they approve it. I also think the virus has delayed the decision as those in charge have obviously prioritised the restart over some club up north’s sale.

What would be your best guess of month (and year!) when you think some fans will be allowed back into Premier League stadiums? Also, when you think full capacity crowds will be allowed?

I’ve got no idea! I would guess next year though.

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