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Tyne Talk

Leadership is a dirty word at Newcastle United with these Mike Ashley appointments

1 year ago

Most of us have had jobs working in places where there are weaknesses in the chain of command. People who are in positions where they are not up to it.

The damage it does to the organisation depends on just how widespread the lack of leadership is, plus even more importantly, how high up the shortfall in leadership drips down from.

In schools and colleges as well, as students we benefited (or didn’t) from the vision and capability of those at the top. They set the tone for everything that then spread from there.

When it comes to Newcastle United, we haven’t been very lucky, to say the least.

Down the decades, it has been bleak, but never more so than now.

The highlight, certainly in the last fifty years or more, was in the years where you had John Hall, Freddie Fletcher and Kevin Keegan working together so productively in the 90s.

Now we have Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and Steve Bruce. What could possibly go wrong?

As the saying goes, you wouldn’t trust this trio to run a bath, never mind a Premier League club.

Maybe Lee Charnley and Steve Bruce have got hidden talents…?

The thing is we will never know, due to Mike Ashley having the worst kind of leadership qualities of all.

He controls every single decision at Newcastle United but refuses to devote any time, care, or attention to the football club whatsoever.

Ashley’s management / leadership ‘style’ is that of an absent landlord but one who looks to appoint yes men to manage under him, who are more than happy to take the jobs with absolutely no authority, due to how desperate they are to be in the roles.

Mike Ashley is not unique as the absent landlord in Premier League circles, indeed many club owners delegate the power and budgets to those they employ, relying on them to be the leaders at the football club.

So even if the owner is very hands off and indeed takes little / interest, it can work just as effectively BUT ONLY IF you have the right people in place and they are properly resourced.

Some PL clubs achieve through having a Chief Executive / Managing Director as the main man, maybe working in tandem with a Director of Football. Alternatively, the main man can be the manager, working alongside the CEO / MD at a club.

In Mike Ashley’s 13 years, needless to say there has been little sign of leadership throughout the club.

Most certainly not from Ashley himself, whilst as for the CEO / MD position, maybe Chris Mort showed something in the season he was here. Whilst Graham Carr hit a brief successful vein of form when Mike Ashley made him his key man at the club as Director of Football, bringing in the likes of Ba, Cabaye, Cisse and Ben Arfa.

The likes of Kevin Keegan and Chris Hughton showed promise but any leadership was swiftly limited as Mike Ashley brought their times at the club swiftly to an end. Rafa Benitez of course stuck it out to the end of his three year deal and had a vision as to how the club could be built and progressed over a period of time. The idea of a long-term plan and proper investment throughout the club, overseen by a strong leader who he couldn’t pull the strings of, that was never going to interest the Sports Direct supremo.

Instead, the people who Mike Ashley likes to employ in the key positions at Newcastle United are the likes of Derek Llambias, Dennis Wise, Lee Charnley, John Carver, Alan Pardew, Steve Bruce and Steve McClaren.

That says it all.


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