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This is completely unacceptable at Newcastle United – The Mike Ashley ‘normal’

1 month ago
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Newcastle United are a total joke under Mike Ashley.

A football club that is run like no other.

Newcastle United is the beating heart of the City of Newcastle, or at least it once was, now it is ‘looked after’ like it is some nondescript Sports Direct outlet. Unloved and allowed to struggle on alone without any care and attention from those who own the football club and are tasked to run it.

The most depressing thing of all at Newcastle United is that now it is seen as just the norm.

That is what 14 seasons of Mike Ashley ownership has reduced us to.

Newcastle United have become a headline story for almost two full weeks now and what has the club response been?

The first Premier League club to have a mass positive case virus outbreak leading to a match having to be called off, maybe it will be more than one, who knows?

Can you imagine any other football club, or indeed any other business, reacting as Newcastle United have done to this virus crisis at St James Park?

On Friday 27 November, Newcastle United won 2-0 at Crystal Palace with two late goals and after the game, Steve Bruce stated in his post-match press conference that three players and one member of club staff had tested positive for the virus and he hoped the problem could be contained…

Steve Bruce asked after the Palace match if he thought the virus outbreak could be contained and not allowed to spread at Newcastle United:

“We sincerely hope so.

“It is very difficult at the minute.

“We have three confirmed players and unfortunately a member of my staff. it has been a tough week.

“It is a concern and difficult to manage.

“We are trying our utmost to make sure we try and stay as safe as we can and of course my concern is not just the welfare of the players, which is vitally important, but my members of staff too.

“We will do our best but it is difficult at the moment.”

Since that post-interview 11 days ago, there has been exactly one communication from the football club.

That was last Tuesday (1 December 2020) when an official statement (see below) was released, confirming that the Aston Villa away match had been postponed.

Seven days on and absolutely nothing from the club, from Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley, Justin Barnes, nobody.

In 11 days just that one basic statement with no name on it, zero leadership or responsibility taken.

As I say though, nobody sees this as abnormal.

It is just how Newcastle United is run.

This is where I think the media really fail us, they should be pointing out that not a single other club would act like this, they would feel they had a duty to keep everybody informed, especially the fans, their customers.

It isn’t a case of expecting a minute by minute update, just somebody to give proper updates, somebody from the club telling people what is happening.

Instead, we are left relying on journalists giving updates based on unattributed ‘sources’, this is completely unacceptable.

The trouble is, for many Newcastle fans they are so used to this kind of behaviour from Mike Ashley and his minions for 14 seasons, they think nothing of it. However, the media should be pointing out that it isn’t normal, at least not compared to properly ran clubs / businesses that accept a certain level of respect and professionalism needs to be shown.

In an article on The Mag a few days ago, somebody posed the question: ‘Where is Lee Charnley?‘ and that is exactly the point. If Mike Ashley isn’t going to take any responsibility then those he employs should do.

As that article pointed out, it was 16 months ago in the programme notes of the first match of the season against Arsenal, where Lee Charnley stated that communication from the club had been nowhere near good enough, that Mike Ashley and he totally accepted this, Charnley giving an absolute guarantee that this would now change and those running Newcastle United would communicate properly now with media and fans. Lee Charnley specifically said that the club had been wrong to totally put the burden on managers / head coaches to communicate on every matter at NUFC and this would no longer be the case.

Since Head Coach Steve Bruce spoke at that post-Palace press conference 11 days ago, nobody at the club has come out and said anything. Not often I feel sorry for the local media but they are getting absolutely nothing, embarrassingly having to rely on ancient Steve Bruce quotes from weeks ago to have something to write about.

Steve Bruce is presumably back home in the north west, who knows though?

It is like Newcastle United is having its very own brand of lockdown, the club just shut completely down and not even willing to communicate what the position is.

It is laughable, you go on the club’s official website and the main big story is an interview with Kelland Watts, the young defender out on loan at Plymouth.

Other random stuff goes up but nothing about the virus situation of course. The second biggest story up at the moment is ironically a feature on ‘Five wonderful wins against West Brom’ ahead of Saturday’s match, a match that the journalists with ‘sources’ are claiming is unlikely to go ahead.

The club’s refusal to engage properly with the media and by association the fans, is a disgrace, and we have seen that throughout this longer virus crisis, no information at all regarding furloughing of staff and indeed whether many of them still are furloughed – Mike Ashley taking taxpayers money to pay his staff, the whole issue of offering refunds to fans both for last season and this, continuing to take direct debits out of fan bank accounts for matches the club know they will not be able to go to, the list never ends.

The fact the club refuse to even put up information and / or interviews on their own website tells you everything, they won’t even put up a video interview with Lee Charnley that they would totally control.

Newcastle United a total joke, as it always will be whilst Mike Ashley still remains as owner.

Newcastle United Official Statement – Tuesday 1 December 2020:

‘Newcastle United’s Premier League fixture at Aston Villa on Friday, 4th December has been postponed following a significant increase in Covid-19 cases at the Magpies’ Training Centre.

Several Newcastle United players and staff members are now self-isolating at home after returning positive test results in recent days and the club’s Training Centre site has been temporarily closed in order to contain the spread of the virus.

With the Magpies’ first team currently unable to prepare for the match as a group, Newcastle United lodged a request with the Premier League to postpone the fixture at Villa Park, which has been approved by the Premier League Board.

The match, which was set to kick off at 8pm (GMT) on Friday evening, will now be rescheduled and a new date and time will be confirmed in due course. Newcastle United would like to thank Aston Villa Football Club for its understanding.

Newcastle United was one of the first clubs in the country to close its training ground prior to the first national lockdown in March and the club introduced comprehensive Covid-19 protocols in line with Premier League and government guidance to protect its players and staff ahead of Project Restart.

While the club has continued to ensure strict adherence to these protocols, and despite previously experiencing only a very small number of isolated Covid-19 cases, positive test results have risen sharply in recent days.

Accordingly, the club is now is working with Public Health England North East (PHE), local health authorities and the Premier League in line with Covid-19 protocols to identify the source of the outbreak and to ensure the risk of further transmission continues to be minimised.

All players and training ground staff will be re-tested this week and a meeting between the club, Premier League and PHE will take place to assess the test results.

The club will not be naming individuals who have contracted Covid-19 and asks that their privacy is respected.

For the latest coronavirus guidance, please visit gov.uk/coronavirus.’

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