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Former Newcastle United star says Mike Ashley influences team selection

7 months ago

Mike Ashley has always denied he has any interference in how things work at Newcastle United, apart from the setting of budgets and other normal things that clubs do.

Not that many (any?) Newcastle United fans will ever believe that.

Mike Ashley clearly responsible for forcing through the (according to Ashley) £43m signing of Joelinton.

Whilst of course the owner’s orders to the club not to try in cup competitions, pretty much sums up his running of Newcastle United.

Only this week, we have seen reports stating that Mike Ashley has once again ordered his NUFC staff not to pay money for any players over a certain age, Ashley reported to have told his minions that only free transfers are allowed for any players over 27 years of age.

Another area of the club that has seen previous claims about the owner’s behaviour is interference in team selection.

Newcastle fans more than ready to believe the reports of Steve Bruce having been ordered to keep playing Joelinton despite his woeful form. Whilst under the management / head coaching of both Alan Pardew and John Carver, the rumours were rife of Mike Ashley interfering with the picking of the team.

James Perch was a popular player when at Newcastle and became a bit of a cult hero for the fans, always 100% committed and never complained when asked to play any number of positions.

Now James Perch has given an interview backing up the belief / consensus about that Mike Ashley interference, Perch talking to Planet Football:

“I met Mike Ashley three times.

“When I signed and when he came to the training ground a couple of times.

“I know he had influence on team selection.

“I’d be playing on the Friday, then on the morning of the game, Pardew would ring and say I wasn’t.

“I guess Ashley wanted his better assets to play, I wasn’t a £10-15million player like [Cheick] Tiote or Cabaye, I was just a lad from the Championship, even though I was playing better than them.”

Alan Pardew a disgrace:

“I saw Jonas [Gutierrez] for lunch in Nottingham and he showed me what Pardew had said about him [at the tribunal hearing, when Jonas accused Mike Ashley / Newcastle United of discrimination when he was fighting testicular cancer].

“He was one of the most professional players I ever played with and I love him to bits.

“I thought it was a disgrace and I will never speak to Pardew again. I’ve got no time for him.

“He was saying Jonas wasn’t good enough to do this and that, to be in his first team. As I was reading it, I was thinking, ‘Jonas played left-back because the gaffer needed him to, he played centre midfield because the gaffer needed him to.’

“It seemed like Jonas would do anything for Newcastle and anything for the manager. He played through injury and came back from injuries. All of it that I read, it was just wrong on so many levels.”

Jonas Gutierrez of course won his case for discrimination against Mike Ashley and Newcastle United.

A big part of the case was that Mike Ashley had allegedly ordered John Carver not to play Jonas Gutierrez in matches, so that the cancer sufferer would not play the required number of games in the 2014/15 season needed to automatically trigger a contract extension.

The tribunal decided that Jonas Gutierrez had been disgracefully treated and dismissed the shameful evidence given by Alan Pardew, Lee Charnley and John Carver to the tribunal.

Alan Pardew broke promises…:

“I left in a bit of a storm…It wasn’t nice because the two years before were when I enjoyed it most at Newcastle.

“I was promised things that never happened. It was sad, but I thought it was best to leave then.

“Alan Pardew said I’d get a new contract in January 2013, but by the time the window had closed he’d signed a couple of players like [Moussa] Sissoko and [Massadio] Haidara and said, ‘We’re not going to offer you one now.’

“He’d got my hopes up and then just pulled it off the table.”

Things now even worse at Newcastle United:

“I was frustrated with the manager and owner at the time and, keeping tabs on it since, things only seem to have got worse so I can see where fans are coming from.

“They’ll only grow more frustrated and I can understand. I saw how things worked first hand.”

Interestingly, back in August (2020) James Perch selected the best ever 11 players he had played with and apologised to Jonas Gutierrez!

James Perch tells the official Scunthorpe United site the greatest 11 players he has played with – August 2020:


GK: Alex Smithies (QPR)

RB: Danny Simpson (Newcastle United)

“He was a top pro when I was at Newcastle, he worked hard in training and always turned up in games, a model professional really.”

CB: Wes Morgan (Nottingham Forest)

CB: Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United)

 “He was a ball-playing centre-half that read the game very well. He had a great pass, and could’ve played in midfield if he wanted to. He’s a good friend of mine, and worked very hard to learn English during his time with the Magpies.”

LB: Jose Enrique (Newcastle United)

“He’s another one from my time at Newcastle, he was quick and very good on the ball, no one could really get past him.

“He went on to play for Liverpool which was a great move for him.”

DM: Cheick Tiote (Newcastle United)

“Sadly Cheick passed away a couple of years ago, he was an unbelievable player.

“His intensity on the pitch was great, he could do everything, a bit like Kante! He was a great lad, and that goal against Arsenal was probably his best ever.”

CM: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United)

“I remember when he came over from Lille, he was pretty unknown, but when he played for (Newcastle) he flourished.

“He went on to to play for France and rightly so, he was so composed on the ball and his passing range was a joke!

“He scored goals and earned his big move to PSG.”

CM: Ravel Morrison (QPR)

RW: Kris Commons (Nottingham Forest)

ST: Papiss Cisse (Newcastle United)

“I only played with him for 18 months or so, but when he came in from Germany, everything he hit went in!

“That season he played number nine for us at Newcastle he was unbelievable, scoring all kinds of goals. He was unorthodox, but he always found the back of the net which is what matters.”

Issue 269 – 2 June 2012

LW: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United)

“I’ve said many times how good he was.

“He could and should’ve been one of the top 10 players in the world, his speed, finishing and technique was world class.

“Much like Ravel, if his mentality was right he’d definitely have been up there.

“To witness some of his skills first-hand was a privilege.”


Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United)

“I feel bad for leaving him out. He gave Newcastle 100% and more.

“The fans loved him for his determination, work rate and application to games.

“To come through his battle with cancer and get back playing, shows exactly what kind of character he is.”


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