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Opinion

Mike Ashley slips into comfort mode and it now spells danger for Newcastle United

3 weeks ago
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Worrying signs with Mike Ashley.

All the hopes of Newcastle United fans are of course resting on a takeover at last happening.

However, needless to say, none of us, including Mike Ashley, can have total (any?) confidence on this actually going through.

The days, weeks, months, years that have taken us to this point, have told us to take nothing for granted whilst this owner is in charge.

For Mike Ashley though, we have seen all too often how easily he slips back into comfort mode.

That when narrowly avoiding yet another disaster (relegation), this Newcastle United owner finds himself very quickly able to move on and swiftly forget how close we came to another fall from grace.

In actual fact, I think Mike Ashley has the ability in his head to rewrite history, that when there has been the latest relegation battle he convinces himself that on reflection there hadn’t been any real possibility of going down.

I’m sure that in both 2009 and 2016 Mike Ashley never saw it coming and equally, he won’t see the third one coming either if he sticks around long enough.

With Mike Ashley and people such as Justin Barnes who he most relies on with the big decisions at Newcastle United, not understanding football, they look at things completely differently to the fans. Newcastle fans who do know football…

So, consider this basic information of what has happened since promotion in 2017:

2017/18

Newcastle 44 points and the club in eighteenth (Swansea) 33 points

2018/19

Newcastle 45 points and the club in eighteenth (Cardiff) 34 points

2019/20

Newcastle 44 points and the club in eighteenth (Bournemouth) 34 points

2020/21

Newcastle 45 points and the club in eighteenth (Fulham) 28 points

To an accountant (or billionaire retail supremo of a jumble sale retail empire), you can just imagine what the thoughts will be when looking at these bare facts.

Newcastle getting 44 or 45 points EVERY season and none of the relegated clubs getting closer than ten points off NUFC.

Basically, Newcastle United never coming close to relegation and indeed, the massive 17 points gap this latest season, surely suggests it is getting even easier to stay up!

Football of course, isn’t anything like running a chain of shops.

You also have to look at the detail, beyond the basic big picture facts.

For Mike Ashley and Justin Barnes, I think sadly, they will all too easily and conveniently forget key stand out things from the 2020/21 season.

Going 21 matches with only two wins, having only Callum Wilson for most of the season as the only one who ever looked likely to score, the fact that for such a long time it looked inevitable that Fulham would eventually crawl above Newcastle and dump them in the bottom three, the fact that then from nowhere Joe Willock (one goal in forty Premier League appearances for Arsenal – suddenly scored eight PL goals in eleven starts (and three sub appearances) – with Newcastle picking up a massive 17 season transforming points from the games the Arsenal loan player scored in.

Only 28 points picked up in matches where Joe Willock didn’t score in, then that incredible scoring streak is key to the other 17 points having been added.

I have absolutely no doubt that if Joe Willock hadn’t arrived on loan and pulled those remarkable goals (he score 8 goals despite having only 17 shots!) out of the hat, Newcastle would definitely have finished seventeenth and not twelfth, Burnley were fourth bottom with 39 points.

Indeed, I think that sadly it would have been far better if indeed Newcastle United had ended up fourth bottom because that is what it takes for them to potentially understand the danger NUFC are in.

As things stand, absolutely no sign of any credible players arriving in the transfer window and we are totally reliant on one person to regularly score goals, in Callum Wilson. A Callum Wilson who has had more than his fair share of injury problems in his career…

These are dangerous times for Newcastle United and Mike Ashley is yet again set to take some serious gambles with the club, unless something significant changes in the weeks ahead.

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