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Opinion

Kevin Keegan, Mike Ashley and Sir Bobby Robson – Daydreams and nightmares

2 days ago
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In these bleak days (weeks, months, years, decades…) of Mike Ashley rule, I increasingly find myself daydreaming about the times we experienced when Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson were at Newcastle United.

No surprise really, because in my time supporting NUFC, going right back to the 1970s, pretty much all the best moments as a fan, had one of these two involved.

They did of course have great supporting casts BUT without Sir Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan, these good times of the past would never have seen quite the same heights reached in terms of quality of football and the sheer excitement they generated.

Looking back at the accumulated times we enjoyed the company of this duo…

August 1982 – May 1984

Kevin Keegan playing for Newcastle.

February 1992 – January 1997

Kevin Keegan managing Newcastle the first time.

September 1999 – August 2004

Sir Bobby Robson managing Newcastle.

January 2008 – September 2008

Kevin Keegan managing Newcastle for a second time.

As I was daydreaming, yet again, earlier today, a horrible thought dawned on me…

I added up these four Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson spells at the club and it added up to 12 years 3 months.

Pretty much all of my happy Newcastle United memories contained in these time periods within the close on five decades I have been actively supporting our football club.

Then you have another stat, for 14 years 4 months and counting, Mike Ashley has owned Newcastle United.

Can this really be true, all of those happy, relatively happy, times I have spent as a fan, are now already surpassed timewise by the Mike Ashley years???

How horrendous is that?

The thing is as well, whilst I could easily list you 100 or more different happy memories of the times Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson were involved at St James Park, the Mike Ashley years are just like one big blob of misery.

I know there was the slight overlap when Mike Ashley misled Kevin Keegan and got him in as manager for seven months and KK got it more bearable with better football and results, which then produced hope of better to come…only to be dashed once the reality became clear – Ashley secretly having given Dennis Wise overall control of signings and everything else.

Then of course we had the one decent season under Mike Ashley, the 2011/12 fifth place finish, however, even that season has just ended up as part of the big fat blob of overall misery because it became pointless, a breakthrough season that was totally wasted as Mike Ashley refused to allow even a penny of net spending on the NUFC squad to try and establish Newcastle as a top six team and compete in Europe at the same time. Instead, the refusal to build almost ended up in relegation the very next season, Newcastle only reaching safety when winning their final away match (QPR) of the 2012/13 season.

Similarly, Rafa Benitez did give us self-respect and hope again BUT that is also now just worthless surely and part of the overall miserable existence under Mike Ashley, as Ashley had no intention of allowing it to lead anyway and forced Rafa out.

Relegation struggles, relegations, rotten football, rubbish results, non-existent excitement, clueless stooges appointed as managers / head coaches, St James Park renamed after Mike Ashley’s other business without a penny going into NUFC (as well as all the rest of the free advertising gifted to the multi-billionaire’s tat empire).

That is the story of 14 years 4 months of Mike Ashley at Newcastle United.

When he eventually leaves…it will be like the clouds parting and able to see the Sun once again.

It is horrific to think that a whole generation of Newcastle United fans have grown up, knowing nothing other than this sunshine-free Mike Ashley era.

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