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Tyne Talk

Mike Ashley pet journalist shamefully attacks Newcastle United fans yet again

10 months ago

Mike Ashley may have now gone but the poison he injected into Newcastle United still sadly remains.

His disgraceful running of our football club for over a decade and a half, saw him call on countless shameful individuals to assist and support him in his task.

Amongst those were certain journalists, more than happy to back up Mike Ashley and attack / ridicule Newcastle United fans.

Top of that list was (and apparently still is) Martin Samuel.

Samuel has written some laughable things about Newcastle United, the fans, Mike Ashley and so on, now he is at yet again.

Before we get to that, here are two typical examples of how Martin Samuel has so willingly in the past gone shamelessly against Newcastle fans and / or backed up the Mike Ashley regime.

Martin Samuel and that Mike Ashley ‘Interview’ – 26 July 2019:

In that embarrassing PR statement from Mike Ashley put out by Martin Samuel on 26 July 2019, it included the classic about Joelinton, how Rafa Benitez had refused to agree to the £43m purchase of the Brazilian even though Ashley said he’d promised to pay £23m of the purchase price out of his own pocket. The NUFC owner using this as the prime evidence of Rafa refusing to stay even though Ashley was promising to personally fund this brilliant goalscorer (whose best ever league season had been eight goals in the Austrian League.

Mike Ashley putting out through Martin Samuel: ‘Rafa valued him at £20m. So that’s what would come out of the club budget. The rest, £23m – I’ll pay. And he still didn’t sign it off. Looking back, I think he knew for a long time he was going to China because it was like we couldn’t do anything. Joelinton was the test.’

Martin Samuel – 26 February 2021 (When Newcastle were on a run of two wins in 16 games, which eventually ran to two wins in 21 matches:

‘Still, credit to Newcastle, because even without fans inside St James’ Park a mood of pessimism and disapproval, particularly when results weren’t bad, has helped to suck the confidence from Steve Bruce’s team.

‘Now they are in the relegation battle so eagerly anticipated (that’s right, we willed this on ourselves -my words again).

‘So yes, it is hoped football has learned the importance of fans during the lockdown.

‘Equally, some fans may have learned the value of not having a foot on the throat of the manager and his team all the time. It’s hard to breath that way.’

So as you can see above, Martin Samuel facilitating that laughable and poisonous Ashley attack on Rafa Benitez after the manager left in that very lengthy interview / PR release.

Then last season when games were behind closed doors,, Samuel actually blaming Newcastle United fans and NOT Steve Bruce, as the (former!!) head coach took NUFC on a run of two wins in 21 matches.

You literally couldn’t make it up.

Now, all too predictably, the Mike Ashley pet journalist is at it again, once again ridiculing and attacking Newcastle United fans, this time over the departure of Steve Bruce.

Martin Samuel in The Mail – 20 October 2021:

‘The end was inevitable, even Steve Bruce knew that. Yet, for all this, it is hard to imagine a sadder sacking in football this season than the one that took place at Newcastle on Wednesday.

It does not matter who the club gets now. Paulo Fonseca, Eddie Howe, Lucien Favre, even Steven Gerrard. Newcastle will never mean to any of them what it meant to Bruce. He was a local man, an attribute some still pretend is valued around those parts.

No, he didn’t play his football up there, but neither did Sir Bobby Robson, who had been 49 years in the game as a player and manager before he took a job farther north than Birmingham.

So the great sadness for Bruce was that he was never good enough for them. Never good enough for his own kind. He was not so much booed out as booed in, because he was seen as a journeyman manager and followers of Newcastle think they are bigger than that.’

This is absolute nonsense, Steve Bruce was not ‘booed in’ when he got the Newcastle United job. At exactly which games Mr Samuel, was Bruce booed at St James Park in his first couple of years?

Newcastle fans were gutted that Steve Bruce was appointed because he had shown nothing in 20+ years to suggest he was the right person AND was an established Championship manager for some years when Mike Ashley took him on.

Yet Newcastle fans did NOT demonstrate against him, unlike say Chelsea fans when Rafa Benitez was appointed, we just got on with supporting the team and accepting Bruce was here.

‘When this takeover surfaced 18 months ago, the talk was of Mauricio Pochettino taking over,’ said former player Warren Barton. ‘This is what I think about when I think about Newcastle managers.’

And that’s strange because since Barton arrived in 1995, Newcastle managers have also included John Carver, Glenn Roeder, Joe Kinnear, Graeme Souness, Chris Hughton, Sam Allardyce, Steve McClaren and, for 185 games, Alan Pardew.

Where Barton gets the idea that Newcastle is the natural home of the most gifted coaches in Europe is a mystery. They got Rafael Benitez, but he was on the rebound. So were most of the marquee appointments, for that matter, even Robson.’

It is hilarious really, Newcastle fans throughout these past 15 years have said how shamefully Mike Ashley has ran the club, whilst Martin Samuel and others have slavishly backed him up. Now Samuel lists eight past NUFC managers to ridicule the supposed fan expectations (hopes!) and six of the eight managed under Ashley!

Plus, Samuel totally takes Barton’s comment out of context, in his time at Newcastle Warren Barton played under Keegan, Dalglish, Gullit and Robson, all massive figures in football. Keegan and Robson brilliant managers for Newcastle, Dalglish having huge success at Liverpool and Blackburn as a manager, whilst Gullit also had success at Chelsea.

Barton clearly having his own NUFC experiences in mind, plus simply saying what kind of level of manager he would like Newcastle to have.

‘Bruce was seen by Mike Ashley as a safe pair of hands; a manager who knew the Premier League and could keep the club out of the Championship pending its sale. It wasn’t always pretty, or entertaining, but it served its purpose. And Newcastle got their buyer.

Not that Bruce got any thanks from his tormentors when the end came. There was crude rejoicing from not just the social media trolls, but the sort of people for whom BeKind is no more than a virtue-signalling hashtag.

The man himself recounted the insults and the effect on his family with more sadness than bitterness.’

In his very calculated interview (with his media cheerleader Luke Edwards of The Telegraph) timed to coincide with Newcastle announcing his departure yesterday, Steve Bruce went on at length about supposed abuse from fans, clearly the intention to get the media repeating this angle and deflecting (which sadly has proved very successful) from the mess he has left behind.

Where exactly did Bruce experience this overwhelming vicious abuse? He himself has said repeatedly that those against him / abusing him were a very small number of unrepresentative ‘keyboard warriors’ and that actually when he has met fans out and about in Newcastle, he has said time and time again that nobody has been abusive to him and the typical reaction has been wishing him well. Plus, Bruce also said that he receives regular sackfuls of mail through the post from fans that are overwhelmingly supportive. Only at most recent matches this season have we seen increasing chants from fans wanting Steve Bruce replaced but nothing more than that, not like say what we saw when Arsenal fans were driving Wenger out, despite him still delivering regular Champions League football and winning the FA Cup on a regular basis. So what basically Steve Bruce is talking about in terms of vicious abuse, is online, somewhere that he has no presence himself but in the past he has said his son has pointed stuff out to him before. Nobody defends stuff like this BUT to base anything on what appears from often anonymous trolls on the likes of Twitter is ridiculous, when trying to make out that this is indicative of the fanbase overall, is just plain wrong.

What Steve Bruce and Martin Samuel want to do is make out that this abuse was so widespread, when it wasn’t. Plus, in reality, Steve Bruce also wanted to see journalists and fans quite rightly questioning how badly he was doing, as equalling abuse. Which it doesn’t. If a fan / writer is saying / writing that Steve Bruce isn’t up to the job and has to go because Newcastle have only won 18% of matches (7 of 38) in the last ten months and have won zero of nine this season and are second bottom of the league, that is not abuse. It is simply pointing out that Newcastle are heading for relegation if they stick with Bruce.

‘Those crowing about getting their club back, meanwhile, overlook that it was Bruce’s club, too, and he would have loved nothing more than to have worked with the resources and positivity that enveloped Robson and Kevin Keegan in happier times.

Yes, Bruce’s Newcastle could have taken greater risks, but what if those risks had not paid off? His remit was to keep Newcastle safe.

Keegan’s great entertainers blew the title; Bruce couldn’t afford to ignore his brief in a bid for popularity.’

Steve Bruce has done absolutely nothing in over 23 years of management to suggest he would be a success under new owners, he has won no trophies as a manager and hasn’t even finished top nine in the Premier League.

To have a go at Kevin Keegan shows how desperate Martin Samuel is. Keegan arrived as manager in February 1992, saved Newcastle from dropping into the third tier, with minimal spend then got NUFC up as champions, in his first season up and with again no more than ok transfer support, saw his team finish third in the Premier League. Then just over four years after taking over and saving NUFC from the third tier, Keegan came within a whisker of winning the Premier League. It is a like that Newcastle ‘blew the title’, Newcastle only conceded two more goals than Man Utd and the Old Trafford side came with a phenomenal run to pip NUFC. Keegan still only had a very small squad and when players such as Les Ferdinand could probably have done with the odd match on the bench, it couldn’t happen because the squad wasn’t there.

Martin Samuel talks of ‘Those crowing about getting their club back’, ridiculing people who have been robbed of their football club for 15 seasons by his mate Mike Ashley. Yes we have hope back and are now celebrating that fact, which would be the case whoever the new owners were and how much money they may or may not invest in ambitious plans, to rebuild after the mess left by Ashley and Bruce.

‘Now Fonseca is favourite for the job. A hired gun, passing through. Fonseca was a journeyman player — which Bruce certainly wasn’t, as a captain of Manchester United and winner of more titles than Newcastle in the last 113 years —with a chequered record as a coach.

Yet Fonseca would be welcomed on Tyneside in a way Bruce never was because he brings with him an air of glamour, of mystery, of excitement.’

Newcastle fans aren’t particularly demanding Fonseca, if he (or whoever else) is the choice though then we will get behind him and trust the judgement of the new owners. What has playing record got to do with being a manager? Bobby Charlton was one of the very best for example as a player but quickly gave it up a manager. Conversely, numerous top managers such as Wenger, Klopp, Benitez etc experienced minimal success as players but can put their trophies on the table in management.

Whilst if you are saying Fonseca has a ‘chequered record as a coach’, what on earth does that say about Bruce’s 23+ years!


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