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Opinion

Mike Ashley held Newcastle United back so badly – If you ever doubted then look at this

2 months ago
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Mike Ashley has left the building.

However, his cloud continues to hang over our great football club.

It is gradually getting better / clearing away, but it will take time for sure, before Newcastle United are totally cleansed of Mike Ashley.

A bit like buying a house / flat and coming across various unexpected (hidden!) issues, I find myself doing the same with examples / problems left behind by the former NUFC owner.

In the pub last night we were discussing Newcastle United, as usual.

If you ever doubted Mike Ashley held Newcastle United back so badly, then have a look at this.

Newcastle United players who made the most starts in the 2016/17 Championship season:

44 Paul Dummett

41 Jamaal Lascelles

40 Matt Ritchie

38 Jonjo Shelvey

34 Karl Darlow

34 Ciaran Clark

33 Yoan Gouffran

28 Isaac Hayden

26 Dwight Gayle

Quite incredible really, basically the team that played in the second tier six seasons ago, are still here.

Of the nine to make the most starts in 2016/17 in the Championship, only 36 year old Yoan Gouffran who retired from playing in 2021, is no longer on the books of Newcastle United.

The other eight were still relied upon, to varying degrees, last season by Newcastle United.

Seven of the eight were given new contracts by Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce before Eddie Howe came in. Jamaal Lascelles the exception but he was already on a contract that took him through until summer 2018.

This isn’t a criticism of any of these individual players, instead it is a case of disbelief at the state Mike Ashley was determined to steer the club into.

Instead of moving on the weaker players, those who were on the decline, those who weren’t up to the challenges of the Premier League

Instead, Mike Ashley gave them new contracts and Steve Bruce agreed with him – because that is why he was employed by the owner. Not to question or challenge anything.

The net result was a team / squad nailed on for relegation, especially under Steve Bruce.

Eddie Howe and the new Newcastle United owners having the incredibly difficult job of moving on these players. Paul Dummett has been given a one year extension by the new regime which is ok business as cover BUT the other seven have unbelievably still got 14 years collectively left on their NUFC contracts.

The club have managed to get Isaac Hayden out on an initial loan at Norwich but so difficult to get these players out to new clubs when they are on Premier League wages but effectively in most cases, Championship (at least now) players.

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