Mike Ashley ready to return to Newcastle United

By Lee Ryder on Dec 28, 08 09:14 AM

TOON owner Mike Ashley has announced that Newcastle United are no longer for sale.

Just hours before the clash with Liverpool at St James's Park, Ashley revealed in a club statement from the match day programme: "I am happy to end the uncertainty fans may have had about the future direction of Newcastle United.

"I know just how important that is to you.

"I have withdrawn Newcastle United from the market, and for me 2009 will be the year in which we drive the Club forward together. Even when I haven't been at games I have remained a keen supporter, kicking and heading every ball and cheering the team on TV and being the first to congratulate Joe whenever there's a good result.

"When I took the decision to put the Club up for sale in September I made a point of saying two things were very important.

"Firstly, any potential buyer would have to show they had the best interests of Newcastle United at heart and had both the commitment and finance to be worthy custodians of such a fine football club before I would even consider doing a deal.

"And secondly, I gave you my word that as long as I remain owner, this Club would continue to be run responsibly at all levels. I hope you will accept that I have stood by that pledge."



Desmond said:

well i guess this got to be a good news

but ...what about Wise?

Hefner said:

Glad to hear it!!!

David F said:

This was predicted back in September. Wait until the anger dissipates and then announce that the sale was a bad idea after all.

So what’s changed?....absolutely nothing. The so called ‘Cockney Mafia’ remain, including the main culprits Llambias and Wise. The only difference is that we are now heading towards the dizzy heights of mid-table mediocrity.

This is becoming the worst case scenario. There is now a split between my belief that everything must be done to remove the current management set-up (including relegation) and others who are looking optimistically up the table for (in my opinion) short term satisfaction. What happens when we loose a few games? The usual knee-jerk reaction that it’s the manager’s fault and must leave. And so the slow downward spiral continues.

Yet maybe I’m wrong and ‘King Kinnear’ can lead us forward up the league. Look at his magnificent record so far. I don’t blame him for being Mike’s ‘Yes Man’. I would have to if I’d been taken from retirement into such a prestigious role. But what happens when Dennis thinks it’s financially Wise to sell Owen or more importantly not prepared to shell out on a decent left back. I may be from the old school of ‘Pro- Keegan’, but wasn’t that his priorities last summer?

So my expectation is pretty depressing. First and foremost, guaranteed split in fans’ opinions and hence continued instability. Let’s all support the current regime and hope that our ambitions are met or force Ashley to do something radical by revolting again, which will almost inevitably result in relegation.

tony cro said:

Well in my opinion WE are relegated , God help

Pedi said:

We'll have stability alright, in the championship! Ashley has said we'd get £20m a year for players. Who can we get for that, we need players for most of the positions on the pitch? He lives in a dream world if he thinks we can get near the top four with that amount.

We need a new striker or two, creative midfielders and a couple of full backs. We'd be lucky to get 2 quality players for what ashley wants to invest.

The next month is crucial for our prem lge status. It will also show how much ashley thinks of the club by what he is prepared to give us. Our money must be spent wisely (no pun intended) or we are doomed. Do i trust JK to use it, No. Do I trust wise, No.
KK, i would've trusted but thats not even an issue right now so as Clint asked...Do you feel lucky punk? No clint I dont, I support Newcastle!

big Si said:

Ashley can go to hell, I will not be renewing my 3 season tickets and I know of many more who feel the same. We hate you Ashley just go and crawl back under the rock you came from.

ronnie lambert said:

After today's total surrender, due to Liverpool's vast superiority, his words had better mean buying more than a few 'good' players to even keep us afloat, never mind move this great club forward. We actually do have a decent nucleus to build on, but more than enough 'dead wood' to unload. Strewth! we've been saying that for decades. I don't know....I'm reaching a point of 'can't be bothered anymore'. The only winners are the owners and we are no more than mugs. Today we proved that the best asset of this club are again the magnificent supporters who wouldn't allow the smug scousers to revel in their glory. The team actually tried their best, without busting a gut because after 12 minutes it became obvious that they were no more than a pub team against champions, so why break a leg? I seriously thought today that just as in Dalglish's second season, that they don't deserve my season ticket money. They don't match my ambitions as many footballers say before slapping in a transfer request. I will always come to matches cos I'm a dyed in the wool geordie, but five and a half ton outlay is highway robbery. I am so tired of this unrequited love affair based on mountains of broken promises.


Dear, dear, dear me - stop crying into yer Broon Ale - it is only a game of fitba!!!

Dave Graham said:

V Profane!!
Perfect..........I need not comment nee more, you covered it to perfection!!

Micky O said:

V Profane, I wish to God someone at the Chronic would have the b*lls to say something similar on the back (or front) page.

As for today's game - Fully expected to lose but not to see such abject defending, especially in the centre.

Bozz said:

What exactly has Ashley done wrong? The club was in a financial mess when he cleared the decks but his biggest mistake was bringing in KK, who had been out of the game too long- when KK came in we were 11th and 4 pts off Europe. When he failed to win in his next 9 games we were in a relegation battle. He wanted to sign a left back when everyone knew we needed a centre half, striker and creative midfielder. For God's sake we had Enrique, Charlie, Duff, Bassong, edgar who have all played at left back when pressed but up front had 3 of 4 strikers in the final year of their contracts and all 3 of them injury prone! It wouldn't have been so bad if we after a top class left back ut we were being linked with more £5m youngsters from Europe.

Wise has brought in a crop of young kids and our 3 best players this season- Coloccini, Bassong and Spierman. KK's choice- Guthrie.

In a popularity contest Wise was never going to beat KK but remember if he hadn't walked out on the club he apparently loves (and is now suing for £8m which would otherwise buy us a decent strikler) for the second time which has dropped us in the smelly stuff, we would hve a damn better chance of making progress than we have with a short term manager

najdat nazhat said:

what aload of rubbish. ashley staying!!!
to take us down to the championship.
well done



Monkey Hanger said:

NUFC was never on the market.
I made a genuine money down offer of over £50, for the club,ground, and players, and was knocked back ?
I think they will be lucky to get even this, by this time next year.

lambic peach said:

thank god... maybe now we can all work together to make sure we arent leeds mark 2.....

PercyArcade said:

Ashley has failed to say why things have gone wrong under his ownership: no word on Keegan, the management set-up, or the lack of direct communication with the fans of the club. The fact is he's only still here due to force of circumstance, i.e. the global economic downturn. So be it then. If Ashley and the fans of the Toon are stuck with each other it's up to him to make the best of it by providing the funds to seriously strengthen the team. In other words we want action instead of self-serving press releases - get your cheque book out Ashley and put your money where your mouth is!

ronnie lambert said:

Burky's comment is from an outsider rival supporter and is inflammatory towards genuine supporters. I have complained about his comments and urge all of you to do the same.

ian said:

Bozz and Burky's nonsensical version of the Fat Fool's tenure are the reason we will never be the team we should be given the potential of NUFC. If they are nothing to do with NUFC then they are so sad when they have nothing to say on their own forums. I've never had any urge to look at, never mind comment, on any other teams fortunes. To try and blame KK for this mess when he's a man of integrity and loves the club in the right way ( he didn't want to be associated with a set up that was quite blatantly trying to make mugs of us)This news is a disaster and testament to the apathy that has become the norm of the majority of the SJP crowd.The club is headed out of this division and we will be left to continue the support while Ashley et al leg it into the sunset laughing at us all the way.Kinnear is obviously no better than any other 'manager' who could have taken over in the circumstance Hughton (no blame)was taking is into (remember all was relatively rosy before KK left)and will never inspire a team and crowd the way KK could.Nothing against him but this Ashley news should have got the crowd motivated at the Liverpool game to make it plain he is not welcome back and never will be. It's very sad that most of us are accepting our fate as we inch along death row (down the table)to the condemned man's cell.Either get this NUSC to really start upping the ante or start planning the final meal at Villa in May and programming the new postcodes in your sat nav for next season.

Richard said:

Gentlemen and Ladies,

I am not a supporter of Newcastle Football Club. But I am a supporter of football and I don’t like what is happening to the Premier League. I also don’t like to see what’s happening to a once-great club – yours – Newcastle United Football Club.

Having watched for years, successive pantomimes at St James Park, I have been saddened to see the destructive traumas as they have unfolded. However, with Mike Ashley’s inability to find alternative ownership for your club at a value that is acceptable to him – and that’s his choice and privilege as the owner, which you should accept as reality – your club has an opportunity to move forward and, as soon as possible, consign the past to history and look forward, not backwards.

The realities of the Premier League and of the world’s economies and Newcastle United’s place in it don’t yet seem to have registered and penetrated into the psyche of enough of your club’s supporters. But Mike Ashley’s retention of the club offers you the opportunity to stabilise and build – if you can find enough common ground and the will to enable it. But you face a huge challenge – from within yourselves, let alone from outside!

Most of every Premier League Club’s revenue comes from TV.

It doesn’t matter how big a club you THINK you are, the reality of the matter is that you’re NOT a particularly big club. You COULD be a big club. You may have a bigger stadium than many, and a loyal fanbase that can generally fill it. Queens Park were the resident football club at Hampden Park in Glasgow – a ground with a 100,000 capacity at one time. It didn’t make Queens Park a big club! (OK, yes, I know - they didn’t fill it (nowhere near, in fact) – except when Rangers and Celtic or the Scottish national team played there!) But, before you go off picking holes in my offered insights, please take the point – having a big club and a big local following, doesn’t make you a big club these days.

The fact of the matter is that the revenues generated by season tickets and admissions fall into relative importance and significance behind TV money. If you were not one of the Champions League or even UEFA cup group when the money from TV rights started rolling in, you missed out. If you had local ownership, people who had made money locally, you were also disadvantaged. You needed to have an international outlook and serious ambition to be part of Scudamore’s vision for the Premier League. You were, as most other clubs were, disadvantaged by location or even high enough international profile to start with. Even Sir John Hall, probably most famously responsible for the Metro Centre development wasn’t international enough in his outlook for the club. Nor was Freddie Shepherd. They didn’t, or couldn’t fully embrace Scudamore’s model, developed in cahoots with Sky and other affiliated TV networks, the fullest extent of the potential afforded by the Premier League’s developing global reach. So you’re NOT one of the big four – or even the modestly large six – and currently, not even in the frame for a top ten finish. The media and foreign ownership favour the internationally fashionable cities and their clubs, of which Newcastle is NOT one.

This needs to be acknowledged, admitted and owned up to – irrespective of how sentimentally painful some locals may find it.

Bernie Ecclestone, Favio Briattore and Lakshi Mittal favoured QPR as a football club investment– a Championship side. Why? When they could have had Premier League Newcastle, Portsmouth – or any other provincial club? Why has "Mr Abu Dhabi" bought Manchester City and not Newcastle? And before him, why did Thaksin Shinawatra by the Manchester club? Newcastle is less attractive to them, is why. And that is their assessment – not mine. And you must ask yourselves, is it likely to change?

This is not meant to be unnecessarily derogatory or harsh on Newcastle – my own club suffers from the same location disadvantage only worse! It’s reality.

With the exception of rank bad risk management, such as Ridsdale’s at Leeds, Champions League status has stuck, more or less, with the same group of teams who then continuously benefit from the revenues collected to keep them there, season after season.

Newcastle United, irrespective of how much the fans love the club, is NOT a well-placed club. Nor has it been a well-run club either. But that’s as much a function of the relationship between the club’s owners and the fan-base. The dilemma you have is reconciling the fact that the owner has, first and foremost, got to look after his BUSINESS. In the modern Premier League, this is NOT the same as the fans demand for sporting achievement. The criteria are completely different. They can and often do oppose each other, depending on the degree of financial risk and its management which is acceptable to the owner.

NUFC is almost schizophrenic. And that lies at the heart of the fans’ PERCEIVED under-performance. Your fans feel that because it was, historically, a huge club because of big local crowds in the past, then it must remain a big club. Not so. (Britain used to be the major world power when we had an Empire – but the world changed round us and we’ve had to adapt to other roles, although there are some to still adhere and act like Britannia still rules the world!). Local crowd size is irrelevant on a global stage.

You can thank the TV networks for that!

Your club’s schizophrenia – its dilemma about its identity and its inability to come to terms with its real, and changed position - has also led to poor management including managerial instability, panic buying of inappropriate playing staff, injudicious expenditure on over-inflated player salaries and an ongoing dependence on a decreasing willingness of your monied backers to put up with the demands of a fan-base out of touch with the stark realities of the business world in which the club operates.

Your club seems hugely divided. It is splintered in opinion, political position, historical sentiment, greed and power struggles between owners, boards, management and fans. It lacks cohesion and a clear strategy based on acceptance of the current reality – NOT the perceived “reality” based on fans’ historical sentiment.

Like Alcoholics Anonymous will tell you; until you recognise and accept who and what you are, and what your condition is, you will not be able to deal with that condition effectively and move forward together with Newcastle TRULY United.

And you may have to take a few steps back before you can move forward more strongly.

For those who may wish to “listen” and take heed, the responses, if any, to this post (if published) may tell you a lot.

Stevie said:

'Run responsibly' is a euphemism for 'I'm spending bugger all'- so more of the same is what I predict.

Al Jardine said:

Time will tell. I'm not optimistic, but I don't see us going down. There are a lot of poor teams in the League.

Restless Native said:

Ashley is scum. He has systematically misled the fans from the start. He is not fit to own Blyth Spartans, let alone our great club. Well, I won't forgive him for lying to me, I won't forgive him for the way he treated KK, and I won't forgive him for making my club even more of a shambles than it's been for virtually all of my life. Ashley won't get another penny from me, not one. Good post by V Profane ... but the truth is Ashley won't deliver any of the things on that list. Remember the reason KK left last transfer deadline day? Well January won't be any different.

Organisations reflect the personality of their owners. Ashley runs bargain basement shops selling cheap crap to the masses. He doesn't know any other way of operating. Is it any surprise we ended up with JFK as manager and Xisco as our 'wow signing'?

On the subject of JFK, am I the only one getting sick of his far too frequent, often sycophantic (towards Ashley) and increasingly contradictory witterings? Shut up and get on with the bloody job will you?! If JFK put half as much effort into getting his team tactics right (first half -v- Liverpool ... why didn't we go to 4-5-1 when we were being overrun from the 3rd minute?) as he does mouthing off, the claim he's even better than Capello might be marginally less ridiculous. Like I said, reality is we have a bargain basement manager, which fits with our owner's vision for our once great club.

Sy said:

It really grinds on me when people with no connection to Newcastle United aside from looking in occasionally from the outside think they know all of the club's, fans' and city's problems.

I'm sick of being told that as a Newcastle fan, I expect trophies, Robinhos and world domination.

I happen to know exactly where the club stands in its current status and present era, and know exactly what I'm hoping for from the next few seasons, with none of my immediate hopes for the club involving trophies or £30m Robinhos earning £4m a year after tax.

As for this "big club" tag which seems to be such a massive issue to everyone except Newcastle fans, it's very rare in my experience that you hear Newcastle fans using the "big club" phrase. You're more likely to hear it from newly-signed players and managers touting themselves for the job, both of which happen at a lot of clubs. But generally it's people not connected with the club discussing it in the media that tend to use the phrase. When there's a big story happening at the club then it's plastered on a continous loop on Sky Sports, while similar stories at most other clubs receive a few minutes coverage at best. Read into that what you will about the stature of the club.

The biggest problem is that there really should be two phrases used in the media - Big club and Great club. Newcastle is a great club and recent turmoil or not, that can't be disputed. Some of the players we've signed over the last decade wouldn't have signed if we weren't a great club, whether or not they turned out to be successes here. People can refer to the wages on offer, but no club can offer the wages we've offered without being a great club in some way, shape or form.

So to those who like to tell me how I see my club and what I want from it, please just keep it to yourself. Your opinions simply show that you don't know any more about the club than 99% of contributors to the average Sky Sports or BBC fan forum, and while some of our fans only have equal levels of insight (see Niels DK for one example), we shouldn't all be painted with the same brush.

Dave Robson said:


Tad Caster said:

I posted what I thought was an impassioned but reasoned and intelligent response to this and was told it was being held for moderator approval.

Tad Caster said:

Whereas the above was posted immediately. What's up?

Sy said:

Apologies if your comment was meant in jest, Niels. I don't think I'll have been the only one who missed that, but from here it read like many comments I've heard before and unfortunately the timing of it made it a good example to back up my point about where the media and supporters of other clubs get their ammunition to call us all dillusional.

As for your second post, you make many good points, and your current assessment of the situation and the immediate future of the club is very much in line with my own. Over the coming few seasons we need to improve our home form and re-establish ourselves as a solid top-flight presence with a view to regaining our regular UEFA Cup place, even via the Intertoto initially.

As for your description of AGF, this touches on a point which has irritated me (and many other fans I speak to) for some time now. This point being that our young players very rarely get a decent opportunity to come into the first team, even when we have injuries keeping the senior players on the sidelines. Too many recent managers have chosen to play fringe senior players out of position, rather than play the kids. When the kids do get some match time, it's rarely in their chosen position and as such, they struggle to show much of their potential. A good recent example is Sebastien Bassong who came into the team at left-back, but when injury forced him into his favoured centre-back position he shone, gained widespread commendation and helped us gain an unprecedented number of clean sheets, including at Chelsea of all places. The key to it, as you point out, is a manager who isn't afraid to play them. Time will tell on that one.

I see Newcastle's immediate future as being somewhere in the middle. Signing young players from elsewhere, such as Bassong, who won't command the daft wages we've paid to so many underachievers in recent years. Paying top wages is fine for top performers, but too few have performed in line with their their wages. There are three players in our first team squad on around £80k a week who haven't done much in their time here. Would those funds be better invested in 8 or 9 younger players on around £20k a week each? I think this is our future. Filling the squad with a few players like Kightly, Ledley & Skjelbred is surely more sensible than having one injury-prone player on the way down in his career. This would seem to fit in with Ashley's original player recruitment policy, so the key will be how much he's prepared so spend on transfer fees for these young players. To get the very best, the fees will hit £12m-£15m+, which I doubt he's happy to pay - even for full international youngsters, so we'll be looking at the levels beneath that. No bad thing, Bassong & Jonas (providing Article 17 was valid and done correctly!) prove there are good deals out there if you can find them. January will be interesting, I just hope for all our sakes that it's not disappointing.

R3lton said:

Send Wise up the road on a scouting trip, and hire the Blyth Spartans boys.
At least they will play with heart and soul - will not capitulate as they did against Liverpool and even if they do get beat badly - you know they have given 100%
Sell the underperfomers to Arsenal/ManUre or anyone who is interested in some of that dross and start rebuilding.

ronnie lambert said:

BURK, I apologise for assuming you weren't a supporter, if indeed you are, given the nature of your comments. Sorry to disappoint you on your 90's bandwagon rant but I've been attending matches since I was 10 yrs. old in 1960, isn't that before you were born son? Even in the dark ages I would brave the dark at st. james's park at the gallowgate end in the rain watching Billy Whitehurst and George (RAMBO/MAVIS) Riley etc. Keegan took us the nearest to winning the league since 1927, got us into Europe and made us everyone's second team, 'the entertainers', and would've got us back there again but for low-life London barrowboys. How does anyone know that he really presented a list full of Becks and Lampards to Ashley? How do we know that he didn't just mention that standard of player as being what we should be going for in a private conversation, with tongue in cheek? I'd personally believe anything he said above that lot of spivs. On your figure of 75% of fans sharing your, this blog doesn't seem to bear that out, but I would agree with you on that percentage giving up on their early season oath never to drink Ashley's beer until he'd gone. I will agree with you on the fact that he "says he's taken the club off the market, if it was ever seriously on" that it's futile to continue any bitterness against him. Lord, we suffered Shephard and Hall for years after they openly turned on us. There is a chance to rescue this Ashley inficted disaster from this moment in time if we all support the team as we did against Liverpool, IF he coughs up for half a dozen GOOD players in Jan. and summer, from all the t.v.,and our money. I can't see him getting back-slapped again though, by anyone other than crawling sycophants. You sound like you're well up to it Berky.

Big Kev said:

What's wrong with putting in £20m a year on top of TV, ticket money etc? I think thats fair enough I mean why should Ashley put in more? Would any of you? The economic situation is having an effect on everything & football will also suffer, just watch the fire sales at Pompy & WHUFC over the next 12 months. The Smoggies have had coz they're now skint & if LFC don't win the league this year I doubt they ever will due to their financial state. Look at Villa they've done it right by buying 2/3 quality young players over the past 3 seasons building a sqaud & now they are challenging the top 4, we should be looking at their modal & that of Arsenal, buying 20/21 year olds for £6/8m coz lets face it once they get to 27/28 & cost £20m+ we have no chance.
We're miles away from Euoropean football at present but as Villa have shown if you give it a bit of thougt & have a plan you can get there. Ashley & Wise are here to stay for the time being so lets get behind everyone at NUFC, ensure we survive which we should & move forward in 2009. We are NOT a big club at the minute but we can be!!

ronnie lambert said:

Burky, just kidding son, I just love playing on words, it's what I do in my perpetual housebound condition, apart from going to the match. Sorry I touched a nerve or two and you're obviously a very dedicated supporter, but I think you kicked the ner-ners off with your 22 year thing and me a bandstand jumper. I'll shake hands with you mentally on the fact that we're both gold-plated supporters. I've previously stated on this blog that I detested what Ashley did to KK, or his cronies Llambias and Wise, on that black Sunday transfer deadline. But I've conceded to common sense in that he might be here for the rest of OUR lives so it's futile to continue with a campaign of retribution, bearing in mind that his future tenure might well produce the cup or league title one day. May I assure you that I don't have any cronies, or personally know anyone else on Lee's blog though you do get familiar with certain pseudonyms here because of interesting or witty comments. May I also include my comment here from the 20th. December, I wish you well Burky.

ron lambert said: ........... we've all slagged Ashley off from day one of the Keegan assassination. It's also apparent to me, and probably the blog boss Lee that we've mellowed recently, not cos we're Ashley's secret PR agents, but because of the club's long-term welfare. Also from a human standpoint, it only damages yourself to continue with anger and hatred..... I've personally observed a few writers to this and the Journal's blog that many of the hate-merchants are from abroad and don't really support the club in the literal sense. Of course they're entitled to their own opinons but to slag off other match-going supporters for exercising their rights is infantile. I, along with tens of thousands of others, in line with some in the new supporters' group decided to boycott the beer, food and club merchandise on matchdays. Since then, Ive suffered not having a drink, pie or program, feeling it was a right and proper thing to do for NUFC's future. But in recent weeks, the beer and bovril queues have taken the staff by surprise, maybe because they'd been trimmed, to a point that you can hardly get a pint at halftime unless you set out 5mins before the whistle. My point being bob, people want their matchday to be a pleasure again, with all of the trimmings. How long should I maintain my stance, to my unhappiness, if everybody else has softened?
If Ashley can't or won't find a buyer, he might be chairman/owner for the rest of your life. He might be gaffer over a cup-winning, or title-winning team one day, what will you do then mate? It's up to the individual, the ticket buyers who each have the right to support 'their team' as they see fit.
December 20, 2008 5:00 PM

P.S. Keegan left first time after beating Spurs 7-1 as you well know..why? cos he'd been promised on a handshake that he'd be given a slice of the action if he took us to the top end of the premiership and europe etc. A meeting circa then, they asked him if he had that in writing. What would you have done? He left a great team and a great job on principle. Same as this time. Honest guys like him are called mugs by the bigshots, one born every minute. His Fulham and City jobs had similar stories behind them where he shocked his bosses by sticking to HIS word. The England job was self-explanatory, he admitted he couldn't take them any further...end of. I love the man and believe he's done more for the Toon than Shearer and the lovely Sir Bob put togethe but that's just my opinion.

Restless Native said:

I fundamentally believe that every Newcastle fan is entitled to their own opinion. And to conduct their 'business' with the club in line with their conscience. So - whether that means boycotting games altogether, going but not having a half-time pie & a pint, or being comfortable lining Ashley's coffers at every opportunity - I respect it's a personal decision we each have to make.

Personally, my own standpoint on the current situation is based upon my perception of 'the truth', as I have watched events unfold during my 25 or so years following the club. This is my truth:

1. I am not aware of a single occasion when KK was anything but 100% honest with the fans of the club and his employers.

2. KK walked out shortly into his first stint as manager because Surgeon Hall broke promises made to him which were critical in terms of taking the club forward.

3. KK walked out in 1997 for exactly the reason Ronnie states - another major broken promise.

4. KK walked out earlier this season because he could clearly see that we - the fans - were being hoodwinked, and he was being used as little more than a PR tool.

5. KK is a man of integrity and he loves Newcastle United. That love goes way beyond his incredible stint as a player and his successful 5-year reign as manager - it is because his Father was a Geordie. KK gets it - he gets the City, the club and the fans. That's why he connected with us like so few Managers ever have.

6. Contrast all of the above with the actions of Mike Ahley since he took over. Promised 'wow signings'. Promised Keegan had control over who came in and left. Promised a £20m spend each season. Reality? Didn't deliver on any of those promises and instead he has engaged in nothing but a PR war, blaming KK and blaming the fans for his own failings.

I have not mellowed in my view of Ashley, and I won't. KK was one of our own. Ashley is a charlatan. They shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath. I honestly mean it when I say I would rather we were in the Championship and owned by someone with honour. A piece of silverware won under Ashley's stewardship would be tainted with the lies and deceit he has systematically peddled. Personally, I would take runners-up but with honour every time - even if it means blowing a 12-point lead.

Roger Ramjet said:

If any of you out there who were calling for his head when he got rid of Keegan are welcoming this idiot back then you want to take a good hard look at yourselves. Does anyone really believe that he was going to sell?? Talk of a £400m price tag putting off investors who had arranged to meet with Ashley in the middle east??? Ashley going off on the p*** in some bar instead of meeting up with potential buyers for talks??? There have not been ANY investors in for the club, there has been NO due diligence (everyones new favourite phrase). in short, if you can't see that this was alays the plan then you are all fools. But then again, wheres the surprise there?

ClivetheMag said:

My main concern with Ashley's continuing presence is his persistence at sticking with certain personnel
He is almost certainly committed to sticking with Kinnear whatever the outcome at the end of the season and whilst Joe has done a fine job in the man management department with what was a desolate group of players I have serious doubts over his tactical awareness, particularly in his ability to address issues during the game, which have cost us dearly in recent home games
The weakness of the current coaching staff was brought painfully into focus during the immediate aftermath of Keegan's departure, yet no attempt has been made to address this.
Finally and most serious of all is the retention of Dennis Wise who appears to include undermining the current manager as part of his rloe and responsibilities.Having been told that the priority signings this time round must be a left back, a centre half and a central midfielder his first reported offer of the transfer window has been for a RIGHT WINGER
If JK thought he had control over transfer policy then I suspect he is about to learn otherwise, and if he gets to the "one of us must go" situation ask Keegan who he'll put his money on staying

Mikey H said:

What the man means is he was never going to get the amount of money he wanted (needs) based upon the expectations of the club in the Premiership at this time and (of course) the current financial climate where wallets are tight shut. I doubt he is a man to cut his losses so he must stay with it until there is an upturn. He may be a fan but he is also a bloody good business man. There is no sentiment in business! Let's see how much he personally coughs up in transfer fees.

Only real fans have sentiment. Go for it Joe.

Mike H said:

What the man means is he was never going to get the amount of money he wanted (needs) based upon the expectations of the club in the Premiership at this time and (of course) the current financial climate where wallets are tight shut. I doubt he is a man to cut his losses so he must stay with it until there is an upturn. He may be a fan but he is also a bloody good business man. There is no sentiment in business! Let's see how much he personally coughs up in transfer fees.

Only real fans have sentiment. Go for it Joe.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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