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No manager, an AWOL owner, no pre-season plans but at least you can buy your iron on Coca-Cola badges for a fiver!

By Lee Ryder on Jun 10, 09 11:55 AM

So let's get this straight, Newcastle United are for sale, have no manager, an AWOL owner and nothing in terms of pre-season friendlies arranged or preparations sorted for a marathon 46 game dogfight in the Championship - oh but your season ticket money will be expected soon when you renewal packs come through the door in the next day or so.

And as the official clubwebsite says we can "now start to look forward" to the new season and get your Championship fixtures and sign up to the SMS service for 25p a pop!

What a bargain and while you're in the mood and you've paid the full whack for you new kit (£75 a go), why not snap up your iron Coca-Cola badges for just a fiver!

Nobody's sure which players to get on the back of your new top but one safe bet might be Shola Ameobi just a few months into his new deal after Joe Kinnear "persuaded" him to commit his future with a lucrative new deal.

The Profitable Group who have expressed an interest in buying the club contacted the Chronicle.

This was denied by Derek Llambias in our sister paper the Journal after he refused to take calls or respond to official interview requests through the club to react to the situation.

And when the Profitable Group came back today to confirm they were in "serious" about their plan, Llambias simply replied "no" to a request for a comment this morning.

Whether Llambias, who swung the doors open to the media again in the new year, has decided to bolt them shut again in light of a bit of stick over their refusal to appoint Alan Shearer as boss remains to be seen.

As Ashley said in January: "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"

Well no you haven't actually.

But it has to be said, in my opinion, how much control Llambias has at St James's Park has never been up in the air more than now.

For when Mike Ashley flew out of Tyneside in his chopper over two weeks ago, the Shearer talks dried up and the deal has seemingly collapsed.

We're told that the only people Profitable are dealing with, and all other interested parties, are Seymour Pierce and Keith Harris.

Yet the way it's going, you are likely to get more sense out of Orville.

As it stands Newcastle remains a club on its knees, with little hope and no direction whatsoever.

It has to be argued that the reluctance of Ashley to appoint Shearer now is to save a few quid until July 1 when pre-season starts.

But that will be no consolation when an inferior squad are battling for Championship survival in March will it?

43 Comments

Tad Caster said:

You ought to have been this angry months ago!

gordon said:

Why dont you embaress this four eyed moron in the paper,make him the idiot that he is you will not have to worry about any interviews if thats what you were worried about in the first place.

Graham Southern Toon said:

The whole situation is a complete joke, actually it has gone past being that! Ashley says sorry for not knowing how to run a football club which has been fairly obvious anyway but it doesnt take a rocket scientist to work out that he needs to employee a manager now!
Shearer would be the best bet to bring in the fans next season and start the ball rolling towards pre-season but if Ashley is waiting to sell so new owners can bring in there man then next season is doomed already.
I for one have had enough of reading the paper or checking the internet for news on a new owner or Manager, think it will just be a case of waiting for that first Championship match to see which 11players run out for us?

Ryan B said:

Lee, I think you deserve your dues for being brave enough to give them the chance to open up all those weeks ago.

Despite the flack you received for doing this, you gave them a platform and Llambias made his own promises on communicating. His position and silence now shows just how empty those promises were. Well done.

All out war against these cretins is the only way forward now - they have failed your generous efforts of diplomacy.

Jim said:

Did Ashley put a bet on relegation before he bought the club? With EVERY decision he has made, the club has sunk further in to the myre. Nobody is so incompetant to have ammased the amount of cockups, leading to near administration, as this man. Something is very seriously wrong and I'm starting to wonder if it's deliberate, right up to the official 'for sale' statement with email address weeks before we start over, in the Championship with what looks like no players, no manager , no staff, no owner and nothing to be optimistic about. I can't get a staement out of my head, said by Wheeler to Ashley when they were sports retailer buisness rivals, "There's a club in the North, and you're not in it." This might just be Ashleys reply, and (in his head) worth every penny. Bitter... aye, but I tell you this, if the Toon Army marched on his home (in pleace but protest), we'd probably get a quicker sale and a point across to the whole country.

relton said:

Hey man - that was my orville gag back in the last blog !!!!!!
Seriously - lets get even gloomier - is it Ashleys interest to flog the ground - build car parks/flats and try and recoup money that way now ?
Does he care if we get relegated from teh Championship - will this make the five year plan (gaining lucre from the real estate) come to light ?

Nedders said:

Oh, but in spite of the fact we have no manager, no plans for next season, no decisions and next to no hope at all, it's ok to sell the playing squad?? This has gone way beyond any nightmare - will it ever end?

John said:

what a farce this has turned into, and where we go from here, is anyone's guess, as usual no communication from these dummies, who everytime the sh*t hits the fan, they run off like little babies, instead of handling the problems, how this guy managed to have so much money is beyond belief, and the danger is, he will start allowing the players to leave, and pocket the transfer fee's, leaving us about a dead duck.
The thing is, there is little anyone can do about it, we have no club at the moment, only in name, the heart has been ripped out, all there is left, is an empty vessel, letting in water. drifting along, going nowhere for now, till the big wave comes, and sinks us for good.
Alan Shearer is now getting the same treatment as what was handed out to KK, I wonder what he thinks now, i bet it's i should of stayed at the bbc, out the way.

Fed up mag said:

Spot on comments Lee
You have offerd them a chance to speak to yourself and the fans and they have thrown it back in yours and our faces. Is it possible to start giving Ashley and Lambiarse a right good kicking in the press from now on because these clowns deserve it.

DavidK said:

Like about 50 thousand others I'm still hoping, still bloody angry, but still here, but if Harry Potter and the Market Trader think they're getting another penny of my money, they're in for a long wait. For once I'm in agreement with direct action. Boycott club shops, boycott Sports Direct and Lee, do us all a favour and go for the throat in every issue.
If it comes to standing silently outside the Market Trader's security fence in Hertfordshire until he's shamed or shaken into making his first sensible business decision since he bought the club then so be it, I'll get me coat......

Paul P said:

IMHO it's all about the money now for Ashley - the club has a £100m price ticket on it, but if Ashley can sell off 3-4 players for around £20m then that will help to reduce his losses. Of course it means the club has just been stripped of its assets before the sale but that will be for the buyers to worry about.
Of course he wouldn't want Alan Shearer around while this was going on, the man wouldn't stand for it!
Of course it could all backfire if no buyer comes forward - but then I think we've all worked out Ashley's not too bright is he?

Scotty said:

I'm in agreement with Fed up mag and DavidK you should do for the throat in every issue Lee give these clowns a kicking. I think a boycott of Sports Direct and Club shops will not work while we have chavs the type that we see standing outside shearers bar talking guff to the sky sports news cameras have dole money to spend. I have not spent a penny in either of the above outlets since the Keegan fiasco back in September and as for my season ticket I'm waiting to see what happens during June and July. I'm sad to say that some of the lads who sit next to me and have been fans since the 60's have already cancelled their season tickets and these lads have been with this club through thick and thin. Thats how fed up these lads are and it's sad.

Jack said:

He dosn't care about next season for this crippled wreck of a football team though does he. The criminal who purchased the club a few years ago has never had ambitions for anything else than to make money. Arsenal were held up as the model. This has never been the case. The model was more like Wigan. Sign them, play them, then sell them. The difference being Dave Welan clearly has a vested interest in whether Wigan Athletic compete in the top division.

Ashley is now on his way now, but not before he has drained every last penny out of the club he possiblity can. As in:

Every player up for sale regardless of their potential in the 2nd division.

No manager in place means no wages to pay to manager - sound bussiness sense. Next season? F*ck em, not my problem.

Pre season friendlies? Don't waste my time.

Transfer targets? Jesus Christ, stop it, my sides are hurting, no realy, lord mercy, no that is funny though, what a cracker, say that again, I'll be saving that one for Dennis and the lads down the Red Lion on Friday.

Communication with any of the people who live in Newcastle? Well perhaps he has actualy realised that it would be impossible to lie anymore than he already has.

'I give you my word' - what a f*cking joke.

A wise man once said 'I only have two things in this life, my word and my balls'.

Well Ashley could have all the money in the world, on these to counts he is bankrupt.

brian from durham said:

I repeat a previous blog. Once Ashley has set the selling price, he should not be able to sell the stock, as this is up to the new owners, who may wish to keep some players to at least put a team out.As to selling the ground, he cannot as it is only leased from the council.

Bryn said:

How will selling players help cover his losses when the majority of transfers are paid over the length of a players contract?

Also there's no point in Ashley appointing Shearer as the new lot might not want him, if that's the case then the situation will be similar to when Keegan walked out on us again with fans protests etc.

Shearer would be unsackable.

Steve S said:

Ashley is out to destroy the club, every decision he has made particularly in the last 6 months leads to this. The prospect of administration and a points deduction next season is possible and with no players or structure to fight we could quite likely go down again.

Ashley will never forgive the fans after the KK saga, any other owner would have tried to make amends and get on with the job but Ashley has proven to be childish and petulant as well as a really dumb businessman. Gerard Ratner would have done a better job than this idiot.

matt said:

Mr Ashley is taking the **** out of our club, and he’s taking the **** out of our city. Shearer would be doing NUFC a favour if he brought matters to a head and withdrew his offer to oversee the rebuilding process. There will be no rebuilding if Mr Ashley doesn’t sell up, only an increasingly rapid decline into oblivion. Come back when we’ve got a new owner Alan.

Restless Native said:

What happened to the 'proper persons' test that we heard so much about when Shinawatra (sp?) was Citeh?


How much evidence does anyone need that this fat idiot isn't fit to own our club? Is there no protection in place to guard against this sort of incompetemce and blatant mismanagement? If he was a President he's be impeached. Surely there is SOMETHING that the game's governing body can do to intervene?


Ashley has humiliated our club, our City and our tribe.

Matty said:

Well Lads, thank god we have the NUSC out there setting the record straight in the media on the fans behalf. NUSC who?

DavidK said:

I know it's a fine line when footballers and their contracts are concerned, but in law, wouldn't the contracts of players be considered a capital asset of the business?
If this is the case, any attempt to sell that contract or fundamentally change any of the parties defined in that contract would, I think, be prohibited if any party involved in the sale of the club had entered due dilligence, without the full consent of that party. The bottom line of this would be, should the market trader try to plunder the assets by selling off any players, that sale could either be prevented by an injunction, or leave him in the position that once the sale had completed he could be sued by the new owners for misrepresentation of the assets of the club. I wonder if that thought has entered his razor-sharp business brain?

keir waugh said:

and finally the chronicle snap!....
welcome to the club Lee.
bit of a joke aint it....now i dont know about you but that article would make a cracking front page and a belting headline!

keir waugh said:

and one more thing...surely its now a cat who has had nine lives?
surely now the chronicle just declares all out war against ashley and his cronies and we see more of these types of articles in the paper on a regular basis?

Andy said:

I dont think people understand how grave our situation is. It is not about rebuilding, the club is currently losing about £700,000 per week.

Ashley is a billionaire and he has run for the hills at the prospect of the losses, what do you think flakey consortiums will make of the prospect of this bottomless pit.

Until we get at least 7 or 8 high earners off the wage bill and drop the losses down to south of £250k per week the very survival of the club is under threat. In that context, who cares whether we have set up a pre season friendly yet.

I have it from good authority that Shearer wanted a right of veto over individual player sales, a laudable football obective in normal times, but in reality Ashley has put every player up for sale until the losses are brought under control.

People say shearer will bring in the fans. But even an extra 10,000 fans will only represent £4m of turnover. This is less than we have to pay in wages and fees for Nolan and Nelson. Think about it - the Shearer effect wont even cover Nolan and Nelsons wages. Things are grim.

People are saying next years turnover will be £45m. Unfortunately, £5m of that (from Northern rock) has already been received and spent on michael owen. Think about it, 11% of next years turnover which is already 50% down will be spent on Michael Owen.

As much as the man (Ashley) is an incompetent bafoon - it is better in our current state to have a billionaire standing behind us than no one. Those who think things cannot get worse are wrong, very very wrong.

Toon Graeme said:

Lee, go for the jugular on these clowns - they are on the way out - time to tell it as it is!!

kieran said:

any optimism i had for next season is rapidly diminishing. we spent all of last season with clubs (quite rightly) thinking they could take points off us because of the turmoil and that looks set to continue this season. at least i might get to watch newcastle a few miles down the road from me at mk dons stadium soon if this goes on

bob said:

I bet Blyth Spartans are already dreaming of the day they'll be playing at St James' Park.

brian from durham said:

Comments re Ashley being a billionaire are way wide of the mark. He is such an astute business man he has seen his fortune halved in 12 months.Still very rich but not a billionaire, so let us just be shot of him, and get someone in who understands football matters.Things can only improve.

Stephen said:

Re: Andy,

Who sanctioned the Nolan and Taylor purchases? Who awarded Shola a bumper new contract? Why doesn't anyone from the club tell the supporters how grave the situation really is? I'll follow Newcastle whichever league we play in but I won't hand another penny over to Ashley...

Tardonicus said:

I'm having a hard time accepting that Ronaldo's RIGHTS are the same value as NUFC, the academy and St. James' Park. The financial gulf is widening by the second. Even if you're a comfortable mid-table Premier league club, you've no hope of a title right now. This has to be a bubble ready to burst.

This era has to end before too long. Man U with nearly $1 Billion in debts? The Big Four a combined 2 billion? Yes, this era will crack too. We need to be in shape when football comes full circle, and an Everton, Villa, Pompey, Newcastle or Tottenham can win the league.

Let's just keep looking forward. Everything that has happened up to today is sh*#e under our feet. This club will not dissolve. "This too shall pass". We'll return to form and be a force to be reckoned with as the Big Four era declines.

Colin said:

Nice to see you finally getting stuck into this joke of an administration.
It's just a pity that its taken relegation and everything that comes with it to get you angry, Lee.
Its a pity that, instead of using your blog to slate fellow fans in the NUSC for daring to say the same things to Llambias's face, you wern't printing these polemics four months ago.
So what if NUSC interupted the precious unelected members of the "supporter's panel" from fawning over Llambias and his fine selection of free pastries!
NUSC have sometimes let emotion get the better of them, just like you did in that previous blog, but in the end they have been proven right about this man Ashley.

I hope to see more criticism along these lines from you Lee, God knows we don't need another Oliver!

Colin C said:

Nice to see you finally getting stuck into this joke of an administration.
It's just a pity that its taken relegation and everything that comes with it to get you angry, Lee.
Its a pity that, instead of using your blog to slate fellow fans in the NUSC for daring to say the same things to Llambias's face, you wern't printing these polemics four months ago.
So what if NUSC interupted the precious unelected members of the "supporter's panel" from fawning over Llambias and his fine selection of free pastries!
NUSC have sometimes let emotion get the better of them, just like you did in that previous blog, but in the end they have been proven right about this man Ashley.

I hope to see more criticism along these lines from you Lee, God knows we don't need another Oliver!

Maggotpie said:

Shearer will be the bland leading the bland. Into oblivion. Northern Premier League, Stephen?

BrianBilly said:

Yes it is typical NUFC mayhem, and to rub salt in the wounds the players on high money are saying that they want to stay and fight.

Great, however they fail to add the all important statement of "and I will play for championship wages to show my disssapointment at getting us in this mess..."

They want to stay because they will not get anywhere near the same money at another club. The club should call them out on it and cut their wages. See how quick the transfer request flow in then.

mark said:

I LIKE MANY OTHERS AM LIVID WITH THE SITUATION AT SJP. ASHLEY HAS MADE MANY ERRORS ALONG THE WAY TO PUT IT MILDLY BUT IF I HEAR ONE MORE BLOODY WORD OUT OF SIR JOHN HALLS MOUTH IN THE NEAR FUTURE I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RESIST FILLING IT. I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SEE THE DAY THAT I HAD ANYTHING BUT PRAISE FOR OUR FORMER OWNER BUT LET'S GET THIS STRAIGHT. THIS IS THE MAN WHO SOLD THE CLUB IN UNDER A WEEK TO A COMPLETE NOVICE WHILST SHEPARD, THE OTHER MAJOR SHAREHOLDER WAS IN HOSPITAL SERIOUSLY ILL AND COMPLETLY OBLIVIOUS TO THE KNIFE BEEN DRIVEN INTO HIS BACK! HALL SOLD WITHOUT ANY DUE DILLIGANCE OR CHECKS ON THIS SO CALLED BUISNESSMAN, HE LOOKED AT HIS BANK BALANCE(ON PAPER MAY I ADD), TOOK THE MONEY AND RUN. I POINT TO DOUG ELLIS AS A SELF MADE MAN, FROM THE REGION, BIG FAN OF THE CLUB AND A MAN WHO FOR 3 YEARS WAS EARGED TO SELL HIS STAKE AND GET OUT OF TOWN. WHAT DID HE DO? STUCK 2 FINGERS UP, RODE IT OUT, AND ALTHOUGH HE HAD MANY POTENTIAL BUYERS HE SAID HE WASN'T PREPARED TO JUST CASH IN AND RUIN ALL THE GOOD WORK, EFFORT, FINANCE AND INFASTRUCTURE HE HAD INVESTED IN AV. HE WAITED FOR THE RIGHT MAN TO TAKE OVER THE BATTEN AND DRIVE THE CLUB ON. TAKE A BOW MR PRESS SHY RANDY LERNER, A PROFFESIONAL BUISNESS MAN(THEY DO EXIST). MARTIN O NEIL, A YOUNG VIBRANT BRITISH SQUAD WITH A GOOD RESALE VALUE AND EUROPEAN FOOTBALL. AND THE CHERRY ON THE CAKE, DOUG ELLIS HOUNARY CHAIRMAN STILL AT EVERY GAME AND NO UPHEAVAL BEHIND THE SCENCES. ALL AT SJP DOES NOT JUST REST ON ASHLEYS SHOULDERS, HALL SHOULDN'T HAVE SOLD TO THE IDIOT!!!! I HOPE YOU SLEEP WELL AT NIGHT SIR JOHN? YOU'VE MANAGED TO LEAVE US BACK WHERE YOU PICKED US UP ALL THOSE YEARS AGO, WELL DONE, TAKE A BOW! I HOPE NOW WE CAN GET A PROPER STRUCTURED INVESTOR TO TAKE CONTROL, INVEST AND DRIVE THE TOON FORWARD AND MAKE OUR RIDICULED CLUB GREAT AGAIN. TIMES ARE HARD AND EMOTION IS HIGH BUT KEEP THE FAITH, THE GEORDIES WILL RISE AGAIN.(JUST LIKE THE PHEONIX!) MARK OF THE TOON.

Stephen said:

Re: Maggot,

Like I said - whichever league we play in I will follow Newcastle. We are more loyal than your lot...

M. Sebastian T. said:

As Lee points out next season will be a "marathon 46 game dogfight in the Championship". The talent level of opponents will be lower but the physical demands will be higher. Any Toon fan who thinks winning the second tier crown or even making the playoffs will be easy is deluded.

Assuming the joke season will end before July rols around (I do mean July 2009!) it is unlikely that Shearer has the know how to "do a Keano". The best fans should expect is to finish mid-table because the list of clubs better equipped is quite long. Taking a look at opponents can anybody expect Toon to finish above the following teams: Bristol City, Cardiff City, Derby County, Ipswich Town, Middlesbrough, Preston, Reading, Sheffield Und, Sheffield Wed, Watford, West Brom. Which suggests about 12th place is the objective for a new manager whether or not that is Shearer.

It could be worse because if the joke saeson does not end soon the struggle will be to finish just above teams like Barnsley, Blackpool, Doncaster Rovers, Peterborough and Scunthorpe.

My bet is that some of the proposed groups bidding to take the club over are Ashley's friends getting in on the act of taking the *@#$ out of Newcastle fans and public.

Neil Gilholm said:

'Now start to look forward' as it said on my season ticket renewal what a load of rubbish, how can we look forward to Swansea, Cardiff, QPR, Reading etc. My season ticket renewal went with the old bean tins, empty lager tins and pizza boxes. just hope nobody steals it from the bin cos they're in for a miserable year

lambtonwyrm said:

Ashley looks more and more like a Delboy or Arfur Daly caricature as each day goes by. I am amazed he ever got to be a billionaire. His handling of the club is beyond belief and I struggle to call it incompetence as it is much worse.
I realise that due diligence has started and that limits what he can do but he had the opportunity to appoint Shearer before that started. Why didn't he?
What of the club doesn't sell? We're already struggling to prepare for next season and we need to reduce the wage bill dramatically. The longer it goes on then the harder it gets.

deano said:

NOW is the time to take these idiots apart in your paper lee. Let them know how everyone feels about the whole situation. You must have so much to say that you couldn't before. You dont have to worry about being frozen out at st james as they wont own the club for long. Also why stop there...... publicly take some of the players apart, people like Owen and Barton...... oh any of them, they all deserve it. Show your worth and boost your papers sales.

bryanundeluded said:

Personaly i' beginning to panick,it's getting on and we are still not sorted,even the the players who said they would stay and fight are making noises in the press about moveing on, and to be honest who would blame them,at this rate we'll be hurried into the opening game still in disarray, something we could do without considering we are going to be the scalp everyone is going to want, anyone on here who thinks we are going to sail through to promotion is fooling themselves,the way we are going about things i can only see us attracting desperate has beens and second raters, it's so depressing.B

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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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