Monday, 15 September 2008

Its all gone to hell in a handcart

How to sum up what has happened in the past four days??? *sigh*

- Friday - Keegan and Ashley meet in London, LMA release a statement that no agreement has been reached between the two... Rumors abound that Ashely is trying to entice Keegan back
- Saturday - The much vaunted protests by the fans took place - including marches, alleged boycotts of merchandise, bed-sheets for posters and innumerable chants of "sack the board" Oh, and Newcastle United managed to loose to Hull City, convincingly and soundly beaten.
- Sunday - Mike Ashely releases a statement (which is now being criticised for being too long) which basically says "I've had enough, I'm off" as a For Sale sign goes up on Barrack Road
- Monday - The club has to release another statement, denying that they've sacked Alan Shearer from his role as Club Ambassador due to the remarks that he's made as a result of Keegan debacle. (Apparently his contract had ended at the end of last season, but hey, why let that get in the way of a made up story - that bastion of press righteousness the Daily Mail was responsible for this one*)

So, what on earth is going to happen next? A mysterious fire at SJP for the insurance money? A take over bid from an Irish Consortia with links to Wearside?.... The rate these few days have panned out then it wouldn't surprise me...

A few thoughts on the past few days

  • I still don't believe the press portrayal of the extent of the protests on Saturday - sure a lot of people are angry, but the woman on MOTD who claimed her "life had been ruined" by Keegan's departure should either get out more, or stop trying to get onto the telly
  • Ashely's statement read well, was very sensible and I actually agree with what he has been trying to do. There is a logic in trying to run the football club as a business, to make it viable and to establish a model whereby the talent is both sustainable and affordable. I don't believe that Fergson, Wenger nor even Keane have a say in each and every transfer that comes in through the door. I don't see how many can disagree with:-
"I want Newcastle to be able to create its own legends of the future to rival those of the past. This is a long term plan. A long term plan for the future of the club so that it can flourish.

One person alone can't manage a Premiership football club and scout the world looking for world class players and stars of the future. It needs a structure and it needs people who are dedicated to that task. It needs all members of the management team to share that vision for it to work.
  • The problem is the way that he's gone about it. Dennis Wise was loathed by many in football because of the way he conducted himself in the past - Leeds. Chelsea, Wimbledon, Swindon... I ask you... never mind what he has done to taxi drivers. He was never going to be popular and there was always a suspicion that Ashely brought in Wise to be the next manager. The statement has come too late to win back hearts and minds - the battle for the hearts and minds had been lost.
  • Who would want to buy the club? The talk of a fans buy-out is fanciful and misguided. It might work for Ebbsfleet United, but Newcastle United is on a bigger scale - that has been at the core of the problem. RadioFive were suggesting tonight that Freddy Sheperd may be 'persuaded' to come back... Spare us.
  • Who will be the next manager? - and who would want to take the job? It looks to me like Chris Houghton for the foreseeable future. But it must be bad, because I found myself thinking that Steve Bruce might not be a bad option.
To cheer myself up over the weekend I dug out an old DVD of Our Friends in the North a mid 1990's TV drama which was loosely based on the corruption scandal surrounding T Dan Smith and John Pouslon (amongst other things). Apart from launching the career of several of Britain's best actors (Christopher Eccleston, Daniel Craig, Gina McGee and Mark Strong) it also portrayed Newcastle to be full of proud but parochial people. That stereotype still exists today, the flames of it are fanned by the press and parading banners with "Cockney Mafia Out" around the ground just re-enforces it. (Its also probably inaccurate seeing as I don't think Ashely was born within the sound of Bow Bells nor is of Italian extraction.)

Its time we all moved on. This has gone beyond a joke, its now painful. Stoppit....

* I've never yet manged to read a full copy of the Daily Mail - I occasionally come across a copy, start to read it, get to about page 5-7 stumble onto some xenophobic, sexist or royalist (usually Diana related) comment. This causes me to tut and leave the paper wherever I found it. Is it just me?


Michael said...

It's not just you with the Daily Mail, believe me!
Actually, I felt a bit sorry for Ashley after scanning (I wasn't about to read all that!) his statement. Two things are clear, though: he should have said it months ago and he still doesn't get the fans. It's not that I expect success now. I'm a Newcastle fan - I never expect anything but disappointment. But I did think that someone would at least attempt to address the glaring inadequacies in the squad. Like signing a left-back, for instance. Or a central midfielder who can pass the ball. Coloccini and Gutierrez, great - but the net efforts of Wise and Jimenez have left us with a lop-sided squad that was always going to be a few key injuries away from disaster.

As for I said, I feel a bit sorry for Ashley!

TeeTotallyNot said...

I actually did read the whole thing.. and almost choked on my coffee when I go to the sobby part of "I can't take me kids to football anymore..." - has he ever?!?
Some things he said do make sense but he went about it the wrong way.. or with the wrong people.. the "European structure" might work but it requires the manager/coach/whateveryouwannacallhim to communicate with the director of football.. as for the muppets we're saddled with - I've met fish more loquacious.
We're dangerously close to reaching the point of no return - the team is falling apart, no one in their right mind would take the manager's job until matters are sorted. Without a proper manager/coach we can't get results and who'd buy a club that's dropping faster than Paris Hilton's knickers...(not to speak of the ridiculous money MyCashley is allegedly asking for). Vicious circle that. We could be caught in it for months...
I'll go and keep banging my head on the table for a while now.. before I continue my holiday and attend the West Ham game.

Karen Toon said...

At the risk of sounding like a Ashley defender, he has taken his kids to the game before ('s them...However, I completely agree that he went about it the wrong way - and still is, if the rumours about him hawking the club around the middle-east are true (punctuated with visits to Dubai based night-clubs)

It now feels to me that we have reached the point of no return. No doubt a hammering by the Toon old boys XI later today will provide the press which more material to rub the collective Northern noses in it.