What are the alternatives to Mike Ashley?

Newcastle's divisive owner

Newcastle’s divisive owner

I want to make it clear from the outset that I do not like Mike Ashley, nor do I think his ownership is good for the long-term stability and success of our football club. I don’t think anything he has done has ever been done solely in the best interests of the club. I also believe that anything he has done that can remotely be described as ‘good’ has always had some financial interest or benefit for himself.

He has made a comedy of errors and blunders in his time as Newcastle United’s owner; undermining club legend Kevin Keegan effectively forcing him from the club, the harsh dismissal of Chris Hughton who had secured promotion back to the Premier League, as well as the insulting decision to re-name St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena, all come to mind. On top of that, we’ve had a number of very disappointing transfer windows which have led many fans to believe that Mike Ashley has no long-term ambition for Newcastle United other than making as much money as possible from it. With this in mind, many Newcastle United fans have had enough and think he should be forced to sell up and leave the club as soon as possible.

Change can be a worrying time; not knowing what the future may bring can lead to a lot of anxiety and distress, and some fans are already pre empting this feeling of anxiety. These fans are somewhat resistant to the notion of change because they are worried about the vacuum that will inevitably be created following Mike Ashley’s departure. Some believe that forcing Mike Ashley out of the club before he is good and ready will do more harm than good for the stability of the club. My answer to that would be this: do not worry, trust in your fellow fans that we can work together for what is truly the best interests of Newcastle United. No one is suggesting that Mike Ashley should leave the club tomorrow with no captain to steer the ship, not that he would ever do that anyway.

Fans that are calling for change seem to be suggesting that we need to get all fans groups, along with ordinary fans, media outlets and local business people and sit down together and form a cogent, structured plan for the future that will ultimately see Newcastle United ran in the correct fashion. This plan may take on many manners of means to do that, such as the concept of 100% fan ownership, the idea of approaching a consortium of businessmen, or even courting an Arab Prince (last resort obviously) but at least the fans would be talking.

We are all anxious of what the future might bring for Newcastle United, or what damage could possibly be done, but let’s not let that anxiety and fear silence us. Let’s not let these concerns justify the utter contempt that Mike Ashley holds for you, me and every other Newcastle United fan across the world. Don’t let fear shut you up. Make your voice heard. Save your football club. It needs you now more than ever.

Comments are very much welcome.

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20 comments

  1. Very very well written ruddy and completely agree with every word

    Mike Ashley is in it for himself, the future of the club is the same as the present we will never progress on or off the pitch with this man at the helm
    From his questionable appointments of staff to those hideous SD advertising boards and the fact we’ve had to rely on wonga to give us back SJP it’s clear he has no place for this fine club in his heart with no belief and no passion and certainly no idea to just how much NUFC means to the people of the city
    It’s more than a club but sadly he can’t see this through the £ signs

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    1. Glad to see I haven’t scarred you for life with my improper use of “mercur…” actually I’m not going to say it again! haha

      It is very deflating to see an owner with little ambition other than milking this club for all that it is worth. The tide is turning though, he has pushed and pushed and pushed and he has reached breaking point.

      The bow is bent and drawn, Ashley, make from the shaft! (A little Shakespeare to lighten the mood) haha

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      1. I think the drop we’ve seen in the attendance (albeit only a slight drop) reflects the mood of the fans, they’ve had enough!

        So what’s MA’s response to his critics? Was it to stand by his policy and tell the masses to keep the faith? Learn from his mistakes and move hell and high water to ensure it didn’t happen again?
        No it’s to further break up the stands within the ground, strip the atmosphere and stop the chants

        I don’t get to SJP as much as I used to due to general recession and an increasing family, at away games the atmosphere is still as fierce as ever with passion running through our travelling fans but at home it’s dwindling sadly and that all rests on one man, a man to cowardly to face his critics or even explain his vision for the club
        Sadly most fans know his vision, a big old cash cow!

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        1. He’s done everything within his power to crush the spirit and energy of the home fans in SJP and unfortunately he has succeeded. It has become a stomping ground for the blindly loyal and the middle class day out.

          It’s no longer what it used to be, but with the desire, passion, drive and energy of those who embody the spirit of the club, we can claim that back. It is our natural right and we should fight for it because it is worth fighting for!

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  2. I don’t see what can be done, a protest is a waste of time and the asking price makes it difficult for a sale to go through, I’m afraid we are stuck with him for a hell of a long time.

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  3. Spoof
    Unfortunately for Ashley the longer he simply blahs his way through the seasons the more the value of the club will tumble so I think this season is a big season for Ashley and his regime

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    1. 35000 season tickets sold, if we win a few games it will be a sell out millions coming in from sky, I have to disagree m8, this is the first of many seasons where he will get big returns from his initial investment, never in a million years would he walk away from the riches which are now available to him

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  4. Be pretty decent if you could get some audio running…for this article a bit of Bonnie Tyler?

    “And I need you now tonight
    And I need you more than ever
    And if you only hold me tight
    We’ll be holding on forever”

    Best comment contribution in the history of the blog? You’re welcome.

    Now, on to these Belfast and Ibiza Toon filters….no need to drag the blog through the gutter…do the right thing and stop these folk 😉

    I guess you actually want me to comment on the article too…Who is Mike Ashley? Is he that world famous puppeteer? The one who made that Alan puppet look like it could move and talk? The guy’s a master, so talented, can there be an alternative? Punch and Judy don’t even come close…actually, have we just uncovered the Ashley blue print…”it’s behind you”, “oh no it isn’t”…

    Right, back to work.

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    1. Peter, insightful as always! Was a damn good chuckle if nothing else lad, although kind of undermines my impassioned call to protest! haha

      Mike Ashley, the famous puppeteer, wonder if we could do mock t-shirts or photoshop something like that. Hmmm now you’ve got me thinking! haha

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  5. I realise that due to the Time4change group there is some optimism by those of us who want Ashley out, but lets be realistic about the chances of it happening, who will buy the club at the inflated price which Ashley has set, now I could be wrong but a figure of £240m has been bandied about, the only people who would pay that is us the fans, how on earth will that ever happen, even if there were 100,000 fans willing to chip in thats still an average of somewhere in the region of £2500 each, yes some would give more than others but howay, it won’t happen, and lets face it that initial £240m fee might be higher now due to the new Sky investment which makes the club an even bigger earner for Ashley, additionally to that, fans are just too selfish to take the plunge.

    This is not the first time a supporter group has tried to oust an owner, in the late 80’s early 90’s when Jim Smith was our manager, “United, supporters for change” was the title back then, then as now I feel it will be futile, it may make those protesting feel better about themselves in the belief that they did try, I fooled myself into believing that I did all that I humanly could back then and I felt good about it, but now change and nothing less would make me feel any better, too long in the tooth to fool myself, so if you and anyone else want to continue then good luck to all of you, but what you must do is to hit him where it hurts, the “stick’s and stones” method won’t do any good at all, it doesn’t matter how much stick he get’s as long as Sky and the PL are pumping £m’s into his pocket he will happily allow us to call him whatever we want.

    Cash and stopping it from reaching his pockets is the only way, targeting his Sports Direct shops would be better than a protest march, simultaneous demonstrations out side of those stores could discourage customers from going in and spending their cash, could we as a fan base do that, unlikely but if it gets mentioned to the Time4change group there may be someone who is a good organiser who could manage it, good luck with that one, a more realistic option would be a boycott, having said that the SD demo’s are probably more realistic as boycott’s mean punishing yourself short term for a better long term is required, and that simply will never happen as most of us are too selfish and self centred too make a sacrifice even though it may the be only way too succeed.

    The Leeds game is the best possible opportunity for us to send out a message, boycott the bloody game and let him stew over the lost revenue, but oh no, we can’t expect fans to make a sacrifice, it has got to be done another way, it won’t happen, we are too selfish and we are determined to get rid of him without any cost to ourselves, we are living in a dream world, the facts are that Ashley is only in it for the money and unless the money dries up then he will stay, boycott a cup game could help, but not enough to oust him, that could only come through the league, however we have sold I believe 35000 season tickets, so boycotting league matches would be a waste of time because even an empty stadium would still be a 35000 attendance without the pie and a pint at half time, big deal, that will hardly cripple him will it, so unless we can pursuade the 35000 season ticket holders from renewing their tickets next season it is a forlorn hope.

    To show the lack of self discipline which we as a support have run a poll asking the fans if they would welcome relegation as it could be the most likely way to get rid of him, if that happened Ashley would after the initial parachute payment be subsidising us rather than earning a fistful as he currently is, that would be the only way for us to be rid of him, but what you will likely get is we might not get back up, he might out of spite try to bankrupt us and other reasons why relegation would not be good, the truth is we as fans don’t want relegation because we want a new owner to buy us today and make us title winners tomorrow and because relegation would make that impossible it is a no go, what we want is a quick fix without any sacrifice from ourselves, we will not get it, we are our own worst enemies, at times sacrifices have to be made, but we will always look to the remaining 34999 season ticket holders to boycott their tickets which means that you or I can keep yours or mine, sorry if I have put a dampener on your hopes, but we have to be realistic.

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    1. I would argue that having people involved in the protest movements in the late 80s to provide insight and experience is essential. Learn from the pitfalls. You could find yourself suitably inspired by a change in approach this time around though.

      Fans must make some form of sacrifice, it cannot be a case of having your cake and eating it too, as that will simply not work. Fans must accept that they have to put in an enormous amount of effort if we are to affect change. Are they willing to do so? Only time will tell I suppose.

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      1. indeed time will tell, but most will have the attitude that I can’t be ar$ed and they won’t bother, there will be a huge turnout for the Liverpool protest, I have no doubt about that, so more protests will probably be organised but each protest will have fewer and fewer turning out and eventually they will stop, history has proved that to be how it works, but good luck to you, I really do hope you succeed, but fans like all human beings are generally too lazy and too selfish too too do anything about it, the attitude will be there are thousands of Newcastle fans who could do something about so why should I bother

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        1. Well if that is the case then we need to tackle the attitude and the causes of that attitude as well as the problem at hand. With enough people of strong enough mind involved in the movement, and willing to graft at a ground floor level we can hopefully keep a vast number motivated.

          I think so long as the movement has structure, has purpose and is inclusive of all, we can maintain and even gather momentum. I’d like to speak more with you on this subject when I am in the city, as well as introduce you to some of the people heavily involved with it.

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  6. you’ve hit the nail on the head there Ruddy, keeping them motivated will undoubtedly be the most difficult aspect of this journey which you are going on, it really should be mentioned at the next meeting, without the initiatives to keep the motivation strong then it is a forlorn hope, the same applies to your new forum, you have to keep them motivated and keep the site in the public eye or you will have lost the war before the first battle has begun, I see your getting some stick for promoting your forum on Ed’s site, what a load of rubbish, everyman for himself, I’m sure Ed would do the same if he felt he needed to.

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    1. Well I am a 23 year old Irish man, I don’t think that if I rose those concerns about motivation that people will take it on board too much, but I can certainly try. However, if you brought yourself to the next meeting and expressed your concerns as someone with a history within the club, having been at previous protests and seen yourself where they have fallen short, then I think that would be invaluable insight.

      Thanks for the support, just trying to establish this blog as an alternative forum that people can use alongside Ed’s blog, not as a replacement for it.

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  7. I appreciate you wanting me there as an older head who has seen it all before, but all I would get is it will be different this time, and will they listen, will they hell, and the truth is I have no idea as to what I would say if I was asked what should we do to keep them motivated, you need better and hungrier heads than mine, so ty for the invite but I will pass if you don’t mind.

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    1. Of course I don’t mind, it is up to yourself. Hopefully you see for yourself that it is different, and if that proves to be the case I will be calling on you once more to get into the trenches to help us out and give us the benefit of your experience. Maybe you can find that fire and passion again, don’t lose hope, it’s all we’ve got!

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  8. I haven’t lost hope bonny lad, I just view other aspects of life as being more worthy of my time than fighting to rid ourselves of the leech which we have, that is a fight for a younger man, although I am still young at a tender 47 I honestly feel that it would be better for the younger generation to do the fighting, during the United supporters for change campaign, not only was it a fight but it was a great way to socialise as well, which I am sure will happen now, but it is no longer the way I wish to socialise. Sorry but I just cannot get motivated my this, but good luck to those who can.

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    1. Totally understand. Still hope you will remain a presence on the blog here and I look forward to keeping you up to date with the goings on with our own attempts at protest. Who knows, maybe 25 years from now I will be commenting on some young upstart’s blog, and telling him the same thing! haha

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