The club we are supporting right now is not Newcastle United. It is a pale imitation of the great club it once was. Until Mike Ashley leaves and takes Kinnear and Pardew we will not see this great club back to where it belongs; showing ambition, playing good football, and exciting the fans with the (ever heartbreaking) possibility that this year will be our year in the cups. However, under Mike Ashley it has been made abundantly clear that we do not want to even compete in the league to try to close the gap on the top 6, nor are we even interested in giving the cups a good crack – something I think will be made abundantly clear on Wednesday night.
With the embarrassing performance from our players in our recent derby defeat I was left asking the question – “why do these players not care about Newcastle United?” When you see not only one inept performance in what should be the biggest game of the season, but two in a row, then it is clear that something is not quite right, and with a little soul-searching, and peeling back the layers the answer points in one direction.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of Yohan Cabaye, Loic Remy, or Hatem Ben Arfa – luxurious lifestyles aside, simply imagine you are a top class professional football player. You currently find yourself at Newcastle United, playing in the Premier League, and in the case of Ben Arfa and Cabaye, you have been at this club for a number of years. You have heard the club come out with statements such as “our target is 8th” (after finishing 5th) as well as “we are glad we don’t have the distraction of European football”. As well as the fact that the club has admitted to not having any interest in attacking silverware this season. Ask yourself, how would you react if you were them? When it is abundantly clear that this club has no ambition to strive for higher league positions, or to go for a cup, ask yourself this – why should these players care about Newcastle United? Yohan Cabaye has been attracting the attention of clubs playing in the Champions League. No doubt Cabaye is looking at the current football being played by Arsenal and he is gutted that he did not get his dream move, and who could blame him? Why should these talented players waste their time playing for this increasingly pathetic hollow shell of a football club?
The only reason that any of these players might give a damn this season is so they can book their place on the planes bound for Brazil for their respective countries. This should not be the be-all and end-all, it should be a nice afterthought for them. Their primary focus should be on their club, but it is not.
So if the cause of this lack of fight stems from a lack of ambition from the club, whose door does that leave the blame at? Is it Alan Pardew for failing to motivate a thrown together bunch of talented players who do not care for this club? No, it’s not. Is it Joe Kinnear for failing to buy the requisite back up that was necessary? To an extent, maybe, as signing a few more players would have given the impression we wanted to achieve something. There is only one man to blame for this ineptitude that has been allowed to fester and flourish at our great football club, and that is Mike Ashley. He is the man who issues the orders. He tells Pardew what our targets are this season. He gives Kinnear the money to go out and sign players. He is the man upon whose whim we are subject to. He has club exactly where he wants it, but the cracks are beginning to appear.
Some think Ashley is some form of genius businessman who has calculated every move he has made. This could not be further from the truth. He bought Newcastle United without even checking the books properly, made a series of mistakes that led to our relegation and cost him and extra £140 million and has alienated his primary customers with nonsensical decision after another that has culminated in fans protesting against him. How has he responded to having 800-1000 fans calling for his head? He’s banned the local newspapers. Sound like a man in control of the situation to you?
After our derby day defeat I was speaking to a number of fans and one man said to me, “What can we do, it’s Ashley’s business, it’s Ashley’s club” and I said No. This may be Ashley’s business, but this club, this wonderfully frustrating, heartbreaking and exciting club, belongs to us. After Ashley has been and gone, this club will still stand. After every single one of us is dead and gone, this club will still stand. Newcastle United is failing, and it is weak, and she is not the formidable mistress she once was during the 90s and early 00s, but she will persevere.
The manager, the players and the owner are doing nothing to save your club. The question is, what are you doing?