Who is responsible for the Newcastle mess?By: Rob | September 16th, 2008
Let’s be honest, Newcastle United are a club in turmoil. Keegan walked away after having no say in transfers, the club’s fans retaliated with protests, club owner Mike Ashley is trying to sell the club. An awful lot of finger pointing has gone on in the last couple of days. Ashley in a faux-emotional press release blamed the previous administration, led by Freddie Shepherd, for the debt and mess the club was left in when he took over. Fans blame the ‘Cockney Mafia’ of Dennis Wise and Mike Ashley. Freddie Shepherd has had his say and said that he left the club in rude health and its all Ashley. Meanwhile the Times is blaming Newcastle fans.
The Times article is particularly scathing, calling Newcastle fans deluded, unloyal, and lacking in a sense of humour. Daryl poses a similar question on the main page today, about whether fans are asking too much of thier owners. So are the fans really to blame?
There is an attachment from Newcastle fans to Kevin Keegan, which looking at his largely unsuccessful reign this time seems strange. But of course it is a debt of gratitude from turning the club from Second Division (Championship as it is now) club to second-best side in the Prem. A hell of alot has changed since then though, as Keegan himself wryly noted not long after his appointment. Not even he thought they could break the top 4 without a hell of alot of money.
Ashley, who is just about a Billionaire, doesn’t really have the resources to turn Newcastle into a top 4 side anymore. Not all his money is tied up in Newcastle of course, and in a world where Roman Abromovich is not the richest owner in the country, what the hell chance does he have?
Its a symbol of where football, particuarly in the EPL, is going. If you want to really compete with the top sides, you’ll need a sugar-daddy who is either rich enough, or prepared enough to put millions upon millions into the club.
All the in-fighting and finger-pointing isn’t helping anyone either. If the club was at least united about something they wouldn’t seem like such a pantomime. But the fact that no-one at the club seems to agree upon anything is only upsetting the harmony, and it is not helping the players on the pitch.
Its not often in a sport like football that you actually feel sorry for people paid 40 grand a week to do something they enjoy, but there has to be a slight sympathy for the players, especially the players who have just signed and as such had no idea what they were getting into. It is an absolute shambles.
And without a manager, it is difficult to see it getting any better. And without a bit of security from the board room, its hard to see anyone taking the job. So unless Ashley decides he isn’t going to sell it, or he gets the hell rid of it quick, the future is not bright on the Tyne.
The club is a complete mess, and maybe a takeover bid could sort that out. But will the fans let it be sorted out?