Looked at from afar, football supporters of many clubs across the country must wonder what is going on at Newcastle United and its permanently enraged supporters. From here on Tyneside, it’s a particular bugbear that those without an understanding of Newcastle United seek to lecture we Mags about what we should expect from our club.
Fair enough, everyone is entitled to their opinion but when reading the following, please remember Newcastle United still pulls in the third largest attendances in the PL and is in the top 10 supported clubs in Europe, as well as being one of the continent’s top 20 richest clubs.
Newcastle United is only an underachieving basket case because of the people who run the club, rather than anything in the City of Newcastle Upon Tyne drinking water.
Think of that when you see the empty seats at St James’ Park this Sunday for our game with Tottenham, left by fans who have boycotted the game as the opening action in a campaign led by the AshleyOut.com fans’ group
So here are a few issues which weigh on the minds of Newcastle United supporters as they consider boycotting a football match, for which many have already paid:
Is Newcastle United a well-run club under Mike Ashley?
- Commercial income from sponsorship lower in 2015 than it was when Ashley took over;
- Income from corporate customers reduced;
- Income from merchandise (e.g. shirts) reduced;
- Match-day revenue from season tickets reduced;
- Only increase in income provided by new TV deals which Ashley played no part in negotiating;
- 50% increase in club debt since 2007;
- Sale of lease on land at Strawberry Place for approx £4m with monies expected not to be returned to Newcastle United;
- Sale of lease resulting in only part of St James’ Park available to be extended ending any potential expansion of the stadium;
- Unexplained increase of £26m in operating costs in yet-to-be published accounts from 13/14.
Has Newcastle United done well on the pitch under Mike Ashley?
- One relegation (2008/09);
- One top-half PL finish in eight years;
- Not gone past the quarter-final of any Cup competition in eight years;
- Defeated by Stevenage, Brighton (x2), Cardiff (h) and Leicester (a) in the FAC 3rd Round;
- Clear statement from Lee Charnley, the club’s Managing Director, that Newcastle United considers Cup competitions to be of little priority;
- Five successive derby defeats – the worst in NUFC history.
Appointments, resignations and dismissals
- Dismissal of Sam Allardyce as Manager and award of £6m in compensation;
- Appointed Denis Wise as Director of Football;
- Appointed Kevin Keegan as Manager despite extended period out of football and admission he had not watched a PL game in more than three years;
- Appointed Joe Kinnear as Manager resulting in relegation;
- Appointed Joe Kinnear as Director of Football. Held the position for 6 months before being dismissed;
- Resignation of Kevin Keegan as manager and subsequent legal judgement vindicating the former Manager and finding that Ashley, Wise, and Llambias had lied to supporters;
- Dismissal of Chris Hughton who delivered promotion and stabilised club in PL;
- Failure to appoint Alan Shearer as Manager as previously stated and poor treatment thereafter;
- Appointment of Lee Charnley as Managing Director despite little or no experience in a similar role;
- Appointment of Lee Marshall as Supporters Liaison Officer whose primary role appears to be assisting the Head of Media and Public Relations;
- Failure to plan for the succession to Alan Pardew leaving the club.
- Failure to be accredited Cat A status for the Academy in first round of assessments due to alleged lack of investment in appropriately qualified coaching staff;
- Took NUFC two years longer than Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City to achieve Cat A status for the Academy;
- No players brought through the Academy to become established first team regulars in eight years since the Ashley takeover in 2007;
- No update on plans to redevelop the Newcastle United Academy as outlined by Joe Kinnear in 2013. The work was forecast to start in May 2015.
Image and profile
- Loan shark company Wonga on the shirt;
- Ashley refusing to meet Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah and brusque treatment from Lee Charnley;
- Disclosure of Managing Director Derek Llambias’ abusive behaviour towards Newcastle City Council Leader, Nick Forbes;
- Mike Ashley discussing the imminent sacking of Alan Pardew outside a pub in London;
- Treatment of Jonas Guitteraz following disclosure of his testicular cancer and being told to find another club by Alan Pardew;
- Banning of all local press and persistent banning of numerous journalists for covering the issues of concern to supporters;
- Expulsion of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust from the Fans Forum for no credible reason.
Apart from that…
Michael Martin – Newcastle United Supporters Trust
The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to the FSF.
Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this blog.
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