Happy Anniversary – we want your thoughts.

by • May 24, 2017 • UncategorizedComments (21)1316

23rd May 2007 was a day few people remember but a day that changed the course of Newcastle United.  It was ten years ago this week that billionaire sports retailer Mike Ashley decided to buy a football club.  Our football club.

In the time since Newcastle United have been relegated twice, his ownership has alienated thousands, he returned the club to European football and will now likely fill St James’ Park more than any time since pre-2004.  We want to know where you now stand on Mike Ashley?  The club stand on the precipice of one of it’s most exciting ever seasons with the most qualified manager the club has had in it’s history ready to take on the Premier League.

Let us know if you’re still staying away and why?  What would it take for you to come back under Ashley?  Maybe all is forgiven as if Rafa’s happy with Ashley, we should be happy?  Comments will be used for an article in a future true faith issue this season as we look at where we stand with Mike Ashley in charge.

All views welcome.



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21 Responses to Happy Anniversary – we want your thoughts.

  1. oliver simpson says:

    Has it really been ten years since Ashley walked through our doors? Man I feel so old from that fact. Ashley would do well to reflect on what has happened in that time and think on exactly where in ten years time he wants his reign of our club to be seen as.

    As it is now where most would say he has damaged our club on all levels, took us down twice or more if we get relegated again in the coming decade, refused to care or invest where he needed to and eventually ended up selling the club for a £1 just to be rid of us, sold off all land to stop extension, leave us with even more debt and lives in fear of us in his personal life.

    Or does he wants to be seen as a person who made mistakes, but learned from them, put faith in his last chance with the one person fans, investors, staff and players etc. embrace. That he put in check short term gain and returned a higher gain in the long run. Slowly mended burned bridges, put proper structure at the club and faith that led to trophies being won, customers returning, shirts being brought. Flags for sales, all of this and how our club will go is in his hands.

    I will never like the man on a business and personal level due to the way he conducts himself and how he runs his businesses, but I’m prepared to live with him if he makes the effort to run our club in a way that we can to an extent get along with.

    If not… well i’m not sure if he wants to test that bridge because he might find a struggle to cross it or get his bearings.

  2. Andy Miller says:

    Not forgiven nor forgotten regarding his time here. I’m still suspicious that he got Rafa to save his own skin rather than actually harbouring genuine positive ambitions for the club. Time will tell and I’m cautiously optimistic but I can’t help but feel that with a bloke of his bad character, something s*** is just around the corner

  3. Nev says:

    Worst type of man you can ever come across. A born liar who treats people like the shit on his shoes. Never shown any consideration to people’s feelings and the quicker he goes the better.

    Shame really because with better advice and a bit compassion he could have been a folk hero

  4. Andrew E says:

    I think anyone continuing to stay away from the club now is really biting their noses off to spite their face. I appreciated the principle in the face of all of the insulting, petulant, shameful and negligent decisions previously made but feel that now is a chance for a club to become united again. I was ready to find a different hobby for the weekend before Rafa came in but have to admire the ambition and self-reflection that was required by the club in order to secure a man of his stature. Ashley’s backseat approach ironically started around his declaration of ambition prior to the West Ham home game 3 seasons ago. Handing Steve McClaren roughly £80m of signings was the equation of “bolting the horse to the cart”. Somehow the club stumbled across Benitez and fans feel confident for the first time in a decade that we are no longer selling ourselves as a stepping stone. It’s obvious how much rests on Rafa’s relationship with Ashley and subsequently Charnley but I have to say it wasn’t just a relief to read the combined statements regarding the end of season talks – it sounded like a genuine commitment to realising the club’s aims for success. Ahead of the season everything seems in place from the manager to the owner to the fans but one point of contention remains personally which is the development of Strawberry Place for Mike Ashley’s student flats and offices. Asset stripping the club of it’s future expansion hopes whilst blocking the city’s view of the stadium is yet another move that truly shows where Ashley’s main interest lies. Arsene Wenger, speaking on the stadium as a possible venue in the bid for the 2018 World Cup observed, “when the FIFA delegation arrive in Newcastle this week, I hope they are stunned by the sight of St James’ Park. By the way it dominates the skyline, a sporting citadel and the heartbeat of the city. In a city that breathes football”. This resonates with supporters yet will never with Ashley, his greed eclipses any sense of emotion to appeal to for protection of our club’s legacy. It is likely that fans will never see eye to eye with him, but if he can realise that his approach has regressed the club, learn from his mistakes and allow us to at least be proud of the team and the man who manages it then I don’t see why he can’t be part of the matchday without protests.

  5. Micky says:

    MA is, and always will be, a self interested snake. Hidden in the euphoria of this season he has sold the land in strawberry place which will at least significantly hinder, if not completely prevent any further expansion of SJP. This money has gone straight into Ma’s pocket (allegedly) as hasn’t been accounted against MA’s loan to the club.

    He is a conniving leach and will eventually bleed the club dry. We should all be more concerned about his long term plans.

  6. Chris Holt says:

    There are no guarantees of any lessons learned. With promotion secured back to the Premier league, there is no reason that Ashley would not revert to type, mess Benitez about, underdeliver on autonomy and squad building and happily watch him walk away.

    Bearing this in mind, despite my enthusiasm for Benitez and my delight that everyone at the club now seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet – “In Rafa we trust” – I won’t be rushing to buy the season ticket of ten years I gave up the year before relegation.

    I still fear the only thing keeping Ashley honest and supportive of Benitez will be the threat of an empty stadium. This threat will be pivotal to ensuring we aren’t sold short (again) when we return to the big money league.

    Singles will do for me.

  7. I don’t think regular readers will be surprised to hear that I do not like him or what he stands for. I think he has down-graded our club in many ways and simply uses the passion of the fans as a money-making convenience. The history of our club and the special position is should have in the City and with its supporters is far beyond his understanding. The things most of us value-he will never understand. We still have Wonga,which I consider an insult to a club like Newcastle United. He has only ever made good decisions when forced to out of desperation, and many of us are still expecting his next mistake will not be far away. I guess I now just resent giving any financial support to such a person, although once you have made a stand it is difficult to change it, unless you consider there has been a real change. I am still not in that position, although having Rafa as manager adds class to our club and makes it easier to still want to follow it. I think Ashley represents all that is wrong in modern football and I consider him without doubt as the worst person to ever be involved with our club. I hope I have made my position clear! #ashleyout

  8. Haydn Williams says:

    The bloke can never be forgiven for what he has done in the past as he ruined the club in so many ways and has ruined it for some for good. As it stands he is just merely tolerated whilst the manager and the football has brought around a glimmer of hope that we are a NUFC people are happy and excited to support again.

    The bloke brought us worldly delights such as Dennis Wise, JFK and Pardew. We’ve been embarrassed time after time, so there always remains a chance that something will creep out of the darkness if it creates a cash stream either directly or indirectly into his sky rocket.

    If success is brought in these next few years under Rafa (providing he doesn’t mess the whole thing up), I’d praise what was achieved on its own merits.

    Wouldn’t make me forgive all the other stuff. Nothing will.

  9. Gary Ĺockey says:

    My sentiments are similar to that of Peter. I stopped going a few years back but I differ in that I have returned as I think Rafa offers a real opportunity for the owner to right some of his wrongs. I still think the proof of Ashley’s real intention is not to be found in the size of the transfer kitty but whether he starts to invest in the infrastructure of the club. The training complex needs a complete overhaul and the hospitality areas of the stadium are shabby because they have had no real investment in 10 years.

  10. I think initially Mike Ashley tried to do the right thing by us, but he can’t really help his underlying character.. some of his initial decision making had a slight romantic edge to it, the Keegan appointment, giving Shearer the short run. None of that hides some of the awful decision making that we had to endure either. I think he got pissed off with us and the hard time we gave him and the cockney mafia, for very good reason. Some of the decision making did seem designed to deliberately wind us up, Wise, kinnear, the sacking of Hughton, the ground re- naming, the general lack of ambition. Bottom line is he is a hard nosed business man who runs the very worst business model. His treatment of Rangers was pretty nasty, if he does walk away we need to keep an eye on who has the rights for the name and the badge and the merchandising contracts.

    But then out of the blue, we have Rafa and we have some hope. Can Ashley be trusted, can he do the right thing for the club? If he finally has realised that running a football,club is so much more than a retailing business because of the total investment of the fans. If he is genuine in wanting to get this right and do what he said he would a couple of seasons ago, he could be forgiven for so much . He has the chance to go down in history as the man who finally won something with Newcastle, the man who got it right! What could that do for his brand image? It could if he wanted lift the Sports Direct name out of all the negative associations and give it a bit of gloss.

    Here’s hoping

  11. David says:

    If you take hope away from a football fan, you are left with a Saturday afternoon on the drink with the lads with two 45 minute breaks. Great as that still is, its not what we are designed solely for but its been the only thing that’s kept me going. I am a 30 Year+ supporter, with 24 of them as a season ticket holder, so I know what Im talking about.

    Mike Ashley has drained my hope slowly over the last 10 years. Its become a war of attrition. If you add to that the ever diminishing quality, excitement of actually achieving anything in the Premier League, and, the obligatory falling on our sword in the cups, its been a tough slog to keep going. Newcastle have been a basket case of a club, held together by the sheer stubbornness, blind faith and autopilot nature of its fans. We are too quick to criticise sometimes, but equally too quick to forgive.

    The 10 year drudgery has been broken twice via two championship seasons in which hope returned fleetingly and the old feeling of being a football fan came back.

    I look forward to the coming seasons with Rafa at the helm. Not for me, but for the next generation who were too young to witness the Keegan years and sheer brilliance and unbelievable hope that we drank too much of during every game. Dare we dream of something similar…….with Ashley at the helm?……something tells me Ashley will not let fans dreams get in the way of his next incompetent decision. Lets hope not eh?

  12. Bob says:

    I haven’t thought that much about Ashley this season, obviously due to Rafa and what he’s brought to the club. I don’t think the football has been that great this season but it didn’t need to be bearing in mind the target for the season and the result. There have been a few good games and more than a few good “moments” in games, both home and away. Ashley has certainly cropped up a few times, mainly in relation to the January transfer window when their appeared to be a return to the Ashley we all know. Thank goodness Rafa took it in his stride and continued on, albeit with a few setbacks. The close season will be the test to whether I will have another season of, virtually, Ashley free thought. Even if things dont go that well as the season pans out, as long as Rafa was happy with
    what he got, then I can live with that. I don’t particulary like Ashley, or Charnley for that matter, and
    can’t see that changing in the near future and if he continues to support Rafa and leave him to it
    then I won’t give him much thought next season either. I appreciate that the club has to have
    budgets and I’m sure Rafa is well aware of that aswell. I don’t think there’s much I can do to to
    change the ownership of the club so why think about it? It’s my club and I don’t intend to let him
    spoil that. I enjoy the day, like to see my mates and watch a game. Things might change enough for
    me to forgo that but I hope not. We don’t know him although we do know he’s capable of
    unexpected things, lets hope he keeps out of the way and is too involved in other things to bother
    us. We’ve seen other clubs go bust, drop down the leagues etc. So if he does decide to sell we have to hope it’s to a decent outfit.

  13. Pep says:

    Could have been better, but then again, could have been a lot lot worse !
    Started off like a dream, Keegan etc, then went down hill. Back now to being on the rise, long may it continue.. Feed Rafa the cash !!!

  14. Norman Riley says:

    10 years of Mike Ashley at the helm and I still feel like he’s an unknown quantity given how utterly unpredictable he can be!

    I was happy when he arrived as the way it was reported in the press suggested that we perhaps had someone who was willing to invest the cash required to assist us in competing once again at the very top of the league. Additionally, he took over just after the appointment of Allardyce whom (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I thought could be excellent for us. I genuinely thought Allardyce could do really well with a few quid given what he’d achieved at Bolton on very little and it looked like Ashley was the man to give him that money. Mort seemed to be a rational and intelligent appointment as chairman as well and even though Ashley’s wearing of a top with Smith’s name on the back and getting the beers in before standing with fans at matches was a little disconcerting at least it was something that seemed to indicate Ashley was really up for it.

    However, we all know where this early optimism went…..Ashley didn’t carry out due diligence on the club’s finances, Allardyce didn’t attempt to change the style of football he engineered at Bolton and was found out, MA brings back Keegan (which made my face almost crack from smiling so much), KK does well then realises that Ashley is a very odd individual (Dennis Wise and Tony Martinez making abysmal signings over his head), Mort out and Llambias in, Kinnear’s appointment, Keegan and Shearer being screwed over, relegation and then….the optimism returned a little due to Hughton’s brilliant and understated way of doing things…and then it drained again when he got rid of Hughton (there might be something in the fact that he was let go as we seemed to struggle against those teams around us but to replace him with the utter charlatan that is Pardew made no sense at all). A great season 2011-12 and again I thought…maybe he gets it now….we can push on from this and he can get what he wants (make money and advertising his mass produced cheap tat) and the fans can get to see a side competing again…and then….we sign Vurnon Anita and no-one else pre-season 2012 as MA thinks he can get away with it again….and then add to this the absolute cherry on top of the shitecake for me….announcing a sponsorship deal with what was, in effect, a legalised loan shark in Wonga. That was the moment I decided I had to have a break from going to and watching matches – my club being run by a man who was happy to have a loan shark’s company name plastered all over the shirts and stadium of a club in one of England’s most economically deprived areas.

    Of course I still maintained a connection and interest via social media and I never stopped looking out for the results or being gutted when we lost but I can’t deny that there were occasions that I couldn’t see how this was going to ever end well as it got progressively worse – Pardew’s losing streaks and absolute slavering devotion to MA, the appointment of John Carver (NO WORDS), Steve McClaren….and then….Rafa Benitez?! How the F did that happen?!

    Appointing the absolute world-beater and all-round good person that is Benitez has been the catalyst for me to start attending/watching and taking a devoted interest in games again and to reengage with the club I love. If making money as owner of the club is Ashley’s modus operandi then so be it – as long as he is doing it whilst keeping the club competitive and operating within ethical boundaries then that is something I can stay on board with.

    If a man like Rafa Benitez is prepared to work with him and is happy at the club then that is certainly good enough for me to remain optimistic and believe we’re heading in a good direction. However, am I convinced MA has finally ‘got it’? Not yet.

  15. Ian Pickering says:

    There’s no doubting the man has a business first approach, relies on the seemingly inelastic demand of the geordie population for football and has used and will continue to use NUFC as an advertising vehicle for his other business interests. Free promotion for the SD brand.

    He has attempted to bring in a model which is profitable, if not impractical. Buy young talent, give them prem exposure and sell on for high fees. This has been quite hit/miss, mainly miss but with limited loss to the balance sheet. The loss has come in terms of on field performances, poor communication with the fan base and seemingly cheap rather than effective managerial appointments.

    In fairness to Ashley his approach has evolved over the last 2 years (since that last game of the season TV interview we all remember). He did invest, he pushed through some terrific (on paper) signings and all was positive, apart from the poor appointment of SM. The issue with SM wasn’t actually his appointment but the duration of his stay, “judge me after 10 games”, it was probably those that sent us down and we should’ve reacted before January if we were to save our season.

    The Rafalution began too late to save us. Brilliant (arguably the best decision made in the 10 years), but as usual the reaction was too slow, as if the person who appointed SM wasn’t prepared to admit they got it wrong.

    Rafa has reinvigorated the fan base, has brought hope to the hopeless and has shown results with every area of the club. The upcoming season for me is the time to judge whether the next 10 years under Ashley is going to be one of triumph or tragedy.

    Howay the lads!

  16. Just a quick reply to Bob, whist appreciating most of what he says. But there are owners who have improved clubs too and made them successful! It is the kind of the political spin I hate that says we should be thankful for what we have got. It does not wash with me. I have absolutely no fears of a post-Ashley future. The two people (Keegan and Sir Bobby) who have breathed life and optimism into this club in recent years have been people who have believed in a better future and what can be achieved with the right attitude. So please let’s not settle for just about managing!

  17. Bob says:

    I’m not in the camp of “be thankful for what we have got” just hoping that our next owner, and there will be one, be a decent one. Many pundits have that view both in relation to our owner and managers (we were told many times that Pardew was a good manager, etc. Etc. They, obviously don’t have aclue. I apologise if I gave that impression. Rafa certainly believes in a better future and my hope, and every other fan as well, is that he is allowed to continue his project. Unfortunately the club has been just managing for far to long with a lot of the managers appointed by Ashley.

  18. Anthony Patterson says:

    Remember my reaction the day I heard he was trying to buy the club. My first thought was don’t fuck it up Shephard sell the shares. Second was who is he? Wrong way round I know.
    Read up on him. Parks tanks on lawns, plastic bag & T shirt no briefcase or suit. Quiet guy. Beer at Highbury & on terraces with the lads. He’ll do for me.
    Two huge errors led to where we are.
    Firstly he has appointed idiots to run it for him almost without exception and he has a character flaw that he remains loyal to those he trusts to the point of blindness to actual ability.
    His biggest mistake was appointing KK. Almost all managers get sacked/ leave under a cloud. He could never win a war with KK in fans eyes. KK is a hero but a stroppy git.
    That was a mix that inevitably led to carnage and fan unrest.
    Ashley then reverted to type. Withdrew and looked on it as purely an advertising vehicle and Moneyball project. Cue more crazy appointments.
    He will always have a way back if he gets it right witness lack of protest last season.
    For me the acid test is what happens with the backing of Rafa this close season & what happens with Strawberry Place.
    Both are the future of the club. Failure on either front would be hugely damaging.


  19. Matt says:

    Let me pose a hypothetical situation;

    Say in the next 2-3 years Rafa gets us a cup (FA or League Cup) or we qualify for the Champions League. Mike Ashley has previously said that he wouldn’t leave until we have done one of these things. Say we did one of the aforementioned things and then Ashley sold up to either someone more football oriented (with lots of money) or someone just with lots of money.

    So we’d have qualified for the CL or won a cup, Ashley would have sold up and left the club in a better position (on and off the field) than it was in in 2007. We’d have Rafa as our manager (appointed under his ownership) and lots to look forward to.

    This is all very wishful thinking I know but if all of this happened would you forgive Ashley? Would you say that actually he did a good job in the end? Would you say he’d been a good owner. Yes we’ve been relegated twice during his tenure but we’ve bounced back quite nicely both times and we haven’t been financially ruined.

    I’m just interested to hear people’s thoughts. Even after lying to fans and mugging off Keegan, lying to and then ignoring Shearer, appointing idiots like Wise, Kinnear (x2), Llambias et al, forcing Jonas out of the club because of his cancer, cruelly sacking Hughton and giving Pardew an 8 year contract, two relegations, lack of commercial income and sports direct, stated lack of ambition, renaming of the stadium, Wonga and HMRC investigations. Would a Rafa, a cup or CL make you seem him in a different light?

  20. Bob says:

    Matt, I would probably not change my opinion of him and would put any success down to Rafa and his “running” of the club. The one thing in Ashley’s favour would be the appointment of Rafa, albeit a a great one ( I suppose I should also acknowledge the fact that presumably he continued to support him). But he has done so many bad/stupid/malicious things to overide the good stuff. Over the last year Rafa has got the plaudits – and rightly so- rather than Ashley or Charnley. At the end of the day I wouldn’t give a shit about him, I ‘d probably be too drunk and happy.