I heard the news today … oh boy …
Unless you are addicted to misery, you should have hopes of witnessing the releasing of the Ashley death-grip on Newcastle United. Only the most curmudgeonly of curmudgeons would find a reason not to be optimistic that change is coming. And do we need it.
We know all about Ashley. There’s little point here of listing the litany of indignities he has visited upon our club. When he goes, he won’t be missed. There’s your hat, where’s your hurry? Get into the dustbin of history.
The next question is who is Amanda Staveley and what is she about? Who are the people behind her with the dough?
Firstly, Mrs Staveley will be welcomed into Newcastle United. There will be an immense amount of goodwill for her simply on the back of her not being Mike Ashley. But if you cast your minds back to just over a decade ago, Mike Ashley benefitted from the same welcome because whatever the pros and cons of the Hall-Shepherd era that alliance had badly run out of steam and Hall was desperate to get out. And he did – having made a lot more money out of United than Ashley appears to have done (notwithstanding the value he’s obtained from world-wide free advertising). We had high hopes back then but he trashed all of that.
We need to know more about Staveley and the money behind her and why she and the people she represents want to be onboard the good ship, Newcastle United FC. Only the terminally dumb will fall for the love of the club… blah, blah, blah etc. We are surely far too long in the tooth and wizened with bitter experience to fall for all of that palaver.
Strategically, we have to hope the alliance between Staveley, the people behind her and Newcastle United coincides with what we want for the club. I’m presuming you, like me, gentle reader want an ambitious, well-managed, progressive sporting institution which is respectful of its support and the community around it. That Staveley and Co want Newcastle United to be the best football club it can be and that the business that goes on around modern Premier League football is there to support the progression of the team, the players, the thing we pay to watch and not the other way around as it has been on Ashley’s reckless watch.
I’ll be anxious to hear about the development of the academy and training facilities, scouting and all areas of youth development and investment in the infrastructure that befits a club of our status. I want to know about plans for stadium development, though cleaning the place would be a start.
But that is for tomorrow.
We look way short of having a team that will stay in the Premier League. There has been no meaningful, intelligent investment in players throughout the Ashley era. It has been wrong-headed and on occasion incompetent and venal. That has to stop now and the priorities in the team – as identified by the manager, Rafa Benitez, has to start in earnest. The manager will have his targets. It is incumbent upon the club’s woefully inadequate executive team has to make them happen in what will likely be their last roles at the club ahead of Staveley appointing a team which is professional and qualified.
Thankfully, all of the noises are that some of this will happen in January. Arrangements which I won’t pretend to understand will hopefully be in place to provide the finance that we’ll need. How much money will be available? Only a fool would let on about that but we need significant investment to meet the challenge of PL survival. Rafa knows his job.
The next few weeks are going to be pivotal and we will need to tread carefully to understand what the future might hold for the club.
Man City and Sheik Mansour? Or Blackburn and the Venkys?
We live in hope.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
Michael Martin. Follow Michael on @tfMichael1892
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