I don’t think there has been anything more depressing in the entire time Ashley has been suffocating the life out of our club than being told by a lad I’m proud to call my friend telling me he was chucking Newcastle United in, lock, stock and barrel. This is a lad who comes from a family of loyal supporters in a heartland of supporters and who has followed the club home and away I’d say from between three to four decades. I know he will have thought about it a lot. I know he will have tortured himself with this decision and I know even now he’ll be chucking it around in his head and wondering if he’s made the right decision. Unlike some of us he’s never threatened this before in any kind of idle way and gone into any kind of huff with the club. He means it and he’ll carry it through. He has written for true faith for many years and he’s an intelligent, thoughtful lad who cares deeply for Newcastle United and I think he and I are on the same page about what we think politically and about our city and our region and our class. I am absolutely gutted he’s chucking it even though I am well aware of many others who I would describe as the club’s absolute hardcore support who have similarly walked away. There isn’t a day when I’ve not had the same thoughts and everyone has their own tipping points. If things continue as they are, I know I’ll walk away at some point and I’ll have the same agonies about doing so as my mate. Right now though I honestly feel our fan-base is draining its real, proper support but no-one can rebuke anyone for looking at what is unfurling at Newcastle United and deciding enough is enough.
January is the big decision month for season ticket holders. This is the month when direct debits can be cancelled and the long goodbyes begin. I’ve no doubt hundreds, possibly thousands will be making that decision now and joining the many others who have decided the club is a pointless charade and will only consider returning when Ashley has gone. Again, I could never criticize anyone at all for coming to that conclusion. We’ll have guidance online soon to give guidance to people about what to do to cancel direct debits and chuck season tickets. God almighty, has it come to this?
With a trip to title-chasing Arsenal next up and a horrendous run of fixtures thereafter and United in the bottom three the outlook is looking absolutely grim. We appear to be at severe risk of being cut off and sinking with the Mackems and Vile into the Championship in what will be three absolutely and entirely deserved fates from three clubs that have completely lost their way and been overtaken by others who are better run, with greater direction and purpose though fewer resources and less profile. As Newcastle United has been describe previously on numerous occasions, the club is a zombie outfit but is now drifting inexorably towards the life of the undead.
If we are to avoid thousands of loyal supporters walking away this month or next, Mike Ashley has to intervene and he has to do what he has hitherto been unable or perhaps unwilling to do and that is take decisions in the interests of Newcastle United rather than for his own narrow business benefits.
The first thing he has to do is to appoint an experienced and capable Chief Executive Officer. One who knows how the game works, can work with agents and the media but more importantly provide strategic long term direction for the club as well as managing the day to day challenges of a Premier League club. That will require the removal of Lee Charnley who is yet to make a call in the interests of United in the time he has been pretending to be in charge of our club. Then must come the instant dismissal of Steve McClaren, a man so painfully out of his depth its almost cruel to watch him trot out his nonsense after another dismal display and performance. That he has failed miserably shouldn’t come as any surprise as he has failed at Derby (sacked), Forest (sacked), Wolfsburg (sacked), Twente (sacked) and England (sacked). Whatever success he has had as a coach to Ferguson at Man Utd or winning the Eredevisie with Twente or some distant successes with Boro are lost in the mists of time. At United he begun his work with a plan to play possession football. That failed miserably and has been abandoned and replaced with a kind of bad counter-attacking style which lacks craft, pace or guile. Of course he isn’t helped by a recruitment policy which is so flawed as to defy caricature.
For me, I’d appoint David Moyes. That’s not because I think Moyes is a magician but because he is the absolute best we might be able to get if we are to persuade him the club is fit enough for him to join. He is our best option in my opinion but he on his own won’t be enough and that’s why the operating model for the club just has to change. That means a good CEO in place and Carr’s position as the de-facto Director of Football completely changed to be more akin to a Chief Scout.
Moyes would have to be allowed to bring in four decent players of his own choosing. Players who know the Premier League, who know what’s required in every game and not just those on the telly against the teams with the big budgets and profiles. Thereafter, regardless if we are relegated or stay up the manager has to be allowed to build a team and he has to be central to the development and ethos of the playing style and personnel. The manager of the first team isn’t a Sports Direct flunky taking in a delivery of bad Lonsdale trackie bottoms and hanging them on the rails in one of his shops. The manager has to be the absolute and central person working between tactics, recruitment and building a squad worthy of the name of Newcastle United FC.
If this doesn’t happen and doesn’t happen quickly, we are going down and I really don’t think we’ll be bouncing back in the grand style at the first time of asking. And I’m pretty certain the SJP stands will empty.
Doing nothing or worse bringing another selection of inexperienced players looking to use Newcastle United as a trampoline bounce to somewhere better just won’t be good enough.
Thank you for all of the kind words about the new issue of true faith (Issue 123) we have out now. We are delighted at how it has been received by lots of you and thrilled at the numbers who are downloading it. It’s no idle boast that we claim it is the most widely read club fanzine in the UK and we fervently believe this is the model for a new era in fanzines. Unlike some websites or whatever we aren’t after clicks as a means to drive advertising revenue and despair of so called fanzines who are now reduced to doing that as well as chopping up news releases and claiming them as their own to bring traffic to their sites. We’ll never do that and I guess neither will our valued friends and colleagues at nufc.com
Anyway, click on the image below and you’ll be transported to some of the best fanzine writing anywhere in the UK and all for nowt, nada, zilch, gratis.
Of course if you felt like you wanted to write fro true faith, just drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you to work immediately.
Anyway, its been an absolutely shite 2015 so far as Newcastle United has been concerned and if our fears aren’t to be realised, 2016 could get worse if Ashley doesn’t act and start treating our club with due care and respect it deserves and that goes for us as supporters as well.
For all of that, thank you for your fantastic support throughout 2015 and the many years previously and one day we might get the football club its support deserves.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …