I don’t think anyone really expected United to have been decisive in the aftermath of what was a pretty standard away-day humping at Stamford Bridge when our team once again disgraced itself on its travels. My view is that if so-called Managing Director and Lee Charnley and de-facto Director of Football Graeme Carr moved to dismiss McClaren they would in fact be making a very public admission of their own culpability and handing in their resignations given how much time and effort they put into offering McClaren the job of Head Coach in the first instance. Charnley and Carr know very well they will struggle as much as John Carver has after last season’s disgrace to secure alternative positions at Premier League clubs. For Carr, at his age, that might not bother him so much but for Charnley, a relatively young man where he would go post-SJP will doubtless weigh heavily upon his thinking when it comes to that difficult conversation with McClaren.
For all of the blather about a football board, all of the real decisions will be made or at least sanctioned by Mike Ashley. Owners of businesses routinely hire people to run them for them within the parameters they set but all the big decisions remain to be taken by the man who owns the whole shebang. Thus, real change at United will have to come from Ashley and it’s foolish to expect Charnley and Carr will make the calls that undermine their positions
For me, McClaren should have been binned in December. Two wins over Liverpool and Spurs took the heat off the failed Championship manager but since the turn of the year the familiar pattern of his team flattering to deceive has continued. We’ve had two wins over West Ham and a dire West Brom but we’ve been disgraceful at Everton, Watford (x2) and Chelsea despite those three sides hardly being on top of their game.
After the Chelsea debacle, United had 18 days without a game and a trip to La Manga for er, “warm weather” training. That, for me, provided the ideal opportunity to appoint the replacement that any half-decent operation would have been scoping out for the last few months. The new man could have been parachuted in with his coaching team and enjoyed a mini-pre-season preparation with the idea of bringing some renewed sense of purpose and ideas even amongst this flawed squad with all of the holes all informed observers have spotted for years.
Naturally, Charnley and Carr decided they would attempt to keep faith with the man with whom their own credibility with Ashley depends.
Not that that absolves Ashley from responsibility. For all Ashley appears to want to create the impression he wants little to do with the day to day running of United (in reality he questions where every penny is going we hear) if he had real ambition for the club he’d have been there well before now smashing Charnley’s nascent career up the glass atrium of the Milburn Stand and appointing proper professionals to take the club forward rather than a nobody. For Charnley, read Llambias, Wise, Jimenez Kinnear, Mort et al who all remain out of football after their failed adventures in NE1.
If Ashley had any ambition for United this situation would never have arisen. Quite simply the club would have been properly run and resourced by qualified and experienced professionals rather than those who happened to have met Ashley at some casino or on the piss in some minty country bar in Berkshire. Or in Charnley’s case, a Johnny-on-the spot who I don’t doubt has made it very obvious to Ashley he will do everything required to stay in a position he’d never get anywhere near at any other club in any club in the top two, possibly three divisions in this country. It’s just my opinion but Lee Charnley in particular is making or rather not making decisions that are in his own interests rather than Newcastle United’s. In that endeavour he is little different to the man he works for.
I’d almost forgotten about the Fans Forum. There will be another Fans Forum dance on Monday night. The whole thing operates in the manner of the North Korean dictatorship. The media is banned from observing proceedings and indeed, the Newcastle United Supporters Trust remains barred despite never having any reason given or explained for its Siberian exile. Correspondence to the club from the NUST and the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) continues to be unanswered. The club’s supporters’ liaison officer or erstwhile PR man and bag carrier for Media Department colleagues’ swims in a very small pool and not unlike some of his colleagues at other clubs has many fans wondering about the whole point of his post.
I don’t doubt there are those supporters who participate within the Fans Forum who have the very best of intentions but by nature of being unelected and therefore having no real accountability to their fellow fans render the whole exercise pointless. I don’t blame them. I do blame the club’s attitude to those who ask awkward questions be they a supporters’ organisation such as the NUST or those in the media who it has energetically banned for almost the whole time Ashley has been in-situ.
Those who have been participating within the Fans Forum may have given the likes of me the gen off-the-record and have even on occasion asked for questions to pose to Charnley et al but are so afraid of being sacked off the thing have declined to go on the record or talk about their whole experience for fear of finding themselves out in the cold. I am aware of former members who have, to their credit, in my opinion, sacked the whole thing off as a bad job.
That’s not to say I am blaming individual fans for not giving us their side of their story as per the Fans Forum. I do however have a less than positive view of pseudo-fans organisations (no members, no mission, no elections, no accountability, no achievements) sat round the table giving a preposterous impression of fan engagement to fulfil a UEFA directive. That’s a point that has been made by many before and will doubtless be made again but the real architects of this nonsense aren’t those who go along with the charade but rather those who have created it and that is Newcastle United Football Club.
Something has to change – ASHLEY OUT!
Keep On, Keepin’ On …