THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Never Mind The Bollocks – 29/Mar/15

by • March 29, 2015 • TBAWEComments (3)916

It appears to be starting in earnest. As if the bull-shit and lies peddled by the major Charnleypolitical parties wasn’t bad enough, for some reason football is getting in on the act and none more so than at Newcastle United of course.

You will remember at the last Fans Forum, that over-promoted self-server, Lee Charnley responded to a clumsily put question about the sale of the land at Strawberry Place as of little direct concern to Newcastle United and attempted to muddy the waters on the issue of ownership. If you can’t remember what was said, remind yourself by having a look here:

http://www.nufc.co.uk/page/Fans/FansForum/0,,10278~4540283,00.html

  1. “What is the club’s position regarding the sale of land behind the Gallowgate End and will income raised be put back into the club?”

The board explained that the land has not been owned by the club or appeared in its accounts since before Mike Ashley’s time at the club. It is under the umbrella of Mike Ashley’s ownership, separate to the club. A public consultation has been called for 12th March, which is to assess the potential development of the site.

To say this is misleading is something of an understatement in my opinion as the land has pheonixlogobeen owned by one of the many companies that make up what you know of Newcastle United. If Ashley had not bought Newcastle United, he would not have owned the lease on the land. The double-speak in the answer is further highlighted when we subsequently discover that the company holding the land MGM Grand Newcastle has a director by the name of Lee Charnley. Those in the pay of Ashley might obfuscate but that land is morally Newcastle United’s and Charnley’s answer to an albeit clumsy question is far from comprehensive. It was designed to mislead in my opinion.

Can Lee Charnley and his ilk be trusted? You decide.

Last week Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore made some interesting announcements following the Premier League Shareholders meeting in London. He has stated that of the new £5.1bn going into the Premier League courtesy of the new TV deals, at least £1bn of that bonanza would be channelled into the lower leagues and there would be a requirement for all Premier League clubs to pay their staff the Living Wage.

However, I’ll leave you to decide whether there is an appetite at Newcastle United to pay the staff working on the grounds, box-office, stewards, shops etc a Living Wage as we might understand it i.e. everyone who is an employee, part time, full time, directly or indirectly employed by United getting the same deal, when you consider this answer to another Fans Forum question:

http://www.nufc.co.uk/page/Fans/FansForum/0,,10278~4540283,00.html

  1. “Does Newcastle United pay all its employees at least the Living Wage?”

The board said that it does not pay the living wage but it does abide by employment law Fila2as per legislation set by the government and pay the minimum wage. The club advised supporters to speak to their local MPs with a view to the government changing the law and raising the national minimum wage if they believed it beneficial for the UK.

It was felt that the issue was one for all commerce and society as a whole rather than purely for football, which politicians often target without knowing or researching clubs’ significant contributions to their communities. Newcastle United Foundation continues to operate programmes that boost the skills and employability of thousands of young people and adults across the city each year.

Now I will leave you to work out whether a company owned by Mike Ashley (Newcastle United), a man who has pioneered the exploitative use of zero hour contracts for his employees at Sports Direct, who’s treatment of USC employees in Scotland is scandalous (though legal) will not seek to use every possible device possible to undermine Scudamore’s pledge.

Can Ashley be trusted? You decide.

Scudamore repeated his mantra that ticket pricing in the Premier League is a matter for BossGifindividual clubs. In the world of the Premier League, there is no sense of collectivism. All the clubs are separate businesses. Their ties are exclusively of a financial nature.

That is not to suggest what came out of Scudamore’s mouth last week is complete tosh, though as ever, the devil will be in the detail and we will have to see what is delivered rather than what is said.

The Football Supporters Federation has worked really hard to get itself and others around the table with Scudamore and his executives. Our own Newcastle United Supporters Trust has been at the forefront of those discussions and developed excellent relations not only with the FSF but with other Trusts and properly constituted supporters groups such as the Spirit of Shankly (a supporters Trust), MUST (Man Utd), LUST (Leeds), THST (Spurs), Blue Union (Everton) and others. Progress has definitely been made but needs to be continued and we all need to strengthen our resolve. People behind the scenes from NUST have worked hard, given up their own time, taken holidays from work, ended up out of pocket and been significant contributors to the emerging policies and strategies most notably of the FSF but also Supporters Direct. You might not see the NUST’s board members poncing about on platforms they have done little to build but you should be proud of the graft they continue to do, the expertise they have and what they are developing.

The cynic in me points to Scudamore’s promise last week and wonders whether it is a FILA-GIFdiversion from what is correctly being discussed right now in party political manifestos ahead of the forthcoming General Election. I believe the country feels that its national sport isn’t being run correctly, it understands and agrees with the unhappiness there is surrounding the game, despite its financial strength. The country understands that top lecvel football in this country is about more than 19 separate businesses in the Premier League being run by a random collection of billionaires and millionaires motivated by their own vested interests. People understand that and whilst there concern will be rightly behind the NHS, housing, the environment, the economy, education, football as one of its biggest cultural assets is also of great concern. And politicians get that.

But getting closer to Newcastle United and you might wonder about John Carver’s pronouncements about a big summer of rebuilding at Newcastle United. We’ve even heard sums of £60m bandied about. I know, I laughed as well.

This, in my opinion, is all meant to sugar coat the imminent news of a massive profit to be announced in the next couple of weeks. A level of profit that should enrage supporters given the state of our squad and the club’s disgraceful lack of ambition.

However, look at the statements more closely and you will see references to player-sales CampoReinventedwith names like Krul, Colo, Sissoko and even Aarons thrown into the mix. You will get short odds on Perez and Janmaat being United players come August this year too.

What you will also read in the reports is that the £60m will also involve salaries and when you read that kind of thing you can’t fail to go back to statements about “no capital outlay” and all the rest of it. Anyone who believes Ashley is going to become all ambitious for Newcastle United all of a sudden is deluding themselves. The kind of summer I’m expecting is one of players sold to generate income to buy new ones who will be attracted to the club with the prospect of putting themselves in the shop window for moves to ambitious clubs. The overall standard of the squad will remain the same – mediocre and that’s your lot.

We are also being drip-fed that Carver is going nowhere. Some people are interpreting that as a sure sign of a coronation for John Carver but even given the small amount of knowledge Ashley has for football, he must realise appointing Carver as Head Coach will be disastrous. If half way accomplished managers such as Lambert and Poyet crash and burn with Villa and Sunderland in the PL then Carver hasn’t got a chance if he has to lead a team through a full campaign.

Indirect promises via the media? I don’t believe any of it. Newcastle United is going nowhere under Mike Ashley but it will be interesting to see just how much dough Newcastle United has made for him when the figures are finally announced.

*

Jesus, it’s that time of the year when we have to make our annual visit to Sunderland. special_widget_picThere was a time when these games made the heart pound but I’ll be honest the last few no-shows at SJP from our lot and the general gloom surrounding United at present together with them being shite has turned this into something of the Donkey Derby and completely taken the edge off. It is the very definition of two bald men fighting over a comb such is the lamentable state of both clubs.

No matter, I’ll meet up with old friends, take a deep breath and we’ll make our way through to the Mackem backwater.

I really don’t like where the away allocation is at the SoS and I’m sure they will say the same about their spot at SJP. It feels as though you are completely divorced from the action on the park and it is part of the unremitting dilution of football that the visiting fans of stuck out of the way as an inconvenience.

I’m still scratching my head at the apparent volte face in Northumbria Police’s strategy forAdvert1 the derbies though. Just over 12-months ago the likes of NUST, this fanzine, the FSF as well as several SAFC fanzines etc were successfully challenging the “bubble” proposals for last season’s visit of Sunderland to SJP. This season we have a more laissez-faire approach which whilst being unquestionably more civilised and convenient for ordinary match-going fans of both clubs may yet have some way to go to tick a few boxes. I’m not altogether convinced if the supposed escort-free method results in fewer arrests, incidents and if it is actually cheaper for the tax-payer in terms of having fewer officers on the ground. It does feel better and that is a good thing but I think I’ll be leaving alone the strange offer the Polis has made for Mags to go for a pint anywhere they like in Sunderland (enter own Wearside nightlife joke here). As ever, I’ll be wanting to get in and out as quickly as possible and hopefully do it with minimal contact with the locals.

As for the game, I’ve been trying not to think about it. I look at the lack of big-match craft in our game, the absence of players with a derby mentality and I do fear the worst. I shook my head when I saw Sissoko’s name being bandied about by the club’s social media given his disappearing acts in every derby he has played in. Do the players and Carver owe us? Unquestionably but whether that debt will be repaid this Easter Sunday remains to be seen.

If you are going, I’ll be the one rocking back and forwards from the first moment to the last.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

 

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3 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Never Mind The Bollocks – 29/Mar/15

  1. Boomtown says:

    19 Million profit just announced on BBC website. not a bad little business!

  2. Pat Hughes says:

    I haven’t had my annual ST renewal form yet – I presume the club are dangling £60m magic carrots before me to keep me in place next season and come the end of the deadline, poof, the £60m magic carrots disappear. Platitudes such as the cost was unrealistic, the player went elsewhere, Mars was not in alignment with Venus etc etc will prevail.

  3. mammyslittlesoldier says:

    Are you getting paid for writing half of last night’s telegraph article?