We can feel it. We can taste it. It is here. The end of Ashley at Newcastle United. He’s going to be pleased with himself. He’s sat on a club  for 14 years, cut it to the bone and now he’s walking away with tens of millions in profit. Perhaps more. Galling.

But it’s not about him. It’s not about those years in the wilderness. It’s now about Newcastle United. A club we hope, we pray is one with a future. The Newcastle United that truly can, at last begin to fulfil its vast potential and then some.

Is Newcastle United about to become one that is deserving of our support? The devotion and dedication that has been undeserved for so long, a club that has brought disappointment, failure for so long to so many.

What happens next … the club of the North? The club of the Tweed to the Tees? Or beyond?

A club that will proudly represent a forgotten, ridiculed, insulted, patronised far corner of the UK … too far north, too removed from the metropolis, stereotyped, dismissed, forgotten. Is that about to change? Is Geordie now here to be respected? I’ll stop now before I burst into the Jarrow Song.

We are all consuming the news feeds hungrily. We are falling, madly on every snippet, every press release, we are hoovering up information like never before. Keegan signing in ‘82, Shearer coming home in ’96 … this feels bigger than those special moments even. This feels defining, transformative and revolutionary.

These are all of the things we have told ourselves but while the clamour is deafening, we will have to prepare to listen and learn.

What is going to happen to our club?

It so needs change. Money is a big part of that and big investments will have to be made at every level of the club’s operation – the first team squad, St James’ Park, The Academy and the training facilities. Real capital investment has to be made. The club has been neglected for a decade and a half.

But there are key appointments waiting to be made with people. People will transform Newcastle United and they need to be the best and they need to bring in a new culture. They need to be proper people, with good career backgrounds, unimpeachable CVs who operate to the highest standards.

A culture rooted in complete professionalism. People need to be the best we can get for their jobs. From the dug-out to the boardroom to the ticket office to the media operations and the turnstile. The best doing their best. Operating to the highest standards. Sorry, that all sounds like a corporate mission statement.

Newcastle United needs a step change where professionalism is at the core. I don’t want to disfigure this piece with recrimination but there are people who need to leave Newcastle United at the earliest possible opportunity.

A new broom. A blank sheet.

A new team from the boardroom down with a new vision and on message with a completely new strategy with everyone pulling together.

Let’s also not forget who we are.

We are Newcastle United. We are the club in NE1, on Barrack Road and a Geordie club. We are the club of Veitch, Gallacher, Milburn, Harvey, Mitchell, Moncur, Macdonald, Keegan, Shearer, the Leazes, the Gallowgate and Black & White stripes, black shorts, black socks and the Blaydon Races. That’s not our famous sentimentality. That is our core.

Newcastle United is ours. It is the club of the people of Tyneside. The club supported by miners and shipyard workers from its inception in 1892 and every generation since. The club that binds, that frustrates but that is loved.

It is the club for the city, the Tyneside sprawl and its hinterland in Northumberland and Durham. It is the club of Denton and Darras Hall. It is the club of the growing diverse communities of Tyneside and of those who trace their roots back hundreds of years in these parts. It is the club of men, women, boys, girls, every shade, every religion, every shape and size. All different, all equal.

That includes the people who have misgivings about this takeover and some of our friends we share this club with have legitimate concerns that should not be dismissed. Some of us, me included have made accommodations with who the new owners are and it can make us uncomfortable.

It serves us ill to dismiss or insult those friends of ours, no matter how small in number they are. Our conscience is our strength not our flaw.

But Newcastle United and its supporters cannot be the moral conscience of the nation no matter how much we will be petitioned to play that role.

Our new era needs to cross a bridge between that old, precious identity to the new where we welcome a partnership with new people and embroider that into the fabric of our club. But we also need to recognise some of our number will struggle to make that journey as readily as others. They remain part of us.

Overall though, there is a Geordie welcome and then some.

We are outward looking, international and receptive to change but also fiercely proud of who and what we are. It is our club. Always will be whatever comes next and it is to be hoped its traditions and identity are respected. We hope all of that is loved by the people who will now have responsibility for the stewardship of Newcastle United. We are here to embrace new friends.

But it feels like that step-change is now.

It will dawn on some people quicker than others what the scale of this change represents. We will also need to be mindful not to feed our own expectations too flamboyantly.

What is the plan?

The new owners have the resources to compete with any club on the planet and then some. But they have picked Newcastle United for a reason and I suspect it is because of our potential and capacity for growth. Any club can be the welcome recipient of riches lavished upon it as per PSG, Man City, Chelsea etc.

Personally, I suspect we may follow a model more like Leicester City than Manchester City but what do I know? I’m ready to listen.

Let’s see and let’s allow whoever it is who is going to be front and centre of Newcastle United the space to breathe, to explain and for us to listen and reflect and respond.

Back to that new culture.

Not everything at Newcastle United is terrible. Our support is the best – passionate, engaged, funny, resilient and ready. The nonsense and trash-talking of social media isn’t important. It doesn’t matter. In the real world it doesn’t register and it is barely the sound of distant traffic. Forget it.

Our support sustains the Newcastle United Foundation, is the core of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the Newcastle United Fans Foodbank, United With Pride, Gallowgate-Wor Flags and of course the Newcastle United Supporters Trust.

All need a relationship with the new club.

But partnerships will go much further and become far more strategic. The club needs a new relationship with its city and the wider community. The city council is pivotal as are the local authorities of Tyneside and the wider NE. As well as the Universities, MPs and the business community.

Newcastle United needs to reconnect with its communities like never before because for fourteen years it has estranged itself from the people it owes its existence to.

As has been hinted, this new ownership has suggested at wider regeneration for the NE.

But what does that mean?

There have to be opportunities for NE businesses in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East. This has the opportunity to be transformational but this is where we need the detail also.

Again, wait and see.

But Newcastle United is a community football club. It didn’t choose that character but it has it. It belongs to supporters and I think we’re all yearning to see an end to all of the pain and turn a new page, write a new chapter … perhaps a new book.

It is significant that already the people who have felt unable to support an Ashley-owned Newcastle United are coming home and want to be back amongst friends. It feels like things could heal amongst our support often made toxic by Ashley’s running of Newcastle United FC.

I suspect the world’s media may be making their way to NE1 right now. Newcastle United could be about to be catapulted into global news feeds.

Mike Ashley is over.

The new ownership will be judged on what it does and not what it says. We’ve heard all of the patter merchants down the years, the undelivered promises and all of that shite.

This is all about delivery. What these new stewards of our club can offer for supporters because without that, it is a complete waste of time.

But for now … #Cans Ya Beauty!

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

MICHAEL MARTIN