Who knows for certain what is happening with the mooted takeover of Newcastle United? Do the Saudis really want to buy? Does Ashley really want to sell? Are we being had-off yet again?

I suppose time will tell but I think most of you reading this want Mike Ashley and every trace of him gone from our club so we can get back to having a positive, uncomplicated love of Newcastle United. A position where supporters are united behind the Black & White and aren’t forever squabbling about shite all day and every day!

Anyway, if and when that glorious day comes and Ashley is history, here are a few suggestions to get the new era off to a positive start:

Lee Charnley & Co are handed their arses

It is inconceivable those who have collaborated with Ashley over the last thirteen years are allowed to hang around when new owners arrive on Barrack Road. The club will require a proper executive team of experienced and qualified professionals rather than the phonies we’ve had at St James’ Park who have done nothing but Ashley’s bidding for thirteen years. Get them out and let’s have some proper, qualified professionals running the club expertly and taking it to where it could and should be.

S****S D****T signage

If there is one symbol of the cheapening of Newcastle United it is those hated red and blue logos which defile St James’ Park – ugly, unwanted and a source of huge supporter resentment – get them removed as soon as possible. If the club wants to raise some money for charity it can put them on the Town Moor, invite supporters to bring their own hammers and charge us to smash them to smithereens. Form an orderly queue lads and lasses.

Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan

Both men are the most iconic living figures associated with Newcastle United. Both men are at significant odds with the Ashley hierarchy because of the way they have been treated and how he treats our club and their club. First thing, return the name of the bar at the Gallowgate to being Shearer’s Bar as it was originally. It was changed to NINE in an act of spite and it is an act that needs to be corrected. While we’re on we can relocate the statue currently on Barrack Road to a more prominent space right in front of Shearer’s Bar. The great Kevin Keegan should have a similar bar named after him and I’d suggest the hardly imaginatively named Terrace Bar is renamed Keegan’s Bar.

But more importantly, both men should be made international ambassadors for Newcastle United and brought back into the heart of the club – welcoming both men onto the pitch of the first game following any takeover would be a fitting if not deeply emotional affair.

Deep Clean

St James’ Park has been allowed to become a midden in the last few years. The club must be barely spending anything on maintaining the stadium and a good look inside and outside in all areas fuels the view the club has been neglected at every level. A deep clean inside and outside wouldn’t only improve the appearance of the stadium but it would be symbolic in removing the stench and stain of Mike Ashley.

Communications

Let’s be honest, although the club, mainly Charnley but previously Llambias frequently admit gross shortcomings in how they communicate with supporters despite promises to improve, they never do. Indeed in all of the years Charnley has been pretending to be a Managing Director, I don’t think I’ve heard the sound of his voice and I have no memory of him giving one recorded let alone live to air interview. Where interviews have been supposedly given they have either been through a list of questions e-mailed in and responded to or stage managed to within an inch of their lives. The orchestrated Fans Forum would make the North Korean government blush. Thank god that has disappeared into a puff of smoke. I don’t think any of us expect any club owners or senior executive to be constantly at the whim of any journalist. But it isn’t unreasonable to have regular updates on the club’s strategic direction and be able to question that through some meaningful governance. How any new owners approach this might tell us about they intend to run Newcastle United.    

 

But obviously, there is lots  which interests us more – investment in the squad and what ambitions there are for Newcastle United is key. We don’t demand the moon on a stick but we do want the club to keep moving forward, be the best it can be, have ambition and use its position as one of the best supported clubs in the country to take it forward. Everything the club does should be about improving the squad and being as competitive as possible.

Rafa Benitez complained that the club’s training facilities required significant investment and obviously in an Ashley run club that was never going to happen. I’d love to know new owners’ intentions towards modernising the club’s training facilities but this also extends to the Academy, which has simply not punched its weight in many a long year, if ever.

St James’ Park – dependent upon the ambition there is for Newcastle United, serious consideration should be given to extending the capacity and intervening in the yet to commence development plans for Strawberry Place. Newcastle United can pull in crowds of 52,000 to watch Championship football so it is well within the scope of a decently run club to add 10-15,000 to that number and draw back those who have drifted away – sickened by Ashley’s joyless regime.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – this is what cabin fever does to you.

Keep On, Keepin’ On .. 

MICHAEL MARTIN