Apologies for the lateness this week. I’ve been tired. 

It would appear that contrary to impressions given, Mike Ashley does care about what is PRjigsawsaid and written about him and his intentions towards Newcastle United and latterly Rangers. I say that because it would appear we are in the midst of something of a Public Relations exercise, in which I detect the hand of Keith Bishop, the mush who is often sat next to “Big Mike” when he is at St James’ Park. Bishop, as I understand it has something of a PR brief with Rangers FC too. Say what you like about the whole notion of PR (or organized lying as I  prefer to regard it) but Bishop doesn’t turn down the hard jobs.

I’ve just read Mike Williamson quoted in The Chronicle spouting some of the most arrant nonsense it has been my privilege to read but “Willo” is yet but the latest to invite us to ignore the evidence of our own eyes and imagine step into some fantasy where Newcastle United is indeed doing it all it can to narrow the gap with the “top clubs” (sic) and establish itself as a genuine top seven club ready to kick on with a talented and innovative manager (I’ve checked, it’s still Alan Pardew who has the job) who is the subject of envious glances from those clubs up the food chain and attracting the interest of Europe’s elite.

It’s just well, we have only won five games since January, we play some of the most cautious, cramped, unimaginative, dull-arse losing football in many a year and off the park, the club is “led” by a glorified tea-boy whose chief quality is that he keeps his mouth shut and does what he’s told.

I despair at how dumb the people at Newcastle United takes its public but when we are treated to the words of Gouffran, Coloccini and now Williamson talking what can only be described as utter shite, I can only conclude they do really think we are as thick as the Castle-Keep wall.

I’m not really a conspiracy theorist but when I have heard Denis Wise once again cling to the flimsiest of driftwood to prevent himself drowning in his own reputation with a regurgitation of the lamentable claim the people of the North East are against Ashley, Kinnear, Pardew and himself because they are Londoners, you sometimes wonder if there has been a plan to get this rubbish out there.

I certainly don’t think it was an accident that ex-Rangers captain, Richard Gough and Scottish pundit Murdo McLeod were sticking up for Mike Ashley in his increasing intentions towards Rangers. Some of the garbage coming from those two makes you wonder just how the questioner kept a straight face.  McLeod reckons Ashley has cleared the Newcastle United debt. Jesus Christ, Murdo, I hope your Missus looks after the family accounts because you are absolutely clueless.

The Ashley interest in Rangers follows the atypical modus operandi of our loathed owner. Here is an established “brand” with a big following attached to it, which has got itself into a right old mess. Please see Lonsdale, Everlast, Dunlop, Slazenger and er, Newcastle United. I don’t suppose Ashley will have as much knowledge of Derry’s Walls as he did the Byker Wall. Had Celtic been in the same position as Rangers, he’d have been in for them in the same ruthless, cold-eyed manner.

He is there at Ibrox to milk Rangers and that is why he is at Newcastle United.

Nothing other than money motivates this man and watching his manouveres in Glasgow with a dispassionate look, brings Ashley’s whole plan into sharp relief.

Apparently, he has the naming rights of Rangers historic old Ibrox Stadium, he has his hands on the merchandising and I don’t doubt for one moment, the next step is for the perimeter pitch advertising and for those great old stands of Scottish football to be plastered with adverts for his manky businesses.

Ashley will bring his corporate defeatism to Rangers, just as he has to Newcastle United. Rangers have gone through convulsions in recent years and will continue to do so. He will empty that club of its soul just as he has with Newcastle United.

There is a selfish streak however in all of us that wishes him out of Newcastle United and we long for Rangers as his next destination and his departure from St James’ Park. I’m hardly a Rangers sympathizer but I wouldn’t wish this man on them. He’s bad for sport, he’s bad for football clubs and if he’s bad for Newcastle United and he’s bad for any club.  He brings nothing tom the table but he wil take plenty away in my opinion. He is in it for himself and that is why I do not see him leaving United any time soon.

I read recently of even more money coming into English football by way of new TV deals. There appears to be ever more new markets that want to watch Stoke v West Brom on a Monday night. We are soon to be getting to a point where the debt Newcastle United owes to Ashley will amount to small change in the overall money that club will have coming through it from TV.

Bigger TV audiences to see advertising for his shitty shops, more TV money and the Premier League’s latest wheeze, matches played abroad to “market” the Premier League “brand” will be music to the ears of Mike Ashley.

Why would he sell Newcastle United now?

He certainly doesn’t need the money, the club is yet to reach its earning potential via TV and he has the whole lot nailed down. No-one can touch him. He holds all of the cards. Newcastle United keeps ticking over and the dough keeps rolling in.

I did however read with some interest Rangers Supporters groups (Sons of Struth) organizing “flash-mobs” to disrupt trading at his businesses across Glasgow and so far as I am aware, the exercise was well-organised, civil, legal and highly effective. Fair play to them!

Somewhat typically after reading The Chronicle’s coverage of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust’s successful application to have St James’ Park registered as an Asset of Community Value, I read that achievement rubbished by an anonymous “supporter” and calling for activities like the one in Glasgow.

It’s not the first time I’ve read this kind of comment. It won’t be the last. I’d love to know what this individual is prepared to do himself to make it happen.


We are extending the true faith : SATURDAY SPECIAL weekly Newsletter that we put outsat_spec_32_samsung free of charge to you all. The SATURDAY SPECIAL goes out to a good few thousand supporters every week and is developing quite the following these days.

It is written in a completely different style to what you will expect from the fanzine (with its longer, more reflective and detailed pieces) and the subject matter is much different too on occasion.

Obviously, a big part of the SATURDAY SPECIAL is the build up to that day’s game (or that weekend’s) but as we have some erudite and refined writers amongst us we often look at the game in general and hopefully provides a wider look at the world of football in general.

For the last season, the SATURDAY SPECIAL has been under the sole stewardship of our esteemed Deputy Editor, Gareth Harrison and it’s a tribute to what he has done with it that we are ready to expand it somewhat with the addition of a whole team of SATURDAY SPECIAL writers, namely Alex Hurst, Guy Hannay-Wilson, Mark Brophy, me occasionally and of course Gareth, who still leads the thing. Naturally, the design is all the responsibility of our in-house genius, Glenn Ashcroft.

The SATURDAY SPECIAL works perfectly fine on PCs, lap-tops, i-pads, tablets etc. but it’s my own preference to read the thing on my smart-phone. The vision is for it to be read on the move, outside, en-route to games, on the bus, train, Metro or whatever and hopefully replace what we provided via the hard-copy fanzine which we often spotted being read around town in exactly the kind of way we see people wandering around looking at smart-phones.

Only, you won’t leave your fanzine on the bus or have it nicked by one of your mates in the pub or spill a load of beer over it. It will be locked in your smart-phone but be a canny little companion for you on match-day.

Oh, and it’s absolutely FREE.

All you need to do to get the SATURDAY SPECIAL is sign up for it. Just click here.


The big-read we provide however though, as you well know is via our DIGITAL fanzine. tf114_ipad4We have been thrilled at how many of you have signed up for it and there is no question, the decision to leave behind the hard-copy for DIGITAL has been vindicated, not only by the numbers signing up for it but also because of the fantastic feedback we’ve had for it.

We are due to have a new issue out this weekend (TF115) but we will be rolling that over until Monday to get over a little glitch we had and give us more time to get it absolutely spot on for you.

To make sure you get it just as it is published, click here and get signed up.

These are miserable days to be following our club but whilst we cover what is going on at United in painful detail, I think it’s safe to say we look at a whole range of other things to stop you all from slashing your wrists. There is history, nostalgia, the experiences of Mags in faraway places and some stuff we hope makes you smile.


As regular readers will doubtless be aware, we have established an online merchandising DurhamBadgeoperation and at the moment our offer is a fine selection of pin badges as well as these rather fetching bucket hats complete with the traditional City of Newcastle upon Tyne crest, which adorned the club’s shirt when it won things. Aye, a long time ago!

We are committed to bringing you high quality produce which is not mass produced tat but which says something of the culture of our club and the people who follow it. It’s the kind of stuff the likes of Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew would not have a clue about.

To access our schmutter, just click here.


Oh, we have a match this Saturday. We’re playing Leicester aren’t we? If Pardew can’t win this game, we really are in the shit but God knows what Ashley will do as he seems determined not to let the hopeless sap in the dug-out have his pay-off.

If we win, it doesn’t really matter much. We’re still a Zombie club going nowhere and with no plan to ever swim out of the shallow pool.

That’s probably enough mixed metaphors for one week, so I’ll go now.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …



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