I think the general consensus following the derby game was that a point was better than it could have been and at last we have got a monkey off our back with these desperate results against Sunderland for the last few years. Unless I’m hanging around with a group of Mags who aren’t representative of the main throng of our support and the people who correspond on these pages, write for true faith and interact with us via social media then the overall mood is to support Rafa Benitez 100% in the desperate hope we can preserve our Premier League status.
It’s a real shame no-one told Mike Ashley that because in what couldn’t have been a worse timed media interview as a PR exercise for his tanking business, the man who supposedly “owns” Newcastle United threw something of a very soggy blanket over the fragile peace Benitez’s arrival has brought to the club since his arrival. For those who missed Ashley’s words of wisdom, here they are:
“Do I regret getting into football? The answer is yes.
“I have had tonnes of fun in it but I haven’t been able to make the difference I wanted to in football like I have at Sports Direct.
“I wanted to help Newcastle, I wanted to make it better, that’s what I wanted to do. I haven’t seemed to have had that affect.
“Let’s hope Rafa can do the business and keep us up there.”
STAYING OR GOING?
“I have no choice. They’ve got me, and I’ve got them. That is the way it is.”
“It’s disappointing because I personally want to win every game for Newcastle United. It doesn’t matter who they are playing. But it is not a disaster.”
“All I say is, there is a bank account, when you have emptied it, it’s empty, don’t come crying to me for more money…..”
“Virtually, nothing now. They have emptied it.”
“I have virtually nil affect on Newcastle United, in reality, because I only pick the board.”
“Create a board, get the board to appoint the manager, put the manager on the board as well and then not interfere.
“I don’t know what players they sign, I don’t know what team they are going to pick on a Saturday.
“I don’t really want to have any influence in football to be honest. Looking after Sports Direct is more than a full time job.”
“I think we have the right man for the job. If there is any hope of Newcastle staying up, let’s hope Rafa can do it.
“Eventually, we will have some good times again.”
“To get a football club to be the best it can be, you have to get the sun, the moons and the stars to align perfectly.
“But there is negativity around me as an individual when it comes to Newcastle, so the best thing was to make sure it was on solid ground and then step back and get them to self-manage Newcastle”.
I don’t think many would argue that Mike Ashley has been disastrous for Newcastle United Football Club. Since he bought the club (without a gun to his head) United is in a worst state than it was by every conceivable measure. The debt has increased, income streams for all but TV income has dropped enormously, performance in the league and cup competitions has been consistently poor. Ashley’s business management of the club has been terrible – he purchased a club (if he is to be believed) without due diligence and thus paid a price out of all proportion to its value and compounded that with a series of appalling decisions which resulted in relegation and the loss of millions.
Newcastle United may have a large debt of just under £100m but that is largely down to his own incompetence. I’m sure Ashley does regret buying United and his adventure in Glasgow but that is shared by the supporters at SJP and Ibrox Stadium.
Let’s not forget every penny Newcastle United has spent on players comes from its own revenue – TV, the gate, corporate and merchandise. None of it comes from Mike Ashley. Not a penny. Unfortunately, the money that has been spent on fees for players, managers, coaches and their wages has been entrusted to the people Mike Ashley has appointed and they have been similarly as disastrous as him.
In what other realm of business would a man as chronically inexperienced and unqualified as Lee Charnley have the business of Newcastle united bequeathed to him to run? Where would you find a man with as limited a success as a talent spotter as Graeme Carr be allowed to sign a succession of players for huge fees who have crashed and burned as he has done. Players like Thauvin and Cabella haven’t lasted half a season before being pedalled back to France at a huge loss. Players like Doumbia and Saviet have arrived in the January transfer window to bolster a relegation-threatened team and failed to even start a single game.
Last season we had Facunda Ferreya on the books for a whole season who did not make a single appearance but who cost United an estimated £2m in wages.
United has squandered £80m on players within the last twelve months but still has no goal-scorer worthy of the description on the club’s books and the same applies to a left-back and the squad is painfully weak in central defence.
The Academy produces virtually nothing and its results have been shocking. Young players don’t progress i.e. Bigigrama, Vuckic, Ferguson, Tavernier are nowhere near the Premier League and the least that can be said about the mysterious Curtis Goode the better.
Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised given how United has struggled to meet the kind of standards for coaching young players that are meat and drink to clubs of far more modest means than ours.
As ever, United loses so many players to injury and anyone who has even the vaguest information about how the medical team at Benton is resourced and operates will despair at what they hear from those around it.
Fucking right, Ashley, all ours!
We are now reading the reporting from the Employment Tribunal involving Jonas Guitteraz and his claim for discrimination in what I assume is under the Equality Act. I’ve no idea how this will go but at the very least Jonas appears to have been treated disgracefully. The absence of compassion, care and humanity from those running United is truly astonishing and a stain on the reputation of our club. But it is all immensely believable. Who read the words of Alan Pardew and team-selection and didn’t burst out laughing? Newcastle United treating people like shit? It’s a pretty standard way of working as I understand it.
There was some big news involving a former winger from down the road who has now copped for a 6-year sentence as a result of some appalling crimes involving a child. Johnson has been exposed as an appalling human being for the offences themselves but his actions in continuing to deny his crimes up until the trial began has caused his victim considerable harm show an even more vile nature.
Not that he’s the only one. Sunderland’s Chief Executive Maggie Byrne has resigned in the wake of the scandal but it’s inconceivable she was the only one at Sunderland AFC who was aware of the details of Johnson’s offending. There remain so many unanswered questions regarding this episode and I can’t be the only one wondering why Ellis Short has made absolutely no comment on the matter and what Advocaat and Allardyce knew exactly when they both selected Johnson for vital games as they fought relegation last season and this.
I must also thank those who have got in touch with this fanzine subsequent to Johnson’s conviction and apologise for their criticism of us after the derby down there when we questioned whether Adam Johnson’s actions after his penalty goal was meant to taunt United supporters in connection with the deaths of two of our most loyal followers in the MH17 tragedy.
Given his actions on the day (running to the opposite end of the ground and mimicking the actions of an aeroplane) and what we now know of the man’s character, who will now say it was outrageous for us to even believe Johnson could be capable of such a vile act?
For what it’s worth, I always felt that was in his mind. We’ll never know for absolute certain but I’m sure many of you now agree it’s more believable in light of what we all understand of this man’s sick mind.
I must confess I was shocked to discover the harassment the child has faced since charges were brought against Johnson. It has been utterly disgraceful and I’m sure the hearts of everyone reading this go out to the child and her family. I can only imagine how this child has been traumatised but I believe she and her family have been heroic over the last year and personally I’m full of admiration for them.
Obviously, as a Newcastle United supporter, writing about a scandal that has enveloped our main rival club, Sunderland AFC, it’s easy to accuse me or anyone else with Black & White allegiances of mischief-making in regard to all of this. That’s an easy defence for those who want to sweep the whole thing under the carpet and move on. But Sunderland, Newcastle United and no one more than the PFA, FA, FL and PL needs to be all over this scandal and they need to learn from it and more than that act.
Like many of you reading this I have many friends who support Sunderland. I value their friendships greatly and they are the salt of the earth. No-one amongst their support is predisposed to offering succour to a convicted paedophile or even one who had been charged but some of those who would describe themselves as SAFC fans did and for those that this applies to a period of reflection and remorse would appear to be in order.
For the minute the size of the game at Carrow Road is just too much for anyone here to think about. We’ll have more on that in the week. In short though, a general description of my own mood ahead of that away trip is shitting it.
Have a great week.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
We are up to our eye-balls preparing the next issue of true faith (TF125) but for those of you who haven’t yet dived into the current issue of the fanzine (TF124) we’d just like to let you know its still here for you to have a right old read if you haven’t already. true faith is Newcastle United’s longest running fanzine and by some massive distance its most prominent title. true faith is also the most widely read, independent fans’-led publication in the UK. Its available exclusively in digital format and its also absolutely FREE. Just click on the image below to get access.