Newcastle United undoubtedly experienced one of its worst transfer windows in recent years this Summer, and this was in large part thanks to the evil machinations of its infamous owner, Mike Ashley.
The Sports Direct Boss failed to deliver the signings he promised to Pardew earlier on in the transfer window, and has as a result received a wave of criticism, to put it mildly, from Toon fans abound.
Over the years, since his takeover in 2007, he has committed atrcoties one after another which have slowly led to the decline of a club which was once so great. These include ridiculous staff appointments – Denis Wise (2008) and Joe Kinnear (2013) – the sale of the stadium naming rights and in general a downright disregard and insensitivity towards the loyal fans who pay to watch their local club every week.
Indeed, you can watch ‘A True Geordie‘s video to get the full gist of the damage the rat has done to the club.
However, in order to perhaps lighten the mood amidts a very frustrating start to the season, we have compiled a list of 5 club owners, past and present, who put Mike Ashley’s malevolent dealings to shame. Here we go:
1 – Ken Richardson (Doncaster)
In 1995 Ken Richardson hired two local crooks to burn down the main stand. One, an ex SAS man, left his mobile phone at the scene and even the South Yorks plod managed to rumble the protagonists. Richardson was found guilty in 1999 and jailed for four years. Other stunts pulled included attempting to sell the ground even though it was owned by the council and his eccentric managerial appointment of a certain Mark Weaver who’d previously run the club shop. At Stockport.
2. Luciano Gaucci (Perugia)
You’re looking at the man who once ‘signed’ Colonel Qaddafi’s son, Saadi Qaddafi, who was absolutely bloody awful and therefore never actually played for Perugia before testing positive for banned substances and being banned for three years after sitting on the bench for the first time. The rumour is that the Libyan despot actually paid Gaucci to let his son muck in.
During his tenure, Gaucci also tried to sign the captain of the Swedish women’s team, cancelled an imminent signing’s contract over rumours he was gay and even attempted to bribe a referee with a racehorse. His piece de resistance came in 2002, when he terminated the contract of South Korean striker Ahn Jung-Hwan after his golden goal knocked Italy out of the World Cup semi-finals, saying, ”I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian football.”
After Perugia went bust in 2005, Big Luke was sentenced to three years in jail for tax fraud, but only after he fled to the Dominican Republic and hid from the authorities for four years.
3. Aurelio De Laurentiis (Napoli)
At number 3, another Italian, Batchy De Laurentiis and his dramatic tendencies demonstrated in his role as Napoli’s club president have made him infamous. When he’s not unveiling new signings from under rubber lion masks, Aurelio can usually be found conducting fake press conferences to announce Edinson Cavani’s ‘departure’ to Manchester or storming out of Italian cup draws on the back of a stranger’s Vespa after throwing a tantrum over the draw being fixed with only two names having been drawn out of the hat.
4. Aldo Spinelli (Livorno)
Despite threatening to sell the club on an almost yearly basis, Spinelli has been at the helm for almost 14 years now – not that he appears to have remotely enjoyed his time in Tuscany. Volcanic rants about how much he hates his life and wants to ‘sell up and f**k off’ are commonplace.
Spinelli once attempted to address a problem with dwindling attendances by publicly chuntering that it was no wonder the people of a ‘Commie town’ (Livorno) didn’t want to come to a ’420-year-old, lousy, cess-pit stadium’. At least, he’s addressing the fans, however…
5. Maurizio Zamparini (Palermo)
A dangerous mix of cranky impatience and hair-trigger ferocity, Zamaparini is widely regarded as the most tempestuous president in Italian football – going through coaches like Tic Tacs. At the last count, we’re at 23 coaches since 2002.
Over his decade in charge, Zamparini has provided a cavalcade of choice quotes, calling for all referees to be imprisoned, threatening to cut all his players’ testicles off and eat them with his salad, calling England a ‘land of pirates’ and admitting that he fancied coach Delio Rossi more than his own wife.
He also once called Adrian Mutu a ‘crafty gypsy’ though he insisted it was a compliment.
Honourable Mentions: Zdravko Mamic (Dinamo Zagreb), Sam Hammam (Wimbledon/Cardiff), George Reynolds (Darlington), and last but not least, Freddy Shepherd (Newcastle United)
Special Mention: Ratko Butorovic (FK Vojvodinas): Mike Ashley may not be the best thingto look at, but at least he’s not ratty Ratko, the self-styled dickhead from Serbia. Feel free to peruse Big Pimpin’ Ratko’s Google Image search for more details, and an afternoon of laughter.
So, though we have much reason to hate the man who sits arrogantly at the helm of our club, there appears to be an even dirtier breed of management out there, predominantly in Italy. Let’s hope Mike Ashley, if he’s still with us in five years time, will never be classed alongside these gormless yobs.