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Part 2: Inside the World of Mike Ashley and His Friends in the North

If you missed PART 1, click here.

Part 2, What Fettle Geordie Lad?

Let’s start with the positives.

Has Newcastle the best squad of players since the days of Robson?? “No,” I’d say, “Keegan’s 1st stint as manager”. They didn’t cost the earth and their asset value way exceeds what we paid for them. MA’s ‘let’s copycat Arsenal’ strategy worked brilliantly until this season. Now many teams are copying it and some may argue doing it better than Newcastle; look at Southampton’s, West Brom’s (we bought the wrong Amalfitano) and Swansea’s purchases.

Newcastle can’t compete financially with the ‘big six’ BUT we should be finishing 7th – player for player I feel we have a better squad than any of the remaining teams in the premiership, and I include Everton. So credit is due to MA for keeping Cabaye, whom we didn’t need to sell because NUFC is “financially stable”.

Hearken back to Freddie Shepherd’s purchases. £17M on Owen, paying him over £100K a week, Obafemi Martins (3 wonder goals a season) – £10M as we get relegated – and the money that (heresy to say this) was frittered away in fees and wages during the Robson era (Think – Cort, Bramble, Bassedas, Viana, Bowyer, Jenas and quite a few more apart from Bellas) makes my eyes water. Financially, in comparison, MA makes a wise chancellor. So much for the positives: they start and end with the financials – what else might you expect?

The Not-positives

Leadership Style

King Kev has no time for MA (neither does Shearer), he first remark about MA on an ESPN clip is “I don’t trust him!” So if ‘cloak and dagger’ is his style then he can’t expect anything else in reply – from his management, from players, from agents, from the press….

Overall though, his actions and decisions are so much in limelight, he can lose himself but he can’t hide.

‘Trusted Advisors’ – an open letter

Dear Mike,

Who trusts you? I suggest no-one.

If you are not trusted then who’s going trust those that you trust? Dennis Wise? JFK – plllleeeease?

We know JFK wants to bag the credit for buying Remy, I’ve even heard (second hand) that he gave you the nod to buy Sissoko, Mbiwa, Gouffran, Debuchy and Haidara…. Well let’s face it, you didn’t need anything more than access to Youtube to see how good the January signings were and their character spoke for itself .

You brought in an ‘external management consultant’, JFK, like any CEO who doesn’t understand or trust his incumbent underperforming management team – no wonder Llambias resigned. You trust JFK’s capability? Huh?

AND, after his bumbling start, it was prudent of JFK to do nothing, i.e. (Remy apart) buy nobody, because no one can accuse him of investing un(like)‘wise’ly, like Wise, likewise, the pun runs out…. I wonder if signing him on and buying no-one was part of a cloak and dagger plot to oust AP? I suppose we’ll find out sooner rather than later..

Here’s my opinion. JFK is about 10 years behind the times football wise. The tactics, the game, has moved on and he is incapable of remembering players’ names never mind keeping up with the times. (It’s a criticism I might in-part throw at AP by the way but the game against Liverpool proved the mettle of the team who for once looked ‘tight’. AP to his credit seems to be responding to the players’ desire to play 4-3-3 BUT we don’t seem to have a tenable plan B yet – it ain’t 4-4-2.)


Players only ask two questions of CEO’s.

  1. Can I trust you?
  2. What value do you bring to me and my career?

I suggest…

… in your case,  the answer to Question 1 is….“No”…

The players at Newcastle neither trust your (or JFK’s) integrity nor your capability (other than your financial astuteness). Fortunately the players believe in one another and some credit goes to Pardew and Carver who have stuck by them loyally. The fans believe in the players but they (the fans and team) don’t, by and large, believe in you.

We could by the way. It wouldn’t take a lot of money. It would require you to be honest and open: do what you say you’re going to do, keep your promises and complete what you start. I’m not talking about PR, I’m talking about leadership, character and being straight. No more cloak and dagger. The character of any organisation starts at the top.

And if I have one piece of ‘footballing advice’, for gawd’s sake get in a coach who will bring Newcastle into the modern game the way Southampton and Swansea have done.

(When I was a teenager, Newcastle was famously behind the times in culture and fashion. I remember buying a blue tinsel caftan and being set upon by a group of Teddy Boys in 1967(???) for being an “(expletive) p##f!”)

We’re a big club (amongst the also rans in the PL, the biggest I suggest) but in order to prove that status we need to demonstrate better leadership, better trust, better coaching and, as and when the opportunity arises, better players.

Go for it!


 Howay the Lads


Paul C Burr Follow @doctapaul

Non-Newcastle stuff: Follow @paulburr

Business/Personal Performance Coach & Author

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About Harry Savill (Editor) (418 Articles)
I am the Editor of 'The Spectator's View'. I set up the website so that I could combine my two passions: Newcastle United and writing, and I hope for it to be a platform where fans can express their views on the club. History Graduate from Durham University. Junior Account Executive at M&C Saatchi.

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  1. Part 3: Inside the World of Mike Ashley and His Friends in the North | The Spectator's View
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