Newcastle Must Communicate Better With Their Fans

One thing that’s obvious since Mike Ashley took over at Newcastle, and particularly since Chairman Chris Mort left, is that the club is just not communicating enough with their fans.


Mike Ashley – fans have no idea what he’s really thinking

They are not telling the fans what they are trying to do right now, and they are not telling the fans what their longer term ambitions are for this famous club.

So what happens in these circumstances is that the fans get confused, think the very worst in the vacuum of information – and then get angry and annoyed about the whole situation.

And that’s just exactly what’s happened this summer.

If you look at how we’ve done in the transfer market, and assume we eventually bring in Coloccini sometime before 2010, we haven’t in fact done too bad at all with four new players, and hopefully another three after that.

But it’s the lack of communication that’s causing most of the problems at the club and with our fans, and it’s up to Mike Ashley and/or Derek Llambias to communicate more effectively and more often with the club’s fans.

The Times is reporting today that Mike Ashley is to directly address the Newcastle United supporters, for the first time, since taking over the club about 14 months ago. That’s a long time before you speak to the fans, don’t you think?

Mike will be interviewed, and it’s a long interview apparently, in the new club magazine that will be launched this weekend.

The first edition of the new official Newcastle United Magazine goes on sale this weekend – and there’s a big exclusive with Newcastle United
owner Mike Ashley talking candidly, about his first year in control at the club, and his plans for the future.

It’s an eight-page special feature, and Mike talks about a wide range of topics including:

  • How he took control of Newcastle and why it needed to be a quick move, and the state of the Club he inherited.
  • His reasons for the key appointments he has so far made, including how Kevin Keegan’s return happened.
  • What his plans are for the short, medium and long-term at St. James’ Park.
  • How he hopes for silverware and to see Newcastle once more challenging the current Top Four.
  • Why he chooses to sit with the fans rather than in the directors box.
  • How he copes with constant media speculation.

We certainly look forward to the interview, very much so, but this should not be a one off.

And Mike has to think seriously about communicating more often, perhaps a little peice in each of the home match programs, so the fans at least know what the owner is thinking.

At the moment we have no real idea, and that’s what the real problem has been this summer – we’re sure of that.

Comments very welcome.

130 comments so far

  • sirjasontoon

    Aug 8, 2008 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #1

    It will be all spin 4 yeah right : )

  • Born Again Geordie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #2

    Lets see what he says in the magazine and judge him from there

  • sirjasontoon

    Aug 8, 2008 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #3

    sloppy seconds as well : )

  • davey

    Aug 8, 2008 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #4

    lazy lard arse

  • Born Again Geordie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #5

    Anyone know if Sir Bobby will be at the match tomorrow ?

  • Born Again Geordie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #6

    I don’t think you get to be a billionaire by being a lazy lard arse – do you? 😛

  • mozza

    Aug 8, 2008 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #7

    hmmm, that will defo be an intersting read, however if he’d done it at the start of the tranfer window we wouldn’t be driven mad by speculating about what exactly are his intentions for the club, if as is hinted he addresses that we need a short term plan as well as medium and long term plan and he wants to break into the top 4, then that must mean forking out for some quality and quickly, the clock is ticking mike dig deep

  • Born Again Geordie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #8

    Short Term – 1 or 2 more signings

    Med Term – Young players Bassong etc.

    Long Term – Academy

    Not that hard is it really !!! lol

  • Matt Lacey

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #9

    Mike Ashley has surely learnt by now that you cannot own Newcastle United and expect to be able to run it as a faceless business, given the fanbase.

    You need only read this blog to see how wound up we’re all getting! Opinion is polarised as well, you’ve got people who believe that the club structure doesn’t work and strangles the manager, by far the most highly regarded and worshipped man at the club, then you’ve got fans who are so loyally optimistic that they insist everyone should have faith.

    Who’s right? Who can even tell?!

    We all give money to the club, it’s our right to ask questions – I’ve got some of my own, I’m sure everyone has. For example… who is Derek Llambias, and why should we trust him with the chairman’s job? What does Dennis Wise actually get paid to do? How much freedom does Keegan have? Why is every club in the league outspending us when Ashley’s ambitions are said to be so lofty?

    I could go on and on, but I won’t.

    The biggest problem is the cryptic responses from the club, particularly from Keegan, since he’s the only person who talks to the press. I understand keeping schtum avoids alerting other clubs to the availability of your transfer targets, but since, for example, Coloccini’s agent and Deportivo have made no secret of our negotiations for his transfer, why couldn’t the club have just said “yes, we’re close to an agreement with Deportivo for Fabricio Coloccini and hope to seal the deal in the coming days”. Come on, if any other clubs were interested they’d have come in for him before Newcastle said anything, so why the silence?

    If this rumoured ‘second mystery signing’ exists, then if it’s someone we’ve never heard of then it’s only going to prove a massive anticlimax and we’ll all be pissed off again.

    I hate being a pessimist, it’s completely against my nature, but I just can’t understand the utterly convoluted approach to everything the club seems to be taking, no other clubs are doing it and something really does not seem to add up.

    Plus there’s always the lasting fear that if Keegan really is being strangled then he might leave sooner than we expect it. Sorry for the rant, I’ve been clicking refresh on this blog every 15 minutes for the last 2 weeks hoping for some exciting news and it’s just one disappointment after the other.

  • Martin

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #10

    Ed I think this situation can be viewed in 2 ways – pessamistically or optomistically…

    On one hand – yeah Mike Ashley hasn’t communicated well with the fans, he’s left us guessing and comparing conspiracies…He should be there giving us information and talking to us all the way through every piece of business the club is involved in..


    On the other – Mike Ashley has learnt from past mistakes (Modric) that press involvement and the releasing of information doesn’t always end in a possitive way. He made billions by being a closed book in the stock market and although it didn’t make him popular – it made him successful. We’re adults and don’t need our owner to hold our hands through transfer periods…We should know and trust him to do the right thing in his own time, at his own pace and with his own methods…If he does the job right – who cares if he brings in the players at hte start of july or the end of August (Beye and Faye!!!)

    Finally – either way you look at it, I’d pleased that once again Mike Ashley has his finger on the pulse with regards to fan’s oppinion…

    1) we wanted rid of allardyce’s defensive football – we got Keegan.
    2) we wanted a singing section – we got it the very next season.
    3) we wanted to stop throwing away millions of OUR hard earned cash on deadwood mercenaries – we haven’t bought a single one this transfer window and we’re gotten rid of most of them (just Smith and Ameobi to go now)
    4) we wanted to bring in youth who could stabalise us for the future and still bring the excitement and buzz that surrounded Robson’s kids of the earlier 2000’s – We’re doing that!
    5) we wanted some proven quality, someone who we know could do a good job and we were prepared to pay a bit more for them – Collocini is going to be our most expensive defender EVER!
    6) we wanted him to talk more, to let us know what’s going on – to answer all the questions posed to him by numerous supporter groups – we’re getting it tomorrow!

    For all that people berate Ashley for being tight fisted, fat (because his weight obviously determines how well he can manage our team), closed off or disloyal to our club – you can’t deny that when we as a fan base ask (or in many cases demand) something he has tended to deliver! How often do you see Abramovich, Gaydamak, Mandarich or Randy Lerner coming out in the press to talk to the fans? You Don’t!

    I hope he stays for many a year to come!

  • domtoon

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #11

    It’s all, part of the plan.


  • PopB

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #12

    give it a rest, he is no different than most owners.

  • domtoon

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #13

    Oh yes, something I couldn’t figure out – how do you get your hands on a copy of the new magazine?

    Is it exclusive only to Newcastle Toon? If so – KNACKERS!!!

  • Born Again Geordie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #14

    Martin, very well put – I for one am looking on the optomistic side 😀 😀 😀

  • TalkingHead

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #15

    Pretty smart if you ask me. He could’ve given an interview to a local or national paper and you’d have all gone and bought that – profit to the club would’ve been zero. Stick a huge interview in a club produced magazine (£3.50 each) and where does most of the money go? Exactly…

  • Born Again Geordie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #16

    Dom – will be on sale at the ground tomorrow but I am sure you can get it mail order from the club

  • Eddddd

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #17

    Ed- The last thing we need to hear is you having a bitch and a moan because you don’t have Ashley’s number on speed dial

  • Spyro

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #18

    I am going to be optimistic, Its the best way

  • sweendog

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #19

    Martin, ashley is starting to look good .. if he buys the other 3 players we need I don’t think keegan can fault him as he’s bought obvious quality .. time will tell .. but its looking good so far.

  • azim

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #20

    1 did he says how much he is going to spend…
    2 did he says how is the relationship between him and Keegan
    3 did he says what is the role of Wise and who is conducting the transfer

  • Michael

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #21

    Isnt this all a bit late in the day? We’ve been saying this for ages, and as its now known that he’ll be communicating with the fans in the programme tomorrow then why is this blog even being posted. Its a waste

  • si942

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #22

    Ashley fun wants i want signings i also want alan smith to stay

  • Spyro

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #23

    its being posted so we can comment on the news michael…hence the comments above YOUR OWN

  • Ross

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #24

    azim-no one knows yet, the interview isnt available until tomorrow.

  • normski1930z

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #25

    this interview with ashley is definately gonna be interesting reading thats for sure!!! i have a nasty suspiction its all gonna be more spin..

  • Black and White Blood

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #26

    Cobbo – We’re not signing David Healy end of, like most you seem to believe whats written in your local rag…Tut…Tut…!

    How many of you can actually step back and take stock of the bigger picture..?
    MA been here only one year – to date;

    * It is understood that he cleared the clubs huge debt.
    * Appointed Keegan as manager (genius).
    * Put in place what appears to be a very promising academy.
    * Established a highly recommended scouting network.
    * Brought in 3 quality players (regardless of price) this summer, with an expected further 3 or 4 including the signing of coliccini.
    * Removed the deadwood, albeit for Smith and Ameobi as well as astutely reducing players salary.
    * My favourite – He’ll not be held to ransom over contracts (so piss off Owen) if the player doesn’t WANT to play for the club let him go and bring in someone who does!

    To be honest, I don’t think the guy’s doing that bad of a job – Do you?

  • Spyro

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #27

    David Healey wouldnt be such a bad move anyway, he is better than what most on here give him credit for

  • Eyeball

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #28

    Hahahah DomToon

    “Lets Put a smile on that face…”

  • dylan2k8

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #29

    that didn’t include anything about the transfer window

  • Chris

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #30

    @Martin – excellent points, well made. He’s a very shrewd operator and it’s not in our interests for him to make grandiose statements to the press or the fans. I’m as curious and impatient as the next man, but let’s see what happens by the end of August before making any judgements.

    The squad is very small – it has to be bolstened, and I’m sure it will.

  • toon1978

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #31
  • vnh

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #32

    this is a bit pathetic – this kind of thinking allows the trash press to print whatever they want, because we’ll lap it up. we need to relax. having taken over from shepherd (remember what it was like with that gob on a stick in charge?) we’ve had our debts cleared, we’ve got the kind of manager we want, we’ve brought in some kids to refresh out disastrous youth / reserve teams and we’ve made a few decent signings. who cares if ashley isn’t in the papers every week talking rubbish about what we’re going to do – that’s what got us into a mess in the first place. we’re a mid table team playing a massive game of catch up, once step at a time. let’s not sabotage it before it’s begun

  • Spyro

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #33

    “why so serious?”

  • toon1978

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #34

    Chronicle Live saying Colocinni jetting in today to finalise the deal. Think i’ve heard this before lol.

  • Tom Cairns

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #35

    why does he have to communicate more? if he gets the job done well why does it matter if we were told about it or not? as someone previously said, you dont see hardly any of the other owners of football clubs constantly speaking to the press.

  • Fergie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #36

    Sorry to sound like Alan Oliver but…

    As I exclusively revealed on Wednesday night in the blog article ‘Newcastle 2 – 2 PSV Full Time Report’…

    “Guys, I know these stories are usually complete and utter s**t, and i’m usually the first to say so… but… before you get your hopes up about us signing Gomis or Drenthe, I am reliably informed that the black guy with long dreadlocks seen in the directors box tonight is in fact a 17 year old striker from london who was on trial and played in a behind-closed-doors game against a Motherwell XI at the training ground today, in which he scored 2 goals. Keegan liked what he saw and so he signed him before the game tonight.”


    “We’re unsure whether a repeat of the Bassong/Doncaster scenario is on the cards, but there have been TWO trialists at the club this week – and both scored in a training ground friendly in front of a watching Kevin Keegan.”

  • magsie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #37

    6) we wanted him to talk more, to let us know what’s going on – to answer all the questions posed to him by numerous supporter groups – we’re getting it tomorrow!???

    Whats this about m8 what have i missed?

  • Born Again Geordie

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #38

    Black and white blood – like all the points you make – with regard to Owen I would love him to sign and just get on with things but as you rightly say we want someone who wants to play for the club, not to see how much money he can squeeze out if it !!! Ho’way the lads – looking forward to Valencia tomorrow too !! 😀

  • ObaFan2

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #39

    Fergie, well if that’s true we will see tomorrow if this “unknown” striker’s any good then…. got to be an improvement on Smith anyway……. even my 3 legged dog would be an improvement on Smith.

  • Lesh

    Aug 8, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #40

    He’s done a remarkable job for us and yes, recent NUFC communication has been a weakness that I trust he’s learned from.

    Just a thought: how’s about Mike A talks nicely with Zigic and Valencia over the weekend? Wouldn’t that be an astute and cost-effective move that’d go down well?


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