We saw the rant by Malcolm MacDonald yesterday, in the Telegraph, and when you read thoroughly what the former Newcastle striker says about the way Mike Ashley has run the Tyneside club, and especially the way Michael Owen has been handled, it’s hard the argue with MacDonald.
Michael Owen – no respect shown to Newcastle captain
Macdonald told Telegraph Sport yesterday:
“If Newcastle seriously wanted to build a team around and behind Michael Owen then they should have wrapped it up a year or more ago,” “They failed to do anything about it a year ago when they should have been acting. They didn’t because the whole place is in complete turmoil.”
“I first came into the top division in 1971 and in all I have never seen a club in such turmoil in all those years as Newcastle United are right now.”
“Allowing a goal scorer of his caliber to get into this contractual situation speaks volumes, not so much about Michael Owen but about the current owner of Newcastle United and where he sights really lie. He’s trying to get his money back on the club.”
“Even if Newcastle bust a gut to find someone to take him in January he will just say ‘no’ and they can’t force him to go. He will just see out his time.” “It’s fair enough for him to do that because Newcastle United have allowed him to get into that situation. All is fair in love, war and business.”
“Michael wouldn’t feel as though he has loyalties to the club. He will want to get away as quickly as possible and leave the madness behind him What wouldn’t be understandable is if he was prepared to stay.” “The whole thing was badly tainted when he was injured playing for England at the last World Cup,”
“That spoilt the whole situation. If that injury hadn’t taken place before he had hardly kicked a ball for Newcastle I think there might have been a different situation.” “He started off on the wrong foot and kept on going on the wrong foot. It’s hopped along on the wrong foot for about three years now and I think it’s time to say goodbye, I really do.”
“In the first place, he didn’t leave Real Madrid in the best situations and Newcastle were almost foisted upon him. He had three choices ‘Newcastle, Newcastle or Newcastle.’
“Last weekend Michael Owen got a brace against Stoke to give them a two-goal lead and he must have been scratching his head saying well they can’t even hold a two-goal lead when I get them one. That will be a factor in him making his decision if it’s not already made.”
“He’ll be thinking of a major pay-day as well. It will be a case of ‘thanks you very much’ – Newcastle a load of disorganized, absolute sheer nonsense and I’m better off out of it’.”
“Somewhere back across in Cheshire way nearer home and I’m laughing and I will be able to stick another 20 million quid in the bank over the next three years without all the travelling across country.”
Malcolm’s comments about Michael scoring two on Saturday and the Newcastle team being unable to keep the lead reminds us of a situation back in the 1950s when Brian Clough was center-forward for Middlesbrough. They lost a game 6-5 and Brian had scored all 5 Boro goals, and when Brian got to the dressing room he said:
“Sorry lads, I’ll try to score 6 next week.”
He played 222 times for Middlesbrough and scored 204 goals. Shades of what was to come once Brian went into management of Hartlepool United in 1965.
But back to Newcastle United, and we just don’t know if the Newcastle Board are doing the best they can, and are just completely incompetent, or whether they don’t really care because they can sell the club in the first few months of next year.
But the concern for the faithful Newcastle fans is that players, like Michael Owen and Nicky Butt, could leave the club in January, and we’ll be so weakened as a team, that the club may have a hard job surviving in the Premier League.
That’s why January is going to be an extremely important month in the history of Newcastle United – really.
Remember those times when we used to talk about qualifying for Europe?