Ashley Needs Time – So We Don’t End Up Like Leeds United

The Newcastle United club just cannot go on being run like we have been since Bobby Robson was sacked from the club at the start of the 2004-2005 season.


Bobby Robson shown here accepting his knighthood with lovely wife Elsie
Newcastle’s recent problems started with the sacking of this great man

That stupid move by Freddy Shepherd was the point at which the Newcastle rapid decline over the last 5 years started, and we’ve had Souness, Roeder, Allardyce, Keegan, Kinnear and Shearer  in since then, with Chris Hughton trying to keep things afloat a couple of times.

That’s essentially 7 managers over the last 54 months – an average of one almost every 8 months – more is certainly not better on the manager front – we’ve proved that one.  But it’s an absolutely incompetent way to try to run a global business – Thomas J Watson and Alfred P Sloan would turn in their graves.

We cannot help but feel that when Chris Mort left the club last June, that’s when the most recent implosion started. Chris was a good man, and very bright, and we feel there’s no way he would have let the Keegan situation get so out of hand with Dennis Wise.

However, one thing good about Ashley (yes we know that will come as a shock to some Newcastle fans), is that he is trying to run Newcastle as a business – which is the only way to run a big modern day football club – Newcastle fans should be no mistake about that.

If fans don’t understand that we’ll write an article on the whys and wherefores – but Leeds United are the case in point – that if you don’t balance your books and have a valid and realistic business plan – catastrophes can happen – and they did with Leeds.

We have to say this week, we’ve gained a new compassionate respect for Leeds United fans – who have been through hell and high water at their club – and they haven’t yet come back yet – but they will.

The Newcastle finances are a lot better than under Shepherd, and this last season has proved that having highly paid players doesn’t maean you necessarily finish high in the league – not if the players you buy anatomically have no guts.

We’d be quite happy if Alan recruits no-name players in the summer –  and we have a no-name team next seaosn, as long as they are good and give 100% all the time. Remember Sebastien Bassong was almost unknown when we signed him – and look at him now.

It’s difficult waiting on these decisions over Shearer,  but Mike and the financial people at the club, need time to run all the numbers – if  we don’t do this right Newcastle could become the next Leeds – and we don’t say that just to be sensational, it’s a real possibility.

The Journal has some good pieces out this morning – again – and they quote a financial person, Mr. Bedi,  on what is happening at the club right now:

“I know people will be worried and anxious about the fact that these talks have gone on for a while, and from a footballing perspective time is obviously of the essence,”

“But personally I’d rather they kept talking for a week and made the right decisions based on sane calculations and achievable targets, rather than trying to rush an agreement based on unrealistic projections.”

“This is the most important few days in the recent history of Newcastle United – if they don’t get it right the business has got serious problems coming in the near future.”

“I did a few calculations based on rough wage figures and came out with a total of between £15M and £20M that the club are spending on wages with no return. That is players who are injured, not getting in the team or will not be in Shearer’s plans. That is a big financial burden for any business.”

“They have got to get shot of those huge wage earners and bring in players on more realistic Championship wages, but Shearer knows that getting rid of players who have just taken a team down is not going to be easy.”

“I can, in a way, understand why Mike Ashley doesn’t want to make rash promises on this occasion.” “Steve Gibson (Middlebrough) put his hand in his pocket. If he is prepared to do it, it may be the only way that Mike Ashley can satisfy both the demands of Shearer and the club,”

The Journal is even saying there could be an announcement as early as today on the Shearer matter, which would be good.  We were always told in management – good news on Fridays bad news on Monday – so that people didn’t have to stew over the weekend,  if they were given some bad news on the Friday.

That would suggest any announcement today would be good news. 😀

The danger with all of this, is that Newcastle fans know straight-shooter Shearer only too well – and he will not accept any nonsense from Ashley and the people in charge, especially during negotiations on his deal and future job (hopefully), and if he gets any of that from them during these negotiations,  he will walk away, and probably should do too.

You cannot mess around with Alan Shearer – well you can – but you’ll lose – as Joey Barton has already found out.

Comments welcome.

25 comments so far

  • Hugh de Payen

    May 29, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #1

    Agreed. There no need to panic.

  • Stuart79

    May 29, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #2

    Shearer seems to think that everyday that passes another room gets burnt doen!

    Were we up to now then? Chairmans office!

  • ian

    May 29, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #3

    How many times do I have to say this, Sir John Hall and his chums on the board voted for Bobby to be sacked, Freddy was left to tell him because he was the chairman, Freddy went on TV and said it was the case and Jiohn Hall did not reply differently. Freddy and Bobby Robson remain friends.

    Freddy did some stupid things like backing Soness to sell Bellamy and buying Owen, talking about the local girls on camera etc, but he didnt do that!.

  • DJG

    May 29, 2009 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #4

    ”We were always told in management – good news on Fridays bad news on Monday – so that people didn’t have to stew over the weekend, if they were given some bad news on the Friday.”

    Aye Ed good point, And dont forget that age old fable………one for the shareholder, one for me. 🙂

  • derekm

    May 29, 2009 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #5

    Although not on subject – I wish to request that ALL NUFC fans boycott that rag known as the Daily Mail. I read this blog as well as using newsnow / newcastle, and if you look down the list of items produced about the club on ANY day you come to the negative ones – and lo and behold! have a guess where they come from! It really is a joke and until they realise that being London based does’nt give them the right to invent or bend stories, then let’s hit em where their cockney pockets hurt.

  • punk skunk...

    May 29, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #6

    Right on Derekm!..

  • DJG

    May 29, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #7


    The Times is also pretty nasty to us. I have newsnow newcastle as my home page!

    I just can’t understand how our fans are ‘deluded’ for wanting to win something and finish in the top 10. Surely this isn’t unreasonable considering that we hav a top 5 fan base. Isn’t that exactly the same as what the fans of Aston Villa and Spurs want. Are they deluded?

  • Rodzilla

    May 29, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #8

    …never knew wor Bobby was married to Judy Finnegan.

    BATTY, KOMFORT, that bloke’s “dead cert” horse – Moonwalking, is joint 2nd favourite at 4/1 Haydock 8:10. I’ve just hoyed a tenner e/w on it.

    (apologies to everyone for the non-footballing comment)

  • sahota

    May 29, 2009 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #9

    Hey guys, what ever the case is. I agree Mike and co needs time to look at financial matters, but Is till think they can come out and say something about whats going on. We are not saying to come out and say if Shearer will be there or not. But we need to know what is going on so that we can keep ourself well informed.

  • Whumpie

    May 29, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #10

    Glad you picked up on this one, Ed (and boy am I glad you’re still doing this blog – good on yer!)

    I think that while this waiting is hardly helping my stress levels, overall it has to indicate good things. Some of the press are trying to paint it as a sign of some sort of deadlock (a-la-KK saga) but that just doesn’t stack up.

    I am hoping – really hoping – that what we are seeing is Ashley learning his lesson, doing it properly, and not, as you put it, ‘doing a Leeds’.

    The differences between the KK saga and now?

    1. He’s analysing a proposal from a group of men that know the game and whom he respects. He no longer has to trust his own instincts and decisions, which he knows have led us to this point.

    2. He knows he can’t get it wrong again or it really is Leeds time and he’s lost a quarter of a billion.

    3. He ain’t daft. Arrogant and ignorant at times, but obviously capable of learning from mistakes. Learning one? He knows finance and business, but not football.

    Of course, there is one thing to bear in mind (sorry, someone has to point it out) which could yet knacker it despite all this stuff: Shearer and co could just be asking for more than he can provide.

    Lastly: Ashley’s sold his £4.5M stake in JJB today. That could be good, because he’s simplifying his portfolio to provide what’s needed for NUFC. Or, it’s bad – because he’s low on cash. Or possibly he just wants nowt to do with that tool Whelan.

  • Whumpie

    May 29, 2009 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #11

    Sahota – dead right. Just a “we’re looking through it, please be patient” would be nice.

    (There was an article in the Daily Mail to that effect, but of course once you read it through it had no quotes and was their usual fabrication. Why have a Press Complaints Commission if they let this garbage go on??)

  • Stuart79

    May 29, 2009 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #12

    I think it’s obvious Ashley isn’t really in a position to commit more funds to the club.

    If he was he would have done in while we were in the PL surely?

    Shearer is right in what is needed but Ashley can’t provide it!

    I reckon he’s negiotiating a buy out!

  • Whumpie

    May 29, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #13

    Stuart, with all due respect, mate – I think that’s daft. There’s just no evidence or sense in it.

    1. Who would buy the club?

    2. Why would Shearer even be involved if this was going on?

    3. Why would Ashley sell at this, the lowest possible point in the share price?

    As Ed has pointed out, Ashley has a huge portfolio and a ‘day job’ which he’s having to juggle here. NUFC now represents almost half of his ’empire’ and the whole lot is in a state of flux. If he didn’t take at least a few days to work out what he can and can’t agree to, it would be scary.

    Also, don’t let’s expect that this is a straight ‘offer and accept or reject’ thing. There will be counter-offers, tweaking and balancing to be done, all of which takes days.

    Then there’s the time for the lawyers to write it up. This ain’t quick stuff.

  • geordie deb

    May 29, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #14


    A reasoned post at last. I think a lot of people on here completely underestimate how complex this could be.

  • Stevo

    May 29, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #15

    derekm – I’m with you on that one mate – I can’t stand the mush that comes out of that ping pong fairy’s mouth who writes for the Times.

  • Little Willie

    May 29, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #16

    Ian – Sir John Hall said in an interview that it was Freddie Shepherd’s decision to sack Sir Bobby and that he agreed with him.

    SJH: “I have never, never, never been subjected to such criticism or – I wouldn’t say abuse – but strong talk. I felt at that time we were losing the fans and some of the players weren’t playing for Newcastle and Bobby Robson.

    “There were problems in the dressing room and you had to face up to reality and decide what you are going to do.

    “I am 72 now – the same age as Bobby – and I suppose there comes a time when a lot of us really have to look how far we’re going on.

    “Listening to all the fans, my realisation was that it was a watershed. There was a lot of criticism. I had to stand and agree with them and I had to say, basically, there was something wrong. There’s got to be change.”

    “The problems in the dressing room seemed to continue through into the season and I can understand Freddy Shepherd, the chairman’s decision.

    “It was the right decision, to my mind, and I’m standing by him.

    “Probably the only thing to be criticised was the timing.

  • Little Willie

    May 29, 2009 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #17

    The club were right to sack Sir Bobby btw, similar to how Liverpool were right to sack Houllier.

    The only difference was that they planned it out to chase a better manager that they thought could move them on and gave him the Summer to build, we on the other hand got too sentimental only to sack him a few games into the season, with no plan in place for a replacement only to end up with Souness.

    There wasn’t much difference between us and Liverpool at the time but those decisions made at the time have shaped both clubs into where we are now.

  • Macas35

    May 29, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #18

    Little Willie – good post, Robson was brilliant for us but it has to be said that even in his least season the football wasn’t good to watch and we were going downhill. The only mistakes were not getting rid of him at the end of the season and by replacing him with a manager who was close to getting sacked at B lackburn.

  • Stardust

    May 29, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #19

    Little Willie – I have advocated, through his disclosures and type, for a year that Ian is an advisor to FFS – a fact he has never denied or countered.

    You can not believe anything he says in that respect, I likened it to asking a hooker if her punter is good in the sack.

  • waddler

    May 29, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #20

    I hope Ashley and Shearer are developing a 4/5 year plan based on top quality youth and not going out and buying players looking for a last and massive pay packet.
    We need to increase the development at academy and reserve team levels, build a team that when its promoted its good enough to remain and develop in the premiership and not yoyo between the two.

  • Natureboy95

    May 29, 2009 at 4:28 PM

    Comment #21

    @little willie,

    i disagree with you about robson, i think the club were wrong to get rid of him, certainly the timing of it was farcical 4/5 games into the season as i recall and to go for souness as well, a manager of a team in pretty much the same position as we were in at the time.

    In my opinion if the board wanted to get rid of bobby, we could have waited till the end of that season,asked bobby to move up stair to utilise his experience and then get someone else in. To my mind, thats when things started to go wrong, because souness ripped the heart out of the team when he came in.

  • Tom_Toon

    May 29, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    Comment #22


  • Ed Harrison

    May 29, 2009 at 5:50 PM

    Comment #23

    I’m still waiting for good news Friday – wonder if the web – site will announce something later tonight?

  • Little Willie

    May 29, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    Comment #24

    I didn’t see anything in Robson to make me think he was worth keeping on, whether it was him picking Jenas every game even though he had been out of form for 12 months or his shocking treatment of Solano, Robson’s days were definitely numbered.

  • Tom_Toon

    May 30, 2009 at 1:42 AM

    Comment #25



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