It was June,2007 and a Billionaire, from England no less, had just bought Newcastle United.
Derek Llambias and Mike Ashley – two incompetents together
At last Newcastle were getting a decent owner, and he would be one of the few Billionaire owners of a Premier League club who was English – not like those clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United and Aston Villa who had foreign owners, no this was Newcastle of Geordie Nation fame, and what could be more perfect?
Well there’s that old adage “be careful what you wish for – let it come true.” And that seems to have applied here – at least in retrospect.
When Mike Ashley came in, then Chairman Chris Mort said that wanted Newcastle needed most of all was stability – and they had to stop changing managers all the time – and seemingly lurching from one crisis to another.
Fast forward a short two years and now Newcastle United is in the Championship, having just been relegated, for the first time ever from the Premier League.
The club faces an enormous financial challenge to downsize and reduce costs with 15 players earning more than £50K/week and 7 of them more than £70K/week. This is one reason we think Ashley may want out – because he’s having big trouble balancing the books for the Championship – but that’s an opinion – and may not be factual.
Of course the first casualties of this nightmare scenario were the 150 non-playing staff who lost their jobs last Friday.
And what’s that stability?
Since Ashley came in the club has had Allardyce, Keegan, Hughton (twice), Kinnear and Shearer as managers – some stability – five managers in two years.
Mike Ashley announced last night he would sell the club as quickly as he can – and said it had been a nightmare two seasons for him and he had made some terrible decisions. Well we fully agree with him, and it’s been another nightmare for Newcastle fans, who seem to have to put up with this kind of stuff from the club all the time.
When will it ever end? *
As the club now lurches again – a ship adrift in the ocean – and going nowhere in particular – Newcastle fans will need to be very careful, from now on, what we wish for.
But how about some stability and an owner who – even though they may not know how to run a football club – will get those in who do.
That seems sensible doesn’t it?
Well, we can rule that one out – this is Newcastle United after all. 🙁
* by kind permission of Pete Seeger – from “Where have all the Flowers Gone.”