John Hall has talked again this morning about the sorry plight of the Newcastle club, which he was Chairman of during the heady Kevin Keegan years of the 1990s.
Mike Ashley at the Benton training ground last Tuesday
The North-East business entrepreneur has insisted Ashley had been well intentioned at the strat, two years ago, when he bought Newcastle, but claimed that he went on to make some massive mistakes that have finally resulted in relegation to the Championship.
But John doesn’t blame Mike entirely for the terrible demise of the Tyneside club:
“Let’s get one thing straight: Mike Ashley came into Newcastle for the right reasons – as a long-term investor looking to build the business over four or five years,” “He wanted to globalise the club. He did not use it as a toy.”
“He saw Newcastle was a fantastic brand, and he wanted to build that brand. However, he made massive mistakes. Too often, he probably took advice. That, combined with the recession, made for disaster.”
“When I first came into the club, I knew nothing about running a football club, but luckily we found Freddie Fletcher, who had huge experience of the business from his time at Glasgow Rangers.” “He guided us through the minefield, so we did not make the type of mistakes Ashley has made.”
“Sadly, I don’t think Ashley has been able to call on that type of advice.” “What you also have to acknowledge, though, is that Newcastle’s decline had begun before Ashley arrived at the club.” “Some of our managers have been disasters and ruined the club long before he came in.”
“The quicker he can sell, the better it will be,” “However, that is much easier said than done in today’s climate.” “Mike Ashley will be pushing very, very hard to find a buyer quickly. I just hope he can find one – and find the right one.”
“We need investors who will come in and let the Newcastle United manager – hopefully Alan Shearer – try to build for the long term.” “Whoever buys the club has to find the money to build a team to get out of the Championship, then build a team fit for the Premier League.”
“That will be easier than it was for us to do because the stadium, the structure and the training ground are in place now, but it will still be very difficult.”
“We can get over this. I know we will get over it. Geordies are used to succeeding in adversity, and they will do again. Let us hope that happens sooner rather than later.”
Of course it will not be easy to find a buyer – and what happens if we don’t find a buyer over the next 4 weeks?
Who will coach the players when they come back – and how do we get all the work done in the last two months of the transfer season, and with just over one month to go (on July 1st) before the Championship season starts.
Not to mention who is buying and selling players before pre-season starts in a short 4 weeks time, so we can live within our means in the Championship – since to do so means cutting the club costs by around 50%.
Those are the really troubling questions right now – that somebody at the club should be working on – and dare we say it – have some plan when that actually happens – which is more than likely.
It’s the old adage – you plan for the worst and hope for the best – but we wonder if any such plans are in place at the club.