Ashley’s Relationship With Newcastle Fans A Problem

Alan Pardew has today admitted that the adversarial relationship between Mike Ashley and the Newcastle fans is problematic.

Mike Ashley – no communication equals big problem

It seems that since Pardew has been at Newcastle these last nine months, he has also had words with Managing Director Derek Llambias more than once.

Pardew is not particularly upbeat in today’s People about owner Mike Ashley:

“I love the people and I think they have been great to me. Hopefully, I can repay them with the squad I have.”

“But I don’t think the owner’s relationship with the fans helps – I think that’s obvious. There’s nothing I can say or do that will improve that.”

“It’s important that Derek hears from me the ­message from the fans and I’ve made it perfectly clear to him how important that is.”  

“We’ve exchanged words and then we have to put it right and make sure we work together to move forward.”

“Hopefully, over the next three or four years, if we bring some success to the club, maybe that can be looked at in a different light, but certainly not in the short term.”

The biggest problem between the fans and the two men at the top, is there is absolutely no meaningful communication, and that’s always a problem – always.

That’s because in the vacuum of no communication,  people (fans) will fill it with the worst possible scenarios, and that has happened in the four years that Ashley has owned Newcastle.

The club made a good move last week by offering to answer questions from the fans, and Derek LLambias came out with his answers to 14 fans’ questions yesterday, and while some of the answers were not great, it was much better than having no communication at all.

He will have received criticism for some of the answers, but the fact he was willing to communicate will have explained some things in a more positive light to  fans.

And Llambias explained that one reason the two at the top don’t communicate much at all with the fans, is that when they do they get criticized even more.

Well isn’t that a shame – that’s a completely  unacceptable and immature answer – and the two of them have to be bigger than that.

And they will both know that in this world,  the higher you move up and the more successful you become, the more you will be criticized – it’s all part of the price you pay for being successful.

The most criticized man in America by far is Barrack Obama – and he’s the President.

But Mike Ashley shouldn’t have even bought Newcastle four years ago if he wasn’t willing to communicate with some of the most  passionate fans that exist in the world of football.

The lack of communication from Mike Ashley in particular, has been a cancer on the relationship with the fans, and only he can fix that.

But it doesn’t seem like he ever wants to do that, and that’s a crying shame.

35 comments so far

  • dmac

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #1

    Ashley has done alot of bad but he has also done a whole lot of good. I wish people would just lay off him a little if im honest. It appears he can do no right and only wrongs.

  • GoalsBringSmiles

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #2

    My suspicion is that Ashley will not communicate with the fans because if he reveals his real intentions he will lose more than the 10, 000 missing at Fulham-these intentions can only be guessed at, I suppose, but it seems to me that the club is an advertising hoarding for his Sports Direct without any real footballing ambition. The dream of a self-sustaining club is Ashley’s dream, not the fans, all we want is success, will talking to Ashley change his transfer policy? Will it stop him from doing as he wishes with the traditions of our club (the number 9 shirt, the east stand sign, etc.)? Doubtful.

  • GoalsBringSmiles

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #3


    what ‘whole lot of good’ has this man done for our club? In terms of FOOTBALL he hasn’t taken us forward in any way whatsoever since he bought the club, in fact he has taken us backwards. I have no interest in the business of our club-this didn’t matter when we were playing at the San Siro and De Alpi, Nou Camp etc. why should it now? This is sports entertainment not the Apprentice.

  • Expat MAG

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #4

    Ashley has made mistakes but he’s kept us a float in these difficult and traumatic times. The summer signings would have been excellent if he’d brought in a No. 9 but it wasn’t to be. The names being mentioned in the last week of the transfer window as a No. 9 may not have been an improvement on what’s already available, so better to keep the money and hopefully buy some on in January……

    Let’s get behind the team and stop calling Ashley as we have a decent team that may finish in the top half of the PL.

  • CaptainGeordie

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #5

    I dont see a problem then I again Im blind and deaf !.

  • Dannyo

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #6

    A question to everyone:

    If MA and DL apologized for things done wrong in the past, and said they would try to rebuild their relationship with the fans, would u let them?

  • ardenTOON

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #7

    Ashley for Prime Minister. The UK economy could use some one like him. Sports Direct staff seem to love him and he is generous with them. You can’t abuse some one into parting with money.

  • Angryman the Angry fan

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #8

    Dannyo / Dmac
    Not gonna do board bashing today but tell you what, I’ll wager the majority of fans could have predicted the answers to the questions the chron asked!!
    Also, would it not have been better if fat greedy f11ck answered the questions?
    Perfect chance to start building bridges! Instead? He sat in his undercrackers tarnishing the good name of nufc likely!!

  • WPMK

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Comment #9

    Firstly, respect Ed and best wishes for your good health.

    Secondly, respect to all those affected by 9/11, never forget.

    Thirdly, my opinion is the NUFC board are not a cancer (strong term that). Highly emotive subject, we’re heading in the right direction…..god knows it’s certainly is a marathon for us but we’re positively showing the grass roots of a sustainable future. Frustrating as it is to our loyal, dedicated, and passionate fan base you can see the plan ahead.

    Let’s all follow united.

  • Mags

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #10

    Ed you are right.

    Although for me, Asley himself does not have to communicate with the fans, however he needs to replace Llambias for someone capable of being the vocal link.

    The employment of Wendy Taylor some months ago, has made no difference to the wall of silence we endure. (What exactly does she do?)

    Sadly, it is not going to happen though, because Newcastle Utd and SJP are the coat hangers for SD.

  • Angryman the Angry fan

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #11

    They will NEVER apologize!
    They have not got fans interests at heart, you can see this by dl answers in chron! It’s all about making club profitable! Self sufficient! No matter what we think, so no point in them apologizing!


    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #12

    Nxt topic plz .


  • catchy in norway

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #13

    for me its dick lambass that is the bigger problem, he is arrogant to the point he really believe we are dumb,

    if any ever could say the wrong thing every time, its him

  • cyprus

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #14

    “I’d like to make a further point here. This club can’t support itself without the financial backing of Mike Ashley; we still rely heavily on the owner. To date Mike has invested over £280m into the club, including £140m in interest-free loans. For him to continue to support the club, he has to be interested and enthused to do so. He deserves credit for his financial support but a section of supporters don’t make him feel welcome at St James’ Park, or when he attends away games. Criticism is part and parcel of the job, abuse is not. This makes life uncomfortable and certainly doesn’t make Mike feel more inclined to put his hand once again in his pocket. That’s not stubbornness, it’s human nature. I think most of us would feel exactly the same.”

    Of all the responses, this is the one which deserves the most scrutiny, because that’s the heart of it. The rest of the answers are the trees, THIS is the forest.

    Does the above justify MA’s mistakes and wrong decisions? Not at all. Does it justify his change in behaviour? Absolutely. Imagine if you had put in a quarter of whatever you own into a project: A local park team absorbs 2,500 out of your 10,000 pounds. You buy them shirts, equipment, even ‘recruit’ a player from another area. You support the team every Sunday, you spend time with the ‘fans’ (parents, a few locals), buy them beers at the local pub. Suddenly, because of a series of wrong calls (e.g. you brought in an ex- local park ‘legend’ to be coach and you subsequently and disastrously get 5 points out of a possible 24), the ‘fans’ turn on you. They won’t drink beers with you, they make you remove your team shirt, they remember that you are not from the park’s area. They even abuse you. How would you act? Think about it.

    What we are doing is fuelling the fire. Perhaps there’s no way back, it’s too late and a ‘divorce’ is inevitable. Then so be it, but let’s do the most of what we have now, till we (or he) find a new sponsor.

  • CaptainGeordie

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #15

    Apologies dont make up for the hurt.

  • Slank Loogan

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #16


    There is no requirement of an owner of a football club to communicate with its fans. How many club owners communicate? Few, if any. The Chelsea owner has never given an interview.

    The managing director and the club manager communicate with the fans.

    Before he became a football club owner Ashley rarely communicated with the city, financial institutions and financial journalists and shareholders.

    So do the fans think he should communicate with them?

  • toonruz

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #17

    i will never ever for give ashley for what he has done to our past heroes sheaerer keegan hughton nolan barton milner , s given all these people carnt be wrong about 1 man , the best thing ashley can do is sell, to some 1 with ambition for the club

  • ToonAndy1892

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #18

    In my opinion Newcastle United will never be successful due to the ridiculous stance taken by many fans. It is unbelievable how much rubbish is written and believed and the constant criticism of the whole club and manager and half the players. It must be disruptive to everyone at the club to see so many people constantly abusing employees of the club wether owners, mangers or some players. How many more greedy cockney B****** can people write even thought the evidence is clear in the finances that is not the case. The same goes for the criticism of the local media. That is equally abusive and again some people are totally deluded. There is never constructive criticism from some people just the same old posts. No everything is run perfectly at Newcastle but some people need to wake up to a dose of reality. Also can people start to measure success by results on the pitch rather than just how much we spend. To me it looks like results have improved on the last 2-3 years and we are steadily getting a better and stronger club. If we could leave the constant abuse behind the club would grow even faster and be more successful for it.

  • terencelim

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #19

    Apology is nothing, action is everything =(

  • Barc

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #20

    “The lack of communication from Mike Ashley in particular, has been a cancer on the relationship with the fans, and only he can fix that.”

    The abuse and threats from the fans in particular has been a cancer on the relationship with the owners, and only we can fix that.

    This ain’t no one way street.

  • Graeme

    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #21

    FCB only wants 2 things from NUFC:-

    YOUR money

    Free advertising for his main business – SD

    The ONLY way fans will ever influence what happens at SJP is to stop handing him your cash.

  • Rotonda heights

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #22

    I have tried to see the positives in Ashley and I do believe there are some, at least in comparison to Shepherd who was the opposite and was a media whore.

    However when you see Ashley stripping in a Chinese restaurant, he just comes as across a totally charmless king chav.

    As Ed said if only there was a happy medium somewhere between. That said though, how many C.E.O’s or other owners do acually communicate with the fans. Even successsful teams – have you ever seen the Glazers or Abramovic talk to the media or give an interview?

    Have to admire Pardew a bit though, it looks like he is growing a pair. Now if he could just make better substitutions and never ever put Smith on ever again.

  • solano

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #23

    Cyprus@14….an interesting analogy based upon a skew whiff view of recent history – in fact the “parents” and “fans” have given him ample opportunity to correct his mistakes but he has consistently ignored the olive branch offered!
    “What we are doing is fuelling the fire. Perhaps there’s no way back, it’s too late and a ‘divorce’ is inevitable”. I agree…a divorce is inevitable and I think the fans should do everything to make it a “quickie” annulment by pointing out his insensitivity, brutality and mental torture towards his partner/spouse!
    What I don’t quite understand is your last sentence, cyprus, when you write “let’s do the most of what we have now…” It seems you are advocating just muddling through hoping against hope that things will change….they won’t! The quicker MA is gone the better – unfortunately that means the fans will have to do something to oust him…the present boycott is neither organised or widespread enough and MA, the bully that he is, is entrenched in his position and loves the dependency of a weak fanbase who hate him but can’t find the strength to stand up to him.

  • MAApologist

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #24

    Well Said – Dannyo and ardenTOON
    A question to everyone:
    If MA and DL apologized for things done wrong in the past, and said they would try to rebuild their relationship with the fans, would u let them.

    You can’t abuse some one into parting with money

  • GoalsBringSmiles

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #25


    On this blog I have rarely seen criticism of players from those who express their disapproval of Ashley, I for one have never abused a player on this blog nor elsewhere and I support the manager and 11 players on the pitch wholeheartedly. To turn on your fellow supporters and begin to blame them for the lack of success under Ashley is simply scandalous and a shortcut to thinking. The truth is Mike Ashley has not progressed this football club on the pitch in any way whatsoever in the whole four years he has been here, the results over these four seasons prove this-how has this been effected by the fans or the varied stances we all take? Why would any fan want the club to stagnate? The same question may be posed of Ashley, and often has been on this blog-why would Ashley not want to succeed with a business he owns and has put his own money into-valid question but misleading also-business success is distinguishable from footballing success-Ashley of course knows this, I suspect it is why he bought the club in the first place-he wins either way since regardless of footballing success he is guaranteed a steady income from free advertising of his SD, tv revenue, player sales, merchandise, tickets etc. the problem at this club is that so many supporters have become loyal to his business model and success and have been brainwashed into thinking that this is loyalty to Newcastle United FOOTBALL club. It isn’t, the continued support of a regime that aims for sufficency rather then proficiency is the largest opposing factor to our footballing success.

  • solano

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #26

    MA…they closed the “lines of communication” after relegation in 2009 for no reason other than they did not want to field awkward questions. That tells you a lot about the people who are running the club. They may well at some stage in the future give some veiled and qualified apologies but actions speak louder than words.
    MA hasn’t spent a penny on the playing side in over 3years…that should tell you everything about his football intentions. Protecting his investment behind the scenes and making NUFC an advertising hoarding for his “other” business should show you where his priorities lie – in direct oppostion to the aspirations of the vast majority of fans!

  • GoalsBringSmiles

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #27

    Rotanda Heights

    I refer you to my post @2


    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #28

    I couldn’t care less if MA never spoke to the fans because actions speak louder than words.

    He had the perfect opportunity to show us that he has ambitions for the club by using the AC £30 mil to add to the squad,not dismantle and bring in cheaper replacements.

    The club had over 7 months to scout ,negotiate and sign a striker and to fail is unforgivable.

    I am very concerned for this season because i cannot see
    our strikeforce getting the required goals to keep us up.

    The starting lineup against Fulham showed how thin the squad is.Best,Loven,RTaylor should be nowhere near our first team but all 3 started the game FFS.

    Ok some might point out 7 points on the board but these were only achieved by the brilliance of Krull.We are in for a very hard season with this sqaud.I hope i’m wrong

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #29

    you really do see it for what it is,

    for me we have a guy who came into a lot of money( good luck to him for that)
    where he seems to do well in life is things he can buy cheap then just sell the shit out of it with little thinking behind what needs to be done, buying all these sports brands, then half the price on everything and sell double through one outlet we all like that side of the guy as i think we all have bought from his shop,

    football is different, its a living thing that needs carefull looking after, like a kid, if you treat it like a thug, chances are it will turn out like a thug, it knows no better, invest in that kid, time and money , good advice,lead by example, he can be pretty much anything he wants,,

    what i hate is ppl on here who seem to think it will get better by itself, after all the mistakes that the current owners have made, ( not they think they have) they need to be the ones leading by example,
    this does not need 50 mil striker to prove it, it dont need 14 questions that mean sweet fa answerd , it just needs good actions, and positive statements , not someone who comes out looking to blame everyone but himself,

  • solano

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #30
  • catchy in norway

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #31

    can i ask all the fans who think protesting and speaking your mind gets you no where,, what has happend to liverpool, and man u??

    they seem to have done alright by it

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #32


    email sent 🙂

  • PompeyJohn

    Sep 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #33

    There seem a lot more reasonable comments on the subject of the ownership today. Like many people have said, slagging someone off is not likely to induce them to part with their hard earned cash and Ashley doesn’t have the money of the Arabs who invested in Man City.
    You only have to look at other “big” clubs to see the difficulties that can happen – Everton (where Bill Kenwright is an undoubted fan of the club but relatively skint), Villa (where the owner was praised by everyone initially but now being vilified for letting players go and not spending enough) and Leeds (got into a nightmare downward spiral by an enthusiastic chairman who was out of his depth). Add to this the likes of Blackburn, Pompey and Birmingham who seemed to have been taken over by multi-millionaires only to realise that they were totally useless/skint/corrupt (allegedly!)
    We need to be very careful what we wish for – believe it or not – IT COULD BE WORSE!!!!
    Now please Mike and Derek – Buy us a centre forward and decent utility defender in January !

  • Lee Dodd

    Sep 11, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #34

    We need a Quality Striker to Replace Judas Then we need a New Centre Back . If We do that Then They will get a Repreave but can you imagine this Guys !!!!! If we won a League Cup or an FA Cup They would Be Then Legends !!!! Look at It This Way Sunderland have spent a load of cash this summer and look at were they are now ?? They Sold Bent Got Gyan and look at that Mess !!!!! Good to see Sunderland Second From Bottom …. Well Done Steve Bruce Your Doing Very Well if You can get Them Relegated You Will be a Geordie Hero !!!

  • CAToon

    Sep 11, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Comment #35

    “Better the devil you know….” comes to mind at this point with NUFC. From a business perspective, NUFC is healthy and from an on pitch performance, we are showing great progress. A lot of fans at this point will use any excuse to criticize the team and this will not stop. It’s part of the NUFC culture. No owner will be safe from this.

    If critics are quick to slam the executives when on field results go wrong, are they willing to support the same executives when on field performance goes well.

    Let pitch performance be the ultimate judge of NUFC management. Critics are not happy with a team that is performing better than last year and certainly better than the year NUFC was relegated. If the team starts to perform badly and we start to see discontent in the locker room, critics are welcome, until then, what I read are NUFC fans criticizing success.


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