Mike Ashley keeps making decisions that rile the Newcastle fans.
What are those transfer targets on the board??
And the latest one is the way he has renamed St. James’ Park as The Sports Direct Arena, and the club could have gone about it in a more skillful way, rather than workman turning up last week using crow-bars tom remove the famous black St. James’ Park lettering off the stadium wall.
There was uproar at that, and the Newcastle City Council and twelve MPs have all objected to selling the naming rights of St. James’ Park.
But Alan Pardew says that has not deterred Ashley, and there are good financial reasons for getting around £10M/year by changing the name of St. James’ Park, which has been the name of Newcastle’s home ground now for 120 years:
“He does what he feels is right, it’s not a conscious decision to upset the fans,” “He’s quite bullish, of course, and people don’t like change and changing the name of the stadium, it’s about raising revenue. It’s still St James’ Park to the fans and will stay that way.”
“There are sound economic reasons for the name change. We have to move with that otherwise we won’t be able to keep our players. For me, it’s difficult. I want to represent the fans, that’s what I do as manager, and I want to also say to the owner ‘I want the best possible team’ which is what he wants also.”
“If I can keep the same group of players I wouldn’t worry about raising expectations.” “But will I be able to keep my best team? We are vulnerable to bigger clubs and you can’t get away from that with the salaries they offer.” There is the example of Liverpool who signed Andy.”
One good thing is what Alan says – it’s still St. James Park to the fans – and it was interesting in yesterday’s interview that Geordie John Carver kept calling it St. James’ Park in his interview, and it seems Ashley doesn’t object one bit to that.
It’s just a pity that Mike and Derek LLambias cannot be more civil to fans by issuing news about what’s happening at the club and what their ambitions are. To an awful lot of Newcastle fans what goes on at Newcastle United is so very important!
Derek did do that once last year, and it was a good communique and had the fans talking and it was even positive.
And Newcastle are doing so well this season that European competition next season is a possibility, but Alan says they are not thinking about that – not yet anyway.
It’s a bit of a cliche these days, but also very true that the best way to keep your feet on the ground and not get carried away, is to take it one game at a time.
When asked about European qualification, this is what Alan said:
“We are not focused on that,” “We are focused on the next six games because if we are in the running for a top six place in six games times then we will really give it a go.”
“Whether that’s the Europa League or even the Champions League. But the next six games are key.
Now is the time when the top teams get into gear, so are we going to get into gear?”
That’s only one reason why Sunday’s game against local rivals Sunderland is so important, because if we can win that we’ll stay in 6th place in the league, with just 11 games to go.
Of course even if we lose, heaven forbid, we’ll still be in 6th place, because Liverpool are 4 points behind us in 7th place and have a game in hand. I wish I hadn’t even mentioned that.
And by the way, Liverpool have over twice the revenues coming in that Newcastle have at the moment, which is one reason Newcastle must increase their revenue in the years ahead.
We know some fans don’t like football being a business these days, but it is, and a global business at that.
And that’s how clubs must now be run – if they don’t want to end up bankrupt that is.