When Mike Ashley first came to the club in the summer of 2007, he was regularly seen in Newcastle pubs before the game, and then would attend some night-clubs when Newcastle won their weekend game.
Mike Ashley – being finally accepted on Tyneside?
I started this blog on April 22nd of 2007, just before everything changed at Newcastle and Mike took over, and we’ve certainly been on some journey over these last five years with Newcastle, and to say it’s been a roller-coaster is a huge understatement.
At the time, Chris Mort was the Newcastle Chairman, and regularly communicated with the fans about what was going on at the club, but all that changed in early September of 2008, when Kevin Keegan walked out on the club, and the blame was put very squarely at Mike Ashley’s door by Geordie fans.
Mike had allowed then Director of Football Dennis Wise to bring in players without Kevin even being aware of them, even though the club had said Keegan would have the final say on any players coming in, or leaving the club.
That was not the case, and Mike said he would sell the club.
In fact Mike couldn’t sell the club, and announced that on December 28th of 2008, the morning of the 5-1 hammering by Liverpool at St. James’ Park, and of course Newcastle went on to be relegated the following May.
So Mike tried to sell the club again in the summer of 2009, but was again unsuccessful.
But since that time Newcastle have done extremely well, and Mike Ashley seems to have done the right thing most of the time, but has still managed to upset fans by selling Andy Carroll, sacking Chris Hughton, and then trying to sell the naming rights of St. James’ Park.
The Carroll sale in retrospect has turned out to be an excellent piece of business by an owner who is very shrewd on the financial side of things, and seems to have the club going in the right direction on most fronts.
It also turns out that Mike was the only hold-out at Newcastle at the time of the Carroll sale, and didn’t want to sell Andy, so he made sure he got a top deal – £35M in cool cash up front – one of the best deals in the transfer market in recent history.
That windfall has significantly helped Newcastle over the last 16 months or so, and the club has almost balanced their books now.
That’s at the same time that clubs like Rangers, Portsmouth, Plymouth and others are going belly up, because they have spent money they just didn’t have.
So maybe it’s not too much of a surprise that Mike was seen in the Tup Tup Palace nightclub in the city center, after Newcastle had smashed Liverpool 2-0 on April Fool’s day.
The news is that Mike was well received – but that’s hardly surprising after Newcastle had just won the game against the Reds.
But it could be that some of the things Mike has done at the club are now being appreciated by the fans, and the Billionaire – he is worth $2.5B, which is about £1.56B at the last estimate by Forbes magazine – has certainly turned Newcastle into what is now a well run club – there’s little doubt about that.
Mike will probably been seen more in the weeks ahead in the Newcastle City center, and we hope the relationship between the fans and Mike and the Board will improve significantly in the future.
And if Newcastle manage to get into the European Champions League, then Mike could even be a hero.
We’re all in this together, but of course some fans will never forgive Mike for that Keegan affair.
But hey, life goes on – and Newcastle are again becoming a very successful club in England.
That has to be good – very good.