Former Sky Sports Reporter Blasts Mike Ashley

It could be that Mike Ashley is about to ruin everything at Newcastle again, although we hope that’s not true – but we’ll know more in the summer.

If he does want to take back control of the club with a more hands-on approach and reinstates Graham Carr into a more important role, we could see Rafa leave the club in the summer, but we certainly hope not.

That would be a disaster for Newcastle and also for Mike Ashley – although he may not know it.

Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley

The former Sky Sports reporter Richard Keys wrote on his blog last week about Newcastle’s failed January transfer window and the fact that Mike Ashley may be ruining things at Newcastle for the umpteenth time since he took over the club in the summer of 2007 – almost ten long and terrible years ago.

Richard is a football man and he knows football should be left to football men like Rafa, since Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley have proved so many times before they know absolutely nothing about the game – with the emphasis on nothing.

Richard Keys

The is what Richard wrote on his blog last Wednesday as reported in HITC yesterday:

“Regulars know that Rafa the Gafa isn’t my favorite. I’ve said many times that I believe he only manages for himself – for his own CV.”

Proof had to be the time he took on the Chelsea job after everything he’d previously said about the club and its fans.”

“That said – can I also repeat what I wrote when Benitez stayed at Newcastle last summer? I was both a little surprised, but also delighted for Newcastle fans.”

“Because whatever else, Benitez was the right man in the right place at the right time. He gave Geordies hope again and, so far, he’s delivered.”

Newcastle is a monster of a football club. I love it and I love everything about that football mad City, although I’ve always said that it’s about 350 miles too far north of London for me!”

“The Toon’s rightful place isn’t just in the Premier League, it’s mixing it with the big boys at the top.”

“The trouble is, it’s owned by a very ambitious man, who knows plenty about how to squeeze every last drop of sweat out of his workers, but not much about football.”

“For too long Mike Ashley and his small group of ‘yes’ men have run the club into the ground.”

“Ashley and his current error prone MD Lee Charnley, have always meddled and Newcastle fans have had little or nothing to celebrate during Ashley’s ownership.”

“But then came Rafa – and a suggestion of success at last for one simple reason – Benitez demanded full control of football matters at St James’ Park.”

“Newcastle were flying under the new regime. We hadn’t heard anything from Charnley or Ashley – until last night (last Wednesday).”

“For the first time Benitez aired public disappointment about an unsuccessful transfer window and carefully told us how he felt let down.”

“I got the feeling he was warning us that the wheels might be about to come off. He obviously feels he needs more than he’s got to get automatic promotion.”

“I hope he’s wrong – but when will the people that own and run that club learn? Back Benitez and he’ll get you back.”

“I wouldn’t rule out Leeds getting up automatically. If they do it’s Newcastle that could miss out – and Benitez knows it.”

“As for Monk, he’s a fine young British coach who was badly treated at Swansea. It’s good to see him recovering his reputation.”

I fancy Brighton to win the Championship and I’d be delighted for the Bloom brothers if they do. These two guys are ‘football’ people and they’ve delivered on everything they said they would.”

“They’ve got a terrific manager in Chris Hughton (as Newcastle fans know only too well!) and I hope it’s their turn after last season’s near miss. The Blooms let Chris get on with his job.”

“So the lesson here is ‘let football men do what they do best’. Businessmen should stick to what they know.”

“History tells us every time Ashley, or more recently Charnley, get busy at Newcastle things go wrong.”

“I hope Rafa Benitez keeps Newcastle United on course, but I fear he’s trying to tell us he’s not sure he can.”

First things first and we need to support Rafa and the players, so we can get promoted asap this season to ease the tension.

Then we have to hope and pray that Mike Ashley has learned something in the almost ten years he has owned Newcastle United.

But maybe not.

40 comments so far

  • Spoof

    Feb 7, 2017 at 8:57 AM

    Comment #1

    I know that Keys isn’t particularly liked up here, but in fairness I think he has called this one right apart from his fear that we could implode, I just don’t see that happening, we will go up and I still believe that we will do it as champions.

  • Budge123

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #2

    What a load of total sh*te.
    Keep to what your good at Richard which is oh I don’t know demeaning women something like that.

    Why do we keep getting stories about how dreadful big bad Mike is?
    Time to leave it surely.

  • toontaff2

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    Comment #3

    Next article- Andy Gray’s take on male tea persons……..

  • toontaff2

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    Comment #4

    Coventry not worthy of comment, Richard?

  • martoon

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #5

    I’m with Spoof – I think it was quite a reasonable article. Obviously written before the weekend where we gained another 3 points on Leeds. The only thing I would disagree with is Rafa wanted the likes of Townsend as insurance – but I’m sure he thinks we can do it with what we’ve got.

  • jimmysmith

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #6

    Newcastle are without doubt the best placed team to go up as Champions. The best squad, team, manager, support, player, striker, stadium, now, just as it’s always been, even more so. Shelvey’s back, as are the ACoN lads, and we are top. Fancy Brighton. What a load of nonsense.

  • jackostoon

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #7

    And why would we listen to the man with the hairiest hands in the world, not that I’ve anything against hairy handed people, just before I get labelled a hairist.

  • Budge123

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #8

    It’s mischief making.
    Leave football to football men.
    Clubs need to be run to be financially sound or eventually they do a forest or a Leeds and implode.
    Imagine if we didn’t have 80 million or whatever worth of players to sell when we went down and the state we would be in now. The fate that awaits Sunderland if they go down for example.
    Rafa has been backed. He has the strength and gravitas to ensure backed in the correct ways and areas of team.
    Fat Mike is ensuring the club is financially stable. Everyone is doing their job.
    Rafa will be backed in the Summer but not without limit. But that is a good thing.
    Everything else is mischief making for me.
    The constant reporting of it is Making an issue out of very little.

  • Spoof

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #9


    In fairness Mike is hardly an angel or someone who we could describe as being beneficial to our club, he’s a greedy tyrant who has constantly made us a laughing stock.

    Time to leave it, I disagree, the time to leave it will be when we are ran correctly and attempting to fulfil our potential, I don’t see that happening, so leave it, sorry but no, we shouldn’t leave it.

  • Budge123

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #10

    Yes his history is dreadful.
    But he’s done little wrong since last Summer except employing Stevie Mac.

    Making a huge deal of this transfer window creates tension and issue.
    Everyone on here waiting for him to screw things up again.

    Wait to the Summer and see. My bet would be Rafa is well backed and we spend the most of promoted teams and more than 6 or 7 of the teams already up.

    That (if it happens ) is incredible support for the manager. It’s then his job to spend it wisely and manage it well. Pretty sure he will.

    All for me is rosy.

  • lesh

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #11


    What? Ashley a greedy tyrant who has constantly made us a laughing stock? You make him sound like Trump!

  • lesh

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #12


    Whoops! Sorry, I should’ve attributed that post to Spoof.


  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #13

    Richard Keys is a hairy palmed creep. Always personally bad mouthing Rafa with zero justification. Back tracking a bit by possibly rightly switching targets to Ash and Charnley, but Keys is still a creep.

    I really don’t get Ash’s obsession with Carr. We are about to write off nearly 30M on Thauvin, Riviere and Saivet. Surely Rafa’s little black book of contacts and connections would be vastly superior to Carr’s.

  • Spoof

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #14


    I hope your right I really do but at the same time when you look at the facts as we have been lead to believe then it doesn’t look to good to me, firstly Rafa did have money to spend in the summer, hence his insistence that he doesn’t have to sell anyone, he did quite rightly sell, no point in keeping someone who wants to go, and as a result rather than spend we made a £30m profit, then come January, and as Martoon pointed out I also didn’t feel that we had to strengthen and I agree with Martoon that Rafa looked at it as insurance, and bearing in mind the summer window for the club to not back Rafa with his desire to get two in for me was shocking, even with the two our overall transfer dealings would still have seen us make a profit so why was it not done, for me the only answer is that Ashley believed that without any additions we would still go up, so for me that shows an attitude of what we have will have to do, is that not the same Ashley that we have had from day one of his tenure, he has always planned to just do enough to reach his requirements, and this window stinks of exactly the same attitude that he has always had, so whats the difference, personally I don’t see one.

    Come the summer we will spend big, but will it be an ambitious spend or a spend to safeguard survival, the difference between the championship and the PL is huge, we are witnessing that, so next summers spend will be done exactly the same as it always has been, to meet Ashley’s requirements, sorry but I don’t see any change from him, but like I said, I hope I’m wrong and you are correct, time will tell.

    Does a leopard ever change it’s spots ?

  • lochinvar

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #15

    Perhaps Richard Keys is trying to reinstate himself into the punditry world or even get a job with Mike handling PR.

    No further comment.

  • Novocastrian66

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #16

    Richard Keys has made a living from making statements about how much he likes Newcastle United followed by a caveat of how he expects us to fail.

  • Mag52

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #17

    It’s extraordinary that anyone who happens to say what a lot of fans are suspecting and are very worried about, that Ashley appears to be manoeuvring to upset the applecart at our club yet again, gets criticized for stirring things up, for not knowing what he is on about, for having hairy hands etc.
    There’s no smoke without fire. Keys knows a bit about football, whether you like him or not, and he has no reason to have an agenda against NUFC.
    Ostriches heads and sand. It may be unpalatable, it may not be something to dwell on at the moment, but it sounds very plausible to me.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #18

    After a good weekend – Don’t need this shit – I the press love to get stuck into the TOON.

    never mind – got a tough 8 games coming up that will I think seal our season:

    Wolves a
    Norwich a
    Villa h
    Bristol C h
    Brighton a
    Huddersfield a
    Reading a
    Fulham h

    If we can win 4
    draw 2
    loose 2 will give us 76 points

    going into a relatively easier run in of 9 games to pick up 17points
    5 wins 2 draws 2 defeats
    which would give us 93 points
    which should see us promoted
    last year Burnley were champs on 93 followed by Boro and Brighton on 89 points

    still going to be a lot of twists and turns but as someone has stated we supposed to have the best squad keeping them fit and the best Manager
    we should make it.

    Anyway hope Shelvey keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t let himself get wound up on Saturday.

  • martoon

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #19

    Spoof @14 – Without wanting to sound like a mutual appreciation society I think you’re right. The Summer transfer spending will indicate whether Ashley wants to push on or just do enough to stay in the Premiership. We know what Rafa wants but will he be backed?

  • AncientC

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #20

    “Clubs need to be run to be financially sound or eventually they do a forest or a Leeds and implode.”

    Not every club that invests & shows ambition will “eventually” do a Forest or Leeds. It wasn’t book keeping that got Leeds relegated, it was buying the wrong players. In fact most clubs that invest in their squads improve, not the opposite.

    As for Ashley keeping Newcastle financially sound, check the advertising revenue & current state of the club’s debt for an update on that one.

  • manxpie

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #21

    Ashley hasn’t done anything wrong since last summer!!??
    Well let’s just write off the previous 9 years of setting us up to fail then
    once a kernt always a kernt
    he was so desperate and backed into a corner Rafa was the only option, remember it wasn’t because he had some light bulb moment it was because it was his last throw of the dice!

  • AncientC

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #22

    “We are about to write off nearly 30M on Thauvin, Riviere and Saivet.”

    Those 3 players do not come close to £30 million. Thauvin was the only one that could be deemed expensive, and the club has got most of its money back on him. Riviere and Saivet were inexpensive punts, who to nobodies surprise, didn’t work out at PL level. Not that we saw much of Saivet.

  • hibbit

    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #23

    Budge123 is trying to paint Ashley as a White Knight riding to the rescue
    when in fact he’s more of a Viking marauding through our club intent on pillaging as much as he can
    Ashley here for one reason Ashley nowt else


    Feb 7, 2017 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #24

    the next 7 games could be a big indicator to where we will finish with regards to brighton,we are away in 5 of those games…imo if we were to drop into the playoffs i dont believe we would get promoted,there is something missing from this squad at the minute,a grittyness… the ability to win when needed,unless thats discovered we need to make sure we finish in the top 2,preferably top…not to bothered what people say about newcastle in papers we are an easy target because of the shit thats went on here…when the media think they smell football blood they automatically look our way and start picking at things like vultures on a carcass,…they would be happier for newcastle to implode and fail at promotion then they would be if we were to be promoted,nows the time to knuckle down and battle thru to the finish hopefully with promotion….then see what shape we are in,in the summer.

  • Spoof

    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #25


    and based on last months debacle I’m not that hopeful, yes £40m+ may well be spent but would be the bare minimum for survival, even that amount may not be enough seeing how far we are behind PL standards, hopefully Hayden will be able to reproduce this seasons standards to next, but that’s unknown, even in this league without Shelvey we look very ordinary, god help us next season, so a lot of cash needs spent there as Colback isn’t good enough, wingers are a worry, Ritchie last season was ok early on but adrenalin for a newly promoted side can carry some, possible doubts about his PL pedigree, other wingers forget it, nowhere near good enough, plenty of spending there as well, Gayle for me is good enough for the PL, but he is the only striker we have who is good enough, plenty to spend on there, CB’s, Clark has done well, having said that doing well as a defender when you dominate most games doesn’t really say too much, his PL record is questionable, Lascellas looked decent at the end of last season but in reality he is still unknown at PL level, hopefully one of them will be good enough, I doubt both will be so we will need to spend there as well, Dummett is what he is, he can and has done a job in the PL so he isn’t a problem, RB, Anita in the PL is out of his depth, Yedlin has like Clark looked decent at this level, but will he in the PL, doubts but in fairness to him last season for the unwashed after he got back into the side his defending due to months of work from big Sam did improve dramatically, I think he could be ok, Darlow is another who I am not concerned about, I think he will be ok, but even so, we will need a hell of a lot of strengthening or it could be a disaster.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #26

    @Charlie in the Gallowgate

    I actually feel confident with those fixtures that we will win the majority of them because those teams will play football and wont park the bus which means if we step it up and take our chances we should have no problems !

    It will be the games against teams struggling against relegation when we are expected to cruise to the title that would worry me as we have traditionally always struggled against those type of teams!

  • lochinvar

    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #27

    Winning these three would be useful
    Brighton a
    Huddersfield a
    Reading a

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #28

    lochinvar @27

    tough week all 3 away in seven days.

    Springy @24
    agree with your comments – time for players management and fans to stick together and stuff the press.
    This season the TOON have not come to ‘TOON’ been very bitty played well parts of a game – shite rest of game. i.e. Villa away .

    Hopefully we are going to turn it on and stuff someone

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #29

    Out of all of the teams we play I would love us to dish out a serious beating to Villa in a couple of weeks just to help keep them in this league for another season

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #30

    Also what happens to season ticket holders next season if you have to get moved to accommodate away fans? Anyone heard anything about that?

    Would be a gutter if your seat had to get moved if you have a decent seat that you pay for

  • martoon

    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #31

    Lee Charnley Bunga Party @30 – You’re talking about the new Premiership rule for away fans. It’s going to be a nightmare moving fans seats and where are you going to put them – next to the away fans in the upper tier? I must admit I’m a bit worried because my seat is behind the goal below the away fans so they could move some there!

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #32

    Anyway, if we get promoted, ST’s will be the same price next season as this, so the fans are being rewarded for their support this season. Fair do’s. We have turned up in droves, so the 38k St holders get something back. Wow.
    Ashley has already said Rafa will be backed in the summer. If not, we will have to address that then. Now isn’t the time. How much doom n gloom have we had to put up with on here, none of it turning out to be justified?
    We lost the first two and apparently not only were we not getting promoted, but relegation was on the cards. Not true. Garbage in fact, but boy did we have to listen to it.
    Ever since then, every minor setback has been met with wailing and gnashing of teeth. Again, we’re back on top and promotion is in our own hands.
    Now this. Let’s deal with Ashley if and when. Rafa looked happy enough after talking to Charnley so let’s not jump to any more conclusions.
    I understand the concern, with Ashley’s previous but right now there’s nothing to suggest it will go tits up. If it does, there’ll be plenty so say then. Let’s enjoy this season and deal with next season in the summer.

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 7, 2017 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #33

    From what I read ages ago, away fans have to be close to the pitch from next season I believe. Behind the goal does seem favourite unfortunately, but time will tell. Wherever it is, it needs to be big enough to take the 3200 seats currently on offer. That does limit it.
    If it was down to me, I’d make level seven safe standing and stick the singers back up there, which would drown out the away fans. Sneaky I know, but wtf.

  • cyprus

    Feb 7, 2017 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #34

    Should we accept everything he says because he’s a football man? (Is he?)

    If we do, there’s that little detail, his opinion on Rafa…

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Feb 7, 2017 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #35

    away fans behind goal at front – got mixed opinions

    Works both ways but could be a lot of bother – remember being at Old Trafford behind the goal and being pelted with all things and getting spat on. then on the way out getting chased aal own the place.

    same happened at the Spuds – mind you I am talking about the seventies

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 7, 2017 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #36

    I’ve worked out why Ashley wanted to keep the money for the summer… Aguero will be available. 🙂

  • OneAlanShearer

    Feb 7, 2017 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #37

    If we get promoted I hope Ashley see’s sense and sells up. This is not exactly a marriage made in heaven and if he’s not going to listen to one of the best managers in football who is he going to listen to.

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 7, 2017 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #38

    Tbh, I don’t see how it could work anyway. That would mean both fans entering at the same place on the concourse. That might be OK in general, but not when we play the mackems. It would be chaos. I have no idea how it’s going to work. Glad it’s not my problem. 🙂
    Charlie, I remember going to Old Trafford in the seventies with 15k of us. They didn’t do much chasing then!
    The battle of seven sisters will always remain in my mind. Glad those days are done mate. 🙂

  • Dal

    Feb 7, 2017 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #39

    The question Keys raises is not whether or not we will be promoted. We will as Rafa has put the hard work in with the squad to give us the best opportunity.
    The question Keys raises is whether Ashley, Charnley, Carr and Moncur have just undermined Rafa, gone back on any promises they made to him about authority over transfers and caused him to have decided to leave in the summer having got us promoted.
    That is a distinct risk, especially if Rafa is concerned about his CV and is offered bigger profile jobs.
    The board of Ashley, Charnley, Carr and Moncur need to be changed to give Rafa objective but undoubted support. Now, before the job offers get firmed up!

  • isleofmanman

    Feb 7, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #40

    This simple. If Rafa stays we will know that he hasn’t been lied to. If he leaves then we will know that Ashley has either broken his word or broken a written contract

    The business case for Ashley not wanting to invest in January window could well be that Sports Direct has lost 60% of its stock market value during the last 24 months and 25% during the last 12 months. A consequence of shit management practices and a woeful corporate culture. The City of London wont let him off the hook.

    But if SD is turning the corner then the pressure on NUFC should ease. Maybe he wants certainty of the the Premier League first. This season the bottom club is expected to trouser £97m from domestic and overseas TV rights. Mid table finish £120m

    Carr need not be a problem so long as Rafa sanctions EVERY deal. Probably he understand the paperwork stuff and can give Charnley time out to feed on even longer and more expensive corporate lunches

    For his part Rafa needs to let the reins loose at home games. Our second halves are not for the faint hearted


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