Date: 15th September 2008 at 11:36am
Written by:

At over 1600 words Mike Ashley issued a long and seemingly heartfelt statement announcing he intends to sell the club. Praised by some, scorned by the majority, the overwhelming feeling again is that he is both too late and out of synch with what Newcastle supporters actually feel. In particular some of the points he makes seem to be typical media-esque interpretations of the club rather than a rational look.

Point 1:

“Spending £100m every summer will not happen to Newcastle when I am in charge. The truth is that Newcastle could not sustain buying the Shevchenko’s, Robinho’s or the Berbatov’s. These are recognised European footballers. They have played in the European leagues and everyone knows about them. They can be brilliant signings. But everybody knows that they are brilliant and so they, and players like them, cost more than £30 million to buy before you even take into account agent commissions and the multi-million pound wage deals.”

Let`s be honest – no self respecting NUFC fan expects us to be going for these type of players, nor the Beckham / Henry / Ronaldinho types leaked from the club as being Kevin Keegan targets. However on the crux side no-one realistically expects us to be signing the likes of Xisco, Gonzalez and Bassong as the backbone of transfer policy.

Leaning solely on Tony Jiminez for pinpointing new signings is also a recipe for disaster – showing almost the same dependency as leaving the manager in charge of picking them. What the hell does Jiminez know about how these players will fit into a Newcastle situation when he is nowhere near the players?

Point 2:

“My plan and my strategy for Newcastle is different. It has to be. Arsenal is the shining example in England of a sustainable business model. It takes time. It can’t be done overnight. Newcastle has therefore set up an extensive scouting system. We look for young players, for players in foreign leagues who everyone does not know about. We try and stay ahead of the competition. We search high and low looking for value, for potential that we can bring on and for players who will allow Newcastle to compete at the very highest level but who don’t cost the earth.”

This was probably the statement that p**sed me off the most. Arsenal sink or swim based on one man – Arsene Wenger. I chuckled last night after reading this statement given that earlier that day Wenger had stated that if anyone had diluted his control of affairs he`d walk too. No-one doubts Wenger can pick out a diamond in the rough. However does any remember Richard Wright (£6m)? Or Franny Jeffers (£10m)? It`s the gamble you have to take.

Ditto Alex Ferguson. For every Veron there is a Ferdinand, for every Solskjaer take a Saha, and for a Schmeichel take Barthez. Ashley`s citing of Jonas and Coloccini as fantastic signings is naïve to say the least. The pair haven`t even played 10 games yet – judge them in years not days.

As for Wise and co doing a brilliant job – judge their efforts in time. I don`t see Zamblera, Sodeberg, Kadar, Tozer, Ranger or Spear turning out for the first team every week so how would you know how well they are doing and what success rate they have of integrating youngsters through?

Point 3:

“The fans want this process to happen more quickly and they want huge amounts spent in the transfer market so that the club can compete at the top table of European football now.”

The traditional “Geordie myth” perpetuated by a southern based media. Full houses for how long without a trophy? That`s patience no other club could buy. No one expects an Abramovich. All we want is good old fashioned communication and openness about a club that means so much for all of us. Perhaps the release of something like this three months ago could have been an asset to the regime but instead Llambias and Wise put their tin hats on, sharpened the bayonets and shot all dissenters in the ranks.