Let us think this thought in its most terrible form: existence as it is, without meaning or aim, and yet recurring inevitably, without any finale in nothingness: “eternal recurrence.”
Friedrich Nietzsche – The Will to Power
I quoted the great proto-existentialist philosopher there because it seems such a perfect summary of all that Mike Ashley has to offer Newcastle United fans, in the past, the present and in the future; existence as it is, without meaning or aim, and yet recurring inevitably This includes the humiliation of being lied to and treated as fools on a regular basis, and paying hundreds of pounds for the privilege in many cases. Mike Ashley’s latest alleged overhaul is just as superficial and dishonest as the previous ones, which is why everything coming out of the club must be so strictly controlled. In his hubris, Ashley still hasn’t learned that a Premier League club the size of Newcastle United has to be like Rolls Royce, not Sports Direct. The faces might be different, but the thinking which has taken Newcastle United nowhere is still the same, recurring inevitably. (more…)
By his own admission, Rangers’ current caretaker head coach, Kenny McDowall, has been told not only that he has no say in the players they sign, but also that he will only have a limited input into team selection too.
According to McDowall himself, he has been ordered by Mike Ashley and his henchman at Rangers, Derek Llambias, to play ALL of the five new Rangers players (Vuckic, Ferguson, Bigirimana, Streete and Mbabu) on loan from Newcastle. Speaking in an interview at Rangers’ Murray Park training centre, McDowall, who wants to leave at the end of the season said:
“When I was given the job I was told players incoming and outgoing wouldn’t be my responsibility. I take the team and coach the team and I am more than happy to get on with it.”
Which is hardly news to both Rangers and Newcastle United fans. However when pressed on whether he was obliged to play them, he dropped his bombshell, replying:
Most Newcastle United fans are now familiar with the sight of Newcastle United’s PR consultant, Keith Bishop, who seems to have become a permanent figure at the right hand side of Mike Ashley. But who is he? And how did Keith Bishop PR get the job despite being a small celebrity PR company that would be totally out of its depth with a large Premier League club? Finally, what does former Newcastle United managing Director Derek Llambias have to do with all this? Below are a few answers.
First to correct a few possible misconceptions from the local media though.
Keith Bishop PR has been described as “one of London’s most well-known PR agencies” by Mark Douglas in local newspaper, the Chronicle. In reality it is more of a C-Z list celebrity PR outfit than a proper PR company like Bell Pottinger, Edelman, Ogilvy PR and others who are commonly retained by top companies, including large Premier League football clubs. Bishop is more like a poor man’s Max Clifford, more suited to representing celebrity has beens and wanabees than a large Premier League football club. When asked by ‘Features Exec’ in April 2013“Who are some of KBA’s most well-known, or respected clients?” he replied “Newcastle United, Glasgow Rangers F.C., Flavia Cacace, Kristina Rhianoff and a few soap stars!” Other top clients of Bishop are Les McKeown of the Bay City Rollers (he’s still going!), Sven’s ex, Nancy Dell’Olio, Pat ‘the mullet’ Sharp and Lord Brocket from “I’m a Celebrity”, North East Sky Sports reporter David Craig and Gary Newbon. The figures of Keith Bishop PR also indicate it is a quite a small time operation too. Whilst it is true that Bishop can also boast of having Leeds United and Rangers on his books, like Newcastle, they are also something of a PR disaster area at the moment. (more…)
Is Mike Ashley using Giampaolo Pozzo’s selling club network of Udinese, Granada and Watford as a model for Newcastle United, Rangers and Oldham?
To begin at the beginning though, let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane. In the aftermath of Kevin Keegan’s acrimonious departure from Newcastle United in 2008, an under fire Mike Ashley made a statement. In this, among other things, he attempted to outline what subsequently became known as his ‘Arsenal model‘ for the club. In Ashley’s own words:
“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.” (more…)
“Getting the St James’ name back is fantastic. It is a clever move in terms of getting fans in a good place.”
“For so long, Llambias and owner Mike Ashley were associated with taking unpopular decisions (“We started off poorly,” he admits) but the announcement of a controversial deal with Wonga yesterday was significantly sweetened by news about the stadium name.” purred the Journal’s Mark Douglas.
Yet the sums just do not seem to add up. It was trumpted by Llambias that the new sponsorship deal with Wonga would be the club’s “biggest-ever commercial deal.” and when asked if the total deal amounted to £8 million per season, he acknowledged that sum was “not far off.” £6 million of this is going into the main shirt sponsorship side of the deal. As I pointed out in this earlier piece, this is actually slightly below the mean figure of £7.36 million for Premier League shirt sponsorship. However both Wonga and Llambias have made much of the fact that a further £1.5 million will go into the club’s Benton Academy and the Newcastle United Foundation, where Wonga will be getting involved with future customers local youngsters from underprivileged families. (more…)