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Archive for category: Mike Ashley.

Who could replace Benitez at the end of the season?

September 4th, 2018 | No Comments |

Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley
A very rare shot of Benitez and Ashley together.
As most fans will know, Rafa Benitez’s contract as Newcastle United’s manager will expire at the end of the season and so far, the omens do not look particularly good.

After a nightmare start to the season against pretty much the worst possible opposition (Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City in their first four games), the club are currently in the bottom three, and overall transfer spending is in minus figures, leaving Benitez with what is effectively a lower mid table squad. Indeed, according to transfer website Transfermarkt, there are only four teams in the Premier League with lower value squads than Newcastle (£157.23m), these are Bournemouth (£147.83m), Watford (£144.63), Huddersfield (£104.49m) and Cardiff (£84.83m), which almost makes them relegation battlers. Of course, Benitez showed his mettle last season by taking a squad which should have been hovering precariously above the bottom three to a highly creditable 10th in the Premier League. (more…)


Why Newcastle can’t progress under Ashley

February 12th, 2018 | 2 Comments |

Ashley Out!
Ashley – Over a decade of unpopularity on Tyneside.
It’s fair to say Mike Ashley is not a popular man on Tyneside. The breakdown of £300 million takeover talks has given Newcastle United an uncertain future at a time when we should be celebrating our 125th anniversary.

While the sporting-goods tycoon deserves credit for bringing in Rafa Benitez after a slew of bad managerial decisions, his continued presence is only holding the club back. Here’s why:

Lack of ambition

Back in 2013, we shared the news that Mike Ashley had a net worth of £3 billion, which then made him the fourth-richest club owner in the Premier League. While he is now only the 10th richest owner, you’d think he was one of the poorest. (more…)


How will Newcastle fare next season in the Premier League?

July 9th, 2017 | No Comments |

Rafa Benitez with Championship trophy.
Benitez: Knows where he needs to strengthen.
It is often said that no club is too big to go down and fallen giants such as Aston Villa and Leeds United are testament to that, but Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship in the 2015-16 season was unexpected, and a body blow for the Magpies’ faithful.

However, with a passionate and talented manager in charge, they bounced at the first attempt and the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United will once again be seen at St James’ Park next season.

But will Rafa Benitez be able to keep the club in the Promised Land?

It has been obvious there have been problems between the owner and the managers in recent years which have led to dissention in the stands and ultimately, relegation. (more…)


Newcastle United Art Forum – The Shearer Statue

September 14th, 2016 | 150 Comments |

Alan Shearer statue
Looks like something out of a cereal packet
It isn’t very often that I venture off the highway of football to enter the arena of art criticism here on NUFC Blog, but this is one of those occaisions and I am actually more qualified. Having been a figurative artist, a designer and also an art dealer in a very modest sense, I hope I can give a reasonably informed opinion without getting too carried away.

As you might have guessed from the photo accompanying thus piece, my current musing has been inspired by the recent unveiling of the Alan Shearer sculpture. Named ‘Local Hero,’ it is the second by local self-taught sculptor, Tom Maley for Newcastle United. It follows Maley’s Bobby Robson tribute of 2012, though it was actually commissioned by former NUFC Chairman, Freddie Shepherd before that in 2007 at an alleged cost of around £250,000. There is almost certainly some kind of club politics behind the nine year delay in its unveiling but that is not what this story is about. (more…)


Will McLaren be sacked after Chelsea game?

February 11th, 2016 | 77 Comments |

Is McLaren's Newcastle future doomed?
Is McLaren’s Newcastle future doomed?
Could it be that Steve McLaren’s future depends on what happens on Saturday? After we play Chelsea we have 17 days without a game and that might be the ideal time to change managers.

Of all the things Ashley’s bad at when it comes to running a football club – and there are many – one of his worst is his management of managers. His reluctance to change managers at the drop of a hat is not a bad thing in itself, but only if you have the right manager in the first place and, with the possible exception of Chris Hughton, I’d argue he hasn’t picked the right manager for Newcastle United since he bought the club.

Evidence?

Well, in the seven seasons we’ve been in the Premier League since Ashley bought the club, our average finishing position has been 12.57 (I’ve not counted the season in the Championship) and in the seven seasons prior to Ashley buying the club our average finishing position was 8.14. That might not sound like a huge difference but before Ashley we were, on average, a mid-table team who sometimes flirted with Europe whereas now we are, on average, a mid-table team who sometimes flirts with relegation. And of course in 2008-2009 we did more than merely flirt with relegation – we kissed it, fondled it and knocked it up behind the bike sheds. (more…)