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United Fans Love Mike Ashley – Or Do They?

Posted on May 19th, 2012 | 101 Comments |

St Michael?
The Newcastle Evening Chronicle has apparently started to run a Public Relations campaign on behalf of United owner Mike Ashley.

If you believe the Chronicle’s PR machine, the man has been forgiven, is a saint, walks on water and is now the most popular man on Tyneside. Well, not in those words but it seems to be the thrust of the message.

Quote from the Chronicle:

“Now Mike Ashley has won the backing of the Tyneside faithful after fans cast their verdicts on his finest year at the helm of Newcastle United.”

“Five years after he seized control at St James’ Park, our exclusive on-line survey has revealed the tide is turning on the billionaire sports tycoon.”

“More than 2,000 people logged on to take part in our end of season poll and voice their views on Newcastle’s season.”

“And – in a sneak preview of our full survey results – the Chronicle can reveal more than 65% of supporters who took part in the poll said their opinion of the Sports Direct owner had gone up.”

Impressive claims indeed – until you actually scratch below the surface of course – lets do that shall we? Lets just look a little closer at what the Chronicle people are saying and their supporting evidence.

They conducted a survey to which 2,000 people responded. 65% of the 2000 people said their opinion of the United owner had gone up – that’s 1,300 people. 65% or 1,300 people is hardly “the backing of Tyneside” as claimed, is it?

Moreover, United’s average home crowd this season, the third best in the country by the way, was 47,718. Even allowing for away fans, those 1,300 therefore represent less than 3% of the “Tyneside Faithful” who attend games and that the Chronicle is claiming Ashley has “won the backing of”. And as we know, there are a lot of United fans out there who don’t, can’t or won’t regularly attend the match, throw them into the pot and the 3% shrinks even further.

Now, there’s no doubt that a lot of people have indeed changed their opinion of Ashley to some extent, not least because of the successful season that the team has just had. Myself included – No question of that. You have to acknowledge the way he’s turned the club around whether that was by luck or good management. But to attempt to dress this poll result up as some sort of total and absolute forgiveness by “the Tyneside Faithful” for the crass decisions, mismanagement and ill-treatment of United legends in the recent past, and the appointment of fans’ favourite Dennis Wise of course, is at the very least stretching it a bit.

And who exactly were these 1300 people anyway? There is no proof they were even United fans as the Chronicle don’t have any way of knowing. For all we know, they might have mostly been employees of T-Shirt Direct! Personally, I have no faith whatsoever in newspaper polls or the resultant claims they make based on shaky results to a shaky question. Does anyone else remember when the Sunderland Echo ran a poll asking if Agent Bruce should keep his job, and were left scratching their heads when such a high percentage of respondents voted a resounding YES!

Anybody care to guess just where those voters came from? I rest my case!

NUFCBlog Author: UTD111 UTD111 has written 59 articles on this blog.

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101 Responses

  1. really, the anti-Ashley sentiment is getting tiresome, anyone with any sense can see we are very well run and look to have a lot of very sound foundations in place. complaining about someone whose better than most is making us look really daft tbh.

  2. Ashley came into a badly ran club because he didn’t bother to do due diligence, gave the fans what they wanted by sacking fat sam and appointing kk, fucked it up even more, then fucked it some more – relegation seems to have been his turning point where he allowed us to keep a core set of players on the books to get straight back up since then its pretty much all been good in my eyes. The stadium renaming sticks in a lot of peoples throats but at least you can see where they are coming from, even if I don’t agree with it

    So overall Ashley has def improved, probably one of the best ran clubs in the country at the moment although you always feel theres a sting in the tail somewhere

    well done to everyone at the club this season

  3. Some good points, however:
    If we assume that the ‘population’ of our fans is 100,000 or even 1,000,000 (or even 1,000,000,000!), then statistically you don’t have to increase the number of respondents IF the sample is representative. Regarding this particular sample (1300 respondents), the results would be correct at a confidence level of 95%, with a confidence interval of 2.7 (that’s quite high)- of course, remember the IF above.

  4. Why would anyone care who likes or dislikes a club owner, ever?
    Great pyriah when shit goes wrong, then good to care less about when shit goes right.
    One must have ower much time & heaspace

  5. …headspace to lose sleep over this.
    I’m sure most people don’t involve themselves. maybe i’m wrong?

    It’s about football, isn’t it?

  6. As you probably gathered from the last para – I’m not convinced the sample is representative! The data hasn’t exactly been collected scientifically – online poll? pffft!

  7. Good question BigSteve – it’s like “if my opinion is less negative, is that positive?”

    Like most polls, the way the questions are structured can ofteb be manipulated to produce the target result.

  8. you can fool some geordie supporters all the time
    and all geordie supporters some of the time
    but … who basically gives a sh1t what sh1te owns the club
    I support NUFC
    I supported it before he came and before fat fred came
    I will support it after he has gone and after his successor has gone
    I’m only interested in football & NUFC
    after all the boardroom ups & downs over the last 50 years I couldn’t care less any more
    when’s our next match ?

  9. First of all I think……. MA is a ruthless businesman, which will make him a thick skinned knobhead additionally he is without a shadow of a doubt a winner who must have a lot of determination to get to where he is. The only reason he would want to be popular is to be able to complete his mission. I have no feelings either way on him as long as my team is doing well and if his business brain makes us winners im on that gravy train. Once its becomes a failure he’s knob and we need to kick him out.

    How many directors/owners in the prem would you phone to go on the piss with.

  10. “The Newcastle Evening Chronicle has apparently started to run a Public Relations campaign on behalf of United owner Mike Ashley. If you believe the Chronicle’s PR machine, the man has been forgiven, is a saint, walks on water and is now the most popular man on Tyneside.”

    UTD111 the Chronic is part of the Mirror group. Writers on several Mirror titles have been working with Ashley for quite some time to mould fan opinion.

  11. 4411 says:
    May 19, 2012 at 9:38 am

    “The stadium renaming sticks in a lot of peoples throats but at least you can see where they are coming from”

    So where are they coming from, 4411?

  12. Statistically speaking my opinion of him has not so much improved but moved sideways. he has made varied mistakes, yet countered them with varied positives. Therefore my opinion of him is the same, just for different reasons. make a statistic out of that.

  13. We all at one time or another make mistakes its how we respond to them that counts.Ashley commited some howlers in the begining and did not respond very well to them at the time.That chapter I would say is now closed.The question now is how will he respond to our success.This will then show how far he has come to winning our support.

  14. I agree Nutmag – he needs to show whether the relative success this season has whet his appetite for more or whether he’s just going to cash in and buy some more cheapies

  15. This is all a bit contrived – West Ham get medals and a cup for finishing third in The Championship!

  16. If he changed the stadium name back,spent mega cash,we kept our best players and he kept a low profile I might start to like him :lol:
    Awesome season and it has eased my hatred slightly-at the end of the day nothing we say or do will change anything hence my moaning about him these days is minimal.

    I also have a crush on Owl Heed the sexy Ba5tard.

  17. GS says:
    May 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    “This is all a bit contrived – West Ham get medals and a cup for finishing third in The Championship!”

    GS, As there were no West Broms or Smoggies in the Championship as there were when we were relegated, hence, West Ham’s squad was much further ahead of other squads in the Championship than we were when we were down there. They should have won it with at least 100 points as we did. Coming third with 86 points was a fairly poor show under the circumstances.

  18. You know Ashley and Llambias are right. Our sustainable revenue (non-Europe) is only about 15-20 million more than the likes of West Brom.

    Compared to say Liverpool our commercial side is underdeveloped and the match receipts don’t really add that much. It is mainly TV for us and commercial for ‘Pool, Man U, Citeh, Chelsea, Arsenal and even Spurs.

    The problem is that we need success to get the extra recognition, which probably needs more investment. A Catch-22 because I don’t think we can luck out on cheap transfers forever.

    Still, we are in Europe, so that is a massive step to raising the profile and generating income.

    What I am saying is probably Ashley deserves some credit even though we are now a billboard for Sports Direct.

  19. GS says:
    May 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    “Compared to say Liverpool our commercial side is underdeveloped…”

    “…even though we are now a billboard for Sports Direct.”

    GS, of course, those two things are entirely unrelated :lol:

  20. Polls ?
    Firt of all never trust a poll, (no i dont mean a polish citizen)
    Either a verbal or written poll, why ?
    Obviously, by how they are worded, eliciting answers that favor the hidden reasons for the poll to be introduced to begin with.
    Thought everyone knew that, otherwise why would we have polls ?
    Oh ! think thats bull ?
    Then you are more naive than you thought.

  21. Kingmaker Murdoch has put the Champions League on regular TV. Chuck, get yourself out for a few Amstels and cheer on… er, I am not sure who I want to win.

  22. Our commercial side is under-developed ?
    What you mean is we have in general a smaller catchment area, added to the fact the club has little exposure to the rest of the world, having won next to nothing during the years that other clubs such as Liverpool were filling their trophy display with silverware.
    Perhaps we gained some fans during KK’s Entertainer era.
    Or the SBR years, but what this club needs are more customers.
    And success on the field will acomplish that and gain revenue faster than any tacky billboard.
    It’s in the Asian market, countries that love the game and still developing their own leagues, that growth can be made, but only by successful clubs.
    Better summer travel to asian countries than to say the US, where the sports equipment market is massive, but saturated.
    You can erect all the tacky Sports Direct signs you like, even put it on the players jerseys, but if you dont have a good competitive side, who can win a bit of silverware and compete in the top echelon of the EPL (worlds most watched) league, then you will never increase revenue.
    Got it Mr. A

  23. Can’t stand Cole, Can’t stand Terry – but I want Chelski to win because above all, I can’t stand little Tottenham!!

  24. chuck says:
    May 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    “You can erect all the tacky Sports Direct signs you like, even put it on the players jerseys, but if you dont have a good competitive side, who can win a bit of silverware and compete in the top echelon of the EPL (worlds most watched) league, then you will never increase revenue.
    Got it Mr. A”

    But the club doesn’t get any commercial revenue from Sports Direct anyway, Chuck, and it also loses out on the revenue the club would receive from outside sposorship if SJP wasn’t already chocka with Sports Direct shite. That’s one of the reasons why the club’s commercial revenue is so low, it is subsidising Sports Direct’s marketing.

  25. Murdoch
    Another piece of work, was gratifying to see him humbled during the recent hearings.
    However it was he who more or less introduced Association Football to these shores, so i have to give him a reluctant thumbs up on that.
    Actually he and Ashley have a lot in common, which i wont bore you with.
    So who am i going to root for ?
    Actually though i did live in Chelsea and regularly walked along the Fulham Rd. to Stamford bridge on many a Saturday.
    But that was before Abramovich.
    Got no dog in this fight, just hoping to see a good game, may the best team win it.

  26. Yeah Chuck, I meant all of that but didn’t want to write an essay. What we need is a good Asian player to get some traction, the next Honda?

    UTD111: I want to see Terry cry again, so it is Bayern for me. Plus, I lived in Munich.

  27. Personally, I can’t lose either way….

    I’ll either see Chelski crying, or little Tottenham crying….


  28. Lived in West Ken also, so a short walk to the King’s Road, but never made it to a Chelsea game. They were a violent lot back then.

  29. GS says:
    May 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    “but never made it to a Chelsea game. They were a violent lot back then.”

    I know the odd Chelsea “Headhunter” from those days, GS. One of ’em’s a right hippy now since he gave up drugs. He gets on my tits with his “auras” and his “vibrations.”

  30. WORKEY
    Exactly !
    Sports Direct, is being subsidised by NUFC, who receive not one thin dime for both the loss of possible revenue
    (the party line is we could’nt find anyone interested)in
    re-naming the stadium.
    Should read “we were not really looking to finding anyone interested”
    A case of adding insult to injury.
    Course a lot of the fans have still not got it, ah well, guess ignorance is bliss for some.

  31. Bayern Munich, which was a very Jewish club situated in the capital of Nazism has a very interesting history indeed, a history which goes way beyond football.

  32. Yeah, the Bridge was a dangerous place in those days, why i always went to the stands.
    That and being herded by the cops, both mounted and on foot, was to say the least a humiliating and imo unnecessary action.
    But we know how the police are, bullies in general, who’s favorite thing is to riot and indiscriminately bust heads.
    Unfortunately every punter to-day carries a camera of some sort and can catch them in the act, which kinda makes it less fun for them.

  33. Years of the Chronicle’s sycophantic fawning over AshleyCo have driven away many, many readers who are critical of our ownership anyway. Pointless poll.

    UTD-Blackpool were the better team but Phillips x 2, Taylor-Fletcher and the rest there clearly are not a PL strike force. At least Cole and Vaz Te are fringe PL-quality players. If Blackpool had been able to get Cisse rather than QPR, I think they win today. Anyway, I’m just disappointed it wasn’t CH and Birmingham.

  34. UTD111 says:
    May 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    “An interest-free loan of over £100M – and you’re begrudging the lad a bit of advertising in return???”

    £140 million to be more precise, UTD111. But do you know how much the value of Sports Direct shares, and Ashley’s personal wealth, has increased since he started his Sports Directification of the club? it is FAR more than that.

  35. UTD-note the term “loan.” It will have to be paid back, despite the fact that a.) the loan benefits the guy who made it anyway and b.) we weren’t in the dire straights some like to believe before the sale; he had to loan the team money because he didn’t do diligence. That’s not anything for which we the supporters or the club has to take responsibility. And I’m willing to repeat that every time this pernicious myth comes up.

    Oh, and we have more debt now than when Ashley bought. Funny things, facts.

  36. Colin @1#
    really the anti Ashley sentiment is getting tiresome,anyone with any sense can see we are a very well run club and have a very solid foundation.

    So! i guess there’s a lotta folks on this blog who have no sense, that what your saying Colin ?

    Complaining about someone who’s better than most, is making us look really daft.

    Gee i’m sorry Colin, did’nt intend to make you look any dafter than you sound, but it’s just many on here are a bit contrary like and tend to make up their minds on the facts at hand, not what they may read written by some sports writing hack.
    Errmm ! can you explain what you mean by,”complaining about someone who’s better than most”?
    Who we talking bout here ?

  37. Of course the loan will have to be repaid – I never suggested otherwise

    What I did point out however is that it’s interest free!

    What’s a bit of free advertising in return for that??

  38. UTD111 says:
    May 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    “What’s a bit of free advertising in return for that??”

    UTD111, by the 4th November this year, it will have been around £30 million worth of free advertising using Llambias’ own estimation of what the stadium renaming is worth, and that’s just the stadium renaming.

    It has also severely deprecated the Newcastle United brand, and lessened it’s appeal considerably to outside sponsors, which in itself is worth many extra millions.

    That’s quite some “interest” on his loan by any metric.

  39. UTD111 how much interest do you think there would be on a loan like that. We are looking for 10 million, allegedly, just for stadium naming, let alone saturation coverage of everything inside & out. Also what about the other shareholders of SD, what are they giving the club?????

  40. And besides, UTD111, as tunyc rightly points out, the “loan” was to cover Ashley’s own foolishness in not doing due diligence before completing his takeover of the club.

  41. They’re first corner and real chance and they luck out as usual. They don’t deserve it if they go on win.

  42. Harry Redknapp’s heed must be up his arse! He somehow got a ‘get out of jail card’ the other week and then it’s taken off him and given to Chelsea!

  43. Well done chelsea, ‘ard luck ‘arry, if y’d gone to jail this may not have happened, if y’d had the balls to go to engerland, or even Noocarsu, this may not have happened, or something?
    He must be sick as a bastard…
    …on fathas day


  44. Well a grand finale, to what for the most part was a somewhat boring game, with Chelsea playiny a form of catenaccio (anti-football)
    The fact they won was tempered by the arrogant tude of Munich following their leading goal, then again as they lead in the shootout, confident they had it won.
    You can take the boy outta Deutschland, but you cant take the teuton outta the boy.
    But statistically the wrong side won.
    Ah well!
    Guess it makes up for loosing against Barca, because of poor officiating a coupla years back.

  45. Goals win games, fair or foul!

    Stats can be interesting & tell you something, but not the whole story.

    blackpool out statted wham, munich did chelsea, shit happens!

  46. So whats the story now that Chelsea are guaranteed a spot in next seasons championship, how does that effect us Nufc, as i believe it eliminates Spurs from the champions league to the uefa cup ?
    Guess thats Modric off ?
    Maybe Bale ?
    Arry and the boys in Norf Land’n got some major headaches to deal wif.
    As have a number of clubs, with van Percie looking for astronomical bucks, better start looking for a striker Arsene
    Woe! wait a minute we got one for ya, names Ba, scores for fun, but not since Cisse arrived, fifteen big ones aughta do it.
    We got a great central defender also, 6′-3″ but cant jump over a matchstick, hell you can have him for free.
    But dont stop there, we also got a specialist dead ball kicker, havent seen him score for a while but he used to when playing agains us, dunno where it all went wrong ?
    But we could throw him on the deal, both for nowt.
    Every PL club with a few bucks to spend should stock up now, as the austerity program is about to come into effect.
    Of course we can ignore that as NUFC has been in an austerity plan since our present owner bought the side, without benefit of due dilligence, i might add.

  47. chuck,

    ashley never does ‘due diligence’ mate, it’s his default position.
    That’s how he gets deals done. That’s the sort of thing that pisses off the opposition.
    He also does cash deals, that pisses them off too.
    He’s a maverick!

  48. I certainly believe those who wellie the ball as hard as possible, like Shearer, have more success taking penalty’s.

  49. chuck says:
    May 19, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    “Well a grand finale, to what for the most part was a somewhat boring game, with Chelsea playiny a form of catenaccio (anti-football)”

    For Chuck’s sake, it wasn’t “Catenaccio!” For a start, who was was Chelsea’s “Libero” between the back four and the goalkeeper?

    Poor Bastian Pig Supervisor, a German who can’t even hit the goal from the penalty spot. He’ll probably be shot at dawn.

    Matt Le Tissier was always the best English penalty taker. He’d scored before he even took the penalty.

  50. CLINT
    I forgot what the price was, or supposed price, that Ashley paid.
    But give me just one logical reason why anyone would not do due dillegence when laying out over a hundred million quid in a deal?
    I have never believed that story , nor never will.
    Ashley may not at times do the expected, but to claim he does,nt do his homework is contrary to eveything we know about the man.

  51. Chuck, Ashley was known for not doing due diligence on companies he took over. Speed has always been of the essence for him, like a thief in the night, so to speak. But after all, it’s the club which is paying for Ashley’s nonfeasance, it still has to pay him back for his loan.

  52. Workey
    Where did i say they actually played a Catenaccio, what i said was a form of catenaccio, a lock the door defensive style, a style still played in seria A(Where, try Roma) and well known to Di Matteo from his seria A days.
    In fact they(Chelsea) reminded me of how we NUFC played for much of the season, yeah thats right, more games than not, in fact.
    It’s both an ugly style, boring and anti football.
    Were it not for the fact we have some talented players with a bit o verve, we would be more boring than one of BSA’s sides or Stoke.
    What a lot of people dont get, is that football is about entertainment, that it’s wonderfull to watch flair players do their thing.
    Too many fans are result orientated, hell the game is part of show business, entertainment, something like a play or movie, not something that bores you, but you win, therefor move up the league a couple of slots.
    Or win the European cup by default !

  53. Do you also believe Ashley does deals blindly without knowing exactly what’s involved, due dilligence is usually something thats done like signing your name to a deal, gives the auditors a coupla bucks too.
    I’m sure he knows exactly to the nearest dime whats involved before he proposes any deal.
    Due dilligence or not.

  54. Catenaccio again! I’ve already forgotten what it means from the last time it was brought up. Some sort of wild boar in white wine and truffle sauce?

  55. Asa matter with you guys, you dont know your different types of pasta?
    “Catenaccio con frutta di mare” one of Cicily’s most famous dishes, mmmmm fugedaboudit !

  56. So what do you do with Di Matteo now?

    FA Cup Winner…

    Champions League winner…

    Spurs putter downer to Europa…

    Well Roman, are you not entertained???

  57. GS says:
    May 20, 2012 at 1:34 am

    “Catenaccio again! I’ve already forgotten what it means from the last time it was brought up.”

    GS, Chuck’s full of shite. In literal terms a “Catenaccio” is a door bolt, and hence wouldn’t be a very tasty nor digestable addition to seafood pasta.

  58. No worky, that was Chuck on a tangent. I am proud of him. The beer must bring out the hidden Brando in the old geezer.

  59. GS says:
    May 20, 2012 at 2:25 am

    “No worky, that was Chuck on a tangent.”

    That was me on a tangent too, GS, but I’m off for some kip. Later!

  60. I just read an article about the most popular baby names in America this year. The theme continues to be bible, celebrity and weird.

    Boys top three are:


    Girls have more of a celeb theme with the Kardashian Klan having a big influence:


    So that’s it from your Hollywood reporter, here in Hollywood, Chicago.

  61. And this news just in folks from Hollywood, Chicago…

    Chuck has just finished saying what he said last week.

  62. Bad at the beginning got better need to get more youngsters like me i’m 11 and would like a trail but live in coventry so you nee a academy in every so city

  63. Luke says:
    May 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    “Bad at the beginning got better need to get more youngsters like me i’m 11 and would like a trail but live in coventry so you nee a academy in every so city”

    Luke, under current rules, it hasn’t been allowed to accept youth players from outside a certain distance from the club, though that is changing under the forthcoming “Elite Player Performance Plan” for top clubs who qualify by meeting certain criteria, which should include Newcastle United.

    However, it would impossible to have many different acamemies and top coaching staff all over the country, even for big clubs, and the players from further afield would still have to stay in the region whilst they were training. That would be pretty much the same for all clubs though.

  64. GS
    Yes of course i constantly repeat the same message, and before long it’s accepted as the truth, or something close to it.
    Of course i believe (most) of what i state and for the most part, there’s more truth than put on.
    However what would this blog be like without a bit of fun ?
    In which case we say things tounge in cheek, which some-
    times can be a bit too subtle for many and i refuse to use those dumb ass smileys.
    Hell if you dont get it, you dont get it, not my problem.

  65. Soz if someone has already said this but in response to colin who says:

    “really, the anti-Ashley sentiment is getting tiresome, anyone with any sense can see we are very well run and look to have a lot of very sound foundations in place. complaining about someone whose better than most is making us look really daft tbh”

    Let me regurgitate this for you Colin

    “Sports Direct Arena

    St James’ Park seems to be more of an advert for a tacky brand than a football ground. You can’t look anywhere at any time during a match without seeing his business name somewhere. First it turned up as signs around the ground, next came front of the Gallowgate roof. Next it was on top of the Gallowgate roof and that stand now looks like a scrapyard with its tacky paint job. During 2011 the Newcastle Unites sign was removed from the East Stand and replaced with a smaller version surrounded by the now familiar shite which dwarfed the club name. Most people probably thought that would be the end of it, not at all.

    The ground had been renamed SD@St James’ park, a horrible name and this was just the start. As of 10th November 2011, St James’ Park is to be known as the SD Arena, 119 years of history wiped out by a couple of people who care nothing about Newcastle United and what it means to fans of the club.

    People may think that changing the name and excessive adverting would bring additional income into the club. Not at all, in fact Newcastle United has paid £40,000 for the privilege of advertising SD to a point which goes far beyond saturation point”

    So 40 grand is all that it takes to buy people like Colin ?????

    There are muppets in this world and then there are clueless muppets :(

  66. s_____ d_____ a____!!! Never forgive! Never forget! st james park forever! cockney twat!

  67. neil payne says:
    May 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    “s_____ d_____ a____!!!”

    We divven’t allow those three words on here in that order, neil, so I have had to redact them. ;-)

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