Making Sense of the Madness?

Posted on June 11th, 2009 | 41 Comments |

sjpAs all of you know, I had taken a pro-club view all year, defending Ashley in trying to re-build and restructure the club from the hideous mess left by FFS (spit).

Some would argue he has made terrible mistakes – Ashley himself agrees – however we don’t know to which he refers, so I have spent the last few days pondering, thinking is there a reason why we are in this apparent disarray, is it because we the fans have not been informed AGAIN as to the reason why things are happening, or is it because Ashley is making a monumental mistake.As always I ask myself before forming a judgement, what would I have done if a certain set of circumstances prevailed to see if there was another way to provide the same result. I always try to base my thoughts on the important and knowable. 

We know for certain that Ashley decided to sell the club after our relegation, we can deduct there were two principal reasons – he chose either not to finance any more expenditure or he could not afford it, his decision being influenced by the terrible time he has had and the general bad feeling towards him.

IF he could not afford to restructure the club any more I believe that listing the club for sale was his only option however it is the timing of the listing that must be called into question, then I ask myself is there ever a good time at Newcastle and it was listed immediately on the season closing. As we are aware he is renegotiating a new overdraft with Barclays which will provide the club with the working capital it needs for the seasons ahead, we also know he met with Alan Shearer to see how he felt the club shall move forward.

We do know that as a result of those conversations that Shearer, that Shearer has not yet been appointed as manager but is in the long term plans “of the club and some of the potential buyers” – he remains on stand by whilst the club is sold, and we do know that all players have been listed for sale – however it seems some are more for sale than others.

We also know that during these negotiations with Shearer – Keith Harris was in Newcastle, we do not know if he was approaching Ashley with offers or if it was at Ashleys request to sell.

It seemed to me that the perfect solution was to list the club for sale – discretely and privately – that Shearer could have overseen the rebuilding process (on a short term contract), spoke to new targets and got the club in shape and moving forward. That would be in Ashleys and NUFCs interests BUT it wouldn’t necessarily be in Alan Shearers interests as any new buyer would not be obliged to work with him as no fixed contract would be in place, as of course they would want to appoint their own man.

So the point of concern for us all is not that the club was for sale but why was it handled that way – publicly, Shearer not appointed and all players have now been listed for sale. The only deduction I can draw is Shearer WOULD NOT AGREE to be a temporary stand in until the sale, I state this as if Shearer was not appointed as permanent manager (as the club couldn’t sign him as the new buyers want the right to appoint their own) the fans would have went mad – KK all over again – the only way to diffuse the situation was to publicly state Shearer is in the long term plan and list the club for sale.

Because of all of the above I expect a sale short term, and the interest is very very real.

What I can say beyond doubt, is that I have gave great thought to this, and having been in situations where similar factors are weighed up I have the experience to look behind the mask of the apparent disarray. But the average fan hasn’t that experience – it doesn’t make me highbrow, it just means this is the area where I am experienced. So from the above I think, if I am correct that the Geordie faithful would understand if given the explanation – as it is reasonable on all sides (though personally I think Shearer should still step in on a temp basis – they are his reasons and I respect them if my deduction is correct).

It is damning however is that Ashley still hasn’t grasped the one basic thing that you need to keep this club, sound, happy and moving forward, he hasn’t learned to keep us informed. His communication and that of DL is terrible and it is the disgrace of his running the club, its that uncertainty that keeps us all uncomfortable every day, as we care about our club, it invades our every hour, it allows small rumours to snowball into a maelstrom of negativity.

Short statements cost nothing Mike, but they might have saved you a few hundred million if you had learned to give them out freely – and if you haven’t learned that in your terrible time here – you don’t have the ability to learn from experience – and even I will be sadly happier when you go – you missed a great opportunity.

NUFCBlog Author: Stardust Stardust has written 15 articles on this blog.

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41 Responses

  1. Another interesting side note is the subject of just who is Keegan looking for payment from? Has he taken action against Ashley, Ashley’s company St James Holdings or whatever it’s called or NUFC? If it’s NUFC then he will have little chance of see any payment as it will be a new owner in charge, unless there is a legal document in place that stipulates that NUFC will pay Keegan. That’s if he’s won like.

  2. “Another interesting side note is the subject of just who is Keegan looking for payment from?”

    He’s taking his action against the club, Micky.

    St James’s Holdings was formed by Ashley when we switched from being a PLC dividend machine under the leadership of Fat Fred. But it is, in effect, “the club”.

  3. Actually the only St James Holdings I can find is registered in Shirebrook and doesn’t seem to have anything to do with NUFC. There are a number of vatious Ltd companies with their registered address a that stadium in barrack road, however.

  4. We always try to look for one scapegoat when the reeasons for our downfall are many. Ironically, Ashley has made his worst decisions when he thought he was giving the fans what they want, ie bringing in Keegan, and attempting to get out of Dodge City upon Tyne at the WORST possible times (twice now). These awful decisions set in motion a whole train of other negative impacts on the club.

    Ironically, the things fans have most criticised Ashley for are actually the things that he didn’t do so badly, and quite a few of those fans certainly had their role to play in our current fiasco too.

    Finally of course, there’s Diabolos himself, Fat Freddy. I don’t even want to get started on him as there’s a whole book there!

  5. Worky – agreed – I always said his decisions were made with with the best of intentions – naively, yet they came back to haunt him.

    But I believe his lack of communication was his downfall – something free and easy to put right, and explanations stop the need for people to witch hunt.

  6. “Scapegoat” a poor animal used by those who are all equally and collectively culpable to divert attention from their own shortcomings and failures.

  7. I believe I speak for the majority when I say it would be nice to think we can forget about who made what mistakes, who’s to blame and think instead about moving forward and hopefully onward and upward?

    Stop the madness, I want to get off.
    Bring on the new regime.

  8. Bowburn, yes, by all means lets forget the “blame” thing and all the petty vindictiveness. But if we forget everything, we just risk making the same mistakes over and over again. We need a radical change in our mindset, the whole club, all of us.

  9. My big fear now is fat freddie getting back in control of the club and for some horrible reason i think he will

  10. In preparation of Fat Fred comming back – I have already washed my bedsheet.

  11. Stardust says:
    June 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm
    “In preparation of Fat Fred comming back – I have already washed my bedsheet.”

    Stardust, I really was thinking EXACTLY the same thing a few minutes ago! I’ll stick me Kappa tracksuit on n’aal! :-)

  12. workey – the problem we have is that most fans are now going to immediately be on the defensive. Any and all moves by new owners will be scrutinised and folk will probably be much more inclined to react to public decisions that may go awry. People have lost faith so much.

    It will take a good while to build trust with our supporters having been burnt more than once in recent years. Which is a shame.

    For me, as much as we can, it’s time to put the blame fingers away and get out our jolly Geordie dispositions out and welcome new people with open arms, warm smiles and bottles of Broon.

  13. stardust worky bedsheets divent worry wor fred he will laugh at the lot of yous lol

  14. 52 – bareknuckle or like the celebs?

    I though Toon Chicken was a decent lad.

  15. Hi All

    Communication has been appalling. I think the fans would have been a lot more accepting of some situations if he or more importantly our chairman had kept us informed.
    At times it has appeared that he was trying his hardest to upset the paying customers, in fact I’m not sure there is much more he could have done to upset us more.
    Hopefully our new owners whoever they may be will have learnt from MA’s errors and will not repeat the same mistakes.

  16. Communication?????????????
    That would be a whole new word for MA n co.
    Has been a terrible mess but MA has had good intentions for our club.
    He should have taken better advice and could have had fun along the way but that`S what you get when you pussy foot around the situations that arise in high profile business.
    Bring on the new owners and let`s all hope they have their heads screwed on,they will need it at NUFC that`s for sure.

  17. I betcha Big Mike loves Marillion’s Incommunicado. He runs his business by the adjective.

  18. Beye, it’s not really finished here yet. Lots more to come. I hope that you stick around!

    Got any site suggestions? Things you’d like to see on a Toon site?

  19. well you could have a few more links to different toon sites

    such as nusc true faith the ultras eds blog toontastic the chronicle dr gloom and dooceys blog as oh yeah and im scouting so that we can look a player up as soon as were linked with him as well as a link to you tube for the same reason we are all apart of the toon community and it may help unite us and lets face it we need to be united now more than ever erm there is probz a few more that i currently cant think of which goees for both websites and ideas

  20. Thanks Beye, great suggestions! The first thing’s on the list already, but the I never thought about the I’m scouting thing the way you put it. I totally agree about the community thing as that is the main thing that sites like these are about. Anyway, my idea was to get the basics up, then develop the site with the interaction of the site users to give people what they want.

    There are difficulties with some things due to stuff like security and technical issues, and time. But I’ll keep doing what I can. If you have any more bright ideas Beye, there’s always a contact form at the top where you can e.mail.

    Thanks again Beye!

  21. Well after a few days of feeling down about our demise – I am back – big style – have launched a fightback on .com – really funny – got my spark back.

    ViVa le’org!

  22. “52 – By telling them really sad stories?”

    That’s going on my bathroom wall.

  23. Stardust, you’re quite right about the communication problems. Ashley could have saved himself a lot of problems just by telling people – honestly – what’s going on.

    That he didn’t do that is, I think, down to his personality.

    In his early business years he was so reclusive that he gained the “modern day Howard Hughes” moniker. He ran his business as a sole trader for as long as possible to avoid having to submit accounts and even when he went ‘Ltd’ he was notoriously difficult to find and talk to.

    It was only when he went ‘PLC’ that he finally had some sort of public profile, but he still never spoke publicly unless he absolutely had to and gave most journalists the instant brush off.

    Ashley is a reclusive man, hugely protective of his privacy and communication probably doesn’t even register as a priority for him.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, in Llambias he got a man who was similarly reluctant to communicate.

    In fact, I seem to remember when Llambias did finally come out and speak to us, he admitted that he and Ashley had intentionally tried to keep their heads down because they “wanted to operate that way”. He admitted it was a mistake and wanted to change it, but a lot of damage had already been done by then.

    I think that, just on grounds of personality, Ashley and Llambias are more suited to something like MI5 than NUFC.

  24. Truthfully? That’s the side of Stardust I prefer not to see. A touch arrogant for me.
    Some of it I agreed with. About 1.89% of it. ;-)

    Hugh – a lot of sense spoken there!

    Whose up for the next article?
    I’ll struggle today!

  25. Hugh de Payen says:
    June 12, 2009 at 9:27 am

    “Caution, it is the Daily Mail:”

    Of course, Hugh, but it kind of looks “wrong” from the other side. Not just the usual reporter writing a specious story, but the fact that this fella is parading himself before the media with press releases and pictures by the Tyne looking suitably “Geordie”. It just smells wrong. A serious, credible bidder would be much more discreet. He wouldn’t be like a poker player showing his hand to everyone else before the game has even started.