Who has been the worst owner Newcastle have had to endure?

Posted on June 21st, 2010 | 120 Comments |

 Mike Ashley - Bad, but is he the worst?
Mike Ashley - Bad, but is he the worst?
Much of a din is being made about Mike Ashley at the minute, and how the man is not fit to be owner of our beloved club. Which does have it’s own valid points I guess.

However, when I hear that I always say that we have had it worse, much worse than what we have now. Of course it is largely irrelevant as the past can’t be changed, but neither can Mike Ashley and his apparent business approach to running Newcastle United, unless you have the required funds to buy him out of course.

Despite all that has gone on in the past few years though, I still maintain that Ashley is far from the worst owner/chairman/president or whatever we have had, mind you he is trying his hardest to steal the title! In fact Newcastle have been ‘blessed’ with poor management structures for many many years, which is easily forgotten, time is a great healer and all that, so why don’t we have a look at just what some of our previous bastians of power have achieved in their time ruling the iron fist over St James’ Park.

Lord Westwood – Seems a good place to start as he is the earliest chairman that I can find any substantial information on. It was way back in 1963 when Lord William Westwood managed to take full control of the Newcastle boardroom, and he remains the last chairman to pick any serious silverware with us when we lifted the Fairs Cup back in 1969.

Westwood held the position for 18 years after inheriting his fathers toy empire. His tenure at Newcastle came to an end in 1981 after he was asked to pump £16,000 of his own cash into the club to keep it afloat, which he refused to do following the stock market collapse of one of his other comapnies.

Overall, he won a trophy, so he has to be a success I suppose. That is despite what happened in 1977 where contract talks broke down with six players amid claims from Westwood that he and recently sacked manager, Richard Dinnis, had been stabbed in the back. A string of poor results led to a fan revolt, and 10 people were arrested for fighting with each other in the crowd of The Leazes.

Stan Seymour, Jr. – Stan followed in the footsteps of what his Dad had done years before and took control of the boardroom in 1981. The club was in financial chaos, and after Lord Westwood refused to put anymore cash in and resigned, Stan emerged as the new chairman.

A stop was immediately put to spending any cash as Seymour fought to control the finances of the club, but that didn’t stop him stunning the football world when he brought Kevin Keegan to the club as a player in August 1982. Aided by manager Arthur Cox, Seymour then cobbled to gether a team full of players who had been out of the reach of Newcastle for some time. Keegan, McDermott and McCreery were supplemented by home grown players like Beardsley and Waddle, ensuring that Newcastle had a team that could beat anybody on a good day.

Gordon McKeag – McKeag took control in 1988 with the club languishing in the second tier, a ground that was a dump, and crowds that were only averaging 10,000. Most of the damage was done when he was on the board, and he paid the price for some of those decisions whne he took over the running of the club full-time.

The fans never really liked him as he shouldered a lot of blame for letting some of our big players go. As it goes, he didn’t have to put up with the derision for long. After a failed share issue, McKeag was left with no choice other than to give up a long standing battle for control with a certain Sir John Hall in 1992.

Sir John Hall – Arguably the man who put us back on the football map, but his first job was to ensure we didn’t slip into the third tier of English football. He brought a rookie manager to Newcastle in the shape of Kevin Keegan and we managed to avoid the dreaded drop. The season after, Newcastle hit the big time, and the rest is pretty much history.

This success didn’t stop Sir John Hall and his family earning nearly £100 million out of Newcastle United over the years they were involved with the club, although with the succes we had on the pitch it is a fact that is easily overlooked. Hall retained a large stake in Newcastle when he handed over control of the club to Freddy Shepherd in 1997.

Freddy Shepherd – If you ever need a lesson in how to make £170 million disappear, then Shepherd is your man. It took him 10 years to do it though mind, but the fact is that he was left with £100 million in the bank, a team that was flirting with the title, a redeveloped 36,000 all-seater ground and a fanbase that is as loyal as they come. When he left 10 years later, that £100 million had gone and had been replaced with a £70 million debt, a team that was nowhere near it was when he took over, and wads of cash in his back pocket.

He backed managers though, I will give him that, but he also mortgaged every asset we had, and had a tendancy to wield the axe on the managers head of the going got tough, or if he attracted any criticism from the fans. It was either that or he would splash out on trophy signings, few of which worked out, and that is probably the reason why he left us losing £30 million a year as a business, although we did have a brief excursion into the Champions League during his tenure.

So when you compare these to Mike Ashley, is it all that bad? Sure the finances are rubbish, but our fortunes have been worse than what they are now, some of our older readers may be able to back me up on that. Let us know what you think, and have a vote in our poll. In the meantime, I’m off to hide!

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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120 Responses

  1. mckeag takes some beating, like. i remember stories of his family receiving dog sh1t in the post. apologies to anyone eating their tea.

  2. can remember seymour telling big f.brennan,he would transfer him if he opened a sports shop in newcastle while he had one there,clint will remember it i think

  3. I remember McKeag, although I was only a youngun so my judgement is clouded a bit by how many football stickers I needed to complete an album. The fact he stands out though, despite my youngish age, means he gets my vote

  4. ice is right when he says they were all crooks.
    Some of the early ones make MA look like a saint.

  5. CLINT can you remember when in the old days there would be 60000 crowd in they used to give off the “offical” crowd is 30000,wonder what happened to the cash lol

  6. its too soon to say but i would say that mike ashley will eventually be by far the worst.. .right now i just hate the fat knacka for obvious reasons. however we are back in the prem and are making profit from now onwards so that is ok by me. IF we go down thsi season cos of what i think will be zero investment i think we will never get back up again under cashley. Toonsy, we cant run this poll until mike ashley has left the club as it is an unfair poll as all the other guys have gone so its black and white really…….only when ashely leaves can we compare! you might all say ff now but if we get relegated next season adn he folds the club i guess you can say its fat mike!

  7. Off topic here but premier league rules state u can only hav 2 players on loan at anytime so if houghton wants 4 players at least 2 will b permanent good times

  8. CC they also saying he will take over at england if capp goes,he will have his pick imo

  9. ice,
    i do remember the dodgy attendances mate.
    Mate those guys were crooks with no one to stop ’em too. They musta got away with wads of dosh. It’s all a lot tighter these days, much more accountable.
    Ashley’s gonna have to go some to beat them.
    Craig’s right though, you can’t really judge MA ’til he’s gone imv.

  10. Aye,
    the fa will have to cough up big time to get shot of capello.
    They just wanna cash in on Hodgeson’s success, cheap bastards. Soon as an english manager comes good they want him. They’ll ruin him anyway, along with the press mongs, like they tried with SBR.

  11. Is this for the worst owner or Chairman as I dont really think it works out right if it is both, unless it is for the simple reason for Fat Freddy to take Flak away from our current Owner ? and if it is both well then why is Lambsarse not in the poll as he is basically chairman only in a different title. I know all about what FFS done while he was chairman but there is no way he could have done all that on his own bat with out other peoples backing SJH included

  12. the sad fact is,i dont think there has ever been good owners at newcastle,it’s a case of take your pick.

  13. trouble is with the current structure at newcastle,is it’s like a version of the apprentice,apprentice owner,apprentice chairman,apprentice manager,we’ve had stand in managers for stand in managers.
    will it be a case of chris you’re fired at christmas?.

  14. Trojan,
    you’re right mate.
    It puts the ashley reign into perspective like, doesn’t it?

  15. evening BIG DAVE,its toonsy mudding the waters m8 so he can pick holes in our comments m8 the rat bag ;) dont fall for it

  16. Mckeag was shocking,but we were 1st div when he took over and crowds averaged 20k+ when he took over Toonsy

  17. So far,
    this is the most boring WC i’ve seen.
    No goals from free kicks, obviously the ball doesn’t ‘do’ free kicks. Everyone seems scared to play.
    I’m sure it’ll get better as we get to the knock out rounds, but there’ve usually been better games than this by now, haven’t there?

  18. batty…cheers for telling me to give wor lass some stick when Spain lost…..it’s working out really well that like!! :lol:

  19. It has been a shite world cup, but I’d prefer to watch crap football than no football at all, how’s you big dave?

  20. CLINT got me beat m8 used to say good workmen never blame there tools,saw sedoff on tv takeing dead ball kicks for the first time with new ball,saw he had no problems,only had to hit ball at 75% power as its so light,wc is poor i agree

  21. How smug and biased was the commentary on the spain match, Ive just emailed itv to tell them what a complete load of shit their football coverage is and how Keggy should get out while he still has a contract with espn and a slight shred of dignity left.

    P.S. How does the bull not have the spanish left back spot nailed on, hes got more talent in his left testie than capdevila…

  22. remember me and me mate standing in the queue for the sunderland play off tickets,mckeag come outside and starting shaking peoples hands who were waiting,saying good morning in his posh voice full of marbles.
    i waited till he got to me,and he went to shake my hand,and i turned my back on him,should have seen the pricks face,true story.

  23. BIG DAVE aye was watching game, with clint on it poor wc,cannot understand nobody can hit a dead ball.

    young ice? always said you were best looking and brainist on here ;)

  24. richietoon,aye he was trying to arse lick people in the queue,some idiots actually shook his hand.me mate was standing with a popular t shirt at the time,wanted dead or alive for crimes against the people of newcastle,wild western style,should have seen mckeag’s face,everyone in the crowd was pissing themselves.

  25. Jay Jay alls good here mate hope alls good with yourself.
    I agree the WC has been really poor upto now but im just hoping it will start to get better once we get to the do or die stage, on the ball subject why da fuk do they have to bring new balls out anyway and even apart from that you would think the worlds best players could play with any ball that was put infront of them ;)

  26. Sounds just like him Trojan,he was a right smarmy little sh*t.It was a great day when he left.

  27. CC,
    well done mate, the itv coverage is gash. The worst yet.
    Anodyne, cliched, crass, ass licking bullsh.

    top story mate, good lad.

  28. Big D,
    yea man fifa are class A1 dicks, they always change shit for the WC, it just screws with it.
    Penny floaters FFS!
    Divvy gets.
    But you’re right man, they should be able to play with a over ripe orange for the money they get paid.

  29. george forbes thought john hall was the wrong man for newcastle as he had never been to a game before his takeover.

  30. CLINT right on m8 penny bloody floaters we called them,but we were better with it

  31. SJH was one of thatchers main men.
    A money grabbing tory tw@!
    NUFC was a project to him & a money making scam for his family.

  32. Dave – Kind of forget about the title of chairman/owner etc and think of it as the man in control at the time.

    If there are any spelling errors then I apologise but I am on the M1 at the minute

  33. I wouldn’t fancy a minute’s company with any of them to be honest.

    But I’d have a fair bit of respect for anybody who’d be prepared to have genuine a go at building the club back up again.

    Could still be MA.

  34. I’m being chauferred ;)

    I’m on the way to Sunderland :( Might instruct that all their stuff be taken to Middlesbrough :twisted:

  35. toonsy,
    if you’re not driving but on the M1, don’t get knocked down mate.

  36. Hopefully Trojan. Got myself a blindfold for when I get to Scumderland. Might be able to catch a few of the dirty b@st@rds on the bonnet :twisted:

  37. Or I may just piss on the SOS. I do it to places I don’t like. Villa Park has had it, and the nearest SportsDirect feckin reeks of it now lol

  38. toonsy,divvent have to worry aboot cars in the village of the damned,it’s horses and carts.
    if you drive through there,they’ll think what is this metal horse,and precede to attack you with spears.

  39. Their all a set of fckin pricks!

    SJH did put a fair bit of his cash in originally though didn’t he? He it back when we floated but fair play to him at the start to get it all rolling.

    Let’s not forget Ashley should shoulder some blame for this current financial mess. He knew we had a huge wage bill but still sanctioned wages of Smith, Barton, Cacapa and Geremi. Not very shrewd that like. Not to mention he over saw a very, very costly relegation, treated two of the clubs all time legends like shit and openly admits to lying to the fans.

    Ashley has it hands down, up to now.

  40. Sacking the great Sir Bobby must still stand as the worst decision made by a premier league chairman in modern days football… Mind you, rumours had it he was forced into the decision by Sir John Hall who was still in a strong position on the board.

  41. Well im sure Ashley isn’t on everyones chirstmas list, but shepherd ran the club into the ground, taking money all the way for himself and Hall.

    Also sacking Robson was ridiculous. Hiring Souness even worse.

    Shepherd also resigned then voted himself back in after the shiek business. I was only about 8 when that happened so werent too sure what was going on but i realised what a douche he was back then.

    I only have ashley and shepherd (doin businss for himself and hall dont forget) to compare from as Hall brought it when I was 2, and shepherd/hall top it for me.

  42. Robby B….I think thats why Shepherd/Ashley will get the highest scores on the poll as obviously everyone remembers them whereas the younger fans can’t remember Mckeag and others.Mckeag was defo dark days,bottom of the old second division and the popular view at the time was that the club would have ceased to exist if we’d went down,so for that I s’pose I have to be grateful to John Hall :roll:

  43. We all have short memories, SJH took the club to a new level, gave us a top class ground and playing staff, OK he took money out but of all the villains on the list at least he contributed something for the benefit of the fans.
    And also re the No Capitol Outlay post, True Faith are spot on IMO, what is the point of piling money into the club when its not going to spent on improving the playing squad, if this staement had been released prior to the season ticket renewals im certain there would have been a dramatic decrease in sales.
    Its a draw between Ashley and Westwood for me for treating the fans like shite.

  44. bbb –

    Do you think it was just coincidence that they released the ‘statement’ a day after the season ticket renewal date?

  45. i might be being abit bias but fat ash wins hands down for the simple reason he,s got no respect for the fans oh and he,s a fat ugly b@stard :lol:

  46. MA’s just the latest ‘bete noire’, some of the others were far worse, but most won’t have even witnessed their vile behavior.

  47. Mike Ashley is a fat ugly B@STARD Clint! Its got nothing to do with his ownership credentials :)

    Its just bad genes, and a few too many pies unfortunately.

  48. Although in fairness. I’d be a fat ugly bastard too with that much money! I am a fan of food!

  49. “Do you think it was just coincidence that they released the ’statement’ a day after the season ticket renewal date?”

    unlikely or they would’ve waited until after the corporate sections were sold as they raise a massive part of the revenue. also they could’ve waited a week or so after the season tickets went on sale to the general public to get the initial rush.

    they released the statement at the earliest opportunity i.e. they couldn’t release it before the end of the season when tickets first went on sale as it would’ve provoked a negative reaction on the run-in, which no-one would’ve wanted.

    and they also timed it to coincide with the last day of the premiership for minimum exposure in the press.

    just my opinion, like.

  50. I think Ashley is a decent chap deep down.

    I mean, for someone that is as bad at lying as he is, he clearly hasnt had much practise, so he must be a good bloke!

  51. Don’t wanna see your mrs if you think ffs is better looking than ashley Stuart.

  52. malchick says:
    June 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Then it’s calculating and that’s unforgivable.

    CLiNT FLiCK says:
    June 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

    What’s that got to do with Ashley being a ugly fckin c**t?

  53. “FFS is a positively anarexic Brad Pitt look alike compared to Ashley.”

    ashley could look like jabba the hut but i’d never think of FFS as a brad pitt look-a-like…

  54. “Then it’s calculating and that’s unforgivable.”

    had to be released at some point. is there ever a good time for bad news??

  55. J Lloyd Samuel reported as on our radar now! He surley fits the bill – 27yrs old, £1.5m and boy, what a prospect juding by these resport extracts:

    Football365 | Premier League | Bolton Wanderers News | COYLE … http://www.football365.com

    Vidic flattened Elmander during the second half of Manchester United’s 4-0 win at the … However, United were indebted to Jlloyd Samuel, who inexplicably drove Ryan Giggs’ low …

    Football365 | Premier League | Bolton Wanderers News | Bolton … http://www.football365.com

    In their absence, Jlloyd Samuel came to United’s aid, breaking the deadlock in bizarre fashion seven minutes before the break with their 11th own goal of the season. …

    Football365 | Premier League | Bolton Wanderers News | Blues … http://www.football365.com

    Beaten in their last two away games, there was no chance of the west Londoners suffering a third against the hosts, who had Jlloyd Samuel sent off. …

    Football365 | Premier League | Bolton Wanderers News

    Within five minutes of the restart Murphy’s ball inside Jlloyd Samuel put Bobby Zamora clear on the right and his cross seemed destined for the …

    Purrrrfect for us eh?

  56. malchick says:
    June 22, 2010 at 10:29 am
    “Then it’s calculating and that’s unforgivable.”

    had to be released at some point. is there ever a good time for bad news??

    What about before season ticket renewal dates? That would suggest their being honest, up front and think this is the right thing for the club.

    By doing it after the renewal date their admitting that what their doing isn’t in the immediate best interests of the club, knowing that supporters wouldn’t renew their tickets.

    They’ve duped the supporters by doing after the renewal date – Why not before, then everything would be out in the open and the supporters wouldn’t be mislead, and could make a informed decision.

    That’s the question

  57. stuart, u’ve gotta remember it’s less than 12 months ago the club were slaughtered by all during the kk tribunal for not clarifying the position regarding signings to the manager and the fans. now they’ve made their position clear to all, for the next 5 years, and ur still complaining.

    some people are never happy, eh…

  58. I see the poll puts FFS just ahead of Cashley, a little knowledge etc,..

    Younger fans missed the really dark days, the LW days, the GMc days, the ground collapsing days, and the club slipping into oblivion as plans were advanced to redevelop St James’… The days we turned down a new stand for next to nowt.

    The Council didn’t help much either as they owned the ground until well into the 1970s, and banned all additional revenue via pitchside advertising. They were contemplating kicking the club out in the early 70s (aka the great Town Moor Stadium debacle). Those financial shenanigans of the 60s/70s are legendary.

    The only two Chairman that pushed the club in the ‘right’ direction have been SJH & (sorry, but true) Cashley. Both imperfect, but without their cash input we would have croaked long before now. NUFC needed Ashley a lot more than Ashley needed NUFC; and yes, folks, that does stick in the throat.

    In learning to hate Ashley, I hope we have now learned to be mistrusting of all chairman. If so, and on balance, we might one day end up grudgingly conceding the rotund rich boy saved our bacon.

  59. malchick says:
    June 22, 2010 at 10:45 am

    You are either thick as fck or you’re just totally ignoring my whole point!

    The point is they have released this information AFTER the season ticket renewal date had closed – The supporters had bought season tickets on a false premise.

    Why couldn’t they do it before the close date – Every supporter could have made an informed decision on whether to spend their money on something else or still by the ticket?

    The fact they did it AFTER is calculating and sly – They knew there wouldn’t be as many season ticket sales.

    They have sold tickets on a false premise – Never in history of football has a club been promoted to the PL and not spent a penny. On that basis it was a fair assumption from us to assume we would be spending some money to improve the squad – So you buy a season ticket.

    They have duped the supporters it’s quite simple – If you cannot understand that, you’re stupid…

  60. no stuart, they’ve duped you. you’re stupid.

    i accepted the fact ages ago that it’s his money and no amount of whining and moaning is gonna make him spend it.

    in fact if i’d pumped 300 million into a football club and the supporters never stopped complaining and were downright abusive to me i think i’d be reluctant to part with anymore of my hard earned.

    stuart, you represent everything that’s wrong with the modern-day football fan.

    you’ve got the owner YOU deserve.

  61. Al things considered, Gordon Mackeag’s gotta take it. 10000 crowds, going nowhere, delapidated ground… take, take, take. Closely followed by FFS – even though we had the signings, again it was debt, more debt and a big take from the club’s sale to MA.

    Ashely’s a saint compared with these guys, albeit a clumsly saint!

    Speaking of clumsy [communications], whatever happened to the new spin-doctor …. we’ve seen nothing from her as yet.. or have I missed it?

  62. lesh says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Speaking of clumsy [communications], whatever happened to the new spin-doctor …. we’ve seen nothing from her as yet.. or have I missed it?

    Maybe she is that good! :)

  63. Mmmm, Johno, so goddd, so subtle we’ve never notices any change. Now that’s style, real PR style!!!

  64. malchick says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Sad, unbelievable and down right stupid!

    Go and support Blackburn or Bolton – They match your own ambitions.

    You won’t be missed at St James’.

  65. “Go and support Blackburn or Bolton – They match your own ambitions.”

    and what exactly are you ambitions stuart? just to sit on ur arse all day every day moaning and complaining to people u don’t actually know?

  66. Lesh..I agree about Mckeag but we’ve never averaged 10k crowds as I pointed out earlier(not since the 1800’s anyway).Although I remember going to a game v QPR 80/81 ish when I think the crowd was about 10k.They beat us 4 nowt,last home game of the season and QPR wore our away strip as he ref wouldn’t let them wear their home strip.Unhappy days,anyone else remember that?

  67. 16k and 1 malchick the season I started to go :lol:
    although it has been lower but not since 1902 when Toonsy started going ;-)

  68. 16k average wasn’t too bad back in those days so can’t really blame that on mckeag. every team had dwindling gates. plenty other things u could blame him for though…

  69. ya right malchick,when I started going we were old 2nd div under Seymour at hooliganism was canny bad which kept a lot away but then our crowds went up with the Keegan signing and promotion.Then Mckeag took over sold some of the better players,relegation followed and so crowds dwindled again……..still loved going to the match tho right from the start.

  70. Johno Toon says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:28 am – Give that girl a raise Mr Ashley!

    Maybe he has already and she’s still waiting……!!

    richietoon says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:42 am but Rich, there were some good bits to McKeag’s reign (Happy to be corrected though)….. summer Saturday afternoons, in the Haymarket for e few eye-openers 12 till 2, wander up to the park, stacks of room on the popular side, Jinky Jimmy, Tony Green, Super Mac, Terry Hibbet, Tudor (somebody turn him roond)….. twanked but so what, all good fun.

  71. Those players were pre Mckeag lesh but I know what ya saying….no expectations just a few pints,good craic and hopefully a good game and a laugh or 2,happy days

  72. Richie

    It must’ve been the drink that made it seem so good and…. it goes without saying, damaged a few brain cells!

  73. And before anybody pipes up with “a lot” rather than “a few” [brain cells] I’ll say it for ya!

  74. 105 lesh says:
    June 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm
    Johno Toon says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:28 am – Give that girl a raise Mr Ashley!

    Maybe he has already and she’s still waiting……!!

    Prob waiting to sell half the first team before sanctioning it :) If some of the bloggers on here are to be belived ;)

  75. Speaking of bosses(!) – mine has just decided to lay on a screening of the England game tomorrow afternoon :)

    I’ll decide if I’m grateful after the match has finished ;)

  76. richietoon says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

    “16k and 1 malchick the season I started to go :lol:
    although it has been lower but not since 1902 when Toonsy started going”

    Cheeky fecker :lol:

  77. for all yous who voted for sir freedy sheperd hang your heads in shame u know who u are :lol: