Who is right? Patronising Pardew or revolting, self destructive fans?

Posted on October 18th, 2013 | 13 Comments |

Big question marks.
Who is right? Patronising Pardew or revolting fans?
As many of you will be aware, a motley collection of fan groups angered by Mike Ashley’s mismanagement, repeated dishonesty, a perceived lack of ambition and Newcastle United’s general underperformance on the pitch will be on the march before Saturday’s early kick-off against Liverpool.

On the other side, Alan Pardew in his recent interview with Sky Sports’ “Goals on Sunday” painted a picture of Newcastle United fans as small town, simple minded football obsessives who actually damage the club with overreactions like this, as well as being too financially unsophisticated to understand that Mike Ashley has put over £200 million into the club.

But who is right?

Pardew has suggested that we’re “not in a bad position” but that the fans have unrealistic expectations that the club should be competing with the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United:

“We’re not in a bad position, but we’re not where our fans want to be. Our fans want to be with Man United and Man City. Until we get a Gulf state take us over, or a billionaire from the darkest parts of Russia, we’re probably not gonna be able to compete with them and that’s a fact” said the Silver Supremo.

Ignoring the fact that Ashley is now as rich as many billionaires in “darkest Russia” with a fortune of around £3 billion (making him the fourth richest owner in the Premier league), not to mention the fact that fans of ANY team would want (but not expect) to see their club competing with the two clubs Pardew mentioned, let’s put this in context. Despite having what is estimated to be the eighth most valuable squad in the Premier League (and seventh last season), Newcastle United only narrowly avoided relegation last season. If it happened, it would have been the second relegation since Ashley took over the club in the summer of 2007. In Ashley’s six years at the club it has finished 12th, 18th, Relegated, 12th, 5th and 16th, and are currently lying in 11th. Wanting better than that is NOT the same as expecting to be like the Manchester giants competing for the League title or Champions League places at the very least. It’s an absurd and insulting statement.

Rather, I would say that most fans would realistically expect us to be more like the club who are closest to ourselves in terms of the strength of our squad, Everton. Even in that, Ashley has failed miserably though. In the same period since 2007, Everton have finished 5th, 5th, 8th, 7th, 7th and 6th with much the same resources, and owners who look like penniless tramps next to moneybags Ashley. If that had been our record, I very much doubt there would have been anything like the same rumblings of discontent, though it is about more than that. It is also about the lies over just about everything, and the progressive Sports Directification of the club, whether it’s the stadium, the club’s merchandising (which is now run by Sports Direct) the huge amount of free advertising etc, all of which has affected the club’s finances and boosted Sports Direct’s. Then again, I’m just a daft Geordie who gets a bit lost when it comes to fancy stuff like finances, though just like Pardew said, I never forget to slip on a full Newcastle United kit whenever I pop down to my local Waitrose!

Looking at the other side, a spokesperson for fan group the Newcastle United Supporter’s Trust had the following to say about the march on Saturday:

“It is universally accepted that the greatest asset Newcastle United has is its loyal and faithful fans which help make it one of the best supported clubs in Europe (the 10th best in Europe last season). It clearly demonstrates the frustration that fans are feeling when they feel the need to go to the time and expense to organise a march in support of change in the hierarchy at the club.

“We believe that regardless of whoever ‘owns’ the club, it is right and proper that supporters have an influence in the running and future of the club, preferably via a financial stake in Newcastle United. Supporter ownership of clubs is successful throughout Europe and there is no reason why that should not be replicated at Newcastle United.”

Well it’s hardly surprising that a representative of a fans group should see the fans as the club’s greatest asset, rather than a liabilty who makes life difficult for managers with their over expectation like Pardew. Even in the days of global TV football and huge broadcasting rights deals, fans are still the greatest asset of any club only now it is worldwide. At Newcastle United however, they are completely taken for granted and constantly having their intelligence insulted by Ashley, Pardew (and Llambias before he left).

Reopening the supporter ownership debate is perhaps unwise, though hardly surprising for someone from the NUST after their ill fated attempt at a fan takeover back in 2009-10. It is premature at the very least. If the objective is indeed regime change, is this what any prospective future owners would want to hear before they’ve even registered any interest? I doubt it.

In conclusion, I would say that Ashley’s character flaws are so ingrained that it’s highly doubtful he will change significantly with regard to Newcastle United or anything else. It would have to be a Scrooge like transformation (with or without ghosts) and short of that, things will continue to get worse. If his card isn’t marked, he will get even more arrogant and dismissive of his customers and take us even more for granted. As far as what will work best in changing Ashley’s behaviour, or making him think about an exit strategy, as I’ve mentioned already in this piece, Mike Ashley is all about money, it’s what he cares about more than anything. Therefore, i think it would be best to hit him in the pocket by boycotting the club though some don’t agree with this, feeling it can harm the club on the pitch. It’s a dilemma but I feel that Ashley has already damaged the club more than any boycott can, and will continue to do so if he isn’t checked.

But for the moment we aren’t looking at an organised boycotting campaign, we are looking at a march. Whilst it has it’s advantages in terms of raising awareness, it also has it’s potential pitfalls. If I were from Ashley’s PR army, I would be watching it very closely for ways to discredit it as a lunatic fringe and the organisers should be very careful and scrupulous about this. However, as the some of the organisers have said themselves:

It’s a start!

The march.

Sat, 19th October: Gather from 10.30am before the game on Northumberland Road, junction with College Road. Near to Newcastle City Hall.

And finally…

I have included a new poll to canvass your opinions on the march. It would e great if you could let us know your thoughts. Of course, you can also let us know in the comments section too!


Do you / did you support the march against Mike Ashley?

 (view results)

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NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

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13 Responses

  1. White hankies being waved at the match tomorrow?
    An ideal chance for those wimp fans who have already ‘surrendered’to Ashley.
    “Careful what you wish for”, “don’t go upsetting him”, “we might end up like Leeds and Portsmouth”
    Yeah, yeah – we’ve heard it all before. Pathetic!!!

  2. The statement that Ashley should see the Newcastle fans as it’s greatest asset rather than it’s biggest liability, should be taken as a warning.
    As it could very well become the opposite.

  3. Aaaaarrrgghh !

    FFS, gonna play Williamson rather than Taylor, who is supposed to be fit, are you serious ?
    The guy is gonna face someone who is possibly the fastest forward in the league and he as slow as molasses.
    God help us.
    Gonna be another slaughter.

  4. Worky, I voted “no”. It wasn’t easy but I just don’t see the point. Mind you, I admit that is easy to say and do 6,000 miles away without having been to a Toon match in, well, a Coon’s Age as they say over here. (It means a long time.)

    Moreover, I know you like to compare us to Everton for all the reasons that you give, but Moyes was there a long time. What were Everton’s league positions during Moyes’ first three seasons? Maybe that is a better yard stick. If, in the remote chance, Pardew survives at NUFC maybe in time he will also keep us where we should be in the league in terms of “squad value”.

    Right now, I believe that Pardew perhaps is learning. I don’t believe we have anything that we can teach Mike Ashley, or at least anything that he is interested in learning from the fans. He’s made his billions and it puts him on such a remote pedestal that allows him to see us as minions. IF the fans should boycott the club in such massive numbers that he should feel both the pinch and the humiliation, I am sure he will find one of those lesser billionaires in “darkest Russia” to buy him out at a loss. But when you’ve got his kind of cash, what’s a couple hundred million loss? Nothing that’s going to dent his lifestyle.

    Lastly, I doubt it helps the players to know the fans are this kind of restless. It puts them “between a rock and a hard place” to use another Yankee saying.

  5. ‘Ere Chuck, I’m pretty sure chronic negativity such as you have displayed above is considered bad form from a so called supporter of a team. Can I suggest that comments such as ‘Gonna be another slaughter’ have no place on a forum for true fans. Why not try something like ‘We’re gonna be up against it a bit this afternoon’ or maybe ‘I feel we may struggle to contain Suarez’, but don’t specifically attack certain players and write of our chances altogether before a ball has been kicked.

    Sunderland have got lots of poor players, why not ‘support’ them instead, because that’s pretty much what your doing already with your antifandom you feel is appropriate here.

    Sort it out.

  6. Small town, football obsessive? The words never came out of his mouth and in a way this blog with statements like this is part of the problem. Some fans are guilty of over reactions and love to dwell in the doom of NUFC, you read in blogs all over, especially this one which rarely writes a positive word about the club and gets obsessed with issues repainting the same picture over and over again with different brushes, how many articles have been written going on and on about Wonga for example. NUFC fans are passionate about their club which is great but this passionate love of a football mad, one club town can be a negative, look at the reactions to the derby defeat last year, doesn’t happen in other cities when a team loses a derby, every negative issue is magnified to 200%. and that’s why the southern media love a small fall out at the club because they can milk it and sell papers while the rest of the country giggles. Be interesting (I haven’t done it) to scroll down past articles of this blog and see when was the last time a positive thing was written about NUFC or a performance or individual, maybe one in 10? Anyway let’s talk Wonga……

  7. Scrolled down, got bored but the fact that this blog choose to write an article criticising the manger and potraying him as a comical liar after two wins in a week, Fulham and Villa away says a lot, dwelling in gloom, everything is a massive negative issue, including winning two games in a week.

  8. I support people’s right to march, But i don’t think it will do any good, At this time.
    It had the desired effect at Liverpool, But they were all united as one entity.
    The biggest thing Ashley has done since taking over, Is divide opinion, And the fans.
    We are not united enough to make a stand, And there are far too many “Prawn Sandwich Brigade” rent a crowd! fans, Who do not want the oiks interfering with their entertainment!

    If this had been during the 1980’s, Ashley wouldn’t have lasted two minutes, But it is now a sign of the times, Which angers an old punk and skinhead, Who likes protest, And direct action!
    Apathy is also kicking in, Which i think will finish Ashley off.
    As far as i can see now, There is no Newcastle United anymore!, Rather just some cheap tatty pale southern imitation, And out post of S****S D****t!
    At the front of house of this, You have an Arthur Daleyesque used car salesman con man, In Alan Pardew, Who is doing exactly what Ashley wants.
    The whole thing is “Two Bob”, And more people are starting to cotton on to the fact!

    As for today’s game, Well i cannot see Liverpool losing, That’s the only thing i can say!

    I have just checked The Chronicle’s website, And they are marching, But there is not quite the thousand, They had hoped for, The weather is being blamed!

  9. joe hawkins says:
    October 19, 2013 at 11:14 am

    “If this had been during the 1980′s, Ashley wouldn’t have lasted two minutes, But it is now a sign of the times, Which angers an old punk and skinhead, Who likes protest, And direct action!”

    You should be down there giving the police horses dirty looks then, Joe! :-)

  10. Solid analysis, though I have to say what fascinates me most, worky, is your enduring soft spot for Kinnear. This sentence:

    “At Newcastle United however, they are completely taken for granted and constantly having their intelligence insulted by Ashley, Pardew (and Llambias before he left).”

    …seems to contain a grammatical freudian slip-the oddly structured list at the end inviting me to add “and Joe Kinnear” as I read it in my head. He’s lied to us too-I understand there was something about the “astute financial management” of the club in his column in the program.

    I guess he just picked up where Llambias left off, adding a veneer of football experience.