Traditionally, the ire of a football supporter’s anger and rage is reserved for the under-fire manager or maybe the goal-shy striker but for the last two years or so, it’s been different around Newcastle United Football club. Welcome to the world of club owner, Mike Ashley.
Since taking control of the football club, Mike Ashley has not enjoyed the most stable of relationships with the clubs supporters. Once popular, he was seen as a man of the people, watching games whilst sitting amongst the fans wearing the clubs jersey. Things though turned sour very quickly.
An association with Dennis Wise was followed soon after by the vastly unpopular decision to sack manager, Chris Hughton, to bring in close friend, Alan Pardew. The transfer of Andy Carroll to Liverpool did nothing to improve relations between owner and supporters. Fast forward to the present day and the change in fortune for the club is hard to describe.
Newcastle United currently sit 4th in the Premier League, three points behind Arsenal in third and the same amount of points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in fourth. Manager, Alan Pardew, has done a really fine job in stabilising the club and Carroll’s troubles at Liverpool are in stark contrast to the form of both Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé, both of whom were signed for a combined total of less than what they made from the Andy Carroll transfer. The dream of Champions League football for the Toon Army is becoming more realistic every week. Whisper it, Mike Ashley deserves a huge amount of credit for where the club find themselves.
Shrewd transfer business has helped the North East outfit to exceed all expectations and rejoin the Premier League elite, with money spent in the right areas. The likes of Cissé, Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye have been drafted in to provide a goal threat and added creativity, and all have hit the ground running. Pardew is not shy in his praise for Mike Ashley. “I want to keep the fans in a good place but I would say to them, before they get emotional about it, that Mike has invested something like 25 per cent of his personal wealth in this football club, ask me for 25 per cent of my money and you’ve got no chance. I don’t care how good your idea is” Pardew said in an interview yesterday.
There’s no doubt that right now Newcastle United are riding on the crest of a wave, where that will end no-one knows yet, but whatever happens maybe it’s time the Toon Army embraced Mike Ashley as the man behind the journey. Just maybe, he deserves it.