Mike Ashley – Man with a plan by Aaron Agnew

Mike Ashley hasn’t exactly been loved by Newcastle fans lets be honest.  He first was involved with Newcastle back in May of 2007 when he bought a 41% stake in the club, some may say, what a generous man… However thousands of Geordies (regional nickname for Newcastle United supporters) had other ideas, passionate about their football club, the last thing they wanted was a “Cockney” (A name for people who live around the area of London) running the club.  Ashley thought he earned brownie points by appointing Kevin Keegan known as King Kev by the Geordies as manager in January 2008, they had a great relationship until the end of that season when Dennis Wise was appointed Director of Football, Keegan was furious at this, especially when Wise interfered with team matters and signed Xisco, a Spanish striker for £6million on a 5 year contract earning 60k per week, he went on to make 9 appearances in 5 years costing Newcastle an absolute fortune.  Right, back to King Kev, well he left 2 days later and Ashley brought in Joe Kinnear a former Wimbledon manager when they where called the Crazy Gang, says it all really, he didn’t last long in fact he had to get a triple heart bypass operation shortly after his stint and was never to be seen again.  By this stage fans where furious at Ashley and his team, with chants like “Cockney Mafia get out of our club” sung across St James’ Park every game, Dennis Wise then walked which left Ashley all alone, once again he tried to earn some brownie points by appointing club legend Alan Shearer as temporary manager to see the club out until the end of the season…. Newcastle didn’t expect, come end of the season they’d be heading to a new division with players on 100k a week. 

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Reality soon hit them, they got relegated that season.  With a wage budget adding up to around £71million, administration and serious amount of debt was in the horizon.  Later that season Newcastle managed by Chris Hughton gained promotion back to the premier league with ease.  A local Geordie named Andy Carroll had made a name for himself down in the Championship and some big clubs were sniffing around him.  Ashley then took another step backwards by controversially sacking Hughton and appointing another Cockney, this time it was Alan Pardew in the hot seat.  Out rage again in the North East.  January of 2011 came and asset Andy Carroll was eventually sold for £35million.  This was the turning point in my eyes, some fans started to see what Mike Ashley was doing to this football club and for the better, when he joined the club was on a one way trip to administration however he has turned it around, getting big players of the wage bill, selling players on for money.  He now has Newcastle playing against European giants Benfica in the Europa league, now has a team and backroom staff on 8 year contracts, the man knows what he is doing and credit where credit is due he has turned this club around.  Who’d off thought it ehh.

 

image – getty images/daily mirror

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