For Newcastle fans, this season has not been easy. However, the fans have been used to disappointment throughout Mike Ashley’s era. This is the second relegation under Ashley, with his only real success being Chris Hughton’s side winning the championship and coming back up the following season, but just where is it all going wrong.
Let’s Start at the top, the Owner and his appointments. In all honesty Mike Ashley’s record for signing managers is appalling. From the appointment of the inconsistent Alan Pardew who never struck a chord with the fans, to the shocking decision to appoint a manager who flopped in the championship in Steve McClaren, with John Carver in between. The problem starts right here, the inefficiency of these appointments have led to massive uncertainty amongst some of the best fans in English football, which has led to a countless number of protests and walkouts at St James Park, a stadium which on its day lights up the city of Newcastle. Maybe relegation is what the club needs, a step back, a total overhaul of the poisons which infect the club. Board decisions also have cost Newcastle in previous years, the decision to have McClaren on the board was a bizarre one, not to mention the appointment of Director of football Joe Kinnear, who couldn’t even pronounce the name of one of the greatest things to come out of Ashley’s era in “Yohan kebab” Madness. All problems within football clubs have their centre point, and Newcastle’s is their rotten board.
Another problem regarding Mike Ashley is his use of the club as one large advertising campaign. He’s a man who looks for his staff to appoint nobody’s with the slim chance of them one day becoming somebody’s. Looking to pocket from every situation, not giving back to the club. Only coughing up when the club are slumping towards relegation, before telling the ever loyal fans paying every week to watch their club, “when the money runs out, don’t come crying to me” imagine how dangerous Newcastle could be with an owner who knows how to own a football club. Ashley took a risk in buying a club, he himself has admitted he regrets it, but he won’t sell until he’s drained every last penny he can. You can’t move for advertising boards of his well-known sports shop chain at St James, they look like acne upon a teenagers face. He must have a lot of stress upon his shoulders, but the vast majority has been brought on by his own actions, hate to think what state the club will be in when he puts us up for sale, and I can’t say too many tears will be shed when he departs, other than through joy for the fans getting their club back.
Then we look lower down, the players. Newcastle’s transfer policy is bizarre to say the least. Spending around £80 million this season, more than the combined 4 seasons. Pointless signings over the past few years have cost the club, Pardew signing 9 new players before he departed, never really moulding them, leaving their own careers to fall on their face. The players we have been left with lack desire, some of the younger player’s efforts can be unquestionable, but it’s a shame that on one hand I could count players this season who have deserved to wear the shirt. Some player’s careers are rotting, they may speak like they have the club interests at heart and how they love their fans, but do they play like it? Simple answer is no. The club is crumbling from top to bottom.
The one positive to come from this season is the appointment of Rafa Benitez, you can’t question his efforts, and he’s been the first manager in who knows how long to take to the fans. He’s deserved better from his players, and no one could blame him if he ends his contract now that we are confirmed as relegated, and if he does make that decision, good luck in his next appointment.
Overall it’s fair to say Rafa and the Newcastle fans are the only people this season who haven’t deserved the drop to the football league. Every week St James park is nearly at full capacity, and despite such poor away performances, away followings as I’m sure they will continue to be next season have been fantastic. They’ve been magnificent, and if Newcastle are to return to top flight football at the first time of trying, I’m sure they’ll be a key part in that. As for the future, try to enjoy the ride, new players will come in, old ones will go, young prospects could emerge for example the return of Adam Armstrong, and maybe relegation will turn out to be what the club needs in order to come back stronger, once fans are over the heartbreak, they’ll get behind their side again, painting the championship black and white, and no matter what the result, they’ll be sure to have a good time.