This is likely to be a controversial subject as I pose the question of whether or not it’s time that we, collectively, stop giving grief to Mike Ashley.
This has been prompted by Harry Redknapp and his insistence that enough is enough when it comes to Mike Ashley and the grief he has been on the end of since his NUFC tenure.
Perhaps it’s easy for Redknapp to say such a thing when he is not really involved in it all. It either allows him to be objective from a distance as he can see some form of bigger picture, or it means that the distance he is away from what has happened at St James’ Park is too great for him to actually grasp what fans are unhappy about.
Without further delay let’s hear what Redknapp has had to say about it all.
“Their chairman has taken some serious grief up there – and he’s put millions and millions of pounds into the club,” said Redknapp in quotes that are widely available although I nabbed these ones from The Star.
He continued: “Mike Ashley has put fortunes into Newcastle and they’re still shouting and moaning at him. He’s probably spent about £100m and yet they still call him all sorts and give him loads of abuse.”
I don’t think the amount of money that Ashley has put into the club has ever been denied, even by the staunchest opposition to Mike Ashley. What does rile people is that not too much of it, if any, has actually gone into strengthening the team where it matters – on the pitch – and has instead been used to exchange debt from the club owing to the banks to instead owing it to Ashley. Yes it will save the club money in the long run, but it’s also saving Ashley money in the long run even without the added tax avoidance benefits that having his fortune tied up in an asset brings about.
Now it’s all fine and dandy at the moment as we sit 4th in the league which is serving as somewhat of a justification for the parsimonious approach, but imagine what it would be like if we’d have spent a bit of cash. Nothing outlandish, just a bit more than nothing. Imagine that eh?
Then there are the controversial signs at St James’ Park, the shocking decisions like sacking Chris Hughton and so on. Granted the last one seems to have paid off in hindsight, but it was a very unpopular decision at the time.
However there are two sides to the story and it isn’t all bad news. We seem to be getting the finances in order although I’ll wait to see what the accounts say before I get too carried away with that notion. We’ve signed good players on cracking deals thanks to careful scouting, and we have a youth academy that is starting to look as though it is bearing fruit with players like Haris Vuckic and Shane Ferguson knocking on the door of the first team.
So what do you reckon? Is it time do as Redknapp says and lay off our illustrious owner and give him the benefit of the doubt? Or does Ashley deserve a rough time thanks to his past mistakes? Has he done enough to atone for the disasters of the last few years? Or has it gone too far for you?
As ever, it’s over to you.