BBC pundit Garth Crooks has admitted that Mike Ashley’s time on Tyneside ‘can’t go on’, however he believes that the NUFC owner should be ‘applauded’ for ‘providing Premier League football to an area starved of a top-class football team’.
The North-East may have only one side in the top flight – with Middlesbrough in the second tier and Sunderland now in League One – but it’s not like we have Ashley to thank for that.
Crook is not wrong in parts, but it’s totally wrong to suggest he should be ‘applauded’ in these circumstances:
“Newcastle are painful to watch, and on the front and back pages for all the wrong reasons.
“Ashley has provided Premier League football to an area that is otherwise starved of a top-class football team and has also brought in a top-class manager. For that he must be applauded.
“But neither works without serious investment.
In his defence, he accepts that neither works without serious investment, but Ashley prohibiting our chances of being a Premier League club more than anything – even if he did do well to attract Benitez to the club (albeit on false promises).
Crooks did then go on to say that a deal ‘needs to be struck’ to see someone take over from Ashley at the club, believing it would benefit all parties if he sold up and allowed the club to move on.
“The news that former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is leading a consortium to take over the Magpies is an exciting prospect.
“In the interests of everyone concerned, a deal needs to be struck. It’s time the club (Newcastle United) moved on.”
Parts of this are bang on – with it having never been clearer that this really is Ashley’s time to go – however he can NOT be applauded for ‘providing’ the club with Premier League football.
Yes he kept Benitez at the club and backed us following relegation – with us spending big the summer we went down – but this was simply a man trying to make up for the mess HE had created.
In a season where his severe lack of investment (-£21m net spend) has put our Premier League status under serious threat, he is the last person who should be ‘applauded’ for our presence in the top flight.
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