The purpose of a Football Club is to compete on the pitch, and in order to do that you have to compete off the pitch financially, ambitiously and constantly.
It’s not a magic trick. Eleven years ago in 2008 Ashley and his pals from Chelsea Dennis Wise and Tony Jimenez were chased out ofNewcastle and they put out a statement saying they were selling up and jumped on a plane to the Emirates.
Unfortunately instead of selling up they got drunk and puked up and insulted their hosts just escaping detention. Piff-paff-poof, they came back and vowed United wouldn’t have a penny of investment while he milked it for what he could get, in that year setting up the holding companies for the land he was going to be ‘given’ by the club.
Fans left in there droves but he at some stage said to himself I don’t need to leave, I can keep this going for the sake of the advertising, those who had gone would leave a gap so he enlarged the family section to 8,000 from 2,000 pushed it out of sight on level 7, and invited families to join at cut price deals 3 seats for less than the price of one 12 years ago. Families and students could now afford to see ‘the entertainers’ except for one thing the entertainers had long gone.
Ashley pulled off a vanishing trick with the local press normalising the illusion slowly and methodically downsizing the club at the rate of a position a year, thinking it would be fine so long as there were three worse teams in the league.
Then three years ago a stroke of unplanned luck landed on the doorstep in the shape of Rafa Benitez a new trick to baffle a new the illusion, they accepted offers to manage the team from Rafa and embarked on a publicity campaign ‘Join the Rafalution’ proclaimed the club, it was nothing of the sort, they continued the starvation rations even recalling the debt that Ashley’s ineptitude induced relegations had built up denying the ability to compete.
Then along came ‘Wor Flags’ which was another stroke of luck, they could use the normalising illusion again, and the supporters would pay for itto boot! Adopting the ‘we are United’ mantra in their advertising and publicity to show they were at one with the supporters, but while still denying investment, the asset strip had reached the squad… no more purchases from now… only ‘Loan Players’.
We can now see what is up his sleeve…..nothing (just Steve Bruce..), the smoke has dispersed and the mirrors are cracked, the act was always poor and never got any better but the act never changed.
Should we go into the season with Bruce, no considerable signings and a squad and fanbase likely to be totally disillusioned by our shambolic summer, the only way will be down, with no Rafa Benitez, Rondon or Perez around to help us pull a rabbit out of the hat.
I like Mike Ashley…..not a lot…..in fact not at all.