Stan Collymore has proven recently to be one of the few pundits who seems to have their finger on the pulse with all things Newcastle and Steve Bruce.
He’s written an excellent article in The Mirror about how damaging Ashley and Bruce are for our great football club and has actually taken the time to understand what is wrong.
Here’s a snippet from his scathing piece, starting with his attack on :
“He exudes misery… talking up average opposition, moaning about injuries, and talking in meaningless generalities.. while rival coaches give insightful detailed answers.
What is on Bruce’s CV that means he deserves to boss Newcastle, or his past clubs Sunderland, Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, or proves he can make these clubs better?
“He goes in, there’s a little bump and leaves them no better off, distinctly average.”
As well as his excellent summary of Bruce exuding “misery” and the acknowledgment that Bruce’s first season rode on the “drilling and organisation left behind by Rafa Benitez”, Collymore pinpoints how life under Mike Ashley feels for Newcastle fans:
“With Ashley it feels personal. Like he wants to mess the club around because he feels personally wounded because of the stick he’s taken.
“He’s the in-house aggressor, the more fans say they want him out, or journalists, the more he won’t. There’s an element of spite: “I own this club and I’ll do what I like, on my terms.”
“By keeping Steve Bruce at the club Ashley is saying “the more you moan, I am leaving him there”.
“They might get away with it and stay up. But poor Newcastle fans have gone from thinking they’re being taken over by Saudi Arabia and signing Mbappe, to a relegation fight, in the space of a few months.
“That’s as bad as it gets. From hope, to decline and possibly relegation.”
Collymore is right when he says that “it feels personal” with Mike Ashley. I know I and many other fans have questioned Ashley’s business acumen with the way that he runs the club.
At this point, it really boils down to the question of whether Ashley is a bad businessman who got lucky for his billions, or a good businessman who is spitefully harming the lives of thousands of people because his feelings were hurt after being rightfully called out for his football inadequacies.
My honest opinion is that it’s a combination. The “wilful stubbornness”, that Collymore alludes to, feels like a mix of spite and stupidity.
Mike Ashley is a man who has consistently made bizarre and ridiculous decisions that not only harm Newcastle but the potential growth of his other businesses.
If Newcastle had built upon that 5th position or Benitez’s foundation then the long term benefits would surely positively affect fans and Ashley.
I thank Collymore for his article and his sympathies. Unfortunately, it seems like we’re stuck with the bottom feeder of billionaires and his spineless slug of a manager for a while yet.