I was quite surprised to read that Staveley and Ghodoussi’s recent interview with George Caulkin in The Athletic was their first of that kind since the week of the takeover itself.
The owners have certainly had a busy first few months at the club. As Caulkin says, “their pace is relentless”, but it hasn’t stopped them from communicating with us at every opportunity. And what a breath of fresh air that is.
To say Mike Ashley communicated infrequently would be generous. The man was a brick wall. And whenever he did communicate, it was completely inept and never at the right time, or on the right topic. On one rare such occasion in August 2017, he came out – unprompted – to say that we can’t compete with Manchester City.
Who asked? Nobody.
That communication showed his complete detachment from supporters. On the flipside, Staveley, Ghodoussi and the Rueben brothers just seem to get us already.
Every time they’ve spoken I’ve been impressed and excited. In fact, they do it so often, I struggle to keep up with everything they say.
It’s a complete revelation compared to years of silence at a time under Ashley.
It blows my mind that they’re active on social media, too. They bask in the results of our wins, celebrate goals like it means the world, care about every aspect of the club – from local foodbank’s to the Women’s team – and constantly thank us for our support. Oh and Jamie Rueben’s “AgbonlaBORE” comment had me cracking up!
They just seem to understand us. And in a world where we’re the most misunderstood supporters in the league, that’s golden.
It can be easy to get swept up in the promises of Champions League football, a trophy within five years and title challenges. And yes, their vast wealth will make that achievable. But it doesn’t feel like empty promises.
The commitments at a smaller scale are still promising too. Kieran Trippier “isn’t someone we’ll ever sell” – that’s music to my ears, because what a man he is. The women’s team is getting a boost. World-class training facilities are on the way.
They had sleepless nights to get transfer deals over the line in January. Even Eddie Howe was acting above his pay grade and having to step away from the team to help out (while still stringing together three wins on the bounce – magic). They’re somehow asking themselves if they’re doing enough. It almost feels like we aren’t worthy.
As a fanbase, though, we know we are.
I got goosebumps reading that interview. I get excited every time Staveley, Jamie Reuben or Ghodoussi speaks. Football is enjoyable and exciting again.
Sometimes, I need to give myself a little pinch.