Mike Ashley has finally spoken to Newcastle supporters. In a short interview, given to the questionably confident David Craig, Ashley gave us a few words. What did he mean? 

As someone who has not expressed any sort of gratitude to supporters for helping turn Newcastle United into a profitable club, the generosity of the Geordie public is given to him in finally expressing a few words. 

On this site we like to think we are fair. We have been grateful in the past for the ears of club officials. We like to think we have proposed positive actions as with out recent blueprint. We have given credit when people like Llambias have made statements that appear more open. 

Similarly, we have been critical when things have gone badly wrong, when appointments that we have sought, such as Bobby Moncur, have been channelled in what we think is the wrong direction. 

It would be unfair to criticise Ashley for his presence in front of the TV camera. Some people are confident enough to play to the camera, some ignore it and behave naturally, some are nervous. Ashley seems to fall into the latter category. What is important is the words. 

In summary, Ashley made a number of points:
He didn’t expect to be in this position

  1. The buck stops with him
  2. He will continue to invest in the club
  3. The decision on appointments is delegated
  4. The club is not for sale at any price until it wins something
  5. The cart is stable, now to give it a horse 

Ashley has a network underneath him. This site has met with representatives of the club and has highlighted through our pages some of the potential pitfalls of club strategy. It is not a surprise to us. We warned against net disinvestment in the squad, of the shortage of quality depth up front and in defence and of the need to appoint a quality manager in a timely fashion. That information was available to him and his network. 

We also despised the lack of support for a manager with integrity who achieved more than most in our history. Hughton was not supported a replacement for his number 2. Hughton’s own management philosophy on engagement, contrary to the man who “flies into Shirebrook, bollocks his managers then flies out” is stark. 

Successful modern management, in any field, relies on engagement. Mr Ashley, I hope you have learned a lesson. 

Quite rightly, yes the buck does stop with him. OK so the club is profitable, who benefits? The man who owns, one hesitates to suggest the current custodian, has an asset worth much more than he paid. Just as with the hordes of workers on zero hours contracts, he has brought misery with it. 

Point 3 becomes an interesting one. What does Ashley mean by “continue to invest”. At a basic level, this is an investment for him, one that could also be described as a speculation. He bought the club, he provided a loan in line with the terms implicit in a purchase. No extra investment has been put into the club. The highest profile asset, the playing staff, has suffered a net disinvestment, transfer surpluses not being reinvested. 

Now that you have spoken, Mr Ashley, perhaps you will clarify. You have told us that you will not sell. Will you be putting nay more into the club? Will you invest in the squad? 

You may not make the appointment of manager, Mr Ashley, but you can influence. In the past your appointees have gone for low cost. You struck lucky with Hughton, the only man to bring us back at the first attempt and with a host of records besides. Pardew was always going to be a one hit wonder, as was identified by this and other sites. Carver was cheap. 

Please tell Mr Charnley that we need quality. 

You say you aren’t going anywhere until this club wins something, including a Champions league place. For what it is worth, we won’t count the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. 

For 8 years, you have denied us that ambition. You are in a privileged position. Your season ticket lists will show how many have given up season tickets due to bereavement. You are in a position to endeavour to make sure that list does not get too much longer. Please prove to us, despite the Keegan tribunal finding that you are a liar, that this time you are a man of your word. 

If there is to be a positive conclusion to what you have said, let’s go back to point 6.  You may or may not have seen our blueprint. We would welcome a thoroughbred, of which there are some on the market – not a donkey. You are a multi-billionaire. If you are going to stud, let Charnley know that the sort of filly you would like is a Klopp, a Benitez, a Di Matteo, someone who is capable of making sure you deliver. 

The riches of media revenue have been saved for you, in no small part due to a shining example of humankind, a man who not only beat West Ham but beat cancer too. He is apparently being rejected. His spirit and grace is an example to you. 

You have a lot to live up to. Please don’t live down to your history but give us some new history to be proud of. Joey Barton has shown you how to rehabilitate. With a bit of effort, you can too.