When Mike Ashley took over Newcastle United, we heard a lot about how he was a true fan, how he would put his own money into the club to bring in the right players and make Newcastle great again, how he was the Messiah (what’s with Newcastle and Messiahs anyway?).
You didn’t hear much about his previous business ventures (‘sports goods conglomerate’ was good enough for most people) or anything about how he conducted his business previously.
But after a series of events which have seen Newcastle fail to match fan expectations on the pitch and in the league table, seen Sam Allardyce get fired because of his players, seen Kevin Keegan take as manager and do little, there are now rumours that Mike Ashley is looking to sell Newcastle United.
Since we’ve talked endlessly about how takeovers are long-term investments, I’m not going to reopen that can. What’s more interesting is how journalists have spun this story with little regard for any facts. Have a read of this bucketload of crap – there is no direct quote, nothing to show that Ashley pimped Newcastle United to DIC or that he is indeed interested in selling Newcastle. What it does have is a lot of conjecture, random quotes put together and some digging into Mike Ashley’s business background with the objective of making him look like a con-man.
You don’t make millions without understanding the value of long-term investments and appreciating the time it takes to create something substantial. Ashley took a risk with firing Allardyce and the decision to appoint Keegan was scarcely the sign of genius, but it’s too soon to judge him. Just like Allardyce is not a top-four manager, Ashley may not be a top-four chairman. But if he can take them to Europe (which I think he can, as much as a chairman can do) in the next 5 years, that’s something to work for, isn’t it?
Newcastle United fans need to tone down their expectations, ignore such baseless speculation / deliberate misinformation and instead focus on the more important question: in the picture up top (RSS readers, please click through to the site to see it), who’s the blonde next to Mike Ashley?