By 90Min
January 22, 2018

When you hear the name Mike Ashley you find yourself picturing the egotistical, brash and cut-throat businessman we have all been fed during his decade-long tenure at Newcastle United. 

A stubborn dictator who cares little for the wellbeing of those who feed from his products, as long as their crisp banknotes continue to tumble in. A misanthropist, one who seemingly takes pleasure in disregarding the history, legacy and emotional connection between a football club and their supporters. 

Be it stadium naming rights, fracturing a once so passionate group of harmonious followers, or the simple embarrassment of vomiting into a fireplace during a 'business meeting'; one simple search on any social media platform will give you a list of rather large blotches on what should supposedly be a squeaky clean past. 

However, are these damages simply not superficial when mulling over the grander scheme of things? 

Newcastle fans seem to take great pride in portraying the insurmountable hardships they face day-to-day. The apparent scheming and hatred their owner possesses for each of them on a singular level. The torrid times they have faced while watching their beloved Magpies spiral out of control to inconceivable depths of pain and disappointment; all due to the negligence of one man, a southener, an outsider; Ashley. 

These feelings of animosity cannot be fully understood if black and white does not run through your veins. Unless you have scaled the towering heights of the Gallowgate End or the Leazers Stand, your comprehension of the Toon Army's plight pales into insignificance. 

These are common tales of woe in the north east, however, due to the endless list of discrepancies, there also seems to be no space for factual reasoning. 

When looking from afar, seeing disgruntlement within the ranks of those who have dedicated much to Leyton Orient or Coventry City, the malice towards their hierarchical estranged, those feelings of betrayal, they have meaning and understanding across the footballing world. 

In comparison, however, the Newcastle faithful's stubbornness of their own is something quite remarkable. 

Recently it was announced that Amanda Staveley and the PCP Group were not willing to reach Ashley's reported £300m estimation of the Magpies, which, of course, provoked the angry mobs to pick up their pitchforks once again. 

Accusations were evident of the 53-year-old's desire to dismantle the once great club, as if his sole purpose in the failed negotiations was to toy with the hopes of those who despise him before throwing them back into a gloomy uncertainty. 

But why again has the blame been lay at the Londoner's door? 

Newcastle have been seen as a sleeping giant for some time. Hardened support is plentiful, stature is worldwide, regional dominance in terms of size and reach belongs on Tyneside, but the impression imposed from outside the circle is that without Ashley at the helm, these would be contributing factors towards a much greater beast. One that challenged the sport's superpowers, like times gone by. 

But where has this home-crafted pedestal of self-righteousness and arrogance materialised from? 

Every supporter pines for prosperity, days and nights to remember, the "I was there" moments, but, from an outsider's perspective, Newcastle already have those. 

Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

At this precise moment in time, the Magpies find themselves in the Premier League, a competition adored throughout the globe. In terms of domestic football, they are amongst the highest of echelons. 

However, again, that is seemingly not good enough. So is Ashley truly to blame?

The facts state that in his decade-and-a-half tenure in the north east the businessman has pumped, on average, over £35m per season into the transfer budget alone, with over £192m of that coming in the past two-and-a-half campaigns. 

In addition, despite their spending, the 53-year-old has also placed Newcastle in a promising financial situation, with the Soccerex Football Finance 100, as quoted by the Shields Gazette, claiming they are the 36th most financially powerful club in the world.

In conclusion, Newcastle are a top-flight side, working on a profit with a world-renowned amphitheatre to call their home, all the while bolstering a former Champions League-winning manager in the dugout. 

But, of course, the supporters want more. However, it is those who pack-out St James' Park on weekly basis who need to be scrutinised. 

The financial powers of Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain cannot be matched. The dominance they possess in world football is now almost insurmountable, however somehow Ashley is the man holding the club from this greatness. 

Ambition is by no means a negative trait, however arrogance is, and blaming the man who has stabilised a wilting organisation rather than questioning those who have a saying influence in results portrays nothing other than naivety.

Ashley may not be the perfect owner, but judging on the Tynesiders' ludicrous expectations, no one ever will be.   

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