Newcastle are in their 12th year under the ownership of Mike Ashley. If any person with knowledge of English football was sleeping on the damage he is doing to Newcastle United, they are wide awake now.
Ashley came to Newcastle in their time of need, clearing them of their debt and stabilising the club. Since then he has strangled Newcastle, forcing the club into submission and exhausting them of any life that was in the club.
The same is happening in the high streets. The Newcastle owner bought House of Fraser in August after the company found themselves in administration. He will attempt to save the business before slowly draining the soul out of one of Britain’s biggest retailers. His awful leadership at Newcastle has been well documented, but now people out with the footballing community are beginning to sympathise with the Magpies. In fact, 6,000 people lost their jobs as a result of Ashley’s 'rescue deals' on high street chains, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
It takes a lot for a side like Newcastle to hit the headlines nowadays. They aren’t one of the Premier League's big boys anymore and they haven’t had any major success since the days of Alan Shearer. In the summer however, Ashley’s terrible transfer dealings meant it was impossible for the public not to look into the epidemic at Newcastle. It would have been wrong to ignore how the Magpies were being terribly mistreated.
There was next to no investment in their first season back in the top flight after promotion from the Championship in the 2016/17 season. Rafa Benitez somehow steered Newcastle to a tenth-place finish, but how did Ashley reward him? He gave him the smallest transfer budget in the league and insisted on making a profit in the transfer window.
It’s not hard to see why it has took till November for Newcastle to register a Premier League victory.
High street companies like House of Fraser and Debenhams are faltering and Ashley has made it his business to exploit these failing companies, just like he's done with Newcastle.
Mike Ashley owns hundreds of companies via his personal company MASH Holdings, yet it hasn’t published accounts since April 2016 & continues to ignore the legal requirement to do so. Does this make MA a fit & proper owner of NUFC, House of Fraser et al #wakeuptomoney @GuyKilty pic.twitter.com/wk4xmhloRU— PriceOfFootball (@KieranMaguire) October 31, 2018
It’s a bigger task he’s dealing with however. Staff, investors and customers are becoming increasingly agitated with Ashley’s actions. They are being treated like fools, as a similar storyline to the one at Newcastle begins to play out.
Ashley has said he is going to lower the sale price of Newcastle after failing to secure a deal to sell the club in the past year. Some fans have even questioned if the transfer budget was dropped by their owner, so that he can continue to squeeze every penny possible from the club.
Ashley has taken Newcastle for everything it’s got. When he eventually leaves it’s going to be a massive clear out from top to bottom for the club. He will leave an enormous mess which will require a huge financial effort to clean up.
Newcastle will only be able to thrive again after Ashley’s reign has ended. He used to flourish on media and public attention, but in the end that may be his downfall. One can only hope.