Two flashbacks from the Ashley Era

Newcastle Takeover imminent, what will Newcastle fans remember from the Mike Ashley era?

Mike Ashley celebrated his ten year anniversary earlier this year as Newcastle United owner whilst Newcastle United fans commiserated it. With talk of an imminent takeover from Amanda Staveley ready to be confirmed, here are the two horrible memories of the Ashley era.
The choice for the two worst situations during the Ashley era I had a huge shortlist but I feel these two are the most considerable.

The handling of club legend Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan is a hero in many Newcastle fans eyes and when Ashley brought him into manage the team in 2008 to replace the more pragmatic Sam Allardyce. He promised him the chance to bring in top players and that he would be able to recreate an era similar to the entertainers time in the late 90’s. The mood and the optimism on Tyneside was the highest in a long-time and Newcastle were looking forward to attacking winning football once again. Unfortunately, Ashley had other ideas by appointing ex- Chelsea man Dennis Wise as Director of Football and bringing in players and undermining Keegan. By doing this Ashley was setting up Newcastle and Keegan for a failure. Keegan felt Newcastle needed to spend huge amounts of money to get us back into competing with the top 4 and when he broached this with the hierarchy the response was disappointing. Ashley seemed to trust Derek Llambias and Dennis Wise more than Keegan and Keegan felt unable to do anything to improve the situation. Their warpaths crossed and Keegan found that Newcastle under Ashley was not what it had been on the brochure. Keegan felt he had no choice but to resign after they famously signed 2 Spanish-based unknown Xisco and Ignacio Gonzalez after Wise had watched them famously on Youtube. The departure ended up in the courts with Keegan being granted a hefty compensation package and the Ashley administration extremely embarrassed. It led to a complete breakdown between the fans and the Sports Direct owner and if we are honest has never recovered.

Transfer Policy in 2008/2009

For me the main reason we were relegated in 2009 was due to the transfer dealings done by Mike Ashley. As mentioned he treated Keegan very badly and the sale of James Milner for 12m to Aston Villa, a player at the time when he was arguably our most creative midfielder. The fact he was then sold to Man City for 30m within a year just proved how naive of a sale it was. It was against Keegan’s wishes and it lead to Newcastle lacking the ability to open up teams which ultimately lead to our relegation. Selling Shay Given in 2009 when our defence was already crumbling proved to be a devastating blow as Steve Harper was a great understudy but never had the shot stopping skills of the Irishman. Then the famous sale of Charles N’zogbia to Wigan in January after Joe Kinnear called him Charles “Insomnia” and meant any pace in the team was taken out at that moment. Allowing £17 m transfer flop Michael Owen to see out his contract when he clearly had no interest of extending it meant we had an unmotivated sick note of a forward for a year who was on reported astronomic wages. Owen always criticised the service at St James Park but in the relegation run in Owen’s lack of movement and negative body language played a huge part in the relegation. He missed sitters against Portsmouth and Aston Villa and was anonymous from January onwards. Newcastle should have sold him and used the funds to buy a motivated striker rather than allow Owen to sulk.

What do you make of these points? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

featured image credit Sky Sports