Mike Ashley gave a rare interview before the crucial game between Newcastle and West Ham on the final day of the season yesterday. It is widely known that the Newcastle United owner doesn’t like to speak in public about the club, in fact you will be hard pressed to find an interview with Mike Ashley concerning any of his business (or personal) interests. Here is a businessman who just doesn’t do interviews. But yesterday he did, which in itself is a positive change. After owning the club for eight years, you can understand the frustration many fans felt from never hearing Ashley speak about their beloved team, a team in which he has complete control.
Take a look at video clip below to see the Mike Ashley interview…
There are many important points to look at from this video clip.
First, he was very firm and quick in his response when asked who is to blame for Newcastle’s disastrous season. His answer clearly states that he takes full responsibility for the current situation of the club.
For a long time fans have been fed up with hearing that the club is in a good position, financially speaking. The Barclay’s Premier League is not decided by which club has the healthiest balance sheet, if this was the case Newcastle would certainly not be in a relegation battle on the final day of the season. No one can deny that Mike Ashley has succeeded in improving the financial position of Newcastle United. But fans have been disappointed year after year with a distinct lack of investment. Instead of looking forward to the summer and winter transfer windows and the exciting prospects that each could offer, the Toon Army has had to deal with star players being sold. More often than not, these stars were not replaced. On the rare occasion that a promising player has been brought in as a replacement, the fans have instantly assumed that they would be sold on as quickly as possible, with Newcastle confirming its reputation as a ‘selling club‘.
Mike Ashley seems to acknowledge that having a strong financial footing is not the key attribute of a successful football club. His words suggest that more investment is needed into building a squad with strength in depth in order to take Newcastle to a position where it deserves to be – something that the fans have been wishing for ever since he took control of the club.
In the past, the club has officially stated that ‘cup competitions are not a priority‘, yet winning the FA Cup or League Cup seems a much more realistic achievement than winning the league or even finishing in the top few spots. We have seen clubs from outside the big 4 reach cup finals on numerous occasions and every year ‘smaller’ clubs go on impressive cup runs. So what has been stopping Newcastle from trying to achieve this? We all know how happy the fans would be if they reached a cup final again. Imagine what it would be like if they actually won it.
When asked what his current ambitions are for the club, Ashley responds in a way that suggests something has actually changed in his mentality towards running the club.
It’s now going to be definitely to win something…
This part of his answer may be music to the ears of some fans but the next part is surely a nightmare scenario for the majority…
and by the way I shan’t be selling it until I do
He goes on to explain that he would consider securing a place in the Champion’s League as ‘winning something’.
So it looks like Mike Ashley is here to stay. Would fans warm to him if he did indeed put his money where his mouth is and invest significantly into the club, turning it into an ambitious team with a strong desire to win trophies each season? If Newcastle United were to make it into the Champion’s League, it seems very unlikely that this would be a catalyst for Big Mike to sell the club, seeing as it is the most lucrative competition in world football. But would fans actually want him to leave if his investment did get the club to the dizzy heights of the Premier League table, where Champion’s League qualification was the reward for a top 3 or 4 finish?
From this day forward we will definitely be making our own luck
He’s the man in charge. He has the money that could take Newcastle to where the fans want it to be. His wealth has never been in doubt but never before has there been an indication that he would actually like to see the club succeed on the pitch.
Was this just a PR stunt to encourage fans to get behind the club and continue to spend money on tickets and merchandise? Has he actually changed? No one knows the answer other than Mike Ashley himself.
In the final part of the interview he makes it clear that he will not be responsible for the appointment of the next manager, that decision will be left to Lee Charnley and the rest of the football board.
Let us know what you think about the Mike Ashley interview in the comment section below.