Newcastle: Television’s strange silence around Mike Ashley

Newcastle’s capitulation at the King Power this lunchtime was entirely predictable.  Leicester are currently the antithesis of John Carver’s side, they are the scrappiest, most feverishly motivated team in the division and, all things considered, Newcastle were lucky to head home having only been beaten by three.

Post-game, Carver did an admirably effective job of creating yet more division on Tyneside, throwing almost all of his first-team players under the bus in the press-conference and accusing Mike Williamson of intentionally getting himself sent-off.

And in fact, fair enough; Carver is of limited use in the Premier League but there’s something novel in hearing a Newcastle manager raging against the dark apathy which has infected the club.  The players were unforgivably poor today and Williamson probably did lunge at Jamie Vardy with the aim of excusing himself from next week, so he’s can be forgiven for his reaction.  It will solve nothing and, in all likelihood, just make his relationship with the players more fractious, but it’s good to know that there is still something resembling a pulse at St James’ Park.

Carver, as we all know, is a symptom rather than the illness.  He is an unfortunate footnote in this never-ending Mike Ashley saga and this site has already produced enough content on that topic.

But isn’t it interesting how little gets said about Ashley on television.  Whenever Newcastle play - and invariably lose - on Sky or BT, their defeat is always met with the same set of banal platitudes.  The players’ commitment and effort is always questioned, Carver’s credentials are always doubted, but nobody ever says anything about how the club is actually run.  Nobody.

Why is that?

We joke about how naive some of these pundits are and how surface-deep the analysis of the game can be, but it’s implausible to suggest that they are all ignorant of the true circumstances at Newcastle.  Criticise the players and the manager - fine, they deserve it - but how can anybody surmise the situation at that club without mentioning the obvious causes.

Why, at this time of year, does Newcastle’s form tail-away?

Why, when Alan Pardew left the club, was a manager with no professional managerial experience appointed to replace him?

Everyone knows the answers to those questions, but why is this topic never debated in the public domain?  It’s as if, to preserve the illusion of the Premier League, discussion of anything which hints at its impurity has been forbidden by a higher power.  When Newcastle get beaten, the analysis shouldn’t be limited to listless set-piece defending and self-defeating coaching decisions, it should encompass the entire context within which this nonsense is happening.

Where are the talking heads when you actually need them?  Put Mario Balotelli in front of one of those ex-Liverpool player-pundits and they’ll be provoked to an incandescent rage.  Bring up Newcastle, though, and they’ll sink back into their chair, muttering quietly about effort and ‘difficult circumstances’.

Honestly, if I don’t know better I’d think that this topic was being censored.

This needs to change and those with a public profile need to be more angry about this.  Where are the concerned statements from The FA or the league?  Where are all the shouty blow-hards when you actually need them?

There’s nothing.  Like a topic which should never be mentioned, any conversation which seems to be heading in Mike Ashley’s direction is brought to an unnatural end and replaced with an awkward, inappropriate silence.

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13 Comments on "Newcastle: Television’s strange silence around Mike Ashley"

  1. It’s not really strange if you are aware of the real world, that of business and power.
    Don’t forget Ashley is a powerful entity, with the backing of close to three billion quid behind him, which ain’t hay.
    Ever notice those two guys who sit adjacent to him at games, they kinda look alike, who do you think they are ?
    Would you as a business person, want to get Ashley on your case, just look at how he calmed both the Chronic and Journal down, yeah they still pretend to be independent, but they have been careful as to exactly what they state..
    Guess you guys live in a different world, not the world of money talks and bullshit walks !

  2. Noticed on motd on may 2nd shearer was missing where was he ,probs drinking with fat ash and enjoying himself.the sooner they get rid of carver and the full starting XI the better .I listened to radio newcastle commentary on sat and i thought ando was going to throw his mike down and walk out instead of having to commentate and watch that shower of [email protected]$t. ive supported nufc since i was a boy in the 70’s and ive never known of eleven men not being bothered about doing there job for one day a week

  3. Television’s strange silence around Mike Ashley?

    Hmm. Take a look at this official Sports Direct video: See how many familiar faces from BBC/BT/Sky Sports you can spot:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxEjIVeD5-w

    Now ask yourself whether this has anything to do with the fact that discussions about the spectacular decline of Newcastle United in the last decade never get beyond the fans contempt for previous managers.

  4. Apparently so, Kev - although I missed it. The point remains, though: one Carragher rant doesn’t make up for the apparent indifference of the vast majority of the punditry community.

  5. Jamie Carragher had a go at Ashley on Sky Sports 2 weeks ago. He questioned why he wanted to own a football club at all to run it in such a shambolic way and remove all sporting ambition.

  6. Georgia Peter | May 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm |

    Porciestreet;—-Dave E
    The last thing we Newcastle fans need right now is some numb-nuts plonker telling us that 100,000 geordies are wrong and you are right cos your from outa town.
    Seriously mate, if I were you I would be keeping my head down and keep it shut cos you hav’nt got the faintest clue what it’s about. And if you see that as a threat , yer right.

  7. Dave E. You really are clueless.
    “The main problem is the fans expectations far exceed what either the current or previous owners are prepared to provide.” Are you on the FatAsh Payroll ?
    We are often accused of this but nothing could be further from the truth. We simply want the team to play like they care. Ashley has driven all desire out of the club and the team simply show up and collect the money. How can this be right. I’m not sure who you do support but if your club declared no interest in cup competitions, failed to invest year after year and thought the balance sheet was more important than the performance, would you still be sitting there with that smug look on your face. We are no longer a football club, we are an advertising medium. That is why we direct the accounts, complain about selling off players and are loosing faith in the regime. Hall and Co did take money out of the club but they brought in great players and tried 100% to win every game and every competition, that is why we were happy. And finally to prove beyond doubt that you are clueless you state… “f they stay up Ashley has promised to spend big but if they go down, who knows.” We have heard it all before. Ashely will surely spend big, but it will not be on players or managers, he just the cash in his back pocket and we never see it again.

  8. Duff Miver | May 3, 2015 at 7:28 am |

    Excellent article and even better question. The so called expert pundits are even more spineless than the Newcastle fans who DON’T wish to boycott the the club.

  9. mick rennison | May 3, 2015 at 1:09 am |

    Almost conspiratorial. Threat of litigation would be my guess. The only people who’ve ever put money into the game get the shaft and all those who’ve only taken from the game are terrified their gravy boat might capsize.

  10. This is the first time I’ve read anything like this, ive been saying th a to fr iends and family for the last 3 years about the same issue,,, im just pleased that someone has put it in print,,,could not agree more with your full assesment, just wonder what would be said if it was sports direct plastered all over Old Traford or God forbid Anfield,,

  11. Lone magpie | May 2, 2015 at 10:30 pm |

    Spot on

  12. Difficult to know where to start when it comes to Newcastle. Ashley has owned the club for over 7 years and in those years has never ever faced the media or the fans. He would tell you it is exactly the same with his main Company, Sports Direct. He has made it clear that in his opinion Cup competitions are not worth the effort. He has a reputation for buying cheap and selling expensive. But you could say this applies to the majority of the EPL. Top clubs have sold some of their best players, eg. Beckham, Henry, Viera, Suarez, Bale. The main problem is the fans expectations far exceed what either the current or previous owners are prepared to provide. Shepherd and Hall took millions out of the club but no one complained. Why, because they signed some name players and it didn’t matter whether they performed or not it kept the fans happy. If you go on the fans forum you will read members dissecting the annual clubs accounts. Which other club’s fans do this. They moan about Ashley not paying any money to United for his advertising of Sports Direct. So what? It what goes on the pitch that counts. The fans got their way when Pardew left and because of the timing I think it is reasonable of Ashley to wait until next season to appoint a permanent Head Coach. However Newcastle have had horrendous injuries to key players and typical of Newcastle they are never out for weeks but many, many months. I wonder why? Newcastle’s current squad with perhaps the exception of Krul, Janmaat, Sissoko, Cabella are more a Championship squad than EPL. Their on field problems really began when it was announced that up to 10 players would be leaving in the summer and that was the beginning of the end as the majority of the players gave up there and then. If they stay up Ashley has promised to spend big but if they go down, who knows.

  13. Clive Lancaster | May 2, 2015 at 10:23 pm |

    Thank you for hitting several nails on the head. I have been wondering how to go about making a formal complaint to the Premiere League about what is happening at Newcastle. It is disgraceful that nothing is being done to address the mounting issues with Mike Ashley. Surely somewhere there is someone with some legal no how and clout who can do something about this?

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