Mike Ashley is the epitome of the Premier League’s ‘devil you know’. Everyone and their mother, irrespective of which club you support, knows of the Sports Direct magnate’s reign at the helm of St. James’ Park and the turmoil which has ensued alongside it.
Times have been tough on Tyneside plenty before, but under Steve Bruce the Magpies finally seem broken beyond immediate repair. On the pitch, those in black and white look lost and with no chance of finding clarity wherever they look, while off the field there is little to be excited about for supporters.
Worse for Bruce, he simply doesn’t seem the man capable of steadying a sinking ship. That’s no slight against his managerial capabilities, either. Unlike some sections of the Geordie faithful, I don’t believe Bruce is a bad manager and he does deserve backing, but the task at hand simply seems too great a challenge to face.
Few managers in world football likely are able to rectify the rot that has embedded itself in St. James’ Park and poisoned the club right to its core. Even a Champions League winner life Rafa Benitez might have been able to battle against the chaos on the pitch, through meticulous tactical drilling and training, but even he was unable to crack the counterproductive, infuriating boardroom situation at the club.
Mike Ashley might be lauded as a shrewd, quick-thinking businessman out of football, but in the beautiful game, he is a greedy figure destroying a bastion of passion and positivity, very much the lifeblood of the city of Newcastle.
Financially, the current way the club is going works detrimentally for Ashley’s wallet too. Already, under his watch, the club have suffered two relegations. That was two seasons outside of the top-flight and its ludicrous Premier League broadcasting rights money.
No matter how many times Newcastle might have forced their way on the television during their most recent Championship campaign, it was still a significant amount of millions lost in TV revenue. The Magpies looked destined for the second tier once again too.
Bruce is being asked to achieve the impossible at the moment, and is a perfect scapegoat for Ashley to take the fan’s frustrations. With the beloved Benitez, he didn’t have that, and even with Bruce – whether after a period of time or Bruce’s departure – he will be found out again. The only solution is Ashley leaves the club.