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Mike Ashley has been energised by the battle for Ibrox in a way that he never has by challenge of making Newcastle United competitive.

 

 

 

On Saturday afternoon Newcastle United have their eighth crack at winning a Premier League match this season.

 

If they swing and miss, it will be their longest winless run in the Premier League era: worse than the ill-starred 2008/9 relegation season and more desperate than the year that brought Sir Bobby Robson to Tyneside.

 

Throw into the mix an undercooked team light on experience of a relegation battle and there can be little doubt that this is a time for minds to be focused. Even at this early stage survival appears the priority, but that cannot be taken for granted.

 

And where is Mike Ashley? The owner’s scrutiny is not trained on the lame duck manager who is only ever one defeat away from losing further ground with a sceptical support but instead it is in a messy, protracted and potentially long-running takeover of Rangers.

 

The Newcastle owner blew his own cover on Ibrox weeks, months or even a year or so ago. By dodging the share issue and banning a journalist who had speculated on his intentions towards Rangers, he tried the owner’s equivalent of an Ali shuffle – but the knockout punch has not yet been delivered.

 

Rangers is going to be a slow burner for Ashley. Unlike Newcastle – where he found an owner willing to make a quick sale – there are messy and protracted battles to be fought at Ibrox with groups who are not going to relinquish their grip on a potential goldmine anytime soon.

 

The motivation for investing in a fallen club that needs plenty of work is the promise of a potential route into the Champions League.

 

Ashley’s mistakes have made that path impossible for Newcastle for a generation or so, but Rangers’ size and the impoverished standard of the competition give him a chance north of the border.

 

And the Champions League gives him even greater profile than the Premier League in a sportswear market that he fancies a crack at: Europe. There are obstacles to be vaulted, of course: not least rules that state he cannot own majority stakes in clubs in both Scotland and England.

 

But that is a hurdle to be clambered over when the time comes: the important thing is to elbow out the other prospectors sifting through the wreckage at Ibrox.

 

Rangers is time-consuming for Ashley. It has caused him to take his eye off the ball at Newcastle and the consequences of that could yet be catastrophic for a club that appears rudderless, leaderless and entirely without hope at the moment.

 

Ashley gutted Newcastle of people who would answer back to him. Managing director Lee Charnley owes his career to Ashley, and is hardly likely to stand up to him.

 

We all know that Pardew will acquiesce if required. That is the way the owner wanted it – him dipping in and out of Newcastle when it suited him.

 

Ever since Rangers became a serious interest for him, the dynamic has changed. Ashley may be more visible at Newcastle – naming himself as chairman over the course of this year – but he has not been as involved as he was before.

 

A source I spoke to said his greatest hope was that people would run it for him, keeping it ticking along for a while.

 

He simply doesn’t have time for Newcastle anymore. There is a shiny new toy north of the border and the fight for control at Ibrox has energised him much more than the battle to make Newcastle United competitive has.

 

And what is unfolding north of the border is very, very messy indeed.

 

For those still in any doubt, it is worth taking a quick journey through the coverage of Ashley’s actions north of the border. Festering worry about his intentions has given way to outright disgust at the way he has operated in the last couple of months. Just like he has with Tesco and Debenhams, Ashley has struck at a moment of weakness. That is savvy strategy from a sharp businessman, but it doesn’t mean that Rangers fans should be happy about what is happening.

 

Not that many are, despite claims from a couple of Old Firm icons this week that Ashley might be the man to return the club to its perch.

 

The Daily Record’s Michael Gannon wrote a withering editorial two weeks ago challenging that belief: capturing the scorched earth policy of Ashley and his unquestioning acolytes perfectly.

 

Warning that sometimes the devil you know can be worse than the devil you don’t, he wrote: “He is simply out to bag a quick buck at Rangers.”

 

It is a familiar theme when the subject of Ashley and the Ibrox club are brought up: money is the reason he is hanging around. Not necessarily money that will be made directly off the club’s success but more the reflected perks of owning an institution that can reasonably challenge for the Champions League in a couple of seasons with pretty minimal investment.

 

Gannon summed up his latest power play in a couple of damning sentences. “He could have sunk in money at last month’s share issue and it would have gone to the club,” he wrote.

 

“Instead he waited and bought out Hargreave Hale. It strengthened his position and rubbed the board’s face in it after they refused to cave in to strict demands in return for a loan.”

 

It is Ashley to a tee. Stubborn, obstinate and looking entirely after number one. The worry is that Newcastle United’s Premier League status will become collateral in the battle for Newcastle United.

 

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/newcastle-united-become-collateral-damage-7943767

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You obviously have to take these articles from down south with more than a proverbial pinch of salt, as they have been and will be anti-Ashley from start to finish. Which isn't to say that they are wrong, but they carry a McMurdo'esque way of arguing all along.

 

BTW, and just out of interest, whatever happened to David Leggat?

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You obviously have to take these articles from down south with more than a proverbial pinch of salt, as they have been and will be anti-Ashley from start to finish. Which isn't to say that they are wrong, but they carry a McMurdo'esque way of arguing all along.

 

BTW, and just out of interest, whatever happened to David Leggat?

 

Fret not you've read plenty of his scribblings.....;)

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You obviously have to take these articles from down south with more than a proverbial pinch of salt, as they have been and will be anti-Ashley from start to finish. Which isn't to say that they are wrong, but they carry a McMurdo'esque way of arguing all along.

 

BTW, and just out of interest, whatever happened to David Leggat?

 

Yes, they have seen him in action, they have experience of him ergo they are against him. Cause and effect.

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The media also have a huge pent up frustration re him - old and new media, I mean. Local papers are banned, many individual reporters are banned, blog writers are banned, their equivalent of UoF are utterly ostracised and so forth.

 

Also, given what he has done to the club, how he runs it for SD completely and NUFC hardly at all - and add in that he has always played up to his envisaged role as an outsider which he reinforces with his cockney mafia lot from Dennis Wise to Joe Kinnear (***shudder***). ..and his outburst after less than a year and a half of selling up (and then not doing so) = yes the coverage will be negative

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Ashley imo has absolutely no intentions of letting his prime asset NUFC suffer any sort of damage, collateral or otherwise. We are a side issue for him, his focus is mainly creaming Newcastle of their profits, which are massive in comparison to ours.

 

He's got our retail contract stitched up, if we are still rolling on, even with two wheels on our wagon, he gains. He's not going to invest millions just to get his hands on a few more measly pounds of our flesh. If he is as shrewd as seams he operates, he will know to cut a new deal is best for him ,best for Rangers and saves him splashing out millions on owning us for a little more gain.

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The media also have a huge pent up frustration re him - old and new media, I mean. Local papers are banned, many individual reporters are banned, blog writers are banned, their equivalent of UoF are utterly ostracised and so forth.

 

Also, given what he has done to the club, how he runs it for SD completely and NUFC hardly at all - and add in that he has always played up to his envisaged role as an outsider which he reinforces with his cockney mafia lot from Dennis Wise to Joe Kinnear (***shudder***). ..and his outburst after less than a year and a half of selling up (and then not doing so) = yes the coverage will be negative

He's just about the most detestable character who could have got involved in the saga.

 

He's already conned us out of most of our rights but still the 'penny will never drop' loyal want him to get time and find him favourable to King.

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The media also have a huge pent up frustration re him - old and new media, I mean. Local papers are banned, many individual reporters are banned, blog writers are banned, their equivalent of UoF are utterly ostracised and so forth.

 

Also, given what he has done to the club, how he runs it for SD completely and NUFC hardly at all - and add in that he has always played up to his envisaged role as an outsider which he reinforces with his cockney mafia lot from Dennis Wise to Joe Kinnear (***shudder***). ..and his outburst after less than a year and a half of selling up (and then not doing so) = yes the coverage will be negative

 

Money and power against supporters concerns is not compatible. Leeds United Trust were banned from Elland Rd two season ago for voicing the anger and frustration towars Bate's. Think they're back now but the lengths these people go to, to stop free speech is frightening.

 

I can see it happening with ourselves if King doesn't get in.

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I just noted that 51.886 watched Newcastle (18th) vs Leicester (!, 13th) on Saturday. Essentially a sell out. Maybe they hate Ashley on a different level than we are told ... or are worn out by now ... or are loyal to the team no matter what. Probably a mixture of all this.

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