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Mike Ashley and Newcastle: how to suck the spirit out of a football club

When Newcastle United slump into another of their serial crises during what passes for stewardship under Mike Ashley, the grand old club look wrong in every respect – from “top to bottom”, as their hero of yore, Alan Shearer, recently lamented. Yet another manager, Steve McClaren, has been dispatched from the ejector seat months after he replaced Newcastle’s discount experiment with John Carver’s career canada goose coat 1000 bulbs coupons and wellbeing. Substantial money has actually sale been spent on signing players – £80m in the summer and January – but this has prompted only bewildered questions about the quality of recruitment by the chief scout, Graham Carr, who in effect selects the players in the decision‑making structure insisted on by Ashley.

Newcastle sack Steve McClaren and close in on Rafael Benítez Read buy canada goose coat uk more

With all of it leading the club stumbling incoherently into another relegation battle at a stadium built for cavalier adventure, the whole modern incarnation of St James’ Park looks dire. Ashley’s tainted retail empire, Sports Direct, has its logo on every wall buy canada goose jacket winnipeg and in everybody’s face around the ground, while the players Carr has signed according to the Ashley value policy of being under 25, pull on the noble black and white shirt with Wonga emblazoned on their chests.

The mood among an army of supporters who actively want to embrace the club as an engine of pride and regional identity is sour, angry, baffled and betrayed. Newcastle are facing the drop for the season when the financial divide between Premier League and Championship will gape wider than ever, alongside Aston Villa, another big club of great tradition failing under a billionaire owner.

Yet while Randy Lerner has almost said his farewells at Villa Park, and announced he will not be over from America much any more, Ashley is involved with the hierarchy – threadbare as it is – at Newcastle and sanctioned all that spending. Somehow, nothing they do is working.

The club reversed the clinical, misery-inducing strategy set out by the managing director, Lee Charnley, burlington coat factory canada goose coat last season, 60 years after Newcastle last won a domestic trophy, the FA Cup, of in effect surrendering ambition in the cups in favour of aiming for a financially comfortable position in the upper half of the league table.

Then, out McClaren’s team limped from the Capital One Cup in September to a 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday, after which Charnley – to his credit – sent an email to supporters apologising for “a can i wash my canada goose jacket very disappointing start to our Premier League campaign, and a painful early exit from a cup competition that we were determined to give everything in this year”.

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Steve McClaren’s managerial record after his Newcastle sacking.

Fourteen league matches after that, of which only four were won, a run punctuated by the 5-1 thrashing administered by their former manager Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace, Newcastle trudged out of the FA Cup in the third round, losing 1-0 at Watford.

That has left top-flight survival as the only aim and, with the Premier League finalising its buy canada goose jacket online canada unbelievable £8bn for the total 2016-19 TV rights, Ashley cannot contemplate missing out on so much money. Charnley’s apology in September talked about being in it all together and not apportioning blame (“We have sat down as a collective – myself with Steve and his coaching team, and Steve with his players …”) but the ringing of the relegation alarm drowns out such emollience.

It is natural at times such as this to see Ashley’s ownership as a permanent dead hand, which has brought his cheapskate, bottom line‑obsessed practices of Sports Direct to a football club that have always relished stars with a touch of extravagance.

It is easy to forget that after his first hideous period of ownership, when he seemed to buy the club for a good time then saw them relegated in 2009 and promised to sell up, the Ashley tenure briefly came together. In 2011‑12, after Carr’s scouting had brought in talent including Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cissé and Hatem Ben Arfa, Pardew took the team to a fifth-placed finish, and the then managing director Derek Llambias pulled the finances back to sanity.

Then Ashley appointed Joe Kinnear as director of football, Llambias left the next day, other clubs including Leicester City overhauled their recruitment, including from France, and Newcastle, with their talk of the top 10 and lack of interest in the cups, came across as too financially matter-of-fact for their own good. As they scramble to stay best ideas about canada goose outlet on pinterest average cost canada goose jacket up now, Charnley must know, even if Ashley still gives an air of being detached, that there is only so much spirit you can squeeze from a football club.

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