Stingy, misinformed, out of touch, negligent and generally one of the most hated characters in the game Mike Ashley hasn’t done much to warm himself to the fans of Newcastle United. Oh, and how could we forget Dennis Wise.
As rumours fly and excitement builds over a possible new oil-rich owner at Newcastle United, it seems necessary to look back on the miserable stewardship of Mike Ashley and his band idiotic cronies who have sat over the club like a dark cloud for over a decade now.
Think back to 2008, if you dare. Kevin Keegan ruled the roost and Mike Ashley was taking some of his first steps as Newcastle United owner. The relationship was, at least from the outside, positive to begin with. There was a mutual understanding and appreciation between the two characters, a shared vision for the club and its future. However, slowly but surely the villain of the tale Dennis Wise began to spindle his web of controversy and lies.
As told by Terry McDermott, former assistant coach to Keegan, in his autobiography ‘Living for the Moment’: “In those first few weeks after training we would go into Kevin’s office, where the club would put a lunch on for us. We would sit around the table with Dennis and his mates and discuss targets,” he wrote (via Chronicle Live).
“They would suggest players which we didn’t have a problem with. That’s their job and it’s how things should work, providing the manager has the final word on any signings.
“Sadly, it didn’t work out like that – and it still doesn’t work like that at some clubs today. The manager is left out of discussions and players suddenly arrive who he doesn’t know too much about. This started to happen at Newcastle which, as you could imagine, quickly unsettled Kevin. Again, the job was nothing like the advert in the brochure.
“What was equally frustrating was that we would put together a list of players we would like to buy, but nothing came to fruition.”
There’s a reason why sporting directors never used to the flavour of the month, before every man and his dog were gunning after one. Friction. A tug of war between manager and suit, a struggle to secure power.
“Rightly or wrongly, he didn’t think Dennis and the rest of them had any passion for Newcastle, that it was merely a job. They were just passing through and they didn’t feel for the area like he and I did.
“It’s not their fault they were born in London, but in our eyes, they weren’t doing a good job and it seemed to us that they didn’t really care.”
Then there was the infamous Xisco signing. Oh boy, oh boy this one went down like a fart in a lift. Without warning, Wise introduced two players in the window, neither of whom Keegan had any knowledge about.
“Dennis asked him to have a look at them, insisting they were good players.
“Kevin made the reasonable point that he could hardly look at them now, right at this minute, could he?
“Yes you can,” Dennis said. “Take a look at them on YouTube.”
Ah, yes. YouTube. That ever so reliant scouting system that could make Trevor the lump from the Duck and Pond look like a world beater.
This was the last straw for Keegan who left Newcastle soon after as it became increasingly apparent that Ashley was backing wise, and fans were understandably in uproar.
The precedent had been set for future times to come.
Newcastle fans, are you excited about the prospect of a new owner? What is the most frustrating thing Ashley has done, and where does Wise rank on that list? Let us know in the comments below…
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