The saga continues. With Nolan already gone, and Ashley seemingly wiping his hands clean of Joey Barton. Where does this leave the Toon?
With Spurs and Chelsea’s tug of war over Modric hogging the headlines during the past month. Mike Ashley, seeming fed up with this waddles over, complete with the famous stretched black and white shirt and simply shows the Londoners how to create a real turmoil.
Even non Newcastle fans must admit that the Toon create more headlines than most, especially under to ownership of controversial Mike Ashley. As long as you’re not emotionally attached to the club then this makes great footballing theatre.
Just when the Toon faithful emerge from the mists of confusion and start to bask in the summer of content; Mike Ashely rolls into town and first strips the club of its talisman Kevin Nolan after disagreeing on transfer policy. And now midfield enforcer Barton is told he will be surplus to requirements after Ashley is infuriated by Barton’s relentless criticism of the owners ambition.
Barton’s and Nolan’s discontent with Ashley’s transfer policy has festered since the club sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool. Despite earning around £35m from the transfer the club have reinvested very little back into the squad. This has irratated the players and many of the NUFC’s faithful.
No one can doubt Ashley’s thick skin, it’s not just blubber, he is a determined and ruthless businessman. He wants to cut the wage bill and run the club on a smaller budget. To do this he wants cheaper and therefore younger players; and this makes perfect business sense.
However, Barton and Nolan are firm fan’s favourites and more importantly the backbone of their team. Barton was their best player last season while Nolan ended up their top scorer. Without these two the Toon’s midfield looks flabby and immobile, a bit like Mr Ashley don’t you think?
Barton’s high energy, aggressive and combative play would be hard to replace. Nolans leadership is priceless just as his famous chicken celebration. Ashley is known for his gambling, he is playing Russian Roulette with this famous club, it may prove a risk to far.