Mike Ashley Learning From Past Mistakes?

When Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley bought the club in 2007, it was seen as a new dawn and a chance to move forward. Nearly ten years on from his purchase of the club, lets just say – It hasn’t been dull. Unfortunately for us Newcastle fans, during Mike Ashley’s time at the club it has resulted in two relegations. The Newcastle United owner has made some outrageous decisions in his time, none more so than changing the stadium name from St James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena.

It is safe to say Ashley bought the club with little understanding of the Geordie culture or what the club means to the fans. As Kevin Keegan has said before “You make mistakes in football and you get punished.” Mike Ashley has certainly made his fair share of mistakes in his time at Newcastle, however you get the feeling the Newcastle owner may just be learning from them.

Ashley has never been one for public appearances, he will avoid it at all costs if he can. To everyone’s surprise, Ashley gave a pre-match interview before the final game of the season against West Ham in 2015. Claiming he will not sell the club until they have won a trophy. In my mind that was a glimmer of hope, he finally showed some form of ambition for the club. I am not and probably never will be an admirer of Ashley, however after agreeing to give Rafael Benitez full control on football matters, it is clear the Newcastle owner is finally learning.

I have said before, Ashley will be like myself and my fellow Newcastle fans, not quite believing how we have Rafael Benitez as our manager. Due to this fact, Ashley will do whatever it takes to keep Benitez at the club. With Newcastle United leading the way in the Championship, Ashley will be rubbing his hands together at the future income the club will receive from the Premier League TV deal.

Ashley isn’t stupid, he is a very successful businessman, he knows what is in store if and when the club reach the Premier League. With Rafael Benitez at the helm and Ashley’s vow to back the manager, when Newcastle get there, they will be in the top flight to stay. Newcastle have been crying out for a manager of Benitez’s calibre for many years now, it took Ashley a long time to finally realise it. The last few years have certainly been a struggle and hard to cope with. We have seen poor managers come and go in the likes of Alan Pardew and Steve McClaren. Now finally we have a club with everyone pulling in the same direction – It’s refreshing to see.

If Ashley wants to bring a major trophy to Newcastle United, he will have to continuously back Benitez in the transfer market. Benitez has already held two successful transfer meetings with the club in regards to next season. Ashley knows that Benitez is the key to Newcastle’s future success. I don’t think I will ever be happy with Ashley in charge, mainly because of his unpredictable nature. However, his recent behaviour has given me hope for a brighter future for the club.

With a number of foreign owners in English football now, you do wonder when a big oversees investor will come in for Newcastle. I do have my reservations regarding foreign owners, if you look at the owners at Hull City and Blackburn for example – it’s not as simple as having the money to invest in a football club. Owners, domestic or foreign in my opinion should understand what the club means to fans before buying it.

For now I can say I am finally comfortable with Ashley in charge. Something I thought I would never say. There are fans out there that still have a great amount of disdain for the man and I do not blame them for that.

A New Dawn Under Benitez?

In Rafael Benitez, Newcastle have the kind of manager that can take Newcastle to the top. One step at a time of course. Benitez has a great eye for detail and he will plan everything meticulously. The fans love Benitez, you can hear his name ring around the stadium – home and away, the feeling is mutual, one of the main reasons Benitez stayed at the club were the fans. The atmosphere on the final day of last season was fantastic – The fans sung the managers name throughout the whole game. It has been a long time since this club has felt united Benitez has played a major role in that. Many doubted that his ability to gain promotion with Newcastle, something he is now on the verge of achieving.

I have been an admirer of Benitez for many years – To have managing Newcastle is unbelievable. The future is certainly bright at Newcastle United. There will always be some media outlets doing their best to unsettle the club and the fans, Rafael Benitez will not allow them to influence matters. The Spaniard has steadied what was an extremely rocky ship.

This is the first time many years where I feel really positive about the future of this great club, long may it continue.

Comments welcome.