Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Mike Ashley, Derek Llambias And Alan Pardew

I used to be a life-long supporter of Newcastle United. I supported them through thin & thinner. Despite having put up with nearly being in the third division of English football, nearly winning the Premier League twice and being losing finalists in several cups, I kept supporting.

This is no longer the case.

Owner Mike Ashley and Chairman Derek Llambias have tried my patience previously: They hired Joe Kinnear. They installed Denis Wise as a "director of football". They contrived to get us relegated. They re-named the stadium. All of which irritated me and alienated yet more of the fan base. But I remained a supporter of NUFC until now.

When the decision was taken to sack Chris Hughton, I decided to switch my allegiances to Sunderland. This is not an easy decision for me, nor one I'd like to last any longer than is necessary, but I will not support NUFC while Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias remain in control of the club.

It seems that despite insisting in October that they'd be giving a new contract Chris Hughton (brought NUFC back out of the Championship after the relegation with the longest unbeaten run in NUFC history) they actually had no intention of doing so. Despite NUFC sitting in mid-table, winning away at Arsenal in the league and at Chelsea in the cup and hammering Sunderland 5-1, it seems they wanted someone "with more management experience".

So speculation was rife that NUFC would get Martin Jol, or Martin O'Neill. But it seemed unlikely, given that Jol had Hughton as Assistant Manager at Tottenham when he was Manager and isn't going to take a job at a club that had just sacked Hughton. And as O'Neill walked from Aston Villa when it became clear he wasn't going to be given complete control of the purchases and team selections, he surely wasn't going to a club where players have been bought and sold without the manager being informed.

And then today, the BBC report that Alan Pardew is going to be taking over at NUFC. If I supported NUFC, I would be really quite cross about that. Pardew has managed for more games than Hughton, but most of them weren't in the Premier League. He did bring West Ham up from the Championship, but when in the Prem, he decided to pick Marlon Harewood ahead of Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano. His most recent job - from which he was sacked in August, allegedly for having sex with a player's wife/girlfriend - was to manage Southampton, in Division One.

So why is he the man for the job? Well according to the BBC, he knows Ashley & Llambias because he frequents the same London casino as them. Which, as a *shudder* Sunderland fan, seems as good a reason as any to me. There's already a rumour that he'll be working for NUFC for free as he owes huge gambling debts to Ashley and/or Llambias, but I doubt that's true (for any lawyers reading). But it could be.

The worst part in the BBC's report is that Pardew was apparently in talks with NUFC about taking over the role of manager some ten days ago. Or 8 days BEFORE Hughton was sacked. If that is true, then even as a *cough* Mackem, I would be furious at Pardew and incandescent with rage at Ashley and Llambias.

If the League Manager's Association (LMA) has any clout whatsoever, it would be delightful to see Mike Ashley and/or Llambias being fined for the way they've acted over the sacking of Hughton. As is more likely, sod all will happen, except Carroll, Nolan, Jonas, Collocini & Krul will be sold in January, NUFC will get relegated at the end of the season, and Pardew will be sacked.

When Ashley leaves, I will return - regardless of what division NUFC are in.

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