Sunday, 28 December 2008

No Deal Or No Deal. But Ashley's return to St. James' Park is GOOD news for Newcastle.

Doh! Just when he thought he'd seen the back of St. James' Park for good, Mike Ashley's got no takers for Newcastle United.
No Deal or No Deal. "Damn the Credit Crunch!", he must be thinking over a Domino's Pizza and pint. But is this such gloomy news for the Toon as things stand?

Ashley was booed out of St. James' Park hot on the heels of quitter Kevin Keegan, declaring he'd "got the message" that he wasn't wanted by the fans as club owner.

Trouble is the crisis heralded an air of austerity and humility at the club. No coach worth his salt wanted the job, leaving it to those desperate for a last chance of the big time.

Enter Joe Kinnear, without a sniff of work in football for four years, but with a decent top-flight record at Wimbledon - and he's done rather well, steadying the ship and getting his squad performing consistently. An example of a football man written off prematurely in the over-judgemental world of the English game.

It's not as if Newcastle hasn't got quality: Michael Owen, Damien Duff, Nicky Butt, Obafemi Martins, Shay Given, Geremi and Mark Viduka: all good enough to keep them up.

Ashley's decision to drink up, then wash and go sent Newcastle into freefall. Suddenly there was no manager, an AWOL chairman and a middle-management dubbed cockney mafia, starring Dennis Wise. Who on earth was going to work in that framework and get the team performing? It was the very definition of football's poisoned chalice. Worse than managing England!

But a few months on, the picture's rather different. Ashley's renewal of vows maybe good news for Newcastle United.

They're a decent bet to stay up and though the squad isn't good enough long-term, the fans still turn up in their thousands for the Toon and there's lots to build on.

It's time the Toon Army buried the hatchet and got behind their owner. I think this new version of recession-hit Newcastle minus the Fancy Dans and bad boys can start to prosper.

Also on Jonny's Soccermongery: Thailand's new Prime Minister is a Geordie! and Keeping Michael Owen is out of Newcastle's hands or Home Page for the latest entry.

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