5 football club owners who were at the receiving end of the fans' ire
In the world of football, there are only a few things worse than feckless club owners. Granted it’s hard to criticise people for not being willing to splash out insane amounts of money ala Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, but seeing rich men use a football club to line their own pockets while the team and fans suffer is unbelievably frustrating.
Football has seen some crooked owners in the past – remember Jesus Gil at Atletico Madrid? – and its fair share of eccentric ones too – men like Mohamed Al-Fayed and Sam Hammam spring to mind – but the following five owners all remain in power as of the time of writing this article, and the fans absolutely despise them.
#1 Mike Ashley
It’s hard to believe that when he first took over Newcastle United, Sports Direct supremo Mike Ashley was actually popular with the Geordie fans. And why not? This was a man who professed to be an ordinary guy and was even seen downing pints of beer in the crowd with the locals while wearing a replica shirt. He hired club icon Kevin Keegan as manager to replace the disliked Sam Allardyce, and everything would surely be great.
Except that hasn’t been the case at all. Keegan was gone about nine months later amid rumours that he’d been undermined by Director of Football Dennis Wise – part of Ashley’s so-called ‘Cockney Mafia’ – and Ashley appointed Joe Kinnear as manager and put the club up for sale. Nobody was willing to buy and so a cycle of pain for Magpies fans began, with Ashley attempting – and failing – to sell the club on numerous occasions.
Over the decade he’s been in charge, Newcastle fans have suffered two relegations; they’ve seen their beloved St. James’s Park renamed to ‘sportsdirect.com@St. James’s Park’, and despite a soaring transfer market, their record signing remains Michael Owen – bought for £16m back in 2005. Is it really any wonder that the Geordie fans despise Ashley? Even now the club remains on the market.