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The Enigmatic United: Newcastle

n many ways, Mike Ashley is the perfect owner for a club like Newcastle. Complex, controversial, but most importantly - incomprehensible. When one hears of Newcastle - one thinks of Alan Shearer, the GOAL movies, the Toon Army and their huge stadium. Strangely - no one associates with them - Europe, Trophies, top 4. Yet people were surprised when they were relegated in 2008/09. They are back amo

In many ways, Mike Ashley is the perfect owner for a club like Newcastle. Complex, controversial, but most importantly – incomprehensible.  When one hears of Newcastle – one thinks of Alan Shearer, the GOAL  movies, the Toon Army and their huge stadium. Strangely – no one associates with them – Europe, trophies, top 4. Yet people were surprised when they were relegated in 2008/09. They are back amongst the big boys this season and are doing what they do best – bewilder! Here are the highlights of the Geordies’ enigmatic season.

Mike ‘Mad’ Ashley

Jekyll or Hyde? Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

You wouldn’t want to be left alone for too long with this man. Once hailed as an ideal owner due to his mingling with the fans, worker class English demeanor- Mike Ashley has revealed a frightening two faced persona.  Behind that smiling face there is a ruthless and calculating mind – the effects of which have been felt over the last few seasons. Having sacked popular manager Kevin Keegan before, it was not a great shock when Chris Hughton who had brought Newcastle back to the Premiership was unexpectedly and inexplicably sacked in the middle of the season.

Fans are hoping that Newcastle find another buyer. To be fair to Ashley, he did try his best to find one. Even Osama Bin Laden’s firm was considered. But it seems, the Toon Army will have to accept the unpredictable owner for the time being.


The Schizophrenic United

Alter Ego? Jonas Gutierrez celebrating Toon style

It’s true. You never know which side is going to turn up. In comparison – even Arsenal look like a solid, consistent team. Astounding victories like the 6-0 against Aston Villa and the 5-1 humiliation of sworn enemies Sunderland have been accompanied by inexplicable losses.  It seems they just want to be in the news. Newcastle don’t do ordinary draws either. They let Arsenal score 4 goals before they decided to wake up and score 4 of their own. The end result? 11th in the table with no prospects of Europe or relegation. Now their bizarre antics make sense – that’s the only way of being in the news.

Andy Carroll

Joey Barton giving some tips to Andy Carrol – probably something about community service

Newcastle have boasted of some talented strikers in their Premier League history. Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and most recently Andy Carroll. It may seem premature to talk of him in the same league, but 35 million pounds is no joke for an untested player. Carroll was instrumental in some of Newcastle’s big wins early in the season. His hat-trick against Aston Villa in the 6-0 drubbing put him in the media limelight. Surprisingly though, he hasn’t really been missed. Even without him, Newcastle were able to score 4 against Arsenal and have never really looked in danger of relegation. In any case – there is still plenty of talent in the form of  Barton, Tiote, et al.

 

Looking Ahead

Newcastle have managed to cope with the twin losses of Manager Chris Hughton and star striker Andy Carrol. Fans are expecting the £35 million from the January sale to be re-invested in the squad. More importantly – Newcastle need continuity. Alan Pardew has done a good job and should be allowed a full season in charge. Newcastle have all the ingredients for a top 6 club – talented players, a great stadium, passionate fans and financial stability. It is about time that they switch from ‘entertainers’ to winners.

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