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Playing it all wrong

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Shaun Custis believes Mike Ashley is treating Newcastle like a toy.

 

The Sun's chief football writer and the Sunday Supplement's resident Geordie was furious with the controversial owner as the goings-on at St James' Park came under scrutiny.

 

Ashley has announced he is willing to sell the club amid constant and well-organised fan protests against the so-called Cockney Mafia that includes director of football Dennis Wise, but even that did not spare him as Custis gave an insider's view from Tyneside.

 

And nor did trying to get Kevin Keegan back on board.

 

"This cockney mafia thing is that they (Ashley and Wise) seemingly fly up from the south of England, have a little meddle in the club, muck it up for a day or whatever, then they fly back down south again, go the pub and have a little bit of a laugh about what happened today," he told The Supplement.

 

"It's almost like they're (Ashley and Dennis Wise) treating it like a toy in the north east," he said. "You think 'why aren't you hands-on? How come you aren't around the place?'.

 

"You get the feeling its being left to drift without them taking a proper handle on things."

 

As for Keegan, he is the only man the Toon Army want leading their club.

 

Ashley was hailed as a hero for bringing him back to the club and according to Custis tried to do the same following his decision to resign.

 

But crucially he says, Ashley wanted to bring Keegan back under the very same managerial structure and regime that he could not work with in the first place.

 

"The Friday before last they did try to get Kevin Keegan back," he said.

 

"I was flying back down south funnily enough, on an EasyJet flight and the managing director happened to be on the same flight - very prudent that, keeping costs down.

 

"They clearly had realised that it had gone too far the other way, but I said 'how could you possible get him back when the structure hasn't changed?'.

 

"He wouldn't answer that question, but it was just a non-runner from the start."

 

Events off the field are being mirrored on it as well.

 

Saturday's 3-1 defeat at West Ham left Newcastle, under caretaker boss Chris Hughton, second-from-bottom in the Premier League.

 

And with a Keegan comeback unlikely to happen, Custis fears the worst.

 

"Ashley also came out saying we've signed lots of quality players, world-class players.

 

"Collocini? Does he look like a world-class player to you? Gonzales? I don't know, I haven't got a clue yet but apparently he's going to be very good. Cisco? Maybe.

 

"We've been unlucky with Gutierrez, but hes goals record was something like four in 100. Okay he's a winger but he doesn't have a great scoring record.

 

"I think there's a lot of problems with the players who have been brought in. I do not see how Ashley gets out of this without breaking even at best.

 

"It's a completely rudderless ship and the way it is going, relegation looms."

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The problem is every day, every week we go on like this we're digging a deeper hole for the club.

 

 

The scary bit is that I'm not even sure Ashley or anyone in his "management team" have even realised there is a gaping chasm opening up below them.

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