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Sir Bobby: Don't blame Mike Ashley for Newcastle's decline

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I never thought I'd feel sorry for Mike Ashley, but I do. He put his faith in the wrong men - and they have let him down badly.

 

There can be no apology for some of Ashley's decisions. He picked out-of-touch managers Kevin Keegan and Joe Kinnear, and his decision to appoint Dennis Wise as executive director of football was a complete disaster.

 

But I have sympathy with him because, unlike a lot of big-time owners, Ashley did not stick his nose in and interfere. All he did was bring in who he thought were football people and trusted them to do the right thing. It is their fault, not his, that they wasted millions of pounds on bad players.

 

Wise, his cohort Tony Jimenez and Kinnear were all out of their depth and that is why the club are in such a mess and relying on an unlikely result at Liverpool today to keep their Premier League survival hopes alive.

 

I remember asking Ashley soon after the club signed Kevin Nolan in January what homework had been done on the player?

 

I wanted to know how many times he had been scouted and what reports had been done of him. Ashley shrugged, he genuinely didn't know the answer.

 

I told him I'd be more careful about spending his next £4.5 million! Who would have thought such a successful businessman would be so trusting.

 

My guess is that a lot of the recent signings at Newcastle have not been checked out properly. Wise thought Xisco was a good idea. So Ashley paid £5.7m for a striker who has gone on to score one goal all season.

 

I don't know who recommended Fabricio Colloccini, but Ashley put his hand in his pocket for another £10m.Colloccini would have struggled to get into Newcastle's reserves a few years ago.

 

When things started to get desperate in January, it seems the club started to listen a little less to Wise, and more to Kinnear.

 

But the result was the same - more of the wrong type of player. Nolan lacks mobility in an important area of the pitch, just what Newcastle didn't need!

 

Peter Lovenkrands was also signed. OK, he didn't cost any money, but that doesn't matter because he simply isn't good enough at Premier League level.

 

One of the few good players left, Charles N'Zogbia, went to Wigan. Newcastle got Ryan Taylor in return. I know for a fact Wigan were delighted with the deal - they never rated Ryan as a Premier League-class player.

 

None of these things were Ashley's fault, beyond the fact that he put the wrong people in the wrong positions and wrongly believed they knew what they were doing.

 

The penny may have dropped now. Certainly the appointment of Alan Shearer was the right thing to do, albeit arguably too late.

 

WORTHY: Alan Shearer is the right man for Newcastle job

 

And, of course, I wish Kinnear all the best in his recuperation after an operation because nobody likes to hear of a fellow football man being unwell.

 

Anyone mocking Alan for not turning things around yet doesn't understand what he's inherited. The only saving grace is that among the problems there are enough match-winners, Oba Martins, Mark Viduka, Damien Duff, Michael Owen, to try to keep the team up this season.

 

But there has to be a massive turnaround in the summer if Newcastle are going to improve long term. The squad is unbalanced, it is short of legs and pace and it is no fluke they are in the bottom three.

 

I hope Alan has the desire to see this job through, because I believe he has Ashley's confidence. In my view, Alan is the first person really worthy of the Newcastle hot-seat since I left in 2004.

 

What he lacks in experience, he makes up for in knowledge about the club and, more importantly, his knowledge of the game in general and his ability to communicate that knowledge and make positive decisions.

 

I have watched in disbelief and near horror at some of the things that have gone on at Newcastle in the past year.

 

I feel sorry for Ashley - I just don't think he understood what the game was all about. He has done the right thing in giving Alan a chance and I can only hope it's not too late. I wish Alan every success at Anfield. My heart and head are with him.

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Guest Hova

Don't think he likes the keegster tbh, and I can understand it. I love the passion of Keegan and the way his teams play football. But his dummy-spitting is partially to blame for where we're at now, and people shouldn't overlook that simply because there's an overweight scapegoat who, although is to blame, is not completely at fault.

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More cheap digs from SBR at Keegan. Fnar.

 

Do they not get on?

I know Keegan was never a huge fan of Robson when he dropped him from the England squad without even telling him. That quote there about Shearer being the only one worthy for the job since he had is a load of hypercritical shite. I love SBR but there's no need for him to have another go at Keegan.

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Sacred cow or not, Robson can't half talk some shite.

 

None of these things were Ashley's fault, beyond the fact that he put the wrong people in the wrong positions and wrongly believed they knew what they were doing.

 

That's fault enough for me. His analysis also overlooks the glaringly obvious fact that the zero net spend over two seasons is solely down to Ashley.

 

I don't like SBR's needless swipes at KK, and I don't think they do him credit. Robson wouldn't have touched the club in the state it was when Keegan took it first time. And to call him 'yesterday's man' when he was seven years younger than Robson was when he took the job on himself is churlish. He's right about us signing shite players but anyone with a pair of eyes knows that, and he wasn't immune from signing shite himself either.

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More cheap digs from SBR at Keegan. Fnar.

 

Do they not get on?

I know Keegan was never a huge fan of Robson when he dropped him from the England squad without even telling him. That quote there about Shearer being the only one worthy for the job since he had is a load of hypercritical shite. I love SBR but there's no need for him to have another go at Keegan.

Maybe he knows something we dont. Keegan hasnt exactly covered himself in glory walking out on the club in its relegation year because of the T&Cs of his highly remunerative contract.

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the amount of people going nuts when it came out Keegan was on his way should have been a big enough hint that he was about to make a total cockup and should backtrack asap. (and this was months after everyone said "why is wise there")

 

Totally Ashley's fault, his ego/pride and friendships with wise and the boys got in the way and were paying the price for it

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More cheap digs from SBR at Keegan. Fnar.

 

 

More cheap digs from SBR at Keegan. Fnar.

 

Do they not get on?

I know Keegan was never a huge fan of Robson when he dropped him from the England squad without even telling him. That quote there about Shearer being the only one worthy for the job since he had is a load of hypercritical shite. I love SBR but there's no need for him to have another go at Keegan.

 

 

Sacred cow or not, Robson can't half talk some shite.

 

None of these things were Ashley's fault, beyond the fact that he put the wrong people in the wrong positions and wrongly believed they knew what they were doing.

 

That's fault enough for me. His analysis also overlooks the glaringly obvious fact that the zero net spend over two seasons is solely down to Ashley.

 

I don't like SBR's needless swipes at KK, and I don't think they do him credit. Robson wouldn't have touched the club in the state it was when Keegan took it first time. And to call him 'yesterday's man' when he was seven years younger than Robson was when he took the job on himself is churlish. He's right about us signing shite players but anyone with a pair of eyes knows that, and he wasn't immune from signing shite himself either.

 

 

I think there's clearly a touch of the handbags about Keegan and Robson. Not really needed in all honesty and to go to Old Trafford and get a well deserved point was clearly not a fluke. Keegan had us going in the right direction, I don't think there's any doubt about that.

 

 

I do still feel let down by Keegan though and Robson is entitled to his opinion but I don't think this article is his finest hour.

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He's wrong about Keegan and it was uncalled for, the "out of touch" Keegan had the fans starting to look forward again and had they backed him we'd have been fine.

 

He's partly right about Ashley, he did pick the wrong people and put his faith in them, however thats his job, to get the right men and if not to fire the wrong ones, so he is too blame, just not solely to blame.

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Drawing at Old Trafford on the first day of the season is not evidence of a club going in the right direction. I shouldnt need to explain why.

But the end of last season certainly showed we were heading in the right direction, as long as we had our key players fit. I still don't doubt we would be Top 10 or 12 with Keegan in charge.

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Drawing at Old Trafford on the first day of the season is not evidence of a club going in the right direction. I shouldnt need to explain why.

What would you say it WAS evidence of then?

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Guest alex

Not sure SBR would know what's going on and gone on between the owner and KK, etc. anyway. If he's heard anything straight from the horse's mouth I would suggest it'll be bullshit from Ashley. In any case I think the whole piece revolves around what is basically a thinly-veiled attack on the bloke who gave him the sack. I think saying Ashley isn't to blame is a rather ill-advised way of going about that though.

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