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Mike Ashley's Penny Finally Drops.


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After so much uncertainty over the last two years Mike Ashley is trying to ensure there is finally a sense of stability at St James' Park. Chief Sports Writer Luke Edwards hopes he is true to his word.

 

IT is, in Newcastle United terms, a most precious commodity. After years of disruption and uncertainty in both the boardroom and at the training ground, the Magpies may actually be able to plan for a new season without unwanted distraction.

 

An official club statement will be released later this week, but The Journal has already been told two things are certain this summer.

 

Chris Hughton is not going to be replaced as manager despite those who have so harshly suggested he is not a big enough name to lead the club in the Premier League.

 

Hughton has earned the chance to be a top-flight manager with deeds, not reputation. Everything he has done over the last 12 months should ensure he not only keeps his job, but is given the full backing of everyone associated with the club.

 

Bigger names and characters than he have tried and failed in the past and while only time will tell whether he can bring the sort of success a club the size and stature of Newcastle aspires to, he at least deserves the right to be given that time.

 

When Hughton took charge in pre-season last summer he literally did not know whether he was coming or going. Nobody did, but he still got the team into shape. He will hopefully benefit from the greater authority his permanent appointment has brought in both the transfer market and the various other areas of pre-season preparations.

 

The managerial situation seems to be clear, but Ashley’s relationship with the supporters remains a complicated one. Bridges have not been rebuilt as such, but at least they are no longer burning.

 

Perhaps the most significant development given the turmoil last summer is the news Ashley will not look to sell now that his business is a far more attractive proposition as a Premier League outfit.

 

This should perhaps be clarified to an extent. Newcastle United are not up for sale, but that does not mean they will not be sold in the future.

 

As with any business, if an offer comes in that is too good to turn, Ashley will cash in. But that should not be seen as a hindrance. That is merely the stark reality at every football club up and down the country.

 

The key thing is, unlike last year, there will be some sense of forward planning and at least some semblance of working towards long-term targets and objectives.

 

This may just seem like common sense and it is, but that does not mean it has always existed at Newcastle United. Signings have been knee jerk, managers have been undermined knowingly and unwittingly by those above them and at its worst, there has been a complete power vacuum as we saw when Ashley tried to cut his losses and run after relegation.

 

There has been some speculation that Ashley (pictured right) would immediately look to sell at a much higher asking price as soon as Newcastle’s return to the top flight was confirmed, but this has been firmly denied by senior United officials.

 

The mood inside St James’ Park is said to be one of optimism and excitement at what the future may bring as talk once again focuses on bringing sustainable success to the club.

 

Ashley initially had a five-year plan when he took control of the Magpies, but that plan was shredded as soon as the disaster of relegation engulfed him.

 

However, the principles of that plan remain in place, The Journal understands. There will be a focus on signing players who have the chance to develop at Newcastle, increasing their sell on value in the process and, while reports of a £15,000-a-week wage cap are erroneous, the days of vast wage packets being dished out to senior stars are over for the foreseeable.

 

There is a new prudence in the club’s transfer policy, but the ambition to one day return to European competition remains. There is a recognition this will have to be done gradually, step by step, not through showbiz signings and extravagant gambling in the transfer market.

 

Hughton will retain full control of transfers, in and out, although it remains to be seen how much of a budget he can lay his hands on.

 

Estimates vary between £10-30m but that is all it is, guesswork. Nobody at Newcastle is willing to talk about money or the size of any transfer kitty.

 

The forthcoming statement is unlikely to satisfy everyone at Toontastic and until we can assess the quality of any new recruits when the transfer window shuts at the end of August, we do not know whether Ashley really does understand top-flight survival cannot be done on the cheap.

 

But the indication is the sport retail magnate is committed to the club, a successful promotion campaign rekindling his passion for things just as it has dampened the hostility towards him.

 

Ashley has been given another chance – he failed to take the second one the appointment of Alan Shearer gave him at the end of last season – but he still has to prove he can make the most of it.

 

Scars remain and wounds can easily be re-opened. Some care and attention is definitely needed, although one thing is certain – it is going to be another fascinating summer.

 

 

Nothing to pop champagne corks over but a stability statement is very welcome and can only help in our attempts to attract players to the club.

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Nothing to pop champagne corks over but a stability statement is very welcome and can only help in our attempts to attract players to the club.

 

So it's a statement that basically says nothing? Well I'm placated.

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Wish we could replace this mug with a fake tree and only bring it out in time for Christmas.

 

Worthless article too. "There'll be a statement but it won't talk about anything important and we don't know when it'll occur." Aye, get on.

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End of the week? :o

 

Ashley and Luke Edwards are still taking the likes of you for fools CT. If we spend £30m this summer I'll book a place in Fenwicks window :unsure:

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....

 

The forthcoming statement is unlikely to satisfy everyone at Toontastic and until we can assess the quality of any new recruits when the transfer window shuts at the end of August, we do not know whether Ashley really does understand top-flight survival cannot be done on the cheap.

....

 

 

Er

 

Either CT is fucking up the quote function, or we're getting name checks in the Journal?

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