Mike Ashley is trolling the Newcastle United supporters. There is no other way to spin it. Unfortunately, unlike trolling's internet cousin it is very real, and it is supremely premeditated. Having followed and put together the daily links posts, I can safely say that midweek of the first week in a two-week break is a lull in both news stories and people's attention. It helps that the Europa League is starting back up and the Mancs are all involved (many eyes diverted/distracted). In typical Mike Ashley style, he has let the furor over his last smack in the face to the supporters and the town of Newcastle die down, waited for a lull in the scheduling of the Premier League and decided to complete the most massive troll of all time.
It must've gone down something like this:
The time: Probably about 1 week
The place: High atop Sports Direct Towers
MA: Derek, I'm bored. Sports Direct is set to dump millions of more £s into my pocket. I've acquired more small potatoes online sportswear distributors, and I've taken my helicopter for a ride.
DL: Hm... yes. I could see how you might tire of the mundane activities of making millions. So tiresome. Surely there must be some way for you to get some cheap, easy kicks. Perhaps you can perform a strip tease at a karaoke party?
MA: (sharp intake of breath) No... well... no. No. It felt as though that little transgression lived in the press forever. Perhaps we can push this whole Harry Reknapp for England rumor so that I might profit more at my stores?
DL: (contemplates for a short time) You know, the last time I got really bored, I ran smack on some of the heroes of the peasants that support our mighty empire.
MA: (nods slowly) Yes... I remember that. It really got the rabble's panties in a twist. (considers further) But... I'm thinking... something bigger. I need to be entertained!
(an uncomfortable silence settles on the room)
DL: (offering hopefully) Perhaps you could sell their Demba Ba. I never rated him anyway. He's surely no Xisco. They're still not over how we snuck that Carrololol kid out of here last January.
MA: (boxes Llambias' ear) You twit! The transfer window is closed! It will be MONTHS before we could do anything like that. . . although. . . you may be on to something. We shall have to file that idea away for a rainy day over the summer!
DL: (sniveling) Yes, my liege.
MA: (developing a Grinch-style smile) Yesss..... Yes of course! I have not completed the transofrmation of their beloved "St. James' Park" (spits for effect) into the Sports Direct Arena!! Muahahahahahahaha!!!
DL: (joining in the maniacal laughter) Muahahahaha!! Yes, my liege! This is truly the most delightful of ideas! It is a long break in the scheduling of the Sports Direct Football Club... that quaint second-tier European competition is starting back up... Noone will be watching!
MA: (eyes gleaming with conviction in his own genius) We will do it now... it will get minimum press. The rabble will be pissed now, but be ready to pour their money into my pockets by the time the next match rolls around! Derek! Make it so!
DL: (oozing out of the room, muttering under his breath) chortle chortle... this is going to be excellent. So enjoyable... yuk yuk.
At least that's what I assume it would have sounded like. It had to have. Mike. You are capitalizing on an entire city's love for the football club you purchased. I know it must be bizarre to you that the people of Newcastle (and Geordies around the world) will continue to spend their money still to support their club no matter what you do. The club and the Geordie spirit and inextricable. That doesn't mean that you have to keep pushing. It just doesn't. We love the Toon, and will support them until we die. That is not license for you to take it upon yourself to destroy 120 years of history. It has always been St. James' Park. It will always BE St. James' Park. No matter what you smear all over the facade of the building, it will always be St. James' Park, so stop it. Just stop. The club is not getting closer to the promised windfall from this ridiculous enterprise. So stop. You're just mocking those people that are keeping the club that you own moving forward. You have done a massive amount of good. Why must you act out so? Just don't do it. When feelings are mending, just let them. There is no need to keep peeling of scabs if not for your own sadistic joy. So I implore you.
Just stop it.