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The Decline of Newcastle United

Newcastle United supporters are praying for a brighter future and have been for some time.

Newcastle United is one of the most famous clubs in England, for good reason too, having won the FA Cup six times in their history. Newcastle not only had success in the domestic cups but also in the league, winning the First Division title four times.

The club have had some fantastic players over the years with the likes of Alan Shearer, Jackie Milburn, Kevin Keegan, Peter Beardlsey, Gary Speed, Rob Lee, and Andy Cole to name a few. All found success at St James’ Park. Of course, every club has ups and downs throughout the years. However, there is a reason why Newcastle fans say supporting the club is like a roller coaster ride.

Over the last decade the club has endured a torrid time due to the lack of interest from owner Mike Ashley. The club now finds itself on its knees with nowhere to turn. Eleven years of lack of investment has taken its toll on the club and its fans. Like any business, if a football club is not invested in or cared for, it will crumble.

In August 2004, the decline began. The wrongful sacking of Sir Bobby Robson would lead to years which were mainly filled with pain. Robson knew what the club and fans needed having grown up in the area. Similar to Kevin Keegan in that Robson had an emotional attachment to Newcastle United. The former Barcelona manager turned the club around when he was appointed during the 1999/2000 season, the club were languishing at the bottom of the league. Robson immediately identified the problems the team was facing while willing them to reach an FA Cup semi-final and stay in the Premier League.

Newcastle United needed to keep their faith in Robson, he had given so much to the club, when the time was right he would have stepped aside. The club missed a trick when they sacked Robson. The board should have asked if he would identify his successor and make sure he knew what the values of the club were; what the club means to the city and the fans. Instead the club opted to sack Robson and replace him with Graeme Souness. He was in charge for just 78 games. Robson had brought a much needed sense of stability that, since Robson’s sacking, Newcastle chopped and changed, resulting in 10 permanent managers coming and going since 2004.

In 2007, Mike Ashley bought the club. He had no experience of running a football club which has shown through the years. Ashley never learns from previous mistakes resulting in the club and the fans suffering as a result. The Sports Direct owner has drained all the money from the club and has no interest of investing in it. Newcastle United is stagnating, sleepwalking into oblivion with nobody to blame but Mike Ashley.

The only shining light over the last few years has been Rafael Benitez, a man who has similarities to Sir Bobby Robson. He understands the club and see its potential. However, Benitez’s contract will expire in the summer, an extension has been offered but the Spaniard wants assurances from the club that he will receive the backing needed to take the club forward. Those assurances are yet to be met.

Newcastle are in a black hole under Mike Ashley. The owner has said he is willing to sell the club and is trying hard to do so. Ashley has been trying to sell the club for a decade, that tells you he is doing something very wrong. His PR train continues to trudge along the tracks, with the majority of Newcastle fans now immune to the statements that are thrown out each year.

Newcastle are staring down the barrel of a third relegation on Ashley’s watch. The club value will decrease dramatically if that happens. Ashley would have to invest in the club or see it decline even further. After eleven years of torture, you can bet your mortgage on Ashley choosing the latter.