Is the News of the World Doing Mike Ashley’s PR Now?By: Daryl | September 8th, 2008
Newcastle’s big-boned billionaire owner Mike Ashley is in need of some positive public relations, and no doubt about it. Just look at that banner the Newcastel fans are holding. Not a great pun, but their feelings are clear. To be a billionaire owner and a fan of the club and still be unpopular is quite the dubious achivement.
Ashley’s gone from Geordie saviour to hate figure with some odd decisions: giving Dennis Wise a suit and tie job, downing a pint at Arsenal (and then claiming it was non-alcoholic) and the absolutely bizarre three day protracted resignation of Kevin Keegan.
Luckily for Ashley, scandal-loving Sunday red top News of the World was ready to step in and tell his story, even though it didn’t (as far as we know) involve any kinky sex, Class A drugs or illegitimate offspring.
According to a story published yesterday, titled The Madness of King Kevin Keegan (see what they did there?) Mike Ashley is a wise and patient man with big plans for the long term future of the club, while Kevin Keegan is a raving lunatic.
NotW spoke to “One highly placed Newcastle source” (meaning Ashley himself or one of his underlings) who basically did everything possible to try and turn Newcastle fans against the now ex-manager and paint Ashley and friends as Newcastle heroes.
Here are a few choice excerpts:
Doubts over Keegan’s coaching ability and tactical prowess had surfaced just a few months into his return.
Billionaire owner Mike Ashley had given the Toon Army what they demanded after the sacking of Sam Allardyce even though Keegan had been a virtual recluse for three years following his exit from Manchester City. Three years without seeing a live game of football meant Ashley was taking a leap into the unknown but throughout his life, he has always been prepared to take risks.
What a brave soul that Mike Ashley is. Hiring a manager he didn’t trust, just to try and get on the Toon Army’s good side.
A desperate start where Newcastle could barely buy a goal let alone a win prompted a series of crisis meetings within St James’ Park. The name of Terry Venables as a fire fighter alongside Keegan was mooted.
Ashley, though, had faith in his appointment and opted not to take panic measures. That faith was repaid as Keegan steadied the ship and brought a sense of confidence to the dressing room.
And he was so loyal! (/sarcasm)
“We wanted him to use his expertise to spot the next Dimitar Berbatov or Cesc Fabregas but it just seemed like he didn’t know any young talent at all, only established mega-stars.
You hired Kevin Keegan to be a youth football scout? Have you ever met Kevin Keegan?
And a club that wants to be a home to the next generation of superstars doesn’t sell James Milner for the quick easy money and bring in (with all due respect to Xisco) a dodgy Spaniard.
There’s no doubt the Newcastle board are looking to enhance their standing with fans by damaging Keegan’s reputation. Check out this official statement on the club’s website:
The Newcastle board’s campaign against Keegan is doomed to failure. He’s the Geordie Messiah after all, and I don’t see the Toon Army ever forgiving Mike Ashley.