Mike Ashley 2 Newcastle Fans 0
Published: 21.11.11 / Written by: David Gold
Mike Ashley's decision to rename St. James' Park the Sports Direct Arena has divided Newcastle fans.
There are those who pay to watch the club and follow it, and then Ashley himself. Yet as has proven the case in the past, Ashley is likely to be proven right, even if he is in the minority of one.
Those Newcastle fans protesting at the stadium last week after its renaming would do well to learn from a man who has built up a huge sports brand. Indeed, in particular the one who presumably had no job yet had the time to go to Newcastle's ground and the money to have his face painted with white and black stripes should pay more attention to the club owner.
Newcastle have been relegated and promoted again quickly thanks to Ashley turning down poor suitors to take over his position, and ploughed millions into ensuring the club are now viable financially. They are now stable, where they were previously critical financially. And they are in the Champions League spots in the Premier League.
Ashley will once again ignore criticism and do what he wants; and will likely be right. The club's fans love to have a go when the times are bad, and reluctant to give credit when the times are good. Joey Barton had a go at them, so did Jose Enrique, yet they were both wrong. Most were wrong about Mike Ashley.
And so what if the stadium is renamed? It is an historic ground, yes, but this is the 21st century. Either they build a new stadium or they rename it to rake in revenues. The game is such that the search for revenues is crucial, and this will be a key stepping stone in that direction.
Newcastle fans will yell and express their indignation at the years of history lost, though the sceptic in me would question what history that was exactly, for a team which has not won a trophy in the lifetime of most of those alive today.
With Ashley at the helm, and some sound decision making, they can create something to call history, and actually win a trophy for once. Or the fans can push and push until he is gone, and consign themselves to another 60 years without winning anything. Don't hold your breath to find out which they'd prefer.
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