‘The cat that ate the canary’
A phrase meaning ‘A person who appears self-satisfied or smug, especially while concealing something mischievous or hidden.’ Many of the words in that definition ring true as criticisms of Mike Ashley’s Newcastle. Over the past few years, much has been made of his ability to be a shrewd businessman who runs his interests using methods which fanfare as self-sustaining but at the same time yield a significant profit. This much is as true of Newcastle United and the regime in charge of the club has been very self-satisfied in conveying this message.
Mischief however, or more aptly accusations of deception and controversy, are never far from this regime either; many fans of our club literally calling ‘Ashley Out’ on what they believe to be personal business motives that place the club and its success a trivial second.
Placing the club in this position subsequently has also tied the fans and indeed the team itself to this fate, and this is where all the bluster of self-congratulation and empty rhetoric weakens; as the current season lays bare the reality of what the hierarchy at the club have actually achieved.
A season in which much was made of an ‘investment’ of £50M in the summer, now continues with Newcastle in the relegation zone and hosting a Norwich side with a point to prove in the Premier League this season. Promoted last year through an injection of passion, pride and belief; the canaries have shown ‘established Premier League clubs’ above them such as Newcastle what it means to fight for a place amongst the elite of the English game. Twice relegated Leicester and a scrappy Bournemouth are doing likewise. Those 3 qualities are the true investment that fans of Newcastle United want: pride, belief, passion and a nurture of the clubs interests – including the financial backing that comes with that, year on year. It is their hard-earned money that has done much to help sustain the self-congratulatory policies of the club – ones that are repeatedly bearing no fruit. This is without considering the role of the current manager or the approach to any other competitions such as the cups. It’s our money but the Newcastle fatcats’ continued mistakes.
So now we look to our game against Norwich before the derby as one of the biggest of the season. Whilst there has been over a weeks-worth of time to prepare this international break we hope that Steve McClaren can conjure these qualities from somewhere – we wait with baited breath. Though the fatcats stumble on we hope that the canaries are silenced on Sunday and that a win in the spotlight of ten games is forthcoming.
Pride in our team, belief in our club and passion for its progress; it’s all fans ask for at such a crucial time. We’ll back that to the hilt but in the chaotic cage of our club, empty words and emptier action mean little to us Mags when the song remains the same.
Howay the lads!