'Newcastle have been sold down the River Tyne'

BT Sport columnist Mike Calvin claims the Magpies are a 'pointless club' as Mike Ashley sacrifices tradition for profit.
  • Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear
    Mike Calvin
    Last updated: 03 February 2014, 10:45 GMT

    When there is no ambition, there is no hope. When there is no hope, there is no point.

    When there is no point, there is only anger, disillusion and, most damagingly, disinterest.

    At least they still care about Newcastle United, who can lay claim to the unwanted title of the most pointless club in the Premier League.

    Before the avenging angels soar southwards, from the North East, I’d better make one thing clear.

    There is nothing futile about the frustration Newcastle fans felt in that all-too predictable derby defeat by Sunderland.

    Their passion is traditional, understandable and admirable. Yet it, too, is pointless because it is never going to be reciprocated by the men who are shaping club strategy.

    No player of the highest quality, who harbours the sort of ambitions which define the biggest clubs, will consider joining."

    Owner Mike Ashley has become unfeasibly rich by selling plastic training shoes and a range of low-quality sports equipment. He will become even richer if he finds a buyer for the great football club he has sold down the River Tyne.

    If Joe Kinnear, his so-called Director of Football, had a shred of self-awareness or self-worth he would not be sustaining the charade of his credibility.

    Both men were, of course, nowhere to be seen when the consequences of cashing in were crystallised by the meekness of Saturday’s submission to the Mackems.

    In their world, they’d done their job. They had made a 500% profit on Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle’s best and most complete player. Trebles all round, geezer.

    Ashley and his pathetic band of apologists, whose response to anyone who questions their wisdom is to ban them from the premises, are smug, complacent and cheap.

    Sacrificing collective pride and traducing tradition? Small earthquake on the Gallowgate, not many hurt. The locals will get over it, in time.

    But will they? As an outsider who believes in Sir Bobby Robson’s ethos of a football club as a fanfare for the common man, I hope so.

    But the cumulative damage inflicted by a policy in which the only aim is profitable mediocrity will be severe.

    There will be a reckoning. The season stretches ahead, like a grey void. Relegation is an unrealistic possibility, and the booby prize of Europa League qualification is not worth fighting for.

    No player of the highest quality, who harbours the sort of ambitions which define the biggest clubs, will consider joining. It would not be the greatest surprise if Alan Pardew finds alternative employment.

    No pride, no drive, no faith.

    Mike Calvin
    Last updated: 03 February 2014, 10:45 GMT

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