If the past few days have taught us anything, it’s that a number of football club owners don’t care about their fans. If you are just waking up to this rather obvious fact, spare a thought for Newcastle fans, many of whom have known this for years.
In 2007, when Mike Ashley paid approximately £135 million to purchase Newcastle United, there was a hope of a brighter future. Was Mike Ashley football’s answer to Jesus Christ?
14 years later, the answer is most definitely no. Ashley promised heaven, instead he delivered hell. Anticipation has been replaced by deflation, trepidation, and irritation.
Calling Mike Ashley inept, as the Financial Times have, doesn’t quite do him the justice (or injustice) he deserves. No, Ashley has run the club in such a chaotic and self-abasing manner that one wonders if he is a masochist. Then again, he has embarrassed Newcastle fans as much as himself, so perhaps he is a sadist. Is it possible that he’s both? Is Mike Ashley a sadomasochist?
For legal reasons, I can only ask the question, merely answering affirmatively in my head.
For the uninitiated, sadomasochism involves the derivation of sexual gratification from the infliction of pain or humiliation either on oneself or other people. Again, for legal reasons, when it comes to Ashley and the derivation of sexual gratification, I can only ask the question.
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Sexual gratification aside, one can’t help but think Ashley gets a kick from infuriating Newcastle fans. From his horrendous treatment of Rafa Benitez, one of the greatest managers in the club’s storied history, to the appointment of Steve Bruce, the club’s current manager, Ashley also appears to enjoy punishing himself.
When it comes to defining sadomasochism, it’s important to note that there’s no clear division between the concepts of sadism and masochism. The predispositions are as interchangeable as Newcastle United’s managerial appointments. Glen Roeder, Nigel Pearson, Chris Hughton, Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear, Alan Shearer, Alan Pardew, John Carver (yes, John Carver), Steve McClaren, Rafa Benitez, and Steve Bruce – all of these managers have been appointed under Ashley’s stewardship, if you can call it stewardship.
Newcastle United appear to be safe from relegation, but the threat to the club is very much existential in nature. As long as Mike Ashley continues to run Newcastle United FC, the world will look on and laugh as he inflicts more punishment on himself and the fans. Is Mike Ashley enjoying himself? For legal reasons, I can only ask the question.