Fans hit out at Magpies board

BY foxsports • November 10, 2011

Mark Jensen, editor of fanzine The Mag, insists owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias should have been building on the feelgood factor established by an 11-game unbeaten start to the Premier League season, which has left the Magpies sitting in third place in the table, rather than dropping the bombshell they did early this morning. He said: "What the club has done just reinforces what everyone has thought about them, that no matter what strides the likes of Alan Pardew and the players might take on the pitch, there is always something from above that undermines everything. "It's no coincidence that they have performed a typical politician's trick and waited until things are going well to slip in something like this on the back of a cut-price season ticket deal which has filled the empty seats. It's quite cynical. "It showed when Keegan was here the first time as a manager that when you start a bandwagon rolling at Newcastle like he did, it's a pretty powerful force. "They should have been spending these two weeks really reinforcing the feelgood factor." Llambias has insisted selling the naming rights is essential if the club is to maximise its potential revenue streams in a tough financial climate. However, Jensen is not convinced the proposal will do that. He said: "Unfortunately, the writing is on the wall. The shirt deal is up at the end of the season and I don't think anybody would be surprised if we ended up with the ground as the Sports Direct Arena and Sports Direct as the shirt sponsor. "As it stands today, this announcement has brought no extra money into the club, but they have seriously annoyed a large proportion of their fan base. "Maybe now people who were thinking of buying a shirt or whatever from the club shop will think, 'Right, I'm not doing that'. "Certainly in the short-term, the only person who is benefiting is Mike Ashley and Sports Direct. "They are claiming this will help to attract a sponsor - I just don't buy that because with what's gone on in the past, Newcastle United and the Sports Direct brand is a mixture that does not send a positive message. "Every club which has had its ground named after a sponsor tends to be a new ground, or in Manchester City's case, it's going to bring in massive amounts of money. "This seems to me to be all stick and no carrot." Newcastle do not play at home again until Chelsea arrive on Tyneside on December 3, and while Jensen is expecting the fans to support Pardew and his players as fervently as ever, the mood is likely to be ugly. He said: "People will continue to support the players on the pitch as they have always done no matter what the circumstances. "But this will just reinforce the belief that Mike Ashley isn't running the club for all the right reasons. "It's a very strange way to run a big business which happens to be a football club. I think there are much better ways of maximising the potential revenue than turning their fan-base against them."

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