Rio Ferdinand has evoked the ire of Newcastle fans following his latest defence of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.
What’s the story?
The pundit and ex-Manchester United, Leeds and QPR bulwark has urged Newcastle supporters to ‘round up their money and take over the club’ if they are unhappy with owner Mike Ashley.
Ashley has overseen a period of turbulence, decline and precarious bouncing-back littered with relegations and bottom-end dogfights in the Premier League.
Prior to his 2007 buyout of the Tyneside club, Newcastle fans will fondly remember an altogether different epoch for the club in which the Magpies were stalwarts of European football.
Instead of looking tentatively over their shoulder, Newcastle fans would be looking up the table looking to disrupt the traditional giants of club football.
Consequentially, fans were baffled when Ferdinand told Newcastle fans to effectively take a ‘put up or shut up’ approach when it came to airing their grievances on his YouTube channel [via the Daily Star].
“It’s his club and he’s doing what he wants to do and what he thinks is right,” Ferdinand said.
“Whether you like it or not, he’s the one that’s put the money up and he’s doing what he thinks is right for the club.
“Whether the Geordies like it or not… a lot of them hate him and don’t like him but round your money up and take over the club then.”
His 2019 comments echo similar sentiments [via the Daily Star]:
“All these fans, they do dream, and they dream big and I understand that.
“What are Newcastle’s aims? They can’t be aiming at being a Manchester United or a Manchester City. They’ve got to aim to be a Bournemouth.
“They’ve only just started spending. I’m not saying everything they’re doing is correct.
“What I’m saying is, I think Mike Ashley, you can’t hammer him and say that he should be spending when he wants to sell the club. You wouldn’t spend on your house when you want to sell it.”
Do Newcastle fans really expect too much?
Above all, it seems fans just want a break from an ownership playing fast and loose with the future of the club.
A reluctance to listen to player and fan concerns over Steve Bruce’s future is merely the icing on the stale cake of a history of vexation-inducing mediocrity.
A return to eye-catching football, tactical nous and much wiser recruitment are just some aspects that the club would benefit from. It is hardly an unreasonable set of expectations.