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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Believe it or not, a lot of Newcastle United fans were philosophical about their relegation at the end of last season. They recognised that you cannot run a football club as appallingly as Freddie Shepherd and Mike Ashley had without inviting serious consequences into your frontroom for dinner. They welcomed the fact that they would be competing in a league where you didn't have to be a fantasist to envisage finishing first and, perhaps most of all, they felt that if this was rock bottom, then the only way was up. There was just one minor problem. It wasn't rock bottom.

Ananda Krishnan's denial that he is closing in on a move for the beleagured Geordies rather begs the question, well if he isn't, then who is? And why aren't they getting a move on? The longer that this transaction takes, the more the asset diminishes. Far from being ready for a swift return to the top flight, Newcastle aren't even prepared for a season in the second. If the club continues to stagnate in the summer months, they'll be facing another relegation battle.

Rumours of a player revolt are rife on Tyneside. A number of senior professionals have indicated that they will hand in transfer requests en masse if Alan Shearer isn't appointed as manager by the end of next week. They have run out of patience with the lack of structure at the club. Poor old Chris Hughton, in what may be his 17th spell as caretaker manager, has been left to put out cones for the second week of pre-season training. Hughton is a good coach and a decent man, but he's not the person you want overseeing a vital campaign. The lack of authority at the club is clear. David Edgar, a Canadian defender who had grown up with the club, ended up accepting a deal with Burnley and club officials only discovered he'd gone when they saw it on the news.

Krishnan was the kind of figure who would have given the fans hope, mainly because he has a wallet as big as Mark Viduka's backside. He would have been able to absorb the club's high wages, invest in a new structure and attract better players. Will Profitable Group offer that kind of clout? Will this other mysterious Malaysian group? Will Shepherd? No-one knows and it's getting frustrating. Season tickets aren't being renewed, the squad isn't being rebuilt and money continues to bleed out of the club.

Newcastle United needed to be punished for the way in which they had conducted themselves in the five years since Shepherd inexplicably sacked Sir Bobby Robson. They needed to be taught that you can't just keep sacking managers, you can't spend money you haven't got on a new striker every season and you can't appoint spikey young lower league managers to oversee the transfer policy of the former England boss. They needed this period of humility if they were ever to move forward. But the punishment is beginning to outweigh the crime. If Krishnan isn't going to buy Newcastle, then can someone else please hurry up and do it instead?

Rock bottom? They're not even close.
David Edgar, a Canadian defender who had grown up with the club, ended up accepting a deal with Burnley and club officials only discovered he'd gone when they saw it on the news.

Mike Ashley is sat at home watching the telly. He decides to flip it over to Sky Sports News quickly before dinner.

SSN Reporter: And as you can see at the bottom of the screen, David Edgar has today moved to Burnley on a bosman...

Mike stares in shock and astonishment before snatching up the phone.

Mike: Freddie? Have you seen the news? David Edgar just signed for Burney!

Freddie: Our David? Little David Edgar?!

Mike: Yeah!

Freddie: Well when the bloody hell did that happen!?!

Mike: Good question, let me ring David and find out.

I feel sorry for the players and coaches. The board, however...