Mike Ashley has taken a lot of stick for failing to have ambitions beyond keeping Newcastle in the Premier League, so it’s easy to see why the fans are getting fed up.
They tend to go out of the cup competitions at an early stage and the brand of football on display has rarely been exciting, so it does get to the point where the club looks purely like a business and almost all of the joy has been sucked out of it.
One shining light has been French star Allan Saint-Maximin – he’s incredibly fun to watch and he looks like a genuinely top class player, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him sign a new contract earlier in the season.
Obviously he’s only going to stick around if Newcastle actually show some ambition on the pitch and if he’s having fun, so it’s interesting to read a report from The Mag where they’ve looked at the huge difference in comments from Saint-Maximin and the manager.
They looked at some comments from the player around the time of his new contract, and it’s obvious that he has ambitions to play at the highest level:
“The club has a lot of ambitions and everyone has followed the news around Newcastle in particular with the possible takeover which was ultimately not possible, compared to the Premier League. There are a lot of big investors trying to buy the club. We also have a president who invests a lot of money in order to strengthen the team and continue the development.
“For my part, everything will depend on this development. If the club is developing well and it is in line with my ambitions, staying is a possibility. If things don’t turn out like that, obviously the question of leaving will arise.”
That has to be encouraging for the fans because he clearly wants to fulfil those ambitions with Newcastle and he feels that it’s a possibility, but it’s becoming clear that Steve Bruce doesn’t have such lofty ambitions.
Some of his comments are a million miles away from what the Frenchman said, so it does make you wonder if that question of leaving may arise sooner than expected:
“Look, I have said from day one it [progress, playing more attacking football etc] won’t happen overnight [at Newcastle United].
“My remit is to keep this magnificent club in this [Premier League] division. Hopefully we can do enough and shut a few people up.”
That has to be worrying for the fans for multiple reasons, but you have to worry that they’ll struggle to attract or retain great players if that attitude doesn’t change.