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It's time someone stood up to Ashley.

Byline: FOOTBALL ROB LEE

IF NEWCASTLE United was a normal football club there would be a change of manager.

We are some way from being aare some way from being a W normal club.

If anyone else but Mike Ashley was in charge, they would see that a change of philosophy was urgently required and that he needed to hire someone who would tell him directly what was going wrong, and what needed to be done.

That is not going to happen. I think we all know that.

For years, Ashley has decided the age, pay grade and transfer fee of the players.

He has failed to properly strengthen. He's bought cheap and sold them on for a fee, allowing players to use Newcastle as a stepping stone.

And it's come back to bite him on the backside.

Newcastle have just about got away with this philosophy for the past few years. Not any more. We W have allowed too much quality to go and not replaced them adequately.

And this is why we are bottom of the table, the fans are up in arms and we are in for a long, hard season.

Oh, and relegation is being spoken about after just four games. What a mess. I am struggling to Wfind light at the end of the tunnel.

Ashley might dig in his heels and stick with Pardew. We W never know what he's thinking so he could stick with him, even if the fans are calling for his head.

And while I have been a critic of Pardew, it's hardly all his fault.

He has had to work under Ashley's strict restrictions, as would any possible replacement. Which makes W me wonder who we would get if Pardew does go.

Imagine you are David Moyes and you get a call from Newcastle.

We are a huge club, aare a huge club, a W great club, it's still in so many ways a wonderful job and he is out of work. So what would the problem be? Well, the problem is that W would Moyes or someone of his ilk put up with being told they couldn't sign anyone over the age of 26? I don't think so.

Ashley is the manager. He would be looking for a coach to get the best out of those players. But the players aren't good enough. That's the biggest problem.

I warned them not to rely on young, foreign players. Some never get used to the pace of the Premier League.

Some do get up to speed, but they need time to do so.

Newcastle don't have any time.

When the W chips are down, you need people to stand up and be counted. You need leaders. I can't see where that is coming from within the squad.

We have lost W one first-team player through injury, Siem de Jong, and Rolando Aarons as well, a kid who was a bonus for a few games.

That's just two players, one of whom wasn't supposed to play that much, and the squad is decimated.

What we need is a manwe need is a manW -ager who will walk into Ashley's office, look him straight in the face and tell him that the club needs changing from top to bottom.

A strong manager who won't put up with the restrictions. Who will W actually say to the owner that he's wrong.

But Ashley doesn't like to be spoken to like that. So he will get in a yes man. The last thing we need.

I have used this column time and again to make the point that the club were flirting with disaster with their transfer policy.

And now we are staring at a long, hard season.

They could, perhaps should, change the manager. But what real effect will that have? I can't blame the supporters for being angry. Our next three games - Hull City, Stoke and Swansea - now look really difficult.

If we are still bottom after these next three fixtures - and by the way we've hardly been given the most difficult start - we are in big trouble.

We are relying on a lot of foreign W players to bale us out when what we need is a core of British lads who know what it is to roll up the sleeves.

I can only guess what Ashley is thinking and what he's going to do next.

Nobody knows what is going through his head.

But the club is not run properly and someone needs to tell him that.

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and (below) manager Alan Pardew
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2014
Words:769
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