What we learned this week: Mike Ashley is England’s most responsible owner

By George AnkersMike Ashley is the most responsible owner in England

There are things in football with which WWLTW is not comfortable. Modern ticket prices, Manchester United’s gingham home kit and Jason Wilcox once having lined up for England against Zinedine Zidane are among the offenders.

But the bizarre rehabilitation of Mike Ashley is one that just does not sit right.

Life was easier when the Newcastle owner was a flat-out madman. In his early days, the good old times of 2007-08, you would see Ashley in the stands with supporters, the only difference being that his replica shirt stayed (almost) always on. You could spot him chugging his beer and grinning like a stoned puppy. It was profoundly silly.

He hired the Toon’s most enduring icon, Kevin Keegan, to bring the fun back to St James’ Park. Then he hired Dennis Wise to basically just kick said icon in the ankles until he left. Then he changed the name of St James’ Park for good measure. To an email address.

Now, though, WWLTW does not know what to think. Over recent seasons, evidence is mounting that Ashley might actually know what he is doing.

What Manchester United fans learned this week…
Tom Cleverley is AWFUL! Terrible footballer – overrated, overhyped! England’s future? HAH! Did you SEE that miss against Newcastle?

Er, hang on. One half-time hairdryer later…

Tom Cleverley is AMAZING! England’s No.10! Did you SEE that finish against Newcastle?


Relegations are not supposed to wake mad owners up (just ask Blackburn, who are rightly following through on their lunacy) but the Magpies have come back up rejuvenated – and a stellar couple of years have been rewarded with an EIGHT-YEAR contract for Alan Pardew and his staff.

So suddenly, having first assembled a backroom team who can identify bargain talent and mould them into an attractive, successful side, Ashley has demonstrated a commitment to patience rarely seen in the Premier League.

The deal in itself might end up just being a way to bleed compensation out of anyone who comes sniffing for Pardew – but WWLTW likes to see it as a refreshing acknowledgement that stability is a necessity in football.

Ashley being Ashley, though, this column just assumes that the whole business has been done with a view to doing something utterly stupid. WWLTW is cowering, covering its sensitive body parts, closing its eyes and bracing for a punch that may never come – and that would be scarier than any beating.

Photo of the week

A Black Cat won’t change its spots

Some people, however, never change. Congratulations and thank you to Sunderland captain – captain! – Lee Cattermole, who proved that a Black Cat can’t change its spots when he got himself sent off yet again this week.

The midfielder is still one game shy of his 80th for the north-east outfit but his dismissal against MK Dons on Tuesday was already his fifth. That’s five sendings-off. And that’s just at one club! It is a record of which even world-standard referee-botherer Sergio Ramos would be proud.

Martin O’Neill finally gave the elephant in the room a gentle prod when he admitted after the League Cup win that Cattermole will have to address his disciplinary problems. Now it is just a case of waiting to see whether the elephant will slide in on him two-footed for his troubles.

If you are reading, Lee, WWLTW thanks you. It salutes you. Please, keep on doing what you are doing. Get those studs out. Pull those shirts. Hit people with frying pans.

In a world now stalked by worrying changes like the creeping credibility of Mike Ashley, football needs a constant. Be our rock, Lee Cattermole. Do not ever change.

Goal.com will jinx your club

Oops. Sorry, Everton. Our bad. Just hours after Goal.com published a fine piece on how the League Cup could provide David Moyes with the silverware that he deserves, the Toffees were Neil Warnocked out of the competition by Leeds.

Bad news for the blue half of Merseyside, of course, but great news for WWLTW – for it is clear that this hallowed website has the power to curse anyone to failure with the right dosage of praise and fate-tempting.

This provides a wonderful opportunity for WWLTW to fulfil its agenda. Yes, that’s right! You in the comments box were right all along. WWLTW has an agenda. It was biased all along. This column hates your club. It always has. Everything it writes is aimed squarely at the undermining and destabilisation of your favourite group of ball-kickers.

So allow this column to hereby use glowing endorsements to maliciously curse the following teams and players to disaster this weekend:

Arsenal! Such a well-run club. They should be applauded for their good business sense and deserve to beat Chelsea. That said, the Blues are building a strong modern tradition of success and integrity and WWLTW would see a victory for them on Saturday as a fitting continuation.

Moyes, as previously written, has earned some glory so let’s hope they beat Southampton – but, mind you, those plucky southerners play the game the right way, don’t they? Three points all round, please!

Fulham – what a lovely ground and happy atmosphere! Manchester City – ambitious winners, not mercenaries! Norwich City – could do with a break post-Paul Lambert! Liverpool – so proud and historic!

Reading, Newcastle, Stoke City, Swansea City – all charming clubs who merit the greatest of fortunes! Sunderland, Wigan, Aston Villa, West Brom – definitely don’t wish any harm on them! QPR and West Ham – the ideal to which other clubs should aspire!

Tottenham – you prove the doubters wrong, Andre Villas-Boas! Manchester United – never mind the Glazers, a win this weekend would be fitting, probably, somehow!

Rangers! Celtic! Real Madrid! Barcelona! WWLTW HATES LOVES YOU ALL!

Ahem. That should cover it. If your club was left out – never fear, WWLTW is biased against you too. Bad luck.

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