After near radio silence from Mike Ashley, the noise from Newcastle United’s owner is suddenly crackly and unclear.
Ashley is unwilling to talk about his intentions at United , but has he sent close pal Dennis Wise into bat for him instead?
Certainly that is the conclusion of the majority of Toon fans at the moment, with former Sky Sports anchorman Richard Keys also happy to give him a leg up.
Wise’s weekend outburst was supported by Keys saying: “You speak with authority because you worked with Ashley and ran the club.”
Let’s face facts, it wasn’t a good idea to bring in Wise back in 2008 as transfer chief and if Newcastle want to get out their message he certainly isn’t the man to be directing delicate political messages now.
The reality is that Wise’s comments, if anything, are goading a frustrated fan base.
Why is this happening at all?
What is the message that is trying to be transmitted here?
Is the PR package being rolled out directed at Newcastle fans - or is it a message to the rest of the country/world that the way the club is being run by Ashley is correct and all in order, and it’s the fans who are being unreasonable?
What a choice of public speaker though in Dennis Wise!
When Ashley opted to roll out Joe Kinnear for the SECOND time back in 2013 it looked like a decision that had been drawn up on the back of a beer mat in a pub in Barnet!
Sadly the reality was that the scenario is pretty much accurate.
Kinnear was just as clumsy back then when saying: “Some of the Newcastle fans talk out of their backside, I know more than them and that’s a fact.”
Wise’s paranoia on the North East has surfaced before when he said: “Once you get past Watford Gap there’s a problem”.
Is there really Dennis?
Didn’t you check with Londoners such as Rob Lee, Warren Barton, Les Ferdinand, Dwight Gayle, Gavin Peacock or Glenn Roeder first?
It’s strange because all of them made Newcastle their home and are welcome back with open arms.
Then there are people from further afield such as Olly Bernard, Mick Martin, John Anderson, Nobby Solano and Tino Asprilla - who either still live in Newcastle or have become regular visitors.
Then there’s Greenwich-born Rob Elliot who once quipped: “I am convinced that Geordies lie to the rest of the country so that nobody else comes here!
“All of my family want to come up here and absolutely love it.
“They come up and fall in love with the place.
“There’s no place like it in the country. I have been lucky to live in a lot of places, but there’s no place like here.
“A city on the coast with countryside within 10 minutes!”
Sadly, the former Chelsea and England midfielder seems unable to open his mouth without getting a cheap little dig in.
And it’s as if he is trying to portray Newcastle fans as being a demanding and unreasonable bunch who will protest at the drop of a hat.
His comparison with Watford - when he suggested that Hornets fans are in the same position as Newcastle’s - but aren’t protesting at their owner’s door was way off the mark.
Wise was referring to the peaceful demonstration outside Sports Direct before the Spurs game, but that situation did not come off the back of one bad transfer window.
It was a slow build-up of frustration over a number of years.
Wise preaches that Rafa Benitez has had £102million to spend - but he hasn’t always been fully backed and when he has he’s had to fight just to get low budget deals over the line.
In all three of his January windows, he hasn’t spent a penny on a permanent deal despite making pleas for squad upgrades.
Putting aside the fact that Wise, a former lower league manager with Millwall, Swindon and Leeds, is trying to tell a Champions League winner and serial trophy collector how to do his job, his arguments are weak and sycophantic.
He is taking cheap shots that are clearly designed to rile the United fan-base, answering questions on Benitez’s transfer woes with an opening gambit like: “It’s really funny, we have just been sitting here talking about it.”
OK, Dennis so you’re mocking Benitez while you struggle to get a job in management, are you?
Then moving on to his support of Ashley’s “I’m not a country” line, commenting: “He came out and said it, he did a fantastic interview where he explained it all.”
How exactly was telling the Newcastle United manager he had barely a pot to pee in despite getting promoted “fantastic” Dennis?
Wise’s unwise words then led to him suggesting that Ashley deserved a “pat on the back” for getting Benitez in the first place.
The truth of the matter on that one is that a third party approached United chiefs to alert them of his availability and in their desperation to avoid relegation they reluctantly hit the button on a deal.
However, it is also understood that the offer was also made to them earlier than March 2016 and that Benitez could have saved the Magpies with a quicker response.
Ultimately, though, Wise , Keys and Andy Gray, who all seem to get a thrill out of putting the boot in on Geordies and Newcastle United in general, don’t have the real answers.
If Ashley is so unhappy why is he still here?
One strange comment made by Wise was: “He didn’t want the club, so he loaned the club the money.”
Is that a suggestion he NEVER wanted the club or the reason why the For Sale signs still remain in place.
Much has been made of somebody with stronger Newcastle connections with Toon fans hitting back at Wise and Keys, but they could be wasting their breath.
They seem too far down the river in their opinion that Geordies are a demanding bunch with unrealistic expectations.
Unfortunately, that stereotype will never be removed from the minds of pundits who see Newcastle as an easy subject to get their teeth into.
And what I can say from personal experience is that Wise has always been reluctant to engage properly with those in the North East.
During his failed stint as transfer chief in 2008, he refused to do any interviews with the local media.
Quite why anybody connected with the club genuinely think it’s a good idea to get a message out now through Wise is simply baffling.
All you can say to Newcastle fans is, rise above any pundit who is twisting the situation.
The message to anybody from outside this warm and welcoming football-mad city is, don’t believe the “truth”.
Anybody who has bothered to invest time in the area will tell you Wise is talking complete garbage anyway!
NEWCASTLE UNITED FIXTURES
NEWCASTLE 1 TOTTENHAM 2 (Joselu)
Dubravka, Yedlin (90+2), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 69), Shelvey, Diamé, Kenedy, Pérez (Muto 81),Joselu (Rondón 59)
Subs: Ki Sung-yueng, Schär, Manquillo, Darlow
CARDIFF 0 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Manquillo (Hayden 45), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Murphy 70), Shelvey, Diamé, Kenedy, Pérez (Muto 65), Joselu
Subs: Ki Sung-yueng, Rondón, Fernandez, Darlow
Sunday 26th August
16:00 Newcastle United v Chelsea
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17:30 Manchester City v Newcastle United
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15:00 Newcastle United v Arsenal
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15:00 Crystal Palace v Newcastle United
Saturday 29th September
15:00 Newcastle United v Leicester City