Arkwright the independent voice: Feature

Whilst his football team left it as late as possible to secure their Premier League status for at least one more season, Mike Ashley, the owner of both Newcastle United and Sports Direct, left it even later to inform supporters that United were not ‘for sale at any price’ and that he would not be leaving Newcastle ‘until they have won a trophy’.

Newcastle fans greeted this statement with a fair degree of frustration and disappointment for Ashley has been the owner of the club since 2007, and during the eight years of his tenure, supporters have seen seven managers come and go without the addition of any silverware to their trophy cabinet.

In fact, the Magpies last won anything of significance in 1969 when they captured the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and their loyal and long suffering supporters certainly deserve better than this.

However, if the catalyst for Ashley to end his association with the football club is to be the success on the pitch, I fear that both he and supporters are still in for the long haul!

Despite a highly successful career during which he spent almost 400 weeks in the top ten of the Official World Golf Rankings and won a record eight European Tour Order of Merit titles and 31 European Tour Events, Colin Montgomerie failed to win any of the big four golfing  ‘Majors’ despite 71 attempts.

It is therefore somewhat ironic that Montgomerie, cruelly dubbed ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ by the American media, recently successfully defended his Senior USA PGA Championship to go alongside the Senior US Open title he also holds. That makes three Majors since joining the Senior Tour in June 2013.

Perhaps the feisty Scot has at long last discovered the temperament to go with his undoubted ability, albeit a few years too late sadly.

I am sure that all English cricket followers will have thoroughly enjoyed the man of the match performance by Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes during the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s at the end of last month.

However, the 23 year old Stokes could easily have been playing up for the Kiwi’s against Alastair Cook and his team since he was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and didn’t move to England until 2003 when his father was appointed head coach of Workington Town rugby league club. In fact his parents subsequently moved back to Christchurch in 2013.

No doubt those in power at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are both relieved and delighted that Stokes chose to play for England rather than New Zealand, not only for cricketing reasons, but also as success on the pitch deflected media interest away from the ECB’s mishandling of the Kevin Pietersen situation – for five days at least!