Newcastle already know 'overrated charlatan' will fail at Manchester United - here's why

Newcastle United sporting director Dan AshworthNewcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth
Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth
Dan Ashworth is not all he has been cracked up to be - Newcastle United and Brighton are living proof

Everyone has been there. That awkward stomach wrench after mistakenly sending a message to the wrong person.

Whatever the context, the second-hand embarrassment is tangible. So perhaps spare a thought for Dan Ashworth, the rebel sporting director, when he accidentally delivered an email meant for his future employers to Newcastle United.

Toon fans are unlikely to carry much sympathy.

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The Daily Mail revealed Ashworth had been in contact with Omar Berrada, the incoming Manchester United CEO supposed to be on gardening leave, before telling Newcastle he wanted out. A foolish blunder saw the 53-year-old reveal all to his club email account before trying to hinge his escape plan on an Eddie Howe press conference.

Talk about a stab in the back. Ashworth did not just try to walk the plank, he was prepared to bring the whole ship down with him.

There was trepidation in February when the former FA director signalled his intention to leave. After promising a project, to bail just 18 months was a bitter pill to swallow.

Ashworth outlined what his role would entail in a club interview on arrival. Still in the early post-takeover days, it became easy to wax lyrical about any sign of change. In hindsight, his words simply blew hot air.

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“My job is to sit in the middle of the wheel,” Ashworth told NUFC TV. “Just connect, if you like, the spokes of the different departments of the club, and just try and align everything as best as I possibly can.”

A lot of soundbites with no substance. Newcastle were never given a physical blueprint of what Ashworth would do.

Does he oversee transfers? If so, how much power does he yield? What about contracts? Style of play? Will the academy improve? Or the women’s team?

Ashworth was vague - as was his time at Newcastle. Yankuba Minteh looks like a real talent but, aside from him, how many other gems did he unearth from the academy?

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Garang Kuol was billed as the “Australian Messi” and, judging by his loan spells and friendly appearances Down Under, will shortly be following Ashworth out of the door. Then there is the Sandro Tonali saga - the biggest error of the takeover so far.

Yes, the Italian may come good, but to splash £55million - the bulk of Newcastle’s budget - on a player, only for him to sit on the sidelines for 10 months, was a serious misjudgement. The Magpies’ best transfer windows of the Saudi-backed era came when Ashworth - now threatening the club with arbitration - had little to zero involvement.

January 2022 was the elastoplast to keep Newcastle up and the following summer saw Nick Pope, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak arrive. Given Howe’s relationship with head of recruitment Steve Nickson, an argument can be made about whether a middleman is needed at all.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher once claimed that a sporting director’s job becomes redundant the longer a manager is in situ. And as it stands, Howe commands significant influence at St James’ Park.

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Then take a look at Brighton, the club Ashworth deserted to join Newcastle in 2022. He was showered in praise as this mastermind on the south coast but the Seagulls have exceeded expectations before, during and after Ashworth’s two-and-a-half year spell.

Once a better job came along, he packed his bags - as was the case on Tyneside. One would suspect that, if Real Madrid come knocking further down the track, Man United will be stepped over too.

Ashworth has developed into quite the gardener in recent years as he climbs his way through the Premier League, piggybacking on others' success. In a game of snakes and ladders, it is not hard to work out which one best describes Ashworth.

The words charlatan and overrated spring to mind. Man United must ask themselves, given his track record and comical email blunder, is this really someone you want fighting in the trenches?

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