Matt Ritchie got one thing right in his controversial interview
If Matt Ritchie’s got something to say, he’ll say it, whether that’s on the pitch or off it.
The winger’s name was trending on Twitter today in the wake of a radio interview he gave to radio rights-holder at yesterday’s media day at Newcastle United.
Ritchie was asked about fan unrest at the club ahead of a planned boycott of Sunday’s Premier League season-opener against Arsenal at St James’s Park.
The protest against owner Mike Ashley was conceived in the wake of Rafa Benitez’s departure – and before the arrivals of Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin and Jetro Williams.
“I don't understand the unrest – I've got to be honest,” said Ritchie. “The club's spent money. We're pushing, trying to compete with the teams we can compete with, and you have to be real.
“To compete at the top of the Premier League now is mega, mega money – I think the owner’s been honest and said he can't go and compete with them. He's been upfront about that, and to do that he would have to sell the club.”
The social media reaction to Ritchie’s comments suggest that honesty isn’t always the best policy.
Ritchie, though, has a counter-argument to every argument. I know this from personal experience. He has his views, and he’s prepared to argue things point by point. I might not always agree with him, but I admire his honesty.
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Supporters, of course, can question Ritchie’s opinion on the running of the club, but what can’t be questioned is Ritchie’s attitude and application on the pitch.
Ritchie also stressed the need for togetherness this season. He was making this point while in China the Premier League Asia Trophy as the club finalised Steve Bruce’s appointment.
“For me, we have to all be in this together,” Ritchie went on. “That's what we need to be here – the fans, the staff and the playing staff – all as one, and pulling in the same direction. If we're all in this together, we can be a lot stronger.”
Ritchie’, unquestionably, is right about that, and it’s something Benitez stressed repeatedly during his time at the club.
However, unlike Ritchie, I can understand the unrest.