Mike Ashley’s reign at Newcastle United has been nothing short of disastrous, and as much as the on-field performances have flattered to deceive over the years with a couple of relegations from the Premier League mixed in, there’s perhaps one decision which really sums up just how bad it has been.
Ivan Toney was on the books at St James’ Park for a number of years, but played just four games for the first team, with the last of those coming back in the 2015/16 season when he played twice in both the Premier League and League Cup respectively.
The striker spent the next few seasons out on loan before really making his mark at Peterborough in 2018. The Posh snapped him up for a mere £650,000, where he scored an impressive 49 goals in just 94 games, as well as setting up another 15.
That form saw him earn a £10m move to Brentford earlier last summer, and it’s fair to say the 25-year-old has hit the ground running at his new home, bagging 33 goals in 48 matches in the Championship and firing them to promotion to the Premier League.
Speaking last year, Peterborough’s director of football Barry Fry raved about Toney’s ability, saying: “He’s turned into a tremendous all-round footballer. It’s important to remember Ivan is not just an exceptional goal-scoring forward, he’s also an outstanding defender.”
Had Newcastle shown a bit more patience with Toney, and displayed the kind of trust that Peterborough ended up affording him, they may not have felt the need to go out and buy a new centre-forward.
Whilst Rafa Benitez did a fantastic job in getting the Magpies back into the Premier League and is still fondly remembered by much of the Toon Army, letting Toney go a bit too hastily and without giving him a proper chance is one of his rare mistakes.
Now valued at an impressive £25.2m by Transfermarkt, Toney is proving all the doubters at St James’ Park wrong with his performances for Brentford.