Newcastle United: It Hits The Fan Again
Negative Press Once Again Surrounds St.James’ Park
Monday 1st August 2011 was meant to signal one month left on the calendar for Alan Pardew to bolster an NUFC squad. After losing to Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday (31st July), most of the Toon Army presumed the spending would commence, even if it was at a bare minimum.
Instead, signs of another rock falling from our unsteady cliff hit the footballing world at 3pm, with Newcastle United releasing a statement regarding fan favourite, Joey Barton’s future. After a morning of speculation, NUFC confirmed that the player had been placed on the transfer list and was available on a free. Barton himself responded by tweeting:
Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided I am persona non grata. I am on a free but the honour of wearing those B+W stripes, surpasses that.
One day the board might realise, what the shirt signifies. HONOUR and PRIDE. Thanks for your continued support…
So there we have it, rather than building on a squad which lacks depth already, they’ve decided to weaken it. And if we go by Mike Ashley’s past and current transfer spending routines, we’re not going to get many players in between now and the end of August, despite exciting press stories covering our twitter feeds daily.
Transfer fee cheques departing NUFC are sparse, despite Derek Llambias stating in January after the sale of Andy Carroll:
I can promise supporters, all of the £35m will be given to Alan Pardew to buy players.
I can accept that it costs a lot to sign a player (not just the transfer fee), there are agent fees, signing on fees, wages and additional clauses which all have to be taken into account. But we are losing the spine to our team by selling players such as Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Andy Carroll without replacing them. We have signed Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux you will be saying but two of them are injury prone and also come with high wages and signing on fees. Yohan Cabaye is the kind of player we should be bringing in to add to a spine and create depth in the squad, he shouldn’t be a replacement player.
Regarding wages at the club, one of the biggest shocks looking down the wage bill is that Alan Smith pops up at the summit. Therefore I am baffled why anyone thinks its good for our club leaders (Nolan and Barton) to go to reduce the bill. Ashely has got rid of our best players and replaced them with injury prone players with equally high, possibly higher wages.
So to conclude quite simply on transfers, if Ashley doesn’t bring in a few new faces before the end of the summer, we will obviously be playing with a weaker team to last season (when other teams are improving), this also coincides with Ashley’s ‘remove anyone who opposes me tactics‘:
- Chris Hughton – Replaced by Alan Pardew.
- Level 7 removed – Anti-Ashley chants removed.
- Kevin Nolan – Sold to West Ham.
- Joey Barton – Effectively sacked.
- Jose Enrique – Very likely to leave.
It doesn’t show any ambition or willingness to succeed as a club. It feels as if he’s rolling on steadily removing anyone who gets in his way. Even if Barton has gone for money, we’ve still lost a talent and an asset, who most likely won’t be replaced.
Bad Morale in the Dressing Room
You’re a Newcastle United player, you’ve been at the club for a few years having fought for promotion back into the Premier League and survived your first season or you are a new face in the squad having signed or recently joined from the academy. Your team mates who stand at the top of the team food chain, who have effectively lead the team through recent hard times, back to a hope of stability are leaving because of a lack of ambition, they haven’t been offered a contract they feel worthy of, or they’ve had altercations with the board. Would you feel motivated to play for NUFC?
What is left in the team spirit if the players who provide it (as well as being mentors to the less experienced players) leave!?!
I must stress that I understand there are comings and goings at football clubs all the time but our goings seem to be our key players. By the end of the transfer window we may have lost four of our most vital players since January. It may happen on the odd occasion that an important first team players leaves a club but four times within 12 months really does suggest Mike Ashley is either stripping the club for assets or is running it on the cheap, removing people who oppose. The process continues until he makes enough money and sells us to the next ‘businessman’. Will this lead to yet more players wanting out? Leaving our club’s unstable roster further depleated?
The longer this goes on the more unappealing NUFC becomes to NUFC transfer targets, leaving us in a vicious circle, with the conclusion being the squad continuously decreasing in quality and depth.
What is a club in any case? It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city
- Sir Bobby Robson
Footballers who care for the cities arms are included in this but Newcastle United supporters, who have been there all the while, are the ones who are hurt and feel the reperussions of Mike Ashley’s actions the most. This club is a passion, a way of life.
You could write books delving into Mike Ashley’s financial strategy for Newcastle United and how he’s running and destroying our club. The fans can’t do anything, there is only one real big hitter available to push him out – not turning up to games and refrain from spending money on NUFC merchandise . All the NUFC fans worldwide won’t all agree to stop pumping money into Ashley’s wallet, therefore making the revolt pointless. People have suggested protests, what does that achieve? We should buy the club from him is another common one, try finding the money to buy and run it, whilst meeting expectations of all the fans who are putting their money in.
There is literally nothing we can do, apart from wait until the club is sucked dry and ‘asset-less’, when we’ll be sold to another dodgy dealer (who probably doesn’t do all their homework on the club’s finances and takes on more debt than they realise).
We aren’t a Champions League club anymore we all accept that but please, what can a Geordie lad do to gain his hometown club some stability?
There is more to this problem than Joey Barton leaving, it is much bigger and I fear it’s only going to get worse.
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