Targeting players with their best years still in front of them isn’t a daft idea, though having such a rigid policy that means you would miss out on potential great Newcastle players is just….daft.
The short (but feels very very long) 8 year history under Mike Ashley, has seen his reign start off with bizarre over the top massive wages given to past it players such as Geremi and Viduka (thanks Sam Allardyce).
(To feature like Dean, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])
To now the even more bizarre ‘startegy’ of ruling out buying anybody who is over the age of 26/27.
According to the reports at the time, Mike Ashley made a special exception to buy 27 year old Mathieu Debuchy for various reasons – including keeping Yohan Cabaye happy, with the usual rule apparently being 26 years of age or younger.
Now ironically, the overwhelming factor in a refusal to go for Yohan Cabaye is the fact he is now 29.
Even if you take the higher age of 27 as being the upper limit, if you go back into even relatively recent Newcastle United history, we would all have missed out on some of the greatest players we have been fortunate to see pull on the black and white strip.
Here are just eight of them – their ages when they kicked off their first (In McDermott’s and Beardsley’s case it was his second spell at the club) NUFC season in brackets:
Kevin Keegan (31)
Les Ferdinand (28)
Paul Bracewell (29)
David Ginola (28)
Terry McDermott (31)
Barry Venison (28)
Peter Beardsley (32)
Gary Speed (28)
The rescue of Newcastle United in the early 80s would never have happened without Keegan and McDermott.
Then Keegan’s rescue of NUFC as a manager…would/could it have happened if he’d been told that he couldn’t bring in anybody over the age of 26/27?
Paul Bracewell and Barry Venison cost a combined £500,000 in 1992 but their experience and talent played a massive part in transforming a team that almost dropped into the third tier, into one that in 21 months finished third in the Premier League. Venison even going on to play for England a couple of times in his thirties.
Les Ferdinand and Peter Beardsley were the strikeforce that came within a whisker of lifting the Premier League title, ending that 1995/96 season with a combined age of 64.
Newcastle got their money back on Ferdinand from Tottenham and anybody who thinks that £1.5m for Peter Beardsley wasn’t one of the greatest deals in Newcastle United history, must be….Mike Ashley.
Gary Speed is of course another, arguably Kenny Dalglish’s best signing for Newcastle (along with Given and Solano) and a key player for Sir Bobby Robson as he helped Newcastle to Premier League finishes of 4th, 3rd and 5th, as well as starring in the Champions League. By the time Sir Bobby arrived, Gary Speed had already passed 30.
David Ginola is arguably the greatest winger most of us have seen, that first four months he was just unstoppable and once again, somebody who was key to almost winning the Premier League.
Despite his ‘advanced’ years, Daveed went on to join Spurs and actually won Premier League player of the season whilst playing for them.
If you want to take it to another even more ridiculous level, it would mean Newcastle would be turning down Messi (28) and Ronaldo (30) under Mike Ashley.
By having such a strict and stupid age policy is counter-productive to the health of the club, as you are probably ruling out well over half of the players who are capable of playing at a decent Premier League level.
Let’s hope Steve McClaren could just be the one to bring common sense to Newcastle United under Mike Ashley.