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Does Cissé Signing Show NUFC Ambition

10 years ago

Ambition Marked On A Scale Of Nine

A warm welcome to Papiss Demba Rodney Cissé and just as welcome, at a rumoured fee of close to £10M, is the fact his arrival seems to have ‘broken the mould’ in terms of Mike Ashley’s commitment to squad building – although we might have to wait a few days yet to confirm that!

Of course, we all hope Cisse will go on and carve his name alongside those of Shearer and Milburn in the annals of Newcastle United Number Nine folklore but what’s equally important to me is the historical message such a significant signing sends out.

Back in Wor Jackie’s day of course, transfer fees didn’t count for all that much, so to explain what I’m on about I’ll jump ahead to when a fee of six figures was considered an ambitious new acquisition.

Malcolm MacDonald cost £180,000 when he signed in 1971 and following on from the Fairs Cup success of two years earlier, his record of over a hundred goals in five years saw United continuing to challenge for honours, at least until the back end of that decade. Big return!

The eighties saw Newcastle drop off the radar a bit, with little cash and a perceived lack of ambition: the biggest payout being a relatively modest £625,000 for the Brazilian Mirandinha.

Paul Goddard was next costliest at £415,000 but aside of those two, number nine signings were invariably bargain basement – although not always completely useless.

Who’d say, for example, that Withe, Varadi and Quinn were failures for not getting us promoted, while Reilly, Cunningham and Whitehurst were successes because they played in sides that avoided relegation from the top flight?

The nineties really were the halcyon days, as a plethora of famous number nines wore black & white – all coming in for eyewatering fees. Cole (£1.7M), Ferdinand (£6M), Asprilla (£6.7M) and of course Shearer for £15M.

Some might have questioned such expenditure, but what can’t be argued is that each played a significant part in Newcastle United’s history, as we ran the competition hard in League, Cup and Europe alike.

The principle of value for money tends to stand up until this point but it inevitably falls down once we get to the era of the prima donnas of the modern game; Luque, Martins and worst of all Owen – all a complete waste of money!

So can a big money Number 9 ever do the business at Newcastle again? Well, at least coming into a side showing the current Newcastle United work ethic, Cissé won’t be wanting for good examples of what’s expected!


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