Will The Real Newcastle United Show Themselves?
So, I watch every game (sometimes twice), i read every article. I am a successful businessman living in Las Vegas but born and raised in County Durham.
Enough of my own credentials, as I’m actually here to talk about the current situation up at St.James Park. Or is it the Sports Direct Arena?
Firstly, let me start by saying that I fully acknowledge that Mike Ashley is a businessman first and foremost and the renaming of the ground, as I joked about earlier, proves this beyond doubt.
Ask yourself whether you would do the same if you were ‘in charge’? I already know the answer. Well, now factor in the small matter of Ashley having a net worth that many of us cannot even find the vocabulary to describe, then ask if you would change the name and disrespect the heritage of the club to add extra money to the revenue.
The new financial fair play rules I agree mean we need to find ways to increase revenue but to sell our history and traditions is a step in the wrong direction. People should look to develop the pride in our traditions that make us who we are and not the other way around, which is to sell the heritage of the club in a chance to make it ‘their’ own.
Thumbs up to Wonga for seeming to recognize this. In business strong brands stay true to their traditions which is part of their attraction. They do not change to suit the trend but instead they set the trend and encourage people to follow their own identity.
However, in terms of placing the club on a solid financial footing and considering the state we were in when he arrived, I’m not at all of the opinion I read regularly that Ashley is a bad Chairman.
I know even he would agree that mistakes were made last summer when only the addition of Anita (for a seemingly large fee considering Diame, a friend of both Demba Ba and Cisse, was available for free at the time) was insufficient to prepare for what was going to be a very important year.
I think we all need to adopt a wait and see approach to see what Ashley chooses to do this summer and to see if lessons have been learned. With the extra TV revenue I would hope to see a similar investment as last year/season with four or five players added. However, this time added in the early part of the summer and not after Christmas when much of the damage has already been done.
Three of these should be top performers. Two strikers & one defender and from the top of my head; Aubameyang, Douglas and a return for Andy Carroll.
Also maybe Loic Remy if we cannot get Aubameyang, (yes I said Loic Remy).
For me the biggest thing wrong at the club right now is we seem to have no set structure on what we are aiming towards. We play the game in a plain and often negative manner where we seem to be almost Italian in trying to sneak a goal and then try to defend our lead. Now I’m not going to keep bringing up the past but do you remember how exciting things were in the mid 90s when we were everyone’s second favourite team.
We played with wide men and flair, with a midfield ready always to surge into the box. We were more concerned with finding space than defending the space in our own half and when teams played us they were more worried with how they would defend against us than expose our defence. We put teams on the back foot and now I don’t see us often enough stretch teams with width and then use this to find space for runners in the midfield. Instead we play a flat 4 in midfield where they all seem to be primarily defensive decisions. I rate James Perch, don’t get me wrong, but ahead of Anita who is clearly a more capable footballer?
Gutierrez ahead of Marveaux is a similar story, where Pardew seems more concerned with not exposing the defence than trying to open up the opposition. It seems we are playing in a style where our full-backs are often needed to provide the width because the midfield are too busy trying to pack the centre and hold their line.
Sissoko is playing as a number 10 but asked to be inside our own half when we don’t have possession and almost always is behind the ball when we’re not in possession. In reality we play with 5 in midfield and ask Cisse to play as a target man which he is clearly not. The result is that when we get possession in our own half we have no real options and all too often try to find Cisse with a 40 yard pass when he is badly outnumbered.
From Pardew we had complaints that our flair players were the ones hit by injury but even when Marveaux was back fit, he was not selected ahead of Gutierrez, out of what I can only describe as negativity.
Yet again this summer will be crucial and looking through the club’s finances it seems we will have a clear twenty million plus to spend in the market without taking the club into the red. Now Carroll will eat fifteen million of this but in terms of being one of our own is a must buy with what he can add to the side. Particularly since Pardew has shown that he likes to play with a target man. Well in Andy Carroll there are few better and being homegrown we should do what is right. Considering what we sold him for it would be a huge profit still.
Playing with width and attacking crosses has been proven time and again to be the most efficient way to create chances. Sure you can try and assemble a team like Barcelona that have the players to pass and move through the middle but at what cost.
Those players are few and far between and as Liverpool will find, it is hard to get this right every week. Let Marveaux and Ben Arfa loose and have Andy Carroll scaring the shorts off defenders with Cisse always lurking for knock downs and flick-ns. Let Cabaye dictate the play and Sissoko make runs from midfield. Let’s look to attack and excite, not defend and contain, whilst hoping to sneak a goal here and there. Let’s make 50,000 proud every week that we gave it everything and tried to win.
I would rather be Wigan and fail while trying, instead of barely surviving while playing scared on the back foot. Show them who we are and not just contain who they are.
I remember many years ago when my sister was in the RVI I watched a line of maybe 200 fans lined up urinating on the floor behind the ground on Leazes Terrace at half time.
We have come a long way since then but I know the spirit in the fans is the same and I for one would prefer failure over being negative.
Like the Sports Direct Arena, that’s just not who we are.
Pardew please take note.
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