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Newcastle United: A Tale Of Two Clubs

8 years ago
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Imagine a football club.

The Apprentices:

Young players from all over the world, who show that they may have potential, are constantly searched for and snapped up at a young age.  Some are local kids, who know about the history of the club.  They’ve got the heart of the club pumping its colours through their veins and dream of being heroes.  They all come with fresh hope that they are going to be big stars one day and that they’ll help this world famous club achieve great things.  These kids are brought in and trained up, paid good wages and seen as potential gods by the young supporters of the team.  They then may play to their best abilities and make a success of themselves, thereby fulfilling the dream.  They’re happy!

The Professionals:

The football club has a number of seasoned professionals, who’ve been at the club for a few years now, come through the ranks, earn good wages and some are regularly playing for the club.  They gain the respect and admiration of the young players, who aspire to be like them. They constantly tell the press how it is such a privilege to play for such a club with its heritage, great history and superb fans, who come to watch the team week in week out.  They’re happy!

The Manager:

The manager runs the club.  He was seen a few years ago as the best young coach in the country and is now the second longest serving manager in the Premiership.  The manager sees working with his backroom staff to bring the young players through, and being able to blend them with the seasoned pros, as a great personal challenge of his management and coaching abilities.  He wants to be successful and tells the fans and press that he will do anything in his powers to bring a trophy, once again, to this great club.  He’s happy.

The Owner:

The owner is a highly successful businessman in his own right.  He’s put millions of his own money into the club, turned the finances of the club around and declares to everyone that he wants the club to be as successful as his own business.  He’s happy!

Everybody’s happy!

Are they?

Imagine this same football club, but look a little deeper into it.

The Apprentices:

Young players from all over the world, who show that they may have potential, are constantly searched for and snapped up at a young age on the cheap.  Some are local kids, who know about the history of the club.  They’ve got the heart of the club pumping its colours through their veins and dream of being heroes.  They all come with fresh hope that they are going to be big stars one day and that they’ll help this world famous club achieve great things.

The kids are brought in and trained up, some gain contracts and are paid good, but not top wages.  They are soon more than likely put out on loan for a while, but find out for themselves that they’re just not good enough.  They also soon realise that if they do perform they will probably be shipped out to the highest bidder, just as their potential is reaching real promise.  They, therefore, may play to their best abilities for their own sake and for their own future, with a new dream of maybe securing a place in a Champions League team.

Then all of a sudden, just as they may be heading to a first team place, a player, who’s contracted to a different club, is brought in on loan and they are put further down the pegging order.  These loan players come because their parent club has maybe been relegated and they either can’t afford to pay the star’s wages, or are looking to put the player in the shop window to push through a big sale in the hope that the player does well.

Perhaps the parent club is doing very well and the loan player is seen as surplus to requirements, but no one really wants this player, so he is given a last chance to prove himself.  All to the detriment of the young players.  Most of these youngsters now see that they have a harder job to make it at this club, will have their dreams shattered and be thrown on the football scrapheap.  They’re not happy!

The Professionals:

The football club has a number of seasoned professionals, who’ve been at the club for a few years now, come through the ranks, earn good, but not top wages and some are regularly playing for the club, but never seem to be prized by the bigger, more successful clubs, who’ve already taken the best of their colleagues away.  They gain the respect and admiration of the young players, who aspire to be like them.

They constantly tell the press how it is such a privilege to play for the club with its heritage, great history and superb fans, who come to watch the team week in week out, but in reality, most want to be away, because this club has no real soul anymore.  They know they aren’t going to win anything with the club and have almost zero chance of playing in the Champions League, unless they get that big move away they so desire.  They will turn up, but their hearts aren’t in it anymore and they will simply go through the motions, knowing they have little to play for once they’ve staved off relegation.  They’re not happy!

The Manager

The manager runs the club, because no one else is at the helm to do it.  He was seen a few years ago as the best young coach in the country, but has actually won nothing in all of that time and is now the second longest serving manager in the Premiership, because he is quite obviously the best puppet the owner can find.  The manager sees working with his backroom staff to bring the young players through and being able to blend them with the seasoned pros as a great personal challenge of his management and coaching abilities.

He has no choice in this, because he knows that he will never be allowed to spend money to bring in any really great players to supplement the squad and will eventually have to sell off anyone that comes through the ranks, thereby dwindling the squad numbers.  He wants to be successful and tells the fans and press that he will do anything in his powers to bring a trophy, once again, to this great club, but doesn’t even play a full strength team in cup competitions.

He basically does as he is told and is not allowed to say anything bad about the owner.  Not only that, he has to be seen to be very pleased with the situation, despite knowing that, deep down, success is not going to come to him at this club.  He’s not happy!

The Owner

The owner is a highly successful businessman in his own right.  He’s put millions of his own money into the club, because he was looking for a way to avoid paying huge amounts of tax on his massive windfall profits.  He has turned the finances of the club around, because the club is now run like his own bargain basement business, with players being seen as commodities and placed on a conveyor belt, sold off to the highest bidders and not being replaced.

He brings in loan players where he doesn’t have to pay a fee and hopes they do a job to keep the club in the Premiership before moving on.  He declared to everyone that he wanted the club to be as successful as his own business, but now refuses to speak to anyone about the club and seems to just have the club ticking over, bringing in players on the cheap and getting as much money from sales as best he can.  He’s happy!

The Fans

No one at the club, especially the owner, seems to care if they’re happy.

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