Imagine you went to St. James’ Park on the first Saturday of next season as we kicked off against Sunderland (realms of fantasy I know), and there was a coin slot next to the turnstile, with buttons for Remy, Shola, De Jong and Cisse.
Your season ticket would automatically grant you the choice of playing two of Shola, De Jong and Cisse up front – we’re playing two strikers at home – yet the Remy option was only available if you put an extra pound in the slot.
Would you pay that extra £1 to have Remy in the team?
Considering we didn’t win a game when he was banned recently – in fact I don’t need to remind anyone we lost 3-0 to Sunderland, 3-0 to Chelsea and 4-0 Spurs without him as our attacking spearhead – I’d say vital.
On his return to the team he scored the last-gasp winner against Aston Villa at St. James’ Park and bagged a goal in a Man of the Match performance which inspired the 4-1 win at Hull last game.
His importance to the team was underlined when our Premier League season didn’t exactly kick-off until his arrival – admittedly along with Cabaye’s – midway through the second half against Fulham.
Without our main – perhaps only natural predator when Cisse is so off the boil – we have all too often looked a toothless team this campaign.
Remy’s comments this week about wanting to play for a “very big club” and one of Europe’s big five, are the kind we’ve heard before emanating from the likes of Cabaye and Demba Ba,
I for one don’t blame them, yet I believe there is a more prosaic reason in some cases than ‘ambition’ and trophies – money.
In fact Alan Pardew said as much to The Daily Mirror about Remy:
“I don’t think it will come down to how much he loves the club, or what we think we can get here in terms of better players of Champions League football, it will be about the finances as well. That is a big part.
“Rooney is an example of that – he was ‘definitely’ going to leave (Man United) and now he is not.”
Remy is now 27 and at the peak of his striking powers with The World Cup coming up. His next big contract could be his last and one that could set him up for the rest of his life.
Never again might he have such earning power.
A professional footballer’s career is a short one and the chance to earn in excess of £100K per week is a golden opportunity not to be missed.
By all accounts, Remy loves it at Newcastle and is in the form of his career – life at St. James’ Park has that effect on people – just three goals away from surpassing his best ever league goals in a season total of 15 for Marseille in 2010/11.
Estimating the maximum wage at Newcastle to be the reported £80,000 per week Captain Fabricio Coloccini earns (and a dozen return flights annually to South America), Remy will be on that with a top-up from QPR.
Yet in the summer he could realistically walk into a contract of in excess of £100,000 at Arsenal or Spurs, and perhaps up to £125,000, so Newcastle’s offer is going to have to be a good one – if there is going to be one at all.
Could Newcastle fans pay out of their own pockets to keep their star on Tyneside?
Famously, Kevin Keegan’s deal when he signed for Newcastle in the early 80s from Southampton included a percentage of the gate receipts at St. James’ Park.
Stepping down a division despite being England Captain, he couldn’t command top-flight wages at Newcastle yet he banked on his reputation and star quality to put an extra 10,000 fans on the gate.
Keegan was one of the shrewdest operators around financially in his playing days and broke new ground, with sponsorship deals for Brut among others paving the way for superstars like David Beckham to earn their fortunes.
Remy isn’t a star in the wider sense like Keegan was, so cannot command the same sponsorship deals, yet his importance to the Newcastle cause is crucial.
I wonder whether he would seriously considering staying at Newcastle if he was guaranteed the same wages he would get at another club.
Like Demba Ba before him, surely it is better to be the goal-scoring main man in front of 50,000 every week in Newcastle, than a non-starting reserve at a current Top 4 club.
Yet when the factor of financial security for life is involved, it makes the decision to sacrifice your starring, and starting, role in favour of sitting on a bench an easier one.
Having the option of wage parity at Newcastle would at least give him food for thought when deciding his destination next season, and the chance of firing the club into Europe and The Champions League, over the course of his contract.
In the current Financial Fair Play climate, would fans even be allowed to top up his wage with a financial incentive?
Or could local sponsors – who are currently missing out on advertising their products around the touchline at St. James’ Park – top up Remy’s wages?
One thing is for certain – I would pay £1 today to have Remy fit and in the team at Fulham. And another every time he does his ‘Salute’ celebration, which I’m reliably form means ‘Mission Accomplished’.
3-1 Win at Fulham. #FHWTL
You can follow Stuart on Twitter @ultrastartime
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