How Newcastle United Could Move Forward
Having sat back and taken stock of all the comments around the internet from sources such as NCJ Media, Nufc.com and here at The Mag, I’d like to think I can give a reasonably balanced assessment of where Newcastle United are at present, for good or bad.
As this is an opinion based website, criticism is going to come in my direction (and others) if it’s not to others’ liking. That’s called debate. If you don’t like an opinion, fine, give yours, but respect other people’s views. Too many people have started to descend into name calling on this very site and this is not getting anyone anywhere. But here we go.
Firstly, nobody is going to like Mike Ashley due to his continuing running of the club, doing nothing to take us forward in a direction we need/want/should go. Too many decisions have been made that simply rub supporters noses in it (W****, Keegan/Shearer, Wise, Kinnear- twice, ground re-naming etc) which won’t be forgiven or forgotten.
Now, what about this much lauded, sound financial footing that the club continue to feed out. That the balance sheets are in order and revenue is good. Fine, but it’s not as good as it COULD be. Would any other business allow another company to advertise at its premises WITHOUT paying? Never. Would another brand/company be willing to pay more to advertise on the front of shirts than W***a?
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Mike Ashley bought the club and he can do with the sponsorship as he sees fit. This can be accepted (not liked) if the club was maximising its potential. But it isn’t. The S**** D**** branding may be nauseous, but if that’s what he wants, that’s what he can do. The problem is, when we are told that we can’t compete with other clubs like Swansea and Southampton, alarm bells start ringing and the free advertising starts being questioned. Newcastle United are not on the sound financial footing the club like people to believe – S**** D**** is.
Looking at transfers, the club’s in a tricky position, once again, all of its own making. Who is going to sign and stay with the lack of ambition the club is showing. No player wants to finish mid-table, not even try in the cups, and for less than what other clubs around our level can pay.
The club continue to get stick over player sales like Andy Carroll, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye, but really, can anyone criticise these deals honestly? £35m was stupid money for Carroll, Demba Ba was ushered out the door by agents and Yohan Cabaye wanted Champions League football (and got a handsome wage increase) and all made the club massive profits. Only a fool would have turned these bids down.
There lies a problem. Sign players cheaply with the aim to make a profit and those same players will not be interested in the club once a bigger and more ambitious club comes along. Who would? Carroll, Ba and Cabaye all went on to bigger (and more financially rewarding) things. The same is happening with Mathieu Debuchy. The problem lies with ambition and re-investment. Both massive problems at the club.
Let’s look at the players.
I’d be happy to see a side with Krul, Santon, Coloccini, Williamson, Haidara, Tiote, Colback, Sissoko, De Jong, Ben Arfa and Cisse take to the field for the coming season, because I’m confident that that side would be good enough to get top 10 without much trouble. Just not with Pardew in charge of it. I’ve championed Michael Laudrup and David Moyes. Either would stand a good chance of getting top 8, with additions – who knows.
But it’s not going to happen. Alan Pardew is safe because even an idiot can get that side into mid-table. Look at last season, probably some of the worst football played at St James’ for many a year, yet we were safe at Christmas. This included a head butt (gross misconduct?) and some shambolic defeats. If Ashley wanted to get rid, he could have without even giving other reasons. Sadly, David Meyler wasn’t the only ‘target’ Alan Pardew managed to hit.
Alan Pardew, disliked by supporters from the start, won fans (including me) with the way he handled the balance of political and football management at the club over the course of 2011-12 and rightly won plaudits for it.
This goodwill has evaporated with political and football management decisions that were as bad over the course of 2012-14 as had been previously good.
Some may say ‘told you so’, because that’s what he has done at other clubs. But I’m not interested in what goes on at other clubs, because this club is unique (even more so because of Mike Ashley) in a sense that normal rules and ethos don’t apply.
Alan Pardew deserved a chance once appointed, but after initial success, has blown it with lies, insulting fan intelligence, owner dedications and general incompetence.
There is still time for redemption. Where there is a will there is a way. But my concerns are that too many things need to change for it all to work.
The owner needs to spend more money on players and wages (Siem De Jong a positive).
The owner needs to change policy on targets/ambition with regards to cups and Europe.
The owner needs to start making the club at least seem professional, phase out this counterproductive free advertising and toxic branding at the club and get in companies that can pay a competitive sponsorship. There is no reason why Newcastle United can’t operate independently from his other interests.
The owner needs to hire decent, experienced people who can negotiate transfers and aid Graham Carr’s excellent eye for a player.
Alan Pardew needs to become a good tactician with good man-management skills and have a little bit of honesty about himself, or….
The owner needs to dispense with Alan Pardew and get in a manager with the above credentials.
Some fans need to stop looking at the negative in everything. This is probably the trickiest one, as the positives are few and far between. It’s hard to get excited about this club at present.
The last point most of us are guilty of, with good reason. I’m not about to sing from the rooftops that this club is worthy of my support in its current state- it’s not.
Blind optimism is just as bad as blind pessimism. Recent history at the club gives people no reason to be positive. If the club gives you no reason to be happy, rubs your nose in the brown stuff at every opportunity, lies to you and charges you for the privilege, they can’t expect anything other than criticism.
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