The reality for fans is that the actual truth of transfers says it would have been a miracle for Newcastle to compete with Southampton.

The narrative at the start of the season was that after losing key players in big money summer moves, the club from the south coast would be in big trouble.

transfersSouthampton were promoted to the Premier League in 2012 and in the 30 months since, it is shocking to see the disparity between their transfer activity and Newcastle United’s.

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In two and a half years, the Saints have bought the following nine players who cost £8m or more (figures from transfermkt website);

£13.4m Gaston Ramirez

£8.8m Dejan Lovren

£12.7m Victor Wanyama

£13.2m Pablo Osvaldo

£8.8m Graziano Pelle

£11.0m Fraser Forster

£12.3m Dusan Tadic

£13.1m Shane Long

£13.2m Sadio Mane

In the same period Newcastle have bought one – Remy Cabella for £8.8m (again, stats taken from transfermkt website).

Spending money doesn’t guarantee success but not spending it, pretty much guarantees failure.

Southampton sold four players for £8m or more in the summer (£33.0m Luke Shaw, £27.2m Adam Lallana, £22.2m Dejan Lovren £17.8m Callum Chambers) and they reacted by buying five who cost £8m or more (Mane, Long, Forster, Pell and Tadic).

Again, spending more money doesn’t guarantee they will be successes but it does increase the chances of that being so.

While Southampton were shopping at one level, Mike Ashley refused to fund similar spending for Newcastle – the league table tells us everything.

Imagine if instead of the anticipated announcement of £50m profits for last (2013/14) season, Ashley had sanctioned four or five players at the level the Saints were shopping at?

With the likes of Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton all underperforming, a massive opportunity has presented itself to an ambitious club – just a shame it isn’t Newcastle!

Instead we lose big players such as Cabaye, Ba, Debuchy and Remy, then expect to replace them with budget signings, never mind the players Newcastle were already short of.

Janmaat, Perez and Sissoko have all proved great value for money but you have to accept the massive failure rate that goes with this policy – to greater or lesser degrees, none of the following have shown themselves to be good enough as yet, if ever; Gouffran, Haidara, Mapou, Anita, Riviere and so on, while you also have Darlow and Lascelles bought last summer who are struggling to even getting into Championship Forest’s team.

At some point you have to pay the money for quality players to go with those who you get lucky with, buying journeyman Emmanuel Riviere and expecting him to be your main striker in the Premier League is just crazy.

Even on loans, Southampton have shown enterprise to back up their great youth system and big signings, willing to invest (loan fee and big wages) in loan players Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid) and Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea) who have had great seasons, while Dutch international (28 caps) Eljero Elia has been brought in from Werder Bremen this January, in two matches he’s helped them win at Old Trafford and scored both against Newcastle.

At the same time we have the bizarre and unexplained situation where Facundo Ferreyra is brought in on loan yet never gets a minute on the pitch.

While I had no time for Alan Pardew, the fact that Mike Ashley happily sells Newcastle’s best players and tries to replace them with budget signings whilst banking the rest of the cash, is only going to take United one way.

Southampton might half of Newcastle’s crowds but they have ten times the ambition and it is showing, whilst Mike Ashley is at St. James’ Park we will always be also-rans….at best.

  • SimonM68

    Southampton have done what we are claiming to be doing under Ashley (buying low, selling high and supplementing with strong youth policy). There are 3 key differences:
    a) Their negotiators – they got absolutely top dollar + for everyone that left in the summer (Lovren is worth a bag of tangerines on Liverpool form so far and Lalana is a poor man’s Beardsley) whilst we practically gave Cabaye away (compared to £50m+ PSG paid Chelsea for Sideshow Bob surely?)
    b) They were willing to spend more than a couple of million on the replacements and not have to wait months on end for them to come in. They moved quickly to get them in place at the start of the season – not January window to avert disaster – it’s called forward planning.
    c) Their youth policy is the best in the country(?) and they have a stated aim to start with 11 ex youth team players (and have very nearly done so). Boro’s is arguably better than ours.
    And they also managed to get what looks to be a shrewd operator in as manager, which we’ll not of course.
    I’d really like Southampton to prove what keeps getting denied (by lazy media, Pardew and Keegan before him too) that it’s impossible to break into the top 4. It’s not and I think we could have had a crack too, but are too hamstrung by the fat leech for it to be possible.

  • NickArnold

    As a Saints fan with a lot of respect for Newcastle I would like to point out that our current success is down to many factors namely Great Management (both upstairs and downstairs) Great Youth System (set up decades ago) and Great Ambition (from an invisible board)  plus a little bit of luck as the Premiership is poor in my opinion.
    I am enjoying our recent form but know only too well it could crash and burn as quickly as it arrived.

    Good luck with the rest of your campaign

  • MagicianFromRiga

    Why not just compare net spends…

    Since Southampton were promoted the net spend on transfers is: £35.75 million.

    Since Southampton were promoted, Newcastle’s net spend on transfers is: £19.4 million

    It may be worth taking into consideration that Sissoko could be sold this window: which would leave our net spent around zero…

  • SimonM68

    NickArnold Like I said below Nick – hope you break the norm and crash the ‘big club’ party – I can just see Spurs crying into their spritzers!!

  • Mancmag

    Well written article, I totally agree and let’s not forget that Southampton were missing some of their best players but still managed to beat us and that has to be down to great management. What I don’t understand is the so called £50 million expected profit for the last financial year because if this is retained profit then a percentage of it will have to go in tax. Neither will it go to Ashley unless he uses it to pay down the loan so I can find no reason why it’s not invested in some badly needed quality players. On top of that it appears that another £5.5 million is due from the sale of Mbiwa, the club got £3.5 million for Pardew and I believe a further £600,000 has been received for World Cup appearances. We should be awash with cash even before we sell any more players (Sissoko etc). I can only think Ashley is building up the asset value in readiness to sell up(please).

  • WayneBeale1

    SimonM68 According to FIFA Saints academy top 3 in Europe

  • GToon

    Your last sentence sums up the situation perfectly. You can include a few other clubs too, not just Southampton but they do seem to be the best at the buy, develop, sell cycle that we are supposed to be following. We seem to get stuck at the bit when it goes back to the start and we have to buy again.

  • GToon

    NickArnold Nick, you wont crash and burn because of your foundations and club structure and though it hurts for me as a Toon fan to say it – ambition. Good luck for the rest of the season.

  • No Brainer

    We all know the darlow and lascelles issue is Peirce not the players he is spiteful. I really do think there should have been a quality CB bought in the summer. And if Lascelles or streete good or dummett are going to be good enough we could let colo go.

  • GToon

    No Brainer Colo wont be first choice next year. He needs to drop further and further back these days to give himself time on the ball and the chance to catch the opposition forwards.

  • amacdee

    cameront94 Do you really know anything about what FFP entails ? Most fans dont but just lap up the club propaganda and assume we cannot make a loss ever again. Truth is most of FFP is aimed at the fat cats like Citeh and Chelski, We could make losses of £4.5m a season or £12m over three years and still fall within FFP guidelines

  • MikeAshleyLies

    Only two of the “other” clubs in the Premier League have bought more £5m+ players than NUFC have under Ashley (since 07/08).  And look where the Mackems and Villa are.

  • Brownale69

    WHERE has all the money gone?

  • mrkgw

    Quite what Mike Ashley has done to our club is scandalous. Like a leech, he has milked the cash cow dry. The fact that we supporters continue to fatten his pockets is a shocker but this despicable man takes advantage of our love for the club. Force this sad excuse for a being out of the club!

  • mrkgw


  • radgiegadgie

    Let me pose this question…

    Where do you think the respective clubs would be if Pardew and/or Carver were managing Southampton and Koeman was managing Newcastle.

    I am not dismissing Southampton’s first rate academy (the envy of all clubs in the country), there flexibility to spend considerable amounts of money when they feel it is warranted etc etc.  But a good coach can take you a long way.

  • radgiegadgie

    amacdee cameront94 I am sure if you give Mash that 12m quid, he will be prepared to have the club make that loss for ya…

  • Munich Mag

    and we blather on about Graeme Carr finding bargains. Where…in France ? The Saints seem to have invested really well too ?

  • DownUnderMag

    We have Carr scouring the bargain bin at the Ligue 1 supermarket, the Saints are looking all over Europe, if not the world for their players.

    We sell a player for a large sum but then wait until the right bargain comes along to maximise future profit at the expense of football while Southampton go out and replace the player immediately, adding money to the pot if needs be to secure their player.   

    We seem to produce promising youth players who simply do not seem to be able to make the step up to first team football due to both fitness and tactical knowledge reasons while they seem to have an amazing academy producing premiership ready players off a conveyor belt.  

    They lose one good manager and move quickly to appoint a good replacement, we lose a manager, not because of him being sacked for bad results but because someone else is willing to pay him more despite those bad results, and still have yet to appoint a new “head-coach” after more than 3 weeks…no doubt making sure we get the right ‘yes-man’ at the right knock-down price.

    It’s not hard to see why Southampton are where they are and we are in limbo!

  • radgiegadgie

    Is there anyone out there who fancies writing an article about football instead of the way the club is run?

    It’s getting a bit tedious reading the same thing from a zillion different angles, regardless of whether it is true or not.

  • RexN

    DownUnderMag When I lived in London it was great fun going shopping in France once a month to get cheap booze.A good lunch was also good value.

    The beer wasn’t up to real ale standards but was enough to leave you slightly intoxicated on a Saturday but without the sense that you had experienced quality.All in all, it left you with a feeling of “could do better”.

  • RexN

    radgiegadgie We’ve been Pardewed for the last 4 years and Ashleyed for the last 7.

    What is this football thing?

  • radgiegadgie

    RexN radgiegadgie Point taken, but I am still far more interested to hear analysis of the game on Saturday and other people’s opinion of it than the same old Ashley this and Ashley that. 

    I really miss the Leazes Terrace blog, great tactical analysis of games.  Must have just got fed up of it all.

  • RexN

    radgiegadgie RexN Sadly, other things have taken over the club.

  • DownUnderMag

    RexN DownUnderMag hey, if we continue to find the likes of Cabaye, Sissoko etc etc then i’m all for fishing in the french waters….I just think limiting searches there will soon be a shortage of good catches while other species of fish go undetected in waters further afield…

  • radgiegadgie

    DownUnderMag RexN to be fair, they went to spain and the netherlands in the summer and did alright

  • DownUnderMag

    radgiegadgie RexN I actually do agree, the anti-Ashley sentiments still have a place until things change for the better, but it would be nice to get a match report, some news on transfers etc.  

    Sadly, even those articles that do get on that aren’t just slating the regime, don’t often stimulate debate and normally result in things being moaned about.  

    I would love to write up match reports on here, and may well do so.  I guess it’s just hard to keep saying “this player was awful, why did that player play in that position, we never looked at the races, too much hoofball….”  But since you asked, I may well write a report up for the next game :)

  • DownUnderMag

    MikeAshleyLies that table needs updating to include outgoings as well.. take away the Nolan, Carroll, Enrique, Barton, Cabaye, Debuchy and Ba money and I bet it makes less impressive reading – not to mention if you take away the first year or so of Ashleys tenure when he actually seemed to give a crap about chasing after success!

  • MikeAshleyLies

    The article is about who has been bought though. Southampton having sold their best players too.

  • vbhgft

    RexN radgiegadgie We’ve all been “Moosed” for years and can’t stop moaning and griping…..

  • AndrewCole1

    Although I understand the reasoning you have to figure into your figures there that When Saints came up they did have to get some real Prem quality in for their first season back where Newcastle already being there had that quality.
    When Newcastle went down they retained a lot of their Prem quality so they had the basis of a Prem squad already.  When Saints came up they still had a backbone from L1 and a squad built through the championship season so they had to add some quality straight away.

    At that time no-one could have foreseen that those L1 players would prove to be as good as they are showing now (or last season for the deserters. lol)

  • Sickandtiredstill

    radgiegadgie RexN analysis? We were beaten by a team who sold all of their best players in the summer. They replaced them with better players than we have. They have a manager/coach who is better than ours. They have more ambition than us both on  the field and in the boardroom Analysis over..

  • Sickandtiredstill

    MikeAshleyLies hardly a great advert for our quality scoting then is it? those that were worth the money and more have been sold.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    SimonM68 well said, but you can hardly put Pardew and KK in the same sentence. KK managed it after all, but upstairs couldn’t hold it together. What we areseeing is that it takes someone with some degree of football nounce to help make a successful club (not just a profit machine). Southampton appear to have the correct balance, whereas our lot haven’t a scooby as the Keegan, Houghton, Wise, Kinnear, Pardew, Carver fiascos keep proving.Ashley knows how to make money, he clearly knows nothing about building a succesful football team.