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The cost of winning something

7 years ago

So it seems that some Newcastle United fans want to give Uncle Mike another chance, they want to continue the policy of ‘wait and see’ that has gone so well for the past 8 years.

Give the owner the chance to deliver on the vague statement he gave to Sky Sports before last weekend’s relegation decider.

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Whilst I could not disagree more with this stance, given the historical evidence which strongly points to this being nothing more than a well-timed PR exercise ahead of more disappointment in the appointment of a manager (sorry, head coach) and another myriad of players that we struggle to ‘get over the line’. …

It would be remiss of me not to have a look in a little more detail at what is required for the club to be in a position to win something, as the owner says he wants to.

Coaching Staff

To move the club into a position to win something, would firstly mean stripping away the entire coaching staff who have proved themselves utterly incompetent over the last few seasons, not an easy task when you consider that many of them have a further five years to run on their current deals.

Of those currently in place it is hard to pick fault with only Woodman, the goalkeeping coach, which would mean the likely need to pay off Carver, Stone and even Pedro.

I have no knowledge of how much money this would cost as none of us are privy to their wages, and whilst I cannot imagine that they are amongst the best paid coaching staff in the Premier League – I believe a conservative estimate of £3m to pay up all of their contracts is fair. This would average them at being on around £200k per year, or £4k per week.  Cost £3m

Replacing Coaching Staff

To replace them with more capable and experienced staff would undoubtedly cost more.

I think that even the most fanciful of us will realise that we are not going to get Jurgen Klopp, plus I believe that the majority will also agree that appointing a failed Championship manager like Steve McLaren is not the way forward to winning anything either.

So we are left with a middle bracket of coaches, neither truly proven or abject failures. We are talking about people like Slaven Bilic, Michael Laudrup, Remi Garde, Mark Hughes perhaps, and I have even seen a rumour linking Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

If we were to pick from the top of that tree with Bilic and Hughes, we would be looking at paying compensation of a similar level which we received for Pardew, plus a wage of at least £1m per year, plus bonuses, and that is before we think about their back room team. Conservatively, over a 4 year contract, I would estimate the cost of this to be around £10m

Playing Staff

With players out of contract, others seemingly running towards the exit door, and a squad which was already too small to fill its allocated 25 spots in January. There is undoubtedly much business to be done if we are to assemble a squad capable of competing on three fronts, now we are targeting the cups….

We are almost certain to lose R Taylor, Jonas and Sammy, and it seems and they will not be the only ones, the deadwood will have to be moved out, players like Williamson, Anita, Obertan and Marveaux.

We must also consider will we actually hang on to Tiote, Krul, Cisse, Janmaat, Coloccini and Sissoko (despite his remarks suggesting that he wants to stay). It is only an estimate but I believe we will be around 8 players short from our current 23 man squad shortly, leaving 10 places to be filled to maximise the squad to 25 players.

It is not all doom and gloom from the current squad though, we should finally see what De Jong can do, Haidara will be fit and other recent signings such as Cabella and Colback with have had what they hope will be their most difficult season at Newcastle already, they should be ready for anything.

Incoming, we have Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lescelles from Forest; add to them Armstrong and Kemen being promoted to the first team squad and suddenly we only actually need 5 or 6 players (yeh right), but they will have to be of the requisite quality.

Top priority has to be given to a pair of strikers, a pair of centre backs and a left back, all have to be able to hit the ground running as members of the first team, if we are truly to improve and challenge for anything, other than the wooden spoon again.

A pair of strikers capable of hitting 15+ goals in the top flight could cost anything from £20m to £50m, unless you fall extremely lucky.

QPR have let it be known that they value Austin at £20m, I think he could be bought for about £4m less than that personally. Add the Serbian lad from Anderlecht (Mitrovic) for another £15m and you have a strike partnership which could be worthy.

In defence we will be bolstered by Lascelles, but he is not ready. There has been talk of Ashley Williams from Swansea and Tomkins or Reid from West Ham, any two of those would likely cost the best part of £15m and you could substitute their names for any other decent Premier League centre half. I have to confess that I have no idea about a potential left back, but for one of the required standard I’ll insert an arbitrary figure of £5m.

Aside from the major signings I think we can expect the regular clutch of young, foreign talent bought more in hope than expectation, this could potentially amount to a further £5m.

Cost £55m (plus £20m in wages and fees)

So the cost of actually trying to win something from our current position is, in my opinion, around £88m. That is the monetary cost, that is before we discuss the culture change needed by the entire club to really try in cup competitions, to give a little more power, influence and say in football matters to the manager, to not accept second best, to forgo budgeting considerations and speculate on winning for once.

I’ll be interested to see who actually thinks that this might happen, who believes that this total overhaul is something which the club is capable of without any guarantees of success, personally, I don’t.


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