The vast majority of the fans have seen the way Newcastle United was being run and knew that it was not right.

There were elements we agreed with, such as a focus on youth development and managerial stability, but glaring errors in both the execution of those as well as other areas meant it was never in with a chance of working.

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So with the obvious flaws, why then has it taken so long for everything to finally look to be falling apart?

The first reason is obvious, running a club as a high street store, buying low and selling high, is not a productive approach to a stable club, even when you have a long term manager.

Taking this approach means the overall quality of the squad then depletes and we are left replying on new players to work out immediately.  It has worked in the past, but sadly the latest crop of ‘talent’ hasn’t stacked up compared to those that came before.

The second reason and possibly the biggest one why we are struggling, is if you continue buying players just because they are cheap without addressing areas on the pitch that clearly require additions, then eventually it catches up with you.

We are seeing the fruits of this with a lack of first team defenders at the club, by my count we have one senior defender fit and able to play for the West Brom game while we have a huge roster of midfield players available.

Buying cheap is great if they work out, but they need to be in the right positions on the field, NOT just because they are available and represent a profit potential should they work out.

Thirdly, there has been the problem of papering over cracks for far too long.  Ashley has ridden his luck in the players he’s bought and sold (and not replaced) time after time.

Despite the flaws, the obvious problem areas, we have somehow managed to pull out results when needed which tended to give the pro-Ashley groups plenty of ammunition to say “see it works”.  But it isn’t.  It hasn’t been for a long time and a few good results here and there do not change the fact that things were eventually going to change…for the worse!

Lastly (at least for this list), as has been said before, our lack of youth development has really hindered us.  Being able to bring through young kids from the academy is crucial for a club that is unwilling to spend to bring in the amount of players required to produce a deep enough squad.

There is never any suggestion of expecting every player in the academy to turn into the next Beckham, Ronaldo or Messi.  However, there is a legitimate concern at how few players seem to even reach a standard that they can come into the first team and perform a job at any level.

Be it through recruitment of lower class talent, failure to develop them properly or even just a lack of first team opportunity for their progression, something is not right.

How different we may have been this season has we managed to develop the likes of Vuckic, Ferguson and others into stable squad players who could have come in and maybe not worked miracles, but at least made the squad stronger.

Like it or not, we seem to have finally hit the breaking point, where the initial influx of players under Ashley are beginning to run out and the cover they provided to Ashley’s flaws is dissipating and the cracks are starting to appear.

Surely Ashley can see that this master plan has worked so far by sheer luck and by characters in the dressing room that are now non-existent.  Something needs to change.  A different attitude by the whole club in which direction it is going.  We can’t afford to just paper over the cracks any more, positive action needs to take place at the highest level of the club to stop further sliding into obscurity.

It may have worked, but the glue holding the squad together has finally gone, the spackle over the cracks has failed to stretch far enough and the cracks are now too wide for this approach to work any longer.

Let’s hope changes are finally on the horizon or we could be in for a nothing season again next campaign.

You can follow the author on Twitter @downundermag

City Hall Gifts -

  • Dubaiexpat

    What get’s me is this doesn’t need a huge amount of money to turn around and he certainly shouldn’t have to put any of his own captial into this. 

    Simply spend what the club makes (has made) on careful, considered recruitement based primarily on what we need on the pitch rather than what we could sell them for in 2 years time.

    Review coaching set up, and target a manager who has the drive and experience to motivate players to give 100% every time they step on the pitch. 

    Above all they need to have the flexibility to deviate from the blue print when required.

  • A lex

    If this “unique and wonderful business model” of Ashleys was so good, why have no other club copied it? All too predictable, I’m afraid.

  • A lex

    Disagree. A couple of seasons ago, in relative terms, it wouldn’t have taken a huge amount to make progress.
    With the situation now and the squad we have, however, it’s going to take zillions to turn things around.
    And this final point could well be our salvation. If Ashley sees that it is going to take mega-money to ensure survival next season (which it is!), then he may just not spend and sell up. Because keeping the club as it is now really is NOT an option.

  • Little Davey

    A lex  And where is that money going to come from even if a new owner comes in.
    Due to fatty’s negligence, we have insufficient income to the club to be able to afford even half the number of quality players we need
    If we should somehow survive this season, we will be relegated next, of that I have no doubt.

  • A lex

    Don’t understand your point about money. If I can’t afford to run a car, I’ll not buy it. If a buyer can’t afford to buy NUFC, knowing what’s needed in terms of running costs, then they won’t buy it. So, any new buyer will factor in further outlays and costs into their plans.
    As for income, well, how about restarting the advertising and merchandising streams that Ashley has kindly removed from us?
    Agree, though, that if major change isn’t done, we’re gonners next season. Maybe that’s been his plan all along – get his money back via income, then dump us on the cheap as a relegated club.

  • SGM

    A lex  Ever heard of Financial Fair play?. this is the “Money Point”

  • SGM

    I’m afraid you have to look at Carrs involvement in player recruitment, I don’t think you can pin this one entirely on Ashley.

    Paragraph after paragraph Failures are highlighted these are all down to G.Carr

  • Dubaiexpat

    A lex Spend net 40-50 million (we have this as it stands today) and you get 5-6 first teamers . Clear some of the dead wood/mercs out and you have more to spend on 3/4 more to give the basis of a good team that can compete in the mid table space and build from there.

    He will never go out and spend 80million plus so just trying to be realistic although I’m fairly sure he won’t even do what I’ve suggested above.

  • Big Hairy Man

    And the strict financial constraints (imposed by Ashley) I within which Carr must operate.

  • geordie4567

    We’ve been in profit for years so FFP shouldn’t be an issue, only lack of ambition is killing us.

  • Rowla

    SGM I always think its unfair to level criticism at Carr – I doubt there’s a Chief Scout in the EPL that works under a more stringent remit than he, finding good cheap, foreign players, without PL experience, on low wages, willing to accept (comparatively) low wages, preferably out of contract or close to it who are young and will have a lucrative resale value.
    Sure, he’s had his failures (whether the club’s development of some young players once here is lacking is another argument) but he’s come up with some real rough diamonds for us that would’ve seen us, in my opinion, down the netty long ago had he not.

  • DownUnderMag

    A lex Yeah, the time for small regular investment to push us forward has long since past.  The squad has some major issues and the usual investment levels and quality of signings just isn’t going to push us back up to a safe level.  We just aren’t going to get away with buying a few “might be” players this time, we need solid proven players to pull the squad together…as I said in the article, the problem is that we have lost all these proven players who filled in while we tried out the cheap gambles.  Without these solid foundations the new players are just plain out of their depth!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Mike Ashley – there lies the beginning and end of the problem. His choices and decisions have led us down this path to an inevitable conclusion.
    His plan was to stop the merry-go round of managers which required big pay-offs and what he believed were unnecessary or overly expensive signings.
    How ironic therefore that it resulted in Mort, Verete, Jimenez, Llambias, Allardyce, KK, Houghton, JK twice, all leaving with big pay offs. Players signed because of a Youtube viewing or dodgy deals with their Agents.
    It resulted in one relegation already and we are staring another in the face now. We narrowly avoided another in 12/13. 
    Mike Ashley plainly knows nothing of football and the people he chose to rely on have been unmitigated disasters.
    If this Club is to be saved then he needs to overhaul his own thinking and the blueprint he thinks is so genius.
    He needs quality experienced football people making the decisions. He needs players signed because they are good enough and more importantly, when we need them and in the positions we need them.
    How much better off he truly thought we would be by not allowing Houghton to continue, or even KK, is plain to see now. 
    His ‘model’ is a disaster. Without Sky there would be no profits and without the right people there has been no success or growth at all.
    Going backwards is the only way this Club and team can go forward.

  • Paul Patterson

    DownUnderMag A lex 
    It wouldn’t take too much to make us stable next season.

    Krul, Janmaat, S Taylor, Dummett, Colback, Abeid, Sissoko, De Jong, Perez, Cisse are not a bunch of players I would ever expect to be in a relegation battle. There has to be the bones of a half decent side in there.

    Sadly, we have a poor head coach (despite what he says) we have a half arsed Captain (Who is also now a poor defender) and an owner who won’t spend money when needed.

    The protests, while needed to get Ashley out, don’t help in this situation.

    The ONLY way forward next season is for Ashley to sell up and all parties move on. Start next season with him owning the club and we will be at a disadvantage from the start.

    Easier said than done . .

  • v0ices

    SGM A lex there is also a 3 year window for a new owner to inject funds into a club. so yes we have heard of it we also understand it, we dont just use it for scare mongering like fattys supporters.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    SGM A lex If Ashley was such a genius he would have built our commercial revenue over his 8 years here. Instead it has reduced and has only just got back to the same level as before he arrived – and that is largely because of the Wonga deal.
    Under PL FFP, that additional income would all have been allowable towards an increased wage bill = better/more players.
    Instead, our wage bill keeps going down as with all other revenues except the Sky money.
    Our inability to compete is because of his financial ineptitude, not FFP.

  • toon tony

    It’s like rummaging through a car boot sale, hoping one day you’ll find a gem. But usually you come away with tat.

  • Philippines

    SGM Sorry, its ridiculous to blame Carr.

  • Philippines

    Good article without the ‘froth at the mouth’ and plain bending of fact/truth that often features here. By the way, are you by chance in Perth/Fremantle? I will be there in a couple of weeks and perhaps we can have a beer?

  • terriertwo

    SGM Carr seems to be spending most of his time sitting on the sofa next to Chumpley helping to run the club or should I say trying to run the club down. A chief scout should be out doing his job and getting the players in to boost the team and should in no way be involved with the every day running of the club.

  • Andgeo

    If we don’t go down this season we will next year for sure. We may as well all give up, fatty isn’t listening and he’s going nowhere until he’s had his fill!! He won’t listen, we will spend £30m to £40m tops in the summer and that will include the money brought in on sales. The players will be the same as the last batch, good players won’t want to come. The only way this club is genuinely gonna survive is if fatty goes or if he hands over to someone who knows what they are doing. Can’t see it happening!!!

  • Andgeo

    Taylor’s always injured!!!!

  • snodgrass2

    A lex Arsenal fans think their club is doing it. 10 stagnant years at fourth in the league. Enough ambition for some of the money but not enough ambition to spend more.