From what I have read both in the national and local media, as well as online. It suggests that at least for some, there appears to suddenly be, if not a wave of optimism about the new Newcastle United, then certainly less reasons to be miserable.

I admit myself to having had a strange feeling recently, not really happiness or optimism, more a reduction in the abject fury which has occupied me for the last 8 years.

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That was until I took myself aside, had a word with myself, remembered who we are dealing with and asked myself, what has actually happened to change anything?

So why are people suddenly beating the ‘wait and see’ drum again?

What is it which has softened the mindset of some who are now asking for us to ‘get behind McClaren’ and ‘see what the summer brings’?

Given all the evidence of Mike Ashley’s ownership thus far, surely it can’t be this easy for him to be allowed more time by the fans…can it?

At the end of the season we had the, now infamous, speech.

Many initially thought he had publicly declared a change in tactics, when in fact he hadn’t actually said anything of any substance.

Since the end of the season we have had two great club servants, who have both overcome their own adversity and showed genuine understanding of the depth of feeling the fans have for the club, released in the most crass and classless way imaginable (except possibly by flying a banner behind a plane), this is perhaps a better indication of the Newcastle United of today.

Newcastle have also appointed a coach with a history of some success and more recent failure, a coach who was not linked with a single other Premier League club. Now I will admit to being surprisingly impressed with McClaren’s composure, earnestness and words, but we have to remember that words don’t win football matches – players and tactics do that.

mike ashley

We cannot be sure if the new coach has the tactics, we can though be sure that we don’t have the players right now.

In the last week, since the head coach appointment, transfer speculation has gone into overdrive surrounding NUFC.

We are a club who has always attracted more than its fair share of column inches in any transfer window, but this last week has been nothing short of ridiculous, even by our standards.

Perhaps the biggest indicator that just about all of the speculation is baseless, is that the players we are being linked with have a transfer value which is close to, or in excess of, £10m.

This is demonstrably a price which Newcastle United has not paid for quite some time (since Cisse), to do so now and to do it not once but two or three times, would represent a significant change of direction in transfer dealings. Too much of a change to be realistic.

We must also factor in that the players whose names are being bandied around are goal scorers, that rarest of qualities in the modern game. For a club with the transfer policy of Newcastle, we do not tend to buy goal scorers (the exception of Cisse once more), we either stumble across them, create them or borrow other people’s, to varying degrees of success.

A genuine high calibre goal scorer costs serious money, one who is British and under 25 (almost) such as Charlie Austin is going to be well outside of our budget surely.

The next clue to there being some serious smoke and mirror tactics being used, is that it seems to be only strikers who are being seriously linked. There have been some vague and lazy stories about us being ‘in the mix’ for a German defender, a Hull defender and a couple of young Spaniards, but nothing like the almost concrete certainty attached to the striker rumours.

That suspicious smell you are now finding in your nostrils is Mike Ashley’s favourite fish….Red Herring.

Even before the various transfer rumours arrived, we saw a few potential managers linked and distanced, quicker than Andy Carroll gets into a helicopter. The names of Vieira, Laudrup, Clement and even fancifully Klopp, were pushed forward from various sources before Dutch Steve was handed the reins.

As has been pointed out time after time, the club seems to be struggling to sell season tickets.

mike ashleyFirst the deadline was extended with a laughable ‘renew now to avoid disappointment’ statement, and now the deadline has moved again, accompanied with what can only be described as a begging letter from the club, pointing out how thrilled we should all be with the new coach before a signing is made, never mind a ball being kicked.

Does anyone seriously believe that these actions are completely unrelated to the plethora of ‘big signing’ stories which are finding their source in Newcastle United’s preferred media partners? Is anyone still that naïve when it comes to Mike Ashley?

This is a familiar dance, a new dawn is hinted at (admittedly more blatantly this time), cosmetic changes are made but the strategy remains the same, to extract blood from a stone and then use that same stone to beat the remaining life out of Newcastle United.

My feeling is that too many coincidences are happening at the moment; season ticket renewal, board changes, preferred media partners….it’s all too convenient and builds a clear narrative that a clumsy deception act is in process by the Mike Ashley once again.

This week is a big one, if we sit here in seven days time with still with no new signings, or with the regular cheap imports beginning to fly in on Ryanair midweek saver tickets,  then I will be even more convinced of the web of lies this summer is promising.

When Charlie Austin, Bas Dost, Florian Thauvin go elsewhere, when Andy Carroll announces his intention to stay in London and Berahino in Birmingham, when cheap foreign midfield players suddenly arrive with a YouTube video full of tricks, I wonder what the mood on Tyneside will be?

I wonder how the ‘wait and see’ crowd will feel then?

Have we really arrived in the Last Chance Saloon?

Does the cryptic statement which referenced Summer 2016 as a tipping point for Mike Ashley still hold true?

City Hall Gifts -

  • Billco

    We have never had a problem “getting them over the line” when it is an exit.

  • TelBoyTelboy

    Spot on mate, I said in a blog today that if by Friday this week we have not signed and I mean signed a top quality player or players then it will not happen, but agree the Red Herring  scenario looks like it is happening again.

    Good Article.

  • PeterS84

    Good article apart from McClaren was also linked with the vacant job at Sunderland and West Ham who were the only Premier League clubs looking for Managers, Defoe publicly came out on an interview and said that he would welcome McClaren as the new Sunderland Manager. 

    McClaren has been in the job less than a week and with him now on the board will actually have a say on who we buy and hopefully sell. I’ll hold judgement until the players arrive back to pre season and if by then no one has been purchased then i’ll believe its business as usual under Ashley

  • Michael Maximus Moose

    well written & correct on all points

  • Andgeo

    The ball is in the fat mans court. Does he invest or trust that McClaren is a sufficiently more competent manager than cardew to keep us up with what he has. It wouldn’t suprise me if he turned around and blamed a fall in season ticket sales as a reason why they couldn’t quite afford the best players. The fat knob jockey is pure scum.

  • Andgeo

    Dream on!!!

  • Andgeo

    We never used to have a problem getting them over the line. ‘Over the line’ by the way stands for selling club are prepared to accept a knocked down few and player is prepared to accept a comparatively low wage. Just pay the money you greedy fat [email protected]!

  • PeterS84

    Andgeo I didn’t say anything worth dreaming about. I just said I would hold judgement until the players return for pre-season.

  • RaySte

    ‘Perhaps the biggest indicator that just about all of the speculation is baseless, is that the players we are being linked with //
    This is demonstrably a price which Newcastle United has not paid for quite some time (since Cisse), to do so now and to do it not once but two or three times, would represent a significant change of direction in transfer dealings. Too much of a change to be realistic.’

    Cabella less than 12 months ago.

  • toonfifer

    Can someone please confirm when you can actually SIGN a bloody player in the close season. SSN announced last week that the window was open, but only for out of contract players like Milner and Ings. Players under contract can only move on July 1st but if that’s the case how did Manure sign Depay.
    From what I can see clubs are “agreeing” deals but not completing them, this was the case yesterday with Juanmi and Southampton.
    No team has signed a single proper transfer in the close season, but WHEN can it happen??
    You never know we might have agreed to sign 6 players…………..or perhaps not!!

  • PeterS84

    toonfifer you can agree deals now but the registration does not transfer to the new club until July 1st when the transfer window officially opens.

  • lameduck9

    A great article, well written and conveying a very popular set of feelings.  I have bookmarked this so that in 2 months time we can revisit whether the club have actually made good on their promises or have fallen to the aforewritten and much often spin.  Until then I, against my best judgement, I am actually going to suspend my scepticism and await development.  That said, I very much doubt we will formally confirm anything until such times as we can actually put pen to paper and formally transfer a player.  This approach, of course, means that fans, press and SSN will all have to live on made up speculation.

  • toonfifer

    Thanks for that.
    Like you I am ignoring my sensible head and allowing McClaren more than a few days to make some progress, I am benchmarking the start of pre season to see if he is going to make a difference, 2 or 3 quality signings by then with 2 or 3 more before August 8th is the minimum requirement, plus keeping the senior players like Krul, Janmaat and Sissoko.

  • fromtheheed

    If we can get them on loan why spend, throw out a few red herrings Austin, Dost, Thauvin and Juanmi and get those sheep back in the fold. For once I hope toon fans do not renew even with a 50% discount, because the signs are there, same old tat.
    Of course it’s the media that’s bandishing these name about but wouldn’t you think Penfold or McClaren would come straight out and deny any interest.
    They are too thick to realise that toon fans are on to their game and so the slow or non sale of season ticket renewals.
    Like everyone else it will take more than one top name and you can forget about loanees, before I spend any more money that goes to Ashley.

  • Michael Maximus Moose

    Theres always People worse off than us

  • PeterS84

    toonfifer fully agree with this, lets at least give McClaren a bit of time before declaring the season is over already.

  • The biggest problem here is that we’ve seen it all before ,,The sad thing is that Asleys PR machine is so bad at making stories up they are starting to believe it themselves ..Ashley employs better Spin Doctors than any political party ever had…….Q P R want £15 M for Austin so we offer £ 9M ..Chumley hasn’t got a clue even Austin has sent out a tweet stating “Newcastle no way who,s taking the piss.” ,,I am in complete despair at our new recruit tactics ..

  • NottsToon

    Gotta confess that I actually forgot that Cabella was allegedly £10m (actual price not revealed). Although that says as much about his impact as it does about my memory.

  • NottsToon

    Also, just to add, the problem isn’t media speculation in general any more, it is that if you check the source of all the speculation it is from the clubs “preferred media partners”.

    Mirror – Austin to Newcastle – Done Deal
    Sky – Newcastle have opened talks with Dutch strikes Bas Dost.

    So obvious who is fanning these flames.

  • NotFatFreddy

    Remember motivational words don’t win trophies either, nor even star signings; nor does attacking football or even a manager like Keegan or Sir Bobby guarantee it!

    McClaren is an unusual coach as he is one Englishman who has at least won something with a North East club, the almost impossible dream.  He won something with the Boro which is astonishing.
    The only crowd we can be in is the ‘wait and see’ as there isn’t any other.  I guess Austin might prefer the south and waits for a bigger and reliable club, but surely Sir Les would influence him to consider NUFC; players are on holiday or returning from international duty, so major signings will have to be the next 14 days.

    It will be interesting as Carver stated we were after some quality signings which will surprise fans.  The last surprise I had as a fan was the signing of Alan Shearer and before that a maroon toon track suit around 1972! 

    One would think those ‘guaranteed’ quality signings would already be on their way!

    Carver should write his autobiography and spill the beans about Ashley and the club.  I have the patience to ‘wait and see’ for about another month!

  • Toonloony 1971

    1 week in, give the man a chance, I reckon in the next 10 days we will have decent stuff to shout about!! If not then lets moan about the SH1TE we have. But please stop the negativity for a little while………………..

  • GToon

    That’s fine to give him time but it isn’t him who does the signing. It’s fatty and his sidekick who are stalling.

  • Andgeo

    Short memory; Dream on!

  • Andgeo

    Carver would love to do a biography as it would be all be about him! But he is too busy out playing golf and chuffing onto charver’s on street corners.

  • PeterS84

    GToon so because the press has linked us to a few players it means we are stalling?? The club hasn’t confirmed that we are after any layer mentioned in the papers so lets just wait to until the picture of any new player holding up the shirt at St James park is released before the whole season is written off before it has started. At least we are now being linked with proven quality signings which is definitely a start.

  • JohnyH

    Ashley will do the bare minimum.
    4 or 5 players, of maybe above average quality if we’re really lucky. We will lose a few as well.
    Not good enough to seriously challenge for a top 8 finish when the top 7 clubs are already so far ahead of us and they’ll all move in this window to strengthen their squads even further.
    This isn’t about McClaren, but why are so many people suddenly wanting to give them a chance?
    My arse in Fenwicks window if the FCB spends the £100 million + that’s needed to put together a seriously competitive team.

  • v0ices

    PeterS84 GToon sorry but the more we wait and see the sooner the new season is kicking off.

  • NottsToon

    Toonloony 1971 I think the man we’re talking about has had 8 years of chances, Schteve is just the latest on a fools errand.

  • Demented_Man

    For me, the most significant signing of this summer will prove to be Moncur to the board.  Charnley is clearly not prepared to take the flak for the lack of transfer activity, so has appointed a spokesman to be the tail-end Charlie.

  • NottsToon

    The strange thing is that the club and its representatives have said so many times that they will invest this summer and bring in real quality that they must know how bad the reaction will be if they don’t do it.

    Which begs the question, if the summer goes as many of us expect, do they really give a toss what we think, do or say? I think the answer will prove fairly obvious.

  • Chemical Dave

    Depends who you believe but French media and sky news were suggesting the fee was actually 10m euros so basically £7m.

  • radgiegadgie

    NottsToon There will be players coming in, that’s a given.  The question is whether there will be any genuine top class signings (i.e. proven premier league players or top tier European players) to supplement the inevitable mix of decent prospects and half decent proven players who are cheap for one reason or another.
    Bas Dost looks like the normal signing, half decent potential who might be cheap as his club looks to balance their books.

    Austin and/or Berahino are the big ones in terms of signalling some kind of change in policy.

    That said, they need a couple of CBs before anything else.

  • fromtheheed

    Please don’t put it in Fenwicks window over the Xmas period, put me off my turkey.

  • fromtheheed

    With his £1m pay off it must come with a clause that he does not disclose anything about the toon. However it would blow the lid off Ashley.

  • fromtheheed

    It also make you wonder (cynical) if by McClaren bringing in Zenden and improving the coaching staff; whether they think the current players are good enough and 1 or two signings will suffice.

  • Happyharrys2011

    By far the best article I’ve ever read on here, it tells it like it is. As simple as that. Any of these silly people still giving Jabba a chance should give there heads a shake.
    And take your bunch of nodding mugs with you fatty.

  • radgiegadgie

    Demented_Man It’s back to the club being run by local megalomaniacs but unfortunately this time within a stricter financial framework and curbed footballing ambitions.

    I don’t think any of those guys should be on the board of one of the richest clubs in Europe including Carr who appears to be getting a bit big for his boots.  Ironically, McClaren is the most qualified.

    I could be being unfair here and it might work out, but for me, I don’t think these board changes introduce the much needed professionalism to the running of the club.

  • JohnyH

    I’m with you on that one,
    You can almost hear it; “we only need one or two players in to supplement our fit again squad, I’ve watched them in training and they’re revitalised and relishing the challenge”.

  • Happyharrys2011

    I would think that it’s a given really.

  • Happyharrys2011

    Wake up mate!

  • Happyharrys2011

    8 years has gone thinking like that. What difference is 2 weeks, 2 month or 2 years going to make. We will be lucky if we are still in this position, probability is we will be down the leagues. Book mark this and get back to me if I am wrong!
    I’m not having a go I’m just stating the obvious.

  • GToon

    Are we top of the players released table and top of the cheapest way to let them know league – one phone call gets rid of at least 2 players. I know people say a lot of the comments on this site are negative but what exactly have we got to be positive about? I can’t think of anything. Sorry.

  • GToon

    Would anybody any good join us?

  • radgiegadgie

    fromtheheed I tihnk they look at the numbers.  We are a few down with Santon, MBwia, Jonas and Taylor all senior players who have left.  So, I tihnk we will see at least 4 come in as it stands, without losing Iron Mike or any other senior players.

    I think those 4 players or so need to be decent players like Austin then supplemented by Perez type gambles for the development squad.

  • Happyharrys2011

    Come on you must be kidding there is lots of talk to be positive about. Lol!
    They keep on falling for it year after year, so why not this time?

  • radgiegadgie

    GToon that’s a good point that a lot of people don’t grasp.  Not all players will go to all clubs.  Many factors such as geography, long term admiration, money, who the coach is, desire to get 90 minutes every week, desire to play in front of a lot of fans may all play some part.

    Some of the attractiveness (or otherwise) may be driven by the (mis)management of a club but many are out of the hands of the club.

    A good case in point is Shearer; Man UTD could not do anything about Shearer wanting to play for Newcastle above any other team in the world.

    In short, there may be more to attracting Charlie Austin that 15m quid and a big pay packet and it’s not pictures of the tyne bridge on his twitter account.

  • NottsToon

    News sauces (sic) now saying that clubs have been definitely quoted £15m for Austin. That’s us out then.

  • GToon

    Yeah that’s true. Can’t think of anybody who would put us before Southampton, Swansea or even Stoke. The only positive we can offer is large crowds. But that might change this season. Wonder what games will be added to the members only list this year. Think I will be spending a lot more time at my local club than SJP this season.

  • ArtyH

    Great article, views shared by most supporters, history repeating its self again but this time with deceit thrown in for good measure turning the screw. He hates us and the team/club, but it makes him money, so he does as little as possible to secure his income, shame its taken this long for the others to realise what a lot of us did a few years ago. Problem is what to do when no class signings arrive?

  • Happyharrys2011

    Don’t go to matches season ticket or pay on the day, dont buy any merchandise what so ever toon or cheap $hit from China
    Would we all not rather be in a division or so down the league, shake off this parasite scum, and enjoy being promoted and have a bit of hope and belief when a new owner comes in and take us over.
    I would! I’m a Newcastle fan born and bread I have no choice. I will support the toon through good and bad. It’s in your blood when you are born. If it takes us doing a Leeds or Southampton then so be it. All we all want is a bit of hope. Not a life time of despair.

  • radgiegadgie

    Happyharrys2011 What makes you think going down a division will make him sell up? Do you think he got rich by selling stuff at a loss?

    That’s moot though, he has no intention of letting the club get relegated, at least not on purpose.

    And when he does finally decide to sell up, what makes you think he is going to sell to a nice new owner who has the fans at heart?

  • radgiegadgie

    GToon Can’t say I would fancy Swansea or Stoke but if I was a young player, Southampton would be top of the list, way ahead of the likes of Chelsea, Man City etc.

  • NottsToon

    It wouldn’t be a loss as he has already had his money’s worth and more. The fictitious loans he generously makes to cover his own glaring errors have been repaid in advertising, TV money and transfer profits.
    I hate the “who is this new owner” argument, like anyone can answer that? Did any of us know that Fatty was going to buy the club before he did? So why would it be any different now?

  • Happyharrys2011

    No customers no product, it’s as simple as that, it would take a mammoth effort because for once everyone would need to pull together. Who would come here and play with no or very little fans? It would be like Darlo, a lovely big stadium with nothing about it. He would have to close us down or sell at a loss if we fell through the leagues. He wouldn’t waste his time or risk making his empire look even worse than it does now. Do you really not think he hasn’t had huge losses before. Have a little read up on him. He is a big gambler who has incurred big losses. And with his wealth the couple of hundred million we are worth to what he has made from us already, I’ll bet he wouldn’t be losing. As for who takes us over I’ll happily take my chances thanks.

  • Happyharrys2011

    I would also like to make the point that I’m not say down to the championship. I’m mean 1st/2nd division. If we could rock him that much and get him to send us bankrupt. We could pick up as a fans owned club. I know its not an easy task but any thing is better than this.
    We would be back from the ashes in no time at all. Owned by ourselves.

  • prestondave

    PeterS84 GToon Ive lost count of the number of proven quality players weve been linked with. What I do know is that 99 times out of a 100 they go and sign for someone else and we just couldnt get them over the line. Nowts changed so far despite FCB rhetoric at the last game. Full of it. End of.

  • AB233

    PeterS84 Andgeo You don’t understand mate, you have to live in a permanentt bubble of misery and negativity to post here.

  • NottsToon

    What a wonderful description of being a Newcastle fan under the reign of Ashley.

  • desree

    Lee charnley is useless at closing deals, the art to negotiating is based on fair and reasonable, clearly two values that are not evident at the club.
    I would imagine that when the season tickets aren’t renewed the fans will be blamed. couldn’t risk investing in players with lack of season tickets sold.
    When we won’t even compete with Crystal palace and players prefer QPR to us, well we may as well be in the championship as at least we might compete there.
    This club is the worlds sickest, longest, practical joke and I can’t handle it anymore. good article