Like many who have felt compelled to contribute to The Mag, I am a lifelong fan. With 30 years and (as of the West Ham match) 600 home games under my belt.

My love affair with the toon stems from being crammed into the animals enclosure at 14 and learning more about my fellow man in 90 minutes than school could ever teach.

(To feature like Andy, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)

Of course, since then I’ve enjoyed the rollercoaster ride that is being a loyal foot soldier of the Toon Army; the pride of signing the 1st Brazilian to play in England, of paying a World Record fee for Shearer, of having players revered the country over (including the Premiership’s all time record goal scorer)  and a style that endeared us to all but those red and whites from down the road.

Now however, we find ourselves in a no-man’s land of uncertainty, scepticism and suspicion with fan turned against fan, whilst the ‘un-approved’ press writing whatever they like just to create a response.

Of course we all want the excitement of new players, of hope for a better team and of more passion and commitment on the pitch.

Following Mike Ashley’s ill-fated public promises, many are waiting to see just what that equates to – BUT, and it is a big but. Regardless of the money Ashley makes available to actually sign new players, there is still a much more pressing issue – if out of the current squad there are at least 10/12 (and some would even go as high as 15/16)  players who will never become effective Premiership players, what do we do with them ?

The squad needs a rebuild but this is not FIFA15 or Football Manager, you cannot simply move those players on you no longer want, to make room for the new stars.  Crying out for new signings because the transfer kitty is there, does nothing when there is also another kitty which needs to be balanced – wages.


How do we rid ourselves of those players who have enjoyed very good Premiership wages for doing pretty much nowt – no prospective club will pay them what we do based on last season’s performance. Plus they sure as hell aren’t going to move on and take a huge cut, nor are their agents going to allow it.

Add to this the recent news of reduced season ticket uptake and the wages v turnover balance shifts even more to reducing the weekly wage bill, or at least not increasing it.

I can just see the excuses – ‘we didn’t buy so-and-so because his wage demands would have broken the wage structure at the club, a wage structure that is tighter now because the fans have stopped buying season tickets’.

For all that Ashley is vaunted as a great businessman, I fear that he has knowingly allowed this far bigger issue to develop that will scupper any chances of a major squad rebuild.

Obertan, Marveaux, Ameobi, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Collocini, Anita  – these players are not going to attract big bids to move on and most other clubs who may be interested will baulk at their wages

Yet we cannot hope to progress while they still take up squad places, but that’s not Ashley’s fault…his offer still stands that there’s money for signings so long as the wage structure remains.

From what I see there are only two options – allow Steve McClaren to determine who he will not use and write off a large proportion of their remaining contracts (thus freeing up squad space and wages).

Alternatively, accept that once again we will have a manager trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and hope that a few fancy baubles will kid us all that we are progressing.

(Newcastle fan since 1985, season ticket holder from 1991 until this season, not renewing)

  • NUFC9

    Two points:
    1.  Even if half of our season ticket holders cancelled we’d still get bigger crowds than the likes of Swansea, West Ham, Stoke, etc.  Any excuses from the club that we can’t compete with mid table teams like these due to reduced attendances at SJP wouldn’t stand up. We don’t compete with them because we don’t want to.  Plain and simple.

    2.  Paying off players like Marveaux, Obertan… to get them off the wage bill wouldn’t necessarily work.  We’d have to more or less pay up the remainder of their contracts to get rid of them so we’d still be spending almost as much on wages as if they stay.  Loaning them out might be an option but again, we might have to pay a significant chunk of their wages.

  • dude 1

    Well here is one for you this morning while in the office we received a phone call from nufc a young lady called ashley asking us why we have not renewed our corporate box at St James after telling her the reason why she informed us that should we decide to change our minds within the next few weeks it would not be a problem as there are many boxes available how desperate are they season ticket sales down now boxs

  • ArtyH

    IMHO this is all down to the owner not knowing anything about football or thinking he does and making very poor choices, either way he is culpable. The only way he would not be is if he gave the MANAGER a fixed sum £XYm and told him to get on with it, them he could claim well I gave him the money and look what happened. However the club and fans are his plaything and he plays Championship manager with real people/players, and he’s $hyt£ at it. What really hurts is HE DOES NOT CARE as he has to much money, we as fans are a mere inconvenience to him, his prime concern is getting his tatty sports shop branded all over St James Park and the T.V money. We as a club have taken him from a billionaire to an estimated £8>9B, give or take a few million ( which could be used to make the club a top 6 team ).
    However IMHO the fans who bought tickets again this year are to blame as they are sanctioning his actions or lack thereof, if you sit back and let a bully kick you, he will continue as it gives him power and pleasure, I hope those who renewed get the biggest kicking ever as you are killing our club, how can you not see this?

  • DZA187

    I can’t believe stoke are about to sign Xherdan Shaqiri

  • Kevin Halliday

    Well done to those fans who have seen the light and refuse to fund fatty’s stupid little game of “football manager” with the club that belongs to all Toon fans regardless of where in the world they might be. We will be rid of the slug one day, hopefully before he kills it entirely.

  • Wallsendstu

    The club won’t admit that season tickets are not being sold as per the comment regarding the drop being the same 6% as last season. They announced attendances of over 50,000 during the boycotted games, counting season tickets sold not bums on seats. Penfold is like a limp lettuce, can you imagine sitting and negotiating with him. The talk is that they had a meeting today to finalise their targets when other clubs did this months ago and we all know that McClaren has very little say in who comes in or who goes so they can’t say they were waiting till he was in place. Penfold is just a glorified tea boy who was in the right place at the right time. We have all probably seen it in the work place, those who are promoted not because they are the best for the job but will tow the party line and not make waves. Players may be on holiday but that dosen’t stop their agents from arranging deals and securing moves. I doubt NUFC will ever agree fees that are required for current premier league players and definatley won’t pay the wages so all we can expect is more like the crop we have and no improvement.

  • Chemical Dave

    I can’t believe he’s going to stoke but he’s joining a bigger club than fattys SD fc.

  • Cornflake

    I know we’ll invest, it’ll be just enough to get fans back to the grounds to watch mediocre football.  We’ll buy 2 up front, and one defender…then tout our kids and people coming back from injury with new coaching and staff to improve on those injuries etc.
    The expectations have become so low in the last couple years, that’s the depressing part.  I can understand Ashley with his lack of desire to put his money where his mouth is.  What I find the most depressing is that it’s become acceptable for such a proud franchise, that fans would seem content with 10th spot.

  • DZA187

    Chemical Dave it’s shocking and we are looking at tom ince, when Xherdan Shaqiri is up for sale. It sounds like the club are willing to wait till next week before making a move for anyone. I don’t believe penfold and the fatman know what they’re doing.

  • fireflyuk

    dude 1 that sounds as successful as the team’s efforts to get in the oppositions box over the last few seasons.

  • Shipcote Willy

    You nailed it, more of the same to come.

  • Shipcote Willy

    They will be having a meeting to arrange another meeting to talk about making signings, having another meeting to decide on whether to makie a bid then another meeting to discuss Pardew’s excuse book for a response to the fans. It’s hard work for our esteemed MD he has only had since January to sort out the targets. Do you think he is a miracle worker?

  • Shipcote Willy

    Can’t compete with their financial muscle

  • Shipcote Willy

    Yes, renewed season tickets are the seal of approval to him.

  • Chemical Dave

    They know what they’re doing alright.

  • Will Richardson

    It’s as if Newcastle not spending is unusual. After Ashley’s “speech” a lot of papers etc have got a bit carried away. Based on the last 3 windows, what suggests we’d buy?! There’s no other motive behind not spending except ashley being tight!

  • desree

    Stoke are buying shaquiri for 12m whilst the ‘a team’ are trying to make a top 8, cup winning team with a welding gun, some tape and steve ‘hannibal’ mclarens master plan.

  • andewalsh

    You’re right about the media getting ahead of themselves. Ashley only ever said ” I will continue the policy of investing in the football club” Now you don’t have to be a legal clerk to realise there are semantics within that statement that give Ashley loads of wriggle room when called to action on his words. Could anyone really say that he has invested over the past 3 seasons? 

    Hmmm. Rumours mirrors and misdirection.
    Thomson house want to punt papers or click magnet reports. They don’t bother to challenge the small print.
    Sky is seemingly a preferred media outlet so they are not going to get mud under their nails raking over the details.

    All of the major London-centric media have grown bored and moved on as they are not likely to be able to justify printing stories of blank space. Having assumed 6 weeks ago Ashley was going to splash the cash.

    The leopard has not changed his spots & has got maximum out of a quick media sting before the end of the season to paint a rosy picture. Job done.

  • fireflyuk

    To quote the big man himself “I will continue to invest”, to be fair he is ‘continuing’ his usual investment policy. And people say he is a liar.