Like every other Newcastle United player, Shane Ferguson has now said he’s grateful for the fresh start/clean slate he’s got with the arrival of Steve McClaren.

You have to go back three years since the full-back/winger last played competitive football for Newcastle and wasn’t even given a Premier League squad number by United last season, before later going on a bizarre loan to Rangers when already long-term injured.

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Due to a Newcastle squad still way short of quality and quantity, Shane Ferguson has already featured in three of United’s four pre season friendlies, including the bizarre sight of the fragile looking Northern Irish international playing the full game at centre-back against Portland Timbers’ second team.

Shane Ferguson speaking to the Shields Gazette:

“There were a lot of boys who couldn’t really play the game due to the artificial pitch, so I was the only one available to play there.

“It was an experience and I will take a lot from it – I learnt a lot.”

Fresh start:

“I will do anything for the team and work as hard as I can, if I am needed there I will play the best I can.

“It is a clean slate and a fresh start for everyone, I will have to keep working hard pre season to try to get as fit as I can.”

I think it is bad news all round when a player such as Shane Ferguson was on that plane to America.

A player simply filling a shirt and a training position pre season, then playing in a position that he will only have learnt one thing from – never to play centre-back again.

A player like Shane Ferguson should be getting on with his career and playing regular football, not wasting more time at a club and a level where he hasn’t got the remotest chance of succeeding.

Like many other young players, Ferguson has been a victim of the club’s ridiculous policy under Mike Ashley of handing massive Newcastle United contracts to young players who have achieved absolutely nothing.

It is a similar case with a lot of the ‘budget’ players Newcastle have bought in, with the likes of Marveuax, Obertan and now Riviere getting contracts of five years or more – the club then stuck with players who nobody else is going to take on at the wages Newcastle are paying.

newcastle united contracts

Of the younger players, the likes of Nile Ranger got a five year contract, Bigirimana got the same, Curtis Good a SIX year one.

Shane Ferguson was given a new five year contract back in 2011 and will be only days off his 25th birthday when it ends next summer.

A player who will have wasted half of his career already, getting better money at Newcastle for these five years than he will get when he moves on, but on what kind of shape will he be in when competing to get signed on at other clubs?

A 25 year old who hasn’t really played any football in his career, only making 38 first team appearances so far for Newcastle, Birmingham and Rangers.

Mike Ashley’s policy of trying to do things on too limited a budget with both young players and budget signings has proved costly on and off the pitch.

One relegation and two near misses in the last six Premier League seasons, plus accumulating an ever growing list of players on long contracts who aren’t good enough but Newcastle can’t get rid of, due to them getting wages higher than what their true worth is.

Marveaux, Williamson, Ferguson, Bigirimana, Taylor, Riviere, Obertan, Vuckic, Elliot, Gouffran….

Hopefully the transfer activity so far and the noises made by Steve McClaren and others, are an indication that lessons have been learnt and investing in quality such as Wijnaldum actually works out better financially, as well as on the pitch.

Rather than paying the likes of Obertan and Riviere to sit on the bench for years.

This stupid policy has then led to a ridiculous position where in January, Lee Charnley claimed a justified reason for Newcastle not buying anybody was because Newcastle’s squad was already full.

That kind of attitude almost getting United relegated, the squad may have been ‘full’ but you have to ask yourself what it was/is full of…



  • ncncnc

    erm, i’m sure if he wanted to he could take a pay cut and go elsewhere if he doesn’t feature in the clubs plans. 
    most young players don’t make it, i’d argue having the benefit of 5 years to develop at a club is more than most young players could dream of.
    how many players who aren’t making the grade at a premier league club tumble down the leagues in to non-league football? 
    the specific contract situation of these players is a- unknown to yourself, b- agreed by them and the club 
    what’s it got to do with anyone else?

  • Steve1221

    What a stupid article, there’s no risk in placing players in relatively cheap long term contracts, what would be really stupid is only giving the likes of Aaron’s a 1/2 year deal and losing him on the cheap

  • Pete1234

    Are there any subjects you actually know something about? If so, perhaps you could write about them, rather than this drivel.
    You provide no facts, no comparisons, no evidence that Newcastle’s policy is a) different and b) worse than any other club’s policy.
    The only conclusion anyone can draw from your article is that some youngsters, who showed early promise, don’t go on to make the grade. No sh*t sherlock.

  • GeorgeBainbridge

    What a positive article – NOT

    Here’s a novel idea try supporting instead of being a whinger!!!!!!!!

  • amacdee

    I think the message from the article is that too many players are on long term contracts which, by and large, allows them the safety of staying put either on the bench or hovering around the “reserves”. We need hungry young players capable of proving their worth not 25 year old “promising” youngsters. 

    Fergie joins a long and growing list of players who just wont make the grade at NUFC. Whether that’s the player or our atrocious academy/development staff only time will tell ?

  • fireflyuk

    GeorgeBainbridge Who put you in charge?

  • maxfiction

    Is it risk or is it that Pardew never gave the youngsters a solid chance? They could not exactly rely on getting the experience through cup runs either. This under 21 lark isn’t helping anyone in my opinion.

    An interesting interview from Tony Pulis absolutely tore the Under 21regime/ structure to bits. The youngsters should be shipped out to play in the lower leagues instead of the reserves/ under 21’s. Playing competitive games which mean something even if it is scrapping to stay in league 1. Youngsters are clearly talented but they need to learn the tricks of the trade, so to speak. Or given an extended opportunity at senior level.

    Saying that, young players won’t benefit from playing within garbage teams like the ones in the past 18 months either! . Where moral and the pressure of playing for newcastle would be too much too soon. As fans we know what we expect of our team and that could be too much for lads playing their first ever competitive games. Sooner be losing at Wrexham than fearing relegation with Newcastle in your first senior season!

    It’s not contracts that are the issue. It’s giving them a chance. It’s probably too late for those lads now like.

    HOWEVER, Goufran, Williamson and Obertan should just be given away. Get them off the books. Even at a loss. Simple as that.

  • Kev82

    I don’t think tying young players down to 5 year contracts is a bad thing, if the player turns out not good enough then they only have themselves to blame for wasting their careers, nobody is stopping them moving on but they won’t accept a pay cut so choose money over their careers.

  • Stephen Sheppard

    crappy article, hes an ave player, but has been injured a lot

  • Happyharrys2011

    How are these players getting away with it. If I went to work and got paid as a plumber but done the job of a labourer, I would be sacked for impersonating a plumber. So how has Obertan not been sacked for impersonating a footballer. He couldn’t even get a championship contract now, he is that shiit the dictator didn’t even send him up to Rangers, as he would of been rumbled sooner for taking the piiss out of them.

  • Gordon Seery

    Take the other option give them a two year contract they turn out to be great and leave on a free – Its not as if they are on huge contracts with the FCB in charge

  • EastStander

    Be real in the modern game.
    A we sign them on a 3 year deal, they fulfill any potential and leave with a year left for buttons.
    B we sign them on a 5 year deal and if their any good we get some money or renegotiate a contract
    C 3 or 5 year deal they are shite like ferguson (who i had high hopes for til he bottled that headr in the cup) and weve took a gamble and lost out.
    I dont think nufc have spoiled the lads career. If he was any good hed have been snapped up by now.
    Not arguing with a lot of tour points but i think your headline is a bit misleading

  • amacdee

    Kev82 So how does a five year contracted loser help NUFC out ? At the very least he’s using up another contract/wage/squad place.

  • amacdee

    Happyharrys2011 Agreed. Squidward is the modern day equivalent of the Emperors new clothes. Every one knows he’s got nowt yet the club kept him on all these years because he’s an ex Manc or one of Pardwho’s love children ?

    Good luck Palace if thats the type of player your manager covets.

  • DownUnderMag

    Be it due to injury or lack of match practice, Fergie came in and looked a half decent player but seemingly has gone backwards in the last few years.  I think too much was made of his slight physique and possibly too much emphasis put on bulking him up rather than letting him develop naturally.
    As for long contracts, i’m sure you would be complaining if we failed to tie a player down and they left on a free once they prove themselves too.  I’m all for criticising the regime when they deserve it but some fans just will never be happy with the club no matter what they do.  I swear certain fans would complain that we cut circles on the grass rather than squares…
    I think the young players have been failed by the setup at the club certainly, but long contracts mean nothing these days other than us securing a fee for any player we sell.  They aren’t on huge contracts so I see no reason why other clubs wouldn’t take them off our hands…I just think our coaching staff could be doing a lot more for their development…hopefully this will be one of the more prominent changes under Schtevo.

  • 1957

    Spot on. Is this not what supporters are saying we should do with Aarons, when Ferguson had his brief time around the first team he looked a decent prospect so the long contract was understandable. It’s an absolute priority for McClaren to sort out development and progression of young players too many decent prospect didn’t flourish under Pardew and his motley crew.
    You might get to test your pitch theory, there was a poll for how the grass should be cut this season on the official website, I suspect you will be right.

  • Cuse

    You couldn’t be more wrong.

    A standard player’s contract is 3 or 5 years. If the club followed your frankly insane idea of signing young players to short-term deals, any player who did show potential – Aarons for example – would be able to be poached by bigger clubs in perpetuity.

    Is there any issue the Mag isn’t prepared to blame on Ashley for? The pie supplier is probably next…

  • Mal44

    There’s nothing wrong with offering long term contracts to players with potential. I’m sure we all want to see Aarons signed up as quickly as possible. Some you win, some you lose. I think we need to make more use of the loan system in the development of players or when we can see they aren’t going to fulfil their potential they can still be usefully loaned out to reduce costs if they can’t be moved on. The author is being wise after the event.

  • potski

    There is no limit to contracts the club can sign. They aren’t on big wages, and if they are loaned we recoup some/all of that. When did he use a squad place? Youth players don’t count in the limit of 25.

  • mrkgw

    I quite like Shane Ferguson as a player and if he stays fit, then who knows what his prospects might be under McClaren. Fingers crossed for the lad.

  • Barnesay

    so in this article you bemoan the long term contracts given to young players which then don’t develop in to top players and in other articles there’s a clamour to get Aarons signed up on a long term deal on £20k p/w. Make your minds up lads! Bigi, Ferguson, Buckie all looked promising players when they broke through but it just hasn’t happened. Hopefully they will get Aarons sorted and it should probably be incentivised, even Mitro has a deal that includes substantial bonuses. Likes of Carrol and Tiote saw big pay rises when they developed quickly so no reason why the club wouldn’t do the same for Aarons.

  • TeamGB

    Are these articles designed purely to fill blank spaces? What a load of nonsense. There is nothing wrong with locking down ‘potential’ on longer term agreements. I would direct critique more towards the clubs inability and repetitive failure to develop decent young talent. We need to invest into nurturing young players and shaping them into future stars, Ferguson is at an age now where he ought to be flourishing, let’s see if this next chapter in our clubs history provides a better platform for decent young’uns.