Over the years, we have seen many players come and go, moving on to ‘bigger’ clubs, labelling Newcastle United as a stepping stone for players.

As true is this may be, could it not be said that most clubs are a stepping stone for players until they reach their highest level?

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

When Cabaye arrived from Lille in 2011, the Frenchman was criticised for leaving Champions League football at Lille for Newcastle and the Premier League.

After a successful spell on Tyneside, Cabaye got his dream move to PSG, leaving Newcastle with a healthy profit margin. Of course, we all know how that move worked out, with ‘dreamboat’ having now signed for Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace.

Despite the disappointment, Cabaye’s use of Newcastle as a stepping stone got him the move he wanted.

Did Cabaye use Newcastle, or was he simply playing for a team below his standard?

Wilfried Bony joined Swansea following great success in the Dutch league with Vitesse Arnhem, before later joining Manchester City after scoring for fun in South Wales.

Did Bony use Swansea as a stepping stone, or was he simply playing for a team which did not match his standards?

Since promotion, Southampton have become one of the biggest selling clubs right now, they could even be classed as a feeder club for Liverpool! Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw have all moved to ‘bigger’ clubs to further their careers.

Another player that left The Saints, Gareth Bale, found himself swapping North London for Madrid as he headed to the Bernabeu for a world record fee of £85m. Along with Bale, Modric also left Spurs for Real Madrid.

Does this mean Bale and Modric used Spurs as a stepping stone, or were their performances of a higher calibre, thus attracting bigger clubs?

There are a whole host of other examples that I have not mentioned which further support my argument. There is next to no loyalty in football these days.

Moussa Sissoko Back Of Shirt Close Up

If a club signs a player and expects him to see out his career there, then they clearly haven’t been paying attention to what is going on around them. Every player has a sell on value. Every player has aspirations to play at the highest level possible.

Moussa Sissoko has made it very evident that he has higher aspirations, and had he performed at a higher level during his Newcastle career, he probably would have got his big move by now. Cabaye performed to a higher standard and moved to a ‘bigger’ club.

Newcastle United may be a stepping stone for a lot of players but so is almost every other club.

There are a select number of clubs who are at the highest level – Newcastle are not one of them.

You can follow James on Twitter @jrutherford11 



  • mentalman

    Pretty much spot on, even the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd would struggle to keep some of their top players if the likes of barca or Real Madrid came calling

  • Polarboy

    I think Delph is a f*cking idiot for moving to Citeh. Sure he may get short term financial gain but what happens in two, three years time when he’s played only a handful of games. Will other top teams be as eager to come in for someone who will most likely be off the pace that comes with regular football.

  • Greekgeordie

    Until Newcastle is established as a top four team, we will be always a stepping stone for any player with ambition to play at the highest level, but so are hundreds of other clubs around Europe.
    The good thing is that players of Cabaye calibre choose Newcastle to step up, which indicates that while we are a so called stepping stone, at least we can take the comfort that we are close to the summit, and there are plenty of stones further down the hill for players to climb to on their aspirations to play at the highest level.

  • mactoon

    There is no loyalty as such as every player wants to improve their career but that is not what you are asking. You are asking if every club is a stepping stone.. the answer is no. We have actively sought to buy players cheap, display them for a season and sell on for profit to bigger clubs with no thought to the repercussion on the team. We are one of the few (if not the only) clubs to actively set out to do this and it is the players who see our club as a stepping stone. Most clubs try to improve their playing staff on the field and try to retain their best players. To date we have not.

  • King of Zamunda

    I wouldnt nessasarily call it ‘stepping stone club/clubs’ – look these players, are the ever actually on the radar of the truely big clubs?? its not that they are not good enough, its simply a case of big club, big name. Chelsea are not going to go out and spend 15 mil on Mitrovic when they can bring in a huge name like Falcao, not because he is a great player, but because he will sell millions in merchandise, that is a Fact, and all over the world. The big clubs have no need to develop players anymore. look at Man City, they actually buy their quota of HG players. Do players such as Ayoze look at Newcastle as a stepping stone? probably not and he may stay faithfull to us becasue he seems genuine, but if he keeps playing well he will undoubtably be off for big money. I would call teams like us Southampton, Swansea, – Choice Clubs!! what I mean by that is there are alot of players who would be happy to apply their trade at Newcastle infront of 50,000 fans but if they have no love for the actual club ‘ a supporters love’ then they will always aspire to follow the masses to the big time ‘choose’ pay (in this short proffession!!!!!) over loyalty. I feel a team of Geordies (provided they were Prem standard) would find it really hard to leave this club regardless of  potential Team or Pay. I know for a fact I would be a lifer given the chance to play for Newcastle.

  • LeazesEnder

    King of Zamunda I’m thinking Ameobi here…..

  • MagpieG

    It has always been the same. Players have always moved on if a ‘bigger’ club comes in. Kennedy, McDermott in the 70s, Waddle, Gazza & Beardsley in the 80s. That’s what the transfer market is about.  No player in their prime moves down the food chain.  It’s not just Newcastle.

  • King of Zamunda

    @LeazesEnder (Provided they were prem standard) haha, not players we are stuck with.

  • potski

    Which players are these we sought to buy on the cheap and displayed for a season? Not Carroll who came through the youth system. Not Cabaye, Demba Ba or Debuchy who were here for over a season, with Cabaye here for two and a half seasons. With Carroll putting in a written transfer request and the others forcing moves, including Cabaye’s infamous refusal to play against Arsenal, they clearly wanted to leave for bigger clubs, more money and the opportunity to win trophies. So they might have had the idea when they signed to use the club in that way, but it is not clear the club bought any of the two they paid fees for, intending to sell them on at a higher fee.
    But what of the rest? Barton, Gutteriez, Nolan, Ryan Taylor, Williams, Collocini, Gouffran, Anita, Colback, Cisse, Sissoko, Haidara, Santon, Mbiwa? Were they all bought by the club with the intention to sell them after a year?

  • mactoon

    Ok more than one season but it is still the club’s policy to buy cheap put in shop window and sell for a profit so yes players see us as a stepping stone club.

  • mactoon

    Gascoigne waddle Beardsley Carroll to name four. Only shearer had true loyalty

  • Durham_CK

    How many players in the Premier League era have left us and achieved real success. Andy Cole is the only one that springs to my mind. He played regular football for Man Utd and won things. Others have left and won the odd cup here and there but no one has been outstanding. Cabaye won trophies at PSG but hardly played. Owen spent his life on the bench at Man Utd. Given spent his time on the bench at Man City etc etc.
    If we can get some real decent players in and get to the level we were at with Keegan and SBR then players won’t want to leave they will want to stay. This is what we need to aspire to. None of this mid table mediocrity.

  • Ben Jefferson

    every club in the world bar about 4 clubs are stepping stones, load of shite. If Hazard is wanted by Barca or Real he’s gets sold simple as for example

  • mactoon

    Agreed but to achieve this Ashley has to stop selling our best players. Hopefully the influence of McClaren can be the catalyst for change

  • magpie9

    mactoon Le Tissier was one more who stayed loyal to Saints

  • wor monga

    Players will come and go…from one club to another…from one
    league to another…from one country to another…that’s the way it is, always has
    been and always will be.

    …but better players are always coming to the surface
    somewhere, wherever in the world that may be, and the secret is to have some
    organisation in place that can quickly identify them…and get them signed on.

    …once you have built a squad of really good young players in
    the academy the future is secured regardless of who comes and goes…

  • mactoon

    Definitely he was a bloody curse for us lol. I was just talking about the toon. I suppose another would be Harper who could have played for England if he had left and got first team football imo

  • LeazesEnder

    wor monga Rubbish

  • wor monga

    LeazesEnder     Really!…Southampton haven’t done too badly…neither have
    Ajax…or a host of other clubs…that’s the way it is…

    …you can’t spend your life
    imagining you’re a big club, if you don’t have an Arab or an oil rich oligarch
    who can recover all he spends ‘faster than a rat can go up a drain pipe’….unless you’re the one prepared to spend the money…that is!!

  • fireflyuk

    mactoon Shearer wouldn’t have joined us if we were in the Championship or as shite as we are now.

  • snodgrass2

    wor monga Wasn’t always that way. It is a feature of the modern world that people travel way more than they did 20-25 years ago. It wasn’t loyalty just the way things were. You are right now anyone can move virtually anywhere at anytime. Much easier for footballers who have the money behind them and the occupation to help them do it.

  • v0ices

    potski i thought the carroll transfer request story had been well debunked by now enoughs been written about how he was pushed into signing it by lamearse.

  • v0ices

    wor monga LeazesEnder man u seem to manage it pretty well they even manage to pay off the debts the owners ran up buying them our debt remains constand despite profits……

  • MagpieG

    v0ices potski Andy Carroll didn’t ‘have’ to move anywhere. He could’ve switched his phone off and gone fishing up at Kielder and come home at midnight when the window shut. If he wasn’t agitating for either the transfer or a massive wage rise why was both he and his agent available for talks.

  • DownUnderMag

    We sell players to more successful/richer clubs than we are…does that mean Man Utd are a stepping stone for players such as Christiano Ronaldo??  Selling our best players for vastly inflated fees has NEVER been the issue, failing to replace then adequately has been.  When Carroll left, how long did it take us to get a replacement?  When Cabaye left..when Ba left…the only problem in those deals was that we were left weaker AND richer, well the owner was richer.  How many players have we missed out on because of failing to pay an extra couple of million when the fee received more than matched that??

  • Duke Fame

    v0ices wor monga LeazesEnder Go on, explain because that looks a very ignorant comment

  • Duke Fame

    mactoon Shearer didn’t have much loyalty to Southampton, he was also a bit peeved at not being told of Liverpool’s interest, 

    It’s a football CAREER, they all try to get the most out of it that they can. LeTiss was an exception and that was down to liking his home life rather than loyalty.

  • mactoon

    You misunderstood the context of my post in terms of the previous discussion. The point was that shearer is a Geordie and was loyal to Newcastle

  • Duke Fame

    mactoon I know but had he been informed of Liverpool’s interest in 2001 (?) he’d have been off

  • mactoon

    No he wouldn’t! Remember he turned down Manchester United twice during that period and they were a much better option of continual medals than liverpool.

  • potski

    No, I don’t remember that at all. He turned down Man U when he left Blackburn, but only because Newcastle were in for him and they were genuine title contenders. Having just missed out as runners up when he signed, it looked like he would make the difference. He didn’t in the end, two injury spells that season disrupted things, then Keegan was off in his huff (yet again), walking out midseason once the owner had informed him he couldn’t keep spending like there was a money tree in Leazes Park.
    But I don’t think he would have left in 2001, that was during Bobby Robson’s time when we again were genuine title contenders and qualified for CL, FA Cup Finalists and semis in the EUFA. He wanted to win something with Newcastle. But he wouldn’t have come and certainly wouldn’t have stayed if for instance Gullit had not lost the derby at SJP and got fired, and instead led us to several seasons of mid-table.
    Remember Shearer was a winner, he hated coming off the pitch having lost a game, and he wanted to win trophies. The point is he wouldn’t have signed and/or wouldn’t have stayed but for the fact that the club looked like it would win something. Geordie or not.

  • v0ices

    potski keegan left because of halls plans for the club chiefly the diversification into other sports  and the floatation of the club, he offered to stay until the end of the season as he knew Sir  Bobby would be available to take over then but shepard and dougie hall pushed for Dagliesh thinking he could slot right in and drive the club to trophys. Oh for history to have been different and them accepted keegans offer to stay how many trophies the club could have won with Sir Bobby inheriting keegans side and where the club would be today we can only dream about.

  • v0ices

    Duke Fame v0ices wor monga LeazesEnder sorry i forget how stupid you are allow me to explain you do not need a sugar daddy owner to compete at the top, man u manage it even with the huge debts the owners created to takeover the club. they still manage to compete at the top despite paying off the debt unlike nufc who make no effort to compete for anything and whos debt never shrinks. hope this explains it to you muppet.

  • mactoon

    You are rewrite history mate. Utter rubbish. He had the chance to join man u and turned them down twice once when shepherd signed him and once while at Newcastle. Of course he wanted to win something but he wanted to win it with newcastle. If it was just to win.. he would have left for man u who had the best chance

  • v0ices

    the ashly lovers rewrite history non stop most of all if they can try and put one of the clubs heros in a bad light.

  • potski

    No, rewriting history. Just no rose-tinted spectacles, and a good memory. There was no flotation plan, the club was already floated on the Stock Exchange. When he decided to leave at the end of the season the club was advised that this would potentially affect the share price and that legally they could not hide this from the shareholders. This made his position untenable, they would have to announce to the press that he was leaving and the club would have 3-4 months of speculation over the future manager. In any case, by then his heart wasn’t in it. He agreed with the club that it would be better if he went immediately.
    On Shearer, this is speculation on my part. But you are wrong that the club was nowhere near winning anything. Maybe you forgot how good things were then?
    Daglish took over from Keegan and finished 3rd. Despite the bad press he gets, those couple of months were incredible, the best I ever seen as he had Ferdinand, Shearer and Asprilla playing together in a 4-3-3. We qualified for Champions League, when it looked like that would be impossible when he took over.
    Next season we performed well in the CL league stage, though we didn’t qualify for the next round. But we were midtable in the Prem. The club had sold Ferdinand, Ginola and Asprilla, and we never again quite bought that quality of player, we never again competed with the transfer fees paid by the top clubs in Europe. But we got Solano and some decent players.
    Next season, Shearer did his knee in pre-season, and missed more than half the season. Daglish got off to a bad start and was replaced with Gullit promising sexy football. Shearer was fit by the time of the early rounds of the FA Cup and we went to Wembley in the Final.
    The following season we had Dyer and I think Robert, and with Shearer supposedly looking fully fit, we expected to kick on to make another stab at the title, but Gullit decided that Rob Lee was past his best and should leave, and insulted him by not even giving him a squad number, and he then fell out with Shearer. Plus Shearer was sent off in the first game of the season, banned for three games and Ferguson injured. So we went into the derby fifth game of the season, and Shearer and Ferguson were on the bench. His sacking followed and Bobby Robson came in.
    So despite the fact that most fans think that there was no success after Keegan left and Robson came in, we had more prospect of winning things under Daglish and Gullit than we have in the last ten years.
    Bobby Robson turned things round as soon as he came in, as we had an excellent team. He didn’t perform miracles, taking a relegation team and getting them to play above themselves, he inherited a strike force of Shearer and Ferguson, Gary Speed in midfield and Solano and Dyer, Shay Given in goal, and we finished well up the table, despite the start we had. Was that when Robson also took us to a Cup Final? Maybe that was later.
    But next season, Robson’s first full, we looked for that great form to continue in a whole season. He brought in some winger he bought from Coventry who had just been relegated, someone no-one fancied as a forward, and he got the same stick as recent managers for buying cheap, not competing with big clubs etc. Bellamy. By now it was clear that Shearer’s knee injury meant he hadn’t the pace he had when younger, but Bellamy had enough for both of them. We were genuine Premiership contenders until around March, including beating Man U 5-3. I think that was the season we had 11 straight wins at SJP. But injuries and suspensions to a few of our top players and the squad players couldn’t sustain the title challenge, we finished well off the points total of the winner, but still 3rd, and CL.
    Next season we didn’t make a good start in the CL league stage, losing the first three games, but then came back from the dead to win the next three and go through to the second stage. I think that is still a feat which no other club has done. But we couldn’t sustain that when both Bellamy and Shearer were banned for off the ball incidents. I can’t remember why we didn’t go so well in the Prem, but still finished 4th, and CL. Though I think that was when we screwedup the qualifying round in August, winning away from home then losing on away goals at SJP, and another promising season ended up with ONLY!! 5th and EUFA qualification.
    Bearing in mind that the seasons we were Cup runners up we lost to teams who qualified for CL, we got EUFA Cup from these. So I think from Keegan leaving we missed out on playing European competition only once in about 9 seasons.
    Completely wrong to suggest that Shearer played for a team that was nowhere near winning anything. He joined and stayed with the club because he believed that Newcastle could win a trophy. And you have to remember the circumstances when he signed. We finished second to Man U by only three points, after leading most of the season, when Ferdinands goals dropped off. EVERYONE believed that signing the England captain, who had scored 30 goals in several seasons, and was undoubtedly one of the top three strikers in Europe at the time would guarantee that Newcastle would win a trophy. And the mantra then was the first was the hardest, once we won one, we would go on to win many.
    If that wasn’t the case, that he was approached to join Newcastle when we were midtable, and no realistic chance of winning a trophy, and no great players around him supplying the crosses etc. would he have left Blackburn? I doubt it, except to go to Man U. I have no doubt that it wasn’t just sentiment for the club he loved as a boy that he signed for Newcastle, he came believing that the club could match his winning mentality. And we very nearly did.
    So he isn’t some selfless martyr, who gave up his career to join Newcastle. Just the opposite – we looked more likely to win something than Blackburn when he left them. Jack Warner put alot of money into Blackburn, but transfers had spiralled massively over a few seasons, in part because of the money John Hall was prepared to spend. Though Blackburn won the title, it was clear they couldn’t sustain that, and their squad was nowhere near strong enough for instance to play in Europe. The one season they played in CL they won none of their games. You might say that Shearer used both Southampton and Blackburn as stepping stones. He left both in big money transfers, and there is no obvious difference between what he did, and Carroll, Beardsley, Cabaye, Gascoigne, Given, Waddle, Debuchy. Or players of other clubs, like Bale, Rooney and Sterling – I’m sure all of them would claim they moved to “bigger” clubs not for the transfer fees and wages, but to try to win trophies.
    What on earth has any of this got to do with Ashley?

  • mactoon

    Because as I’ve said. Ashley has reduced us to a stepping stone club. Because players see us as a club they can go to.. play well and get a move to a bigger club
    Simples. That’s what he has reduced us to.
    we had more prospect of winning things under Daglish and Gullit than we have in the last ten years.really??? Dalglish who dismantled the entertainers and gullet who benched shearer and Duncan ferguson for the rain drenched derby??? Then resigned
    Check your history mate ffs

  • potski

    Gullit who took us to an FA Cup Final, and Daglish who took us to 3rd and into the CL. Since around 2005 have we even got past 4th round of the FA Cup?
    Shearer played in Cup Finals for Newcastle twice, CL three times, at least three years where we were premiership contenders, semi-final of EUFA, couple of semis in FA. Why are you getting so riled by that? It’s simple fact that Shearer came to Newcastle intending to win trophies.
    And has nothing to do with Ashley.

  • mactoon

    I remember the football under those two was dreadful. I’m simply stating in response to a previous comment that when at Newcastle shearer stayed loyal despite being asked to go to the league champions