When the club (belatedly) signed 4 players in the summer for individual prices in the region of £13m/£14m, it looked, on the face of it, like there was perhaps a change of approach and a willingness to pay higher prices for better players.
Steve McClaren talked about patience within the transfer window and making sure money was only spent on quality that would improve us.
He also stated he was happy for Coloccini to sign a new contract and be his captain.
Fast forward 8 games in and with the club at the bottom of the league, there are now murmurs that McClaren actually didn’t receive the full backing he wanted.
The Chronicle’s Chris Waugh stated:
“When the ex-Derby boss took over in June, he originally made it known that Coloccini was not in his plans and that he wanted a vocal centre-back brought in who could be his new captain. Unfortunately, it was soon made clear to McClaren that such a player would be costly and would not be signed over the summer, so instead Coloccini was offered a new deal and retained the captaincy.”
Chris Waugh also said:
“(Paul) Simpson (McClaren’s assistant) is also understood to be exasperated by the limitations placed upon the coaching team due to the restrictions of the current structure of the club under Mike Ashley – especially due to the fact that McClaren is the only head coach in the Premier League to be on his club’s board. Despite this, player recruitment is largely controlled by chief scout Graham Carr and McClaren’s influence over some key aspects of the club remains limited.”
This points to the same old problems under Mike Ashley…
How does McClaren – now a member of the board –not hold enough sway to make sure an established centre-back is brought in to replace our current captain who has been below par for the last few seasons?
The club’s continued policy of refusing to sign players over the age of 25 completely undermines – and will continue to undermine – any of the club’s transfer activity.
This goes alongside the reluctance to sign players with Premier League experience, presumably because of what is perceived as inflated prices for such players.
But in stubbornly refusing to pay that extra £3m/4m, the club are instead banking on all new players to come from countries such as France, Holland & Belgium and settle immediately.
This policy demonstrates that players are simply bought as assets, with potential re-sale value, the most important factor when drawing up short-lists.
The result is a squad completely devoid of leaders, with no one to rally the team during tough periods and show vital in-game experience. When something goes wrong no one speaks, no one encourages, no one gets angry. It’s an apathetic acceptance with little self-pride on display.
Naturally there has to be some kind of balancing act and the other unwanted extreme is signing players well past their best who are under-performing, but there is a vast and common-sense middle ground.
Alan Pardew was happy to operate under this model for four years, which brought zero hope that there was a shift in mentality around the corner.
If Steve McClaren as a board member is unable to change this policy then this simply confirms once again that the club will never go anywhere under Mike Ashley. Even if results pick up in the short-term, McClaren’s most fatal flaw would be to accept his role as another yes-man.
(Timothy is just one of our ever expanding team of regular/irregular writers, send in your original articles for our website to [email protected] and share them with the world – all views are the author’s own etc etc)