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Why would anyone sign for Newcastle United?

6 years ago

If I didn’t support Newcastle United, I wouldn’t sign for them.

Even as a 16 year old, I was probably better off choosing Middlesbrough or Sunderland over Newcastle, as I would have a better chance of making it.

As a professional, from a non-fan point of view, what does Newcastle have to offer? Except for playing in front of what I believe are the best fans in England, there really is not much at the moment.

I can fully understand why a player would choose to sign for Crystal Palace, Watford, Leicester, Stoke and West Ham over Newcastle United. At the moment you look at how the club is run and in fact, it’s a no brainer.

Imagine yourself as a professional footballer, you’re on the move and leaving your club. Newcastle, West Ham and Crystal Palace have tabled a bid for you. You’re sat in your hotel room with your agent waiting to meet all three clubs.

West Ham are first up – in walks David Sullivan, the Chairman of West Ham, a very rich man who I know is great company to sit down with and talk. He is passionate about West Ham, he’s a local boy and before being a chairman/owner, he is West Ham born and bred.

He tells you about the project at West Ham, the chance to play with new signings such as Payet/Lanzini, a charismatic manager like Bilic… and the chance to play in one of the best new stadiums in the world, that will be sold out next year… and the chance to live and work in London. From my own experience – I have known David Sullivan to actually invite potential signings around to his house for dinner and a cup of tea – Not bad eh?

Next up is Crystal Palace – their chairman Steve Parish walks in, a charismatic guy. Under their regime, it’s likely that if Palace want you then it means their manager Alan Pardew has asked for you. You have probably received a phone call from Pardew beforehand to explain how you are going to fit, and as a former Palace player, he would have been in a great position to sell the club to you.

Parish goes on to explain the project at Crystal Palace – you have a manager who wants you to be there, a young energetic group of players who aren’t doing too bad in the league, you’ll be playing in front of one of the best sets of home fans in the league and a stadium that is sold out every week. Yes – they’re not the biggest club in London, but they can still offer you that London factor (which is important, believe me).

Finally, Newcastle United – you open the door and at first you think it’s Harry Hill, but once he shows his badges it turns out it is Lee Charnley and he’s in the right place. Is he the owner or the chairman? No he’s the managing director (whatever that is).

You get to business. He explains to you that you have been picked out by the Chief Scout, and although the manager has never heard of you, he is willing to see what you are like. You’re told that if you play well, we’ll either give you a raise in money or you’ll be able to move on to a bigger club, like Spurs or Arsenal.

You’re told that you will be able to play in front of 48,000 (on average) every week, but to be honest, the atmosphere isn’t that good anymore. There isn’t really a singing section and the fans aren’t happy. You’ll be told how great a place Newcastle is to live, only an hour’s flight from London, and there are also direct flights from Newcastle to Charles De Gaulle.

Oh also, if you sign for us you’ll get a free Sports Direct mug and an Everlast Jacket.

What would you do?

A look over the Premier League explains how the rest of the teams are set up and who are the main men in their transfer dealings – and a worrying pattern emerges for Newcastle.

Arsenal – Ivan Gazidis (and the manager Arsene Wenger)

Experienced chief executive who has worked in football for over 20 years now. Works alongside the manager. We all know Arsene Wenger is the guy who rightly calls all the shots.

Aston Villa – Hendrik Almstadt

Another experienced person who spent 5 years at Arsenal working alongside Arsene Wenger on football analysis. Criticised by Stan Collymore, which probably means he’s a nice guy. Knows football inside out.

Bournemouth – John Yems (and the manager Eddie Howe)

Another highly experienced person who works alongside Eddie Howe in bringing players into the club. Yems has a long history in the game, working at Exeter, Millwall, Fulham, Palace and Crawley. A guy with clear footballing knowledge and lots of contacts.

Chelsea – Michael Emenalo

Former Nigerian International who played in the 94 World Cup. Has filled just about every role at Chelsea except for the manager. I have been lucky enough to meet and chat with Emenalo who I can assure you knows football inside out and is hugely passionate about his job as Abramovich’s right hand man.

Crystal Palace – Steve Parish (and the manager Alan Pardew)

Chairman of the club who he has elevated to the Premier League. An owner with the clubs best interests at heart. Now working alongside Palace hero Pardew, they have two individuals who care deeply about the club and know football.

Everton – Bill Kenwright (and the manager Roberto Martinez)

Chairman who has given half of his life to Everton football club, who has the best interests of the club at heart. Works closely with the manager on bringing HIS players into the club… Joel, Kone, Deulofeu, Lukaku etc.

Leicester – John Rudkin

Knows football inside-out and has worked at Leicester in coaching roles since 2003.

Liverpool – Ian Ayre (joined by Kenny Dalglish)

I believe Ian Ayre is similar to a Lee Charnley – although as a local lad who supports the club he does have the best interests at heart. The key is working alongside a legend in Kenny Dalglish who can attract players into the club, along with their new manager. Who wouldn’t want to play under Klopp?

Man City – Txiki Begiristain

Barcelona Legend, Spain International, used to run Barcelona. What more needs to be said? Will be the key in Guardiola coming to City in the summer.

Man United – Ed Woodward

I think the Jury is still out on this guy.

Newcastle United – Lee Charnley

Used to be the secretary. No experience within football at any level. No suggestion that he knows anything about football.

Norwich – Ed Balls (and Head of Scouting Lee Darnbrough)

Big name former politician who works on the advice of Head of Scouting Lee Darnborough. Nobody really knows about his footballing credentials, but as a local lad who loves Norwich City he certainly has the clubs best interests at heart.

Southampton – Les Reed

Former Charlton manager who again knows the game inside out.

Sunderland – Ryan Sachs

Similar to Charnley – no suggestion that he knows anything about football and is clearly there to work for the Owner – does he have the interests of Sunderland at heart? Probably not.

Spurs – Daniel Levy (and the manager Pochettino)

Needs no introduction. Has made mistakes for sure, but seems to be learning from them and again has the clubs interests at heart. I am sure there will be no Franco Baldini’s at Spurs ever again.

Stoke – Tony Scholes & Richard Smith (and the manager Mark Hughes)

Again two guys who know football and Stoke inside out. A relationship that works alongside the manager who is able to attract the big name players. Many young Barcelona stars are happy to go and play for a manager who used to play for Barcelona.

Swansea – Huw Jenkins

A chairman who seems keen to apply the continental model but has risen the club up from the bottom of the football league and has the clubs best interests at heart.

Watford – Luke Dowling

Former head of recruitment at Portsmouth and Blackburn – proven pedigree within the game.

West Brom – Richard Garlick (and the manager Tony Pulis)

Works directly alongside Tony Pulis who dictates who he wants and how the club should be run.

West Ham – David Sullivan

Chairman, Owner, West Ham fan. Has the clubs interests at heart.

It’s painful to read that list because it’s evident what Newcastle are missing. Is it so hard to have a guy who knows what its like to play for Newcastle? Why can’t the club hire a Keegan, Shearer, or even a Harper to sell the club.

Why would you sign for Newcastle United?

Players need to be told that if they apply themselves, give their all, they can become heroes. Their names can live forever.

They can play in front of 50,000 crazy Geordie fans every week, who will love them.

They can win a cup and become legends.

They can score against Sunderland and live forever in Geordie folklore.

Use examples of the great English players that have graced the shirt; Gascoigne, Waddle, Beardsley, Shearer, Ferdinand, Owen (I know). Or even the foreign lads; Ginola, Asprilla, Albert, Ben Arfa.

… I don’t think they are told any of this. Newcastle is sold as nothing but a stepping stone, a ticket to the dream move to a big London club, via a few years at Newcastle.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

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