Now that the silly season is over with and the transfer window has officially opened, maybe just maybe, some of the bonkers people amongst the ranks of Newcastle fans, may jet off for some sun, enjoy the summer and chill out a little bit.
However, before that, a Newcastle United based question.
What happened on July 30th 1996? No prizes for getting that one….
While we are all aware that Mike Ashley is never going to be flavour of the month around these parts, and in many cases this is entirely justified and deserved, but getting to July 1st with no signings through the door (apart from Christian Atsu) was no cause for panic or the cue to slaughter the club/owner/directors etc.
I mean it’s almost like articles were written by some people way in advance of the transfer window opening, then sent this past week for maximum negative effect. From what I read, the insinuation is that the club aren’t going to spend money this window, or won’t spend nearly enough to make us competitive this coming season. A lot of this speculation is based on nothing other than press reports, transfer rumours and fans own past reservations.
The last one is fair enough, Ashley has hardly given himself an immaculate history at Newcastle United to be judged on but I think a quick history lesson is in order, for no other reason but to counter some of the doom and gloom that seems to be getting thrown at the club at present.
When the dung gets flung from outsiders like Stan Collymore and Tim Sherwood it’s fine, getting stick off some journalist who knows nothing or has twisted whatever small piece of information they have received is ok, that’s what they are paid to do. Those in the media LIE (shock, horror) and write what they write to get a reaction, truth and facts don’t even enter the equation most of the time.
Flak coming from the club’s own fans is something totally different and unacceptable, especially when there’s precious little to back it up. Truth and facts need to be remembered even if the mistakes and incompetence of Mike Ashley and others in the past won’t and shouldn’t.
Now that the transfer window is officially open, I’m confident that we will start to see some movement both in and out of the club. While writing this the club have already announced the signing of Florian Lejeune and as other clubs do business this will also help prompt the market somewhat.
If we look at years gone by, INCLUDING the last ten years under Mike Ashley’s ownership, we can see that mass hysteria over the perceived lack of signings is totally misplaced.
Last season we signed Isaac Hayden and Grant Hanley well into July and Ciaran Clark, Mo Diame, DeAndre Yedlin and Daryl Murphy all arrived in August.
For our last Premier League campaign the club signed Mbemba, Mitrovic and Wijnaldum in July and in 2014 Cabella, Riviere and Janmaat were mid-July recruits.
The summers of 2012 and 2013 saw what was widely regarded as poor club business in that the only signings made were Vurnon Anita and Loic Remy coming through the door, both in the August of the respective seasons I might add. With European qualification secured the previous May, this was hardly the best recruitment drive.
Rob Elliot, Davide Santon and Gabriel Obertan all signed in August 2011, Cheick Tiote being another August capture in 2010.
Under Kevin Keegan, the club signed Jonas Gutierrez early in July 2008 and added Danny Guthrie and Sebastian Bassong later in July and finished off getting Fabricio Coloccini in August.
Sticking with the Mike Ashley era, Sam Allardyce was allowed to recruit Alan Smith, Jose Enrique, Habib Beye and Faye all in August, to to add to earlier summer signings.
Now we could go on…but it’s worth noting, (pre Mike Ashley) Freddy Shepherd wasn’t afraid to splash the cash, Obafemi Martins was recruited in August 2006. The season before, Albert Luque, Nobby Solano and Michael Owen were all late August additions. Even Sir Bobby Robson signed Stephen Carr and Charles N’Zogbia in August, supplementing James Milner, Patrick Kluivert and Nicky Butt who all arrived in July.
I see a pattern emerging. There are more examples obviously, but business will be done, and naturally the earlier the better to allow time for new recruits to bed in, but panic is not what is needed and certainly not required from supporters of the club.
Already sceptical ‘fans’ are saying that Florian Lejeune could turn out to be a bad signing and this is nothing short of scandalous. I’ve never known a period at this club where fans are jumping on players’ backs almost before a ball has even been kicked in training, never mind in a proper match.
Mike Ashley’s reign has harvested a very poor and at times toxic atmosphere but this has improved since Rafa Benitez came to St James Park.
He is still manager isn’t he? He hasn’t walked has he? Or is that what some ‘fans’ want just so they can write ‘Told you so’ articles?
Rafa came out and welcomed the signing of Lejeune and that’s good enough for me. Here’s hoping more follow soon, as I’m sure they will.
After all, we signed the biggest player in our history on the penultimate day of July in 1996, AFTER he’d played in the Euros and presumably had a holiday.
Players do still get them and will have been away until early this week, so I wasn’t expecting anything to materialise until around now anyway.
For now, keep calm everyone. Until Rafa walks, the signings fail to materialise, or fail on the pitch, people need to shut up, let others get on with their jobs and let pre-season pan out.
Then on the first day of the season get behind Rafa and the lads (it is nearly six weeks until we play a competitive match) and then hopefully try and get some positivity inside St James Park. Wouldn’t that be nice.
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])