Newcastle Captain Jamaal Lascelles handed bumper new six year contract.
These were the headlines that greeted me when I went online this morning.
I had to check the date on the story.
Yes it is dated Thursday 1 November 2018.
The reason I say this is that we saw exactly the same story only 12 months ago, checking back it was 6 October 2017 when Jamaal Lascelles signed a new bumper six year contract, securing him until blah blah blah.
Contracts as we all know are meaningless, if a club comes in and a player wants to leave, then the deal is just as likely to happen whether Jamaal Lascelles or whoever has a five year or six year contract.
In reality, the NUFC Captain has just been given a one year extension on the deal agreed in October 2017 and a few extra quid presumably.
I can’t help but think this is simply a very lame attempt at a feel good story by Mike Ashley and his PR people, a desperate attempt to try and stifle protests by Newcastle fans.
The Magpie Group last week announcing a two month rolling programme of protests, with ‘coincidentally’ a meeting at 7pm tonight at the Tyneside Irish Centre, where fans are invited to go along if they are willing to be active volunteers in helping to organise and take part.
The only positive I can see with the new Lascelles deal is that at least it is a step up on the past, when rather bizarrely, when Newcastle fans were unhappy there would invariably be a new contract announced for Shola Ameobi or Steven Taylor, the NUFC owner and his PR people somehow believing these to be ‘feel good’ moves.
The Mag helpfully produced a list this morning of when all of the NUFC squad see their individual contracts run out:
30 June 2019:
Mohamed Diame, Jack Colback, Kenedy, Salomon Rondon, Callum Roberts
30 June 2020:
Federico Fernandez, Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot, Joselu, Javier Manquillo, Freddie Woodman, Ki Sung-yeung, Jamie Sterry
30 June 2021:
Fabian Schar, Achraf Lazaar, Henri Saivet, DeAndre Yedlin, Rolando Aarons, Christian Atsu, Jonjo Shelvey, Ciaran Clark, Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden, Ayoze Perez, Matt Ritchie
30 June 2022:
Martin Dubravka, Paul Dummett, Florian Lejeune, Yoshinori Muto
30 June 2024:
The news this morning doesn’t make me think in any way that it means it is more likely Jamaal Lascelles will be at the club long-term, the only thing the one year extension and paying Lascelles a few more quid might mean, is that Ashley will bank a few more quid if/when the defender is sold.
Proper investment elsewhere in the squad is what would encourage somebody like the NUFC captain to stay longer-term, the very thing Mike Ashley has refused to do.
Putting a better team around Lascelles and the other small handful of good players we do have, would then give Newcastle a chance of being a successful Premier League team AND increase the prospects of an England call-up for the former Forest player.
A longer and better paid contract won’t make any difference if due to Mike Ashley’s refusal to invest in the squad, Newcastle are relegated in May and Lascelles is still ignored by England, as he is dragged down by the sheer lack of quality in the NUFC team and squad.
To be honest I would have been experiencing the feel good factor far more if it had been announced that Rafa Benitez, Fernandez, Lejeune, Shelvey and Dubravka had all agreed new deals that would mean they joined Jamaal Lascelles on being contracted until June 2023.
Along of course with a commitment to start recruiting the other players, especially creative and goalscoring ones, that are desperately needed to play alongside our small handful of players who are good enough.
You could almost call it a five year plan…but this time it being one that exists in reality, not a PR bluff from Mike Ashley and his people to pretend and try to convince fans that there is some kind of long-term strategy aimed at success.