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Opinion

Bad Takes – Darren Eales

1 month ago
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With the rise in social media coverage of sport, it seems everyone from big news corporations to the wannabe influencers, have a take on the sporting headlines each day.

Unfortunately, quantity doesn’t equal quality, and more often than not these takes are terrible. This does absolutely nothing for the mental health of many fans up and down the country.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had a panicked call from my Dad about something he read online. So I’ve decided to take things into my own hands and put forward the actual story behind these bad takes.

Obviously, as a Newcastle fan I notice these more when they are related to our great club, so will be starting with a story close to home, but I know we’re not alone in having to suffer from the rise of the bad take. So as I cover more of these, I might branch out a little.

Thursday night brought a slew of headlines, tweets and videos, all with a similar theme “Newcastle Forced to Sell Star Players”.

For anyone who missed it, these opinions were all formed off of the back of an interview Darren Eales gave on Newcastle’s official media channels in which he discussed the headline figures from the recently published year end accounts. The video itself clocked in at over 8 minutes long and covered quite a few aspects of the club’s finances including increases in commercial revenue, the club taking back retail into its accounts and the new sponsorship deals that are yet to appear on the books. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, people have focused on one part of the interview where Darren Eales mentioned the inevitability of the club having to sell players.

This is of course something that all clubs do, just this season Spurs sold Kane, Liverpool sold their entire midfield and Chelsea sold in excess of £230 millions worth of players.

Darren Eales actually went into relative depth to discuss the rationale for this “need to trade” as he put it, explaining the way amortisation of player acquisition affects the clubs accounts.

Despite this fact, we were greeted by such astute interpretations as “Newcastle accept they may have to sell one of their best players this summer as they strive to remain on the right side of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability regulations” from the Guardian. While the BBC chipped in with “Newcastle United could have to sell players to their rivals”. Neither of these quotes are in the slightest bit accurate.

Darren Eales did comment that every player had a price where selling them may be in benefit to the growth of the club but, he made it very clear that the club are compliant with the financial regulations imposed upon it. As for selling to a rival, I suppose that depends on your definition of a rival. Darren Eales made no allusions to who could be sold in the future or where to, however, our current rivals domestically include Chelsea, Villa, Spurs, Man U and Arsenal. I can’t see any scenario where we sanction the sale of one of our top players to aid these teams.

Sela Sponsorship Newcastle United

So, what should we actually take from the club’s latest accounts and the Darren Eales interview?

Firstly, the club is growing, we’ve shown increases in revenue two years running and that’s before some of our bigger deals and Champions League spoils are added on. There is still some way to go to catch even Spurs, but they are steps in the right direction, after the years of stagnation under Ashley.

Secondly, the club are committed to investing in the squad but are making sure they don’t breach any financial regulations. This point is what led to the explanation around selling players and amortisation. To put it simply we’ve not really sold anyone yet, with the exception of a cheap looking ASM departure, so our flow of money on players is largely in one direction. The club is allowed to have more money going out than coming in but to spend more than your rivals and improve your squad, you’ll have to eventually sell a player.

Ask most Liverpool fans and they’ll tell you; they won a title by selling Coutinho and Suarez over a couple of years for close to £200 million. That money allowed them to sign players like Alisson and van Dijk who have been the backbone of the club’s recent success. If Newcastle were to get substantial offers for players like Bruno or Botman then, maybe, it might be worth listening to them. However, if you listen to Eales’ words it is clear we’re under no pressure to sell these players for Financial Fair Play compliance.

Darren Eales Amanda Staveley Yasir Al-Rumayyan Mehrdad Ghodoussi

Finally, if I’m taking anything from the interview, it is that these owners are focused on making Newcastle one of the best teams in the Premier League and Europe.

Darren Eales outright said, they’ll always spend as much as they can on the squad to improve it. He also suggested that the board are frustrated that they can’t spend more due to FFP restrictions, something Eddie Howe hinted at too on Friday.

I know many fans will feel the same way and the debate around FFP is certainly interesting but not one I’m going to go into. Fans should feel reassured this weekend that if and when a player is sold, that this isn’t the days of Mike Ashley, trying to unearth massive bargains like in one of his stores. We are shopping at a different level now with owners who are happy to flex their bank account.

Climbing the mountain to success isn’t always smooth but as long as you keep pushing up eventually, you’ll reach the top.

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