Newcastle United: I Just Can’t Figure Them Out


There’s a lot about Newcastle United that I like. Their history for one, I loved the Kevin Keegan era and the football they played. I also adore the fact that they always cherish and appreciate a good goalscoring number nine. Plus I have never met a ‘Toon Army’ fan that I’ve not liked.

I also like the recruitment policy they currently have and the fact that they are a selling club, as long as they get a decent fee in return.

That last point may upset a few fans but in this modern era its very difficult to scout players, bring them in for a modest fee, then sell them on for a nice profit and do it all over again.

In recent years, Newcastle have a good record of finding a gem and getting the best out of the player before selling on for a huge fee. They managed to secure £35m for Andy Carroll and brought in £19m for Yohan Cabaye, when they sold the Frenchman to PSG in the winter.

This summer they have just offloaded French international right-back Mathieu Debuchy for a fee in the region of £10m-£12m.

Those type of deals are fantastic pieces of business. I know diehard ‘Magpies’ may hate the fact that they seem to sell all their best players but it needs to be done, especially if you get top dollar for them.

Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote, Tim Krul and Davide Santon may follow the rest out the door as their fine form has attracted interest from various suitors.

The recruitment side of things usually goes well. But a few times in the past, it stalled to a complete halt and that isn’t good when trying to enthuse a hungry fanbase.

This summer seems to be going along well.

The £5m signing of Daryl Janmaat could be the bargain buy of the summer. The twenty-four year old former Feyenoord man had a terrific World Cup. He will come in and replace Debuchy. If he can recreate the form he showed this summer and in the Dutch championship, then Newcastle will have a new dependable, hard working full back who can both defend and attack.

In Emmanuel Riviere, they have a striker who has a bit of potential but at twenty-four he needs to prove himself consistently as an attacking threat. He’ll need to hit the ground running if the fans are going to forget about Loic Remy’s heroics last season. Maybe Alan Pardew can get to the potential like he has with Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Remy. I’d still expect at least one more frontman to come in at St James’ Park and help take the load off.

Remy Cabella is another inspirational signing in my opinion. The attacking midfield maestro has all the creative tools to get to the top. Would be ideally suited for the role in the hole (like a number 10). He was certainly the star of the show for an average Montpellier side during the last campaign, where he scored an impressive fourteen Ligue 1 goals and created five assists. Cabella has one French cap to his name and replaced the injured Frank Ribery for the France World Cup squad. Like Janmaat, he’s twenty-four and could become a Premier League star!

The Jack Colback signing represents a good deal in two ways. Firstly he’s a free transfer who adds strength and depth to the squad. Secondly, his signing will infuriate Sunderland fans and it will be seen as a one up over the main rivals. Former Ajax captain Siem de Jong can play as a forward or in central midfielder. A consistent scorer and a player that offers guile and craft, that Newcastle need since the Cabaye departure in January. I don’t know much about young Spanish striker Ayoze Perez but he had a good record at Tenerife and probably won’t be rushed into the Magpies first eleven.

All of these signings seem astute and can give the Newcastle United fans cause for optimism. A new central defender and another striker would improve the whole squad in my opinion.

I bet the supporters would love more transfer windows like this one. Deals have been done with haste and good players have been brought in. Too many windows were allowed to go by without the Tyneside club replacing the stars that they had sold.

The scouting team under Graham Carr, deserves huge credit with the buys from Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie looking like superb acquisitions. The club should be pushing for a top eight finish and try and go all out and win a cup! The fans deserve that.

The impressive transfer policy, the decent squad and the great fans; those are all the good points.

But their are plenty of negatives that the club can’t seem to shake. It’s those details that hold Newcastle back.

The owner, Mike Ashley, deserves huge credit for some of the good points. But with that he needs to accept the blame for some/most of the clubs failings too.

The war against the city’s local press was unsavoury and unnecessary in my opinion. By not dealing with the local media, all you do is look petty and keep information away from the fans. If you have issues, then talk it over with the editors. The carrot does seem to work better than the stick on these occasions.

The relationship between the club and its own fans is quite disturbing. A huge Premier League club like Newcastle need to work hand in hand with the local community and be seen as transparent. If you remove yourselves away from the hardcore support and alienate them then the club is fractured and you cannot work to your full potential as a business.

Ashley seems to want to run the club like a European side complete with a director of football/sporting director. But with that you need to make good decisions on who you appoint. Dennis Wise was inexperienced and seemed to do nothing to merit his role at the club back in 2008. Then we had the debacle that was Joe Kinnear. Listen I liked Kinnear the manager of Wimbledon in the nineties. But unfortunately he didn’t evolve and he was out of the game too long. His main responsibilities were too get deals done, he didn’t manage to get one permanent transfer over the line. The fact he couldn’t even pronounce his own players names, showed his attitude to the job wasn’t the best.

I am also not a fan of Alan Pardew. Most of the time he seems devoid of any passion and then once in a while he explodes and pushes a ref, calls another boss an ‘old C*nt’ or headbutts an opposing player. These incidents are extreme. Once is unlucky but to bring the club into disrepute three times in such hectic fashion is just reckless. He has seen good results on the pitch but did he really deserve that big eight-year contract?

The treatment of players that the club want to offload, like Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux, always saddens me. I hate players being made to train alone or with the reserves, as the club look to sell. If they are disruptive influences then fair enough but if not then why freeze them out and make them so unwanted?

So yes I have affection for Newcastle Utd and I really appreciate the clubs recruitment policy and the way they sell top talent. But there is also an undercurrent of drama and silly decisions that always seem to bring the side down.

If the club want to move on then they really need to deal with the issues between the board and the local community. As long as that relationship remains broken then the club wont be complete either and that’s upsetting.

I would like to dedicate this article to Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who both lost their lives on the Malaysian aircraft that went down in Ukraine yesterday. They were travelling to watch their team inn pre-season action. 

4 Responses to “Newcastle United: I Just Can’t Figure Them Out”

  1. You got some of it right, but the basic story is Ashley (who remains fairly ignorant concerning football in general) originally bought the club as an adjunct to his sports ware company, using it as a free advertising board for Sports Direct..
    His policies are not difficult to figure, it’s basically the same policies used by SD, buy cheap, sell for a profit.
    Following the near relegation year we were involved with the UEFA cup, there has been no interest in silverware, plus we ain’t gonna make it into the Champions league and there’s no money in the other tournaments, apparently mid league mediocrity is the height of the clubs ambition and with the ever increasing revenues from PL membership, the priority.
    As for Pardew, a con-man, who is probably the worst tactician in the league, but always has someone or something to take the blame for his obvious lack of footballing nous.
    And things ain’t about to change, unless there’s the threat of loosing those massive TV revenues, via relegation, so expect more of the same for the foreseeable future.

  2. Thanks for the comment Chuck!

    I really enjoyed the comparison between the transfer policy and SD. Well done.

    Have to agree with you that mid table money seems to be height of ambitions but a cup final and better relationship with fans would still create extra income.

  3. As a Geordie I have to say this is a fantastic article. I am very happy with the signings we have made this season and hope it continues. I agree with you about a striker and a centre back (preferably a commanding centre back who can win the ball in the air and will score the odd goal on corners). I wish we would keep Ben Arfa, Marveaux and Yanga Mbiwa. I think Ben Arfa should definitely be a first team player if we can get him fit. My team currently would be this;


    HBA Cabella
    De Jong

    Sissoko Tiote

    Haidara Mbiwa Williamson Janmaat


    Subs: Colo, Anita, Marveaux, R Taylor, Elliott, Cisse, Gouffran

    Anyway your article has been a fantastic read, I am glad I found it through Newsnow.

  4. Glad you enjoyed it Steve. Tanks for the comment.

Leave a Reply