31st August 2011 - The Number 9 Shirt Remains Vacant
Despite recent assurances, the close of the January transfer window has seen us come up short in our pursuit of a new stirker.
Alan Pardew: "We are still looking to get another striker. We will get a striker over the line, 100%, and that will be before the window shuts. It's not complete yet but by the 31st August it will be."
The Newcastle support fully understands that players of the quality of Lionel Messi or Sergio Aguero will not be arriving at St. James' Park.
However, it is now seven months since we sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool for £35 million. We do expect more and deserve better than having to watch the likes of Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands consistently fail to reach anything remotely close to an acceptable standard of performance in a black and white shirt.
Earlier this month the manager outlined the clubs transfer window strategy.
Alan Pardew: "You need to have some sort of strategic planning about what you are doing and some sort of game plan. Hopefully we are going to call that right but you can get something out of the woodwork which throws it into disarray and you need plan B and then you need plan C. We are hoping we stick to plan A, but we will see."
In terms of acquiring a striker, if reports are to be believed, it would appear that a plan D also came into play, with attempts made to gate crash other clubs transfer activity at the last minute. That plan also failed miserably.
The recent decision by club management to give Shola Ameobi, a non entity in the eyes of a large element of the clubs support, a further contract extension, coupled with an inability to land a striker of any pedigree in the transfer window just closed, leaves an increasingly disillusioned support in an even deeper state of frustration and disbelief.
Joey Barton on Twitter tonight: "Nice to see Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias come through with their promise to reinvest Andy Carroll money. Feel sorry for Geordie nation, them two don’t deserve that club or it’s following."
31st August 2011 - Carling Cup Date Confirmed
Our Third Round Carling Cup tie against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground will be played on Tuesday 20th September with a 7.45pm kick-off. The game has not been chosen for live TV transmission.
"This is a huge club and a huge opportunity for me."
30th August 2011 - Rob Elliot Arrives From Charlton
Charlton goalkeeper Rob Elliot has completed his move to Newcastle for an undisclosed fee. The 25 year old has signed a five year deal and will provide back up to Tim Krul. Rob joined Charlton in 2004 and made 109 appearances for the London club.
Rob Elliot: "It’s a dream come true. I didn’t have to think twice about the move. This is a huge club and a huge opportunity for me. Charlton were my boyhood club but when you have the chance to play in the Premier League for one of the biggest clubs you can't turn that down. When Newcastle come in there’s only one choice you can make. I am looking forward to the challenge of joining a club like Newcastle United. Newcastle are probably the best supported club in the country. One of the best in the world."
Alan Pardew: "The goalkeeping position is one we felt we needed to strengthen. Rob is an excellent keeper who I have worked with before. I know he will be a good signing for the Club."
"This is an ambitious club who want to move forward."
30th August 2011 - Italian International Davide Santon Signs On
Newcastle have completed the signing of Davide Santon from Inter Milan. The 20 year old has signed a five year deal and arrives at St. James' Park for an undisclosed fee. Davide, who will wear the number three shirt, made his Inter Milan debut in January 2009 and went on to make 40 appearances for the club. He has seven international caps for Italy.
Davide Santon: "I am really pleased to sign for Newcastle. The chance to play in the Premier League and in front of 50,000 fans at St. James' Park was too good to turn down. I came here because it has always been my dream to play in the Premier League. And to play for Newcastle is even better, such an historic and great club. It was a difficult decision. It’s never easy to leave any country, never mind Italy. I’ve only been here for a short while and I feel very comfortable. There are some good people here. I’ve come here to do well and with this team I want to win something important. This is an ambitious club who want to move forward and I want to help them achieve that. I am very happy."

On Alan Pardew: "Alan Pardew has been fantastic with me. I was really impressed with him when I met him for the first time. I really like him because he wants to speak to players as men. Now I want to show him exactly what I can do on the pitch. It is a big desire for me to do well for this club. I want to pull on that black and white shirt as soon as possible."
Alan Pardew: "We are delighted to bring Davide to Newcastle. He is a quality left back and an established international who also gives us flexibility in defence. He’s a player that I thought would be a great acquisition for this football club. I decided when it become accessible to us that we should not hesitate to go for him. He has been the Italian Under 21 captain. He is a pedigree player. Davide is a young lad and a great signing for us and I am sure he will adapt to the Premier League very quickly."
Managing director Derek Llambias: "The signing of Davide Santon is a real coup for this club. It confirms our commitment to bringing quality players whose best years are ahead of them to St James' Park."
A delighted Leon Best celebrates his double strike
28th August 2011 - Newcastle United 2 Fulham 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 1.00pm
Team: Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, S Taylor, Coloccini, Cabaye, Tiote, Lovenkrands (Ba 62), Gutierrez, Obertan, Best (Vuckic 78 / Smith 85) - Subs not used: Soderberg, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Ferguson.
Scorers: Best (48, 66) - Crowd: 42,684
Alan Pardew: "Players have emerged from the pack and have done well. I’m really happy with the start. We have got seven points. We have won three games in a week and whatever level you are at that is good. You have to pay credit to Fulham. They overloaded the midfield, took the sting out of us. We overcame that, changed some things, then we dominated towards the end of the first half. I felt we controlled the second half. We have lost two great players in Jose Enrique and Joey Barton. We need re-enforcements. I am frustrated we haven’t got a couple of bodies in yet. I’m certainly not going to disguise that after a win. Derek Llambias and Mike Ashley are frustrated as well. I can't reiterate to the board any more here that we need players and we need to get them over the line this week.”
On Leon Best: "Leon didn’t start particularly well. When he is playing poorly it does not affect him too much. I don't worry about his confidence as it is something he has in abundance. He is trying to establish himself as a Premier League player. He has hunger, desire, he still needs to improve though. Leon did well in the second half. He has never really had a run of goals. He has to prove he is a goalscorer. He'll get the opportunity and he needs to take it."
On Tim Krul: "He's been great in all our games so far. You know you'll get reaction saves. He had to make two of them today. He looked big, he came and took a couple of crosses. It was a signal that he thinks he's arrived, which is a good thing. It's his presence that's starting to look really good for us."
Leon Best: "We are in the top six in the Premier League and it's confidence for the whole team. It goes to show the morale is still there. It gives me that self belief to keep going, keep striving, get goals and win games."
27th August 2011 - Carling Cup Third Round Draw
Newcastle have been drawn away to Championship side Nottingham Forest in the Third Round of the Carling Cup. The tie will be played at the City Ground the week commencing 19th September 2011.
"We wish to thank Joey and we wish him every success."
26th August 2011 - Joey Completes Move
Joey Barton has joined Queens Park Rangers after agreeing a four year contract with the Loftus Road club. The midfielder was in the final year of his contract at St James' Park and had been made available on a free transfer after criticising the clubs recruitment policy recently via his Twitter account.
If Joey is not registered in time to play for the his new club this weekend he will most likely make his debut against Newcastle in the televised game at Loftus Road on Monday 12th September 2011.
Joey Barton: "I will always have a special relationship with the Geordie nation but sadly they are not the decision makers at St. James' Park. I wish to thank each and everyone of them sincerely for their support."
Managing Director Derek Llambias: "On behalf of everyone at Newcastle United we wish to thank Joey for his on-field contributions to the team and we wish him every success for his future at Queens Park Rangers."
25th August 2011 - Illegal Approaches?
From the official Charlton Athletic website: Charlton formally reported Newcastle United to The Football League on Thursday after complaining of breaches of Premier League and Football League Regulations in respect of goalkeeper Rob Elliot. Charlton's complaint comes only a day after it was widely reported in the press that French club Sochaux had reported Newcastle to FIFA, making a similar complaint in respect of their player Modibo Maiga.
Chairman Michael Slater: "It is well known that Rob is in the last year of his contract, but this does not mean that clubs are entitled to approach and speak to him without our authority. At no time did we give Newcastle permission to speak to Rob. We are confident that once the governing body investigates the matter it will conclude that approaches have been made directly and indirectly to Rob and our complaint will be upheld. We intend to work closely with Sochaux in order to ensure that all facts regarding Newcastle's actions are thoroughly investigated."
Celebrating another stunning Ryan Taylor strike
25th October 2011 - Scunthorpe United 1 Newcastle United 2 (aet)
Carling Cup Round 2 - Glanford Park, Scunthorpe - 7.45pm
Team: Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, Coloccini, Williamson (S Taylor 45), Marveaux, Gosling (Vuckic 70), Cabaye, Lovenkrands, Best, Ba (Sammy Ameobi 65) - Subs not used: Soderberg, Abeid, Smith, Ferguson.
Scorers: R Taylor (80), Sammy Ameobi (112) - Attendance: 4,408
Alan Pardew: "There was a lack of application. It could have been a negative night for us. At half-time I was thinking this could be a very negative night for me. We were lucky not to be 2-0 down at half-time. Second half we got into gear. We pushed the strikers up. We had chance after chance after that. There were a lot of negatives but it ended with a few positives. Sammy is a player with great potential, someone we're excited about. He can threaten the first team. Sammy’s goal was a fabulous strike, as was Ryan’s. Cabaye was terrific as were the centre halves. Tim Krul made some great saves. The subs made an impact. We've won and we're in the hat"
Ryan Taylor: "To score in any competition for Newcastle's a great moment. The fans enjoyed that one behind the goal too. After Saturday I'm full of confidence and I think it showed. I'm looking to the future and the future's looking bright now."
23rd August 2011 - Club Statement
An Independent Regulatory Commission today found both Newcastle United and Arsenal guilty of failing to control their players. The charges relate to an incident during the club's recent league fixture at St. James' Park on Saturday, 13th August 2011.
Both clubs denied the charge and requested a non-personal hearing. In each case, the charge was proven by the Regulatory Commission and both clubs have been fined £30,000.
Newcastle United has requested written reasons for the decision from the Chairman of the Regulatory Commission and will consider its position once these have been received.
23rd August 2011 - More Trouble Brewing
Newcastle look set to hear from the governing bodies of both the national and European game this week over their conduct.
Charlton Athletic lodged a complaint with the Premier League last week and it now looks likely that the club will be hearing from UEFA as well as the FA.
French club Sochaux have accused Newcastle of making illegal approaches for striker Modibo Maiga.
Sochaux chairman Alexandre Lacombe: "Newcastle are going on contacting our players despite our refusal. So we will register a complaint with UEFA, telling them such behaviour is not fair play. It is provoking destabilisation."
Sochaux official statement: "FC Sochaux sent a referral to FIFA with the aim of obtaining assurances on the part of Newcastle United that they will stop their contacts with Modibo Maiga, who is under contract until 2014. This measure comes after Sochaux demanded without success, in an official manner and on two occasions, that the English club put a stop to their actions."
Manager Alan Pardew distanced himself from the Sochaux controversy.
Alan Pardew: "My brief is to highlight players that I think would take the club forward and the club's job is to get it over the line. I'm not involved in that side of things. I can't tell you anything about that."
However, he is likely to be asked by the Football Association to explain comments made regarding Joey Barton in the build up to Saturday's victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Stringent guidelines prevent a manager talking about match officials before a game.
Alan Pardew: "The referee needs to make sure he referees the game from a completely neutral point of view because Joey has been in the press a fair bit this week and I'm sure he will get a mention in Sunderland's game plan."
"He deserves all the plaudits. He has done another great job."
20th August 2011 - Sunderland 0 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Stadium of Light, Sunderland - 12.00 midday
Team: Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, S Taylor, Coloccini, Tiote, Cabaye (Williamson 85), Barton, Obertan (Gosling 85), Gutierrez, Ameobi - Subs not used: Harper, Lovenkrands, Ba, Best, Marveaux.
Scorer: R Taylor (62) - Attendance: 47,751

Alan Pardew:
"We stuck with our system, changed a couple of things at half time and it worked. We had more of the ball. We started creating and causing them problems and got our goal. In all honesty I thought we were worthy winners. We went home disappointed last year. We should have won. Today we saw it over the line. We had composure and when you're away that does help. My staff are looking forward to going to town tonight and sharing it with the fans. I will join them for one or two and enjoy it. It brings everyone together. Arsenal at home, Sunderland away, experts are saying we would get one point. To get four points is a real tick in the box. The group I have got is sound. The spirit we were applauded for last year is still there."
On Ryan Taylor: "Ryan has proven in his career that his right foot is a superior weapon. Despite all the talk about a new left back this week he has been calm. In addition to his goal, Ryan did ever so well and he deserves all the plaudits. He has done another great job."
Ryan Taylor: "There have been some great goals in this game in the past and to go down as a goalscorer in it, it's a great moment for me."
19th August 2011 - Rob Elliot Bid Rejected
From the official Charlton Athletic website: Charlton have rejected an offer from Newcastle United for goalkeeper Rob Elliot and have protested to the Premier League about the Magpies' conduct. Despite promises from United officials that no details of the offer would be made public, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew subsequently spoke about the bid.
Alan Pardew: "We enquired about Rob Elliot and we've put a bid in there."
The comments have angered officials at The Valley.
Charlton chief executive Stephen Kavanagh: "In advance of our match against Scunthorpe, it is very disappointing that Alan Pardew has decided to make public an offer for Robbie Elliot despite assurances to the contrary that wouldn't happen from his club officials. Newcastle made a written offer of £100,000 for Robbie on Wednesday, and made it clear that it was their final and best offer. The offer was rejected within minutes and Newcastle then confirmed they no longer had an interest in the player. We have contacted the Premier League today to register our concern at public statements being made by Newcastle after they withdrew their interest."
18th August 2011 - Fraser Heads North Again
Goalkeeper Fraser Forster has returned to Glasgow Celtic on another season long loan deal. The 23 year old spent last season on loan with the Scottish Premier League side where he made a total of 44 appearances.
14th August 2011 - Club Statement
Newcastle United and Arsenal have been charged by the FA with failing to control their players following Saturday's fixture at St. James' Park. Both clubs have been charged following a mass confrontation of players following an incident in which Arsenal's Gervinho was also shown a red card in the 75th minute. Newcastle United will deny the charge.
14th August 2011 - Maiga On The Radar
Sochaux striker Modibo Maiga appears to have his heart set on a move to St. James' Park. Reports in France suggest that Newcastle have made a bid for the player and are prepared to offer the 23 year old a five year deal.
Modibo Maiga: "I met everyone at Newcastle. It is not just any club. They want me, it suits me and it is good for my career. I want to leave. I don't want to annoy Sochaux but I want it to be sorted out with Newcastle. The sums are huge, for me and the club. You can't refuse such an offer."
13th August 2011 - Further Transfer Activity Expected
Derek Llambias: "We are delighted with the business that we have conducted in the transfer market this summer. We added further quality to our squad this week with the signing of Gabriel Obertan from Manchester United. Gabriel is an exciting player and along with the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux and Mehdi Abeid, we have every right to be pleased with our transfer activity so far. They are top quality players who will hopefully make a big impression here. We are fully aware of the need to add further players to our squad and we will be working hard to try and bring the right kind of players in before the transfer window shuts."
Alan Pardew: "We’re confident we’ll have some new players here by next weekend. I’m confident that by the time we play Sunderland I’ll have a left back in place and hopefully a striker."
"Ryan did terrifically at left back. He was great."
13th August 2011 - Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 5.30pm
Team: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, R Taylor, Barton, Cabaye (Lovenkrands 81), Tiote, Gutierrez, Ameobi (Best 73), Ba (Obertan 46) - Subs not used: Forster, Williamson, Gosling, Sammy Ameobi.
Attendance: 46,894
Alan Pardew: "The start of the game went according to what I predicted. I thought there would be a resolve from the Arsenal dressing room because of the criticism that has come their way and that it would fire them up. Arsenal gave us a hard time but we stuck at it. Our passing and set plays let us down today but there were some real positives. We worked hard. We were diligent. The goalie didn't have much to do, but what he did, he did very well and the two centre halves were outstanding. Ryan Taylor has had to play against one of the top players in the Premier League for this year, Gervinho. Then he has 15 minutes of Theo Walcott. Ryan did terrifically at left back. He was great."
"Hopefully he did it by mistake but it was a stamp."
On the Alex Song Incident: "Alex Song is a a terrific lad. He worked for me at Charlton. That is very out of character for him. Hopefully he did it by mistake but it was a stamp. He put his foot on him and Alex will be disappointed when he sees that. There is no point hiding from the truth. That’s what happened."
On the Gervinho incident: "I think the referee made the correct decision because Gervinho dived. I don’t think there is any doubt about that. That gets the blood boiling in any footballer, let alone Joey Barton. He tried to express that to Gervinho. He gets involved in things but today he has been slapped round the head and stamped on. Joey never raised his hands."
On Joey Barton: "Joey is a competitive player. The assurance I have got from him is that he gives everything and pulls for the team. He could not have done more in the dressing room and on the pitch today. He was fully committed. His performance was one of the best out there. He has got personality and a bit of character. He expresses that on the pitch. Me and Joey know what we are doing. I think he will be here beyond the end of August."
Joey Barton: "Diving to win a penalty needs stamping out. I train all summer to have him cheat us out of a hard earned point? It's not on. Diving should be a three game ban. Refs have it hard enough, don't blatantly try to con the ref."
12th August 2011 - Scunthorpe United Cup Tie Live
Our Second Round Carling Cup tie against Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park has been chosen for live broadcast by Sky Sports. The game will kick-off at 7.45pm on Thursday 25th August 2011.
12th August 2011 - Jose Away
The transfer of Jose Enrique to Liverpool has now been completed with the Spaniard moving to Anfield for an undisclosed fee.
Alan Pardew: "We all knew Jose was going to leave. There’s a plan in place. We couldn’t bring in a left back to be ready for this situation, because if Jose had stayed, then we’d have had two very expensive left backs."
Jose Enrique: "My move is purely dependent on the sporting opportunity, not money. I want to fight for titles and I think it more possible to do that with Liverpool than Newcastle. Newcastle did promise to solve my situation before the season and this has happened."
12th August 2011 - Building A New Understanding
Manager Alan Pardew has revealed that player bonuses were a major bone of contention between dressing room and boardroom last season.
The club set aside a bonus payment for finishing in the top ten but a number of players where unhappy at the figure on offer. Such was his frustration at no agreement being reached, owner Mike Ashley ended up offering the monies to the club’s training ground staff.
Negotiations this close season have seen Alan Pardew become involved. He has managed to conclude a deal acceptable to both parties.
Alan Pardew: "The bonus sheet going over the line is significant. I made it a big priority of mine. It might seem a small thing but it is important the club and players agree a reward for what you do. It is important we build a new understanding of the club going forward together. At any football club that is what you need. There has to be a respect. I am employed by Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias but my loyalties are as strong to the players."
12th August 2011 - Xisco Loaned Out Again
Deportivo La Coruna have confirmed the resigning of Xisco on a season long loan deal. A departure that will further reduce the clubs wage bill as manager Alan Pardew attempts to capture his remaining transfer targets.
11th August 2011 - Carling Cup Second Round Draw
Newcastle have been drawn away to League One side Scunthorpe United in the Second Round of this seasons Carling Cup. A date for the fixture has still to be confirmed but the tie will be played at Glanford Park during the week commencing 22nd August 2011.
11th August 2011 - Reserves Loaned Out
Young defender James Tavernier has joined League One side Carlisle United on loan. Initially for a period of one month. The 19 year old went with the senior squad to the United States recently. James started two of the three tour games and came on as a substitute in the other.
Reserve striker Phil Airey has joined Hibernian on a six month loan. Phil, also 19, links up with former Newcastle coach Colin Calderwood, now manager of the Easter Road club.
Phil Airey: "I love it at Newcastle, but I'm now at an age where I need to get first team football under my belt. Hopefully I'll achieve that with Hibernian."
11th August 2011 - Club Statement
Newcastle United Football Club can confirm that a fee has been agreed with Liverpool for the transfer of Jose Enrique. The player will travel to Liverpool today to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical.
Alan Pardew: "Jose showed no motivation to sign a new contract and when a player is in the last year of his contract it is a difficult situation when it comes to accepting a fee. A replacement is ongoing as we speak."
Glaring weaknesses, questionable attitude, poor work ethic
11th August 2011 - A Great Character
To the disbelief of a large percentage of fans, a club announcement yesterday, confirmed that striker Shola Ameobi had been afforded a further contract extension. An extension that means the player will likely finish his career at St. James' Park. This action has planted a doubt in the minds of many fans that the club hierarchy are now content to reward mediocrity.
Ameobi, who turns 30 in October, made his debut in September 2000. Since then, the player has made just over 180 starts for the club, averaging out at just over 16 a season. A further 120 appearances have been made coming off the substitutes bench. In those 11 seasons he's scored 70 goals, returning double figures in a league season on one occasion, the 2009/10 Championship campaign. By no means a regular, rarely a match winner, but someone who fills in every now and again.
No wonder a large section of the Newcastle support are questioning a decision to offer further remuneration to a very average player who seems happy to settle for a life around the periphery.
In 2008 Kevin Keegan farmed Ameobi out to Stoke City, then pushing for promotion to the Premier League. The chance to earn a permanent move turned out to be just a brief separation. The striker returned, tail between legs, no goals from six appearances, three of which came from the bench.
Despite their stance on recruiting younger players, on this occasion club management have seen fit to sanction a new deal for a 29 year old, seen by the majority of the clubs support to have glaring weaknesses in his game, a questionable attitude and a poor work ethic.
Mark Jensen - The Mag: "Shola has been given an extra two years on his contract! I think Ashley and Llambias are so out of touch that they honestly will think that fans will think that is a positive."
Alan Pardew: "He’s a great character to have around the place."
10th August 2011 - Fulham Home Fixture Moved
Our Premier League meeting with Fulham at St. James' Park, originally scheduled for Saturday 27th August with a 3.00pm kick-off has now been moved to Sunday 28th August 2011 with a 1.00pm start.
10th August 2011 - New Deal For Shola
Shola Ameobi has signed a two year extension to his contract which will see him remain at St. James' Park until the end of the 2013/14 season.
Shola Ameobi: "I would like to thank the board and the manager for their continued support, which is very much appreciated. I'm looking forward immensely to the next three years."
NUFC.COM: "So that's a little bit more of the Carroll cash reinvested in the club. It's no shock that our number 23 has been offered and accepted a new deal. More proof of the club's lack of ambition and acceptance of mediocrity."
10th August 2011 - What does Mike Ashley want?
Luke Edwards: The Telegraph
It is a question Newcastle United fans have been asking since he bought the club in the summer of 2007. It is a question he has never felt the need to answer. In fact, he has never felt the need to answer any questions during the course of four difficult years as owner. There is no conclusive answer because Ashley simply hasn’t given one, so in its absence all we can do is make an educated guess based on actions and off the record briefings from managing director Derek Llambias.
As far as I can tell, Ashley’s ambition amounts to keeping Newcastle United in the Premier League as a self sufficient business which occupies little of his time and none of his money. Having spent £286 million to buy the club and then keep it afloat following a relegation his bad decision making facilitated - Joe Kinnear as manager, Dennis Wise as Director of Football anyone? - Newcastle’s owner does not want to have to spend a penny more. He will not put money in, neither will he take any out. He expects the club to survive in the top flight without his help, maybe dabble with a cup run.
The suspicion is Ashley just wants to keep things ticking over until someone buys it from him and pays back the interest free loans, totalling more than £111 million, put in. When Andy Carroll was sold, fans were told all the money would go into the strengthening of the side, Ashley has used it to strengthen the books of a business which previously lost him money. That is his prerogative, he is the owner and there is no rule or stipulation he has to bankroll the club, match the expectations of supporters or throw money at new players in the vague hope it will be restored to former glories.
Up for sale if you have a spare £300 million?
Newcastle United are not up for sale because of the uncertainty it breeds, but if you have a spare £300 million knocking about and you want to buy arguably the last English club able to achieve something with the right investment, it rapidly would be. But that wasn’t Ashley’s initial intention, he bought Newcastle United to turn it into European football contenders, to have fun, or so we were told by those employed to run it for him, former chief executive Chris Mort and now Llambias. So where did it all go wrong?
Naturally suspicious of the media, initially the business journalists who covered his rise to riches, and then the football hacks who yearned to know what he had in store for a football club light on achievements, but big on ambition. Newcastle United is a great football club which rarely achieves great things. It is an iconic brand, one of the "crown jewels of English football" as Ashley, in one rare public comment shortly after his takeover, described it.
Initially perceived as a knight in shining armour, liberating Newcastle United after years of dissatisfaction under the Hall / Shepherd alliance, he was the billionaire who would rival Abramovich’s spending at Chelsea. Even when it quickly became apparent he was not interested in blowing a chunk of his personal fortune on new players, Ashley retained his popularity because he had removed the former chairman, Freddie Shepherd, from office.
From what little information there was about him, Ashley came across as a self made man, a common man with an extraordinary talent for business. He was a bold entrepreneur with a sharp eye for an opportunity, a gambler who had taken huge risks and won. He bought Newcastle United because he loved football and had the money knocking around to buy his own club to play with. Nothing new there, the only difference is it takes a billionaire, rather than a millionaire to do it in the Premier League.
At the back of his mind, though, Ashley probably felt there was the chance to make a profit. Football was riding the crest of a wave, the country as a whole was still in the boom before the bust and football clubs were traded as hot property. It has not worked out like that, partly because of a global recession, partly because football is a business, but it is a business not quite like any other. There is too much emotion involved. The personalities are different, they have egos and will not simply be told what to do. The media interest is not like any other. It means too much to people for the same belligerent rules that have served Ashley so well in his business empire to apply.
Club legend Kevin Keegan
Not content with alienating one club legend in Kevin Keegan in his second season, Ashley managed another in Alan Shearer. Ashley brought both on board and fell out with them to his cost. In Keegan’s case because of broken promises about control of recruitment and in Shearer’s because the club was up for sale following relegation in 2009 and he didn’t want to spend the money the former Newcastle captain required to build for the future.
Keegan’s resignation in complaint at boardroom interference, in other words Wise’s control over transfers, was the beginning of the end for Ashley. He had a shot at salvation with Shearer, but blew it. He even had another shot when he covered huge losses during one season in the Championship. He wasn’t popular, as such, but he was appreciated a little more. The sale of Carroll and Kevin Nolan, last season’s top goalscorers, combined with the treatment of Chris Hughton, and the lack of spending on new players this summer means he has probably blown it again.
Ashley bought Newcastle to have some fun and he did for the first year, sitting and drinking with fans at away games. He wanted to be one of the lads and he was accepted. But as soon as that went following Keegan’s resignation so, it seems, did Ashley’s enthusiasm. The knight in shining armour had been knocked off his horse by King Kev. He is abused and he is resented and he knows it. He is a very rich man, but why should he continue to spend his own money to bring success to a club and supporters who have made it perfectly clear they don’t like, thank or respect him?
It is an increasingly well run business, which in one of Llambias’ favourite phrases, can wipe its own nose, yet supporters are still more likely to wipe a tear from their eye. They don’t care about books being balanced, they care about what happens on a match day and this is a club which once aimed for far more than a shot at a top ten finish.
Manager Alan Pardew welcomes new signing Gabriel Obertan
9th August 2011 - Gabriel Obertan Signing Completed
Gabriel Obertan has joined Newcastle on a five year deal from Manchester United for an undisclosed fee. The 22 year old, former French Under 21 international, joined the Old Trafford club from Bordeaux in 2009 for whom he made his debut as a 17 year old.

Gabriel Obertan:
"Newcastle is a big club with history in England. I'm just really happy to be here. It's a great move. It wasn't really a difficult decision to come. I know it won't be easy to play each game, because there's a good group, but I want a fresh start in my football. I've heard a lot about the fans, the atmosphere, the passion around the club and the way the city is just behind the club 100 per cent. I think I'm going to love it. I want to show the Newcastle United fans what I can do. I had a chat with the manager about his plans and he gave me a great speech which pleased me a lot. There is a lot of ambition here and it is a great challenge for me."
Alan Pardew: "Gabriel is a player I’ve watched for the last couple of seasons. I said I wanted to bring pace into the team. He has pace to burn and will bring some much needed sharpness to our side. A problem for us away from home last year was hitting teams on the break. It was lacking last year and Gabriel will definitely bring that to the team. I have had my eye on him for a number of months. His best years are ahead of him which is exactly what we want at this club. He has excellent technique and he has improved his power in the last 12 months and is now ready to make a real impact in the Premier League. With his pace, power and versatility he is going to be an important player. I’m sure he will prove an excellent signing for us.”
7th August 2011 - I hope I Can Get The Club Unified Again
With less than a week to go before our competitive season gets underway, manager Alan Pardew has presented the fans with a revealing insight into life at St James’ Park.
On investment: "When the ownership of the football club is in the forefront of conversation it is a problem. Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias made it quite clear, we haven’t got investment above our income. That is how Mike wants to run the football club. That makes it difficult to manage but not impossible. We don't have the riches of other clubs. That is obvious. Sometimes you have to accept things and work as hard as you can with what you have got. Since I've been here that's what we've done. That's how it needs to be every game. Every player needs to be focused on trying to overachieve. If we don't, we won't be good enough."
On expectation: "Where we are now financially, means we can never really fulfill the expectations of the fans. They have memories of European football but the gap is getting bigger as the years go by. The fans have had so many broken promises in the past, not just from this ownership but way before that. We are always vulnerable to the bigger clubs as Andy Carroll’s move proved."
On signings: "We have added two or three very good players to the group already and we are going to add to that. I would like one or possibly two in before we play Arsenal. I am fairly confident we will get the players we need."
On the new season: "Until I see what players we get in I am not going to make any predictions. Once the team settle down and I don’t think it will be in the first three or four games if I am honest, I think we are going to see a very strong side. I want people to be talking about the football team here and what the players do on the football pitch. I hope I can get the club unified again. Physically the players are in better shape than last year, mentally they're not."
On Joey Barton: "We're all taking a deep breath, having some time out and seeing where we go with Joey. I want my best players playing for the club but Joey needs to buy into what we're doing. If he doesn't, he'll probably go. Me and Joey will have a couple of texts and take it from there."
On Jose Enrique: "There's been no bids for Jose. I want him to stay. I keep looking at him and smiling. He smiles back but he hasn't signed the contract yet and that is a problem. Jose was in good shape against Fiorentina. He hasn’t played recently. He was up against top players and none of them got any joy out of him. His pace was there. What you saw was a player who has worked hard in the background."
Torrential rain stopped play against Fiorentina
6th August 2011 - Newcastle United 0 Fiorentina 0
Match abandoned after 63 minutes due to waterlogged pitch
Friendly - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul (Forster 46), Simpson, Enrique, Cabaye, Coloccini, S Taylor, Gosling (Ba 46), Vuckic, Best (Ameobi 46), Lovenkrands (R Taylor 59), Gutierrez (Marveaux 46) - Subs not used: Tavernier, Williamson, Ranger, Sammy Ameobi.
Attendance: 12,656
Alan Pardew: "It’s frustrating but there isn’t a lot you can do about the weather. At the end of the first half I thought the pitch was starting to look dangerous. The rain just wouldn’t stop and we were worried about injuries. It was the right decision to call it off. There was a tackle on Cabaye out there which had my heart in my mouth. That tackle was pitch related. I don’t think he wanted to make that challenge as severely. The momentum of the water just took him through Cabaye."
On Yohan Cabaye: "The outstanding player on the pitch. You see in his passing and his control of the game that he’s going to give us a different dimension. The fans would have liked what they saw today. Cabaye is central to my vision of how I want us to play. Last season I don't think we had control of games, especially at home. He will give us that. His passing and grasp of the ball will be significant for us. We have a very good player on our hands."
Danny Simpson: "Calling it off was the best decision. With a week to go before the season you don't want to get any injuries. We got about 60 minutes before we called it a day and we can prepare all week now for the big game. We're gutted for the fans because they came down but it was the right decision."
4th August 2011 - Souness On Barton
Talking on Talksport Radio ex Newcastle manager Graeme Souness says that Joey Barton should never have made public his dissatisfaction with the club’s transfer policy and supposed lack of ambition.
Graeme Souness: "Joey right now would see himself as the main man at Newcastle and maybe he feels it’s on his shoulders to tell the owner that the club needs strengthening. That really isn’t a player's position to do that. I can understand the frustration from Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew. A player is paid to play football, not offer opinions."
"I'm not happy at the moment."
4th August 2011 - Not The Perfect Pre-Season
Manager Alan Pardew has revealed that he is not at all happy with the way that his sides pre-season preparations have gone to date. To put it mildly, he has faced a problematic last few weeks, none of which would appear to be of his own making and now faces the task of defusing the clubs latest crisis.

On pre-season:
"I'm not happy at the moment. It hasn't been the most perfect pre-season. We've been disrupted by two or three things. I don't think chaos is the right term but we are having a difficult week. We need to get our fans into a better place. The team need to improve on the pitch."
On Joey Barton: "I'm not closing the door on Joey. He trained with the development team today. He may train with the first team soon. It's a situation I didn't envisage. I felt Joey wasn't pulling with the team and that's unusual for him. He's been a great player for us. It was compounded with what happened with Twitter. He's got another year on his contract here. If he wants to stay then he has to pull in the same direction as us. At this moment Joey is not. I cannot and will not run a football team where a player isn't pulling for the team. It was evident that whatever happened with Joey's mind affected the team. I can't accept that. I've made that clear to him."
On new signings: "We need to see one or two players coming through the door. I want that to happen. I'm making it very, very clear to Derek and Mike that we need one or two boys in this door, now. I mean now."
4th August 2011 - Twitter Guidelines
Newcastle have had to issue players with guidelines on Twitter usage following the totally unacceptable postings made by Jose Enrique and Joey Barton recently. The stupidity of these two players has forced the club to state what should be obvious, revealing information that may offer opponents an advantage or undermine colleagues is prohibited.
Alan Pardew: "We've notified the players. We've had to issue them legally with a letter to say this is not right, it's a breach of contract and you have to understand you're going to be fined and disciplined for that. It can't happen."
4th August 2011 - Club Statement
We understand the level of interest in the club's decision to offer Joey Barton a free transfer. However, it would not be dignified, nor would it serve any useful purpose at this present time, for either the club or Joey to air their private issues on this matter in public. The club and the player have important business to focus on over the coming days and both parties have come to an agreement that we will not comment further at this time.
4th August 2011 - Swansea Bound
Wayne Routledge has moved to Swansea City for an undisclosed fee. The 26 year old winger spent the second half of last season on loan at Queens Park Rangers. Wayne joined Newcastle from the Loftus Road club in 2010.
1st August 2011 - Club Statement
Joey Barton has been placed on the transfer list today (Monday). The player has been advised that he can leave the club on a free transfer.