28th September 2011 - Carling Cup Date Confirmed
Our Fourth Round Carling Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park will be played on Wednesday 26th October with an 8.00pm kick-off. The game has not been chosen for live TV transmission.
27th September 2011 - Contract Extension For Jonas
Jonas Gutierrez has agreed a two year contract extension with the club. His current deal, with close to two years to run, has been extended until 2015.
Jonas Gutierrez: "I love playing for Newcastle. I love the city, the fans and the team. I am proud that the manager and the board see me as part of the long term future of Newcastle."
Alan Pardew: "Jonas is an integral part of the future of Newcastle United. He adds a different dimension to our play and is a huge asset to us."
The first of a brilliant hat-trick for Demba Ba
24th September 2011 - Newcastle United 3 Blackburn Rovers 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, Coloccini, S Taylor, Tiote, Obertan, Cabaye, Ba (Ben Arfa 74), Best, Gutierrez (Marveaux 83). Subs not used: Guthrie, Sammy Ameobi, Perch, Lovenkrands, Harper.
Scorer: Ba (27, 30, 54) - Attendance: 46,236
Alan Pardew: "This team's starting to excite me. The speed of some of our passing and movement was very good. We were magnificent all day. We could have won by more than three. If we can keep our discipline we’re going to win more than we lose this year. We have the quality. Some of our players are beginning to find their feet in this division and are beginning to blossom and I think there’s real competition in all areas. My forwards are rising to the challenge. The two strikers were brilliant today and Leon Best had his best game for me and didn’t score. We’ve still got Davide Santon to threaten this team and we’ve still got Hatem Ben Arfa who had a little cameo today. We’re a strong side. We've got real quality. We’ve only just started and hopefully we can continue the feeling we had today."
On Demba Ba: "Strikers thrive on goals and the confidence he’ll get from those three goals will have done him the power of good.”
Demba Ba: "Scoring a hat-trick here was fantastic. I’m very happy. The ball’s going home and the whole family is going to look at it. They’re going to be happy because they all came to watch the game today. It was important to come here and score goals because I’m a striker and a striker wants to score goals. I’m a striker who likes playing and having good performances. That’s what I did today. I keep working and improving in training every week. When you look at the team mates I have, all of them are nice and we’re having some good times on the training ground. It can only be good on the pitch. I've scored my first goals here this season and I hope they will keep on coming."
24th September 2011 - Carling Cup Fourth Round Draw
The draw for the fourth round of the Carling Cup sees Newcastle travel to Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers. The tie will be played the week commencing 24th October 2011.
Alan Pardew: "It's not the worst draw we could have had but it's tough. It is another away game but we want games because these players want to play."
Fabricio Coloccini celebrates his last gasp winner
20th September 2011 - Nottingham Forest 3 Newcastle United 4 (aet)
Carling Cup Round 3 - City Ground, Nottingham - 7.45pm
Team: Elliot, Simpson, Ferguson, Coloccini, Perch, Ferguson, Abeid, Guthrie, Gosling (Ameobi 70), Marveaux, Ben Arfa (Sammy Ameobi 70), Lovenkrands (Obertan 80) - Subs not used: Krul, Best, Dummett, Henderson.
Scorers: Lovenkrands (39, 60 pen), Simpson (93), Coloccini (120) - Attendance: 10,208
Alan Pardew: "You know that the team is going to be slightly dysfunctional when you make nine changes, but within that team we had some outstanding performances tonight. I can't think of one player who didn't play well. We showed great spirit to come back and get the winner. It was fitting that the captain should get it. To win at the City Ground is always a good result. It's a competition where we will be looked at as one of the teams who can win it. We have to believe that. We are looking for a home draw because we have had two tough away games. I will have a training ground where everybody is happy on Thursday. That doesn't happen very often. It might not be on Friday when I pick the team though."
On Hatem Ben Arfa: "The standout moment for me was when he burst through the middle, he decieves you, he went past four or five of them with really ferocious pace. That just sets him apart from other players when he does things like that. He is going to be a massive bonus for us."
Hatem Ben Arfa: "I counted the hours before kick-off. I endured a difficult year last year and being back on the pitch is a wonderful feeling. I missed competition so much. I have no more pain, absolutely nothing. Now it is up to the coach to make his choices. I believe he will incorporate me step by step. I feel ready to play each match. I’m very happy to see the supporters again, and I thank them for all the encouragement last year. It was hard for me, but they sent me messages, and I want to thank them."
Fabricio Coloccini: "All the players dream of playing at Wembley. It's going to be difficult. There are a lot of games and a lot of good teams. We are striving to win something for our great fans. It is a motivation that keeps us going."
James Perch: "We had guys coming in for the first time this season, gelling and looking sharp. That's a real positive. There is real togetherness in the squad. We are taking this competition seriously. We took the lead three times. They did well to come back but credit to us. We could have dropped our heads and played for penalties but we didn't. We went for it, Colo stayed up from a set play, and got the winner which we thoroughly deserved."
Mehdi Abeid: "It was a good game. I enjoyed playing today. I like the Newcastle fans and I hope they like my game. I know I can be better in the weeks to come. I was a little bit nervous because it was my first game. I hope I can be a very good signing for the fans this season. To have more than 2,000 here was really good. The fans are special, they shout so loud."
Leon Best celebrates his equaliser at Villa Park
17th September 2011 - Aston Villa 1 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Villa Park, Birmingham - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, Coloccini, S Taylor, Obertan, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi 85), Best (Shola Ameobi 69), Ba (Marveaux 80) - Subs not used: Elliot, Guthrie, Lovenkrands, Perch.
Scorer: Best (57) - Attendance: 34,248
Alan Pardew: "We looked a threat the whole game. We created great chances. It bodes well for us going forward. I was buoyed by our performance because when you come to Villa, you don't expect to control the game for as long as we did. We got a grip of the central area of the pitch. Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote were outstanding. We had to tweak a few things. Demba Ba helped the midfield today. I thought he was terrific in the role. I've got to be pleased to get a draw here. Perhaps we deserved the win. Our fans will have gone away thinking they have seen a good team today."
On Leon Best: "Leon has great belief in himself. He gets a start, he gets a goal, and he keeps the shirt, it's as simple as that in my book. I'm pleased for him. If he's going to play at the top of the pitch then he's got to get goals and he's done that again today. He had a little bit of a dead leg and we didn't want to take a chance, so that's why he came off. He will be in against Blackburn next week. I hope he scores again."
On Yohan Cabaye: "You would pay good money to watch him. He deserved a goal. It was a fantastic save that kept him out."
16th September 2011 - Flying High
With four league games played, Newcastle sit fourth in the Premier League. Goal difference is two with three scored and one conceded. The manager knows they will have to continue to keep clean sheets and improve on the number of goals scored if they are to maintain momentum.
Alan Pardew: "There's no sense getting carried away. I don't think that will ever happen under my management. We deserve to be where we are and that's where we have got to try to stay. The discipline in the squad has been the key and our defenders have been at the top of their game. There is a huge dependence on them and we want to change that. Take some pressure off them, get a couple of goals, maybe three or four."
On the QPR match: "We didn't play particularly well. We rode our luck a couple of times. Our resilience, commitment and work rate was evident. We need to make sure we pass the ball and threaten the opposition more."
16th September 2011 - Club Statement
Newcastle United can confirm that Davide Santon sustained an injury to his right knee during training on Thursday which will keep him out of Saturday's match against Aston Villa. The player had a scan on Thursday afternoon, will undergo treatment over the weekend and will be reviewed by a specialist early next week. Davide was injury free when he completed his pre-signing medical examination and scans. The injury he sustained on Thursday is not connected to his previous injuries.
12th September 2011 - Enough Is Enough
The following are a sample of the many postings made by supporters on online message boards tonight, rightly voicing their anger and frustration at what can only be described as the most pathetic of displays offered up by Shola Ameobi against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road this evening.
01 - I am really lost for words to describe this.
02 - Would happily never see him in our shirt ever again.
03 - Was an absolute disgrace.
04 - Should have been out the club years ago.
05 - Unbelievable that he manages to stay at this club.
06 - Never been more frustrated watching a footballer.
07 - Waste of a shirt. Might as well play with 10 men.
08 - The most lacklustre and downright impotent player I've ever seen.
09 - No desire or urgency about him at all.
10 - Every time he plays the club are mugging us off.
Any good pass, through ball or cross, was regularly wasted due to unbelievably slow reaction times. A lack of desire, an inability to read the game and constant fouling on the few occasions that he appeared interested enough to challenge for the ball should not warrant a place at this club.
Despite the recent contract extension given to the player, clearly offered by persons at the club who are obviously clueless as to what is expected from a professional footballer, the time has surely come to draw a line under the Newcastle United career of Shola Ameobi. Tonight was just the latest in a long line of similarly disgraceful showings in a black and white shirt. An embarrassment to our football club. Enough is enough.
Steven Taylor in action at Loftus Road
12th September 2011 - Queens Park Rangers 0 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Loftus Road, London - 8.00pm
Team: Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, S Taylor, Coloccini, Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 88), Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Best (Marveaux 82), Ameobi (Ba 64) - Subs not used: Elliot, Santon, Guthrie, Lovenkrands.
Attendance: 16,211
Alan Pardew: "I’m not disappointed with the point, we didn’t deserve any more. We went with two strikers today and perhaps in hindsight I should have helped my central midfield pairing out a little bit more. We struggled there, they dominated that area of the pitch. Offensively we never really created enough to warrant winning the game. But on the plus side our defensive display shows what we’ve been doing all season. We don’t give much away, we’re very organised and there’s a resilience and spirit in the group which makes it difficult for teams to beat us. Being Newcastle we need to threaten the goal more, I’m very much aware of that."
Sammy Ameobi: "It’s not an easy place to come. We’re glad to come away with a point. We dug deep, we’d have loved three. I’m glad I got some time on the pitch. I want to take every chance I get. The manager said get the ball and go down the line and create things. That’s what I tried to do."
Danny Simpson: "It wasn't the prettiest of games. Last year we would probably have lost that kind of match. This year we have come away with a point. Our organisation and understanding of the way the gaffer wants us to play our positions seems to be paying off. Three clean sheets out of the first four games in the Premiership is some achievement. We cleared a few off the line and they missed a few chances but you need a bit of luck when you come away from home if you want to get something."
"The games I have played I have scored in."
12th September 2011 - Doing Well And Happy With Life
Leon Best has spent much of his time at St. James' Park to date, fighting his way back to fitness. The resultant absences have hampered his efforts to establish himself at the club. An injury free start to the new campaign has helped him extend his impressive goalscoring record.
Leon Best: "I have not played many games but the games I have played I have scored in. It's a good ratio for me and I intend keeping that goals to games ratio the same. I am at Newcastle doing well and I am happy with life at the minute. If I continue to score and play well and prove that I am a Premier League striker then I should be given the chance to be an international."
11th September 2011 - A New Number Nine Was Simply A Must
John Gibson: The message has been passed down from on high with a fulsome explanation of why those who hold the destiny of Newcastle United in their hands have acted the way they have. Does it all make complete sense now you are privy to official thinking?
The crux of the whole debate was why a replacement for Andy Carroll wasn’t brought in this summer with £35 million sitting gaining interest in the bank. Supporters were told in January that the windfall arrived too late for a new striker to be signed. That was accepted and the long wait began.
Come the summer and a top goalscorer was still not forthcoming. The explanation now released includes words like "careful, prudent, knee-jerk, and stringent transfer policy." Then comes the significant rider that the top brass never promised to spend all the money in this particular transfer window anyway. So where exactly are we?
It couldn’t be spent in the month of January because there wasn’t enough time, fair enough, but if it wasn’t spent in the seven months of summer because United wouldn’t be rushed or bullied what hope have we that the same negotiators can complete their business in the next transfer window which is only a month long?
Bear in mind a number 9 was the priority through all transfer activity. It was crucial to the future of the team and club. This is where you don’t fail, can’t fail. It was a duty that must be carried out. The cupboard remains bare.
The most revealing words to emerge from St James’ Park in the last 48 hours have been those of Alan Pardew. United’s manager faced the cameras and told the world that he felt "upset" at the failure to sign a top striker, that fan criticism of the board had "validity" and that "the enthusiasm we have generated with results at the start of the season has gone with the signing not coming in." Pardew added: "I feel with the timescale we had we should have got a striker over the line."
He says that by 6.00pm on deadline day he knew there would be no new arrivals, which makes light of a supposed 11th hour bid for Bryan Ruiz who went to Fulham. Indeed Pardew admitted that he began to fear failure three days before the window closed. Considering United’s manager knew details of what was going on behind the scenes before he spoke it shows that the black cloud of despair hung over not just Tyneside but the manager’s office at St. James’ Park. This is criticism not from supporters or the Press, both of whom are easily dismissed, but from within. Just down the corridor.
We were also told that, barring an offer of silly money, Mike Ashley is not selling. He has, it is said, poured £280 million into the club including £140 million in interest free loans. For that we applaud him as we do for wishing to keep the club on an even financial keel. But not on player recruitment when a huge sum received for their Geordie centre forward was readily available.
Managing Director Derek Llambias
10th September 2011 - Speaking To The Fans
Managing Director Derek Llambias has been giving fans an insight into recent activity at the club along with future plans for Newcastle United.
On the sale of Andy Carroll?
We said repeatedly that Andy was not for sale. On reflection perhaps we should have chosen our words more carefully. We had no intention of selling Andy. We could not have imagined when we rejected offers of £25 million and £30 million that any bid in excess of that would be tabled. The fee offered was a deal too good to turn down. That’s just one side of the equation. On the other side is a player that we have the greatest respect for. He could see an incredibly attractive opportunity for him too. Eventually club and player agreed that a deal would be in the best interests of both parties.
Reinvesting the Andy Carroll fee?
We made it clear when we sold Andy that the fee we received would stay in the club, and it has. The money will be spent prudently within the club and on new players as and when we are in a position to do so. Money will be available going forward, for the right player at the right time. Suggestions that the owner has in some way profited from the sale of Andy are untrue. The fee we received from the sale of Andy Carroll was a windfall, but it’s not money we can afford to waste, so prudence and adherence to our strict transfer policy is important.
Replacing Andy Carroll?
We started our search the minute Andy left. The manager and our scouting team identified a number of targets and we worked hard to secure those players as soon as possible. It’s difficult to convey the amount of work that goes into the process of scouting, assessing and analysing players to ensure that anyone brought into the club is of the right age, quality, character and team fit. There are three parties involved in any deal; the buyer, the seller and the player. Unfortunately it wasn’t until very late in the window that negotiations broke down. At that stage we turned our attention to other available players on our shortlist. However we will not compromise our transfer policy by making rash and costly signings that are not right for this club. We have no interest in players reaching the end of their careers who are offered for extortionate fees and demand long term contracts and high wages. Many clubs live to regret knee jerk business decisions conducted in the final few days of the window.
The future?
Our long term plan off the field is to make sure that Newcastle United is self financing, which in turn will allow us to invest in the squad, our youth development system and our facilities, without having to rely on additional financial support from the owner. In the coming years we will continue to build the club sustainably. We have a realistic view of what we can achieve at Newcastle and how quickly we can achieve it. We are balancing the books and getting the finances in order, but there’s plenty more work to be done. We have a strong business strategy which we are committed to following and which we believe will reap benefits for the club and its supporters over the years to come. This club can’t support itself without the financial backing of Mike Ashley. To date Mike has invested over £280 million into the club, including £140 million in interest free loans. Mike Ashley has no intention of putting the club up for sale. He is still extremely passionate about strengthening the club and making it a real success.
Communication with the fans?
When Mike Ashley bought the club in 2007, we were keen to engage with supporters and did so with regularity. As a result of some of the things we’ve done in the past there will always be fans who will not like nor believe what we say. When we speak publicly more often than not we are criticised. We prefer to concentrate on running the club and let the football do the talking.
Transfers In And Out?
We’re no more a selling club than any other in the Premier League. We’ve done some excellent business in this window and brought in seven very good players. The quality of these new signings shouldn’t be overshadowed by the fact that we were unable to bring in an additional striker. The days of Newcastle United acquiring ‘trophy’ signings who command huge salaries for past successes on the pitch are over. Yes they have generated excitement and anticipation in the past, but ultimately many of them have left the club poorer and with little to show for it.
Joey Barton?
We supported him from the moment he came to Newcastle, in spite of the difficulties he faced in his first two seasons here. In January 2011, we were keen to offer Joey a new contract because we wanted to keep him at the club. We offered him what we considered to be a great deal but unfortunately Joey chose not to accept it. We felt we couldn’t improve on that offer and therefore would need to consider selling. However with a transfer fee attached we received no formal interest from any club. We eventually made a decision to release Joey on a free transfer after well publicised differences between the club and the player couldn’t be resolved.
Kevin Nolan?
We offered Kevin a new contract at the start of the summer. He wanted a longer deal than we were prepared to offer and ultimately an approach came in from West Ham which worked for the player and his long term security, as well as for the club.
Jose Enrique?
We tried to negotiate a new contract with him early in the 2010/11 season, but the player wasn’t willing to enter negotiations at that time. When we did eventually get round the table with Jose we offered him an exceptional deal. His advisors subsequently made it clear to us that he wanted to pursue a new challenge elsewhere. We did everything we could, but he chose to move on. Faced with the prospect of running his contract down and leaving for nothing, we had to look to sell.
10th September 2011 - Precious Little Up Front
John Gibson: When Kevin Keegan felt that his opinion in the transfer market was not even considered by a board that went its own merry way he walked out of the club. Alan Pardew could easily have done the same in the last week. Having limped through half a season without Andy Carroll, his wish for a top striker has been ignored and he has to get on with fashioning another survival campaign on what he has, which is precious little up front.
It seems that Pardew will accept just about anything from above. He tells us he never contemplated resigning. He could easily have done so and no one would have blamed him. However the club might wish to wrap it up, the bottom line is that United failed spectacularly in the week before the transfer window closed. The morale of the whole city has been decimated and everyone has forgotten that United have started the season with three victories and a draw in their four competitive matches.
Once more goodwill has been shattered. Instead of building on a grand start all hope has been smashed. Reality has set in and that reality is that a huge fight is now on. I’m not certain what transfer policy United are adopting, but failure to sign for the most crucial of positions and allowing a player like Joey Barton to go for nothing is hardly shrewd footballing business.
One of the excuses given for not buying a striker is that they wouldn’t make knee jerk decisions. Yet isn’t that exactly what they did with Barton when handing him a free transfer instead of demanding a fee? Didn’t they do that because he had criticised them publicly? Wasn’t it a case of getting him out of the club at all costs?
There were 10,000 empty seats the last time United played at St James’ Park and that after a derby victory at Sunderland. Fulham brought only a handful of supporters but didn’t the gate register with those in power? The indications then were that fans were cynical about Mike Ashley and that was before they were further let down on the closing of the transfer window. Ashley may be sitting on one of the best fan bases in the country, but he should take nothing for granted. He has let the Geordies down too often for that.
"The enthusiasm has gone with the signing not coming in."
9th September 2011 - Seven Months Is A Long Time
Alan Pardew has admitted disappointment that the vacancy for a frontman at St. James' Park remains unfilled despite a lengthy list of targets being handed to the board. Having no desire to lose his job, the manager has not openly criticised the club hierarchy but neither has he tried to hide his frustration at seeing a seven month search for Andy Carroll’s replacement end in failure.
Having repeatedly assured supporters a striker would be signed last month only for those promises to be broken, he again defended the club hierarchy and claimed the club had still done well to improve his squad. It would seem a line has been drawn under another uncomfortable episode for himself and the Newcastle hierarchy.
Alan Pardew: "The criticism that's going to come from not getting a striker in has some validity to it because seven months is a long time. I can only say that from my point of view, we put the targets in front of the board, then it comes down to financial decisions and that financial decision didn't take place. We bid for three or four players to fill one position and none of them came to fruition, and that's the disappointment that we have to face."
"With the time scale we had, we should have got a striker. There are difficulties in today’s market, especially with young strikers who have got potential. That’s what we were targeting and that’s the hardest type of player to get. The board found it very difficult and went up some paths that were dead ends. I’m disappointed, it would have made the jigsaw complete."
"I’ll be the first to admit I was upset on the day, and the day after and the day after that. But that’s me done now. The fans want the No. 9 shirt filled. I just hope we can fill it in January. I feel the enthusiasm we have generated at the start of the season has gone with the signing not coming in. I’ve stressed that many times to Derek and Mike. They are passionate about the way they see the club and the way they want to do deals. They wouldn’t do a loan or a short term fix, whereas I would have liked to. I had a couple of options that I thought would have worked for us but it has to work for them. The board make the decision about who they think is financially right for the club."
"The fans feel let down. They pay their money. What they are being promised is not being fulfilled. From that point of view all I can say is Derek Llambias will be giving some financial news. The money that we got from Andy is going back into the club, but obviously a big chunk of it hasn’t been spent yet."
8th September 2011 - Hatem Ben Arfa Ahead Of Schedule
Alan Pardew: "Hatem's progress has been better than we thought and he is certainly ahead of schedule. When he came back this week we were not expecting him to be in as good a condition as he is. I have earmarked the Nottingham Forest game as an opportunity for him to take part but we will have to see how he goes. So far his fitness looks really good."
8th September 2011 - The Business Plan and Futile Fan Action
David Curry: Bleacher Report
The fact that so many people call it the Mike Ashley "Regime" tells you all you need to know about the majority opinion on how Newcastle United is being run. A term commonly used to describe dictatorships sums up perfectly the way the club is operated. Decisions are made by Mike Ashley, his plans are executed by Derek Llambias, and it is all done behind a wall of silence. If managers or players fall out of line, or question the regime, they are forced out, while the opinions of fans are routinely ignored.
There have been statements and comments in the past suggesting Newcastle are following the "Arsenal Model" for success, and more recently that the club aims to be run at "break even" point by 2015/16. In reality there seem to be three key sections to Mike Ashley's business strategy:
1. The first part of Mike Ashley's plan is the transfer policy.
Mike would like us to think of this as following the "Arsenal Model", others have compared it to the way he runs Sports Direct. In reality the way Newcastle are running transfers is more akin to playing the stock market.
In the past Newcastle bought established players like Shearer and Owen, mature stocks who's values were unlikely to rise but whom would hopefully pay dividends in what they produced on the pitch, in sponsorship, season ticket sales and shirt sales. Some of these moves were successful, while others were abject failures. Overall this tactic failed to bring silverware to the club, and left the club in a perilous financial state.
Tactic is to buy cheap, undiscovered foreign talent
Mike Ashley's tactic is to buy cheap, undiscovered foreign talent like Cheik Tiote, while also recruiting the best youngsters from at home and abroad. This is classic stock market speculation, investing in cheap upcoming stocks and hoping that they pay dividends (on the pitch) in the short term, before selling them at a huge profit when they fulfill their potential.
If a player fails, the loss is minimal due to the small purchase and wage cost. If they succeed then the club can make a huge profit, £35 million for Andy Carroll is a classic example. Imagine how much will rising stars like Tiote and Cabaye be worth next summer.
While this tactic makes a lot of sense from a business point of view, it does little for the fans who are faced with the reality of never being able to compete at the top of the league, while having to repeatedly watch new stars and heroes emerge only to be sold on for profit and be replaced by cheap imports.
2. With TV money guaranteed as long as Newcastle maintain Premier League status, the next line of business that Ashley has to focus on is ticket sales.
A lot of people struggle to understand why, despite needing to sell tickets to fans, the opinions of these customers are roundly ignored, and communication with them is minimal. Mike has learned one important thing during his turbulent Newcastle tenure, the fans turn up regardless.
The Newcastle fanbase aren't like his customers at Sports Direct stores, who could take their custom elsewhere. Fans are more like drug addicts, coming back in huge numbers regardless of the cost, or quality, of the product. Mike Ashley is a monopoly dealer of the drug that is Newcastle United, as a result he can do as he pleases.
Mike has taken some steps to ensure ticket sales. His predecessor Freddie Shepherd would use marquee signings to ensure that tickets were sold every year, in Mike's case the tactics are cheaper and more subtle.
Newcastle's season ticket deadline seems to get earlier each year and typically there is a scheme in place to benefit people who buy before this deadline, such as this summer's 10 year price fix deal. Fans are pressured to make a decision before transfer business is properly underway, in the case of this summer they bought with the expectation that the Andy Carroll money would be re-invested and that the likes of Nolan and Barton would be signing new contracts.
He has also taken steps to increase the size of the family enclosure, a seemingly noble gesture, but seen in the context of the drug dealer analogy it's a move with slightly more sinister motivations.
3. One of the main reasons I believe Mike Ashley purchased Newcastle United was as an advertising vehicle for Sports Direct.
The Premier League is an excellent source of exposure as Sports Direct look to expand globally, especially with the league's massive Asian TV audience.
St. James' Park displays an increasing number of Sports Direct signs, and the stadium is supposedly now sportsdirect.com@St. James' Park, although I have yet to hear anyone call it that.
An excellent source of exposure
As yet, no clear figures have been released revealing quite how much Sports Direct pay for all this exposure. I suspect that when the next set of accounts are released the figure will be well below market rate.
Futile Fan Action: After each and every disastrous move the Newcastle regime make, there is always talk of fan action. There were protests after the departure of Kevin Keegan, and fan groups have emerged seeking to organize action and seek dialogue with the club.
While the goals of such groups are admirable, they have so far failed to unite fans and, based on the business model set out above, only two things are likely to have any effect at Newcastle.
The only thing that can derail the stock market style transfer dealings, and the cheap global marketing of Sports Direct, is relegation, hence Mike Ashley's attempts to sell when Newcastle were demoted. Unfortunately, to remove Mike Ashley a relegation lasting several seasons would be required, and the repercussions for the future of Newcastle United would be disastrous.
The one way in which fans could have an impact on Ashley is an empty stadium, ticket sales do have an influence. The recent low crowd at home against Fulham seems to have led the board to agree to answer some questions from fans.
A massive drop in season ticket sales next summer would have an impact. Unfortunately with cheaper season ticket deals, the drug addict like addiction of fans and without a solid, strongly backed, united fan group with the will to try to co-ordinate unilateral action this will never happen.
Newcastle fans must instead hope that a buyer comes in with the finance to take the club off Mike Ashley, if not the club will continue to be run as it is with UEFA's financial fair play regulations as the only potential silver lining.
"We had a journey. I wish them every success."
7th September 2011 - Brilliant Fans
Speaking on the official website of his new club Queens Park Rangers, Joey Barton has spoken warmly about the Newcastle support ahead of our visit to Loftus Road this coming Monday night.
Joey Barton: "The fans were brilliant at Newcastle. In my last couple of seasons there, they’ve supported the football club through thick and thin. I’ll always have a relationship with them. We had a journey with them, not just me, but a number of players in the squad, when the club dropped out of the Premier League. That could have been a difficult and turbulent time in the club’s history, but we regrouped as a playing staff and decided that we’d dig deep and not only get the club back to the Premier League, but to stablise it quite comfortably last season. What’s gone is gone. I’m never going to say a bad word about the football club or the fans. I wish them every success."
6th September 2011 - Everybody Is Together
Assistant manager John Carver says building the team is work in progress.
John Carver: "It doesn’t mean that the work stops because the window is shut. We work with what we have until January. The manager is looking at games out of the country this week. Training has been great. Everybody is together and determined to keep up this great start. We have Queens Park Rangers next and winning that game is our next target."
The assistant manager also dispelled rumours that manager Alan Pardew was considering walking away from St James’ Park, having felt let down by the club hierarchy in the transfer window.
John Carver: "We have seven points from three matches and we’re into the third round of the Carling Cup. We are going in the right direction. It’s absurd."
3rd September 2011 - Transfer Window: The Final Word
John Gibson: "The transfer window has slammed shut. The summer of early successes, promises, failures, outgoings, eventual last gasp defensive recruitment, and finally, bitter striker failure has subsided. The famed number 9 shirt hangs on a peg in the back of the dressing room. United had seven months to land a top striker but for one reason or another they failed in every attempt to secure any of half a dozen targets. Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands and Nile Ranger could all have gone this summer if someone had put down a smattering of cash. Shola Ameobi was supposed to be back up, not the number one. What does that tell us? That we desperately need a free transfer man, Demba Ba, to strike gold."
2nd September 2011 - Newcastle Will Be All Right
Alan Shearer: "They want to establish themselves in the Premier League without spending ridiculous money. They're running the club that way and everyone has to respect that. I'm not going to say that's not right. I can understand the frustrations. There were bids going in for players with two or three hours to go. If you looked at it logically you realised nobody was going to come in that late in the day. I think everybody was looking for a marquee signing because of Andy Carroll leaving. I was hoping and wanting but didn’t expect it. They probably looked at the start to the season and felt the players had done a good enough job and could now carry it through. They have more than enough to be in mid table. Newcastle will be all right."
On the number 9 shirt: "I had 10 years of wearing it. It is a fantastic shirt. I would love to have seen somebody come in and wear it, but it was not to be. It is strange that nobody is wearing the No 9. It is sad but what can we do?
Bob Moncur: "I was as disappointed as anybody when the clock struck 11.00pm and Newcastle had not signed a new striker. There were a lot of players out there on transfer deadline day that were overpriced. Now goals must be found from within. Newcastle will have to look to Demba Ba, Leon Best, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands. There’s not much Newcastle can do about it now. The aim has to be to build on this great start to the season."
"Supporters will feel frustrated that we did not sign another striker."
1st September 2011 - Club Statement
From Newcastle United Managing Director Derek Llambias
Now that the transfer window has closed, we have had some time to reflect on the business we have conducted over the summer.
Our aim was to secure young players who represented value for money and could add real strength to the squad. The majority of our transfer dealings were completed in the early part of the window and we feel we have signed some players of exceptional quality. Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux, Mehdi Abeid, Demba Ba and Gabriel Obertan were all brought in early and we have seen these players settle quickly into the squad and perform well on the pitch.
Earlier this week we were delighted to sign Davide Santon from Inter Milan to fill our left back position after the departure of Jose Enrique. Davide is an excellent young prospect and we're sure he'll be another superb addition to the squad. We also welcomed young goalkeeper Rob Elliot from Charlton Athletic who will help us retain healthy competition for that position after loaning out Fraser Forster to Celtic.
Of course we had also hoped to secure a further striker in the window, in addition to Demba Ba. Work to bring a striker into the club began early in the summer. Negotiations were complex and protracted and unfortunately it was disappointing that ultimately we could not secure our priority target.
Whilst we did turn our attention to alternative prospects in the latter stages of the window, we have a very clear transfer policy and will not make knee-jerk decisions at the last minute which are not in the best interests of the club. We understand that supporters will feel frustrated that we did not sign another striker during the window, but it was not for lack of trying that we did not bring our final target in.
1st September 2011 - Hatem Ben Arfa Update
Advisor Simon Stainrod: "I know he is optimistic about playing soon and is making good progress. He will be back as quick as the medical team around him deem sensible. He is running again now and he will take it from there. Hatem has always had the capacity to play sooner rather than later. The aftercare he has received from the specialists in Paris and the Newcastle United medical team has been different class."
Left to defend a regime which has let him down
1st September 2011 - Striker Failure Leaves A Bitter Taste
Luke Edwards: The Telegraph
Newcastle United asked to be judged on September 1st when their transfer business had been concluded. I find them guilty of time wasting, penny pinching and negligence.
Managing Director Derek Llambias’s mission this summer has been value for money in a market that is always capable of losing touch with reality. Having driven hard bargains for the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye they seem to believe they can do the same every time. They cannot.
Manager Alan Pardew demanded a striker to score the goals Carroll’s departure had taken out of the side. In the quest for a bargain, Newcastle were stubborn, lost sight of what was needed, failed their manager and left Pardew to defend a regime which has let him down, not for the first time.
If the demand is great, the price is high. If you are trying to buy and other people are interested, it is the seller who benefits because one will have to pay more than the other to get it. When you really need something or you really want to improve something, you often have to pay more than you would like for it. Newcastle refused to do that.
They tried. A £10 million bid for Kevin Gameiro was made and accepted. The Frenchman went to PSG instead. An £8 million offer for Mevlut Erdinc was made and accepted. The Turk wanted to stay at PSG. An £8 million bid was made to Sochaux for Modibo Maiga. It was never accepted and Newcastle refused to raise it. A £10 million offer for Papiss Demba Cisse, made with a day left in the window was rejected by Freiburg. It was not increased.
A £10.6 million offer was accepted by FC Twente for Bryan Ruiz but it arrived just hours before the close of the window. It was never likely to be successful. He had already given his word to Fulham. If Newcastle wanted Ruiz why not offer that amount with three days left? Instead they tried to hijack a deal that was almost done. The Ruiz bid seems like a stunt to try and divert the flak that is now flying their way.
That’s not to say their business has been disastrous. In areas it has been good but there has been a startling lack of ambition shown given the position of strength they were in when the window opened.
Newcastle had months to look at targets and months to sort out a price.