What happens if the Toon get promoted?

Posted on November 14th, 2009 | 40 Comments |

A lot depends on these two
A lot depends on these two
Newcastle United are sitting pretty at the top of the Championship right now. It’s a good reason to be optimistic perhaps but what happens if we actually get promoted?

Even the most pessimistic of Toon supporters would probably entertain ideas of us at least making a play-off spot this season. Sure, we’re only a third of the way through the season and there’s always the chance that injuries could seriously affect our small squad, but it would be a brave man who’d bet against us finishing in the top 6.

Promotion, then, is a distinct possibility.

In terms of our squad, what we have is more or less the players we had at the end last season minus nine regulars and with the addition of a couple of players on loan. Some of the nine we’ve lost won’t be missed but some people would argue that a few of our better players were amongst the leavers, such as Bassong, Beye, Martins and maybe even Duff.

Arguably then, on paper we have a weaker team than the one that got relegated last season. That’s not the full story of course because one of the reasons we were so dismal last season was because we kept changing manager every 5 minutes. This season we’ve had consistency in that area and Hughton’s managed to motivate the team. I think consistency is worth a lot in terms of results but is it enough alone that the current squad would be able to hold their own in – and avoid relegation from – the Premier League?

I have my doubts on this point and can’t help but feel that significant squad additions will be necessary of we’re to survive in the top flight. By ‘significant’, I don’t mean the overpaid, late-career wasters we’ve taken on in the past, but rather our scouting network needs to find younger, talented players who are of Premiership standard. Sure, we also need ‘players for the future’ with the potential to excel but if we get promoted we’re going to need players who can – to coin a phrase I really hate seeing on job adverts – ‘hit the ground running’.

This is of course going to take money. Unless out scouting network is absolutely top-notch and more secretive than MI5 any potential Premier League newbie is going to be on the radar of other clubs too and will command a higher price accordingly. The so-called ‘Arsenal Model’ relies on finding undiscovered talented and developing players, which is a fine idea, but that assumes you already have a squad who can do the business at the moment so that can devote time to developing the younger players.

It seems to me that Hughton isn’t going to be able to splash too much cash in the January transfer window so, if we were to get promoted, we’ll probably just have the summer to build a team capable of surviving in the Premier League.

Of course, building a team means Ashley needs to spend some money. I don’t for one minute believe Ashley intends to stay in the long run. I’m guessing he’s prepared to stay for the rest of this season and the next before formally putting the club back on the market but I suspect he’d take a ‘good offer’ at any time. This might be inclined to breed short-termism and a succession of loan players, which is a false economy in my opinion.

So what do you think? What’s necessary for Newcastle United to survive in the Premier League? How much money needs to be spent to build a capable team? Is Ashley up to the task?

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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40 Responses

  1. I agree totally with this article.  Ashley will certainly not be looking to invest money in the team when they are promoted.  He does not have the team or the fan’s interest at heart and is purely a businessman trying to recoup his investment. Certainly from the abuse that he has receved from fan’s he is probably more bitter and would drive the club into the ground at the drop of a hat.  However, as a businessman his only motivation is money.
    Once Newcastle are promoted, the future looks quite dire – unless the club is sold and we have new owners who have money to invest in the club, particularly in new players.  We need as a club to get the right players (by that I mean with the right mindset – who know what it means to play for Newcastle. Foreign players like Ginola and Asprilla realised this, it is up to the Manager to make sure this message gets across to foreign players) at the right price.  We cannot afford to be wasteful with money and keep changing managers and there needs to be a long term strategy in place.
    Getting into the Premier League will only be half the battle, staying there will be another story.  Players will need to hit the ground running so we get the points on the board early on in the season and home form/results will be crucial.  St James’ Park needs to be a fortress again. The last thing we need is to be relegated the season after promotion, particularly as historically the 3 teams that are promoted do tend to struggle – I think this is a confidence issue with players.

  2. i think ashley will sell up at anytime a gd offer comes in if nt he will wait till end of season WHEN we get promoted as CHAMPIONS haha, if he doesnt sell up chris will need 25-30 mill to get 5 gd players in also some loans + free transfers, plus sign up danny simpson well worth £2m, also little rumour from the midlands that we have made contact with villa about possible loan for mr beye

  3. oi oi radgey!
    Hoo man nora, a was talkin to wor micky ash last neet on msn. Nee way do wu have to spend that much man.
    He reckons dekka has been workin it oot aal last week and he estimates 6 billion quid on wages alone man. mind wor mick soonded off his box like. He reckoned his white shirt is made of pure hundred per cent cocaine. Its canny white like to be fair. Dekka’s mother makes the coke shirts like but he wouldn t tell is how it holds together like. A reckon it must be some new cocaine fabric that dekka doesnt want to tell the bizzies aboot.
    Have you noticed at the match man, when wor mick gets a bit of abuse. He always sniffs his shirt and laughs like a crazy hyena man! Woo hoo hoo hoo. Pure cush that like!
    Hoo man nora, ave telt him aboot ye like and he reckons hes sent yi a facebook invite.
    Theres only me, dekka and wisey been invited like. A kna keegan keeps askin like but wor mick just ignores him.
    Divvent kna if a agree wi that like. Ave telt wor mick to either send him an email tellin him to piss right off or invite him in. But divvent ignore him like. Thats bullying that like.
    Anyways. . Ave gotta gan noo, am meeting dekka for a spliff doon benwell park. Aal ask him aboot them shirts like.

  4. I am quietly confident about us getting promoted this season,but I am more than certain that Ashley will not part with any more dosh. So this time next year,when we are bottom of the Prem,we will be up for sale again.

  5. I don’t think we would need to spend that much to stay up, there are that big a gulf between the top teams that the number of teams involved in relegation scraps will mean its a bit of a lottery on who actually goes down. Yes good players and a larger squad will give you an edge but if you look at the Prem table then you will see that there is only 6 points between 9th place and a relegation place. You throw luck in to the equation and it won’t necessarily be the better teams that go down.
    The core of our squad already has premiership experience which is a big plus and I can’t see the complaciency of our relegation season returning soon.
    If we do gain promotion then the following few seasons should be about consolidation, investment and development at youth level.  One of Newcastle’s biggest problems (and it is a problem) is the expectations and demands from the fans. It puts unnecessary pressure on the team and it needs to be curbed. Our expectations and demands need to grow at the same rate as the team’s development.
    For me another big stumbling block for survival would be the manager, I have no doubts that CH is a decent bloke and us currently doing a great job but I think he would be found wanting at a higher level. The manager situation is a potential minefield because of Alan Shearer. If we do go up and results don’t go our way then how long is it going to be before the Shearer..Shearer chants go up? I honestly believe that for Newcastle to go forward then Alan Shearer needs to be given the job permamently at some point soon. If he succeeds then great but at least if he fails then its out of our system and any following  manager coming in won’t have the spectre of of Big Al hanging over them  everytime we lose a few games.

  6. The best way to reply to this article is to answer your very last question…”Is Ashley up to the task?”

    The answer is a resounding “no” – and everything else falls because of that.  The man has made disastrous decision after disastrous decision and this culminated in him getting us relegated.

    If there was a course “how to run a football club” he would be the No1 case study…….ie study his decisions and always do the exact opposite if you want to be a success…..

  7. ive been saying for a while now that i dont want us to go up under ashley,why,because the FCB will not invest the money to keep us in the prem and it will be more fkin heart ache.lets hope this waste of skin does one at the end of the season,we cannot move forward under this man.

  8. “and there’s always the chance that injuries could seriously affect our small squad”.

    It isn’t small compared with other teams in the Championship.

  9. Fat ash and dozy dekka need to be abducted or topped off before Newcastle start next years premier league campaign (fingers crossed).

    Then the club can be put in the hands of somebody with a bit of intelligence and know how in the short term (Chris Mort…would be my choice as I thought he did an exceptional job while he was here…..now you know why he left………..he knew that fat ash is a complete and utter wanker) until the club is sold to somebody who wants to achieve something with the club.

    Then millions (30-40) could be invested in 7 or easy young and hungry players who would be willing to run themselves into the ground in each match.

    No more pampered pompous pricks, such as Michael Owen for NUFC please. We dont want your kind here.

    Nutty Knutt

  10. The main considerations have to be:

    Where’s the money’s coming from for transfers (£££@St. James’ Park)
    Who’s willing to come to the circus (Coco the Campbell?)
    How would a significant new intake affect the current squad mentality?

  11. Worky you’re wasting your time trying to convince anyone of that fact mate.
    You are correct like.
    But, most claimed we would get our ass kicked in this league, so that goes some way to inform you of most peoples negative thought process, oui?

  12. I’ve been looking at the current squad and reserves and actually feel we could hold our own in a couple of seasons time possibly even do a ManU providing the youngsters can develope as they could and should.  Nowt wrong with a bit of optimism although after fifty years of it I’m ready for the worst.

  13. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    November 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    “Worky you’re wasting your time trying to convince anyone of that fact mate.
    You are correct like.
    But, most claimed we would get our ass kicked in this league, so that goes some way to inform you of most peoples negative thought process, oui?”

    Clint, I learned many years ago that most people just repeat what other people are saying, whether it is true or not. It’s part of a fundamental need to conform with the group and the facts are irrelevant. Goebbels knew this very well too.  ;-)

  14. If im being honest, i honestly dont think we have as big a rebuild job as people think. We need a couple of new additons with some pace and creativity, a LB as cover for Jose (still) and a good finsher up front as we already have players we can knock it up to.

    Just remember though, we are in fact only a third of the way through the season and there is still a lot of football to be played. I cant belive im going to say this but, im looking forward to the return of Shola. He had been excellent until his injury. He gets knocked by people but at the end of the day he gets on with his job, doesnt cause trouble and loves the club. How long have fans been crying out for that sort of player? Quite a long time.

  15. Numerically it may not be small but it is horribly unbalanced IMO (5 centre mids -2 full backs for example) so a few injuries in certain positions could screw us up and we are (again IMO) bereft of pace and creativity.
    In the championship where you get a load more time on the ball it doesn’t matter so much but to get turn this squad into a top league outfit for mewould take significant and astute transfer dealings…….I can’t see the Ashley/Llambias/Houghton combo pulling that off……..

  16. what happens if we get promoted?easy we,ll go straight back down with fatty arbuckle at the helm.

  17. Billy the Fish says: “Numerically it may not be small

    My thinking on this is that we’re 9 first-teamers down on last season and we have 3 players on loan, which makes us 6 down. Yet last season we struggled with injuries as it was (and have seemed to for quite a few seasons) and this season we have a heavier schedule of games, albeit against supposedly easier teams.

    There are other issues of course, like why we have had so many injuries in the past (buying old dodderers perhaps?) and maybe it’s to do with training, physio or just plain bad luck … maybe that’s been addressed this season – I don’t know.

  18. Hugh de Payen says:
    November 14, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    “My thinking on this is that we’re 9 first-teamers down on last season and we have 3 players on loan, which makes us 6 down.”

    Yes, but you’re not comparing like with like.  You are comparing a squad which should have been at the top end of the Premiership and in Europe to a squad which is now in the Championship. For instance, you haven’t taken into account youngsters developing and moving up a level into the first team now that we’re a Championship squad, eg Ranger, Carroll, and others moving into the periphery of the first team eg Kadar, Vuckic, Lua Lua etc who should rise higher in the fullness of time.

  19. We’ve got by my reckoning a 24 man senior squad (excluding those with squad numbers yet to make a league appearance) which I suppose you could say is ok by championship standards.
    However when you look at it closer you see glaring areas of weakness basically in the wide areas and full back where to cover four positions we’ve got Taylor Gutierrez Enrique Simpson Lua Lua and Geremi. 6 players including one unproven kid and one whose legs have gone. We then try to fit square pegs in round holes to cover….it might work in this division but not the Prem

  20. Worky, I agree to a certain extent but it’s not a simple comparison.

    I’m comparing a squad that got relegated last season with one that’s top of the Championship currently. I don’t think that’s too far apart a comparison to make.

    Appreciate the point about the Championship perhaps being a better platform for bringing youngsters through.

    There are also other considerations such as the heavier schedule of games.

    What concerns me is if we get, say, 6 players crocked at once, which hasn’t been unusual in previous seasons.

  21. Hugh de Payen says:
    November 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    “I’m comparing a squad that got relegated last season with one that’s top of the Championship currently. I don’t think that’s too far apart a comparison to make.”

    No, it was a very expensive team with the likes of Owen, Martins, Duff, £10 million plus Argie defenders etc that should have been in that new Europa thingy. Of course, it underperformed ludicrously due to constant changes of leadership and general anarchy behind the scenes. Constant mixed messages confused and eroded their abilty to play and settle down as a team. But that was a freak, it wasn’t the norm even for Newcastle, so you won’t really extrapolate reliable information from it.

    Do you see my point, Hugh?

  22. Yes, but I think you’ve missed one of mine.

    Regardless of our performance v expectations last season, we suffered a lot of injuries and found the squad stretched (and, for that matter, seem to have suffered a fair number of injuries for the few preceding years too).

    My worry is that if our ‘typical injury level’ kicks in we’ll be even more stretched this season. It may not occur of course and, as you pointed out, the Championship affords a better opportunity bring in younger players, but perhaps you can see why I’m concerned?

  23. It matters little to the owner which division we are in, he gets the crowds, as his actions so far have shown he cares not for the club but wants to milk it.
    The prem tv money will be pocketed by him if he stays nothing will be spent on players.
    He has shown he does things on the cheap expect nothing else but that in the prem, also why would he sell if we get promoted?  he will ride out the storm take us down take the cash and do it again and again.
    Horrible thing to say but we have swapped places with sunderland,  FCB will be more than happy making us a yo yo club.
    If we get promoted the crap about selling will run on and on just to keep us hanging on the hope he leaves, season tickets will be sold the team will go down or at best struggle to stay up,  he will take the cash and laugh.
    Relegation was a good thing for the FCB he had a good excuse to downscale the club degrade the quality of players destroy the wage scale, and clear the decks for the championship. Players still at the club on large contracts will be offered much reduced terms and will inevitably move on. Profit is his game he wants the club to be run like his shops cheap tat that fools buy into.
    Lets face it the championship would be a walkover if he had bought a couple of quality players in the right positions.
    Promotion on the cheap premiership on the cheap, any fool who thinks he will splash cash to keep us in the prem is deluded.
    As much as i love the club sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, i will never go or buy anything whilst the FCB is in charge. If the majority had thought like that he would already have sold up.

  24. Hugh de Payen says:
    November 14, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    “Yes, I think you’ve missed one of mine.

    Regardless of our performance v expectations last season, we suffered a lot of injuries and found the squad stretched (and, for that matter, seem to have suffered a fair number of injuries for the few preceding years too).”

    No I didn’t but it’s a separate issue(s). First, we do get quite alot, but they need to find out why, not just continue to work around it by having a squad that is twice as big as everyone else’s. That is unsustainable.

    There’s also the issue of buying extremely poorly, blowing too much on a handful of trophy signings, some past their best, on ludicrously badly negotiated deals and neglecting the need to have a well balanced squad.

  25. The point I was making is that we are at risk of these ‘injury runs’ and being 6 players down on last season we would be more at risk if an ‘injury run’ happened this season.

    I do quite agree that we need to find out why we have so many injuries in the first place. For all I know we already have.

    But until we know for sure it’s still a concern in terms of this season and our promotion prospects.

    Maybe we have enough players already – I don’t know. We’ll find out at the end of the season.

  26. Yes, perhaps we do have sufficient numbers for the second tier.
    However we are projecting a season in the PL
    Honestly, how many of the present team are PL quality ?
    Perhaps a half dozen.
    If ownership plans on a permanent stay in the PL, which anyone would expect, then the team has to be strengthened.
    Can`t see us surviving with this lot.
    Survival the first season following promotion, is critical, could be the difference between an up and down team and one that belongs.
    And we know why, it`s all about dosh.
    There` an enormous difference between a clubs earnings in the PL and yes their expenditures also increase, but I believe management have learned a lesson in regards to wages and contracts, surely ?
    We are all aware of the adage, “takes money to make money”, well this is a case where that applies.
    Not saying we have to sign trophy players, but we need a few more talented players, both to get us there (the PL) and survive that first crucial season back.
    Cause I very much doubt this present team is competetive enough to survive.

    Some very insightful comments, agree with most.
    Ashley got us relegated, and all this time I thought it was Sheerah.
    Could perhaps add a drop of reality, to such an optimistic outlook.
    In modern day football, the largest part of clubs earnings are derived from the league`s tv deals, attendance income plays a smaller role.
    Therefore the predicament of the two Glasgow clubs who regularly fill grounds with fifty and sixty thousand respectively, but have little or no tv. revenue.
    At present our income in tier two is a fraction of that earned in the PL, our attendance has  also dropped,  believe it there are no positives in being in the second division.

  28. I just believe it would both strengthen and make it a  more attractive league,
    I realize you disagree, but that`s the reason for the blog ,  no ?
    I suppose I have labored the subject to a degree, but I hate to see two teams of that size, wither on the vine of the SPL, when they could thrive in the EPL
    And as yet,  have`nt heard a convincing argument to the contrary.  ok`!