Why Newcastle should explore Asia.

Posted on June 17th, 2010 | 138 Comments |

Park Ji Sung - An Asian success in England.
Park Ji-Sung - An Asian success in England.
One thing has struck me about watching this World Cup so far, actually it has struck me for the last few World Cups to be honest with you, and that is that some of these players from the Asian contries like North Korea, South Korea and Japan are bloody good.

So why have Newcastle never really been interested in expanding their footballing, cultural and commercial horizons by trying to sign any of them?

I must point out that I am not just talking about now, but historically aswell. There have been players out there, and there still are players out there, who could come and do a job for us in the Premier League. So why not explore that opportunity and look into the possibility of signing a player from Asia that would not only help us on the pitch, but also help us swell our bank balance at the same time?

It is widely documented that signing a player from the Asian continent can provide a massive boost to merchandising sales within a particular club. The market over that side of the world is massive, and full of fans who are mad about the Premier League, so by signing one of their players we could benefit greatly from the increased revenue it would generate as people turn their attention towards where one of their compatriots is playing instead of perhaps another club.

It is something that Manchester United have done with South Korea captain Park Ji-Sung (as pictured). Now whilst he is a good player, and whilst his work ethic can’t be question, would anybody be willing to concede that his signing was also timed to coincide with a campaign by Manchester United to make them a global brand? Exactly, so why can’t we try to do the same thing?

The problem is that teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool have a global appeal already, and so do we up to a point, but that doesn’t stop the others working on it and making that appeal stronger whilst we have stood still. Granted, Manchester United are the only team to sign an Asian player and stick with him, but all the rest have recently made moves to try get a foot in the door of the Asian market.

It doesn’t have to be purely down to the signing of a player though, as there are other ways to grow a fanbase abroad. Pre-season friendly tournaments featuring Premier League teams draw a huge interest in Asia, and undoubtedly there will be a few fans who decide to follow a particluar team when they see them in action, the same way that some of us started following Newcastle no doubt.

I am not talking about us acquiring vast swathes of fans throughout Asia, but it would only take a tiny percentage of them to buy into what Newcastle United is about to make a huge difference. This is of course not exclusive to Asia, and both the USA and Africa present the opportunity to tap into relatively untested markets.

Football is a global game nowadays, so it makes sense for us to try and get the biggest share of the global market we can possibly get. Granted we are up against it a bit as we don’t really win anything of note and it is far easier for people to choose to support a winning team, but as I said, it would only take a small percentage of the audience to make a huge difference for us.

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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138 Responses

  1. Would be a good idea – S.Korea, Japan, and N.Korea have all had impressive performances.

  2. Think I already wrote the above, noticed a plagiarist like bent to some of your blogs young man.
    It`s tough feeding the fans with items of interest, eh?
    Apart from a few well run clubs it`s a subject for the most part ignored, but it`s not just East Asia, there`s a whole world out there, which we presently ignore (NUFC) and perhaps time we explored the possibilities of not just signings but team link ups and in general any possible increase`s in revenue, in a massive market.
    Apparently the worldwide revenue of shirts alone, brought in enough dosh to cover some if not most of Real Madrid`s big signings.
    No we are not Real but a marketing campaign (Ashleys expertise ?)may be what`s required and anything that brings the club increased revenue would be a plus, no?

  3. Watching Newcastle is how I really got hooked. It could work in Asia too. I think that perhaps MA doesn’t want to pay for travel. Not likely as the return on investment would undoubtedly be worth it.

    I think looking at eith South Korean or Chinese players would be key from a marketing perspective. Japan too, I suppose. If you went after North Korea, I think the problem there is you’d get a paid Chinese actor to take his place…anyone get the reference?

  4. Chuck – It shows I listen and think about what others are saying. Enough to spend an hour writing about it ;)

  5. Well, living in Asia (China), and having watched some of the local matches (because there was nothing else on), I’d say all the talent has already gone off to Europe…

    Honestly, see if you can watch some Chinese “Super” League matches and you’ll know what I mean… Not sure you want Newcastle signing any of them….

  6. How can we look this far a field with one scout?

    I’ve told you before, the club has absolutely no infastructure!

  7. stu by my reckoning we should have a couple of south americans coming in soon through gonzales agents :lol:

  8. A good post Toonsy!! I’m a Geordie working as an Expat in Shanghai, China, and I also spent 3 years in S Korea. They are all crazy about football over here and particularly the English Prem!! It’s very common for the Asians (I travel all over Asia for my job) to ask me where I come from. As soon as I say Newcastle, inevitably their first reaction is either “Ah, the football team”, or “Alan Shearer”!! Even if they don’t know where the city is! We are well known as a football city and signing an Asian player would really elevate us and increase the fanbase. Also, as stated, some of the S Koreans are really very good! Not sure any of the North Koreans would ever be allowed to transfer though… :-)

  9. batty says:
    June 17, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Fckin spot on, batty. Where have they gone?

    More fckin bull shit!

    More likely Wise and Llambias got a nice little brown envelope for their trouble.

  10. ive said it before on this blog, i think Park is one of the most under-rated players in the Premiership, he would be the stand out performer in any team outside the top 4-5.

    Like iv’e said before, if they are of the right quality, I don’t care how they come in (or where they come in from!)

  11. ShanghaiToon, I’m in Shanghai actually :-)
    Thing is, most that is any good have already been picked up in Europe… Netherlands have a few, there are some in England, Germany, Italy and spain… I don’t know… maybe..

  12. Although some Asian players look decent the big leagues are hardly stocked with Asians, not many can do it at the top level

  13. Jong Tae-Se from North Korea looked a canny striker against Brazil.
    He ran the channels, worked hard, held up the ball, had decent skills. Would seem perfect to partner someone like Carroll.
    He is only 26. And has a record of 15 goals in 26 games for his country. Not bad.

  14. Jay Jay, you buy a young Korean striker with some potential. Then you tour the country. Playing him against weak opposition where hopefully he scores.
    Then you sell the merchandise. Its more marketing than anything else. If the player turns out half decent its an added bonus.

  15. Yo, i been reading this blog since Ed closed his a while back and have never commented before, but due to this subject i felt compelled to………I have to say toonsy you hit the nail right on the head, after watching S Korea and N korea in last two days, i have been pleasantly suprised at how good some of their player are, number 9 for N Korea played well, and would know doubt make us better as could a number other asians, who haven’t been snapped up, and like toonsy said, with the income that come that comes with that type of player, i thought Ashley would have been right in there to make a bob or too. Lets hope we could start following the likes of manyoo to a degree.

    @stuart79 – we go more than one scout haven’t we?????

  16. Just read up on him.

    He was born in Japan. Lived in South Korea, and only recently became a North Korean citizen.
    Apparently he had a trial with Blackburn but they turned him down.
    That don’t mean much when you think of the talent a lot of clubs have turned down because they didn’t impress in training.

  17. jj beat me to it about that number 9 against brazil, but ditto his comments, i thought he ran the brazilian defense raggid!!!!

  18. Frysian:
    June 17th, 2010 at 5:58 pm
    good luck getting a north korean out of north korea…

    he’s in south Africa now and I believe he plays club football in japan :roll:

  19. Occasionally watch the Japanese K league, very occasionally.
    It`s quite exiting, but then so are the US and other leagues.
    Problem is it`s quite difficult to compare the skill levels of these sides vs. the European teams, unless they go head to head.
    Sure the national sides of some footballing third world countries sometimes surprise us, but it`s usually short lived and quality will always triumph, inspiration over perspiration so to speak.
    But there are many Asians, Africans and players from the Americas, who are quite capable of playing in the big Euro leagues and would be reasonably priced.
    One problem is the UK`s immigration laws, difficult to bring in non EU youngsters or those who have no international history.
    Ah well !

  20. thats the spirit jay jay, lol. That South Korean who scored against the argies today, he was good, showed some class taking it off a champ league defender and still had to put it away, (heskey can;t do that;)). Think he plays for bolton……lets have him!

  21. Does anyone know much about the Chilean right winger…

    Alex Sanchez… he looked quick and skillful and intellegent too. In fact he stood out above Matias Fernandez.

  22. Park was absolute crap when he first joined Manu. He was bought as a marketing exercise. He’s only recently become a regular at manu and that’s only because scholes never plays anymore.
    It wasn’t that long ago that Manu were looking to off load park with us an everton being interested.

  23. Toonsy – Great post.

    As well as Park JS at man utd, Lee was awarded player of the year in his top notch first season at Bolton, with talk of a bid from liverpool imminent.

    he was one half of ‘double dragon’ at FC Seoul – along with Ki (a.k.a. kirrard – the young asian stevie gerrard) who went to celtic in the Jan transfer window,, he played both games for South korea and admittedly got a bit overrun today – but considering who he was up against, he took on mascherano well enough and sparked off each korean attack. Not bad for a 20 yrd old. He’s the player I would love us to go for,, 6ft1, box to box marauding midfielder with incredible athletic passing game, plus goals and plenty of passion.

    The K and J leagues only went pro in the early 90s, so in 20 years they have developed at an amazing rate.. with ajax-inspired academies in seoul producing some of the top young world talent now.

    For japan I thought honda was a player, as he was against england – the new nakamura,, great engine on him too.

    Jong Tae-Se was smashing and he’s playing in the J league, so actually not impossible but unlikely he would leave asia- as he is under the spell of the DEar Leader,, the a tyrannical despot madman – who has imprisoned an estimated 7mil people in hard labour camps in n korea,, and subjected another 10mil to starvation – but that’s another story.

    Good stuff Toonsy.

  24. “Micky Toon says:
    June 17, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Park was absolute crap when he first joined Manu. He was bought as a marketing exercise. He’s only recently become a regular at manu and that’s only because scholes never plays anymore.
    It wasn’t that long ago that Manu were looking to off load park with us an everton being interested.”

    Micky Toon, Park Ji Sung has played in some massive fixtures for Man United for the last three years now. He was never “crap” I dont know how you can say that.
    He has only got better.
    He is versitile, can play centre, right, left, has a great engine, intellent, good passer, great work rate, good creatively, gets into the right areas. Really an all round midfielder.

  25. Micky toon – that’s absolute comical rubbish.

    JS Park was voted player of the year at PSV – who were DUTCH CHAMPIONS in the season before he went to manure. He scored 4 goals in the champions league (including a thunder strike against AC Milan in the semi-final.) He had been voted Asian player of the year twice before that as an up and coming playrt- as well as scoring twice and spearheading his nation’s run to the bleeding semi-finals of the world cup. Need I go on?

    Which aspect of the above suggests he was crap before he went to Man u?
    Also considering Ferguson has referred to him as his most intelligent run maker, as well as the GREATEST attitude of any player he’s ever managed – I doubt he’d be looking to ship him off to bleedin everton.

    My giddy aunt..

  26. “Jong Tae-Se was smashing and he’s playing in the J league, so actually not impossible but unlikely he would leave asia- as he is under the spell of the DEar Leader,, the a tyrannical despot madman – who has imprisoned an estimated 7mil people in hard labour camps in n korea,, and subjected another 10mil to starvation – but that’s another story.”

    Well, I suspect he probably has good relations with Mike Ashley then. Half those hard labour camp occupants are probably imployed by Sports Direct! MA should give him a call and sort something out pronto ;)

  27. “Bastian Schweinsteiger On Loan?” – Ed’s Blog.

    I think Ed is living in dream land…

    Anelka, Schweinsteiger, Keane… Ye, we just need to loan Messi, and Ronaldo. We’d have a decent line up next year eh!

  28. JJ – haha very true. I think Ashley has Dear Leader on his speed dial, and takes his advice on matters relating to capital outlay.

  29. Also off-topic.

    Apart from the Man U opener – which is very spooky. It is nuts that our first home game is against villa who basically sent us down- whilst unsportingly dancing on our grave I thought. Anyone else remember those ‘sob on the tyne’ and ‘who’s your next messiah?’ banners???? If that isn’t incentive to open with a bang.

    Ah lad,, too good to be true.

  30. Glad you’re all enjoying it the ‘blog. Although i did get some inspiration for it from somewhere (Chuck), it is something I thought of a while back which my jogged in memory, partly by Chuck, and partly by the World Cup :)

    On an unrelated note, just bee trying to grab a few hours catch up kip, until the mrs steamed through the door and woke me up. Bitch :mad:

  31. @toonsy or anyone else: I clearly rmb there was someone who posted a link showing all those epic gif. pictures of england national team/Robert Green Howler.

    Anyone has the link??? I can’t rmb where is it posted.Time to bookmarked it. :lol:

  32. “On an unrelated note, just bee trying to grab a few hours catch up kip, until the mrs steamed through the door and woke me up. Bitch :mad:”

    Sorry Toonsy, I woulda kept her around my place a little longer, but my staminas not what it once was. ;)

  33. Boater
    Jong Tae Se, born and raised in Japan, has also lived in South Korea and has chosen to take North Korean citizenship.
    However that`s down to being under the spell of the Dear Leader.
    I suppose he has a mind of his own as we all do and could it be possible he made this choice for other reasons than your claim (under the spell, sounds a bit like a fairy tale !)
    As for the 7million in forced labor camps, are they also starving ?
    If not, how come those starving dont apply for a gig in the labor camps, least they would get a bite to eat ?
    Ridicules? sure but no more so than your your claims.

  34. Right, so whats your prediction on this one.

    I’m going with 2-1 to France, but you never know with that lot. Could go either way.

  35. @chuck – which claims are ridiculous? Over half the 24mil population is on the breadline according to unicef reports.

    Taken from the washington post about the gulags:

    “Eating a diet of mostly corn and salt, they lose their teeth, their gums turn black, their bones weaken and, as they age, they hunch over at the waist. Most work 12- to 15-hour days until they die of malnutrition-related illnesses, usually around the age of 50.”

    As far as gigs go – it’s not the best. Who knows why the player has opted to pledge allegiance to DPRK, considering the relative wealth and prosperity of Japan and South korea. A lot of the prisoners are sentenced for life because of other family members beliefs – making it unthinkable for the players out in SA to claim asylum.

    Anyways, bit depressing, but then the guy’s not got much longer left and hopefully that will make a reunification a possibility in the next decade.

  36. boater says:
    June 17, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    “Eating a diet of mostly corn and salt, they lose their teeth, their gums turn black, their bones weaken and, as they age, they hunch over at the waist. Most work 12- to 15-hour days until they die of malnutrition-related illnesses, usually around the age of 50.”

    You talking about Sunderland? :lol:

  37. Work is relative, you can call sitting around Pennywell all day work if you want :lol:

  38. Evenin’ m8s. Anyone watching Mexico/France? I’m pullin’ for the greens today.

  39. Toonsy-

    If you’ve been sittin’ around Pennywell all day, I REALLY hope you’re gettin’ well payed. Don’t let the Mackems and Tackems get ya down, m8 :D

  40. Buying Koreans and Jappanese players would send shirt sales throught the roof. Don’t know why we have never capitalised on this far East market, after all it’s what Ashley does – sell shirts !!!

  41. Yeah, there was one Korean player who played for the Suwon Bluewings who was pretty good. Can’t remember his name to save my life, but he was class. Quality finisher too.

  42. I might add that the rumours regarding my paper route/moonshine running have been greatly exaggerated haha. I work in retail cell phone sales lol.

  43. OHurley – I work for a certain Japanese car firm that starts with T and ends in oyota. Logistics and development manager, although for how much longer I’m not too sure.

  44. My mate bet me that Carroll won’t score 10 goals this season in all competitions, I even got a clause in that the bets off if he gets sent down :)

  45. Anyone hear the tannoy announcer at this game? Sounds like Thor the terror robot has taken over the show.

    France could be on the brink of going out here ;)

    Jay Jay – How much you bet?

  46. Yeah that would be loose change to toonsy but I couldn’t afford anywhere near that.

  47. Toonsy-

    Good luck with that m8. I drive a car that begins in T and ends with something that sounds like Latoya haha.


    That’s alllll the taxman needs to know :P


  48. France look toothless here. Henry HAS to come on, surely. He might not have the legs but he’ll never lose that little piece of genius he can display when needed. Worth a go, they have to throw the kitchen sink at Mexico now.

  49. How fckin shite are France?

    We must have the best chance we’ve ever had of winning this since 66′.

    The so called big teams are just so poor.

  50. Stu-They’ve looked rubbish in the final third. Passed it well enough past couple of games but they have nothing when in on goal. They dont deserve to be here as it is.

  51. And i agree Re our chances. The better teams will improve obviously, Germany, Argentina and one or two others have looked good at times but if play to full potential the draw will be kind to us and we could see ourselves with a real chance. alot of if’s and but’s in there but you have to believe at least!

  52. Our route was decent and that was playing France in the QF as worst case scenario.

    Germany can only get worse now. They’ve peaked way too early.

    Argies still didn’t look brilliant today, but they won 4-1.

    Spain will obviously get better but they may well meet Brazil in the 2nd round

  53. Stuart I don’t think the Germans have peaked at all, they strolled to that victory.

  54. Thing with France, you look at their players and they are individually fantastique, but for whatever reason they can’t seem to play together.

    I guess the whole world knowing that the manager is being replaced after the tournament doesn’t help. How can he have any authority over the players?

  55. I cant believe they havent put Terry on full stop. It’s his last major tournament i’d think and he’s going to let him sit it on the bench. Whether it was right or not, he got them there, lol.

  56. Something is definately wrong behind the scenes in the French team, and it’s glorious to watch :D

  57. So is Mexico and Uruguay only need to draw, and they play each other in the last game, what are the chances of a Denmark v Sweden type scenario appearing again ;)

  58. toonsy-like you mentioned, knowing the manager is buggering off will not help. There was reports Malouda had to be dragged away from training last week over a dispute regarding the starting 11. Whether he was sticking up for Henry or what who knows, but the dressing room was lost before the competition even kicked off. Who takes Henry, whilst leaving Nasri and Benzema at home and then doesn’t even use him? It just doesn’t make sense. None of them look like they can even be arsed, it’s a shame yet hilarious at the same time.

    Karma and all that.

  59. Ross – You would have to feel sorry for them, then you realise it is the French team and you actually don’t hve to feel sorry for them :D

  60. so every 1 want us too buy 2nd rate koreans with some of the 2nd rate players that we already have so shirt sales go up and line fattys pocket great just great

  61. Jay jay – Germany were playing an Australian side that are the oldest and worst team they’ve ever had!

    Germany have been pretty average for a couple of years so after one good performance against a shit team you cannot say they’ll get better. The chances are they’ve over performed in the last game. The previos couple of years performances would suggest this.

    batty – Told you Ransom note today, mate.

  62. Who is this vuvuzela playing for? They are on about banning him from the grounds. Blowing his own trumpet no doubt and upsetting people.

  63. I agree you can’t judge germany on that one match – but then they normally do well with an average group – now they have a technical playmaker whizz, two of the best attacking full backs in the tournament plus 3 powerful goal scorers.

    They would take us to pieces 7 out of 10 times – gerrard is the one they would be worried about apart from that I’m sure they’d love to play us.

  64. beckenbaur is at least trying to get england all hot & bothered, build a little PMT.
    Will england fall into the oh so subtle trap?

    france are the new england,
    at least until england snatch the title back tomorrow.


  65. Boater,

    So Rooney wouldn’t bother Germany? They might as well not bother playing with a defence then, eh? Johnson and Cole aren’t very good attacking full backs either are they? Or what about Lampard? Suppose they wouldn’t be bothered about him, as one of the best scoring midfielder in the world.

    You say rip us apart? I reckon Terry and any other centre def we use would cope just a little bit better than Neill and Moore.

    Fckin unpatriotic idiots get on my tits!

  66. Roy Hodgson doing the analysis was much better than anyone else from BBC’s state-the-bleedin-obvious old boys. Much as I worshipped Shearer the player year after year, it borders on painful listening.

  67. Stuart79- haha – Jeeeez.

    I’m right behind England, I’ll be on tenterhooks chanting and shouting every step of the way tomorrow, and for the rest of the tournament like anyone else.

    I’m not into tub thumping though nah, I enjoy the wider picture of football too much. and I don’t see what being realistic about your team has to do with patriotism. Rooney hasn’t scored in a year for england, 1 goal in 10 matches. He hasn’t scored any kind of goal for 4 months full stop. Lampard?!?! He who picks up £130k a week but was practically anonymous against a bunch of CCC standard players. Where’s the ‘COOOOOOMEEEE ONNNNN’ in these prima donnas? There’s very little but you expect the england supporters to switch their brains off and do that!?

  68. Rooney was Englands leading scorer in qualifiers. Rather he does it when it matters.

    USA did beat Spain too so their not too bad – Why do you think their so poor?

  69. U.S.A ate a good ‘TEAM’, that’s their strength.
    Have been for a few years now.
    Not many teams a crap at this level, other than maybe the aussies.

  70. Aye true clint.. USA aren’t poor as a unit at all, I suppose that’s why they beat spain. The difference in quality between USA players and ours is massive though eh. It looked like fulham playing man city on saturday, a team of grafters looking up – playing for the shirt and a team of pampered superstars, worried about misplacing pass cos everyone’s looking innit.

    I think Rooney is a top player – one of the best but I don’t like the way he looks so isolated by capello’s formation,, too many square pegs in roond holes.

    Beckenbauer is right in one way – the top english clubs divvent develop english players now – how many arsenal players at the WC – summit like 16. How many in the english squad? ZERO.

  71. england don’t play an english league style, at pace, to suit rooney down to the ground, at international level.
    Therefore i don’t think he works as a CF for england, he gets maked out of the game. He was trying to get into the game by dropping back in the second half v USA.
    I reckon with the attackers & mid field at their disposal, england can be a lot less rigid than they are & impose a quick game on teams.
    Y’right about english players at top english clubs mate.

  72. ClintFlick – you are spot on there about the English team looking rigid on saturday- good summation. When we play well and win convincingly it’s all about fluid movement, attacking at pace, pouncing on each and every loose ball. Croatia 4-1, Germany 5-1 it’s over before it’s begun- you can’t get your breath even watching on never mind the opponents.. We did that on saturday, then seized up and tried to play the Capello measured way… fair dos that’s what he’s there for., but as you say it goes against these players instincts. Still,, all fun of the fair,, and nowhere NEAR as important as nufc for me so – I’m taking it all in me stride and just enjoying the ride. Haway the lads th’ morra!

  73. Well its probably down to goal average if i may be so presumptuous and it could just go either way.
    Seems we are a more organized side, a side which like any other US sport, has a plan and everyone is on the same page, are in excellent shape, they don`t know the meaning of fail and have big ambitions.
    England on the other hand, has some of the world`s best.
    Coached by an Italian, who some claim he changes the natural English game, a game as everyone knows both , fast, physical and highly entertaining, in order to play a game that is foreign to them tactically, with an emphasis on defense and an overall cynical approach.
    Well whatever, it`s going to be an interesting two games coming up and as i mentioned could be decided on GA

  74. Good blog, toonsy.

    I’ve been saying the same thing for years (Mainly Ed’s blog). Asia is a top market to explore and there are certainly players who are good enough to play for us. In addition, they are not over priced like English players as well!

    Honda looks a decent player, but my personal pick would be Matsui. He was the archtector of all attacking movements before coming off, and he is already playing in Europe.

  75. If “they don’t know the meaning of the word fail” chuck then it must be down to lack of education and not downed to being a winning team ;-)

  76. Chuck – Normally I agree with a lot of what you say, however recently I’m starting to thing you could have either a drink problem or drug problem.

    For the record, I forsee Rooney getting a couple of goals tonight in a 2-0 win.

    Are you doing a game preview, toonsy?

  77. He does speak sense alot of the time Stuart but I think he’s still wearing the old biased blinker’s/rose tinted specs.

  78. whey I s’pose I better get ready for work……if it’s owt like yesterday tho I may be back for the early ko when I tell em to shove it.

  79. I agree except we should be doing the same in South America, and Africa and the USA, especially South America, nearly all of the most wanted players in Europe are south american, and PL clubs rarely sign them tbh

  80. I agree about S.America….I’ve been stopped a couple of times in Madrid wi me Toon top on by Peruvians wanting to talk about Solano.One said Newcastle had a huge folllowing in Peru because of him.I asked him if it was the same with Villa and West Ham and he said no because the Toon is the club Nobby is associated with.