Barton urges Ashley to splash the cash

Posted on February 17th, 2011 | 23 Comments |

Joey Barton, Newcastle United
Get your wallet out Mike
Joey Barton has been urging Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to break the ‘stop-start’ nature of the club.

Thanks to the work of Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew, Joey Barton appears to be in the form of his life at the moment. He’s not one to mince words though and he’s been sending a clear message to Mike Ashley as to what he thinks he should do. Joey said:

You don’t take four points from Ewood and St Andrew’s if you don’t have that character.

This squad wants to keep pushing on but we need a squad to compete on all fronts. It’s up to the men upstairs to make sure we amass one and get the bodies in to challenge for Europe.

You need to spend money. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. So hopefully they spend it and spend it wisely.

I think, Joey, there are plenty people who would argue – fairly or otherwise – that the monkeys are already here, wearing suits and running the club.

Joey goes on:

There are certain characters who, if you’d brought them into this dressing-room four or five years ago, wouldn’t have gelled. The mentality now is such that you could almost pitch anyone in and they would buy into our work ethic. Everyone who has come in over the past year has had to buy into our principles and there are lads who sacrifice individual performances for the team.

With all the adversity that’s gone on around the club, we’re probably a bit low on bodies to go on cup runs and the things we all want to do. We played on Saturday and Tuesday, and obviously teams who can rotate are at a massive advantage. If we can add more in the summer, we’ve got the spine of a side that can push for a European place.

The nature of this club is that it’s sometimes stop-start. As soon as we get something going, players get sold and we have to start again. It feels like a constant work in progress and it’s tough in that respect, but what we have is character in abundance.

All sensible stuff Joey, but I think it’s all about balance.

I’m no fan of Ashley but I do agree with him that the club has to run on a sound financial basis. Like it or not, football clubs are business entities and they can’t operate on ever-increasing debts the way Freddie Shepherd was running things.

Many clubs got away with that for a while thanks to a buoyant economy and a banking sector that was (all too) willing to finance business debt. The economy is no longer in that situation and businesses that can’t pay their way are going under.

The only clubs with a free hand to spend and not care about it are those run by mega-rich benefactors for who hundreds of millions of pounds is mere pocket money (although I’ve often wondered what happens to those clubs when the rich benefactor gets bored and sells up).

However, having said that, I think it’s still sensible to maintain some balance. If we sell every player to the highest bidder and don’t reinvest wisely we will, as Joey says, never move forward in the footballing sense, which in turn will set us back in the financial sense too.

One of the things I fear most is that we adopt the approach Doug Ellis had at Aston Villa, which was simply to avoid relegation and actually aim for mediocrity. Sure, that might make for financial stability but it’s mighty tedious and not what football’s about. There has to be a different way to that.

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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23 Responses

  1. “I’m no fan of Ashley but I do agree with him that the club has to run on a sound financial basis. Like it or not, football clubs are business entities and they can’t operate on ever-increasing debts the way Freddie Shepherd was running things.”

    I totally agree with this statement.

    the “Albert Luque” days as I like to think of them, where piss-poor players strolled up demanding £90k a week, after a You-Choob video or two, and we simply replied “would you not like more?” could only damage the club.

    I’d like to see some investment in the squad, lets hope it is in sensible, thought out players like Cheik Tiote (who for me is the signing of the season)

  2. I think a big chunk of the “carroll”money should be spent on keeping the key players already here happy ,and not blowing most of it on one glory signing,yes we need a striker but I think spending £20m + on one player would bring the wrong type of charater to the club.

  3. Just let Carr do the buying and we will be ok… If he can find Tiote for 3,5 and Ben Arfa for 5,5, imagine what he could do with 35 million?

  4. Worryingly, Jose is quoted in todays Daily Mail as saying he is flattered by interest from Liverpool and Man U, and that he aspires to Champions League football.
    Taking this together with what Barton is saying is a strong message to the board to stop sitting on their hands and move this club forward.
    No one is expecting multi million pound players but proven quality is required, to not build on the potential we have would be criminal and will almost certainly see the exit of our star performers in the summer.

  5. There really must be a compromise between running the business on a sensible basis and running it solely as a short-term profit centre.

    Whilst I fully support the concept of running the club’s finances well, any business must rely on investment to develop and grow stronger.

    To adopt the Sports Direct high-turnover high margin model of buy ’em cheap and sell ’em quickly is fine if Ashley’s sole aim is to profit in as short a time as possible.

    In the case of Sports Direct, he knows who his customers are – Joe Public. However, there lies a possible conflict of missions at Newcastle United – has MA decided who his major customers are?

    What market is he in? Is his mission to buy players cheap and sell ’em at huge profit with the resultant high turnover of players? If that is he case, then his customers are by definition, other clubs with Newcastle United fans serving little other purpose than provide revenue to cover running costs and players as saleable goods.

    If Ashley’s got a wider view of his customer-base and embrace the fans as stakeholders who have emotional ties to Newcastle United, then the club’s business plan must recognise fans as major customers. He must therefore demonstrate some ambition to meet the fans’ aspirations for the club.

    He must aim for success, growth and increasing the club’s stature in England, Europe and the world at large. That of course requires a longer term view and an investment plan commensurate with achieving those aims. Playing staff must be bought within the constraints of available finances without embracing substantial debt. The must be bought as investments, something that will add value to the club and of course, to themselves.

    We haven’t demonstrated much success in that area in the past but this is an ideal time to begin and working to a planned growth strategy and turn Newcastle United into a club which players want to come to and win things unlike the situation we currently appear to be moving towards – a situation where players see us as a stepping stone to greater things, a shop-window for their product.

    Please Mike, listen to Joey’s words, Nolan’s, Jose’s and reflect, consider, and ponder your aims, your customers and your longer-term vision for Newcastle United….. I’m confident we all want success and to see you, the club, the players, the fans and the football world at large basking in the glory of winning major trophies in time.

  6. Cheers bbb….

    and it’d be nice to know exactly what MA’s short, medium and long-term aims are for the club.

  7. Great read Hugh! No ranting or Ashley bashing, just a well thought out piece…

    Can someone please explain when we became a selling club??

    We sold Carrol for 35 million which was a deal that could never be knocked back.. The other that comes to mind is Milner, who at the time put in a transfer request and we got really good money for him as well!
    The rest that moved out was when we got relegated.. From then on in we have sold very little in the way of players.. I don’t think we are a selling club at all, but when someone hands you a wad of cash that is way above expectations, your thinking can soon change. No club in the BPL can claim that they will not sell players if the price is above market value (Manure – Ronaldo). We are not alone…..

  8. Juts a thought Hugh, just a thought.

    I suppose that as he’s a shrinking violet, MA could always publish the respective mission statements and aims in the annual accounts for each of the Newcastle United parent’s and the football club’s annual accounts.

    That save a lot of stress and I’m sure prove to be interesting.

  9. Totally agree with you Aussie @9, and let’s hope that the gems we uncover aren’t sold a year or so after we’ve found ’em.

    Now that would be being seen as a selling club wouldn’t it?

  10. Unfortunately, MA is dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn’t. And this is his doing over the past few years…If he releases a statement saying he will keep a tight reign on spending, he will be slagged by some as a tight wad that won’t invest in the team.. On the other hand, if he says he is going to invest and we don’t get the players that will meet the expectations of some supporters, he will be slagged.. I personally think we are balancing the leadger quite well.. However, I think some more investment is need at the end of this year.. I am not looking forward to all the transfer speculation that will invade our lives at the end of this season… It can drive a fan mad, if you follow all the potential players that may or may not be signing with us…

  11. I got the impression that Ashley had delegated club communication duties to Llambias for a while, but I don’t think that worked out too well and seems to have stopped. They now let Pardew do all the ‘public’ talking.

  12. You’re right Hugh and after Llambias had a spell at it, I guess he found the media spotlight a bit hot and left (sorry, empowered) Pardew to act as spokesman for the club and its directors.

    That’s made it easier all round as Ashley or Llambias could hardly undermine their own statements could they!

  13. Yah Enrique made a come and get me to Man Utd, Liverpool and Aston Villa… People call it ambition, but where is the ambition in going to Man Utd and win a trophy? i call it the easy way. Now staying with us and winning a trophy, thats fecking ambition if i ever saw it.

    I guess it will all be about the money yet again tho, and we just have to accept that players like him will want to move once the big money comes calling.

  14. I’ll eat my own turd if ashley spends wisely!! Joey’s words were spot on. After relegation MA could of let Taylor, Barton , Nolan, Colo go but didnt which enabled us to reach the Prem. He then spent wisely on Simpson, Williamson, Tiote, Arfa etc so all good work from the fatman. Now rumours of Colo going, Enrique and Tiote are being tempted. MA needs to spend to show these players we mean business and are ambitious. players dont want to just compete they want to win things which is where I think MA will falter. He wants the money in his bank b4 a buyer comes in.
    We have a massive fan base a billionaire owner and have just made 35mil how come Liambias is pleading poverty..

  15. Yer right Valle and in Jose’s case, I can’t blame hi at this stage oof his career. But, selling young and newly signed players is crackers especially as they could add to their value over a period of years.

    MA’s keen on the Arsenal model but do we hear of Wenger selling young players? No, he buys and helps them grow before selling for mega-bucks! Food for thought for MA?

  16. @Aussie Magpie 19

    no smoke without fire m8, Carroll was just a “rumour” before he went.

    my point was that players will leave if we dont show ambition. Enrique has indicated this, so too has barton. I hope I’m wrong because I think we have a cracking team at the mo. It would be a travesty not to spend on making us better..

  17. Hey Mark,
    I can see what your saying mate… The problem is that anyone having a 1/2 decent season, is suddenly an odds on recruit for a “top 4 side”.. the “top 4 sides” can only have so many players on their lists, so we should be able to hang onto some players. Look at Given, hasn’t he done well since he left us.. Look at Lescott, he has barely made an impression as well.. To all the players looking for that dream contract with a “top 4 side”.. Be careful what you wish for… there is a bench seat with your name on it.

  18. very true. some use the ‘dream contract’ to get substantial cash I think. money talks.

    I just pray MA see’s what a decent spine of a team we have. Tiote has added so much to our team I think other players have moved up a notch because of him. we need to match their ambitions now.