The times they are a’changin’!

Posted on June 6th, 2011 | 42 Comments |

Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan.
Has beens?
It seems to this humble Toon blogger that with the advent of recent media coverage about the possibility of ‘no new deals’ for our 2 most recent Captains: Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton, we’re starting to see a pattern emerge.

Yes, they are top scorer and Player of the year respectively, but it seems the club is not about to be held ransom on new contracts. While plenty of us fans respect what they’ve achieved this past season, they are also heading into their final few seasons of worth, in real terms, to the club.

Namely: They are both inching towards 30, so have limited time left at the top of their games and probably, more especially, moving away from any useful sell on price. If the club were to give in to their(or their respective agents) demands, how much would we get for them at the end of their careers in say 3/4 years?

Not a lot, is the easy answer.

Again, they are seen as integral parts of our team right now and they did ‘stick around’ when the team were relegated and we were on hard times. It could be argued however that their worth was at a low ebb back when we went down. In as far as Kevin Nolan would’ve probably netted maybe his buying price back, maybe not though just as easily, and Joey Barton will have been seen as damaged goods. We would have got very little return on our investment there. Not only had he been to jail, he also hadn’t played a full season until this season just gone.

As it happens, season 2010/11 was a great season for both players as indicated above. That in itself means that they probably do have worth in the transfer market right now.

Should we be cashing in on them, while we can and moving on to newer, fresher models?

Or should we be giving in and squeezing a few more years out of them?

If we do take the latter approach, will they be as effective for 3/4 seasons knowing that they’re safe in their contracts, playing out their days at Newcastle safely, not really ‘having’ to impress as they have in recent seasons?

Obviously, if the club bring in a few decent players to replace them all will be forgotten, as is the way with football fans. Although they would be down as heroes in Geordie folk lore. If we get shot and they aren’t adequately replaced, the recriminations will no doubt begin.

But personally, while i’d love for the club to retain these type of players, it must be on the best deal for the club. As gone are the days of over priced players retained for big money deals into the mid 30’s of their careers. Retained simply because they are a ‘big name’ or have a big reputation. It all seems to fit with the new way of buying younger players to develop with good length deals, allowing for good money or even silly money sell on prices. After all, if a player makes his name giving Newcastle a few great years whilst young, then decides he wants to move on for said ‘silly money’ to a.n.other club:

a) There’s no point keeping a player that wants out and

b) There’s good money to finance his replacement.

While it’s all a bit ‘business like’, that’s what football has become after all, a business.

While it may rankle with a few of us it’s better than selling players for a fraction of their worth at the end of their contract or career or both. That’s what Newcastle have done in the past, to little effect. All it got us was debt and a lingering bad taste (eg. michael owen?).

So have we turned a corner into a new way of running the club?

It’s still early days yet and there’s plenty of time ‘this window’ for it all to go belly up. But it seems that:

The times they are a’changin’.

Howay the Lads!

NUFCBlog Author: CLiNT FLiCK Cut me in half & it'll say Newcastle United F.C. just like a stick of Black 'n' White rock! CLiNT FLiCK has written 42 articles on this blog.

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42 Responses

  1. Good blog Clint.

    I have mixed opinions myself. I’m all for youngsters but the balance needs to be tempered with experience too.

    We need leaders on the pitch and leaders in the dressing room and it’s clear that Nolan has been both those things of late.

    That is not necessarily an argument to keep Nolan and/or Barton though.

    If that leadership and ‘team spirit’ can be fostered from elsewhere then fair enough, but I think that’s a hard thing for us (fans) to judge as we don’t see much of what goes on beyond 90 minutes every week.

    I think it’s up to the manager to be honest.

    Bear in mind too that a player’s ‘value’ isn’t just what we get for them on the transfer market, even talking strictly in financial terms.

    If, due to a good leader and a good motivator, we finish better than we might otherwise have done, then there’s a financial reward.

  2. The likes of Giggs and scholes werent given long terms deals when they hit their thirties. Scholes and Giggs are also much better players.
    Nolan has 2 years left and wont be sold and Barton is on his way for slating mike ashley as well isnt he?.

  3. I think this really all depends on the calibre of player we bring in, to whether this is right or wrong. I think joey is a goner, im not happy bout that but when i think back to him going to jail, the alonso/shearer issue which resulted in him being suspended from the club, I think that is the issue with ashley not wanting him to stick around much longer, hence no contract offer.

    Nolan will be offered a deal, but i think that will be next year. Remember frank lampard being given a 5year deal at 30? Totally crazy, and look at lampard now, he is 33, and in my opinion, done. Chelsea can affored players at that age on big money, we cant.

    This summer will show the intent and type of personel we are after, and like I have said before I will only truely worry if smith gets a new contract!

  4. exactly worky (tho comparing these two to them two is a bit mental i get your point lol) Its fine making changes in the squad and freshening it up with young(er) blood but im just worried that we could be making wholesale changes too quickly.
    Neither of these players are blessed with pace anyway so will still be able to play they’re game into their 30’s. Cant dispute they’re work ethic or commitment and that would rub off on the players that are going to replace them. But we have to make this transition gradualy. If we loose both of these players i will be very worried for next season. There proven in the premier league and even tho the new guys coming in could be good, being good straight away would be very surprising, will take a while to adjust to the epl. Jose’s first season wasnt that special!

  5. worky,
    i think manusa should have sold scholes & giggs a few years ago, though they have been played sparingly by a manager that knows what he’s doing like.
    It could’ve helped the team to improve as now they are gonna have to hoy the kitchen sink at the transfer market, for me like.
    They won the league by default this time, it was more about who didn’t ‘want it’ than who ‘won’ it.
    As barca showed so explicitly recently.

  6. beznbarton says:
    June 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm (Edit)

    “The likes of Giggs and scholes werent given long terms deals when they hit their thirties. Scholes and Giggs are also much better players.”

    beznbarton, Yes, the first point is true. As for the second, Manchester United are also a much better football team.

  7. Thats one thing i am getting sick of hearing , “they stuck around ” , ” they proved their loyalty” bollocks no one would match their wages or pay the fee wanted . Granted they all got stuck in and won the title and promotion , but thats because they wanted premiership football and no premiership team bought them . While their achivements should not be forgotten it should also be said they should never have allowed themselves to be relegated in the first place . Yes i know a few of that squad did not give a fcuk about the club but these two should have shown their leadership qualities then and they did not . Will they be missed , possibly if no adaquate replacements are found , but they are not irreplaceable .

  8. Smart rhetorical question Workieticket, but you overlook the fact that when they were Nolan/Barton’s age, Giggs and Scholes were undoubtedly “world class”.
    Nolan and Barton are not. Hell, even now I reckon they’d still both have the legs on our skipper!
    Barton, in my opinion, can be replaced. Nolan can also, but his leadership attributes, as Hugh touches on, are not so easily replaced.

  9. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    June 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    “i think manusa should have sold scholes & giggs a few years ago,”

    Sorry Clint but I don’t agree with that at all.

  10. Giggs and Scholes toed the line and signed short term contracts. Did you ever hear of them slagging anyone off? Did you ever hear them say, I’ll stay if he stays. We have to be rid of factions in the dressing room. They have been solid players but suddenly they are spouting off. Short term contracts for players of their age are the only way. The other thing that people forget when wrongly comparing these two to legends like Scholes and Giiggs is that Sir Alex got rid of trouble makers or those getting bigger ideas than the club. Paul Ince was a player at the top of his game. Compare these players to the thug that is Barton. I hope he goes but I don’t put Nolan in the same bracket. He has 2 years left and we should be in no hurry to pander to his request for more money. Well done for once Mr Ashley. Time will tell you were right on this one even though I still can’t stand you !!

  11. I think it’s a good point that PS & RG were given 1 year extensions, that’s what i forgot to add to my blog.
    That seems like the way to do it to me. It keeps ’em keen too.

    I think Hugh makes some good points too, especially about the team spirit & having flag carriers in the team.
    We do have that to some extent with the likes of Harper, Saylor, Tiote (aye, i knarr, already), Colo & even Shola.
    Who can help in the ‘spirit’ department.
    It’ll be interesting to see if Nolan & Barton hang on for a year or not though.

  12. I think the main reason scholes and giggs wernt spouting off stuff like Ill stay if he stays is (and i hate to say it) they were playing for the biggest club in the world and winning trophies. Where would you go!!!

    Also i have a question: Is the reason the Cabaye deal hasnt materialised yet because the international transfer window hasnt opened yet?? I Read somewhere it was opening Thurs?? Anyone know if this is true?

  13. Speaking to a bloke who scouts for youth players in the North East tonight for nufc, he got Lee Clark and Shola to the club, he says he was speaking to Peter Beardsley and the club have no interest in Gervinho and that all of the efforts are going in to getting Gamiero, Apparently abit random but Olly Bernard has been helping with the deal

  14. Axel,
    i did qualify that ‘they stuck it out’ with us bit, by adding that they were also at a ‘low ebb’ in their worth.

    if manusa had flogged ’em, they might have won the champs league cos their positions were wanting recently.
    That’s all i meant by that mate.

  15. I dont know who id rather keep nolan/barton, theres debate on both,barton is a great leader with comitment whilst on the other hand nolan could possably get 10-15 goals a season,which would help any mid table club alot.

    I personally think we need a couple of talented young players and a good striker so we could push on from last season,but try and tie up nolan/barton but definately try keep enrique think hes a very good left back.

  16. I thought the contracts was offered for both,but both players walked away from any deal. If this is true then what is the point of keeping players that dont want to be at a club. That could have a negative on the rest of the players and be bad for any club.

  17. Now now lads!

    I’m NOT saying i agree with the approach the club ‘seems’ to be taking with regard JB & KN in this blog, more, i’m suggesting that this is what’s happening.

    Though i do find it interesting when reading stuff the young ‘uns are saying as they get new deals siting players like Smith & Nolan as people they look forward to playing with when they make the ‘step up’ to first team.
    Maybe there’s a job for Smith in the coaching department, he seems to garner a lot of respect with the bairns.

  18. Clint you make alot of very good points there fella.
    I guess we will know soon enough whats going to be happening at our club.
    Off topic but whats with all the talk of bans and the disappearing posts ?, has someone been removing post and dictating what should and shouldn’t be said ?

  19. I think we should at least offer Barton/Nolan an additional 2 years, Barton said he loves the club an like wise Nolan, if they like the club they would accept any contract equal to or work more than their current deals

    We need to keep the core players in order to build the squad. Integrate any new player with Nolan an Barton so the can learn from them over the next 2 years then hand over the mantle when they come of age

    I am excited about the action in the transfer market Abeid looks a smashing young player has a lot of potential. Cabaye is brilliant I still cant believe Pardew pulled it off and if we get Gervinho it will prove a major coup… I jus hope them N’Zogbia follows them to St James park along with one or 2 other… Personally I think N Taylor is back up for Jose provided he stays, If Jose leaves i can see a raid on Celtic

  20. Mike Pukka Pie has a plan….he will bring young talent into st james’s park in order for him to do his wallet a favour. where did carroll go and where’s the money being spent? look at the hearsay on websites we Toon fans keep checking daily,it’s all young players,he will get pardew to build them up and when interest comes from other clubs he will sell… he will rub his fat hands together at the end of next season. when the young French come in to our club in a few weeks time(when NUFC)anounce signings he will have a smile on his face,pukka man is very clever. He can make lots of money buying in players of cheap and selling on!!watch this space next year!!!

  21. Smith already is the worlds most expensive cheer leader/club psychologist…

    Yeah, the young guys will always look to the seniors as examples and role models. Nolan fits into this mold very well, barton says he wants to be a role model but he has been saying that for the last 3 years. Harper must be great to have around for the likes of the young keepers we have. Just listen to krul rave about van der sar for example.

    Hammy, barton was offered a deal, it was not long enough so he rejected it.

  22. Thankyou Nolan but I for one can see the reasoning behind this decision. You are being fazed out by the younger fitter and much more talented Arfa. Thankyou too to Barton but appears you will fill in while Cabaye settles to the pace of the best league in the world. Whilst these two were honourible in there decision to resurrect the Toon from the Championship, Ash has paid his dues in the fact that he stuck with Barton when others would have shown him door. Whilst Nolan and his ever increasing waistline still has 2yrs left on his current contract. One other thing I’d like to add, Mr Pardrew can you please get rid of Shola and Loven these are Championship players at best. Maybe a swap deal Shola 4 Long. Shola has had far to many chances.

  23. Gotta say I agree with most of the comments both in this blog and in the replies to it. Neither player is irreplaceable by any means. Sure, nolan is a good leader in the pitch, and that’s always gonna be important, but as is pointed out previously, he’s not the only man in the squad who can lead, and holding onto a declining player purely for leadership qualities quickly deteriorates into a passenger on the pitch. Nolan will be 30 at the end of his current contract and like others have said, I think the wisest course would be to only offer short term deals after 30, as its tough to predict how fast any player will lose it. Some are done by 31-32 and some keep going much longer. A good example earlier was man utd, but I think arsenal also have a policy of only giving 1 year deals to guys over 30. Gives a club the chance to keep their players while they’re doing it on the field, but means you don’t get stuck with broken down has beens on high wages who can’t cut it any more. Works all round for me! Certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt man u or arsenal doin it that way. While nolan and barton have both had great seasons and are obviously 2 of our best current players, they can’t be expecting pay rises at their stage of career. Isn’t barton already on about 60k? Not only did he get full pay in prison but if he does leave, what club who would have him could/would pay him anything near that money. He’s bloody lucky to be on that much as it is, but to want a pay rise is a bit rich! The bloke is bad news, no matter how good he’s been for 1 season, and if he wants a pay rise to stay, I’d say its time to say goodbye. As for nolan, let’s not forget he’s been to court this year himself! A relatively minor offense, granted, but he’s still not whiter than white. As for all this about him being top scorer, true it may be, but only cos we sold our only striker half way through the season, its not as if he banged in 25!

  24. Did anyone see the France game tonight with Cabaye playing 70 minutes? Didnt see the whole game but wasnt too impressed with what I did see. I was expecting a dominant ‘box to box’ player, you know, as advertised in the Chronicle recently, but there was no such evidence. Strangely the kid who replaced him on 73 minutes managed to score two goals and take the points for France! Hope we’re not lining up another StephaneG.
    Interesting food for thought on the Barton/Nolan contracts issue.

  25. Toonrus & Daverism,
    nice one lads!

    Toonrus, i think that’s something to do with toonsy’s blog, not here mate? It just spilled onto here.
    Nowt to worry about though, i think toonsy’s sorted it out.

    If Joey & Kev love the club, they’ll see out their contracts & go for extensions, won’t they?
    That would seem like the right way to go about it, wouldn’t it?

    maybe mate, but hasn’t that been made clear?
    Like i suggest in the post, is that a better way than what we’ve been doing for years?

  26. Barton’s card is marked. Nolan is here for 2 years so whats the problem. They are both slow and rely on the old tactics. If we are gonna move towards pace, youth and flair I hope these two are back-up in the coming seasons anyway. If we sign some proper strikers and a proper winger trust me there will be no need for either. To compare them to Giggs and Scholes is farcical, to start with they had been at the club as youth players and supporters and had a true connection with the supporters. What has Barton done apart from one good season, been to jail, insulted people, tarnished the image of the club. Have faith in Carr. I’m pleased with the way the club is now conducting transfers. Remember Fergie was always a cold hearted ruthless manager. These players are not the future of Newcastle United, their place is in the last 2 seasons, getting us promoted and keeping us up in the first season back. Russell @ 11 sums it up nicely.

  27. I think there is another point to be made and one someone picked up a few weeks ago. Due to the culling of squads to 25 (historically, the premiership has seen teams with squads in excess of 30) that means there is an abundance of older professional footballers who are surplus to requirements. Under the Bosman they would have walked out and into another club but now, there are clubs who can not get players off their books. The quality players will of course find another club with little difficulty but the likes of Nolan, who is a good footballer but nothing special, and Barton whose reputation goes before him may find it a lot more difficult to find a club as there is an abundance of average to good footballers who in all honesty have unrealistic wage demands and are all in the same boat.

    The other consideration here is the younger players. The likes of Haris Vukic who is quality, Gosling etc, will soon be in their early twenties and breaking through in the next season or two. If Barton stays to the end of his contract and Nolan his, this gives 1 to 2 years to blood this promising youngsters alongside these seasoned professionals. At the end of those 1 to 2 years, Nolan and Barton will then be surpless to requirements and if they go on a free then so be it. I think the board are starting to get it right and we are no longer seen as a laughing stock and will not be pushed around. Remember Danny Simpson when we first signed him after his loan deal, he was not happy about the offer and was not going to sign but then had a change of heart.

  28. Yes please Mr Ash…..Patrick Van Aanholt, Daniel Sturridge, Kevin Gameiro, Charles N’Zogbia, Gervais Yao Kouassi (Gervinho) and Demba Ba. Attack….Attack…..Attack.Attack.Attack :)

  29. I think we have been paying over the odds to average players anyway. Fair enough give big wages to an international like Tiote or Ben Arfa. But where is Alan Smith gonna go in a years time? Leeds, Norwich, Celtic, somewhere like that no way will they pay him £60K a week, he’d be lucky to get £20K. We have paid over the odds here for decent but unspectacular players.

  30. Last point, people have been asking about the latest with the potential signings. The FA website advises that the transfer window does not officially open for Premiership teams until the 9th June, hence a possible reason why no one has signed yet.

  31. Lets not get too cavalier about wholesale clearouts,it only works if premiership quality players come in and hit the ground running(which is rare with youth and foreign players).Too much experience taken out of the team and we could be in an early relegation scrap.
    My big concern is Pardew’s ability to build a squad and get the respect of the dressing room.The more he opens his mouth,the less impressed I am.He certainly isnt singing from the same hymnsheet as Ashley

  32. Comparing Scholes and Giggs with Barton and Nolan is like comparing a Rolls Royce and a Robin Reliant. (sorry to all owners of Robin Reliant’s)
    I think that Barton has been more consistent this season and playing a little more wide right seems to suit his game. He thinks he should be playing for England but I think that even the most ardent supporters would not agree with that one. No, he puts in a decent shift and that’s it! Should he go – I’m inclined to say Yes! – but we need a decent young replacement.
    The same work rate could not be said of Nolan, at times he was so pedestrian that it was embarrassing. I think he should go! Barton and Nolan don’t have pace and they are not going to get it at their age, let’s face it, the premiership is all about pace these days. I think the policy at Newcastle is right with respect to young players and the days of paying players over the odds seem well and truly gone!

  33. Both currently ONLY 28 and the clubs top scorer and player of the year for the season just gone. Fans spend much of their time hoping for players like this and now, after a mediocre season in the top flight in which these two shone, many want rid of them. Unbelievable. No point talking about pace (or lack of) because neither have EVER had any. Shearer didn’t either. Why not be happy to play to a players strengths and judge them by what they achieve on the pitch?

  34. Refer to my post yesterday

    Nolan has 2 years on his contract and will be 31 at that time. What is the point of signing these young players with potential if you are going to hold on to high priced players in their position.

    We have just signed Abeid who is an attacking midfielder and 18 years old. So in a year if he doesnt look like he will be making the grade then give Nolan a new contract. That seems like perfect sense to me in football terms not business terms.

    Im glad the club has decided when they will be giving the contracts out and not when a players agent gets in his ear. Hopefully Nolan is a bit smarter than Judas and makes up his own mind because he is valuable to the team in my opinion. But if he wants big bucks til he is 33 then go somewhere else.

    We need him in the side but not at the expense of the development of Vukic and Abeid

  35. The club are doing the right thing by giving the younger players long contracts whilst the older (nearly, at or beyond 30 years of age) players short contracts.

    I think it is only goalkeepers that appear to improve beyond 30.

    I think Barton has used up his nine lives. He is very fortunate to still be paid a handsome wage given what has gone on in the past, all of his own making. If you slag off your employer in public don’t expect any favours in return.

    I think Nolan, who hasn’t put a foot wrong, will get an extension but I see him used in the same way that Sir Alex used Scholes and Giggs, especially the latter who must have been knackered from shagging all the women the press suggest he did.

  36. Some good points above and an argument for both sides however the more bloggers put the point across I keep thinking we could be missing a trick..

    Yes Fat Ash is their to make money and buying young, talented players to sell on in future is more likely…but if he keeps buying young talented players wouldn’t we keep the team fresh and all players playing to the max to stay in the team (say some players stayed for 2-3 years)?? Instead of what we have been doing and keeping average players with inflated wages with no sell on value due to age or them refusing to be sold on!!??

    The other point is that maybe Pardew has looked at Nolan and Barton and thought that while they have helped the team along with team spirit through the Championship and our 1st season back, what would their spirit be like when they are dropped from the 1st team if we sign players that have been mentioned…that’s if the transfers come to fruition!! Their leadership could then be more destructive instead of constructive…

    As stated previoulsy Nolan still has 2 yrs left and nothing needs to be done yet and Barton has shot himself in the foot with his twitters!! However next season if they have an outstanding season they may get offered something??

    Lets make judgement at the end of the transfer window as what makes me laugh is the transfer market has not even opened yet and we are already being negative…..(bar a few!!)

    £35m to spend….who know’s but lets be positive!!

    Howay the lads!!

  37. comparing to giggs/scholes actually isn’t thta far off in terms of what they bring to the club in regards to experience and leadership. (defo a bit of gulf in talent though, imo)
    that said, as it was said above, offering 1 or 2 year deals at this point is fair i think. when a player is pushing 30, 31 or so, signing them up for a 4 or 5 year deal is madness and i applaud the club for not giving in.
    there is a bit of a balance considering what these two have done for the club to get us straight back up and a solid season this one. that said, it was well pointed out that they should have kept us from going down in the first place.
    good write up, and good arguments on both sides of it.