Pardew, don’t tell me that I have to buy into Newcastle United!

Posted on August 9th, 2011 | 92 Comments |

Alan Pardew.
Speaking in a rare interview, Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew has told both fans and players that we need to buy into what Newcastle United is all about, saying:

“People need to buy into what Newcastle United is all about, we haven’t got the riches of some of the clubs.”

Well of course, I can’t speak for all of the fans, and wouldn’t attempt to, but writing personally as someone who was born in Gosforth and who has bought into what the club is since childhood, I feel a little patronised when a manager who has been at the club for less than a year should be telling both myself and my fellow sufferers who have supported the team through thick and thin, including times when the club had far fewer riches than it does today that I have to “buy into what Newcastle United is all about”. Unless, Mr.Pardew wasn’t really asking us to get behind the team, but get behind himself, Ashley, Llambias and the constantly misleading statements they are making to us, the ever decreasing investment in new players as the best of the old ones are shown the door, the huge increases in prices for disabled fans, the cheapening of our stadium with tacky, garish Sports Direct advertising, the breaking up of the singing section. Mr. Pardew, please don’t conflate the right to express an opinion on how much fans of the club are taken for granted with not buying into Newcastle United itself.

As for the players, while some of the outbursts on Twitter have been ill advised to say the least, there were no signs of dissent from them under our previous manager, when comments on ongoing contract negotiations weren’t freely offered in media interviews at every opportunity. What two of the players (Joey Barton and Jose Enrique) did was wrong, but it was you who set the bad example by contstantly bloviating on issues which should have been kept behind closed doors. You set a bad example Mr.Pardew.

Apologies dear readers, but I had to get that one off my chest!

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1092 articles on this blog.

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92 Responses

  1. The bloke is a smarmy sleazy self promoting ignorant toss pot,but unfortunately he is our smarmy sleazy etc. etc.

  2. Pefectly understandable sentiments and argument Worky. where abouts in Gosforth mate? I was born in Brunton Park and grew up in Beaumont Terrace.

  3. Workey mate you shouldn’t feel the need to apologise everything you said is bang on. I thought the same when I read that quote. Born in Gosforth I don’t live far from there lol.

  4. I agree entirely.

    WTF does that “Buy into what Newcastle is all about ?” mean anayway ?

    My translation of Pardwho’s dribble is “We have an owner who wants to stop paying wads of cash over into what seems like a bottomless pit”

    My answer to that would be, If you cant stand the heat Fatman – get out of the kitchen. Sell the club for what you can and leave others to pick up the pieces and run a professional outfit.

    No one wants to hark back to the dark days of Westwood, McKeag or that fat oaf Shepherd but running a top Premiership club nowadays is not for the faint hearted or tight fisted.

    Fatman’s original estimation of pumping £20m in a season into the club might well have been enough had he not dismantled the squad, sacked managers and spent millions on their compensation and got us relegated through his naivety.

    If the nucleus of the squad was still intact with the likes of Carroll, Nolan, Barton, Colo and Jose then the odd £10m (or £8m or £6m) player here or there would probably keep a decent, well organised and managed team in the top eight and in sight of Europe every season. (Everton, who have nowt, still seem to be able to finish comfortably most seasons).

    This buying in bullshlt is just another example of how poorly run this club is and how much it needs the input of real football people to move it forward :(

  5. ..and as part of Operation killthesingingsection, if I want to bring my 14 year old daughter to a game, she can’t sit next to my season ticket seat in Leazes Corner Lvl 4. The non-season ticket seats are not for sale. Thanks, Mike.

  6. The main is a complete arsehole puppet. ‘Buy into Newcastle United’? What he means is ‘accept the fact that the fat parasite is going to rip you off, rape the club and laugh whilst doing it and there is nothing you can do about it so just accept it’. TOSSER


  8. Porciestreet says:
    August 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    “Pefectly understandable sentiments and argument Worky. where abouts in Gosforth mate?”

    It was called Ashleigh House Nursing Home at the time Porciestreet. I think it might be a care home for Autistic people called Ashleigh College on Elmfield Park now though?

  9. “get behind us” or “pull together” is the sort of thing you hear when a company is suffering hard times. Normally the people presenting this babble don’t believe it either and there will be another version of the “get behind us” speech coming along in the next three to six months.

    What the Pardew message really means is “it’s not my fault”, “get the fans off my back”

  10. This is NUFC trying to play possum with the world crying that they are the poor unloved orphans of the pitch. At the same time they have the rresources to go through players contracts with a fine toothed comb to steal talent. Sound like CHas. Dickens to me.

    Anyway, who would not want to buy into fast flowing on the deck football? Quidyerbitchin.

    And another thing, with a global financial meltdown and tons of social unrest, the NUFC mgt. is playing it safe budget wise by breaking your heart by not shelling out unworldly amounts for iffy talent.

  11. BeeGuy says:
    August 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    “Anyway, who would not want to buy into fast flowing on the deck football?”

    Aye, Alan Pardew will be our Johan Cruyff BeeGuy. ;-)

  12. I understand what is meant in the article by a Londoner telling what to do at die hard geordie NUFC fans but to be honest what I think Pardew meant to say with that comment was to be patient as we are clearly improving the team this year and will continue to do so.

    Our midfield is one of the best in England and I doubt anyone with any logic can doubt that. Unproven-Yes, Improved Quality- Clearly.

    We just need a quality Striker and possibly a LB and I’ll be very happy.

  13. Pardew is constantly trying to cover his arse with the fans,knowing he has no authority with Ashley at the helm.AC gets sold and its “I’ve got Mikes assurance that all the money will be reinvested”,then its priority to get the major contracts sorted(JB,Jose), then after the initial transfer activity its 2 more at least,hopefully before the tour.Now its I’ve told Mike we need players in now.
    Sometimes Mr P less is more ,in other words shut the f**k up,stop discussing player business in the media every 5 mins and maybe the players will have some respect for you,maybe even the fans

  14. I think the second part of the sentence needs to be re added for the full meaning like.
    To even think AP would try tell us what to think about NUFC is a bit radgie like.
    You’ve got to remember he speaks a different language to us.
    Manager & Landan all at once, a heady & volatile, if not incomprehensible mix.

  15. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    August 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    “You’ve got to remember he speaks a different language to us.
    Manager & Landan all at once, a heady & volatile, if not incomprehensible mix.”

    What about Chris Hughton Clint?

  16. worky,
    CH barely spoke did he?
    & he was/is a good socialist, so v diplomatic at his worst.
    Loved that guy.

  17. I think what Mr. Pardew meant to say is that Mike, Derek and I apolgize to the true fans of this great club for failing miserably “to buy into what Newcastle United is all about” and we promise to do much, much better in the future.

  18. “People need to buy into what Newcastle United is all about, we haven’t got the riches of some of the clubs.”

    Seven clubs have richer owners (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, QPR & Spuds), so if Newcastle United is all about these ‘riches’ Pardew wants us to ‘buy into’, we should cruise to an 8th place finish. Given that QPR are recently promoted I’d hope we have the edge on them too, so it really should be 7th for us.

    Anything lower than that and the manager’s shite.

  19. Accurate comments. I was born and raised in Low Fell and as I have traveled around a bit since. Why do these London mouth pieces think they have been placed on Earth to tell everyone else what they have to think and say? Newcastle Utd is the Geordie’s team and do we ever need another Sir Bobby.

  20. Nah. I think he’s right. I’m a bit fed up with hearing all the dummy-spitting from those who just can’t get their heads around the idea of a club operating within its means and just being better at managing itself in order to progress.

    Sorry if people want an Abramovic, but personally I’d rather have hot needles put in my eyes. The window’s going pretty well and we’ve got a good squad, to follow on from a successful promotion season and a brilliant resurgence out of the CCC before that.

    I know it upsets some, but the club HAS been consistent about its message for some years now (basically AFTER it had utterly screwed the pooch and got us relegated) but people still go on about how they change their tune, because they just don’t like what the club’s saying. We have a strategy, it makes sense, and they’re following it very well. Deal with it.

    (Just thought I’d throw that in. It gets boring when we all agree!) ;)

  21. hey worky…. i always had you down for being an ashley etc fan… as you often sing all their praises….have you crossed over to the dark side… or want for a better expression…. have you seen the light?

  22. its not what they are doing with re structuring and operating within the clubs means etc blah blah blah. its the way in which the chimps are doing it that gets on my wick!! none of them have any respect for the club fans players or each other for that matter. i don’t trust any of the smarmy untrustworthy top brass of our club. just want him to sell up and bring Chris and Andy back

  23. Ashley didnt do his due-diligence on newcastle when he bought it from the plc headed up by shepard. He had too much debt to advance at the same time man utd, liverpool, chelsea started buying everyone some crap paper said was good.

    This is the last time i’m going to write this:

    Ashley and Llambas are getting rid of the elder squad with silly wages that they cant afford in order to progress as a club. Also, newcastle fans, i love the club but you guys cheese me off, honestly why cant you understand that you cant re-build a club in 1-5 seasons, it takes longer. Give ashley time, he doesnt want to sell anymore therefore he will build his warship honest and true. Bide your time.

    I have to say though, i don’t think pardew is the right bloke to take you where you want to go but he will get you into the position to push on. French invasion is a good idea, the youth they’re pumping through is incredible and it has been for years.

  24. agreed Whumpie

    If pards had of said this instead of waffle regarding the 35mil, we probably would of accepted it. We already suspected MA was after him money back b4 selling.

    If we can continue to pay him back, remain in the perm with some decent signings along the way, they whats the problem?

    I still dont like MA & will never trust him, I just hope he’s paid back soon and sells up.

  25. Whumpie,

    sounds about right mate.

    It’s weird how no one seems interested in an actual signing today.
    I guess that’s very emblematic of the general angle then.
    Nice! (winks at camera-left)

  26. @30 Disagree m8

    MA does want to sell up hence no funds available. Once his debt have been squared up I think he’s put us on the market. Once we’re on the market potential buyers will see a well run club with not many costs.

    Pards is the best man as MA calls the shots, he’s a yes-man to a certain degree, as were CH and JK, only keegan said no and look where he ended up.

  27. Jose Martinez says:
    August 9, 2011 at 11:31 pm
    Ashley didnt do his due-diligence on newcastle.

    Is that mine or any other supporters fault?
    Seems like we have been punished and insulted enough by Mike and his Muppets.
    If they can’t move the club forwards they should leave ASAP.

  28. I see it is all the usual toysoutoftheprammoaningbollocks on here tonight. Actual halfwits.Not the article just the comments.

    If you can’t come up with an actual intelligent and realistic solution then shut the fock up.

  29. 35 is a good point though! Maybe I could stomach reading some more of the comments….

    Sorry everyone, it seems that it is only jason that is whining on tonight

  30. “Ashley and Llambas are getting rid of the elder squad with silly wages that they cant afford in order to progress as a club”

    Fatman took on Viduka, Barton, Geremi, Smith, Enrique, Colocinni and Nolan’s wages as he was the owner at the time. If anyone is guilty of paying silly wages its him !!!!

    Fatman hasnt got a clue about running a successful football club, maybe a cut price sports retailing outfit that piles high and sells cheap, but he’s certainly no John Harvey-Jones.

    Ill informed opinion from well meaning Geordies is one thing but taking advice from a uninformed Potter is just about the pits :)

    Come back when you’ve got a clue !

  31. What we’re responding to is Pardew’s poorly worded comment “People need to buy into what Newcastle United is all about…” which Worky Ticket addressed very well. His words were patronizing, even if unintentional. Since success by way of silverware has not sat on our sideboard since 1969, what this club is all about is the passion of its phenomenoally loyal and vocal fans, known – unlike any other – as “the Toon Army”. What Mr. Pardew together with Messrs. Ashley and Llambias need themselves to buy into is this aspect of what Newcastle United is all about and pay us a little more respect through honesty, integrity, and open dialogue. Should Mr. Ashley and the loathesome Mr. Llambias adequately acknowledge and appreciate that, we will be much more willing to buy into their version of this great club.


  33. I disagree. It is evident that Pardew was referring to the fans, not the players in an attempt to pacify us over the way the $35 million Carroll money has (or more precisely, has not) been spent. What this club is all about is the passion of its fans as I have stated. It is this aspect that all the new signings (and old ones) enthuse about and why they are so keen to play at St. James’ Park.

  34. first time caller, long time listener. i’m a brooklyn newcastle supporter of 16 years when i lived in ireland and that was my first thought when i saw that. quite something, this fella. hilarious really.

  35. but i suppose if he’s trying to say that “people need to buy into the fact that the Newcastle Untied owner is a cheapskate with no ambition” he could be onto something.

  36. I actually believe he means both the players and the fans. Very poor choice of words, he should have said “People both fans and players need to accept the current financial position of the club and the current economic climate, we haven’t got the riches of some of the clubs.”

    We should be excited about a new season, writing articles like this that take a poor choice of words and makes an issue of it, which then incites the anger of the fans, does nothing for the team!!!

  37. well lads we missed out on shane long bit of a shame but at 8 mill asking a bit to much i reckon, seeing him go off to another team challenging for a top half finish will cause a bit of concern but i am sure Newcastle will bring in a worthy striker to the cause

  38. You need to understand the area. You need to be able to get into the midset of the fans. The only two people who have done this in recent memeory are Keegan and Sir Bobby. Houghton was a good man, but he never really understood the fans like Keegan and Sir Bobby did.

    Great managers all know this and know how to do this.
    It’s no co-incidence that you know what the fans want and you can deliver success.

    Sir Alex and The Special One spring to mind. If you want further prrof just take a look at “King” Kenny at Liverpool.

    Pardew is never going to set any team on fire, he is never going to ignite the passion of any fans at any club. He could be dropped into the ManU hotseat right now and I will bet my house, my car, my job that he couldn’t steer them to a title. We could have a sudden injection of millions and Pardew still would be able to do anything with it.

    Unfortunately with the current regieme we are going to have to settle for mid table at best for years to come.
    Not saying we should be challenging top 4, we are no where near that, but our stretch goal should be 5th with 7th,8th easily achieveable.

  39. I also think £8m is too much for Shane Long, but should hew start banging them in, what price do you put on goals? It’s why strikers always cost £££££

  40. Now, now, lets not throw all the toys out of the pram this early.
    Talk about out of context.
    Pardew was referring to what the club is about financially, something that has only been decided very recently so unless you are 4 years old you weren’t “brought into” what he’s talking about regardless of where you were born.

  41. ” sirjasontoon says:
    August 10, 2011 at 10:40 am
    Shola-New Contract.

    I am definiatly buying into Newcastle now.

    That’s the news I’ve been waiting for.
    I’m about to get on the phone and sign up for a five year deal on an executive box. Good times are here again!

  42. Can you imagine the uproar if they had refused to extend Shola’s contract?
    You could probably stick a chipmunk with a pitchfork and get a better reaction.

  43. Shola staying is like 10 new signings!

    in all seriousness, I’m gonna sound like a broken record here, but Pards needs to shut his mouth and stop speaking to SSN/papers

    nobody gives a shit what he had for breakfast or if he “smiles” at Jose (bloody pervert) – just do the job and if we sign someone, tell us once its done!

    *dismounts soapbox*

  44. @36 sirjason

    And had Ashley done due diligence properly we’d be stuck with FFS or an administrator but as long as the trophy signings come in that’s all that matters…deary me

  45. The real reason for not liking Ashley can be summed by two points:

    1. No big money signings
    2. He’s from down south

    Simple as that…

  46. I`ve bought into the club for the last fifty years Pardew and it has cost me an awful lot. I`m from Benwell and it cost me a good relationship with a woman in Gosforth because I was so committed to the the Toon well maybe not! But this is typical of you engaging the mouth before the brain which you so frequently do Pardew!

  47. Just watching a documentary called the night football changed. It’s about how the premier league came about. Anyone else seen it?

  48. All accountancy phrases need to be banned.
    Unheard of at anyother club.
    Thanks in advance.

  49. For someone who is “Speaking in a rare interview”, AP seems to have talked more, and for far longer than a lot of Managers in any division.

    This blog is full of “rare interviews”, whether they are of any import is debatable: of course they may all be as relevant as “the Daily Mail has it” in the long run, but they may be as pertinent as a hole in the head when NUFC are 3 games in, and 3 losses.

    This is in no way my attempt at Predicting for £100, btw.

    Ignore AP until the transfer window closes, and a couple of games have occurred: points make prizes.

  50. worky do you think he would try and patronise the fans like that? i think its a fair comment to make and hes correct we dont have the riches that other clubs have.
    also in what context was he talking? he didnt just say this statement and walk away so was there not a full interview?

    i doubt that pardew thinks that fans need to physically spend more money on nufc! i think its more like hes asking for people to buy into the ideas that we aint going to sign your owens or shearers anymore which isnt his fault?

    we can all do the maths when it comes to the carroll money and club revenues till the cows come home but at the end of the day we have to cut the cloth accordingly and we have big debts from this and previous regimes and as it stands things could be alot worse

    Ashley is cheap and nasty and we all suspect him of of lining his own pockets and that he has a serious lack of a football ambition but i am struggling to find many faults with pardew, he was never my first choice to replace houghton and i havent seen enough of what he can do with nufc to form the opinions of hate that alot of people seem to have!

    i think hes handled the barton and enrique situations really well by disciplining them and also leaving the door open for them to stay. if they do stay for this season he has achieved his aim! we cant really judge him and the clubs transfer policy until the window has shut and we are 5-10 games in!

    im looking forward to the season just hope we can avoid relegation and am more worried about the lack of a proven premier league goalscorer then hanging on pardews every word

  51. Ban accountancy comments…you lot spent days/months talking about no capital outlay.

    It should have said ‘accountancy comments should be banned unless it can be interpreted in an anti Ashley fashion’

  52. geordiedug, I don’t see any fellow fans asking Ashley to spend like the riches. Actually, no one is asking the board to sign players of similar calibre to Shearer. Even the blind would know that is out of our reach now. However, I think it is perfectly reasonable for fans to expect the signing of a quality striker after the Carrol-gate.

    The problem with Pardew is that, he doesn’t seem to realise that the fans have lowered their expectation to a limit, and he is still blaming us for expecting too much. Since when do Newcastle fans would be satisfied with avoiding relegation? Thank you, Mike.

  53. @Witters

    he’s from down south? so what..

    plenty of managers/chairman come from down south and arent hated.

    So if he was a geordie (shepperd) would you still love him if he ran the club like MA?

  54. get used to not spending. All the players we have signed didnt cost money. Forget Shane Long for 8mill. Why would MA give away some of his ‘payback’ cash when he wants out.

    Why would he stay? he knows he’s totally hated up here and isnt improving relations by spending the money raised thru sales.

    come on man, he balked at paying more coppers for NTaylor after offering 1mill.

    Obviously wants out, which is a good thing.

  55. Here’s an interesting ‘little’ read for ya’
    Aye, i knaa, the source, but anyhoo…check it!

    Our editor Steve Wraith travelled to Wynyard Hall to meet up with Sir John Hall and Honorary Life Vice-President Malcolm Dix and talk about the Magpie Group, Shearer, Mike Ashley and a lot more besides. Read on…


    Were you always a Newcastle United fan?


    Yes always. I’m an Ashington lad and my first match was in 1941. I was sitting on the popular side on the plank of wood that they use to have along side the pitch. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. If you were a child the adults would pass you over their heads so that you could reach the front. I remember looking up towards gods castle as I called it, the old West Stand and wondering what it would be like to sit there one day. If only I’d known.


    How did the takeover come about?


    Malcolm Dix, John Waugh, Alan Rooney and Peter Ratcliffe had been fighting the club and the board for years. I had started working life as a mining surveyor, then moved on to being a property surveyor. It was during the building of the Metrocentre. I was sitting minding my own business in one of the portacabins when Malcolm and the lads knocked on the door. They walked in saying that they needed help to take over the club. I told them all, that I had a lot to do and couldn’t commit to any takeover attempt. They wouldn’t take no for an answer and resorted to dirty tricks to get me on board. They sent round the journalist Bob Cass one Friday afternoon for a chat. He came armed with a bottle of his finest whisky. Now I’m not a whisky drinker but I took one to be polite, and then another. I was maudlin a bit, a couple of hours later and he had me agreeing to put up half a million for the cause. I didn’t want to run a football club, but I was now on my way to doing just that.


    You seemed to have played a big part behind the scenes at Newcastle United Malcolm. Where did it all start?


    As a fan first and foremost like everyone else. The Newcastle Supporters Association (NSA) was formed by myself and others out of despair. At the time there were no fanzines and we came up with the idea of a free news sheet for the fans. I got the advertising in place and the good people at the Gateshead Post agreed to produce an 8 page newspaper for us called ‘ The Supporter’. It lasted for 21 issues and we had a few moral victories over the club. Bobby Rutherford, the then Chairman, had his feathers ruffled by me on more than one occasion and attacked me via the media so our efforts had the desired effect.

    We also went into the licensing trade when we purchased a building from ‘Crawfords The Printer’ for £65k and launched ‘The Gallowgate Club’. We also created ‘The Number Nine Bar’. The idea was to pay homage to the illustrious shirt and have a picture hanging in the bar of every person who had ever pulled the famous jersey on for Newcastle United. Jackie Milburn my hero performed the grand opening that day. Vaux had put up the money as Newcastle Breweries were directly opposite and an illuminated sign appealed to their Chairman!! The y provided us with a horse drawn coach to take our famous No.9’s from Balmbra’s in the Bigg Market up to ‘The Gallowgate’. The date was the 9th June (Blaydon Races). We had 7 Newcastle Centre Forwards present including Len White, Albert Stubbins, Peter Withe and Charlie Wayman. It was a great day. The club initially did well but the NSA members weren’t social club people and we handed over to ‘the drinkers.’ It was soon apparent we were running at a loss. The photos were then housed in various other venues including the old supporters club and then a bar in Walker which Mirandinha helped launch. You can now see them proudly displayed in the ‘Platinum Club’ at St James.

    With the NSA I’d battled with Westwood and Rutherford, and was now battling with McKeag, in fact my battles with the club with Extraordinary Meetings and High Court actions saw me battling with the bailiffs at my front door. The Board were not ‘nice’ people. Luckily I struck up a good rapport with the guy they sent around and he gave me 24 hours to get my finances sorted out with the bank. John though was the man of the moment. Despite the whisky from Bob Cass he didn’t take a lot of persuading. He liked the publicity and any publicity was going to help him make the Metrocentre a success. We were under no illusions and knew that Mckeag and his fellow directors wouldn’t give in without a fight. With that in mind we brought in Mincoffs and the ‘Magpie Group’ was born. I’ll always remember the initial attempts to buy shares from others. Sir John gave us all 3 signed blank cheques with a value of up to half a million on them. I wish I’d kept one of those with hindsight! Joking aside I took great pleasure in buying up the shares and eliminating this old regime that I had been at loggerheads with for years. I remember buying the Westwood shares from Gavin over quite a few gin and tonics. We needed some young blood in the club and it was finally going to happen. I had the words of Jimmy Rush echoing in my mind as Sir John started to take control, he once said to a local paper with regards to me, “We don’t want any whizz kids on the board,” it still makes me chuckle that.


    Malcolm fought the early battles and wedged the doors open for us. I then called a meeting with my son Douglas and we went from there. I remember Douglas saying ‘Get me a million and I’ll take the club over for you’. I told him I didn’t want to do things that way, but with hindsight that decision cost me a lot of money. Newcastle United epitomised English business at that time. Old entrepeneurs building it up to a certain level and then unable to progress. We started buying up the shares from the board members and obtained 40% . We used to have regular meetings at Wynyard Hall and count up the shares. With a 40% stake I had to be given a seat on the board and in one of my first board meetings the team manager at the time Jim Smith, walked out saying that ‘he couldn’t work with people like me’. I had challenged him over the signing of Roy Aitken. I started pushing for a share issue. My remit hadn’t changed. I didn’t want to own a football club, I wanted to democratise Newcastle United and let the fans run it. I was one of them remember. I used to stand and sing ‘sack the board’ at previous regimes so I understood what it meant to them. We launched the shares prospectus and held an open day at the club. We gave the fans the opportunity to be in control. They didn’t take it. I have to say that was my biggest disappointment. I felt foolish and many of the board took great delight in laughing at me behind my back.


    They were still in opposition to us.


    The fans would have been on the board and had a say. They missed the opportunity. I decided I needed a break and I booked a holiday with my good lady. It was the 150th anniversary of Thomas Cook and we booked a round the world tour. We even appeared in an Alan Whicker documentary on that trip, for which I still haven’t been paid and it’s been repeated quite a few times! Anyway I’m half way through the trip in Repulse Bay, Hong Kong when one of the waiters approached me and said ‘Mr Hall telephone call for you.’ I’m thinking who the hell knows I’m here. I pick up the phone. It was Douglas and Freddy Shepherd. In a nutshell they had rang to tell me that Barclays Bank were pulling the plug on the club and it would go out of business unless I put in £645,000. I was stunned and angry. The club had a clause in the overdraft agreement that prevented them from buying any players, but the board had overlooked this and gone ahead and bought a player, triggering the bank to ask for this loan to be repaid . I had no option but to put the money into the club. I would also have to launch an official takeover of the club on my return. If I didn’t I would lose my money and I’m not in the habit of doing that. On my return we got the ball rolling and the “Magpie Group’ were a great help. I couldn’t have done it without them. We came in and cleared the old board out and I had to start looking for a man to run the football side of things whilst I concentrated on the business. The takeover meant that my other business would have to go on hold. I’d just started development of Wynyard and the building of 900 houses. I couldn’t finance both so things came to a halt at Wynyard. I fell out with the council over this but they would have to wait. I would need to use Wynyard as guarantee for the club over the coming years.


    Then Freddie Fletcher came in.


    I’m just coming to that. Fans should raise a glass to Scottish And Newcastle Breweries, David Stephenson and Alistair Wilson to name but two. It was Alistair, who sadly who is no longer with us that recommended Freddie.

    At that time Ossie Ardiles was manager of the team and his results were not good- we were going down! We had to change the manager but as we were not ‘football men’ didn’t know how to approach the problem. “ Leave it to me” Freddie said. Very early next day he went to Ossie’s house and told him he was sacked-Ossie accepted his fate.

    It was Freddie Fletcher and Alistair Wilson who recommended Kevin Keegan. Kevin had been out of the game for a number of years having retired to Marbella, and was playing a lot of golf.

    Douglas and two Freddies flew out to Marbella and convinced him to come back to Newcastle. The deal was done. I guess we found each other at the right time. It was a unique time in the history of Newcastle United. We were everyone’s second team- we played such exciting football.

    We spent over £60m on players- Beardsley, Rob Lee, David Ginola, Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Tino Asprilla- and many more. What a team we had.

    There were some difficult moments with the fans especially when Kevin sold Andy Cole to Manchester United. I remember well the time when Kevin stood in front of the fans and told them why he did it. If only we had won the League when we were 12 points ahead. At the time we pleaded with Kevin to buy a defender to strengthen the defence but he wouldn’t do so and the rest is history.

    After the fires and disasters at Bradford and Hillsborough we had to redevelop the ground to make an all seater stadium. I wanted to move the Stadium onto Leazes Park whilst others preferred sites in other parts of Newcastle. We also looked at land in Gateshead. It seemed that each way we turned we faced opposition, whether it was people campaigning to protect Leazes Park or the city council opposing us taking it to Gateshead citing the bridges as being unable to cope with the volumes of traffic transporting fans for home games. We had no option but to invest our money into the redevelopment of St James. It was a proud moment for me when the job was finally completed. I remember walking round to the corporate boxes and passing an old man in a seat in tears. I stopped and I asked him why he was crying? He said, ‘Mr Hall I’ve been coming here for forty years and I never thought I’d ever have my own seat.’ In that moment I think it hit me how people in this area lived their lives through football. That frightened me. It was a big leveller for me. The increase in stadium capacity wasn’t enough. We had the sold out signs up and 14,000 people on the waiting list. The East Stand was the problem in the ground redevelopment. With listed buildings behind it we would have had to spend a lot of money to knock the stand down and start again and incorporate the listed buildings into the stand. It could be done but we felt at the time the money could be invested better elsewhere. When you look at the ground now it’s something to be proud of. That is our legacy.

    When we played at Grimsby just before we were promoted, Mae and I drove down the M62 in our Bentley and we pulled in at a Little Chef for a quick break. Mae wanted a smoke and I wanted a coffee. As we pulled in I could see a battered transit van with its doors opening and an assortment of Newcastle fans climbing out of the back of it. There were a few crates of brown ale left in the back. They started to line up for a pee so I parked up alongside them and got out of the car. I walked over to them and demanded to know their season ticket numbers. They all looked at each other and I told them that if they were caught out again that I’d have the season tickets taken off them. They were all very apologetic and made there way back to the van. I told them I wouldn’t forget them, to which Mae added, ‘I won’t forget you either…but it won’t be your faces!’ But that was the power of the season ticket in those days with the waiting list we had. Great times. I remember another occasion when season ticket holders were caught on camera robbing a garage on the A19. We managed to locate each and everyone of the offenders and we called them into the club to explain their actions. They were all sorry for their actions and each went back to the garage to apologise and pay for the stolen goods. I remember a particular trip to Peterborough that season to when we had decided to travel down by train. I remember getting off at the station and just seeing a sea of black and white. As we headed towards the ground various fans asked if they could walk with us and they were actually stopping traffic and saying ‘Stop right there folks Wor Chairman is crossing the road.’ Coming back from that game the fans were in jubilant mood after a great performance and another 3 points and we were sitting in first class. Word got round that we were on board and fans started to pile into our carriage and I spent the next 3 hours travelling home answering questions on the club. Those at the far end of the carriage were shouting down ‘Ask the Chairman’ this and that. You just wouldn’t get that nowadays.



    I’d have to say mistakes in appointing managers. For example Kenny Dalglish wasn’t the most communicative shall we say. But the biggest regret…not getting Bobby Robson back after Kevin. Joe Melling at the Daily Mail rang me to say that Elsie wanted to come home and that he’d heard that Barcelona were going to move Bobby upstairs and bring in Louis Van Gaal as team manager. We arranged to meet Bobby. We all flew out to Spain to try to persuade him to come home. The meeting went well and he agreed in principle to the move to St James and we shook hands and left him to enjoy the rest of his day. On my return to Newcastle I rang him to make arrangements and he told me that he wasn’t coming. He had changed his mind. I was sad but accepted his decision. Bobby didn’t think that Barca would move him upstairs. Weeks later they did just that and the rest is history. Bobby after Kevin would have taken us to a new level .


    The signing of Shearer. Discuss.


    This was Freddie Fletcher at his very best. He was good mates with Blackburn owner Jack Walker and had mentioned to him that if ever felt like selling Alan would he give us first option. When that moment came Jack was as good as his word and rang Freddie to let him know that Manchester United had shown an interest in Alan, but he didn’t want to sell him to them . We managed to raise the £15 million asking fee and I’m sure the fans would agree it was money well spent. Not only was he a wonderful player but he like Jonny Wilkinson at the Falcons was a great ambassador for the area, and still is. The day we unveiled Alan at the ground to the fans and media. Over 12,000 turned up. Remarkable.


    Greatest game?


    5-0. 5-0 without doubt. I live it, I dream about it. That goal of Ginolas where he turns and cuts inside , oh and Alberts chip. They brought a video out called ‘Howay 5-0’, it ‘s a game our fans will remember for many a year. A close second would have to be Barcelona at home in the Champions League and that unforgettable hat-trick from Tino Asprilla.


    Favourite Player?


    None of those that played for me when I owned the club which may surprise your readers. Bobby Mitchell. He was twinkle toes to our generation. He could go round or through defences with the greatest of ease. You had to see him play to appreciate how good he was. Each era brings it’s own special players though and I was a big fan of Tony Green and of course Supermac. I’d have to mention Peter Beardsley too, great servant as a player in both spells at the club, although I didn’t want him to come back for a second spell under Kevin as I thought he was too old-How wrong I was!


    You rang me for advice on Peter and I told you that I thought he would do a good job.


    Yes your were right and I was wrong on that occasion.


    Do you think fan ownership is realistic?


    I don’t think buying the club is a reality for the fans. If the club was run by supporters it would be wonderful. But realistically there are so many supporters and so many views that it makes it impossible to represent everybody. As Sir John has said in the past, great clubs are run by one man. All clubs should have a fans representative on the board though. Someone who can liaise with both parties and keep the lines of communication open.


    What made you call it a day?


    When Roman Abramovich came in it was my time to go. I was very concerned about the man’s motives. There were stories in the press at that time that he wanted a British passport and a high public profile. His billions would change the game forever and I knew we could not compete financially. Most clubs had to try and live within their incomes but not Chelsea. Before Abramovich most of the owners in the Premier League were local businessmen like myself. We had money but not billions and I couldn’t see point of trying to compete financially with him. It was a battle we couldn’t win. If you’re a Chelsea fan of course it’s great to have that investment. In my view the game will implode on itself unless UEFA bring in strong financial controls.


    Why Mike Ashley?

    I decided to sell my shares because of Abramovich. It took me just over two years. I was in negotiations with some Malaysians when I got a call from another group. They wanted to meet me in London prior to my meeting with the Malaysians. I agreed. I was met at Kings Cross and taken by Rolls Royce to Freshfields and into a packed meeting room where this unnamed parties financial representatives began to make me an offer. I told them that I would honour my meeting with the Malaysians so could not give them an answer. They tried their best to persuade me otherwise but I’m a man of my word. The meeting with the Malaysians went well but they wanted 6 weeks to do due diligence. The offer from the other party at Freshfields waived that right and was a better deal. I was told that the man behind the deal was Mike Ashley and I sat with his representatives over 3 days thrashing out a deal. I was keen to know why they wanted the club and they were quite honest. They wanted to market their sports goods in the Far East and would use the Club to help do this. To me it made sense to market the Club globally. It was a win win situation for Mike and the Club. We hadn’t done that. Over the 3 days I gave them a lot of advice. When they took over they put Chris Mort in to run things and went private. It was a good move. He’s not a fool and like Mike he came in with the best of intentions. His subsequent departure caused a few problems and Mike made a mistake listening to the likes of Paul Kelmsley at Spurs. I think he made another mistake bringing back Kevin Keegan. He was yesterdays man, like Dalglish at Liverpool now. It wasn’t a rational decision and he’s had to pay for it. The appointment of Dennis Wise upset Kevin and the inevitable fallout happened. I thought the local media handled the situation badly and the vilification with headlines such as ‘Get Out Of Toon’ were unjustified. I believe the damage has been done and I believe he will get out of the club when he can, but it will have to suit both the club and him. Mike has the wealth to challenge, but he’s been hurt. He needs to liaise with the fans. I think he made a huge mistake drinking with them in the early days, I think he took some bad advice.


    What did you make of the sacking of Chris Hughton?


    Chris Hughton was a lovely fella. But as Freddie Fletcher used to say , ‘you have to win your home games’, and we weren’t doing that under Chris. I’m not sure if in the long term if he was the right man for the job.


    What do you make of Alan Pardew?


    I don’t really know him so I cannot give an opinion. I know the owners of Southampton who sacked him. This season his results are no better than Chris Hughton.


    If you could change one thing about your time at the club what would it be?

    I wish I’d gone back to Spain to persuade Bobby Robson to come home. It’s my biggest mistake. I didn’t push him hard enough. I should have been harder and more determined. After Keegan, one of our most successful managers, his experience would have brought the club the much needed stability it needed. I’m convinced he would have taken the club on and we would have won the League. Hindsights a wonderful thing. We had a wonderful twenty years though, let’s not forget that.


    Your view on agents and the game as it is today?


    I had many an argument with agents in my time at the club. I remember when Duncan Ferguson wanted to return to Everton. We had agreed to the move when we got a fax from his agent saying that he couldn’t go unless he received £300,000. I was furious and told him that we weren’t paying it! Agents started saying to clubs that if you wanted there player then you would have to pay them before the deal could be agreed. This is ridiculous. They take a lot of money out of the game and are helping to destroy it.

    If a club instructs an agent buy, sell or find a player for them then the club should pay them a fee. But not if the player is under contract to the agent.


    Money goes out of the game it doesn’t recycle.


    Why should a club be blackmailed by an agent? Your lawyer doesn’t charge another person if they act on your behalf do they? There’s nobody big enough to stop them. Even the Premier League don’t seem to have the power. One day someone may be big enough to make a stand.


    Both clubs have to pay the agent during a transfer deal.


    That money could go towards academies.


    There is nobody in football prepared to stand up and be counted. A figurehead.


    What about a wage cap?


    Never works. There was a wage cap in George Easthams’ day and they just put it in the boot. There was always a way round it. The clubs need to start living within their income. When I first came into the game I went to Real Madrid to see how they were run. They had a debt of £142 million. It was the peoples club yet nobody had any money to put in. The Spanish like the French worked with the local authorities and they helped subsidise a new training facility for them which they eventually sold for £150 million which cleared the debt. The local authority then helped them locate some new land next to the airport for the club to train. Manchester City got a subsidised deal for their new stadium. We didn’t get that when we re-developed St James Park. We had to put all the money into it ourselves. With a winning team today the ground would have to have an increase in capacity to 65,000. The ground would be full week after week because the fans are so loyal.

  56. Mark…the club is being ran better under Ashley than Shepherd. Neither is ideal but I know which one I prefer

  57. Clint – Good article, confirming a lot of what I already suspected.
    It was a shame that Fletcher didn’t hang around longer than the other Freddie.

  58. Micky,

    aye, some interesting stuff there, hey?
    Like how owners/chair have ‘ideas’ about players, kk wouldn’t buy a defender etc.


  59. There’s plenty in the SirJohnHall article that can be twisted to the anti-Ashley… ;-)

    In all seriousness, very interesting read. Cheers Clint.

  60. @ 67

    im happy with avoiding relegation and anything else above that is a bonus after the years and years of overspending and chasing the dream nufc could quite easily have gone to the administrators! you have to be realistic and thats where we are at the moment so yes i believe thats what the fans should expect this season

    i have seen first hand pardew getting dogs abuse for not buying a striker and he is constantly being asked about players and what hes doing about it and i belive he is trying to bring a quailty striker in even under the constraints put there by Ashley. i dont remember houghton getting berated this much when he was handed the job of getting us back up after losing 5-6 players and not having a quality stiker in place?

    pardew is only answering a few of the thousand questions he probably gets daily but people have already decided hes an ashley puppet and dispise him and everything he says! i belive pardew took this job on as its a massive opportunity for him to manage one of the biggest clubs in england and enhance his own profile which he can only do by being successful at nufc.

  61. Geordiebug@75…we’re not allowed to use accountancy terminology like ‘administrator’ however, you can use said terminology but only if it’s in the right context.

    For example, Ashley is going to put the club into administration deliberately & just to sh1t all over us fans. This is okay, the following is not…It’s highly likely that Ashley saved us from administration had we continued under the FFS model, it was that close.

    Catch my drift ;-)

  62. Sir John Hall said, when asked why he sold to Fatman.

    “The meeting with the Malaysians went well but they wanted 6 weeks to do due diligence. The offer from the other party at Freshfields waived that right and was a better deal. I was told that the man behind the deal was Mike Ashley and I sat with his representatives over 3 days thrashing out a deal. I was keen to know why they wanted the club and they were quite honest. They wanted to market their sports goods in the Far East and would use the Club to help do this. To me it made sense to market the Club globally. It was a win win situation for Mike and the Club. We hadn’t done that.”

    SJH now clearly shown to be a charlatan and Fatman now shown to be a businessman who gives a f*ck about the club.

  63. Agreed Clint…for me it’s just an interesting insight to running a football club back in the day!

  64. Clint…although if there’s one bit that’s going to be picked up on it’s the one @ 79.

    How very predictable & obvious…

  65. Witters,
    aye mate, but even that bit shows culpability with regard to SJH, doesn’t it?
    He didn’t give ower much of a f***, did he?
    He was ‘keen to know’ MA’s strategy, mmmmm, ok? How keen?
    As long as the cash was in place…

  66. Clint…definitely, SJH couldn’t wait to get rid, wait 6 weeks or 3 days for over £100m (honestly can’t remember what he got in fairness but it was a lot). Easy choice… ;-)

  67. I’ll just reiterate this bit for those who have missed the point

    “I was keen to know why they wanted the club and they were quite honest. They wanted to market their sports goods in the Far East and would use the Club to help do this. To me it made sense to market the Club globally. It was a win win situation for Mike and the Club”

    Wriggle factor = 0 :)

  68. We get it Andy,
    he sold the club, for a big profit, to the highest bidder who he got to waive the due diligence, & was happy with that.

  69. AndyMac…wouldn’t promoting the club in the far east potentially benefit the club? I think in business it’s called synergy or something like that…

  70. Hey look everybody, i’m a newcastle fan, bitch bitch moan moan wa wa wa. Shut up you tossers. Pile of wank like