Where has all that membership money gone, Derek?

Posted on August 2nd, 2012 | 52 Comments |

Newcastle United Academy.
What went wrong?
“We do not want to put prices up. People might say we have put membership up on the season tickets. But that is going straight into the Academy. It was discounted for the first year but that is going into the Academy because we need to find the money from somewhere.”

Said Derek Llambias defending the introduction of compulsory membership to buy season and away tickets, and also it’s subsequent increase from £15 to £25 after only a year.

There was also much bragging about the huge sums being invested in the Academy, with Newcastle seeking to emulate the Barcelona “la Masia” model started by Johan Cruyff, which has acheived so much success for the Catalan club. As we predicted back in June, and now know for sure, when it came to attaining “Elite Player Performance Plan” Category One status, it turned out that they didn’t even manage to emulate the Wolves, Stoke City and Blunderland models, with even Championship neighbours, Middlesbrough looking likely to achieve what Newcastle United couldn’t. The other clubs who have now been informed they have been successful are Fulham, Southampton and West Ham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, Aston Villa, Reading, Bolton Wanderers, Norwich, West Brom and Watford still waiting to be audited by the organisation carrying out the inspections, “Foot Pass England.” Troubled Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace are the other clubs who have been told they have failed in their repective attempts to obtiain the highest designation.

So what went wrong?

Was Llambias just being dishonest (again) about the financial investment? Or was it just pure incompetence despite the investment? Despite some people saying that the only difference will be only receiving £969,000 funding instead £2.325 million from the Premier League, the differences will be more profound than that. For one thing, Newcastle United will no longer be able to deny access to scouts on poaching missions from the higher Category One clubs to the Benton Academy, and yes, this will include scouts from Blunderland’s “Academy of Blight,” which simply will not do.

But anyway, you can read more about what this will mean from my previous piece. The one ray of hope is that we will be able to re apply for Category One status in two years.

Let’s hope they don’t make the same mistakes a second time when that comes around.


NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1091 articles on this blog.

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52 Responses

  1. Gat over yourself when Ashley took over we had one of the poorest training grounds and academies in the country. We get it you do no like Ashley boo hoo.

  2. Our youth set-up has always been a poor one. Previously we have invested our money at the top end of the scale – buying player for the first team, never youth levels.

    Ashley and Co have started changing that and a believe that it would have been a tall order to get ‘Category One’ status this year – maybe even next year.

    Sunderland and Middlesbrough have always had a better youth setup because, in the past, they never spend as much as NUFC did – they invested at lower levels and seem to reap the rewards with player coming through the system.

  3. so lets get this straight…your saying any scout can simply walk into the academy, pull up a chair, get comfy and do whatever he wants? i find that hard to believe

  4. Gary @ 1

    ‘..We get it you do no like Ashley boo hoo…’

    Nor Llambias and Sports Direct.

  5. Did people really expect instant results from a youth academy which was pretty much non-existent bar a couple of players until recently?

    Seems that way…

  6. so a couple of things-

    what is with the debuchy deal has it collapsed or we just not forking out the money for him?.

    anybody go down to the reserve game to see curtis good debut?.

    and did anybody go down and watch brazil play, neymar was on fire! newcastle should sign him up at 20 he really does have talent.

  7. No Toonsy, we’re Newcastle fans. We demand instant success and if we don’t get it. They’re all liars, cheats and theives.

    Seriously, this is a mental article. Patience.

    The Ashley/Llambias/Sports Direct/SDA bashing is getting really boring now.

  8. Dreamer @ 2 and Toonsy @ 5

    Blimey, voicing your factually accurate comments mixed in with yet another article about the evil Troika of Ashley, Llambias and Sports Direct will get you into hot water from the NUFC Blog Ministry of Truth!

  9. Daverism @ 7

    ‘..The Ashley/Llambias/Sports Direct/SDA bashing is getting really boring now..’

    But, we must remain alert and be prepared as there just might be a sudden and unexpected outbreak of football articles.

  10. It always staggers me that people just expect Ashley to spend money on the club. It’s his club legally & financially but ours emotionally. Like it or not emotions won’t pay the bills.

    If people really want to challenge for the likes of Van Persie, Aguero, Hazard etc etc then lobby the club to charge £30000 a season ticket. I hear all the arguements that MA took the club and should match our ambition, well maybe we should just be grateful the club is still here, in good health and with a bright future from the kids, through the academy to the first team.
    We finished 5th, have Europe to look forward to and are once again attracting internationals in their prime.

    Stop looking for any excuse to bash the hierarchy, it’s 20p a week.

  11. Well said gar.mature comments.it will take time,but we are setting the bar for the rest of these ‘spend money like water’clubs,players know they wont get the wages we used to pay players like micheal owen,and marcelinio,so those holding out hope for carrols return,forget it,and we pay transfer fees up front.we are doing what arsenal did with pat rice and wenger,graham carr is on an 8 year contract and we buy for realistic prices and turn potential into stardom.I am proud to be a nufc fan,everybody is looking at us,talking about us,i bet any bids that came in for ba got laughed out,because even real madrid cannot pay transfer fees up front.

  12. How ignorant can you be Gary. The article is 100% correct, how can you even doubt that. Its clear that Mike Ashley, through no direct intervention or manipulation of the clubs running himself, has gained a very fickle supporter fan bases trust again. He will NEVER gain the respect of trust of me and my family. He is what he is. The motivation behind everything he does is financial gain for himself, not Newcastle United. Our good fortunes on the pitch, have nothing to do with MA. The new players we have, all are merely being farmed to sell. Yuo just dont see the bigger picture here. You soon will do, that I assure you of. The man is a sleaze ball. If we finished the season 14th, I do not believe the fans would have been placated so easily, what with the fat twat pocketing ALL of the big name sales, relegation parachute payments, sky tv revenue, gate receipts and commercial merchandise and not to forget the deal from Virgin. In return he gets to slap all of his tacky brand everywhere on us. including renaming the stadium. It isnt about success on the pitch, that is a bi-product of their primary objective which is to keep us midtable and safe whilst they scout Europe to bring in some bright talent to develop and sell. If we accomplish some decent seasons whilst undergoig this 5 year plan to pay off the clubs original purchase price and 80m debt by selling 2 stars per year, then that is to be considered nothing more than BONUS. Whether you allow this truth to fall within your bubble of comfort is irrelevant, you will soon see the fangs of the woof behind the sheep attire. Just 18 months ago, people were threatening to boycott the club. Now look at them. Yet Ashley has done F*CK ALL but buy CHEAP albeit good potential players at a fraction of what we sold our players for. A good excercise if the money went INTO Newcastle United Football Club Ltd or St james Holding. Did it?! No, did it hell. Pay for the accounts yourself and have a look. Not one single penny of liability or debt has been paid off since before 2009. This is FACT. This man cooks the books, he will suck the money out of the club. Everything else is on a shoe string budget, this being the greatest of examples. It is NOT to the advantage of the CLUB, but to the man himself so that his dividend will increase at the very least. Doesnt make a difference, all people will do is troll those who see what he is and those who have common sense.

  13. I seem to remember a BBC documentary about the great Sir Bobby, where Gary Linekar himself an ex Barca player marvelled at the academy facilities! and that was before the Cashley regime! Facts are facts if they had continued to invest would we have passed this test! I think so!!

  14. Nothing wrong with your opinions on this Worky.

    Perhaps however you’d have been better off writing an article that as of today, sky sources, leading to other publications, leading to other blogs’ that we’ve upped our bid for Debuchy :-)

  15. nufc337 says:
    August 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

    “and did anybody go down and watch brazil play, neymar was on fire! newcastle should sign him up at 20 he really does have talent.”

    My brother is down there studying the football as he works for the F.A. He said Neymar was outstanding in both games he saw. He’s future Real Madrid / Barcelona material and probably worth a stupid amount now.

    As for Curtis Good, I’ve read he was pretty solid but a development player for now. Abeid and Amalfitano caught the eye last night apparently.

  16. @BW4EVA – I believe that we would have been in dire straits if MA didn’t buy us. If he did the due dilligence people harp on about he probably wouldn’t of.

    I still don’t agree (and it’s only my opinion) that he is profiting from the club. I have seen a lot of the claims that he is taking millions and counter claims that he has invested millions to keep us afloat, what I do know is that as a business NUFC was in terrible shape. In a business you look at the next 3 to 5 years and that certainly hadn’t happened under the last regime. We used the Northern Rock money to fund Owen.

    At the moment he is the owner and he calls the shots, there is nothing you can do about it other than buy it, boycott it or grin and bear it.

    I’m just pleased we play decent attacking football, have got rid of some of the bigger personalities on bigger wages, replacing them with team ethic players without huge fees and maybe some sell on value to keep the club on an even keel in the future.

    I’m not ignorant, I have a different belief and opinion and respect yours and others.

  17. The elite players performance plan ?
    Must have missed that one, have no clue what it’s about.
    But the recent Glazer-Man. U. goings on are a warning to every PL club, including NUFC.
    And attention should be payed to warning signals, such as WORKY’S pieces on Ashley and his cohorts.
    The Glazers bought Man. U. on borrowed money and have been using the club ever since as a cash cow, paying off their business debt’s with most of the clubs earnings, in the meantime paying themselves (the Glazer family) enormous sums as agents of the deals.
    The most recent US stock issue is an example, they have incorporated the club in The Cayman Islands, a tax haven and one of the many dodgy ex British Colonies, such as Giberalter, Bahamas, Even as close to home as The Isle of Man a The Channel Islands.
    They make the Swiss look like Saints.
    The glazers have also changed the clubs constitution, making their ownership impossible to challenge, their voting ability on matters relating to the club, unchallengable.
    Though they have yet to change Old Trafford to a corporate name, they are steadily looting the club.
    How they have accomplished this is incredible, without hardly a cent of their own money.
    They make Bernie Madoff looke like a piker.
    Something similar has been taking place at NUFC, but a fifth place finish has taken care of that, just as Fergie has been bought off by the Glazers.
    These guys, Ashley and his buddy Llambias, are two of the dodgiest people in the business and they picked Pardew not for his knowledge of football, but because of who he is, they could’nt trust Hughton, but know that Pardew will toe the line, birds of a feather.
    Better to pay attention to the warnings, certainly the Man. U. fans have, but too late as there’s FCuk all they can do about it.
    No one figured the likes of Leeds, Rangers and Portsmouth, would end up as they have.
    but Ashley has began to use the club as a cash cow, beginning with the stadium name change, which he never intended to sell to begin with, as any profit would go to the club.
    As things exist the advertising of the stadium name plus all the tacky signs are a freebie to Sports Direct.
    And yes, if i have it righ, first he offered seats for a fixed price over a number of years, having hooked the fans, who thought they were getting a deal, he then changes the rules where you have to be a member at a price that can be changed each year, ergo no not a raise in price for the seat, just a raise in membership.
    Want to go to away games, gotta be a member or no ticket.
    There are more ways than one to skin the fans.
    Most of whom dont realise they are being screwed, simply interested in how well the club is doing in the league.
    And if you want to show your ignorance, like some above, just attempt to defend him, but dont tell me he has spent his own personal money on the club, cause we are now indebted more than we were under The Halls and FFS.
    As for that red herring he did’nt do due dilligence, believe it he knew exactly what he was doing, though the same bunch defending him are gullible enough to continue to believe he’s some kind of benevolent owner.
    When the evidence of his predetory business history is there for all to see.

  18. chuck says:
    August 2, 2012 at 11:47 am

    “Want to go to away games, gotta be a member or no ticket.”

    It’s been like that for years, even before membership became a compulsory part of a season ticket. The rules may not have said it, but it was often the case that away tickets never reached a general sale often meaning that the only way a non-season ticket holder could get hold of them was to utilise the “priority booking” period that comes as a perk of the membership. It’s the only reason I’ve got to so many away games over the years.

  19. It is a black eye for this club not to achieve Category One status. Claims from the club hierarchy that funds are being spent on developing the academy do bear some scrutiny based on this. These are facts.

    That’s for all those above who want to deflect any criticism of their Dear Leader and make this about something else.

    Will it be possible for you all to admit it’s a failure if we fail to achieve this status in two years?

  20. TOONSY
    Then how come i have never had any difficulty in buying an away ticket at face value at St. James’ Park, before the compulsary membership and accompanying fee, was put into place.
    With say an average of around four thousand tickets to away games sold by the club, multiplied by twenty five quid apiece(The Membership fee)equals £100,000, minimum, not counting those who attend one or two games like myself, which would actually increase the total amount earned.
    Nice piece of change!

  21. Compulsary membership, in order to buy either an away ticket or a season ticket, is simply another way of acquiring an increase of the price of a ticket, thought i had explained that and there’s no limit to membership fees.
    Ashley can state he has’nt raised the price of tickets over a period of time, but an increase in membership fees is in fact an indirect raise in price.
    And what does one get for membership, other than forking out an additional £25 ?
    Got the feeling this guy is going to be nickel and diming the fans with money earning scams frm now on, squeez every nickel outta the fans.
    Thats his forte, a penny here and there, thats how Sports Direct works, buy cheap sell for what the market will bear, even cut the NUFC staff, i believe the tea lady would be gone too if she were not something of an advertising feelgood icon.

  22. That Debuchy bid was rejected and the Lille president has said he’s not going anywhere. I’m really shocked by this outcome…

    If it’s true we only offered 6 million euros, which is I dunno, nearly £5 million… That’s utter madness to even think that would be enough to sign him.

    I guess Graham Carr couldn’t persuade Mike that he was worth it. Both he and Pardew had to convince him Cisse was value for money at £8 million :-)

    Ah well, suppose we can now fully focus on bringing Andy Carroll back for £17 million :-)

  23. For some reason Ashley thinks he can bulldoze any deal he wants, a guy used to getting his way.
    In most cases it appears he had the hammer when doing deals to buy sweatshop cheap shit, due to the amount of volume he could move.
    And to a degree he has up until now had his way in buying Football players, except to-wards the end of last season, where he got caught playing the brinkmanship game and had to hustle to bring in Santon.
    A day late and a dollar short, so to speak.
    Appears his charm has been wasted on both the French and Dutch, turning down his lowball bids and telling him to come up to their evaluation, or go pound salt.
    We are going to lose both Debuchy and Douglas and leave a bad taste in those clubs he attempted to railroad the deals through.
    Too bad, cause both would have been good additions to the side.
    Theres still time to bring in help, which we desperately need, accross the back four, but can he get over his ego and spend the money, i think not, too big to swallow.
    Ah well!

  24. Jimbob says:
    August 2, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    “If it’s true we only offered 6 million euros, which is I dunno, nearly £5 million… That’s utter madness to even think that would be enough to sign him.”

    Jimbob, I did try to explain yesterday.

    workyticket says:
    August 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    “As of yesterday afternoon, bid for Debuchy still under £4 million and Lille not interested in the slightest as they’re looking for something like double that, which is still realistic. They’re also sick to death of Newcastle and ready to pick up their toys and walk off. That comes from Lille themselves.”

    The club did warn us that our next bid would have to be a serious one or they’d pick up their toys and go home. Now Lille are sick, Debuchy’s sick, Cabaye’s sick after being used to unsettle his ex-team mate, pleading for his own club to make a realistic bid and then left to look like a fool. Finally, Simpson will defintely be sick now too so we’ll still still need to find another right back. However I’m sure that all club’s will still be queueing around the block to deal with us now after our handling of the Debuchy / Anita / Douglas / De Jong etc affairs.

  25. chuck says:
    August 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    “For some reason Ashley thinks he can bulldoze any deal he wants, a guy used to getting his way.”

    He’s a corporate vulture who’s used to picking the bones off distressed sellers, Chuck. However, the clubs he’s dealing with ATM aren’t distressed sellers.

  26. It’s the players and staff that I support, not the owner. I will continue to turn up every game because in recent years I have seen the club displayed true determination, fortitude and camaraderie despite turbulent times and also rise of admirable characters along the way. The players and staff have given their all vis-a-vis all the off the pitch BS which they don’t deserve. I’m a business owner and I can tell u it’s really tough running one, harvesting and exit plan are fundamentals of entrepreneurship; I’m not about to start a debate here just sharing my understanding. My old man has supported this club, I’ve followed in his path, and so will my son. Great men have put on the black and white shirt and understood the meaning and weight behind it, we have in the present, a group of lads that can possibly become geordie legends, so why not give them our best support..

  27. Toon87, I’m afraid I really don’t get all of these fallacious points which keep coming up, usually laced with unnecessary and sterile business cliches. Are you saying that because running a business can be difficult, that people in commerce should never be criticised? That any criticism of the club’s Managing Director is the same as stabbing the players and the coaching staff in the heart? I have been in business for most of my life and I’m afraid that I really don’t get what your point is?

  28. So-what, two weeks until our first competitive match now?

    We’ll have the squad for that that we do now. Nobody brought in would have time to settle.

    Again, tick-tock.

  29. So yet again another poor transfer window for NUFC. Not one person brought in to challange for 1st team place to start. Yea i agree with bringing younger players in but with what is it? 5games in 15days at start of season think it about time MA pulled his finger out is arse and start putting some serious bids in. As TUNYC says @31 players wont have time to settle.

    So does anyone belive we will sign anybody and if so who?

  30. We must have passed on Anthony Koura for now then. The player has been back at Le Mans for some time with no sign of a deal, though the club seemed to be highly impressed, especially when he scored two goals in a reserves game. Willie Donachie declared that he definitetely wanted to take him “if the price was right.” With Le Havre in financial turmoil and absolutely desperate for money, perhaps Ashley is playing hardball until the club are on their knees and knock a few more thousand of his fee.

  31. Workey
    Another example of a club we have done business with and left a bad taste (Le Havre)
    Remember Charles N’Zogbia, when he first arrived as a young player.
    Though it was’nt the same ownership, we attempted to avoid paying compensation to Le Hasvre, until forced by arbitrators.
    Appears NUFC have been owned by the same asshole type owners over the years.
    Though the PR department and their adjunct, those so called sports journalists, constantly claiming NUFC to be a haven of stability and a dressig room filled with camaraderie.
    Not to forget our silver supremo, who is likened to an orchestra conductor, managing the whole scenario.
    Hey it’s what we got, get used to it, or just bury your head in the sand and ignore whatevr’s going on outside of the actual games.

  32. So Liverpool sell Aqulani for £5.5m…three years after buying him for £20m….and he started only 9 bpl games.


    Chuck Carroll into the mix, and the crazy fees they paid for Downing and Adam, and that’s the kind of business people do in the 1st week of The Aprrentice.

  33. maze202 says:
    August 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    “Any prediction competetion this season”

    I’m not sure yet maze as that was Hugh’s thing. He says he won’t be back until well into the season of the blog’s still gping by then.

    The new home shirt is hideous. It’s the “quirky” one that made to look like it’s all creased, ripped and has bits hanging off it. It’s so bad it just beggars belief.

  34. Wow. This blog has certainly fit the pitchforks and burn Ashley at the stake criteria. Wasn’t as bad as last time I was here Worky.

    As fans of course we have a right to bitch about things but every article seems sooooooo sad and depressing I feel like jumping off the Tyne bridge.

    Cheer up a bit Worky, you’ll have a lot to be sad about when Ashley sells te club to Venkys

  35. Joe says:
    August 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    “every article seems sooooooo sad and depressing I feel like jumping off the Tyne bridge.”

    Why don’t you just go ahead and do it then, Joe?

  36. Blackburn Rovers Set to Complete £6m Signing of Huddersfield Town Goal Machine Jordan Rhodes.

    Shame, for a couple million less, he’d have been the perfect squad man for a season, or a Europa sparkler.

    I reckon we’ll be OK without any extra defenders (just about), but strikers concern me. Say Ba got a niggle, you’d be looking at 1 senior striker in Cisse, and Strola as back up for 20 mins of experience and physicality.

    That’s light in my book….

    Sammy still looks like a winger with a year or 2 before full development. Leon (now crocked!) and Loven gone, Ranger a write off….Xisco still on the books??

  37. Jimbob says:
    August 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

    “My brother is down there studying the football as he works for the F.A. He said Neymar was outstanding in both games he saw. He’s future Real Madrid / Barcelona material and probably worth a stupid amount now.”

    They keep saying Barcelona, Jimbob.

  38. Workey
    Maybe Our Silver Suprmo is going 4-6-nowt ?
    In yourv dreams!
    He’s only here because Ashley recognised him as a sychophant and could’nt trust Hughton to go along with his plans for the club.
    As far as tactics are concerned, AP has shown little in the way of playing a modern game.
    He played a four, four, two for the most part, before attempting a four,three,three.
    Which used Ba as a winger, it was a failure, with Ba’s goalscoring coming to an end.
    I doubt wheather he really understands the modern game, or has a clue about how to counter teams who play it.
    What we need is a manager in the manner of Rodgers or Martinez, young, innovative and students of the game.
    However our sycophant guy is prfect as far as Ashley is concerned, willing to do as he’s told and toe the party line.
    Ah well !

  39. Worky: Lee Ryder said today that NUFC were still chasing Koura. Since he is spoonfed from the NUFC PR machine it could be true.

  40. GS says:
    August 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

    “Worky: Lee Ryder said today that NUFC were still chasing Koura.”

    I know, GS. I also know that Lee Ryder follows this blog from Twitta. ;-)

    They’re probably trying to beat Le Havre down to £100,000 or something like that.

  41. we need a striker badly when January comes ACON we lose cisse n ba if we want to compete for top half of table we won’t get far with shola and ??? xisco?

  42. Dokky @46: Can we play it by ear as Senegal have to play Ivory Coast to qualify? If they don’t then we still have Ba and Cisse. If they do, we buy a striker in the January window? Just a thought.

  43. The young Senagalese striker, Moussa Konate, who’s scored four goals in three games in the Olympics would have been about £200,000 a few weeks ago. He won’t be now.

    GS says:
    August 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    “Is today’s friendly on the internet?”

    Time will tell, GS. I don’t know if I’ll be doing a match banter thing this time anyway, time will tell on that one too.

  44. Has someone upset you Worky? I saw a link on another site for Bet365, sounds suspicious though.

  45. GS Bet365 do do streams of matches sometimes, but you have to be registered at their site to view them.

    I’m just sick of carrying this site for the other loafers. I have better things with my life nowadays.