Newcastle United and one of the greatest blunders in football history

Posted on January 8th, 2015 | 64 Comments |

Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan
Before it all went wrong.
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Said Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and so it was with Newcastle United when they missed football’s greatest tide, leaving themselves bound in the shallows and miseries of mediocrity ever since.

To elaborate, in 1997-8, in the early stages of the biggest ever growth in football finances, Newcastle United were the fifth biggest football club in the world according to the Deloitte and Touche ‘Football Money League’ for that season. To make it seem even more unreal when we look at Newcastle United today, they were slightly ahead of Louis van Gaal and Bobby Robson’s Barcelona, who the Magpies had beaten 3-2 in the Champions League at St James’ Park that season. They also made the FA Cup final, after finishing as runners up in the Premier League for the second year in a row and signing the world’s most expensive player in the previous season. However the signs were already there, they also finished thirteenth in the League that season, the club lost some great players, Les Ferdinand, David Ginola, Faustino Asprilla and certainly not least, a 36year old Peter Beardsley. Kenny Dalglish was then sacked early into the next season and things were to get even worse under his successor, Ruud Gullit.

Since then, the other big clubs in that class of ’98 have won a total of 156 major trophies including 13 Champions Leagues, an average of over 17 each. Newcastle have won 0. Juventus have been the next least successful with a mere 9 trophies, and Bayern Munich the most successful with 30. The decline that followed Newcastle’s high watermark at the most crucial time in the development of football finance has certainly been the biggest blunder in Newcastle United’s history, and they’ve made a few. With the potential spoils available, it was also one of the biggest blunders in football history. In this piece I intend to explore it further.

Deloitte Football Money League 1997/98.
1 (2012/13: 4) Manchester United £87.9m
2 (2012/13: 1) Real Madrid £72.2m
3 (2012/13: 3) Bayern Munich £65.2m
4 (2012/13: 9) Juventus £55.3m
5 (2012/13: 25) Newcastle United £49.2m
6 (2012/13: 2) Barcelona £48.6m
7 (2012/13:10) AC Milan £48.5m
8 (2012/13:15) Internazionale £48.2m
9 (2012/13: 7) Chelsea £47.5m
10 (2012/13:12) Liverpool £45.5m

Looking at what the other teams in that list have achieved since, it is a shocking reminder of how things could have been at Newcastle United at a time when it was far more achievable than it is now. What only took tens of millions back then takes hundreds of millions now and a club needs a Sheikh or an Oligarch to upset an established order which, importantly, was largely set during this period of growth. Seven of the other teams in the list (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barcelona, AC Milan and Chelsea) are still in the most recent top ten fifteen years later, and nine are still in the top twenty – Liverpool have slipped two places to 12th and Internazionale to 15th due to poor league form recently and a consequent failure to qualify for the Champions League. However, as well as being the only one to have won no trophies, Newcastle United are the only one to have slumped out of the top 20 completely to 25th. Below you can see what those teams have achieved in terms of winning major domestic and European trophies since that time.

Trophies won since beginning of 98/99 season
Team LCh Cup LCp SCp CLg Oth Tot
Manchester United 9 2 3 6 2 2 24
Real Madrid 5 2 0 4 3 4 18
Bayern Munich 10 8 5 2 2 3 30
Juventus 5 0 * 4 0 0 9
Newcastle United 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Barcelona 7 2 0 6 3 4 22
AC Milan 3 1 * 2 2 3 11
Internazionale 5 4 * 4 1 1 15
Chelsea 3 5 2 3 1 2 16
Liverpool 0 2 3 2 1 3 11

In the chart below, we can see a more graphic representation of Newcastle’s stagnation. The gray bars represents Newcastle’s position over the years on the football rich list.

The red lines represent Newcastle United’s turnover, with the black ones representing the average turnover of all 20 Premier League clubs.

The yellow and orange represents competition in Europe with orange being the Champions League. The Intertoto Cup isn’t included.

Finally, the faded bar and gray line at the end shows where Newcastle United SHOULD have been in 2012-13 if they had only progressed, not like Barcelona or Bayern Munich, but just at the same rate as all twenty Premiership teams have on average since 1997/98. This shows that they would have had a turnover of around £177 million in 2012-13. That would have put them 13th on the football rich list in 2012/13, somewhere between Tottenham and Liverpool. As it was their turnover was actually £95.9 million and they were 25th after narrowly avoiding a second relegation in four years.

Unfortunately, detailed data of the Football Money League for 00-01 and 01-02 just didn’t seem to be available anywhere, but I managed to dig out all the other information.

NUFC football money league

So where did it all go wrong for the Magpies? As you can see above, the team faltered badly under the (mis)management of Kenny Dalglish and Ruud Gullit. The squad was ripped apart by Dalglish in short order, and discipline went under his successor, Ruud Gullit. Bobby Robson eventually managed to restore them to the Champions League and the top ten elite, with the club managing to keep pace with the other Premier League clubs overall. As you can see in the chart above though, that all changed in 2003/4. In a world where other teams continued to grow every year, Newcastle just stopped and have stood still for over ten years since. In 2002/3, Newcastle United’s turnover was £96.4 million, ten years later it was actually slightly lower at £95.9 million. If you think of all the increases in Premier League revenue streams since that time, it is pretty staggering.

Looking back, 2003/4 actually looked like a very good season indeed by today’s standards. With Bobby Robson, the club finished 5th in the Premier League and reached the semi final of the UEFA Cup. However they should have qualified for the Champions League after finishing 3rd the previous season. A shock defeat to Partizan Belgrade in the qualifying game left them in the lesser European competition though with big financial ramifications. This piece from the Guardian gives an account of that second leg, estimating conservatively that the club lost at least £10 million. You can double that in today’s football money, so it was like losing £20 million in one penalty shootout.

Newcastle United vs Partizan Belgrade - 2003
Catastrophe for the Toon against Partizan Belgrade
It was a key moment which brought and from that point on it was almost nothing but decline. Bobby Robson was sacked amidst rumours of a lack of control in the dressing room the next season and there were to be no more Champions League appearences. Robson almost had to move a mountain to get Newcastle United as far as he did, but that defeat proved just one hurdle too many, and was a loss which seemed to be something of a tipping point. But there was something else.

“Pure Greed”

“We have to be responsible. We take money out of our communities; we’ve got to put something back. I hope that pure greed does not take over and ruin everything.” – John Hall on the floatation of Newcastle United PLC.

NUFC PLC share price 1997-2007
NUFC PLC share price 1997-2007
That was exactly what happened though, and it was John Hall who was right at the centre of it. Greed might not have been the only factor in Newcastle’s decline, but it certainly helped. Hall and then Shepherd did build two stadium expansions at a combined cost of at least £70 million in 1992 and 2000. John Hall’s declining Cameron Hall benefitted hugely, but it stayed with the club as debt while John Hall and Freddy Shepherd milked the club all they could with help from Hall’s son, Douglas and Freddy’s brother, Bruce Shepherd. By 2004, the salaries they paid themselves went up to almost 29 times what they were in 1999 when the club was floated. That wasn’t even the larger part though, as the salaries were dwarfed by the multi-million pound dividends they paid themselves every year too. Freddy Shepherd put it best when he said “We’re not ashamed to take a dividend out.” It was estimated by the now deceased nufc-finances site that they trousered a total of £44,817,451. All the while though, the shares in the PLC were falling, as you can see in the chart, it fell from £1.40 when on floatation in 1999 down as far as a mere 20p in 2003. Bobby Robson recalled this moment after took over as manager in 1999:

“I said ‘is there money?’ and they said ‘not a penny’. A little later they found me £500,000 and we bought little Gallacher.”

Though Robson put them back on track on the pitch, the huge wages and the even huger dividends, not to mention other questionable practices that further milked the club kept on coming.

If Robson was the first big rally against the declining trend, then the somewhat unexpected Glenn Roeder revolution in the second half of the 2005/6 season was a second, lesser one. When Roeder took over after Graeme Souness was sacked in February 2006, the club was floundering again. However a remarkable record of 10 victories, 2 draws and only 3 losses in the final 15 games catapulted Roeder’s Magpies to seventh at the end of the season, and a place in the UEFA Cup via the Intertoto Cup. As you can see in the chart, this raised the club briefly, but the retirement of Shearer, a declining squad and a bad run of injuries finished that off and Roeder was sacked for finishing 13th the next season. A series of disastrous big money signings under new manager Sam Allardyce followed, and then came the club’s biggest nightmare to date under new owner Mike Ashley, the chaos leading to relegation with revenue falling through the floor. In Ashley’s first five full years, the club brought in an average of £83.2 million, for the five years before that it was £89.4 million.

After the club’s resurrection back to the Premier League thanks to Chris Hughton, he was promptly sacked and Roeder’s achievement was eventually equalled by the equally unexpected Alan Pardew. This time it hardly seemed to make much difference to the club’s revenue though, and the club were almost relegated with the same manager the next season. Ashley was milking the club just like the Halls and the Shepherds, only in a different way. Relegation apart, one significant loss under the ownership of Mike Ashley has been a large fall in commercial revenue due to the club being used as a free publicity vehicle for Ashley’s larger business interest, Sports Direct. You can see this in the image below, the 2012/13 Deloitte list with a breakdown of major revenue streams. If you look at the commercial revenue figures in comparison to the two closest teams on the list, you will observe that Newcastle United’s is less than half that of closest club, AS Roma, and less than a third of the next closest, Hamburg SV. The difference is tens of millions every season.

Deloitte football money league 2011-12
Deloitte football money league revenue breakdown 2011-12.
(Please note that the figures are in Euros)

To borrow one of Derek Llambias’s favourite sayings when he was the Managing Director of Newcastle United, that would put several new players on the pitch. I wrote a piece on the subject using the same figures from the 2011/12 season in 2013 called “Newcastle United’s commercial revenue is only half what it should be“. With the serious problems of Newcastle United’s main sponsors, Wonga, it could even be that the club will be looking for new shirt sponsorship sooner than it thought too. The big losses in commercial revenue have been compensated for a little by the club making some big money profits on players such as Andy Carroll, Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, Demba Ba etc, which seems to be Ashley’s model for the club going forwards.

I would like to wrap up with some kind of comforting final thought, some spark of optimism which could be kindled for the future. Sadly though, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of that at the moment.

Deloitte football money league.

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

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64 Responses

  1. Thank you for this article, analysis and review of our once great club’s decline. This is, by far the most comprehensive insight I have seen over the years and clearly demonstrates that under subsequent ownerships, any foundations we had built, bethey on or off the pitch, in the early 90’s have well and truly been destroyed.

    Of particular notice is the drop in turnover & thus revenue; many fans vent their anger and disappointment towards Mike Ashley but don’t truly appreciate just how much money he is depriving us of. Of course, he and his accountants are very clever and ensure that there is no sign of MA simply ‘taking’ money out, but your analysis shows just how damaging and constricting Sports Direct is.

    My only hope is that someone with the financial backing ad passion for football will see your review and recognise that there is a huge potential to rebuild a club that will repay ten-fold any real investment in footballing success.

    Thanks again

  2. You haven’t actually came to a specific ‘blunder’ which the title of this article refers to…

    …I would suggest never allowing Keegan to resign in 1997 or at least have him hang on until end of the season and making sure we get Sir Bobby in. If that had happened our recent history would have been all so different.

    If you want actual facts then hiring Kenny Dalglish was the biggest actual blunder we made. Allowing him to destroy that team makes no sense whatsoever. How did the board allow that to happen?!!

  3. Great analysis. Throws cold water over those who think there is some magical way to regain the glory of the nineties. 5th place is a realistic best case scenario for a club of our current size. 5th or 6th is conceivable this year with a Glen Roeder style home run; or a relegation battle if despair sets in. Fingers crossed for Remi Garde and a bit of wise reinvestment if that £20M+ sale comes off…

  4. worky

    you could have written a book in the 6+ weeks it taken you to write this.

    never mind – it was worth the wait.


  5. In depth analysis of how shit happens. I sit in India and follow the magpies from a time they held memorable records like most comeback points in the season . even sitting a million miles.away I feel cheated out of that swashbuckling football we were priveledged to witness. Not a single manager after SBR has had the geordie effect triple substitutions. His understudy mourinhho adopts same tactics and sits on his lofty oil back throne. Newcastle need a triple substitution now. Ashley charney and carver. Start afresh. How bad can it get. If we lose 10 in a row we can always win the last 7. Behind hamburg and Roma seems to be a kick in the teeth. For a stadium with arguably the tallest stands and I hear brightest lightning a decent 20-30 mill sponsor should be expected. Appreciate the time that went into compiling this

  6. WTF is this guy Arindam smoking and what’s he on about.

    As for this current blog.

    A bit of Shakespear combined with a few stats. and their accompanied graphs, cut and pasted, all very boring!

    It’s all history that most of us want to forget.

    I think at this time of possible change, most fans are more interested in what the future may have in store.

    Will Ashley sell ? who will be the clubs new manager? what’s happening on the transfer front? these are the things Newcastle fans are interested in, not some painful trip down a fiscal memory lane, hell we are all aware of how things at this club, tend to go balls up and disappoint, leave it out already!

  7. Appears for some strange reason, perhaps the blind leading the blind, Remy Garde has become the fans choice for the head coach job.

    I would like to know how many have watched Lyon play and are aware of his tactical approach to the game, as opposed to the fact the home (British) candidates are so awful, that any French coach is preferable.

    Certainly as we are well stocked and as things stand, may be recruiting more (cheaper) Frenchies in the near future.

    Niang, anyone ? sez he wants to move to the Toon ?

    Any deals made by the club during the present window, should give some kind of indication as to what Ashley has in mind, “will he stay or will he go” ?

    If we sell such assets as Sissoko and possibly young Perez, the two players most mentioned as being of interest to the top clubs, without using the money to replace them, would indicate he is about to strip the club of assets and move on.

    It’s a lose win situation, yeah we lose our prize players but get rid of Fatso, which could be the beginning of a totally new direction.

    Gonna be an interesting period, lets see.

  8. Ya coulda eliminated most of what you pasted and wrote by simply stating, mismanagement by Newcastle United’s ownership is responsible for our present and past lack of winning anything.

    They were too busy stuffing their pockets as is our present owner.

  9. Though I should add, John Hall was viewed as something of a financial genius by many Newcastle fans and was acclaimed for his rebuilding of the present stadium.

    One that is state of the art and compares favorably with the top EPL stadiums.

    Of course his building of that awful shopping mall south of the Tyne, in fact destroyed the city’s reason for being, as a shopping center for the surrounding area.

    Unless of course you believe the equally awful mall , yes the one which was responsible for the destruction of part of that architectural gem Eldon Square, wasn’t an act of public vandalism.

    Yes it appears Newcastle has had it’s trials and tribulations over the last few decades, and it’s fair share of crooks, but the one remaining cathedral
    one dedicated to football St.James’Park, remains as the center of worship and wouldn’t it be great if it were run by some group or individual, who recognized it as such and didn’t use it as a choice of self enrichment.

  10. What did you think of WT’s other 1038 articles, Chucky? When you love something, you want to know all about it. You coulda eliminated most of what you posted by simply stating ‘I don’t care.’

  11. Good article worky. The commercial revenue has been forever lost I fear as Asia, the Middle East and the Americas generate more and more. That ship has sailed with Chelsea, PSG and Man City being the last one’s off the docks.

    Could we even catch up if we had a Sheikh or Oligarch now because of Financial Fair Play? We could get a bump in visibility and take back some of the money Ashley is currently siphoning of as free advertising and loan repayments, but we would have to win something to start to catch up.

    As you point out we have missed the boat and our chances of ever being part of the elite are slim to none.

    If Ashley were to run the club properly (he is a Billionaire after all) or sell there is a slim chance we could be best of the rest – like a Northern Spurs – and distance ourselves from West Ham, Southampton and Everton. Fat chance with Fatty at the helm though.

  12. The saga continues!

    Reading the recent media rumors, it appears there’s not a hell of a lot of interest in the Newcastle managerial role (or head coach as it has recently become described)

    Only Remi Garde being mentioned as interested and rumored to be in talks with the club.

    Not a good situation, as our present tenth place is due to sink even lower, as it’s very unlikely we will beat Chelsea away to-morrow.

    The side which if left in Carvers hands for the remainder of the season, could very well see the club competing in the second tier next season.

    It’s essential to bring in someone with the ability to mold this side into a cohesive team, playing the type of football that best suits the present players.

    One that can best utilize the youth and pace available.

    Not only that, we badly need help across the back four, with Taylor out we are stuck with Williamson and an aging and slower Colochinni, meaning we have possibly the slowest set of CD’s in the league.

    I just wonder who was responsible for the sale of Yanga M’Biwa, who was a good prospect before playing for Pardew and who is now playing well for Roma, what happened ?

    Plus young Hiadara, who IMO has the ability to become a good defender and attacking wingback, another career blighted by Pardew.

    While Dummett, who started out decent has now become a mediocre defender, who has given up on bringing the ball upfield, probably another Pardew decision.

    It will take time and patience to readjust this side from purely defensive football with the occasional attempts at the fast breakout.

    And what happened to such prospects as Bigirimana and Aarons, sent to Pardew’s footballing Siberia.

    There’s talent in the side, but face it Carver is not the man to develop it, though he has stated he would have no problem working as a coach for any new Manager, the guy just want’s a job, any job.

    Well i’m hoping none of this will matter, by Ashley selling up, hell there’s plenty of money out there looking for a safe place to be parked, if not in London or New York real estate and art, why not a football club, which guarantees a pretty decent annual return.

  13. Chuck: Aarons is out another 3 weeks with the hamstring that he was brought back too quickly from. On the right side there is a list of injuries and expected time back under the heading physioroom.

    Santon is back in contention, meaning Dummett could be moved to centre half. With Chelsea’s quick forwards and quick transition game I hope we don’t play Williamson.

    I like Haidara, but he is young and has many more chances, especially if Carver is gone. Who cares about Bigi? He was a minor prospect from Cov and probably hasn’t pushed on just like a lot don’t – Campbell, Ferguson, Vuckic etc. although injuries and loans to crap teams that never played them may have played a part here. Who knows.

  14. Looking at physioroom it says de Jong, Sammy, Obertan and Aarons are all out for 3 weeks. That could possibly make one or two available for the Hull game on Jan 31. Probably Abeid as well since he is not off to ACoN.

    Who knows we might also get an addition or two as some contracts are running down – Ings etc. We are sniffing around Gignac who is out of contract but out of our league I think.

    We may also lose Sissoko on the last day though and he isn’t Champions League Cup tied so if Arsenal miss their other targets I think that is a possibility. It is also clear that Liverpool need someone who can run directly at a defense WITH THE BALL to break out of Brendan’s sleepy sideways passes that he seems to have sunk back into since Suarez left.

  15. Thankyou for your kind words about the piece above (except for Chuck!)

    Am I seeing things or is Sissoko playing as striker now?

    Terry Venables is at the game, maybe he’s been in talks with Ashley as next coach and he’s having a butchers? After all, anything could happen with Ashley.

  16. Predicted a loss for this game, however it turned out to be a fairly entertaining game, well certainly in the first half.

    Holding a pretty high line, kept Chelsea somewhat bottled up.

    The opportunities were there, but poor finishing was the problem.

    Have to say Cabella had a decent game for a change, guess he is not used to sitting and was playing for a starting role again, has the making of a good playmaker, but needs to get up to PL standards.

    Again Sissoko was our outstanding player, can’t understand why no-one has come in for him, best box to box player in the league.

    Young Perez once again impressed, can shoot, good passer and not afraid to take on defenders.

    Those three should be automatic choices to start, also Sammy and Colback, there’s pace and technique to spare there and Colback keeps the oppositions heads up doing the hard work and what a rocket he got against Burnley
    We lucked out getting him for nada.

    Certainly Krul was sorely missed and in good form to-day.

    But looking at the club roster, there’s plenty of deadwood that should be replaced, being a few injuries and we are down to bare bones.

    I would like to see Bigirimana get a start alongside those mentioned above, as I believe he is as good as Tiote and a hell of a lot smarter (football-wise)and never saw him have a bad game yet.

    But our real need is defensive help, as we really have a lack of CD’s, Colo. playing well but slowing down, the rest, fugedaboudit!

  17. First laugh maybe Worky. He hasn’t had time to work his magic yet. He usually starts off well at the clubs he has been to I think and then hits the skids. He was making bizarre comments yesterday.

  18. Worky

    We paid around 9m. quid for Cisse, a lotta dosh for Ashley, but there was no chance of spending that kinda
    money on Bony.

    Bony Eh ! not all that, has only nine goals this season, the same amount as Cisse, as for spending a rumored close to thirty million for him, no thanks.

  19. WORKY

    Do you view yourself as another Carr r’ summat ?

    It’s not as if he (Bony) was an unknown, as his name was constantly mentioned in media reports, while playing for Vitesse, having scored 31 goals in 30 games.

    Something he will probably never again match, with a not very impressive sixteen goals to his credit last season.

    As for between a reported 27 to 30 million quid, someones avin a laff oi fink.

  20. Excellent game of football, talking bout the Man.U. vs S’hampton. game, compared with the earlier Arsenal vs Stoke matchup, which was a walkover for The Arse.

    Who may in fact be calling NUFC in the next few days seeking to buy our only star player Sissoko

    I don’t get it, football politics, one minute he’s pledging his loyalty to the Toon, then coming out with his love for Arsenal a day later.

    It’s as if we the fans are dumb r summat, when we are very much aware that NUFC is a selling club, that you sign for to be placed in the shop window, in order to go to a club with both money and ambition and if you are lucky get to live in London or Rome, even Paris, aint rocket science.

    Fact is with the current business plan, mid league mediocrity and an aversion to any kind of silverware, who would want to play for such a side, especially one from the most remote and not exactly exciting provincial city, other than to strut your stuff and hopefully be picked up by a big club.

    I see where Remi Garde has had talks with whatshisname, the guy who after spending his entire working life at the club, has through being “Johnny on the spot” now been handed the negotiating role in regard to the choice of a new (head coach)

    Course I don’t believe for a moment he has any autonomy to make decisions, just another Ashleys mouthpiece, with about as much freedom to act independently as Pardew had to sign players.

    Sorry but this is what the club has become, an organization who’s purpose is to further enrich Fatso, now that most fans have either stopped warching the side or have become enured to the situation.

    Ah well!

  21. chuck says:
    January 11, 2015 at 4:38 pm


    “Do you view yourself as another Carr r’ summat ?”

    No, I think that I’m better than Graham Carr on the Eredivisie though which is supposed to be one of his fields of expertees. I have a very good database of Eredivisie players who I monitor as much as I can, though obviously, I don’t have Carr’s advantages. I was watching Bony before he attracted any attention outside of the Netherlands. The Chronic (Lee Ryder) was so lazy and knew so little about him that he once made up a story that a source inside the club told him that they wouldn’t be signing him because they didn’t think he was strong enough for the Premiership. He’s like Alan f*cking Shearer! People obviously compare him with Drogba because he’s from Ivory Coast but I see him more as Shearer. Incidentally, I didn’t blow the trumpet for Finnbogason as I did with Bony, even though he scored at the same rate as Bony in the Eredivisie the season after Bony left. He wasn’t like Bony though and sure enough he’s been a flop in Spain so far. You can’t just go just on stats, you have to able to judge a player as well.

    I also wanted Newcastle To sign players such as Jan Vertonghen, Memphis Depaye, Dusan Tadic etc and I’ve written about some of them on here from time to time as I did with Papiss Cisse over six months before he was signed. I was saying that the club should have signed him six months before they did. I must admit though that I didn’t predict his major crisis, which was partly brought on by prejudiced linesmen in my view, who just kept ruling out perfectly valid goals just because it was Cisse until it eventually broke his confidence.

    Depaye is still at PSV incidentally, but he’s worth over twice as much as he was when I was watching him. The one player from the excellent Eredivisie that Newcastle did well with and signed at the right time was Janmaat and look at him, just like the other Dutchmen I mentioned above, there was no season to adapt or anything like that, just throw him straight in there and watch him go.

    To correct you on you Bony stats, last season he scored 25 goals, not 16 as you claimed. He also 37 goals the season before that, not 31 as you claim. Last season he scored 25 goals for Swansea at a scoring rate of a goal every 137 minutes of play, which is very good indeed. The only thing you got right is that Bony HAS scored nine goals this season, however like Cisse (who has also only scored nine goals), he hasn’t actually spent loads of time on the pitch for various reasons, currently the African Cup. His scoring rate this season (so far) has still been a goal ever 147 minutes. Finally, Man City and Swansea have agreed a fee of £28 million so you were wrong about that too, as you are with most things. You aren’t interested the hard work of studying and learning about things though, you’re just interested in trying to discredit me.

  22. Incidentally Chuck, you’re always moaning about a new centre back, my first choice was Bony but another was Mateo Musacchio, an Argentinian from Villareal. I mentioned him in one of my pieces for the Metro years ago when Villareal were being relegated. Sadly though, he’s another whose value has more than doubled since I mentioned him :-)

    “In defence, with Mike Ashley’s eye for a bargain, Villareal’s 22 year old Argentinian centre back Mateo Musacchio is worth a look. With Spain’s financial crisis hitting clubs outside the big two it is a good place for bargain hunting right now, and the once mighty Villareal have been relegated to Spanish football’s second tier to boot. Despite this, Musacchio is still a top young talent…”

  23. Worky
    Boney scored 16# league goals for Swansea during his first season there and has 9# league goals for them so far this season.

    The 2012-13 season he played 30# games for Vitesse in the Eredivisie (Dutch league) scoring 31# goals, like I said.

    And if you really believe as stated you are a more knowledgeable in regard to scouting, than Carr, you may also be a bit delusional.

  24. And hey ! your right I do constantly rabbit on about central defenders and the reason should be obvious as to why.

    I will take your word for it when talking about Mussachio, as unlike yourself I don’t get to see much of Spanish second tier football.

    However there must be some decent youngsters around, whether in the Spanish second tier or elsewhere who are both available and for a price that won’t make Ashley wince.

    Because we really do need help in central defense.

  25. chuck says:
    January 12, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    “And hey ! your right I do constantly rabbit on about central defenders and the reason should be obvious as to why.”

    Aye, we need someone to support Willamson now Coloccini’s too old.

    Moustachio and Villareal play in La Liga, the relegation was years ago now. Keep on going, you’ll get something right eventually, like a monkey typing Shakespeare :-)

  26. Yes “a monkey typing Shakespear” certainly came to mind when I scanned the introduction to the blog above, however had you not mentioned it I certainly wouldn’t have been crass enough to.

    As for Musacchio, never heard of him? but if he’s as good as you say, how come he has never been called upon for Agentina’s national side, whereas even our own Jonas has played as a defender for Argentia.

    No better than Jonas, no thanks!

  27. chuck says:
    January 13, 2015 at 5:27 am

    “Yes “a monkey typing Shakespear”

    A monkey can type Shakespeare, but you can’t :-)

    Chuck, Musacchio has played for Argentina. Tottenham are after him now anyway to go with another centre back I wanted Newcastle to sign, Jan Vertonghen.

  28. If Chuck were to randomly hit his keyboard an infinite number of times would he ever come up with something pleasant to say?

  29. No! I just call em like I see em !

    Unlike some sycophant’s, who are afraid to annoy, “The big ego”

  30. Guess Lineker is right in his assessment that Ashley is using the search for a Pardew replacement, as a reason to obscure the fact the club (Ashley) have so far ignored any attempts to strengthen the side during this window.

    Obviously he being a gambler, has decided IMO to bet on Carver until the seasons end.

    Not really such a gamble, as Carver is possibly a better choice than Pardew, cheaper and another willing mouthpiece (see his remarks on the recent FA cup loss)

    It just never stops.

  31. The best laid plans do often gan awry !

    As it appears Roma have sat Yanga M’Biwa, not for football reasons, but his playing in a certain number of games, automatically triggers a sale for an agreed amount, don’t ask ?

    There’s also a problem with the HBA deal, hell we could have both back at the club, which from a skills level would make NUFC a much better side, now that Pardew’s gone, just look at how young Cabella played against Spurs when given the green light to go play his game, rather than being harnessed by Pardew’s defensive tactics.

    I don’t really care whether the club get’s relegated or not, that’s Ashley’s problem, but I would like to see Carver let the flair players play their game, as i’m sick and tired of Pardews defensive and restrictive tactics and i’m sure most fans agree, nowt like being entertained.

    And as we have an interesting young group of players, who have both pace and technique, it’s an opportunity for Carver to break out of the Pardew mentality and use
    their skills.

    Just look at the two recent Chelsea games, where Newcastle looked more like the league leaders, than Chelsea.

    Well in the recent game certainly dominated the first half.

    Yes ! there is talent in the side, apart from central defense, which needs attention, a dominant CD to play alongside Colo. and perhaps another striker and the side could very well become a top six side once more.

  32. Mateo Musacchio vs Barcelona

    I’ve been watching him for years now and he’s bloody good. I would have had him and Vertonghen as the two centre backs if I was Graham Carr and Mike Ashley. He was only about £4-5 million whan I started watching him too but he’ll be alot more now though. He scores in the video.

  33. Yep ! good player, reads the game well, which is half the battle, big strong player, which I like in defenders,
    Keeps the oppositions heads up and gets their attention.

    Much like Williamson in the oppositions box (not), nicely headed goal.

    Yep we could certainly use a player like that, but don’t hold your breath.

    Some of the worlds greatest players come out of the River Plate area, on both sides and they play both a skillful and tough game.

    It’s time the club had a decent south American scout,

  34. Another South American player I’ve been watching since we played Brugge in the Europa League is striker, Carlos Bacca from Colombia. He was pretty much the next striker on my list after Wilf Bony. It was very hard to watch him in Belgium but I’ve been able to watch him in La Liga since Sevilla bought him. Once again, we’re too late for him though as he’s another one whose value has shot up. We should have been the ones who bought him from Brugge after we played them.

    I said in my preview for the Brugge game about him: “There are alot of goals in the Brugge side. Their top goalscorer so far this season is recently signed Columbian hitman, 26 year old Carlos Bacca. Signed for a mere €1.5 million from Colombian side Atlético Junior, he is now a Columbian international who looks like he can be as lethal as the Medellin cartel”

    He does have one very bad point though, he started doing that twatty heart thing like Gareth Bale when he scores.

  35. What is it about the EPL and South & Central America, in regard to signing players from that particular region ?

    Being a huge number of their most talented players end up playing in Europe.

    However out of those who end up playing here (EPL) few are bought directly from the area, most coming from European sides.

    One would think it worthwhile to pay a couple of good scouts to cover the area, which would allow EPL sides to deal directly with their clubs, as opposed to buying them from other European sides who usually add a heavy premium to the price.

    Both the River Plate area combined with Brazil alone produce a decent number of the worlds top football talents and to not have at least one scout covering that particular region, just doesn’t make sense.

    I suppose with their enormous revenues, they don’t care about having to pay premium prices for such players.

    Not good business !

  36. So what’s up with Ashley and Rangers ?

    There has been some crazy projections as to what his final plan is.

    Does he want to own/control both Newcastle and Rangers?

    Will he sell Newcastle and concentrate on acquiring Rangers, (hopefully)

    Does he not see or care whether he may be antagonizing both sets of fans, which cant be a comfortable position, regardless how much money he may make from any deal.

    Who knows ?

    But certainly he is at present disliked by the majority of NUFC fans and well on his way to a similar situation in regard to Ranger fans, if he continues his attempts at gaining control at Ibrox.

    Being a Newcastle fan (or Ranger fan) at this period of time is like the old charabanc mystery tours, have no idea where you are going as a club, with a rich tight-wad owner who refuses to even address the fans concerns, yet they show up every other week, providing full houses.

    Is this any way to run a football club ?

    The answer being YES certainly as far as Ashley is concerned, but this is not only a situation for Newcastle fans alone, but the whole of the EPL.

    Why ?

    Any time that a PL club decides that cup ties are no more than a distraction and continue to fix games, by putting out weakened sides, as Newcastle has done over the last few seasons and more recently against Liecester, should immediately be investigated by he FA. and any other governing bodies that are affected by their actions.

    On the other hand being a multi billionaire, buys a lot of votes and who wants to go up against such money and all it can buy, certainly not your average officials, gotta protect a nice cushy number, ainchya ?

  37. Well Ashley’s earlier foray into the South American jungle didn’t come off too well if you recall Wisegate? The favour of signing Gonzalez as a mark of ‘respect’ to Uruguayan football’s Don of all Dons? Telling Keegan to watch him on youtube and Keegan then going off like a little atom bomb? There was that 18 year old Brazilan bairn too who had passport problems, couldn’t get a work permit or something like that.

  38. Of course we haven’t heard any recent news in regard to Ashley’s intentions, with Carver stating he hasn’t even heard from Ashley in regard to anything.

    Of course he (Carver) promised to field a full strength side in the recent Liecester draw, instead resting our top players and for all intents and purposes fixing the result, what happened to the full side? no one influenced him of course ?

    I suppose we will end up with Carver until the end of he season and it’s doubtful IMO whether we will sign anyone.

    A major gamble, but one I believe Ashley is about to make, which would fit with the rumored no sale before 2016, why would he want to spend millions on buying players and paying a big time head coach’s wages, when he could get the same value for what’s there already.

  39. Worky

    Ashly is still involved in “on the job training”, I mean when Keegan stated he knew nothing about football, he was serious.

    Sure he knows about money, you don’t become a billionaire by chance.

    Those were early days and hopefully he has learned summat
    by now, as it ain’t brain surgery finding a decent scout for a few bob in South America.

    Perhaps someone, the present guy running the football side of things CARR, for all intents and purposes, who is in all but name “The Director of Football” is the one responsible and should have made his boss aware of the fact there’s more to scouting than riding the train through the chunnel to the Lowlands and France.

    Hell we got Solano and others who could do the job, guess CARR may just be concerned about his own rice bowl.

  40. Aye, we signed Solano from Boca Juniors and long before that we signed the first Brazilian in the English League, Mirandinha, from Palmeiras.

    “Perhaps someone, the present guy running the football side of things CARR, for all intents and purposes, who is in all but name “The Director of Football”

    Graham Carr is NOT a Director of Football, he’s a scout. If you’ve listened to him speak he makes Joe Kinnear and John Carver look like David Niven and Cary Grant. Every other word is an ‘F’ or a ‘C’ word. I’m not saying he isn’t like a de facto Director of Football at Newcastle as you suggest, but he just isn’t a Director of Football and it’s a sad indictment of the way Newcastle United is being run. If John Carver end up being the head coach of a team the size of Newcastle, that speaks for itself. On the other hand of someone more credible like Remi Garde came in, the idea of him working under people of the calibre of Charnley and Carr would be a complete joke.

  41. chuck says:
    January 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    What is it about the EPL and South & Central America, in regard to signing players from that particular region ?

    It’s about the difficulty in getting work visas for players from outside the European Union. The FA already have fairly strict rules in place, and they’re planning to introduce even stricter rules to further reduce the number of non-EU players coming in.

  42. Chris G says:
    January 16, 2015 at 1:57 am

    “It’s about the difficulty in getting work visas for players from outside the European Union.”

    Aye, that’s true. Out of the EU but inside European football competition, there’s alot of Brazilian players in Russia and Ukraine though. Facundo Ferreyra from Donestsk is our crap example, Willian at Chelsea is a far more succesful one who we played when he was with Anzhi Makhachkala, he played for Donetsk too. There are lots of Brazilians freezing their knackers off over there trying to get a top gig inside one of the big three or four leagues inside the EU like Willian did.

  43. If it is so difficult to import players from the Americas, how do the Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and Italians and a hot of other European clubs, stock their sides with them

    Some of his is a form of protectionism by the FA using the British Immigration services to assist them, by demanding proof of their ability, such as having represented their national sides etc.

    It seems it’s easier for instance to import players from North America than south, even though the quality of North American football is much lower than that of their South American neighbors, blowing the phony requirement policy.

    However I don’t thnk it’s entirely the fault of the Immigration Services and the FA, it has more to do with Premier Division clubs themselves, who if they so desired could force the removal of these impediments and import any number of players from anywhere.

    Face it you don’t have to be British to be a hero to your local clubs fans and the British people IMO have no objection to watching the best available.

    And British players if they want to compete, should do so via a level playing field, as no amount of protectionism will make them better players, nor does the British fan base to see a PL filled with only mediocre British players.

    Recent calls for restrictions, by using a number (plucked out of the air, making no sense) or percentage of foreigners to play for British sides is nonsense and a poor way of demanding exclusivity for British players, which could very well cause the demise of the EPL, in comparison to other European leagues.

    In other words those backing the enforcement of Immigration and other rulings for footballers are backing a phony restriction to the detriment of football in the UK.

  44. Chuck, the English Premiership is the most cosmopolitan in the world, and English players have more competition from foreign players than anyone, so I don’t really see what your problem is? There have been far more South American players in the Premier League than North American.

  45. Worky

    Yes! I understand that, but that was never my original point.

    What I am in favor of is what could be considered a good business policy, that of signing those prospects on the cusp of stardom, for a decent price, a bit like our recent signing of Spanish second tier striker Perez.

    Rather than buying them after some continental club who picked them up for next to nothing, adds a hefty premium.

    As you stated above there are any number of young Brazilian’s and Argentino’s presently playing through-out the European continent, bought for next to nothing, who will bring in a decent profit, much the same as Ashley’s present purchases of French players with an eventual sell on profit to bigger and more ambitious clubs.

    Same business plan basically, except for the cost of a decent scout (no not Carr) Newcastle could eliminate the
    middle man.

    Something that would probably appeal to Ashley.

    You mentioned above that Carr is actually nothing more than a scout, that’s where we disagree i’m afraid.

    I believe he and Pardew, (who we know has had little to do with recruiting) were in a power struggle for Ashley’s attention, Carr eventually winning out.

    After all it was his eventual choice of players that reduced Pardew to the role of head-coach and hastened his exit, among other things.

    It’s not the actual title that counts, just the reality of what has taken place and again IMO Carr runs the footballing side of NUFC, which I have no problem with, after all he has brought some decent players to the side, along with a few failures.

    I would give him a “B+ rating, regardless of the colorful language you mentioned.

    And i’m not opposed to a Director of football, but certainly not a repeat of the relationship between Carr and Pardew, rather preferring both be on the same page, which could in fact become a major problem in our recruitment of a new manager, who may want more control of who we buy or sell.

    On the other hand, everything has to be vetted by Ashley
    and until his education on how to run a football club improves, we will be subjected to more mediocrity on the field and less income (for the club) from sources other than, guaranteed bums in seats and tv revenues, though there are those who actually believe he has stabilized the club economically, which on looking at the facts , is nonsense.

  46. Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah is up for sale. I liked him when he was at Basle and wanted Newcastle to sign him. He might be a bit cheaper than the £11 million Chelsea paid for him because he’s never really had a chance to show his stuff. Then again, PSV’s Memphis Depay plays in the same area and he’s the one I really want Newcastle to get. He’s only 20 and he’s a top player who has shone in a world cup. I don’t know why a big club hasn’t signed him yet but Newcastle should have gone for him before he went to Brazil. I feel as strongly about Depay as I did about Vertonghen and Bony. WTF does Carr do in the Netherlands?

  47. Good game, very entertaining, Newcastle were unfortunate not to get something out of it though.

    As for the goals, soft!

    We are now watching a different Newcastle side, since the tight rein imposed by Pardew has been relaxed and players given their head, they look like a much improved side, which i’m sure no one looks forward to playing against.

    Face it the last two games against Chelsea and Southampton ended in the lost column, but we played well in both games and could with a bit of luck have taken points.

    Don’t forget these are both top four sides as we speak.

    And had we been awarded the deserved penalty, could have ended the game with a point.

    I’m going to project Carver will stay in place until the seasons end, which if going by the last few games, is in fact better than having Pardew still setting out a rigid controlled side that depend on keeping shape and once in a while attempting to employ the fast break.

    It will be interesting to see how we do with Santon and DeJong back.

    Our major problem is still the center back position, that and a proven goal scorer, plus a playmaker.

    Unfortunately Anita just hasn’t got either the defensive or playmaking talent expected and should be replaced.

    Two ? , hell I would settle for one decent CD, as Dummett is not yet ready and is playing out of position.

    Haidara had a decent game and showed an increasing amount of physicality, looking good breaking forward with the ball.

    Young Perez looks better by the game and I can understand the interest from M.U.

    Young Sammy also looked decent, should be given more starts.

    I suppose Sissoko is entitled to one game where he wasn’t the clubs outstanding player, damn the guy must be tired when you think of the ground he has covered recently.

    This side is very interesting and with the right additions (and replacements for the non performing deadwood) could very well with it’s pace, scare a lot of clubs.

    Just proves that Pardew, with his rigid system, was more of a detriment to a side with a by of flair and a lot of pace.

  48. Worky, it’s not the Depays, Vertonghen’s and Boneys we should have been looking at, but the signings that Glasgow Celtic keep coming up with the reatively unknown’s like VanDijk’s and Izaguirre’s.
    That would meet Ashley’s pocketbook and provide a decent sell on value.
    Carr? yeah as I stated a decent scout, but restricted in his sources, rate him a B+.
    God knows where the recommendation for O’yeah Perez, came from, but we need an improvement in our scouting system.
    After all when were we associated with any players from the Balkans area, a hotbed of good players, South

  49. Every one and his brother knew about those you mentioned above, which had we shown interest in, could have ended up with a bidding war, which certainly wouldn’t have interested Ashley, plus those destined for stardom are hardly interested in Newcastle Disunited and if they are only for a season or so in the shop window, as everyone knows we are a selling club, only interested in making a buck from them.
    What we need is to show we are a club worth playing for, by giving the top sides in the PL a run for their money and by winning at leas one piece of silverware, rather than a side who’s only ambition is to reach mid table security, ensuring the club continues to collect the tv

  50. Well nothing to report of any substance, the rumors continue, with the bookies apparently no better informed than the general public.

    One notable rumor is the possibility of bringing in Worky’s hero (as a player) the Danish Prince, “Laudrup”,
    who’s odds have dropped to 4/1.

    Who was fired by Swansea last year, following a two year tenure, that resulted of only winning 29# of the 84# games played, reach your own conclusions ?

    One of the criticisms of Laudrup was “if he were made of chocolate, he would eat himself” guess his ego was larger than that which he actually delivered.

    Ah well! but is this the kind of guy needed at NUFC ?

  51. Another interesting tit-bit is the fact the large money management firm of “Goldman Sachs” is negotiating a sale of 15.4 % of his personally owned “Sports Direct” stock, in order to generate a 117m. pound, war chest.

    Does this mean he may be interested in things north of the border, specifically Glasgow Rangers ?

    Guess we wont find out until the deal is done.

    But more important, how this will affect the fortunes of NUFC.

    As one usually has something in mind by generating such a sum and will certainly be closely followed with a great deal of interest, by fans of both clubs.

  52. I can only guess he intends to give VanGaal competition
    by spending it on both a top of the line Manager/Heed Coach, that and a bunch of top players, no ?

  53. So like, what’s happening ?

    Has our blog meister gone to some remote part of the globe, or has he had enough and decided to let this blog die a natural death.

    Surely he can’t be involved in another attempt at a killer blog, which if anything like the last one, could toll the knell of it’s end.

    Sad really, but we all have to move on and i’m sure it has become a burden.

    But what the hell it’s been one of the most interesting of the blogs associated with NUFC and served a purpose, before everyone became somewhat disinterested, due to the mismanagement and lack of communication from our present owner and the general state of malaise, other than somewhere to go of a Satiday afternoon, which is obvious from the lack of crowd noise and support these days.

    For a world top twenty club and a fan base second to none, that’s sad !

  54. Chuck, He was on the chronicle website earlier and i think like a lot of us he is coming to the end of his tether with this club.
    It’s soul destroying what Ashley and Penfold are doing to the club.
    It’s getting to the point where no one can be bothered anymore.

    Those day-trippers who are getting in at St James’ Park are not helping either with their lack of knowledge of the chants reducing the place to a library.

  55. Joe

    Yeah! it’s become a commonly shared attitude among all, or certainly a majority of fans.

    As far as fan support, full attendance every other week
    doesn’t translate into crowd involvement, with the noise levels coming mainly from the away supporters.

    Indicating a lack of serious interest or apathy.

    On the other hand they appear to be there because, that’s where they always go on Saturdays when the side is playing at home.

    Sad really, how the actions of an owner and his policies, affect the relationship between an old established club and some of the countries most loyal and vociferous fans, into a group of somewhat apathetic and tranquilized gathering, that give the impression, they are all sedated.

    Any passion for either the game or club, has obviously been lost, they, finally realizing this owner doesn’t give a damn about the club, other than it’s use to advertise his real business SD, that and collect the riches from EPL membership and the sell on fee’s of cheaply bought foreign imports.

    We can only hope, now that the spirit of the Newcastle fans has been broken, the man will sell the club and transfer his interests to-wards Glasgow, even though I wouldn’t wish that on any group of supporters, but their misfortune could end up as our gain.

    I had hoped that a boycott of home games and a serious campaign, might have caused Ashley to change his policies, but now realize there is little unity and even less desire for it among those same unhappy fans.

    Proven by the lack of support during the recent attempted walk-out, which was pathetic.

    But then, they only have themselves to blame, through a lack of cojones.

    Ah well !