Newcastle United, Mike Ashley and eternal recurrence

Posted July 1st, 2015 by workyticket | 65 Comments

Steve McClaren

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Let us think this thought in its most terrible form: existence as it is, without meaning or aim, and yet recurring inevitably, without any finale in nothingness: “eternal recurrence.”

Friedrich Nietzsche – The Will to Power

I quoted the great proto-existentialist philosopher there because it seems such a perfect summary of all that Mike Ashley has to offer Newcastle United fans, in the past, the present and in the future; existence as it is, without meaning or aim, and yet recurring inevitably This includes the humiliation of being lied to and treated as fools on a regular basis, and paying hundreds of pounds for the privilege in many cases. Mike Ashley’s latest alleged overhaul is just as superficial and dishonest as the previous ones, which is why everything coming out of the club must be so strictly controlled. In his hubris, Ashley still hasn’t learned that a Premier League club the size of Newcastle United has to be like Rolls Royce, not Sports Direct. The faces might be different, but the thinking which has taken Newcastle United nowhere is still the same, recurring inevitably. Continue reading…

Newcastle United’s two forgotten players

Posted June 9th, 2015 by workyticket | 68 Comments

Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow

Lascelles and Darlow: “Outstanding lads” says Pearce

In the misery and inertia of Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United, it is good to try and look for the flowers in the cracks of the concrete from time to time to keep oneself sane.

With this in mind, I could have written about younger players like Ayoze Perez, Rolando Aarons etc but then I thought at least we have seen them play in black and white, albeit briefly in Aarons’ case. On the other hand, two more of United’s biggest hopes the the future haven’t been seen at all in Magpie colours. They are the two forgotten men of Newcastle United, 21 year old centre back, Jamaal Lascelles and 24 year old goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who have returned from their loan season at Nottingham Forest.

Signed a season ago from the Tricky Trees for an undisclosed fee which was said to be £6.5 million, the pair were immediately loaned back and forgotten about by many on Tyneside. They are both regarded as very promising players though, and as Alan Pardew used to be fond of saying, ‘It will be like two new signings.’ Continue reading…

The truth of the Patrick Vieira and Steve McClaren to Newcastle stories

Posted June 5th, 2015 by workyticket | 23 Comments

Steve McClaren and John Carver

NUFC: Still no decision on a head coach.

I couldn’t help feeling there was something odd about the story of Patrick Vieira coming to Newcastle, as there is about most unsubstantiated football stories.

Some fans seemed to believe it though, even embroidering it further to their own tastes as it gathered a momentum of its own in a few short days. My curiosity piqued, I looked but I couldn’t find any real evidence that Newcastle United made an approach for Patrick Viera to be the next ‘head coach’ at St James’ Park. Even the guff I’ve read about Steve McClaren coming to Newcastle (and I’ve read alot) seems to be based on the same kind of unsubstantiated “it is understood / sources say” style drivel we see so much of nowadays in the media. Concentrating on the Vieira story first though, I traced the threads of it back to the beginning as I usually do, and in this case it was ‘broken’ by North East Sky Sports reporter, Keith Downie with two tweets below on 30th May, though it seems like longer: Continue reading…

Newcastle United 2014 full accounts statement

Posted May 31st, 2015 by workyticket | 22 Comments

Newcastle United's treasure chest

NUFC’s coffers are overflowing, but the debt to Ashley remains

Before I begin, my apologies for not posting these earlier, as I usually do shortly after the accounts are made public. Better late than never though as I still can’t find any other copies of the statement itself elsewhere, though there is a very extensive analysis of the latest accounts on the very good Swiss Ramble site if you haven’t seen it already. The link to a PDF of the full statement submitted to Companies House is below, along with a few personal reflections from myself.

Some personal notes on the accounts

Turnover

The overall turnover figure of £129.7 million is the highest in the club’s history. This was also true of many other Premier League clubs though due to the commencement of the new blockbuster broadcasting deal. On the £129.7 million turnover, the club made a profit after tax of £18.7 million, and an operating profit of £4.7 million. However, Ashley is yet to pay any tax at Newcastle United as losses from previous years have been deferred once again.

The new three year TV contract which kicked in during the period for these accounts saw Newcastle United media revenue leap a huge 53.3% from £51 million to £78.3 million, meaning they are now a huge 60.4% of total turnover. The corollary of the above at most PL clubs is that local fans who actually go the the games are becoming more peripheral as their share in the club’s income becomes ever smaller. If this continues apace, they are almost in danger of becoming just a piece of colour and noise to make games more entertaining for TV viewers around the world. Continue reading…

Why Carver’s Newcastle is the worst Newcastle team in the Premier League ever

Posted May 23rd, 2015 by workyticket | 29 Comments

Carver: The crisis continues

Carver: The crisis continues

Of course, if you are a Newcastle United fan, you cannot fail to have noticed the huge dip in form under John Carver, which has been so bad it could still see the Magpies relegated for the second time in six seasons after their final game against West Ham tomorrow. But how bad has it really been?

Worse than Alan Shearer and Iain Dowie’s catastrophic eight games in charge when the club were relegated in 2009.

As bad as the team were back then, they were better than the current side, winning an average of 0.62 points per game under Shearer. This compares against Carver’s 0.5 points in his games. Where Shearer got at least one win in those eight games, the current side managed to lose eight in a row, the worst losing streak since PE teacher Richard Dinnis led the side to 10 consecutive defeats in 1977. However unlike Carver, Dinnis actually had a very good spell with the club, finishing fifth in the old First Division and qualifying for the UEFA Cup as Caretaker Manager in the previous season. Continue reading…

Will John Carver be told who to play at Newcastle United?

Posted February 5th, 2015 by workyticket | 363 Comments

John Carver

Is Carver under orders like McDowall?

By his own admission, Rangers’ current caretaker head coach, Kenny McDowall, has been told not only that he has no say in the players they sign, but also that he will only have a limited input into team selection too.

According to McDowall himself, he has been ordered by Mike Ashley and his henchman at Rangers, Derek Llambias, to play ALL of the five new Rangers players (Vuckic, Ferguson, Bigirimana, Streete and Mbabu) on loan from Newcastle. Speaking in an interview at Rangers’ Murray Park training centre, McDowall, who wants to leave at the end of the season said:

“When I was given the job I was told players incoming and outgoing wouldn’t be my responsibility. I take the team and coach the team and I am more than happy to get on with it.”

Which is hardly news to both Rangers and Newcastle United fans. However when pressed on whether he was obliged to play them, he dropped his bombshell, replying:

“Yes” Continue reading…

Why Ashley leaving Toon for the Champions League with Rangers is nonsense

Posted January 27th, 2015 by workyticket | 32 Comments

Mike Ashley boxing

Mike Ashley: A heavyweight who’s always up for a fight

With Mike Ashley’s recent attempts to take over at Rangers, and specifically his problems with the Scottish FA for having an interest in both clubs, it has often been said recently that Mike Ashley would be willing to leave Newcastle United so he can take over Rangers completely. There have been several hypotheses put forward for why he might do this

Champions League exposure for Sports Direct?

One which makes no sense at all is that Ashley would be willing to sacrifice Newcastle United and the English Premier League to expose his cheap sports goods in that great league of leagues, the Champions League. This would be once Rangers get through the small formalities of getting promoted back to the Scottish Premiership and then beating Celtic to win the Scottish Premiership title. This one is a complete non-starter though as there are two crucial things the proponents of this hypothesis have overlooked.

1. As both Newcastle United and Rangers fans should know from previous European competition, Rangers or any other side are only allowed to display advertising for their shirt sponsors and kit sponsors. There could be no pitch side hoardings or anything else emblazoned with cheap Ashley brands like Sports Direct, Firetrap and all the rest. Only UEFA sponsorship partners are allowed to advertise in both the Europa and Champions League competitions. Continue reading…

Newcastle United and one of the greatest blunders in football history

Posted January 8th, 2015 by workyticket | 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. Continue reading…

Don’t judge Pardew on 10 games, judge him on 176

Posted November 21st, 2014 by workyticket | 531 Comments

Alan Pardew.

Pardew: Mr.Mediocre overall.

“Judge me on ten games” pleaded Alan Pardew as media and fans alike called for his silver head. It was only a matter of weeks ago, but it seems like a far away memory now.

Indeed, it has only taken half that many games to take Alan Pardew from the mire to the sunlit uplands of redemption. There have even been calls for the fans who doubted him to make a humble public apology to the great tactician after his sudden return to route one paid instant dividends, thrusting the Magpies to the giddy heights of eighth in the table at the time of writing.

Good or bad, of course it would just be silly to judge any manager on a mere 10 games as Pardew pleaded, or even five, especially a manager whose form is notorious for going up and down like a bride’s nightie. So, lets ignore Pardew’s appeal, move beyond the temporary peaks and troughs of Pardew’s mercurial fortunes and judge him over his full 176 games with the Magpies so far. Importantly, we can also compare his performance with that of previous managers of Newcastle United in the Premier League too. Continue reading…

How Alan Pardew’s return to route one is saving Newcastle United’s season

Posted November 3rd, 2014 by workyticket | 155 Comments

NUFC - Route One.

NUFC: Riding the Route One road to success.

You don’t even have to be a Newcastle United fan to notice that Alan Pardew and Newcastle United have done very well in their last four games, all wins with three against top sides Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Credit where credit is due, Pardew and the team have gone some way at least to answering their critics in terms of results after a dismal start to the season. However, in studying the stats there is one fact which might cause a dilemma for some fans who advocate that Newcastle United should adopt a more passing style like the top clubs. The fact is that Pardew’s lighting fast turn of fortune rests on the exact opposite. What I mean is that after an effort to play like a modern passing side, an effort which brought him no wins in his first eight Premier League games, the Silver Fox has now found salvation through abruptly returning to his ‘route one’ roots, as you will be able to see in the evidence below.

First, to give some perspective, I will include the long ball percentage scale I devised a few years ago when I wrote a series of pieces revealing and monitoring Pardew’s long ball tactics at Newcastle. The references might be a little out of date as this was from the time when David Moyes was the manager of Everton and Tony Pulis was at Stoke.

The NUFC Blog long ball scale ©™ Continue reading…