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Who’s pulling the strings at Newcastle?

Posted on June 13th, 2011 | 42 Comments |

Graham Carr, Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew - Newcastle decision makers.
Carr, Ashley and Pardew
Just how much say does Alan Pardew have in the transfers and contract negotiations at Newcastle United?

I think we all suspect that Mike Ashley has the final say on transfers these days. Some folk have even suggested that Graham Carr is almost taking a Director of Football role and that he and Ashley are basically identifying transfer targets between them.

So what of Alan Pardew in all this? Well at the very least I’d expect him to have some input about where he feels the team needs strengthening and I’d also expect him to have a considerable say about whether or not a player should be signed. He does, after all, have to work with that player on a day-to-day basis.

Yet I can’t help but feel he’s being left in the dark about a lot of transfer and contractual matters. First there was his “Andy Carroll is not going to be sold under any circumstances” statement, which of course turned out to be completely wrong. Then there was his promise about making it a priority to get players such as Barton, Nolan and Enrique on new contracts and, whilst the latter may simply wish to go elsewhere in the end, Barton and Nolan both want to stay yet Pardew has so far been unable to keep his promise regarding these players.

Just for clarity, though, I’m not arguing whether or not Carroll should have gone or whether or not Barton and Nolan should be offered new contracts; what I’m trying to get at is who pulls the strings and the system of communication around that.

Essentially, if Ashley knew that Carroll had his price (and I think most players do), he should have been communicating that to Pardew so that Pardew didn’t look such a chump by stating point blank that he wouldn’t be sold. Likewise with the contracts of Barton and Nolan.

I thought, what with them being casino buddies and all that, Pardew would have had a fairly close relationship with Ashley and Llambias, but I’m beginning to wonder now.

Many argue that it’s Ashley’s club and Ashley’s money and he has the right to choose who to buy and sell. That’s a fair point, but how much should a manager be involved? It’s interesting to note that the two most successful clubs in Premier League history – namely Man Utd and Arsenal – have what could be described as powerful and influential managers. Conversely people could also point to Chelsea where, it seems to me, managers are never around long enough to build a team these days, yet they seem to do okay with whatever system they use.

Whatever system is used, though, I think there should be good communication all round. I may be totally off-base here, but I get the impression that isn’t the case at Newcastle and that Ashley is quite prone to making autonomous decisions without much in the way of consultation or communication.

If that’s the case I think it’s less than ideal.

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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42 Responses

  1. There may be something in what’s been said in the article however, I think there’s a danger that is seeing negatives when there aint aby.

    Of course Pards is bound to have said AC’s going nowhere – evene if he new it was a possibility/ liklihood. If he’s said anything contatrary to that, he’d have weakened our negotiating position.

    Similarly with Barton and Nolan, what’s he supposed to do, announce to the world that they may be off?

    Of course Ashley has a say after all, he’s the owner and in any event, he’s the one to sign off any proposals with financal implications for the club.

    Let’s focus on the positives eh Hugh?

  2. I would imagine that Ashley has given the club a recruitment (and possibly a disposal) strategy with firm guidelines. This strategy probably covers many things not least the age of potential targets.

    Pardew would then identify areas within the team that need strengthening and players that need moving on. This would be discussed with Carr.

    Carr and the other scouts would identify targets and then review them with Pardew.

    Pardew, Carr, Llambias, Ashley and Charnley would sit around the boardroom table and discuss and decide.

    The contractual stuff would be left to Charnley and Llambias.

    Ashley would probably not get directly involved.

  3. So you’ve completely ignored the fact that Carroll requested a move & that the club actually rejected every bid for him up until that point!!!! short memory I see…

    As for Barton/Nolan, they have both been offered new contracts which for their reason they’ve turned down, so what do you want the club to do, start paying stupid contracts again just to keep players happy???

    Re Jose, if he decideds to leave, will that because he was pushed out the doot also or doesn’t the club have enough ambition to keep him because we’re not paying stupid wages & spending 10’s of millions signing merc players….??

    Pardew is the team manager, I guess he gets to chose who plays & who doesn’t, I also suspect he has a say on which positions need filling & what players he’d like but as to the rest, that should be down to the Owner (who has the money) the director of fooyball & the board imo….

  4. If Carr is involved to the extent you are suggesting, it’s better than having Denise Wise in that sort of position.

  5. I agree that Arsenal and Man U have strong managers. But I would suggest that both Wenger and Ferguson in their early days with their clubs didn’t carry that much power and that it only came with the success they achieved. Pardew has to prove himself first, time will tell, and then comes the power. Let’s wait and see, although to the negs like Richard at 1 he doesn’t deserve that chance. From what I have seen, he hasn’t done an awful lot wrong so far. I hope he does prove the “neg Richards” wrong because that would mean we have a successful NUFC and surely that’s what we all want – or is it more important to these people to be proved right. Sometimes I think so.

  6. @witters

    Not at all. It’s a good point which I raised several days ago.
    A DoF can work providing the manager agrees to it. It’s just raising the question, is there any difference in Carrs current role and Dennis Wises old role.
    It just depends on how much say Pardew has and looking at several incidents it appears Pardew has a minimal amount of influence.

  7. Kamar
    Yes in an ideal world, thats how thing’s should be done, but this is NUFC, with an on the job training owner, who is obviously a control freak.
    And a man who surround’s himself with yes men.
    We can assume like most teams the owner has the final say in monetary matters.
    As to who decides on overall policy, i think you can assume Ashley also decides on the busness plan.
    As for who to sign? the general rebuilding of the side? doubt if there’s any one person, probably a combination of Ashley, the scouting system, you would have to include the manager, in other words “by committee”, not IMO a good idea.
    However if you look at how things operate, for instance Mike Ashley has done it his way during his career in business, he’s a hard headed business man and knows best how to run any business be it the rag trade or show business, which football is, and is going to continue to call the shots.
    I’m afraid Alan Pardew will forever be an empty suit who has a title, probably John Carver will take charge of the footballing side of things.
    Obviously the way Pardew has been treated, he gets no respect from Ashley, continually being placed in situations where he has to either retract what he said or claim he was missquoted.
    Believe it Ashley plays a major role in all decisionss.

    .

  8. I continue to believe that AP is on the payroll to manage the team.
    I’m sure he has a say in discussions on who to bring in & likely goes to see games of players under consideration. His role in scouting to assure himself that anyone that comes in will have the physical skills that will mesh with the current roster.

  9. Bee guy
    Believe what you like, but you can take it too the bank Mike Ashley makes ALL the major decisions at NUFC.

  10. I doubt ‘you know who’ was going to be sold, until liverpoo made a ridiculous offer & then ‘you know who’ wanted more money & decided to hand in a request to check the cash out?
    It was ‘very’ last minute after all.

  11. it’s a bit naive to think AP has little to no say in who to bring in. obviously, he runs the team and knows where to strengthening is needed. it’s likely very much a group effort where he says what kind of player is needed, the scouting network goes out and finds the types we need, and the board handles the negotiation/contracts. to think any one person has full say over this process is off the mark.

  12. AP says what system he wants to play, therefore which positions need filling. Carr goes looking with that brief while working within the pay scale etc. Llambias & Ashley have the final say on how much etc. is spent.
    Joint venture, otherwise there’d only be one job- almighty over-seer!
    ;)

  13. We must, at all costs, endevour to not start believing the press, media, ragloids, no matter what they say, no matter how many times they repeat it.
    The press ‘decide’ on an angle, then stick to it, call it an agenda.
    :)

  14. personally i dont think mike ashley ever aborted his continental system,since the kevin keegan fiasco.
    it’s plain to see alan pardew is not a manager in the conventional sense.alan pardew is just the man who puts the players on the pitch,and tries to motivate them.
    kevin keegan was brought in for the same reason,his motivational skills ie making a player feel ten feet tall,when he takes to the field.we all know keegan wasn’t having it,but it seems pardew is happy to go along with it.they do the same thing in spain,and it seems to work for them.
    i’m not sure whether i agree with continental systems or not,i mean should a manager live and die by his decisions,regarding recruitment of players etc?
    the only problem i have,should alan pardew be accountable if the team doesn’t do well,if he is not involved in recruitment?.where does the buck stop?it does appear that continental systems make scapegoats out of the coach,does graham carr carry the can if it goes wrong?.i dont know what to make of it all to be fair.

  15. ‘…We must, at all costs, endevour to not start believing the press, media, ragloids, no matter what they say, no matter how many times they repeat it…’

    And the blogs ?

  16. Trojan,
    you could be right mate.
    In these times of massive money deals it’s to be expected really, isn’t it?
    Would you or i entrust any one guy with that kind of money?
    Maybe we’re actually going back in time to a ‘selction committee kind of situation.
    That was our most fruitful time btw.

  17. “I think we all suspect that Mike Ashley has the final say on transfers these days. Some folk have even suggested that Graham Carr is almost taking a Director of Football role and that he and Ashley are basically identifying transfer targets between them.”

    That hypothesis would tend to suggest that that Graham Carr would have been brought into the club by Ashley and Llambias. However it seems that Carr was brought into the club as Chief Scout by Chris Hughton. But somehow, it seems unlikely that Hughton would have brought in a ‘Director of Football’ style string puller, as that would have been like Kevin Keegan bringing in Dennis Wise as a Director of Football!

    Whatever the circumstances of his arrival, Carr does seem to be an asset to the club.

  18. The only time the system will fail is if Carr brings in a player and Ashley sees him as a saleable asset.
    If Pardew decides he doesn’t fit into his team then it’s going to cause problems as it did with Keegan and xisco.

  19. You (one) can’t sell a player if no one wants to buy ’em.
    If a team ‘wants’, is prepared to pay well over the worth of a player, & the player wants to go…

  20. So it would seem to be agreed that Ashley is in fact a hands on club owner with a lot of input and interest in the club. Is that a bad thing? I only ask because of the huge amounts of sh!t and negativity chucked at him.

    On a different note I was highly impressed with Kyle Walker the Sheffield lad in the U21 game against Spain, is he on our radar, or anyone elses for that matter. Seems to fit all of the crieria for us.

  21. Grumpy Old-Toon says:
    June 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm (Edit)

    So it would seem to be agreed that Ashley is in fact a hands on club owner with a lot of input and interest in the club. Is that a bad thing? I only ask because of the huge amounts of sh!t and negativity chucked at him.

    ====

    My point in this article wasn’t really about the right and wrong of who actually pulls the strings at NUFC, but more about the communication around that.

    Someone made a fair point that Pardew might have simply been saying Carroll wasn’t for sale in order to bump his price up. That may be true, in which case it’s a clever bit of business, but the impression I got (rightly or wrongly) was that Pardew just wasn’t in the loop fully.

    I could be wrong on that of course, but then there’s the Nolan/Barton contracts which Pardew said were ‘a priority’, yet it seems to me he wasn’t party to Ashley’s plan not to offer Barton a contract and to offer Nolan one he wouldn’t be happy with.

    Again I could be wrong but I don’t think there’s any harm in speculating as our how our club might be organised at the higher echelons.

  22. Grumpy Old-Toon says:
    June 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    “On a different note I was highly impressed with Kyle Walker the Sheffield lad in the U21 game against Spain, is he on our radar”

    Grumpy, He’s a ‘Spurs player really, one of their youngsters who they’ve farmed out on loan to get a bit of first team experience, like Sturridge at Chelsea. I wouldn’t hold out too much hope as teams such as Chelsea and Tottenham don’t need to sell good players like them, and with the UEFA home grown players regs etc etc…

    BTW, I also think that he was at Villa on loan until the end of last season?

  23. Hugh, I did get your drift and wasn’t having a pop at the article. I just seems to me that a lot of Ashley dissenters actually seem to be praising him in a back-handed sort of way.

  24. Hugh,
    don’t you think that it’s more a case of: the situations changed? i.e. liverpoop offered a stupid amount, Barton & agent wanted more than was offered, so the contract was recinded & Nolan wants more years than the club are prepared to offer?
    So, none of them were necessarily ‘lies’ or even untruths or ‘out of the loopedness’, more twists in circumstances that are unknown ’til they happen. All last minute in these cases.

  25. Is easy to say AP should have kept his gob shut then, but when you’re under constant pressure to make statements about certain players etc.
    Also, wasn’t CH asked about AC & he said the same thing?

  26. That’s possible Clint and I confess to having only my gut-instinct that says that isn’t the full story. It just doesn’t feel quite right and I can’t shake the feeling that Pardew is being left high and dry by some of Ashley’s on the spur of the moment decision making.

    But who knows for definite eh? Certainly not me!

  27. Hugh,
    me either mate, just cross speculating.
    It’s either a very convoluted web weaved or totally simplistic.
    That’s why i chose the latter.
    :)

  28. Lesh says:

    “Let’s focus on the positives eh Hugh?”

    errrrrmmm………………………

    Kamar says:

    “I would imagine that Ashley has given the club a recruitment (and possibly a disposal) strategy with firm guidelines. This strategy probably covers many things not least the age of potential targets”

    Yeah good luck with that Kamar :)

    BeeGuy says:

    “I continue to believe that AP is on the payroll to manage the team”

    but this is where I begin to suspend all belief :)

    Doesnt anyone else think seriously that the purchase of Cabaye was a one off which just happened to take place because

    1. We found out his Buy Out clause was a pittance (in relative terms)
    2. We have enough midfielders at this club to form a team consisting entirely of the buggers
    3. JB and KN were making waves so this was designed as shot across the bows !

    Strategy ? I reckon Fatman thinks that’s an old Bee Gees hit from the 70’s :)

  29. Worky, Hugh or clint, ive sent a message via the contact option at the top, could you let me know if you have got it. Cheers

  30. jimbob,
    not sure where that goes to mate, but worky has probably got it via email.
    I’m sure he’ll get back to you soon man.
    ;)