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.