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The Top Six Things We’ve Learned This Season

Posted on May 7th, 2012 | 64 Comments |

Top Six Toon
With a top six place and Europa League entry assured for next season, Newcastle United head into the last game knowing that mathematically we could still play in the Champions league if results go our way on the final day. So continuing with the “Top Six” theme – what are the top six things we have learned or had re-affirmed this season as fans of Newcastle United? I’ve set out my ideas below and would welcome your own views on this!

One – Mike Ashley Is Not Out To Ruin The Club – this allegation was one that was prevalent when Ashley and Co carried out a summer sale, flogging off our more expensive players on high wages who were reckoned to also be our “better” players. The term “asset-stripping” was freely bandied about by fans. As we now know, those players were replaced with younger, cheaper imports and the overall quality of the team has improved as a result. Would anyone care to go back and swap Cabaye for Barton or Tiote for Nolan? Me neither!

Two – Alan Pardew Is A Good Manager – When Pards was drafted in to take over from the popular Chris Hughton, it has to be said it didn’t go down well with fans. Pardew had two main targets. Not only did he have to win over those fans, but he also had to fulfill his brief from the owner to “take the club to a top 10 finish” – which was the publicly stated target for season 2011-2012. Now you can argue till the cows come home over what system Pards should have deployed in what game, team selection etc, in fact – that’s what fans love to do. But there’s no getting away from the fact that the man has not only done it, not only achieved his twin targets but has actually exceeded his brief. Credit where it’s due, he has emerged as (at least) one of the top six managers in the Premier League this season on much reduced revenues and budgets in comparison with the people he competes with directly.

Three – The Club Are Ambitious – Tied in with the view that Mike Ashley was “asset-stripping” the club was the one about the club having no ambition. Well I’m sorry gang but clubs with no ambition do not get into the top six and Europe on a shoestring budget. Top six and Europe happens to clubs who are ambitious and are run properly. Whether the motive behind this season’s success is the good of Newcastle United or the furtherance of the “T-Shirt Direct” Brand matters not a jot. The business plan of the club is that the two things go hand in hand, and the end result of this is that we as fans see United up there where we belong and being talked about and celebrated for what we are achieving.

Four – United Have An Excellent Scouting Network – In Graham Carr and his team, we have a scouting setup which seems to produce a never ending production line of players at the right price who improve the quality of the team and are young enough to have a higher resale value should the time come for them to move on. Tiote, Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Cisse are fine examples of how this has worked in practice. In Alan Pardew we have a manager who is prepared to take the results of Graham’s work into the Boardroom and put a strong case for the ones he wants the club to buy. So far, all of this is working spectacularly.

Five – United Fans Are Still The Best In England
This one is a given. People can talk about Manchester United and Arsenal until they’re blue in the face – those are the two clubs who have higher average attendances than United, no-one else. But they are also clubs which have enjoyed success over the years, winning trophies at EPL and European level. Neither of them would be getting the crowds that United get if they had not won anything of note for 44 long years. The rest are trailing in our wake “your Tottenhams, your Chelseas, your Liverpools, your Man Citys” as the pundits like to say. All clubs who have enjoyed much more success than us, but who trail in our wake for attendances. Celebrate folks, you belong to the best set of football fans in England – but we knew that anyway didn’t we?

Six – Our “Fringe” Players Are Better Than We Thought
James Perch is an excellent example of this. “Perchinio” arrived at the club as a young star who had shone in a rather ordinary Nottingham Forest side. The jury was increasingly out as he struggled to meet the demands of the EPL and criticism from fans had an impact on his confidence. All credit to the lad, he got his head down and grafted his way back based on his own and his manager’s belief in his ability. There are very few fans now who have anything but warm words to say about his abilites as a player. Others have also emerged this season – Santon, Williamson, Guthrie, Ferguson, Gosling and Marveaux have all shown they can put in a good shift for the cause.

So that’s my six things to be taken from this season folks. The future is bright, the future is black n white! Comments and your own views are, as ever, welcome below.

NUFCBlog Author: UTD111 UTD111 has written 59 articles on this blog.

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64 Responses

  1. Good comprehensive assessment of where we’re at and the potential for the future.
    You look at what teams without our resources and players can do in Europe and it can give us real hope about what we can achieve on the continent next season.
    It’s been a great ride this year. Good to have the good times back.

  2. Another point. We are willing to splash out a bit when we know from extensive scouting that a player will do great things for us (cisse)

  3. mcgarrity,

    aye, that’s fair enough too.

    Colo also, way back when. What an acquisition he turned out to be!

  4. good assessment, hopefully we’ll kick on next season in order to maintain fight for CL spots as chelsea, liverpool will no doubt spend big money.
    Need to keep our better players and offload ranger, forster, smith, lovenkrands – thats gotta be enough to pay someone decent wedge

  5. All good points, we are definitely a team on the up and it’s probably fair to say that not many toon fans predicted the season we have had, such has been our progress! We will always have an average attendance below Arsenal and Man Utd whilst our stadium capacity is significantly lower, but at least most of our fans are native to the area!

  6. NUFC will find it difficult to make it as a top six side, simply because of MONEY !
    Yeah we can fill our home ground with around fifty thousand each home game, problem is we still cant match the revenue generated by the Man. U., L’Pool and London sides, who sell more shirts and play in Europe most seasons.
    Llambias is right, we have to generate more income, but i very much doubt whether he has a clue on how to do it?
    The fact is running a football club is an expensive proposition, especially if you want to compete at the top level.
    And i dont really see us generating a lot more than we presently do.
    Unfortunately for us we are owned by a retailer who’s primary concern is using the club as an advertising adjunct to his main business, Sports Direct.
    Instead of either an oil rich Gulf Arab or a Russian Oligarch, who throw money away like it’s going outta style.
    Yeah i think Ashley would like a bit of success, like all moneymakers he’s got an ego, but doubt if he’s really willing to pay for it.
    So! looks like we will continue, buying cheap and selling for what we can get, resulting in a permanent mid table spot, with a few good years in between hopefully.

  7. Very good assessment.

    Like to add that the club is financially sound and will probably make a profit in the next 12 months. Not many clubs can say that.

  8. Kamar sez, …the club is sound financially and will probably make a profit in the next 12 months.

    Yeah Kamar thats what i’m afraid of, at present with the addition of a few key players this side could in fact be a top three or four side.
    However i dont see Ashley turning down massive bucks in plce of silverware while we have some coveted players who can bring big bucks.

  9. Yeah, given the size of the city it’s going to be tough to compete for the top places in a league that doesn’t have a salary cap. The important thing is to keep a solid foundation that will allow us to make forays into the higher places as we’ve done this season. If we can string a few good seasons together, that will help immensely. More telly revenue, greater global visibility (more shirt sales and perhaps more TV revenue) which will help us attract more top players and maintain a solid position in the league. That’s always going to be a tough proposition in a league where the rich teams can easily outspend their poorer competition.

  10. Money doesn’t always buy success though – it has to be tempered by good management and sound judgement.

    Most recent example being Liverpool. And the more the “big revenue earners” transfer their earnings to us for one or two players, the stronger we become :)

  11. this has been a great season. let us not forget where we were three years ago.
    let us not forget where people said we would be. we have been favorites for relegation two season in a row.
    now!!!!! can we say we will be favorites for a top 4 next season? i wouldn’t write us off.

    one thing we all have to remeber, we have a team of players who have yet to all play a whole season with each other.

    personlay i think if we keep the players we have and build the bond the team can out perform this season.
    some of the passes that have fallen short are all due to the lack of bond between players who have come in. give the players we have some time ti gel and who knows what they will achieve.

    im looking forward to next season, i just hope the summer brings some signings but no major out goings.

    my advice for the club would be keep the team as it is, sell fringe players to buy one bigger signing. and hope we dont need to add a number 7 to list of 6 things we have learnt about Newcastle United this season

    number 7: Newcastle are still a selling club.

  12. Chuck @ 11

    We have to accept the fact that if we discover an outstanding player and put him on 60K a week then it will be hard for him to turn down Man City or Chelsea with a wage of 160K or 260K a week. The club may not want to sell him but his head (and pocket) would have been turned and that will be no good to the club, he will have to be sold.

    Man United have been selling outstanding players for years and it hasn’t done them any harm. Before them the great Liverpool sides nearly always sold players at the peak of their prime.

    It’s the price of success. However, as UTD has quite rightly said that money doesn’t always buy success.

    I don’t know the figures but I suspect that continuous success in the league and Europe would be more financially rewarding than selling the odd player. For example, will the club make more money from a higher league position, more television exposure plus European competition than the £30M it received for Andy Carroll? Possibly yes.

    Certainly success on the field and greater exposure is good news for Sports Direct and therefore Ashley may not want to upset this financial applecart.

  13. Tripp says:
    May 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    “Yeah, given the size of the city it’s going to be tough to compete for the top places in a league that doesn’t have a salary cap.”

    Tripp, divvent gan on UTD111’s ludricously distorted figures for that Man City fan ;-)

    The inner urban area of Newcastle does indeed have a population of around 260,000, but if you throw Gatesheed and Gozzie (the birthplace of the Geordie elite like myself and Alan Shearer), that doubles it to half a million. The whole Tyneside conurbation doubles that again to more like 1 million plus.

    When UTD quoted the Greater Manchester population of over four / five million he was quoting for a huge area that encompasses many big and medium sized clubs.

  14. I’m going to put this one out there as I said it to my mates in the pub the other day and was crucified for it. If a bid for Tiote, Cabaye or Krul came in at £20M I’d accept it. I’m a massive fan of these players and I love the current squad but again look at how good our scouting system appear to be at reinvesting the money, If we can get two or three good players in place with that money then we are building the squad capable of competing with injuries..

    As for the person who said Llambias wouldn’t know how to generate funds, come off it will you. You don’t become a managing director of many a successful business without knowing these things.

    Good article, agree with every point made

  15. I’ll make it unanimous UTD, all good points. I’d go as far as saying that more & more people as using NUFC as an example of how a club should be run – they want to do a “Newcastle” !
    On fringe players – I’d put in a word for Shola, he might not score (unless its 51and) but he increasingly looks like being a good foil for Cisse & Ba. And Raylor, he rarely lets us down.

    But I’m a bit disappointed that at least one of our youngsters has not come good this season – why not?

  16. titch – a fair point. Shankley used to say that he wanted 2 in and 2 out every season. I remember uproar when he sold a kop favourit called Alan Evans to Villa for big money and replace him with an unknown from Sc@nthorpe for peanuts (Keegan or something he was called) – that’s how you get to be a great manager!

  17. titch says:
    May 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    “As for the person who said Llambias wouldn’t know how to generate funds, come off it will you. You don’t become a managing director of many a successful business without knowing these things.”

    Titch, that isn’t the real question though. The real question is who, or what, is it generating funds for. Is it Newcastle United? Or is it Sports Direct? If Ashley promotes Sports Direct, who’s shares price has multiplied several times over since the free publicity from the renames and the Sports Directification of the club in general, then the club’s commercial revenue will suffer but Ashley will still be a winner. The value of his holding in Sports Direct has increased by more than the value of the entire club since the first rename, yet the club’s commercial revenue is still in the doldrums because most of it is for Sports Direct and the club doesn’t receive anything for it. Is also dissuades quality brands from wanting to be associated with it as they would be if it were just Newcastle United, rather than Sports Direct United PLC, which is a huge turn off to quality potential sponsors from outside because it’s so tacky and shite.

  18. Worky if you are going to go as far as Tyneside area you need to look further.

    Northumberland has and always will have a huge following in Newcastle United. when i was a young lad in Ahhhshington there was always a good following for the toon.
    unfortunately i shared spaces with makems, liverpool, man u, everton, norwich and smoggy fans but at least 2/3rds of my class followed newcastle.

    i was privileged to be born in Newcastle so always followed my birth place(i get rather annoyed at northumbrians not supporting their local club) but i would say Newcastle Uniteds fan base is bigger, locally than any other club in england which stretched from Berwick to the depths of middle Gateshead.

    IMO that is why we are such a BIG club and always will be, but also the reason why clubs like Blyth, Morpeth, Ashington and Gateshead never will.

  19. worky i agree with you @20

    its a shame he has tarnished the club in such a way.

    although we have reached Europe he has undoubtedly spread tacky cheap exploitation all over St. James Park.

    everything Geordie stand for has been stripped away and replaced with his way of life. our hard working class, fingers to the bone pitmen way of life has been taken over by a child exploiting, poverty facilitating fat cat who own a football club we love.
    he is making us choose between our heritage and our souls.

  20. Supermac says:
    May 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    “But I’m a bit disappointed that at least one of our youngsters has not come good this season – why not?”

    Supermac, that Shane Ferguson has been getting some chances in the first team recently and he’s only about twelve years old. Unfortunately, the one who would have come good, Haris Vuckic, is a funny one. As I’ve written in a previous blog, he’s 6’2″, built like a brick shithouse, yet his bones seem to be made out of glass, and he’s out for months every time he trips over.

  21. Worky @16
    I admit my stats maximised my argument – I believe the phrase is “positive spin” – but lets face it, crowds at the likes of Bolton, Blackburn etc don’t add up to even a mackem crowd….

    And my original point about Man City was correct – every time they are on the telly, there are pockets of empty seats all over the ground. Just empty seats – nowt to do with Health & Safety, Away fans, or people going for a pees! Just EMPTY SEATS!! Disgraceful for a team chasing the title!

  22. UTD 111
    Sez….money does’nt always buy success….

    Tell that to Citeh, Chelsea, Man. U. Barcelona, real Madrid, the big Italian clubs, Bayern Munchen, et all.
    I,m afraid it does mate.

    Titch
    i’m the one who said Llambias would’nt know how to increase revenue and i stand by it.
    The guy has no real background in business, unless you consider setting the odds in a casino as a qualification.

  23. Worky there is a simple rule that applies to Vuckic and not Ferguson………….

    The Bigger they are……

    one thing it was good to see gutierez demoted to left back and Ferguson getting a run out on the wing IMO ferguson is far too good to be a left back. its good to see pardew starting to think sence.

  24. Chuck

    I’m disappointed with you – I thought you’d be gannin mad about my assertion that “Pardew is a good manager” :)

  25. 1. Much though I admire your optimism UTD and you wrote the article so you can say what you like, within reason :) I’m afraid my jury is still out on Pardwho. OK we’re a top six side but as Sammy J wrote the other day, Pardwho has found himself with a rich array of talent to work with and has thus “been afforded the time to find out what works tactically for the side”.

    Yesterday was not one of his better days, tactically speaking and his “dark side” continues to hold sway in times of stress. Citeh are not unplayable, just ask the Mackems who took four points off them this season, but it doesnt help if you start with a gameplan that shriekss “Contain”

    2. As for Fatman and his ambitions, it’s already been said but whatever he does for this club is not borne out of any philanthropic benevolence to the Toon. Ultimately he’ll sell the club and will want big bucks when he does. Meanwhile if NUFC thrives, SD benefit from a global marketing perspective and the value of Fatman’s investment continues to rise so its a no brainer really.

    3. Best Fans – absolutely. Although I’d like to think the atmosphere at away games could be replicated at home but thats down to Him to do something about and preferably before next season and European competition begins.

    BTW Titch Llambias’s career in the entertainment, bread and leisure industry doesnt exactly rank him up alongside Branson, Jobs or Gates as a serial entrepeneur. Having a friend with lots of dosh helps though :)

  26. Thanks Andymac!

    There are people out there who feed on any anti-Pardew comments on this blog, and they were being starved for a while there LOL!

    There was a serious danger they might have had to get a life if the material had dried up. :)

  27. Supermac
    sez
    More and more people are using Newcstle as an example of how a club should be run…..
    Errmm ! who exactly ?
    All i see is offers of 250k a week from Citeh, for Robin Van Percie and Abramovich flexing his billions as he begins his rebuilding of Chelsea.
    Not to mention the Fenway group at L’Pool, Arsenal and others, who are intent on spending just to keep up with the Jones’.
    A case of spend or fall behind.
    Again though we have some bargains at the club, how do we hold onto them, we offer them increased wages, or lose them.
    Get used to it, money talks and bullshit walks, seven days a week.
    And Ashley aint gonna change the equation.

  28. Talking bout youngsters coming through.
    I think young Ferguson is by far the most outstanding talent on the bench.
    But not as a defender, he’s going to be some winger and if AP was smart, he would give the kid more game time and see what a gem he’s got.
    Could be like HBA too good to sit.

  29. UTD111 says:
    May 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    “Chuck

    I’m disappointed with you – I thought you’d be gannin mad about my assertion that “Pardew is a good manager””

    What a troll you are, UTD111. :-)

  30. Big money does buy success in most cases. But its up to teams like newcastle to cheik (see what I did there?) It up. The squad cost less than andy carroll on his own and for anyone who says we can’t afford to sell then I say look at the magnificent reinvestment that has been done in the form of ba (free) tiote (3.5) cabaye (4.3) santon (5) and cisse (somewhere between 8-10) 5 players with about 10-15 million of the carroll money left. I wouldn’t like to see any of the current squad leave (apart from xisco, smith, ranger etc) but I have faith in the scouting system that we can replace whoever may leave. And make a few million in profit while were at it.

  31. Chuck:

    the problem with Ferguson is who do you sit in a 4-3-3 if you play him,especially if Marveaux is fit?

    I think Pardew and the team deserve a bit of credit for restricting City’s chances yesterday and creating a few of our own. City were back to the rampant side of the beginning of the season with Silva back to form and Tevez back in favour.

    In addition to them, Hart, Kompany, Yaya and Aguero would probably get into an all premiership team.

    I think they would have ripped a few other teams apart yesterday, they were up for it.

  32. mcgarrity

    Sure would be nice to have a side that cost nowt to buy and on low ball wages.
    But do you think that’s realistic ?
    Take the approaching transfer window, where if Van Percie is being offered 250k by Citeh, how much will Cisse, Tiote and Cabaye be tapped up for.
    Face it Llambias has already stated there may be offers we cant refuse.
    Are you suggesting we use the transfer market as an assembly line for younger, better and cheaper, forever? Selling off our talented players for big profit.
    When do we eventually win something?

  33. ferguson and marvaux would probably be our key men in the league cup.

    its a shame Forster is off he might have a decent chance of a few first team games next season.

    im looking forward to see some much improved youngsters next season. i think if we qualify for the euro group stages we stand a great chance of getting some youngsters into the first team.

    id love to see ferguson, marvaux, vuckic and samiobi playing in their strongest positions instead of being shoe horned into positions they aren’t use to.
    a lot of people rate Tav as a top class right back so lets hope we get to see him play competitively

    i just hope Forster comes to his senses and comes back home for at least 1 season

  34. chuck at 37

    jackie charton had to do the same thing.

    Waddle, Beardley and gasgoine all sold on.

    unfortunately we didnt have the scouting system we do now and we arent in the amount of debt we were back then, but looking back we can see the effect it has on the whole team.

    lets hope player unrest doesnt set in like it did the last time.

  35. Stephen C says:
    May 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    “although we have reached Europe he has undoubtedly spread tacky cheap exploitation all over St. James Park.”

    That’s what I hate the most Steven, the two are related. As a fan, of course, I want success for Newcastle United. However, the more success we actually have, the more the real fabric of the club will be destroyed and the more the club will become a mere tool of Sports Direct. It’s old identity will be subservient, and will eventually be destroyed.

    Ashley getting us relegated with his own incompetence has actually served him very well in the long run too as it has lowered expectations markedly. He can rape the club as many times as he likes so long as we can scrape into European competition, which was something we almost used to take for granted, and the spectre of Fat Freddy will continue to be raised as the only possible alternative every time their motives are questioned.

  36. Stephen C says:
    May 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    “unfortunately we didnt have the scouting system we do now and we arent in the amount of debt we were back then,”

    Correct Stephen, we are in far more debt than we were back then. £140 million.

  37. GS
    We have Jonas, Marveaux and Ferguson, plus possibly young Sammy O., thats known as quality in depth, the fact is each of those mentioned can also fit in to other positions, a form of flexibility.
    We also have other players who can play in various roles, Santon for instance, the more the better.
    Look one guy should not be expected to play left wing for the entire season.
    What with injuries and the fact one would’nt pick the same side to play against say, Stoke or Arsenal.
    Its good to have a choice of players, (horses for courses) than using guys like Raylor and Williamson, quality in depth is what has kept the top clubs, where they are.

  38. I think we played as well as we could, all things considered, against Citeh.
    It’s not just a case of who they put out, look who’s on the bench, a group who could be playing for second place.
    The power of money!
    Not saying thats a good thing, but it combined with the riches of tv revenue has caused an inbalance in the English game.
    For the most part the EPL consists of possibly more foreign born players than any other league.
    One might look at the second tier as the true English league, where English players outnumber the imports.
    At present uefa are attempting to change the policy of EPL domination, by imposing monitary constraints on EPL clubs, in order to level the playing field with other leagues.
    Whether the present Oligarch owners will agree remains to be seen?
    Whether one agrees with these new restraints or not, does’nt matter much, as the power of money will always be the deciding factor, one way or another.

  39. Worky @40:

    There you go, NUFC as the embodyment for 21st Century capitalism and crass materialism.

  40. Big money CAN buy success, but it’s really the refs who are BUYING into who SHOULD get all the breaks per season.

    Strange that we have had the most pens against & arse have not had one home pen this year, if any.

    So, it’s not necessarily right that money just buys skill.

  41. Best team on the day won, not unlike the chelsea game last week.
    So long as it’s a fair game/win.

  42. Of course the selling has to continue at some level. I mean, we aren’t going to have cisse or tiote or anyone for 20 years or owt. Sell high and buy low. And with graham carrs excellent scouting we find ourselves competitive once again and with our books excellently balanced. I’m happy we aren’t spending like man city or liverpool because there’s only so long that can continue and who’ll be there to take their place as the top team because of clever transfers and excellent business movement. That’s right, newcastle united! I’d say we currently need 4-5 new players that will get us that extra 20 points a season. And I’m sure we can do that on about 20 million in total and if we need to sell somebody to do that then as long as we can build the squad up to be more powerful then fair play.

  43. don’t forget Citeh’s on loan players… Adebeyour is a large part of spud’s success this season. It’s a bit ridiculous, really. Would love to see a salary cap put in place… that and proper video review.

  44. Worky @40

    Isn’t it about time you gave up this blind hatred for Ashley and Sports Direct.

    The facts are that Ashley owns the club 100% and if he wants to use it to promote his commercial activities that’s up to him irrespective of whether any sponsorship money is involved.

    Take for example the team that beat us. It is owned by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi. They play at the Etihad Stadium. The teams shirt sponsors are Etihad of Abu Dhabi. Three of the club’s main partners are Etisalat of Abu Dhabi, ADTA of Abu Dhabi and AABAR of (you guest it) Abu Dhabi.

    It’s the way of the (football) world. Football clubs are commodities that can be bought and sold and be used to promote commercial activities of other businesses.

  45. Kamar says:
    May 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    “Take for example the team that beat us. It is owned by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi. They play at the Etihad Stadium. The teams shirt sponsors are Etihad of Abu Dhabi. Three of the club’s main partners are Etisalat of Abu Dhabi, ADTA of Abu Dhabi and AABAR of (you guest it) Abu Dhabi.”

    Slight difference, Kamar. Manchester City get up to £400 million to flout new “financial fair play” regulations, and their sponsorship is also more tasteful and discreet than ours. On the other hand, Newcastle United get nothing, and it has also damaged Newcastle United’s prospects of gaining good sponsorship revenue from outside sources. Just because you don’t get what Ashley is doing, it doesn’t mean that other people who do have to pretend that they don’t. ;-)

  46. Kamar @ 49

    giving up the natred of Sports Direct and mike Ashley is like giving up on everything your mother told you when you were young.

    decent men are hard to find now. blood sweat and tears are what a lot of us are born into but these days too many people are willing to drop their morals, their knickers and their own herritage for a cheap pair of trainers.

    well Kamar i think the hatred of anything reducing society to its worst is worth a fight doesn’t matter what club he owns.

    you could say worky is true to himself. why give in when so many others do?

    im with worky.

    im all for blood sweat and tears. and you can keep your knickers and lap dancers.

  47. IN that case you probably need to stop supporting the club. If it gains financially, it will only encourage MA & co. No ticket sales, no new strips, no pies at the match (not a problem since you didn’t buy tickets). Obviously no monthly fee to the club for access to their crap website.

    Worky, I’m guessing the Citeh adverts can be a bit more tasteful b/c w/foreign ownership, there has to be a more low key approach or the fans will feel like they’ve been taken over by a foreign power. Also, those guys don’t really need the money. The sponsorship is just a sham to dodge rules (and why a simple salary cap is far more effective), I doubt they’re really trying to sell a brand like MA is (correct me if I’m wrong here).

  48. chuck says:

    “GS
    We have Jonas, Marveaux and Ferguson, plus possibly young Sammy O., thats known as quality in depth, the fact is each of those mentioned can also fit in to other positions, a form of flexibility”

    Sorry Chuck cant agree with that either. Fergie is young and willing but if you ask me to put money on him making the grade at BPL level, I’d keep it in my wallet, along with the moths ! Sammi as well and we have to wait and see if Marveaux has it in him to deliver consistently.

    IMO we need quality, attacking midfielders to work in tandem with HBA, players who are comfortable on the ball, always available and capable of bringing in others with their vision and movement.

    Belhanda at Montpelier can play across the front three and knows where the goal is, Niang likewise. However as I’ve said before my choice would be Ramirez, that would severely piss off the RBD’s :)

  49. Stephen C says:

    “im all for blood sweat and tears. and you can keep your knickers and lap dancers”

    Cant we have them all ? ;)

  50. Tripp says:
    May 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    “Worky, I’m guessing the Citeh adverts can be a bit more tasteful b/c w/foreign ownership, there has to be a more low key approach or the fans will feel like they’ve been taken over by a foreign power. Also, those guys don’t really need the money. The sponsorship is just a sham to dodge rules (and why a simple salary cap is far more effective), I doubt they’re really trying to sell a brand like MA is (correct me if I’m wrong here).”

    Tripp, no. Etihad are a quality UAE air carrier like Emirates at Arsenal and Etisalat are a UAE telecommunications provider. Both like to be seen as “quality” brands like Emirates airlines.

    On the other hand, Sports Direct are a cheap, crappy brand who often buy quality brands who are in trouble, then usually take them downmarket whilst trading off the old reputation for quality, making poor people believe they are getting a quality product at a cheap price when what they are really getting is another piece of cheap crap made in a sweatshop, but with a label which used to be seen as quite good. They are often shipped from the sweatshop with 50% / 70% off tags already attached, with the fake “retail” price trading off the name of the former quality brand. In other words, Mike Ashley is a cheap “huckster” as they say on your side of the big pond, but it has been highly lucrative for him.

    They use their extensive network of Sports Direct outlets to push their crap alongside higher quality brands such as Nike, Adidas etc, but at a cheaper price. They make lots of money, obviously, but their brand value is seen as being in the gutter, and not the kind of thing which more high quality brands like the ones I’ve mentioned above would like to be seen to be associated with. That’s one of several reasons why that reported “offer” from Nike for stadium naming rights was obviously false, and possibly put around by Ashley or Llambias to buy some time with the fans.

    Yes and yes, the owners of Manchester City have said in the past that they would like to use their ownership of Manchester City to promote brands from Abu Dhabi, which are usually owned by members of the same ruling family, the al Nahyans. However, Etihad’s sponsorship of Man City is so ridiculously extravagant in comparison with other corporate sponsorship deals, that it is obviously a ruse to circumvent financial fair play regulations.

  51. mcgarrity says:
    May 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    “Blackburn are relegated now. Anyone reckon hoiletts ours for the taking?”

    Nah mcgarrity, another club will probably make a better offer for him, whilst NUFC concentrate on cheaper foreigners from less popular leagues.

  52. You spent any time over here, Worky? Huckster isn’t a word I’ve heard in a while.

    I agree it’s all a sad state of affairs, but it’s the natural evolution of capitalist markets. Unregulated they eventually destroy themselves. Salary caps are the best way I know of to make leagues more interesting and more challenging. The best leagues over here work that way. Baseball doesn’t and it suffers from similar types of problems as football in England. The only difference is that baseball is shite so I couldn’t care less about it (or as we say over here, I could care less) ;).

  53. Tripp says:
    May 8, 2012 at 4:39 am

    “You spent any time over here, Worky? Huckster isn’t a word I’ve heard in a while.

    I agree it’s all a sad state of affairs, but it’s the natural evolution of capitalist markets. Unregulated they eventually destroy themselves. Salary caps are the best way I know of to make leagues more interesting and more challenging.”

    Aye Tripp, back in the days of the wild west, I know, but it’s far more of a yank word nonetheless. I think it’s the best word to describe Ashley apart from “Snake Oil salesman” which is the same anyway. I can’t think of anything better, can you? :-)

    I’d rather see it go to superb players like Zidane and Messi than some bloated, amoral twat in a boardroom. I don’t pay to watch them!

  54. Oooo!

    divn’t knaa aboot the brands of the ruling class of arabia being all that when it comes to ‘quality’ mind. Try, only game in Toon.

    I have the feeling that the arabian empire is as grim & oppressive as the empires of yore, including the british & one.

    Pah!

  55. It’s arl english worky, even Geordie.
    :)

    While the americans get somethings mashed, we get far more completely twisted in a much more class ridden way & no where near as funny.

    ;)

  56. workyticket says:
    May 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    ”Titch, that isn’t the real question though. The real question is who, or what, is it generating funds for. Is it Newcastle United? Or is it Sports Direct?”

    When will people realise it’s both, they are tied together, If Newcastle do well then so do sports direct, if we get exposure so do they… It’s not us and them, it’s united. They want us to do well! If we do, so do they. Last time I checked they’d put in a hell of a lot more to this deal then the club (money wise). Theres a press lock out at the club, I know I’ve spoke to them, you know why? Because the London press talk shit, they are all fans of other clubs who like to unsettle us. Why would the board want to give them the time of day when they’ll twist it to sell stories, they paint Ashley to be a pantomime villain, yes he’s done some bad decisions, haven’t we all, but on who’s advice? I’ve been arguing this point since the championship, what would you do if you owned both sports direct and Newcastle united? You’d want the club to do well so you can advertise to the Asian market, how do you do that? Any way possible to get into Europe year after year… If that means generating funds to buy players astutely then so be it. They need success just as much as we do