Whilst searching for inspiration yesterday, this piece by Jackie Smithfield in Newcastle United blog The Mag caught my eye. Entitled ‘Newcastle fans help Mick Harford to decide Millwall is better bet’, it bragged of fan power scaring away Harford from his former club before he’d even started, claiming:
‘With an overwhelmingly negative reaction, no doubt Mick Harford has also got on the ‘blower’ to friends and family in the North East to gauge which way the wind is blowing:
‘On this basis, it would be no surprise to see Harford saying thanks but no thanks. Shame his mentor JFK is slightly thicker skinned when it comes to the reaction he produced on his appointment.’
And to put it mildly, I just couldn’t see the wisdom of that. Joe Kinnear might well be thick skinned, but the writer of the above is just thick if he or she thinks a policy of fans attempting to force out anyone Joe Kinnear tries to appoint to enhance the Newcastle United’s scouting before they’ve even started won’t be damaging to the club.
Putting aside the notion that Harford may have just preferred being an assistant manager at Millwall to being an Assistant Director of Football at Newcastle United, will there really be a section of the fans giving the same ‘negative reaction’ to anyone Joe Kinnear tries to appoint in the hope it scares them away? I sincerely hope not.
Harford was brought to assist Kinnear to expand the club’s scouting network beyond Graham Carr’s rather linited Eurostar triangle of Lille, Paris and Amsterdam into the UK, which is something the club now needs to do as we can’t just go on signing French players forever due to UEFA’s ‘home grown’ grown rule, which states firstly that a club must be limited to a 25 man squad for all their Premier League matches, and secondly that this 25 man squad must contain at least eight players who are home grown.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be English as Tim Krul also qualifies, but they must have spent at least three years either in the academy or the full squad of an English or Welsh football league team. Though the flying Dutchman himself qualifies as a home grown player, since the departure of Danny Simpson, Steve Harper, and James Perch, not to mention the imminent departure of Dan Gosling and the fact that Ryan Taylor will almost certainly be out for a whole season, we are left with players like Paul Dummett, Conor Newton, James Tavernier and Shane Ferguson to pad out the 25 man squad.
But enough of the technicalities, I just want to know why on earth should we fans want to damage the squad’s development in this way just to give Joe Kinnear a poke in the eye? If I may continue with the body part analogies, wouldn’t we just be cutting off our nose to spite our own face?
This blog was originally written for my ‘blog on Metro.co.uk.