Have we done enough already to ‘get a reputation and move forward’?

Posted on July 9th, 2011 | 8 Comments |

Has Newcastle United done enough already in this transfer window to achieve its aims?
The sound of two-hand clapping
If we cast a yardstick over the comings and goings at Newcastle United during this transfer window, have we done enough already to achieve Alan Pardew’s aim of ‘getting a reputation and moving forward’?

Confusion abounds amongst Toon fans as to exactly what’s in store for us during the remainder of this transfer window. The less speculative fan might suggest we “wait and see” but there are others who like a bit of speculative ranting or raving – good or bad – about how things are going. And why not?

The Dalia Lama once told me that the root of all suffering is craving; specifically craving to want things to be different to the way they are. Stop that craving, he said, and all suffering will cease. I have it on good authority that the Dalia Lama is a Blackpool supporter though (orange kit you see) and I tend to feel if he was a Newcastle supporter he might have hoyed his prayer wheel out of the window in frustration by now.

Football, however, transcends all forms of Buddhism and surely a wee bit of craving for difference won’t hurt. But first let’s throw a finger in the air other than a singular middle digit pointed at Mike Ashley – let’s try to gauge where we are now.

We have hired Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye and Mehdi Abeid, and we have fired Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Ben Tozer. Let’s assume for the moment that if Enrique goes we get in a replacement fairly close in ability (just for the sake of this discussion).

Will the ins and outs improve the squad in a significant enough way?

Aha but what, you might ask, counts as significant? Well, Pardew had this to say:

We believe we can have a successful season and move forward. Last season was very much about stability and making sure we stayed in the division. This year will be about getting a reputation and moving forward in the right direction as a football club.

We finished 12th last season, so ‘moving forward’ would indicate that we should aim to finish in the top 11 next season. However, given that we were only a point adrift of a 10th place finish, let’s up the challenge a bit and say we’re aiming for a top 9 finish.

So now we can rephrase the question and ask:

Have we improved the squad enough for finish in the top 9?

Now you may well say: “Bah. Top 9? I’d rather gnaw my own leg off. I want top 6.” But I’m being extremely cautious here in my interpretation of Pardew’s meaning when he says ‘getting a reputation and moving forward’.

I would like to think we’ll add a decent striker to the squad yet, maybe a defender too (central or right back) and possibly someone like Neil Taylor to act as backup to whoever our first choice left-back is (Enrique or the similar replacement we mentioned earlier), but let’s not count on that.

Could it be that we have actually already done enough in the transfer market to allow Pardew to achieve his stated aims for the club?

I seem to remember our ‘5-year plan’ was to be contending for European football by the end of it, although I forget now when that particular 5-year plan started and how it fits in with any other 5-year plans we may have made subsequently. Didn’t we also have a 3-year plan once?

On the subject of these plans. it’s a source of irritation to me that we always seem to be left more confused after club announcements these days than we were prior to the announcement. Staying with the Buddhist theme we were on earlier, it’s a bit like a Koan* where you have to meditate on the thing for about 30 years while a Zen Master slaps your back with a cane. Then you suddenly become enlightened in a sort of ‘aha’ moment.

Anyway, I’m starting to digress again (as usual!). The whole point of this article – confused as I’ve made it seem – is to ask what we have achieved from the transfer window as of right now in terms of the club’s aims as you understand them.

What do you think?

* Zen Master Unmon said: “The world is vast and wide. Why do you drive to work at the sound of the alarm clock?“, for example.

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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8 Responses

  1. the club firstly has to replace with equal quality to What has left eg nolan and carroll so as Not to go backwards. Then to move forward you need to buy quality players over and above what we have lost. So assuming the new buys are a success my opinión is we are at best holding par. In particular we Still look lightweight in attack.

  2. let’s stop being so critical of pardew’s statement “about getting a reputation and moving forward in the right direction as a football club”. we seem to forget that this is only our second season after promotion from the championship. we don’t want to fall prey to the second season syndrome. our aim should be to consolidate on our performance last season which means a top 8 to 10 finish for this season. i don’t see anything wrong with that.

  3. In real terms, I think it would be generally accepted by the majority of Toon fans that ‘moving forward’ would constitute a minimum top 10 finish and overhauling the SMB. That said however, I personally would be disappointed given the opportunity to greatly strengthen the team from the Andy Carroll windfall and with substantial revenue from Sky should we place below 9th, and therein lies the question…..have we strengthened?
    Demba Ba for Andy Carroll
    Both suspect to injury, both should notch 20 goals if they play a full season but Andy Carroll brings others into play in a far greater way than Ba
    Verdict: Weaker – we need another quality frontman

    Cabaye for Nolan
    Cabaye has a better engine and is far more creative than Nolan, has a good scoring record in Ligue 1 prior to last season when he played deeper, but Nolan has a proven Premiership record….how do you replace those goals?
    Verdict: On a par

    Marveaux for Kuqi
    Ha ha ha…..now that I’ve stopped laughing, the reality is that Barton or Gutierrez will drop out of the side to accommodate the French flyer, let’s face it; he wouldn’t have joined the Toon without a promise if first team action. For me Gutierrez is vital to the team as an outlet, he holds the ball up and relieves pressure, turning defence into attack. I concede the guy can’t score and can’t cross from the left, but let’s remember he’s actually right sided! So let’s say Barton who was arguably our best player last year drops out of the side and Jonas plays wide right…….
    Verdict: On a par (at best)

    I personally don’t think Abeid will get near the first team next season so on the face of it as we stand, NUFC are in my opinion weaker post-Andy Carroll than pre. Had we not amassed the number of points we did in the first half of the season we’d have been in trouble. On the plus side however, we have Ben Arfa and Gosling to factor in, so if…..and that’s a big IF….. Fat boy dim and Lambiarse bring in another quality striker and a centre back/right back we just may get that 9th or above. Who knows what to believe anymore on the use of this 35m though, with all of the lies and misdirection coming out of the club. Was it not the aforementioned Zen Master Unmon who once said “don’t piss down my back then tell me it’s raining”? A little truth and a quality striker please…..

  4. Ashley’s fat hands holds all the pebbles – all 35 million shiny ones.

    Not until they are snatched from his hand will it be time to move on. Trouble is, Partridge isn’t like Kwai Chang Caine from Kung Fu, he just talks the talk. In the meantime, it is Chatty Man’s dad who has been walking the earth, going from place to place, meeting people, having the adventures.

    Can’t wait for next week’s episode, where Ashley and Owl Heed are holed up in some seedy casino in Reno, spunking our millions, tell us to trust in them. After all, they have already invested all of the Carroll dough back into the team, haven’t they…

  5. zeetoon is 100% right, boom and bust is no way to carry on, nice and steady (without becoming Aston Villa MkII) is how we should go – oh, and while I’m on, I don’t care about European football especially the never ending Europa thing, I’d rather gnaw my leg off than start watching us playing The Rose & Crown at the start of July next year so please let us not be ‘challenging’ for that! Let’s just howk the mackems twice in the league and maybe in one of the cups – maybe season 12/13 we can ‘push on’ as they say.

  6. dont think we can apply buddhism here,as one of the first lessons is impermanence,that things constantly change.the problem at newcastle,under mike ashley is,eveything stays the same,and nothing changes.
    pardew is deluded,the only reputation we have garnered,under ashley is one of a selling club.
    under the guise of that “mantra”,we can never move forward.

  7. The only reputation were goin 2 get is,, we av the tightest billionaire owner & the biggest bunch ov bullsh*ting c**ts in the EPL