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NUFC supremo Derek Llambias lifts the lid on life in Toonland

By Lee Ryder on Feb 10, 09 09:22 AM

Newcastle United surpemo Derek Llambias is about to lift the lid on life at St James's Park in an exlusive interview with the Evening Chronicle.

The Chronicle put questions submitted by Toon fans forward to Llambias with details set to unfold over two days in an in-depth interview.

Don't miss today's Chronicle for the full interview.

31 Comments

Alex Ingle said:

Hi Lee,

I read every single article on here everyday yet never feel encouraged enough to write anything. This however is possibly the best news on the club since Keegan re-signed last year. Hearing from the people at the top of our club has been far too long awaited, and i hope i'm not being naive when i read that Ashley wants to be challanging for everything within the next 5 years. Thanks to Luke and yourself for getting a voice from the club for the first time in ages. Howay Toon, do yourselves proud and get us back to where we belong!

gordon said:

mike ashley has not got the funds to challenge anyone in the top 6.

Graeme said:

He could begin by agreeing to a meeting with representaives of NUSC. Also, how he can say that NUFC will lose millions in the current year defies belief given the net inflow of cash from the last two transfer windows

kieran said:

Here's a question why did you buy xisco was it because you wanted rid of owen or to force keegan out?

MARK said:

I think that the break of silence is a great thing for the club and that most of the statements are the best we could hope for, and i am pleased that the club will be run more sensibly AS LONG AS we still get quality players, known and unknown.

There is still a MASSIVE stumbling block though and that is Dennis Wise, NO club has been a success with the director of football position in the premiership. Its a fact. If it was the best thing to do in England Man u, Chelsea, Liverpool would all be doing it, the only to 'big' clubs that have tried it are us and spurs, and look at the mess wer both in!! Wise has to leave along with kinnear at the end of the season and if wer still up we can move on from here but it will take time.

paul said:

am I cynical (surely not in the class of Ashley?) but the direct debits are due to start today for the 2009/10 season.

well mine wont, I know they will probably suspend my ticket but no more cash from me to that bunch of clowns.

Jed Noble said:

It would take an awful lot more than to make me buy the Chronic.

Graeme said:

I was left totally underwhelmed and totally non plussed by all the articles.

There was nothing in any of the articles that lifted my spirits.

I was rather disappointed that DL was so dimissive of NUSC, no matter how small they are - and I didn't think that it was his place to comment on their revenue model either.

Paul said:

Nothing in the articles of any substance. Its just delaying tactics hoping to ride out the storm & deflect any criticism. It won't work Mr Llambias! Little money spent last summer, players bought without the managers consent, a profit on transfers in january, senior players leaving now & more in the summer, who does he think he is kidding? Newcastle is a buying club?, buying what? black & white scarves for the directors? "Its the business model of the future" he says. God help us.

Stephen Buchan said:

At last...communication from within the halls of SJP. However forgive me if I feel slightly underwhelmed. It will take more than a few words for me to start to feel optimistic about the future of NUFC. Sure we're building an impressive crop of youngster in the academy but but that is about it so far. To be talking about challenging for everything in 5 years is a bit much when the challenge of avoiding relegation (for the second season running) looks a tall order right now. And how many times have we heard talk of Mr Ashley splashing his cash on the first team? It will happen in the Summer says Mr Llambias "there is £8m there and it will be spent" I hope and pray its going to be more than £8m!!!!

Actions speak louder than words and as pleased as I am that we are now hearing from the powers that be, only time will tell whether the action will follow.

Sam Coldwell said:

The last thing I want to be is synical but some of the comments from Llambias and Ashley regarding the 5 year plan are ludicrous. Ashleys statement about Newcastle hopefully becoming a club like Aston Villa in the next five years is depressing and completely unrealistic, if they continue with their current policies.

I'd love Newcastle to be where Villa are in the table but if I rightly remember villa only two years ago were in a relegation battle the same as Newcastle are now.

They turned things round by employing an extremely good manager, making funds available for players such as reo-coker, young, carew, petrov, curtis and others, and villa had the luck of having a very good youth team with players such as gardner, cahill, and abonglahor coming through. Unfortunately Newcastle have had none of the above.

The only way that the club can adopt the so called Arsenal method is by spending large amounts of money in the transfer market on established players to give them a solid base (god knows who these players are which would come to the club willingly), then the board can think about youth players for the future.

Sorry for the grim outlook, I just care about my club.

Well done to the lads and gals at the Chronicle and Journal , keep up the good work.

jacko said:

Another vehicle for the shambolic smoke and mirrors show, courtesy of Mike Ashley & Co! Oh how my heart bleeds for Mr Llambas. Let me present an alternative fairy tale: Mike Ashley, a successful gambler wants a new plaything like Roman and his Spurs mates, so buys NUFC on a whim. Sadly he quickly discovers the mess he's jumped into, from debts to management. He has fortunately employed an outstanding communicator in Chris Mort and pairs him with the fans' dream KK. However, again due to poor management, KK and Mr Wise don't see eye to eye (on anything). Chris Mort leaves the club, unhappy at the discord and treatment of KK and eventually KK himself is, shall we say 'forced out' through unacceptible interference in first team management. Suddenly Mr Ashley becomes brutally aware of the strength of feeling on Tyneside and to save his neck decides to jump ship (but clearly making a profit). In the interim he recruits a cheap stopgap manager who will defer to Mr Wise in transfer dealings. Additionally Mr Ashley decides to ensure that the club withdraw from all communication with fans as he sees no need to pursue this, selling as he is. However the brilliant businessman that he may be, doesn't foresee the credit collapse (no blame there). To save face he decides to 'take the club off the market: not that he couldn't get a buyer at the price he wanted! By now Big Hearted Mike tries to make the right soundbites to minimise revolt but, yet again, fails to come up with the goods during the latest transfer window; making another net profit! Finally he depatches his Chairman to talk to the gullible local press, providing yet more empty promises to deflect more negative publicity. However the Chairman is so inept he can't even conduct an interview without castigating supporters and belittling concerns made by the paying fan.

Do you really think we can be so gullible as to fall for this charade yet again? Mr Ashley please learn from the greatest showman of them all, Mr P T Barnham who said "You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time". Just leave as soon as possible Mr Ashley and take your condescending hangers on with you!

M. Sebastian T. said:

What I'd like to know first "from the horse's mouth" is what the wage bill is, because that probably will explain why money is being lost. Second I'd like to know when NUFC will follow Sunderland and reduce ticket prices. Selling 'Never Fit Owen' would probably knock fiver off the cost of a seat.

Rich said:

'However, Llambias has vowed that United will spend again in the summer and with several players set to be out of contract in the summer, the MD believes the wage bill will be freed up to allow Newcastle to sign players who fit into the new structure.'

This isn't really an awe-inspiring statement of intent is it?! The tone of this statement is one of relief at being able to once again cut costs with no mention of trying to keep hold of our better players.

I guess this means that we can definitely say goodbye to Michael Owen as he's clearly the main wage earner. Trouble is, I don't think 8 million will be enough to fund a suitable replacement to fit into this new structure....?

Restless Native said:

Talk is cheap.


Meaningful action remains virtually non-existent.


Whole thing is nothing more than a PR stunt aimed at shoring up season ticket revenue.


If they GENUINELY cared about the future of the club, Wise wouldn't still be there after failing massively in his job. And we'd have a premier-class manager in post, not a substandard puppet. (That said, I of course hopes JFK makes a full recovery. But doesn't return.)


Anyone who buys into this rubbish will be let down again come summer.

Mark said:

Part 1 of 4?

Personally I think we should pass judgement when we have read all the interview over the next couple of days....

not everyone will be happy, nobody is but at least its a start....Proof however will be in the pudding...

I for one will be there, giving my full support to the lads every week....we must not let this become a side show....what really matters over the next 4 month is the action on the pitch....not of it

Big Kev said:

Well over to you MA, we've heard the words now lets see some action. We all knew the club was & is losing money hand over fist due to fat Freddie & co & their transfer dealings, so if we knew how come you didn't? For god sake your supposed to be a billionaire businessman! I understand they can't comment on KK so I hope once it's all sorted they come out & tell the truth. I'm also glad they intend to listen to the fans although I agree that you can't have fans running the club you still need to let them have a voice. I notice he wasn't to keen on the NUSC although they are only representitive of a small number of fans & certainly don't speak for me, some sort of dialog would probably help.

Baynet said:

Read the article with misguided hope and found that "We made mistakes, we're sorry, but we're not going to change" is the message Mr Lambias is putting across

2 interesting points
- The club says they're talking to NUSC & NUSC say they're not. Somebody's lying, and I know who my money's on!!
- Lambias states that "Whatever players the manager has asked for, he’s had". that contradicts everything JFK seemed to be saying during the transfer window so, again, someone's telling porkies (or JFK is spouting rubbish, in which case he shouldn't be allow to talk to the media)

Mr Lambias has already used the apparent legal situation to fend off awkward questions about deadly Dennis' role so that's a convenient way of not answering the questions we really want answers to. This attempt at a PR exercise still smacks of a group of trapped people trying to bluff their way out of trouble. What happens to the 5 year plan if we go down??

Jonnie said:

A very encouraging interview I thought. If Mike Ashley really does have this 5 year plan then good luck to him.

I think it's time to put Keegan-gate behind us if we haven't already. The second coming didn't work out unfortunately and while for a few months afterwards I would have wanted nothing more than to have him back and Dennis Wise out of the club for forcing his resignation it's time to put that story to bed.

It's good to see that the myths of the Ashley regime have now been put to bed. I really think that the boardroom at Newcastle United are genuineley trying to turn the corner here. We haven't got all the players we wanted but we did have a pretty decent transfer window, with Lovenkrands, Nolan and Taylor coming in. Now we're even getting the deadwood that didn't want to play for Newcastle out of the squad we're beginning to see new fire and new belief in the team.

bob h said:

Didn't Ashley have a 5 year plan for us to be challanging for everything when he took over? I think I liked it better when they said nothing.

Johno said:

Part 1 a disappointment so far to be honest. Nothing particularly inspiring or interesting from either side, interviewer or interviewee. The golden question for Llambias has to be: What qualifactions/experience do you have to run a Premiership football club? Hopefully this will pop up in parts 2-4...

usmag said:

why are people even bothering with negative comments regarding this article? you complained when they said nowt and you complain cos you dont like like what you hear?

what exactly would make you happy??

Surely it is wiser to read all 4 parts of the q and a over the coming issues and then form an opinion?

if your constantly going to moan at everything, then do us all a favor and stay away. opinions are part and parcel, but when they are always negative then you are in it for the wrong reasons. football like life will never always be positive, but jesus, some of you lot must under constant watch with your depressive nature!!

jacko said:

Jonny: did we both read the same article?

I don't believe that this regime has even started to answer the pertinant questions, such as: why KK left, why JFK, why didn't we get more of our targets at the recent window etc.

By the way it was KK's 3rd coming (if you count his playing stint and discount his alleged departure early in his first managerial stint) and it seems to me that his integrity meant he couldn't stand by and let his performance be measured by the acquisition of players by another.

Does the deadwood include one of our most loyal, committed and talented players aka Shay Given? Yeah we had a great transfer window says Mr Ashley: he made a profit! No doubt the deadwood in the summer will make further profits on dealings for the big man.

I had, up until recently, talked down those who were constantly criticising the current regime, arguing for restraint and time to let them pull the club out of the mire. Sadly my admittedly reserved support has evaporated. Too many mistakes, too much rhetoric and no where near enough tangible action. I have no doubt that the fans will be screwed again come summer. If we're relegated I'm sure Ashley, Llambas et al will blame KK and the previous regime. The time for patience with this lot has gone. While I will not undermine team efforts on the park I do not intend to give succour to any of mandarins from the smoke!

kieran said:

I think MA means he wont be here in 5 years then we might challenge for something.

londontoon said:

If we build a team like everton has with players that want to be at the club of the right age on the right money then fine. i think we've missed the boat in spending to get into the top six. we've done that in the past but sadly poor, very poor managers have come in and couldn't manage them.

now i think it is a case of rebuilding. i don't want to lose MO. you have to put the fitness issues a side and when you do he is class. 3-4 even 5 season of lower table achievement now means we can not sustain world class players. we have to rebuild. nobody wants to hear that but i'd rather see a team of players over achieving than selection of players on super star wages having a better showing on the queyside then they do at SJP. its gone on too long and I can see what they are trying to do.. the dreaded 5yr statment is a killer but its realistic. we have to live with it and hope what we have over achieve from now until then like aston villa and everton and bolton in the past.
I'd also like to know if we are paying for that crocked mid fielder that we took on loan from valencia??

MagpiePhil said:

As expected, absolutely nothing of any substance said by the blatantly underqualified and out-of-his depth Llambias. Nothing that the club has done or is doing suggests any sort of long-term thinking, only short term decision making that is entirely based on short term finance issues such as selling players and reducing the wage bill. Llambias' comments about players coming to the end of their contracts and wage re-structuring is a clear-as-day reference to losing Michael Owen (not that any of us expect anything else). Mind you, I can't believe Shola or Xisco are on a small wages so how does that fit into your wage structure?! Expect to lose Owen, Carroll and more over wage issues.

And Llambias’ comments about the manager getting every player he wanted are blatantly wrong!! Does this guy think we a re idiots?!! Well, yes probably. JFK has made noises about loads of players we have pointedly failed to land (e.g. Mbia etc), but then do we believe anything JFK says now? Although he’s probably a decent signing given our predicament, don’t tell me that Nolan was anything other than a panic buy after Barton was ruled out for the season. Ditto Ryan Taylor – decent – but would he be here were it not for N’Zogbia agitating to leave and Wigan being the only ones putting in an offer of a deal?

And how does the 5-year plan stand up to relegation with a tiny squad, an embarrassment of a manager and a meagre 8 million to strengthen the squad. This man and his boss are utter light-weights and amateurs.

Unfortunately also, very little in the way of probing from the Chron/Journal and making Llambias feel uncomfortable here. Even worse, a few lines that almost sound apolegetic on his behalf.

But. We must all stick together and all pull together. We'll still be here long after Ashleys crew, Chron journos and Michael Owen are gone! We must make our future happen, for NUFC, for the city and for the region.

Monte Cristo said:

Jonnie, which "Board" are you talking about? Aside from match days the only people at SJP are a handful of Security Guards and Ground Staff. There is no "Board" just a couple of Mike Ashley's mates having a long distance laugh. Ashley is determined to hang on to the Pariah Dennis Wise at any cost, doesn't that alone show us what he really thinks/intends? And how have the "myths" of the regime been "put to bed"? You are buying into the Propaganda man!

Scott said:

I think it's great that Llambias has eventually broke the silence. I just wish people would get over the whole KK saga! It's happened, and there is no point making a fuss about it! Fair enough, we all think that the club is ran in a way that doesn't suit NUFC but there is one thing we need to all do of we are going to go anywhere. How about we live up to being the best fans in the world? Sticking by the club and the players and just care for what is happening on the pitch! We support Newcastle United, now why don't we be United and support the club? Rather than be against what the hierarchy! I haven't got a clue what all that NUSC is about, seems like a rebel group to me! We don't need supporter groups! What happened to being United? We scream it out on a match day, so let's be united and support the team!!

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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