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Football logic or business logic?

By Lee Ryder on Aug 18, 11 09:14 AM


Ask any Newcastle United fan right now what is on their mind at the moment and the answer could be a "left-back" and a "striker".

Then there is the money question...

Where is it? No, not the £35million, the now advanced kitty of over £40million following summer sales of Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique.

Yes, go anywhere on Tyneside at the moment and those concerns are everywhere.

In a nutshell it would appear that Newcastle United, despite the influx of French players coming in, are simply not ready to spend big money on tried and tested players.

With no official statements from Mike Ashley or fellow directors so far, fans have been left to assume what the plan is, if there is a plan.

Back in February when the accounts were released, the word from NUFC was that the club wanted to be in a position in which it "could wipe its own nose."

So basically, the club is heading for an operational status in which Ashley no longer needs to inject his own money into the overall running costs.

In theory, well business theory, that may well work.

But football has its own theories.

In short, they are about winning games, keeping clean sheets and scoring goals.

If the price on the ticket is to pay a centre-forward who knows the Premier League say £65,000-£80,000 per week then in reality that is what you have to do to be prepared for a season in the top flight and keep fans (customers) content to the extent that they want to buy a season ticket.

Back in 1997, Newcastle fans celebrated into the night after qualifying for the Champions League for the first time with Shearer, Asprilla, Ginola, Lee and Beardsley on their books to name but a few.

In 2012 they won't be celebrating if the team finishes 14th and the club break even in the financial stakes.

Throw some money at the situation and the current regime will be rocked by exactly how St James' Park will come alive if the club surges up the table like it did in the 1990s and like it did in the early Noughties under Sir Bobby Robson.

That may sound oh so simple, but to do the above you need to purchase the required quality to do it and at the moment (Aug 18 with 13 days to go in the transfer window) that has to be questionable.

To be heading into the second game of the season against Sunderland without a first choice left-back certainly has to be deemed as a flaw in the current approach given the fixtures have been known since June.

The striker issue is even more frustrating for fans given Andy Carroll was sold in January.

As the club blueprint is yet to be aired in public, we are entitled to come to our own conclusions.

The conclusion thus far can only be that United don't seem to be prepared to go past a certain salary, given Erik Pieters is reported in Holland to want £30,000 per week and doesn't look like coming anytime soon.

And that the days of transfer fees over £5million (like Cabaye) are over at least for now.

Until we hear otherwise that is...

11 Comments

MjPomar said:

That's the best piece you've wrote in a long time Lee, sums up the situation perfectly. More like this please.

javed shaikh said:

Hey Lee,

What is the logic of signing young players if they arent any good? Newcastle can easily sign nicolas anelka whos has a proven track record in the primiership. He is available. What a great signing it wud be. Ashley has to shell money . Newcastle cant be just money generating club selling all our superstars. We are playing a game of football not doing buisness here.If he just thinks its a buisness he shud sell it asap. We need some passinate owner for this club. the supporters deserve more

Mike said:

Good article Lee, I note your tone seems a little more despondent now than in previous blogs!

I'd like you to be a little more accurate about some key things though. I remember very clearly reading an article in the Journal/Chronical back in January, pre-Carroll sale, where Llambias said we were “on track” to break even in the current financial year. Great news I thought. So while that may not mean we’re operating at a surplus that would create an annual transfer budget, it should mean that any revenues raised by player sales (such as Carroll) should all go into the “profit” line on the balance sheet, and hence, be available to spend on new players. Given this, I still don’t think the argument of wanting NUFC to be financially self sufficient is good enough to explain away the lack of investment in the team. Like I say, Llambias gave the impression back in January that we were already self sufficient, or near as damn it. When they next come out with this excuse, I’d like the hierarchy to be challenged on remarks they’ve made previously, and held to account, because there are some very contradictory noises coming out of NUFC that seem to be conveniently forgotten by the people who are in a position to challenge.

Monty said:

The current regime has lied to us for so long, that no purchase would mend any fences.

Geordies for justice

geordiepeacock said:

Ashley is weakening the team and squad and gambling with the team's premiership status.
I do not forsee any quality players coming in before september, and I know that more and more fans are becoming disillusioned.
Pardew is more like Ashley's public relations man, and his statements are clmost completely disregarded.
There seems to be no desire to create a good football side, merely a money making enterprise for Ashley. Unless supporters start voting with their feet and wallets, nothing will change.

Sad-for-the-toon said:

Lee, as the chief sports journalist for the Evening Chronicle, is it not within your remit to ask these questions of the current owner/chairman/manager? The lack of a coherent plan has become apparent, the complete disregard for the fans is obvious and the complicity of a puppet manager is now beyond question.

Fans have no representation so the only way we can seek to influence the club is with the assistance of an impartial and determined press. Please use your position as it was intended, to put pressure on the silent regime at NUFC to give the fans some answers, rather than hiding behind heresay and the clearly ill-informed ramblings of their spin doctor Pardew.

sawdox said:

That's a little bit better Lee!

Lee Ryder Author Profile Pagesaid:

My position is to report what happens in the world of NUFC.
The club owner has never done an interview with ANY media.
Chris Mort was available for interviews during the early part of the Mike Ashley regime and there have been several pieces with Derek Llambias.
The manager deals with questions at the moment.
Myself and our head of digital media Helen Dalby compiled a list of questions which came via our website and they were sent to the club.
We are still waiting for an answer to those questions.
Watch this space.

Mr Sweep said:

Good article Lee, at last you are getting as cheesed off as the thousands who won't attend while this cancerous regime is in place.Maybe defeat tomorrow will help you feel capable of revealing more of the real situation? Yet more evidence today for the feeble minded toon fans that this regime is pathetic and should be boycotted or they will kill the club.You don't believe the players (Barton,Enrique,Nolan) when they say how cheap and two faced the management is but now we have this 1970's 'offer' (why in God's name we need another keeper anyway) to add to the attempt to tap up that foreign player who's agent stated 'why would he move to a club for less money than he's on now' It's just embarrassing to be a toon fan nowadays and it's quite amusing to hear Everton fans who can't understand why nobody wants to buy their club.Think how we feel and we've got the infrastructure in place. No,I'm afraid the fat shopkeeper has not finished his revenge on us and you have to liken the quality of the 'fans' who still give this fool their money to the quality of goods on sale in his tat emporiums.Pardew,he of the'free signings don't come cheap' utterances is a smarmy Souness-like manager who is only interested in self promotion and fills me with loathing every time he opens his mouth. Yes they are all killing my club and the people who still attend while this regime is still in place should be ashamed of themselves (and please don't give me 'the team need me' nonsense,do you think the players care how many people turn up,or play better if the ground is full as opposed to empty? I bet fatty would care if it was empty

Grahame Cameron said:

Ashley still wants to sell.
Its obvious any businessman understanding of what has gone on would see why he will just rape the club financially then sell.
Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Ade said:

Good to see fans opinions being written for a change. The part about how we'll come alive and surge up the table with the right investment is so true. Keegan likened it to riding a tiger. The fans are disconnected from the club just now. The only way forward is somehow the owner, the staff, the players and the fans to all be onboard. Just now that seems impossible, but if it can ever happen the sky is the limit.

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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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