The day after judgement day on Tyneside

By Lee Ryder on Sep 1, 11 10:10 AM

On a day when Newcastle United fans should have been celebrating a new striker, they instead discovered that you can't fly in a helicopter over Battersea after 8pm at night as a late bid for Bryan Ruiz went the same of Charlie Zog back in January.

To be honest, most Toon fans had already guessed that Newcastle United would probably not get the striker they wanted on transfer deadline day.

Basic logic tells you that, if something hasn't happened by the last day of the designated window, it probably wouldn't happen at all.

And after all, Toon fans have had plenty of practice sitting up to the late hours on deadline day watching over-hyped reports from various spots around the country to take in the day of judgement.

All of it was painful to watch.

A simple assessment of the Toon squad on September 1 sees Sylvain Marveaux, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Gabriel Obertan, Mehdi Abeid, Rob Elliot and Davide Santon "over the line".

What it gives Newcastle is options, what it doesn't give, is cover for the centre-back area or the proven striker that has been craved ever since Andy Carroll was flogged.

In total £47million has been pumped into the coffers at St James' Park with £12.65million spent.

Somewhere in the middle of that, surely the boat could have been pushed out to bring in a new striker?

There are plenty of questions to be answered.

As stated a batch of questions from Chronicle readers were sent to the powers that be last month and we still await those answers.

Without any kind of public address, fans have no choice but to make their own conclusions.

In light of the closure of the window, you have to ask, whose decision is it not to spend?

In the past Alan Pardew has simply said: "Mike says yes, or Mike says no."
He also said that the £35million would be spent from Carroll.
The manager has also drawn comparisons with his board at Charlton which featured
over a dozen directors and feels decisions can be made quicker.
But surely Pardew after the transfer deadline day disaster, MUST, MUST be feeling let
down after not getting the striker he has talked about since the day that Carroll was sold
after weeks of him seemingly being to told to tell the media he wasn't for sale.
Like Allardyce, Keegan, Hughton and even Kinnear, Pardew is discovering how hard it is working at a football club which runs on business logic and not the laws of the beautiful game.

You also have to ask, why won't Mike Ashley talk to the punters?

The Ashley regime started well enough after he replaced the by then unpopular figure of Freddy Shepherd, who was slated for not spending enough money and letting the team slowly stagnate in the eyes of fans.
Don't forget he appointed a fan friendly chairman in Chris Mort who was happy to relay information to fans, media and fanzine editors alike.
It's never been clear if Derek Llambias has been a direct replacement for Mort with the Londoner coming in with a chief executive title and the times when he has came out to face the music, he probably feels he can't win because the animosity is so great.
Shortly after Mort left, Keegan quit his post and the biggest tidal wave of fan unrest we've seen occured on Tyneside under Ashley.
He immediatley put the club up for sale and perhaps still feels like he got a raw deal, hence his decision not to speak.
As far as animosity is concerned towards board statements this is because United only make official statements (other than the manager) once in a Blue Moon.
Whether the alternative is to speak once a week or once a month or be on the end of a telephone is another matter, but communication can certainly ease fan tension and start filling those 10,000 empty seats.
If Ashley came out and delivered a gameplan that suggested United were not set to spend, the Geordie public could accept the bitter truth and everybody would know where they stand.

Do Newcastle have money to spend?

The answer would have to be yes.
Yet the issue seems to be that Newcastle don't want to spiral into the debt they were in when the club first changed hands and the wage bill was through the roof with under-achievers like Luque, Geremi and Owen on the books.
Since then the financial pendulum has swung to far in the other direction and there seems to be too much caution.
Bringing in French players because they are cheaper does certainly guarantee they will be as much of a success as players from Spain or anywhere else, should the French players not hit the heights the chances are you would lose money by having to sell on at lower fees.
Most fans will be fair about the incoming players but with the centre-back area looking thin on cover and the lack of a quality striker, it is understandable why fans feel the way they do.

Why refuse to pay high wages?

Again with players such as Geremi picking up £58,000 per week for swanning around in his flip flops and big earners like Mark Viduka, Michael Owen, Albert Luque and Xisco all picking up huge pay packets for at times giving little in return, the board seem to be scarred by the balance sheets and don't want to be in that position again.
A top quality striker will demand £80,000 per week, plus transfer fees and agent fees.
And unless United are prepared to go that extra mile, the big guns will be prepared to go elsewhere.

Is this all really down to Pardew?

Pardew is the only official voice of the team for Newcastle.
When players have discussed politics they have been fined like Enrique and Barton.
Pardew has learned some lessons since taking over as gaffer, since telling the world that Carroll wouldn't be sold to telling a packed Press conference that he was "100%" sure that he would bring in a replacement.
It would appear that Pardew has tried to use the media to get out his thoughts on what should happen or should have been happening.
So far this has been to no avail to an extent with no striker through the door to replace Carroll since January.
Pardew's record of eight defeats in 27 games in charge is respectable enough and nobody can surely argue with the start he has made to the season with a scratch team and playing without a recognised left-back.
It is Pardew who has faced the music and as a football manager who has tasted success elsewhere at Reading and West Ham, surely he would have told the board on numerous occasions that he needed a striker.
Judging by this comments to the media he did.
Yet some fans will argue that it was his job to push the board harder in order to get the targets over the line, despite being in the difficult position of upsetting his employers and getting what he needs to improve the team.
As John Motson once said: "Who would want to be a football manager?"

So what happens now?
It will be up to Pardew and the fans to pick up the pieces - starting at QPR.
Leon Best has already vowed to step up to the plate and get the goals but the emphasis is equally on Demba Ba who now flies the flag as the club's most consistent striker.
Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands will also bring experience but that won't convince every fan.
Nile Ranger, albeit in trouble, remains on the books and Sammy Ameobi at least gives the fans something to bite at in terms of a young star coming through the ranks who has already showed promise.
Newcastle now have to build on the start they have made and have no distractions with Cabaye, Obertan, Marveaux and Santon able to settle into the team.
Throw into that Hatem Ben Arfa's impending comeback and Dan Gosling's return to the fray, Pardew will feel he has reliable bodies on his hands.

And the fans?
The fans don't need to be trumped up by anybody.
Consistently they turn up to get behind the team and have done so patiently in pre-season and in the opening four matches without any serious level of protest.
Fan groups have been coming together in recent weeks and have attempted to rally the troops with #bringbackthescarves campaign.
As ever through hard times, the show must go on in their eyes.

What do you think?


Robert Simm said:

Llambias and Pardew were quick to get their photo taken with Santon and quite rightly took the credit for his signing, but today they are nowhere to be seen, no quotes, nothing, cowards and fair weather sailors.

thomas foreman said:


Driver said:

I'm trying desperately to wrap my head around yesterday's goings on. How is it justified, or for that matter, believable that a bid for a striker who is already in talks with another club was ever a realistic one? If the lad was on our 'radar', why wait till the death to attempt to lure him to SJP? Because the miserly(and I might add, miserable)lo-ball bids for less expensive French players were scoffed at by the clubs approached, does that justify the actions of MA and DL(mutt & hump)?

Helen, maybe you can tell me why I could not post this on the chron site....I would appreciate a reply but doubt very seriously that one will be forthcoming, seeing as anytime I've written to you before nothing has come of it. And by the way, what did happen to the weekly 'live chat' with Lee on Mondays?

This situation has gone on way too long, busy or not, the chron is supposed to be the information center for the TOON, the voice of the TOON...have you all lost sight of that?

It's a sad state of affairs to be outbid and outmaneuvered by the likes of Stoke and Fulham(no disrespect to either)....QPR beat our backsides in this window also, getting all their targets signed on, not to mentioned the unwashed making strides to strengthen(not that it'll matter for the next derby). The board is inept, skinflint and downright treacherous and untruthful. I'd like to feel some compassion for AP but anyone who allows their self to be used and manipulated in the fashion and amount of times this eunich has, rates no compassion....pity maybe, but no compassion.

No attempt to strengthen the squad with back-up for the back line was made, can these clowns walk and chew gum at the same time?

This missive by LR is one of the only(I can think of only one other)columns that come close to having the pulse of the Geordie Nation....fair play to Lee on this one.

I will continue to support the Lads who wear the B&W shirt to no end but I have to wonder what is going through their collective minds at the moment. Factor in the dismantleing of NEWCASTLE UNITED at SJP to be replaced with sportsderectdotcom and you have the makings of a revolution the likes of which have never been seen in the sporting world.

Howay the Lads

DJC said:

Decent article Lee, but perhaps it could have been a bit harder hitting . However I guess you need to be the voice of reason in the maelstrom that's about to hit SJP. As a businessman Ashley will look at the raw figures . Let me put a scenario to you that I think is about to occur. Shane Long would have cost 6-/7 Million to come here. A figure worth keeping in mind . I reckon after this latest Window fiasco , crowds will drop further and SJP will be missing 15000 each home game. Now lets average a ticket at £35-40 for a home game. My reckoning is that will be about £500000 down on ticket sales alone per game . 17 home games , I make that 8 and a half million , without the additional sundries of food , drink , merchandise. If Ashley is such an astute businessman am I wrong in thinking , he may well have missed a trick here . Bad business both financially and from a footballing perspective . One question that really really does need to be asked is where is the profit from our transfer dealing since 1st January. It's disgraceful what's happening at SJP, the potential that lies within the club is phenomenal but MA either doesn't or doesn't want to see it. Unfortunately for him I detect that this transfer window debacle is just one step too far. I suspect we could head back to the days of 15,000-20,000 but thankfully I won't be one of those this time and at least there'll be plenty of seats to choose from unlike a freezing Gallowgate or Leazes terrace . Please relay a message to Mike Ashley from all true toon fans . If you're not interested in taking the club back to its glory days then please sell up to somebody who wants to , leave us to enjoy our club once more. Not since the days of McKeag have things felt so flat.

Geoff said:

It's time for us supporters to show collective responsibility for our beloved club and vote with our feet.
As difficult as it will be, staying away and blatantly refusing to line the coffers of the current regime is the only way forward.
I feel for the players but, enough is enough! The ONLY way to rid our city and football club (the heartbeat of our fantastic city) of this idiot, is to boycott EVERYTHING that Ashley owns, including the ground and the shops. He will soon learn and, like most mercenary money-grabbers, will see that he has no place in the North-East, when the money dries up.
He has shown the supporters the utmost disrespect and has lied continually, as has Llambias and Pardew. They do not understand (or care)that this magnificant club is in our blood. His dictatorial approach to running OUR club is an insult yet he still expects to return each week to buy or endose his tat; He has made NO attempt to engage with the fans, If you were to be given the same treatment in a restaurant or a shop, you would never go back.
As hard as it is, LETS STAY AWAY and watch his greedy, avaricious pockets shrink!!

Mr Black said:

Where is Mr Pardew today?

stevie said:

Enjoyed the article and agreed with much of it. To repeatedly tell the fans that a striker is coming in and then not to deliver, is so typical of this regime. If we are to stagnate, quality players will leave, most of the transfer receipts retained and the cycle will repeat itself.
We are now a selling club, mid table at best, and the lack of ambition will lead to apathy.
Lets hope Best and Collo don't get injured.

stevie said:

Enjoyed the article and agreed with much of it. To repeatedly tell the fans that a striker is coming in and then not to deliver, is so typical of this regime.
I think the club will continue to sell high earners, and quality players will become disillusioned and leave also. The club will of course blame the players, keep most of the transfer receipts and hope that we can finish mid table, while the supporters are fobbed off with promises of new recruitments and boasts of the success of our youth policy.
If Arsenal can lose players because of a perceived lack of ambition, God help us.

EldoradoArgentina said:

Lee -I am sorry but my comment of a few hours ago has not been published. Was it not worthy of publication, just too forthright or an oversight.

Again only if there are 10,000 less at the next home match and a further 10,000 less at the home match after that, might your pleas Lee begin to be met. The players will understand. In today´s football world only money talks. And if the Chronicle does not realise this soon they will lose even more fans as readers.

George Hetherington said:

It amazes me how often MA and DL can be called liars when they have said nothing. It also amazes me that fans think that they can dictate to MA what should happenn to the club and hnow he should spend his money. LIke it or not it is MA's club and he has every right to run the club the way he wishes. I ran my business the way I wanted to for 30 years. If I had had any staff who stirred up trouble with my customers (think Barton) I would have got rid of them. To consider boycotting the matches is total idiocy. The players deserve our support even if we do not like the owner. As it happens I think the investments made on new players has been good for the future. Yes I am disappointed we did not get a new number 9 but I would not like to have been competing in that buying frenzy, when value for money went out of the window. Spending £80,000 per week on a top stirker Lee does not guarantee goals, think Owen. So to all the true fans (not the continuous anti brigade) I say lets get behind the team and they will respond.

Stemcoman said:

I’m just an old Geordie living away

But think on “The Toon” every day.

The High’s and the Low’s are part of my live

But Wednesday night was a complete load of Sh*t*

bill said:

If they are not willing to pay huge wages then I suggest that they get out of football - that is the name of the game if you want success.

No team will win anything without spending huge amounts of money. If Mike Ashley doesn't want to do this then sell the club to someone who will.

There must be someone out there who can see the massive potential of the club. It was planned to extent the stadium, I would now suggest that they look at closing down parts of it as it won't be needed while Mike Ashley owns the club.

Pedrodelgardo said:

I have slagged you off this season for not doing your job properly so I have to congratulate you on this piece. Keep up asking the difficult questions. See how many times you can get them to contradict themselves then publish them all at the end of the season.;)

Danny Daye said:

For a while now i've been one of your fiercest critics but credit where its due you have done two good pieces today. Maybe the penny has finally dropped and now and like the rest of us you see this man for what he really is a ruthless selfish greedy businessman who's love for money overides everything else even common decency. Please Lee we need you on our side you give us a credible voice hope your onboard for good now to help in the fight to get this parasite out of our beloved club..

Danny Daye said:

For a while now i've been one of your fiercest critics but credit where its due you have done two good pieces today. Maybe the penny has finally dropped and now and like the rest of us you see this man for what he really is a ruthless selfish greedy businessman who's love for money overides everything else even common decency. Please Lee we need you on our side you give us a credible voice hope your onboard for good now to help in the fight to get this parasite out of our beloved club..

Hatch said:

It appears that the majority of toon fans are extremely upset with the way the club is managed and in many respects, it now represents everything that the culture of the North East doesn't.
The people are warm, friendly and open and willing to share and give of themselves generously.
In contrast we have an owner who refuses to communicate, either directly or via his Chief Exec. He does not embrace the culture or the people and drives a bigger wedge between himself and the fans day by day.
The strategy of Mike Ashley is one thing but I believe his inability to involve the fans in the club is his true downfall.
For decades, Newcastle fans have turned up and on the whole, been forced to accept a lack of success. This era is no different. What really causes the anger and consternation is the crass attempts to placate fans with idle and false promises.
Like Pardew or not, his fundamnetal failure is to align himself with this policy and ultimately, be the front of a regime which does not value its customer base.
The lack of any statement from the club today simply endorses this.
However,all that said, it is worth bearing in mind one more thing which never really crosses the lips of the mass media.
We exist in a league, which whilst capable of producing exciting football, is truly devoid of competition and therefore hope and optimism. Without the kind of investment seen in both Manchester clubs, teams have little to no chance of sustained success and certainly of winning silverware, which most pundits will tell you is what the game is all about.
Whilst Ashley's modus operandi is a cause of huge frustration and anger, I can't say it keeps me awake at night any longer. His level of investment will matter little in the long run, when we come to counting trophies.
Like many things in life, there are those who are much better off than you are but also a great many more who are worse.

Andrew said:

Lee -

Met a friend of yours from Cleveland, Ohio at the Columbus Crew vs. NUFC game this summer. I told him I was not a big fan of your take on the club's policies of late, but he assured me he met ya while studying abroad on Tyneside and you are a good local lad, who knew the game and loved the squad. Agree to disagree, I told him.

However, I must admit that your last 2 blog entries have been a breath of fresh air, and I just wanted to say thanks. Sorry if this seems like a backhanded compliment, but just being forthright - I for one appreciate your recent critical analysis of NUFC's business model.

AshingtonLad said:

It seems to me that all MA is doing is getting his own back from when the fans turned against him. Builds our hopes up and does what he knows will get to us and make us feel dejected. Remember the Yellow strip? The sale of Players? The change of name for the stadium? And if no-one else has noticed the home shirt is slowly moving away from black and white stripes, how many stripes are on the shirt now? He is determined to get his money back and hurt us paying fans lining his pockets on the way... I wouldnt be suprised if at the end of the day he just closed the club down.
NUFC begruntled fan

AJ said:

When will it finally sink in --the only way to sicken MA is to stay away as hard as that may be but its his club and his team at the minute--stay away and watch the rat desert the sinking ship !

Chris Gray said:

Well said George Hetherington. Newcastle fans are totally unrealistic, always have been. I’ve been a supporter for 40+ years and it has always been the same: every defeat is the end of the world - every young, untried player is going to be the next superstar - big fees mean big players. Childish rubbish. Football is no longer sustainable in its current form and the Stokes and QPRs of this world are playing a very dangerous game. Long term, rational strategy is what is needed, based on financial stability – most of the successful clubs have taken that kind of view. If Ferguson had “failed” at Newcastle in the way some thought he was doing at Man Utd in his first few years, he would have been out. If Wenger had “failed” here in the way he is doing (in some people’s eyes) at Arsenal, he would already have been hounded out by hysterical, short-sighted people who claim to be supporters.

I remember the Westwood days and the McKeag days. “Sack the Board” is a chant long associated with Newcastle supporters. This is now a very different situation. Where else would you find a situation where a club which was promoted just over a year ago, finished half way up the premiership in its first season, is unbeaten in the first four games, lying sixth in the league, with its finances far sounder than for years – and yet is still getting the most outrageous, brainless flak from its so-called supporters.

What will happen – and maybe that’s what people want – is the venom of these idiot fans will create such pressure that Ashley will be forced to sell up, Pardew will be sacked and – guess what – we start all over again. As I say, that’s probably what people want.

And what will happen? Some dreamer will take over, appoint some glamour name as manager, give him millions to spend and we’ll find our club swimming with Luques and Boumsongs all over again. In other words, child-like supporters will have been pandered to like spoilt children, who want everything now.

And if that happens, financial meltdown will be a certainty.

Tony said:

Re comments by Thomas foreman.Don't go to watch them,don't buy the kits. for christs sake fatty is a businessman and if another 10-15 thousand turn their backs like the thousands who have already done so he will get the message.but that is not going to happen is it.come the end of the season still in the premier league, success,pathetic.

RAF MAG said:

Hey Chris, nice to see you slating the passion of the fans..Chris how about you go back to the 60's and smoke some more of that funny stuff that was so fashionable then.

Has anyone asked the club to break the bank NO we were promised 2 players in before the derby and got nothing and then then transfer window..NOTHING. Prior to the season starting we had bought some promising players but then stripped the back bone of the side by selling Nolan..Sell you top scorer and Captain..who is still scoring..Spent force dont make me laugh. Sorry mate I think you have been sniffing MA and AP scriped sheet.


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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