The days of loyal players and ‘one club’ players are rapidly diminishing and I would even go as far as to say that academy football is now just a way of guaranteeing that a club will get the maximum return when selling a player, but that’s another discussion for another day.
So I just thought I’d recap a few things about contracts for players at our club. In particular I would like to take a look at seven players and leave you with my thoughts on all concerned.
Joey Barton – Most of you will have read my article on why I don’t think he’d be such a great loss on the footballing side. This view has been enhanced with the projected Yohan Cabaye transfer. I feel that for a player that has given us no end of trouble in his four years here – bar an excellent last 18 months of course – he should really have took the contract offers he’d already received towards the end of last season. The decision looks like backfiring on him – he owes us more than we owe him. I support the stand of the board on this one; we shouldn’t pander to the needs of one player. I reckon however, come December, Joey will sign a new deal.
Danny Simpson/Cheik Tiote – I know Simpson’s contract hasn’t been confirmed but these two show that if you get your head down, put the effort in and keep your nose clean your performances will be rewarded. New deals will be offered if you’ve earned them.
Jose Enrique – For me it would be a dream if he signed a new deal, but I would have no qualms with him if he decided to walk away. Barring his dodgy first acclimatising season has been nothing short of sensational. I would understand if he decided to walk away to a team in Europe because nobody can say that he hasn’t been too good for us for the last couple of years. Also with Enrique the money he is on and supposedly being offered I think it’s obvious he will be making a footballing decision and not a monetary one. For me the board should have had this sorted last year.
Nile Ranger – A sign of the dangers of offering a young, impressionable, troubled kid the kind of money that they have no comprehension or understanding of. For me Ranger has all the talent in the world and should in the future be gracing the premiership and maybe even international football, but sadly I don’t think he ever will. Every manager we’ve had since he’s signed has said that he’s a talent, needs to get his head down and yet he never learns (Keegan, Shearer, Kinnear, Hughton, Pardew).
Surely you’d listen to one of these? Especially since two of them were very good strikers in their day. I think that Alan Pardew has come to the conclusion that you can only tell someone something so many times. He may be improving but if it takes him another two years to develop a proper attitude he’ll already be 22. Worth the wait? Probably not. It’s also worth noting he has signed two new deals since he’s been here – one when Shearer was boss and then one last year.
Alan Smith – I believe Smith is why Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias are reluctant to offer new bumper deals to the likes of Nolan and Barton. Granted by all accounts a top quality cheerleader and no one can knock his effort but to be honest I’m not sure I’d need two hands to count the amount of good performances he’s had for us. Estimated at £60,000-a-week in wages, that works out at well over £2 million a year. We are not getting close to enough back for that sort of investment. I’d try hard and be friends with the boys for his salary!
Kevin Nolan – This is the main reason I decided to write this article. I have no idea why we are currently trying to negotiate a new deal with Nolan. Not because of his ability – I think he’s a good player. Not because of his attitude – he’s the heartbeat of the team for me. A great leader and a good player but he has two years left on his contract. Two years!
Unlike Enrique I think this is a contract we could afford to let run down some more before negotiations for several reasons. He loves it here, he’s already slow and none of the top teams will want him. In two years we’ll hopefully challenging for Europe and will Nolan be a regular? If so he will have earned the deal if not we are back in the position of power.
It’s the timing of these talks that I don’t understand. We could have comfortably negotiated this next year or six months down the line when we have new players in and Nolan, I have no doubt, would have done a sterling job of bedding in the new lads and letting them all know what the standards Newcastle require are.
Now players are going to look at the situation and wonder. If the Captain is having problems sorting things out then where will they stand? The only reason I can come up with for this ridiculous situation is that they have tried, unsuccessfully, to placate fans in the wake of the Joey Barton fiasco and failed.
All in all I think contracts are now essentially just a way of maximising each separate individual, and that doesn’t bother me one bit. For example had Andy Carroll not had a new deal there would be no way we would have commanded £35 million for him.
The key to new contracts is timing. We timed the Carroll contract well, we’ve put ourselves in a great position with Cheik Tiote, but we’ve done an awful job with Jose Enrique.
Football contracts are a murky area with players controlling the power. All we have to do is give ourselves the best possible parachute for their inevitable greed and deception.
It’s a sad state of affairs but we just have to make the best of it. « Alan Smith told he can leave Newcastle – Taylor bid confirmed. | Should Barton make amends for the good of NUFC? »