Ashley won’t be budged on this, but is it a good thing?

Are contracts a valid concern?
My first reaction when I read about Shola Ameobi and his admission that talks over a new contract had stalled was decidedly ‘meh’.

However, as is usually the case with me it eventually spurred a thought process on inside my head, which was helped by driving up miles and miles of empty motorway to be fair and suffering the boredom as a result. Anyway I digress… There really is no room for movement or sentiment in the clubs new stance on contracts is there?

Like others before him, Shola Ameobi has just one year left on his contract, and like others he is nudging the dreaded 30 mark (in fact by the time his contract runs out next summer he will closer to 31) which appears to be the cut off point where the club stop offering longer deals to players.

This causes a problem in my opinion. Naturally a player will want a bit of security when he reaches the twilight of his career. He’ll want to know that he has a few years of earning the big money before retiring or dropping down the leagues or whatever ends up happening. On the flipside the club don’t want to be lumbered with players who are in decline, which is also understandable.

It’s pretty clear what Ameobi wants, but if you’re not sure then take a look at what he told the Sunday Sun yesterday:



“I want to get it sorted out, but obviously the two parties have to meet somewhere and that hasn’t been the case yet,” said Shola.

“As a player, you want to feel secure. You want to know what’s going to happen for the next few years but I don’t at the moment.”

“It’s something I’m trying to get sorted but at the moment I’ve got one year left. A year can go very quickly and things change, as we have seen.”

Now the very last thing I want this to do is for it to turn into the whole Ameobi debate. It’s been raging for over a decade now and will continue as long as Shola is at St James’ Park and in that time I think everything has pretty much been said about Shola’s career at the Toon.

What it does show (or Sho I guess!) is that this stance on contracts is very rigid. The message is simple to me. Once you get to around the 30 mark you will not get an offer of a longer contract at Newcastle. It’s not that they won’t offer you a contract, but you can bet your bottom dollar that of you want another one then you must be prepared to work for it and show you are up to it.

In my view we’ve seen both good and bad come from this contract stance already. Good in the fact that the club will seemingly no longer be a museum for older players who use us as a retirement fund and may struggle to retain a first-team place in the near future, like Kevin Nolan, or even Ameobi to an extent. Bad in the fact that there appears to be no exceptions to the rule, like Joey Barton, who could continue to play at the top for a few more years yet.

The fact is that a lot of players reaching 30 can go on for a good few years and I worry that this rigid approach is something that can come back to haunt us. What happens to our new Captain when his contract gets into his last year? Will they overlook the fact that his reading of the game sometimes means that his need for physical attributes such as pace are not needed as much? Hmm….

There just appears to be little room for manoeuvre when it comes to retaining our current players. It’s all well and good saying that players should earn their contracts, but that is is an ideal world where sometimes our passion for the club can cloud a judgement.

Tell me something, you are close to retiring and your employer attaches strings to your contract whereby your continuous employment hinges on hitting targets. Another employer offers you the same job, same money, no strings. What are you going to do? I best most of us would take the guaranteed option, right?

So why should a football player be any different? The key thing is recognising who is floundering in the Premier League water as a professional footballer and recognising who is still swimming strongly.

Will the club be able to do that? Or will it be a case of ‘you’re dirty at 30’ regardless?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

32 thoughts on “Ashley won’t be budged on this, but is it a good thing?

  1. Good article toonsy it is a concern that ashley doesn’t think players beyond 30 can play but I would write them off altogether he brought Campbell in even though he was useless.

    To some extent it’s a very good thing he doesn’t want to pay players a hefty amount if they are not contributing as much to the team.

    But look at giggs and scholes still made an impact. Would like to see players given assurance until at least 32.

    The main worry at the mo is the lack of transfer activity for the toon… Everyone else seems to be heating up and we are slowing down…

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  2. fecking joking not putin the toon game v the scum on sky sports!!!!! its by far the best derby!!!! they want shot!! weve gota w8 til 12th sept to see us play on tv v qpr , im canceling sky until september!!!

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  3. If a player has been relatively injury-free throughout his career and has a “wiry” body-type and trains well.

    Scholes … Giggs … Barton

    Then they will probably be good up to 35yo.

    Heavy-weights – Campbell
    Injury-prone – Shola
    Injury-affected – Smith

    This type of player shouldn’t be given long contracts above 30yo.

    I think we should sell Shola this summer.

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  4. I will have a party if we sell Shola 👿
    Should have gone years ago in my opinion.
    Could do a job in the championship but don’t think his body could hack it many games in a row…could maybe go to division 1 and see how he gets on.
    Adios Ameobi.
    Bet he thought he had a job for life at the Toon.

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  5. I think JFK gave him his latest contract.

    JFK convinced Ameobi he was John Fashanu reborn … 😀

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  6. “icedog
    July 11, 2011 at 11:53

    shola been in the twilight of his career for 10yrs imo,get him oot :twisted:”

    Ice 🙂 😀 😀

    I think Ameobi is the next Paolo Wanchope, just without the skill. It almost angers me when he scores because it means he’ll play the next game 🙄

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  7. any1 here think its about time sky start selling deals so you could buy season ticket for the team you like to watch

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  8. Surely the concept of rolling contracts triggered in January could apply. So in January you find out if you have 6 months or 18 months left.

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  9. Unfortunately there is no room for sentimentality in football and while I feel sorry for guys like harper and Ameobi who have been outstanding ambassadors for NUFC, if they can’t cut it anymore it is time to move on. These are professional sports people who are paid well to play and play well. Let’s face it there are very few football players who show any kind of sentimentality towards their clubs. If someone offered Shola double his wages tomorrow he would be gone. Keep only the players who want to play and if they are not satisfied with what the club is offering let them go.

    I don’t think it is an ideal world, every person has to earn their job and if you can’t hack it anymore you will be replaced. If a surgeon’s hands start to shake it is time to stop operating, if a salesman can’t make targets his employer will not pay him to sit around the office doing nothing.

    No, you have to earn your keep, it is the nature of professionalism.

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  10. Ice

    Ye, and to think we almost got rid of him for around 1mil, but he failed his medical and then played for us two weeks later and signed a new deal??

    He can’t run to chase a ball, how was he going to do it on a treadmill.

    And people gave Geremi slack for being slow. Ameobi and Owen our worst partnership ever, with Butt and Smith our worst midfield ever (no wonder we went down!)

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  11. “Tell me something, you are close to retiring and your employer attaches strings to your contract whereby your continuous employment hinges on hitting targets. Another employer offers you the same job, same money, no strings. What are you going to do? I best most of us would take the guaranteed option, right?

    So why should a football player be any different? The key thing is recognising who is floundering in the Premier League water as a professional footballer and recognising who is still swimming strongly. ”

    True Toonsy,

    But only if I myself, didn’t feel confident of forfiling my companies expectations for me… They know they are on the decline, so why should the club bow down to their needs? They are taking the right stance here. Other clubs should do the same.

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  12. It was reported on numerous sites and in numerous papers that Ameobi failed his medical because of a hip condition, which he still carries to this day.

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  13. Shearer had major injuries in his 20’s and he played for us until he was 36 and like a statue.

    Shola is what he is, a back-up striker who has never been able to play a full season and has never relied on athletic abilities other than strength. He would probably be a good player to keep around as back-up but if we got some better strikers in (3-4) I wouldn’t see the point of him sticking around.

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  14. Army69 says:
    July 11, 2011 at 11:26
    ‘fecking joking not putin the toon game v the scum on sky sports!!!!! its by far the best derby!!!! they want shot!! weve gota w8 til 12th sept to see us play on tv v qpr , im canceling sky until september!!!’

    Ive got ESPN so will be watching the very first game. Then after that down the pub. Every game for much less than sky sports from rotten Murdock and his phone hackers. 😉

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  15. Would fancy Shola coming to MLS. I am still a fan, but it’s from a sentimental aspect…as he scored the first goal i’ve ever seen in person at SJP. Plus, I think he would still get a good challenge here in the US.

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  16. Shola has had plenty of chances .. even tho deep down we all have a soft spot for him, he has had an unblvbl life playin for the toon .. seems to me last couple of years, he has been putting a bit more effort it, but perhaps too little too late .. mebs, they will make an exception and give him 1-2 years more .. and i reckon unlike non-geordies .. he would take it

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  17. A blanket “no” policy is ridiculous. Obviously you want young quality players with years of fitness and pace to go, but you can’t just say “Well you’re 30 now, so I guess we need to take you out behind the barn and shoot ya”. This has to be done on a case by case basis.

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