Was the US tour a good idea?

The star-spangled banner.

The star-spangled banner.
Like many, I stayed up until the wee small hours watching Newcastle United lurch through yet another pre-season friendly.

As you may already know by now, we lost 1-0 against Orlando City last night, but I won’t go into too much detail as Jobey has assured me that he will cover it in a match report when he finally rolls out of his pit and I don’t want to piss on his chips so to speak.

Anyway, it left me wondering just how helpful this US tour actually is? I mean don’t get me wrong, I’ve been the champion of getting Newcastle United ‘out there’ and into new markets, growing the “brand” etc, and of course it gives our US fans a chance to see their heroes up close and personal, some of whom will be doing that for the very first time. That’s a good thing right?

Of course it is, but there have been many bad things that have also come from this US tour and at times it has been a complete farce. Let’s take a look at the issues that we’ve had to face so far.

– The Visa issue is the first one that springs to mind. We’ve been without Joey Barton, Yohan Cabaye, and slightly less important as he is apparently up for sale, Nile Ranger thanks to them not being able to obtain the necessary paperwork to ply their trade in the States. Of course the US has their way of working and these three fell foul of the rules, but we wouldn’t have had a problem in Europe and all of the squad would be together instead of having chunks of first-team players separated by the Atlantic.

– Injuries are starting to mount up. First we lost Shane Ferguson and Danny Guthrie, then Hatem Ben Arfa and now Ryan Taylor. Yes I know injuries can happen at anytime, but if we’d not been in the States we’d have a bigger squad available to us and wouldn’t have to be forced to name just four outfield subs, as was the case last night.

– Heat and travelling are another two things that are starting to get on my wick. It’s summer, it’s going to be hot. Was this not thought of beforehand? It’s America, it’s big. Was this also not thought of beforehand.

– Facilities are supposed to be top class, which is why we played last night on a plastic pitch. Granted it’s no excuse for just how bad we played (sorry Jobey!) but it’s hardly ideal and is hardly going to replicate the week in, week out feel of the Premier League. To make things more farcical a real pitch was laid for the game last night only for it to be dug up at the eleventh hour because it was, well, dangerous.

Now I don’t want to be down on the US and I realise that it may sound a bit like that to some but honestly I’m not. Most of things that have gone wrong could have been sorted from our end before the trip was even made. Yet they weren’t.

No matter how many times I hear about conditioning and fitness it won’t make me change my mind on this when I say that it doesn’t matter if the players are already knacked before the start of the season.

People will say it’s all about money, but having seen the crowds I think it’s safe to say that public interest in Newcastle United isn’t really that high so it’s safe to assume that corporate interest would be even less. I mean we haven’t even been on TV thus far aside from Orlando streaming the match themselves (and a fine job they did of it too I may add!) so we’re hardly bringing in much from being there.

I’m not saying that the US tour is a bad idea and should never be considered ever again – remember half of the Premier League makes an appearance over there at some point during pre-season. What I do think though is that it has lacked organisation and thought. Maybe if we do it again, and think about it properly, then we’ll have a much better time, but at the moment all I can see is problem after problem.

Still, just one more game to go I guess!

22 thoughts on “Was the US tour a good idea?

  1. Other EPL clubs are out there also, difference is, they all have decent size squads unlike ourselves which is evident by Pardew playing Smith in centre midfield despite him saying that he wanted more pace in his side this season. Another in a long line of contradictions.


  2. I know its only a friendly, but that game was a bloody joke. Only a couple of decent performances really, I know the result isn’t important, but which player was it who went for the shot when the clear cut back was on? That was just silly, if we waste a 3 vs keeper chance again in the League i’ll go bloody ballistic.

    Anyway, rant over. Yeah it was a bad idea, but mainly because of the poor planning and not having Barton and Cabaye there, I guess Barton can’t be avoided but come on…We’re not even playing large teams anyway, if the club wants to make money we should be moving into the asian market imo..


  3. So whats the point of the trip with Smith in it then? he drags the team back like an anchor, if the team is being molded into a faster unit then he is going the wrong way about it, no wonder we bombed in Orlando.


  4. The point in Smith is……. Where are Cabaye and Barton? Why could they not play last night?

    I still see no suggestion of who else could have played in Smith’s place.


  5. I think this trip was a bad idea and doomed from the start. I always thought that part of the preseason was to gel the players but if some of the 1st teamers cant be there ?


  6. I think coming to the US for training is generally a good thing- just not for us. Every other club over here(and there are about a dozen Euro clubs here at the moment), seems to get a lot out of it. Injuries could happen everywhere and the heat is probably good for conditioning, but the visa issue should have been sorted months ago. Hell, I could have told you Barton and Ranger weren’t getting visas. Cabaye’s could have been sorted if they applied for it as soon as he signed. The club also should have brought more players. Surely Kadar, Richardson, Airey, Donaldson could have gotten something from it.

    Poor planning indeed.


  7. toonsy he could have played vuckic and tiote..he looked good when he came on late…why do we bother with him…if he gets injured why play smith..nobdy is going to take him on..with them wages and he wont leave the greedy bast..d…if he wonts 2 play..


  8. Asim – It was Vuckic’s first appearance after training just once. Would you have thrown him in from the start on a plastic pitch?


  9. Don’t think we should have gone but we are it’s friendlies so it doesn’t matter if we get hammered every game. liverpool got beat 3-0 off hull with their multi-million pound signings playing. don’t think it means they are going to have a poor season. As long as we are ready for the start of the season it doesn’t matter. i think simpson flew back as well as his birds just had a kid. The squad seems smaller over there but we have got willo,barton,cabaye,ranger in the reserve squad routledge,perch,xisco,ameobi,airey and richardson are also in that reserve squad and i’d assume they’d be attempting to push for the first team squad this year as well.


  10. I think the reserves friendlies are about what the senior team should’ve done, Holland, nishe and eashy yes.

    Fatty probably chose USA to give Sports Direct a bit of an airing.


  11. Rodzilla
    July 24, 2011 at 12:56

    “Fatty probably chose USA to give Sports Direct a bit of an airing.”

    You see that’s another one I’ve heard, and to be honest I would understand it. Why not right? However I see no way that we are publicising Sports Direct. It’s not on our kit and we haven’t transferred St James’ park over there so I’m unsure why people come to that conclusion.

    Ultimately this was Pardew’s idea. He was quick to claim credit for it, lauding the facilities and everything, so I guess ultimately it”s him to blame for it being such a balls up.


  12. the tour was like everything these clowns do,a right cock up,thought the idea of season build up was to build up fitness bond new and old players,not to zap all them of energy in heat flying state to state in a matter of hours hopeing ashley makes money out of it,to me one of the best build ups in recent seasons was the one the lads had in ireland,thing is nee money in that for ashley ah well onwards and downwards


  13. Toonsy@14, fair comment, yeah I did think about that one. Who knows what kind of back-scratching has gone on though. what is it, 9 flights in 13 days or something? US peak summer time? 3 important players unable to travel? It sounds to me like interests are elsewhere other than on the pitch.

    ….yeah it has its ‘bonus’, I.E. NUFC brand awareness, but that’s about it as far as I see it. Daft, given the size of our squad, even WITH Barton, Ranger and Cabaye!


  14. Playing football in the sunshine state at the height of Summer on a plastic pitch – Mickey Mouse idea!
    We should have arranged some friendlies in France and we might even have been tempted to buy three or four French lads while we were there.


  15. This has nothing to do with sports direct. It hasn’t been advertised as far as I can tell and they have no presence in the US as far as I know.

    Typically poor planning by the club but it isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Players like Tavenier, Vuckic, Gosling, Tiote, our defenders etc. are getting a lot of work in against decent competition


  16. Well Mike Ashley is an astounding businessman. He has unsurpassed levels of intellect and foresight. That’s how he is the all-round hero and saviour of Newcastle United. Without him and his astonishing ability to plan, in intricate detail, five years into the future we would wither and die.

    “What I do think though is that it has lacked organisation and thought. Maybe if we do it again, and think about it properly, then we’ll have a much better time, but at the moment all I can see is problem after problem”

    Now, is this a description of the American tour?
    Or selling Carroll without adequate replacement?
    Or telling Keegan he was in charge of transfers when secretly it was Dennis Wise?
    Or the current transfer policy of not having adequate cover in key areas of the squad?
    Or buying a club without doing due diligence?
    Or buying players like Smith and Xisco on big wage?
    Or . . . . . .

    I’m beginning to see a pattern here . . . .


  17. Pootle – As titled, it’s a description of the American tour. It is you who is trying to twist it to fit your agenda about a topic which has fuck all to do with what I wrote that about.

    Please don’t try and twist any of my words sunshine. It really gets on my tits.


  18. It could be a description of any of those things.

    For such a ‘wise owl’ Ashley sure makes a lot of shortsighted mistakes.


  19. No.

    There – answered the original topic too.

    If the tour was an exercise to spread our fanbase as some have suggested, then perhaps we should have sent a squad capable of scoring goals and playing attractive flowing football.
    I hardly think we’ll build a following by getting our arses handed to us by low grade American teams.


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