Playing By The Rules

Maiga's nobbly knees

Modibo Maiga subject of "tapping up" by Newcastle?
After the merriment of the weekend Monday afternoon brought with it the sobering news that Sochaux chariman Alexandre Lacombe has reported Newcastle to Europe`s governing body for allegedly tapping up striker target Modibo Maiga.

Lacombe told L`Est Republican “Newcastle are going on contacting our players despite our refusal. So we will register a complaint with UEFA, telling them such behaviour is not fair play. It is provoking destabilisation.” A report has since been made stating a violation by Newcastle of Article 18 of international regulations which can be found here.

To be honest I was waiting for this to come out for a week or so. Once I had read the article in which Maiga stated he had already met with Newcastle, already knowing that Sochaux had blocked a move, hence his strike, I knew trouble was brewing with this one.

After a few days, although I still think it could cause a bit of hassle, my opinion had changed slightly. I had heard stories like this before. I had heard of investigations. Yet even in the case regarding Chelsea and John Obi Mikel which was so blatant it was funny although they were found guilty and there was a transfer ban enforced, it was forcefully appealed by Chelsea, dragged out, temporarily reversed, put back etc.

My gut feeling on this is, like so many of the rules UEFA and football in general has in place, there is a massive grey area and who can say what exactly constitutes tapping up a player. So I done some digging just to see how much of it goes on. Here are some of the cases and accusations I found within five minutes of searching.

Manchester United and Manchester City were both accused of tapping up Samir Nasri. A Legitimate claim one would think when you hear Roberto Mancini and Patrice Evra talking about him well before any move was made.

Spurs accused of tapping up Robbie Keane when he was at Liverpool, and funnily enough vice-versa. Spurs said Liverpool done the same before they bought him.

Liverpool accused of tapping up Gabriel Heinze when at Manchester United as well as Rafa Benitiez being accused by HJK Helsinki of making an illegal approach for Pal Forisol.

Spurs have been accused by Aston Villa in the past of tapping up Ashley Young, while Aston Villa only recently themselves have been accused of doing the same to secure Alex McLeish as manager.

Chelsea were accused of it before they signed Fernando Torres last season and with that came the same concerns from Newcastle over the Andy Carroll move to replace him at Liverpool.

Real Madrid were accused of it for a long time over their attempts to secure Cristiano Ronaldo from Man Utd, and crossing Alex Ferguson usually does not end well for the other party. Again, nothing came of it.

Barcelona have been involved in the most blatant and longest running “tapping up” of a player I have ever seen. Staff, players, board members, and basically anyone they could find to make a public comment have spent almost two years doing everything they could to unsettle Fabregas and get him back to Spain.

Barcelona have themselves accused Arsenal of it on at least three occasions in the past with Arsenal stealing promising youngsters from under the noses of the Catalan giants. Knowing Wenger’s love for the young ones I`m sure there are dozens of similar cases that have never made it to mainstream media.

Now if all of those accusations and cases constituted “tapping up” most of the big sides in both England and Europe would not have the players they do today. This I think proves there is a real grey area surrounding this issue and it must be extremely difficult to enforce sanctions on teams for their sneaky activity in the transfer market.

It has been put to me that Newcastle should be a team that does not resort to this type of thing and it is unprofessional. Fact is we would all love our club to do things the right way and be squeaky clean but to think that will actually happen is kidding yourself.

Agreed, everyone should play the rules. The reality is these are the rules. It is a cut-throat world in which the playing field is far from fair. To get ahead or even stand the slightest chance of competing in the market the motto seems to now be, get it done by whatever means necessary.

The loopholes in various rules, mainly the one in question as regards acquiring players, are plenty and are manipulated on a constant basis by clubs. An accusation of tapping up is no more than that, an accusation. Unless extremely unlucky this seems to be merely seen as leverage and if punished for it can bring up any one of the above mentioned cases as well as I`m sure a hundred more to say, well what about these cases, how are we any different, why should we be punished?

So all things considered the conclusion I have come to is this. As much as the Sochaux chairman may be fuming at the prospect of Newcastle contacting or trying to take one of his players, fact is Sochaux are not as big a club and will lose players to bigger and better clubs and leagues. If we were all to go about playing nice and not using what leverage we could the personnel in some of the biggest clubs in Europe would not be what they are. The playing field is not at all fair and we are playing by the same rules as everyone else by the looks of things.

To stand a chance in dog eat dog you have to some big teeth, and even bigger balls.

107 thoughts on “Playing By The Rules

  1. Hey MT – Long time no banter. QPR have money to throw around, and Barton can reap the rewards (as sickening as the money is to us in the stands). They talk with an intention to punch above their weight and with their recently acquired wealth, they could be another NUFC circa 93-94.

    We on the other hand seem intent to wallow in mediocrity so as long it’s seen to protect us from impending financial doom. There are always ridiculous extremes when NUFC fans talk about financing this club and there is quite obviously a happy medium. That happy medium doesn’t need to equal mid-table mediocrity.

    Sure Barton will look like a hypocrite if he goes, but then talk is always cheap anyway. If you’re not wanted, your plans can change pretty quickly. He says things in the heat of the moment and Twitter is both friend and foe, when he considers he might need to go back on his word.


  2. Stuart 79
    are you seriously suggesting that Smith, Lovenkrands, Ranger etc. are quality players we should be fighting to keep as you suggested in your earlier e mail about fears of dismantling the squad??? What are you on about?


  3. How is Barton a hypocrite for leaving? He is not wanted by Ashley so he has to go somewhere and QPR arent as ambitious as us? Fans no, board, yes.


  4. @77….. i think that what stu means is that its still 2 x strikers down, no matter which way you cut it… and with the way we conduct our buying business…. what is the likelyhood of bringing in two?? about zero is the answer. Our club have long been not prepared to pay out good money for known high quality players.. now it seems that they dont want the crap either.. thats what stu prob meant. i would be happy to get shot of them two if we brought in a seriously decent forward.. would we though??


  5. Robert – some will say Barton is a hypocrite after implying he wouldn’t need to leave if he didn’t want to.


  6. i agree.. there is no way joey could be called a turn coat for leaving. if you loved your lass and wanted to stay with her but she told you that you are a tossa, not wanted or needed anymore, the bottom line is.. you are leaving, like it or not.


  7. Ye, Craig

    But if you called her useless, clueless and lambasted her after she treated you well for two years while you were cheating on her, she’d have good reason to tell you to PO, so you can’t really complain.

    I am a big fan of Joey the player, but as a man, he is a total arrogant tosser and all he really cares about are his ego.

    He was coming right but has gone off the rails again and is a liability, as we’ve seen with comments on twitter, he reactions against Arsenal and his mind being focused on how he can mouth off rather than play football.

    Which he has been crap at the first two games by the way/ IMO because his mind isn’t on it, but rather on himself and his hair-do.


  8. BBM..yeah i know… out of all the players we ever had.. joey is about as far from a turncoat as it gets. i just think, like the rest.. he has had a belly full, in actual.. he has hung in the longest other than the deadbeats and mediocre. Which high end contract extensions have we been able to complete for our big players recently? Zero is the word we are looking for. Oh no.. we got stroller nailed down for another 40 years.. thank fuk for that, phew, thought we might have lost the man for a minute.
    And before anyone says tiote…he was nailed down pre carrollgate.


  9. Bowburn, agree but when a club ” gives permission”, its the same as piss off, your not wanted.
    Also, how they going to replace him in 7 days when they have had 7 months to replace Carroll and 2 weeks for Enrique and are no where with both?


  10. I wouldn’t call Joey a turncoat, but he has dug his own grave and he knows it, but his pride won’t allow him to say it straight.


  11. JJ..his contract was extended in the jan window wasnt it?? and with carroll going on the last day… or am i mistaken?


  12. If Barton goes to QPR, I don’t think anyone should be angry with anyone else about it.

    The club are justified in wanting shot of him. His performances are good, but not irreplaceable and certainly not worth all the trouble.

    Barton’s redeemed himself in many eyes and should take the best offer available to him. Good luck to him. Except when playing us. Natch.

    Meanwhile we’ve got good options in place and don’t need to spend to replace him.

    Where’s the problem??


  13. BBM – I see what you are saying about QPR and their new found wealth. However they don’t have any recent history in order to exploit that. They don’t have a talisman, like we did in Keegan to help them to attract the players they need to be competative. Plus the PL is a lot harder than it was when we were promoted.
    Survival will be key for them. If they can get a second season in the PL then they may start to grow, but I still think they will go down again along with the other promoted teams.


  14. Whumpie
    Agree, I wouldnt hold recentment towards Barton or the board. But I do think Barton would be starting a downward slide in his career and lifestyle.


  15. Whumpie says:
    August 24, 2011 at 14:04

    Good options? Who? Who has had more assists than Barton last season, and lets be honest that is the only thing we can compare with.


  16. Also meant to say that I agree with the mediocraty at the club, but aren’t we bringing in better players than what we currently or used to have? Baton eluded as much on his tweets. If we didn’t have any ambition then surely the club would have just plodded along with what we already have?
    If we sign a lb and a striker, hopefully Pieters and Bendtner then I would say we’ve had as successful a transfer window as anyone could have expected.


  17. I’d be amazed (and disappointed) if Barton goes to QPR. Like someone’s already mentioned on here though, Fatty is probably waiting for him to leave before we bring in our much needed striker and LB.


  18. Stuart

    If you are taking every freekick and corner you will have the most assists.
    Cabaye will now do that, and thank God because his deliveries are much better than Bartons from set pieces.


  19. JJ, I think it’s a bit early in the day to say that mate. Although you have a fair point with your first sentence, I personally ain’t seen enough of Cabaye yet to justify your last.


  20. oh my god. not 1 to read too much into potential signing but I’ve been bumping my gums all summer that we’ll sign Carlton Cole..

    Alan Pardew has placed West Ham striker Carlton Cole as ‘Plan B’ if the bid for Modibo Maiga falls through.

    scarey rumour 😯


  21. @JJ

    thank God because his deliveries are much better than Bartons from set pieces.

    how do you know that? did you watch the french league last season?


  22. Whumpie and everyone else who thinks the club are right getting rid of Barton totally disagree with you. How many games did we win without Barton in the team last season that’s right a big fat 0. Who has looked the most likely to score in open play out of our squad that’s right Barton again who’s goal was blocked by a hand ball. Who got the most assists for us last season and was 10th highest in the league last season that’s right Barton again. And who scored the most goals for us pre-season yup Barton. Some people need to wake up and see the fat man is Asset stripping this club don’t expect much progress to be made with Ashley in charge.


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