Reaction to the answers from the board

Game On at St James' Park

More questions than answers?
Well firstly I’d like to say thank-you to Lee Ryder from the Evening Chronicle. His attempts to get some dialogue going between fan and board deserve credit.

Secondly I’d like to say that whilst I may not agree with some of the answers to the questions I genuinely feel that there isn’t much more that could have been said. I find some of the answers disingenuous whilst, some of them fair enough and some of them not fair enough.

I guess the only way to analyse these questions is to look at each one specifically. Remember, this is purely MY reaction to the questions. I’m not a mouthpiece of the fans and don’t claim to be so if you disagree with my reasoning then fair enough. Just try not to be a cock about it and keep the personal abuse to a minimum.

If you have already done so you can read the full questions and answers by clicking the following blue hyperlinks.

Part one
Part two

Q.1 – Where’s the money that was pledged to be reinvested in the squad after the sale of Andy Carroll gone?

My reaction: This is the answer that I feel is rather disingenuous. I admit that they said all along that the money would be kept within the club, but I also think it’s now folly to say that the money is still there after the event.

We also got the bit about free transfers incurring costs. This is fair enough and few can deny that this actually happens although it doesn’t explain much at all. Mind you I never expected then to go into detailed facts and figures, which is why I was shocked to see them reveal that a 10th placed finish would give us a wage/turnover ratio of 65%. For a numbers geek like me it gives me something to work on.

Q.2 – Why is there such a lack of communication with the fans from Mike Ashley and his board?

My reaction: They answered by countering with the fact that every time they do speak they get criticism for it. This is fair enough in my book. At least they admit that is was because of their own actions that things have gone this way.

At the end of the day, much like what has happened with the answers to these questions, people will criticise. People shouldn’t be prepared to ask questions if there is a chance that they won’t like the answers in my opinion.

Q.3 – In 2009 you outlined your plans for the club at a fans forum. Can you give us an update on how you see our position now against that plan and if it has changed? What is the long-term plan for Newcastle United?

My reaction: The club say that they have a target of top ten this season and then for sustainable growth beyond that. This is fair enough in my book. They then go on to say that the club is on a far sounder financial footing than what is was. In short there is nothing new in that answer.

Q.4 – Can you justify why it took seven months to pursue a striker before failing at the eleventh hour to secure a signing?

My reaction: This is one that I feel that they have skirted around a little bit. The deals may have fallen down late in proceedings, but they still had seven months to do some business and still left it until transfer deadline day. Why?

Q.5 – Public opinion on Tyneside from large sections of fans is that they no longer trust statements coming out of the club after several empty promises. What assurances can you give fans that they can believe what the club tells them?

My reaction: They answered this themselves really when they said:

“We don’t feel we’ve made empty promises. Sometimes in these situations it’s impossible to win. If we say nothing we are criticised. If we state our intentions and they are not realised, we are criticised.”

In a way they can’t win, but then in a way they’ve brought it about themselves. They know that. they’ve admitted it. On that basis I don’t know what else they can do.

Q.7 – Given that level 7 was deserted in some parts at the Fulham game, is there any reason why those who want to sing can’t all be sat together rather than upsetting fans who don’t want to sing, which appears to be the problem in the Strawberry corner? What has caused the club to fundamentally change its stance to standing in the stadium?

My reaction: This is something I’ve said all along. There has been no change on standing. For years, and as a result of the Hillsborough disaster, standing has not been allowed in football grounds up and down the country and St James’ Park is no different. In fact if you cast your minds back to the Championship season you will do well to remember Middlesbrough reducing our away allocation because of our fanbase opting to stand.

Q.7 – Many fans clamoured for a marquee signing on the striker front. Are those days gone and can we expect more continental-based players coming in January, if any?

My reaction: I don’t get this one. I think it played straight into the hands of the board. I can’t recall many people wanting a “marquee” signing and most people recognise that many Marquee signings have let us down in the past.

What was asked for was a striker of sufficient quality that would allow us to improve. However, the wording of the questions means that we got the standard “the days of marquee signings are over” which in all fairness is somthing we knew all along anyway.

Q.8 – Are you concerned about the 10,000 drop in attendance and that fans are either not renewing season tickets or have headed to support local non-league teams instead?

My reaction: The upshot of it is that they aren’t concerned, yet, which kid of mirrors my own view on the subject. However they have said they are watching and will take steps should they see a pattern emerging.

Knowing this board they’ll probably knock a stand down rather than reduce ticket prices. I jest of course…

Q.9 – Is Mike Ashley considering putting the club up for sale?

My reaction: The answer was that Ashley isn’t looking to sell, unless there is a silly money bid from somewhere.

In short there is nothing here that I didn’t know anyway.

Q.10 – Newcastle United has the third highest attendances in the country, Sky TV and income from merchandising, plus a lower debt position than many in the EPL. Why in terms of player recruitment can Newcastle not compete with smaller clubs like Stoke, Fulham and QPR?

My comment: Essentially this was a “no comment” and a statement that they are committed to their business plan and will follow it through.

Not much more I can add on that really. Time will tell I guess.

Q.11 – Are you aware of fans’ disgruntlement with the away ticketing policy given the Toon Army are amongst the most loyal fans in the UK, and will you consider reviewing the policy?

My reaction: I still disagree with this even though I’ve always held a membership anyway so it doesn’t really affect me. However the minority of fans that acted like bellends at Darlington have brought this about and have ruined it for those who don’t have memberships. Actions have consequences.

Q.12 – Alan Pardew said he was 100% convinced he would get a new number 9. What changed?

My reaction: Again this is something that I’ve said all along. People claimed that Alan Pardew was lying whilst I insisted that he was just relaying what he had been told. This is confirmation from the board that they were confident about a striker. In that scenario it seems that Pardew was just relaying what looked to be happening and was not trying to deceive anyone.

Q.13 – Why was Joey Barton allowed to leave for free and join a club that could be considered to be a rival in the Premier League?

My reaction: This is basically an admission that the club wanted rid. He wouldn’t sign a new deal and then set about lambasting the board. Nobody would pay any money for him so the decision was made to let him go for nothing.

I still think it was a bad decision but, as Derek Llambias says, Joey has got the deal he wants, the board have got rid of a problem and everyone is happy, aside from the fans and presumably Alan Pardew.

Q.14 – Many fans now consider us to be a “selling club” after the departures of Nolan, Enrique, Carroll and Barton. How do you respond to this?

My reaction: Personally I’ve never considered us to be a selling club anyway. Enrique wanted to go, Nolan wanted more than he could get here, Barton and the board fell out and we received stupid money for Andy Carroll. Like it or not there are mitigating circumstances involved in the departures of all four of those players.

The real test is from now on however. I’m assuming that as we become more financially stable we’ll be able to resist cashing in on players and that it will take silly money to buy players from us.

In conclusion

I’m not overly disappointed by these answers in truth. I never expected much else if truth be told and believe that they have said what can be said. Overall I’m happy enough with them.

For those that aren’t happy, what did you expect? I got criticism for predicting that the answers would be what we know already, but it seems that some are unhappy with what they’ve got in the shape of answers. The nuts of it is, don’t ask questions if you may not like the answers. You won’t get hurt that way.

I’d like to know what else could have been said? I mean at the moment people are proving Derek right when he said earlier that essentially there is no point in communicating as people don’t like what is said anyway and it just attracts criticism. On the evidence of today, and I really hate saying this, but I have to agree with him.

Are you happy with the answers supplied by the board?

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139 thoughts on “Reaction to the answers from the board

  1. Troy – Not at all. I was just saying that maybe the time has come to try something different?

    I mean the figures are there in black and white. Before he started getting dogs abuse he spent money on transfers. When he started getting the crap he stopped spending the cash.


  2. Batty – Can you imagine the directors of other clubs getting their clothes off and streaking and dancing in public places, and then coming out and saying “The scenes we witnessed at Darlington were disgraceful” We changed the ticketing policy “to protect the reputation of the club”.
    You talk about my attitude getting us nowhere. Do you not want to treated with some respect and your club owner and manager to show some dignity?


  3. ofcoarse people scream abuse at him and its not just the young kids its just about everyone in the stadium young and old , they have destroyed any hope of respect by showing none , and does anybody really think if noone shouted at him hed start telling the truth and spending the ac money . b&b 53 spot on .


  4. Batty – Aye, about a quarter of wealth. Probably more in fairness. Just because the guy is “worth” 1.25 billion or whatever it doesn’t mean that he has it lying around in cash. Newcastle will be part of his wealth, as will Sports Direct. Assets are what determine his worth.


  5. Toonsy. As his net wealth got smaller, his arms got shorter. As his arms got shorter, his nose got longer.


  6. It’s not as if he hasn’t got an asset which he could sell and get his money back?

    You talk as if he’s bought it and lost his money. Anything but.


  7. Batty – If some loon punches your kid in the nose and knees him in the bollocks, do you tell him to put his arm around the loon and shake his hand on the basis that “respect goes both ways”. Or is it just when the loon’s dad is your rich boss and it might be to your financial benefit?


  8. @batty

    Found what?

    I take it you are on a wind up?

    I don’t believe you believe what you are saying.

    You can get off my reality train if you are being serious. 


  9. To all those fans who can’t see that abusing Ashley is a pointless exercise, I understand that the track record of the owner and board hasn’t been great over the years, but the current behaviour towards the owner doesn’t appear to be working so it might actually be sensible to just get behind the team and lay off the abuse.

    Also, the questions posed to the club through the Chronicle have been answered, which is what we all wanted and now it seems that the answers aren’t enough. If that’s the case, then what did people want? It simply supports Llambias’s point that the club can’t win either way.

    On a separate note, there are some clubs worse off than NUFC in the PL at present – Sunderland and Blackburn for starters. It still remains very early in the season and although we have a lot of games before the January window, with a bit of luck and a couple of sensible additions we can have a good season and continue to prove a lot of doubters wrong.


  10. Troy – Poor Bobby’s reality train crashed and burned after your recent take on Pardew. He’ll be turning in his grave and wondering why he ever thought it would be a good idea to leave you in charge.


  11. troy can you find me another owner that has put a higher percentage of his personal wealth into a footbal club in the prem ? no not on a wind up


  12. Kev – Its not a pointless exercise. Ashley has tried to sell the club twice since it started. Moreover, Llambias’ answers show that the abuse is really getting to Ashley. We just need to keep it up and he’ll go eventually. When I say abuse, I don’t mean vicious abuse. Just making him feel unwelcome as a member of our club. If you’re in the Milburn and he gets in the lift, get out and take the stairs. We’ll wear him down.


  13. Batty – He didn’t intend to put anywhere near as much of his wealth into the club. He got quite a shock because he didn’t do the due diligence. Pity he hadn’t taken the time to buy a box for five years instead of taking advantage of FF on his hospital bed. It ended up costing him almost twice what he thought it would to buy and run, just at the time when his persoanl welath plummeted. He would get out in a flash, and has no loyalty to this club.


  14. I believe the time for mutual respect is long long gone there are no possitives to be taken out of mikes ownership , it makes me feel sick when i think about what hes done , the way he treat keegan , the dwarf , joe kinnear , shearer , the clubs for sale then its not , relegation the sacking of hughton the constant lies and the pure contempt . And it never ends hell let us down again and again probably in january if not before ! and when he leaves nufc he will do so with a handsome profit and that is a rare transaction in the football world .


  15. Batty – do you want me to cut and paste all your abusive posts towards Ashley?

    Absolutely incredible turnaround and you now have as much credibility as Stardust.

    How do you know there’s not a potential buyer out there. Ashley has not put the club up for sale at the Market price.

    My god. What a flake you’ve turned out to be.


  16. evening lads and lasses!!

    will davide santon be starting on monday night? the bench?? give him a start , he looks class!!

    this is my team for monday night

    raylor taylor collo santon
    obertan tiote cabaye gutierez
    best ba



  17. Army 69 – Big Dave reckons Santon should start on the bench because he hasn’t had time to gel, his confidence is not great and us fans are notorious for knocking poor starters. He wants to wrap him in cotton wool. I’ve never heard so much b*ll*cks, especially if he’s as good as everyone says he is. If I was that good, I would be desperate to play. (I can say this cos Big Dave’s gone for his tea.)


  18. haha cheers blackley , aye i woud of liked to see him start like!! low confidence??? hes an u21 international captain!!!! if i had that i would be top of the world with confidence!!!!! bluddy start him and get simpson on the bench with raylor on the right!!! 🙂


  19. batty
    September 10, 2011 at 22:09

    troy what is the market price would you say ??

    i would say … 2 wham bars and a pack of space raiders????


  20. @batty

    I don’t know what the Market value is. I just know Ashley has just tried to rip the eyes out of potential buyers.

    Why have you suddenly changed your stance ?

    Not bitching fella. It’s trying to find out what goes through Battys mind, when for months on end he has referred to Ashley as a c@Nt, then all of a sudden changes his stance.

    Either something dramatic had happened or he’s a flake.


  21. im so bored im gna do my fav toon 11 when all fit 😉

    raylor saylor collo santon
    obertan cabaye guti or marveaux
    best or ba


  22. I can hear it now , yes we have had 5 months to get a forward but young players are the hardest to get across the line and its not for lack of trying . and some fans will buy it ! again.


  23. Batty – Apparently you can’t even talk about market values with a view to a sale these days until you have shown some sort of commitment that you’re a serious player by buying a five year season ticket. F***ing insult. Its like saying to someone who wants to view your house that they can’t come unless and until they show real intention by tarmacking your drive.
    Army – There’s two of us here fighting for the keyboard. I’m not sure that KingKev would approve of Batty using his image as an avatar, especially as he would never prostitute his principles.


  24. Keith @114 – Spot on again mate.
    What gets me is that any cheap attacking player who has half a reputation as a striker will do. We were all over the shop in the helicopter on deadline day. The player could be anywhere on Pardew’s phantom list, tenth, eleventh, twentieth. Keegan and Xisco show the policy. Llambias, not Pardew, is the one who is building and dismantling the team according to Ashley’s blueprint.


  25. Batty – You’re f***ing batty, mate. I thought nobody could be so batty, but then I thought you do get a few on here, like Stardy, Witters, and JJ, and that’s what threw me. You’re a right tricky trickster.
    Anyway, hope I’m not missing MOTD?


  26. Batty – Are you going to tell Keegan? Last I heard he spat the dummy out, and jumped in his helicopter to see his lawyers with a view to suing Toonsy in action for false misrepresentation and illegal use of image rights. You were being brought in as a co-defendant.


  27. @b&B

    I see you never answered my question on Pards.

    You are now known as the politician by many on here which I’ve been saying for years. 


  28. Wow! He’s done it again.

    It’s beyond embarrassing now. 

    What would you have liked Pards to have said?

    High ham weighting.


  29. exactly bb@120 were not naive enough to think a 10 million stricker was winging his way towards the north east but just dident make it over that line before 2300 hours and they wont in january either , but we need numbers a loan deal anything , whats more likely is selling tiote for 10 to 15 million and getting a 6 or 7 mill stricker in , robbing peter to pay paul .( robbing geordies to pay mike )


  30. Its there in black and white if you want the club your going to have to pay more than its worth. Ashley wants at least £300m.

    It pisses me off we have an owner who’s ambition is less than that of the Supporters. The Club deserves an owner who wants to push the club forward. I don’t care what good he’s done for the club im not happy with mediocrity. I’d rather the club pushed to get into Europe and Beyond than settle for mid table.

    Yes we have brought some good players in but also let some good players go. The difference being the players that left were proven. Im Excited by the midfield we have but i know that no player is safe from sale.


  31. Aiming for the top ten this season?
    If it hadn’t been Pardew’s ridiculous substitutions in the WBA game at the end of the season we WOULD have been in the top ten.
    Obviously no progress expected there, then, from the top.
    Ashley’s threat via Lamearse about not investing because he has been abused is just blackmail.
    He’s not going to invest anyway so why shouldn’t we pile the abuse on even further? He obviously doesn’t like it.
    Tough businessman my a**e.


  32. Blackley’s gone to bed on the other thread, and I’ve been left with the keyboard all to myself. Just my luck. Can’t think of anything to say.


  33. Decent analysis Toonsy, generally agree with u here –

    there were a few revealing comments in amongst the predictable stuff – the 65% wages/turnover bit and the ‘mike won’t put any more of his own money in and why should he’ bit. Some of the Qs were a bit lame, but that’s to be expected – a popularity contest rarely makes the wisest choice.

    Also, fair play to him for taking the time (assuming it was him, haha) to answer the Qs – hope he ignores the minority of eejits who tend to post comments on the chron website and continues to be open to answering Qs going forward

    Personally I’d have liked a few more financial Qs –

    1. i’d want some details about the sports direct ‘sponsorship’ agreement with SJP.
    2. and is their any prospect of another company taking over this ‘sponsorship’
    3. I’m curious about costs other than wages. If 65% of turnover goes on this cost, how about a rough breakdown of the other 35%……
    4. i’d like confirmation that we’re in the process of paying Ashley’s loans back ( i recall your article suggesting that all of our TV money is earmarked for this purpose each season)


  34. Its an easy answer why the wage bill will sit at a planned 65% of turnover (if it does and thats a big question mark)
    When turnover declines as is currently happening (lower crowds, less income from on the day expenditure beer pies progs etc.) its inevitable that your % ratios change the real measure is cash wages comparison nobody asked that question
    Llambias and co are being totally disingenuous with the Joey Barton answer
    they like to believe they are crash hot in the transfer market, given in the final days it resembles a roulette operation and they played it that way but but spun a zero 0.
    They could easily have traded Barton on the final day for some income, regardless someone would have paid a fee. If not they could have loaned him out for the final year of his contract, the manager wanted to keep hi after all.
    Pure hubris and crap financial management


  35. You’d think the owner had got everything right reading Llambias versions. KK’s record in the transfer market was fantastic. Apart from McDonagh of Luton you’d be hard pushed to find failure. It didn’t need Wise to be put above him to acquire the likes of Gonzalez and Xisco. The fallout from that self induced fiasco caused delegation aided by poor decisions such as the appointment of Kinnear. It was at these stages our faith in the regime was being eroded. Selling Carroll without lining up a replacement may have made business sense like KK’s sale of Cole – which he had the guts to explain. Then came Sir Les and Shearer. We failed in seven months to find Carroll’s replacement and that is failure. It is not bad luck nor is it events conspiring against us. It is not us who need to work at building up our faith in the owner. He needs to deliver and that does not mean with the likes of Owen and Kluivert. We may be passionate but we are not stupid. Graham Carr is doing a great job unearthing real talent where previously inept scouting cost the club dear. I think most fans recognise the gems that Tiote and Cabaye can be but selling your two top scorers and having only injury prone strikers left is not football or business sense.


  36. To make it easier:

    (26) “His money has never improved the club where it matters – on the pitch.:

    (31) “By the way, if we win on Monday we’re top four!”



  37. spot on blaydonson@135 , we dont have to show him respect its his business he should run it as his business plan and directors have set out not on how few or how many people call him fat ! another glaring piece of evedence of how much of a baffoon he and his cronies are , as for our hunt for a sricker your spot on again absolute failure weather the failure was total incompetence or we just dident quite make it over the line because the line wasent actually there is the real question !


  38. Questions and answers were fair enough but it still does not explain that this club has nobody of any note wearing the number 9 shirt .Absolute criminal that its been 8 months now.I can see the club is trying to move in the right direction but what if we cant put balls in the net where will we be come the january window.


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