As we know in this day and age of 21st century football, money is “god” and football clubs whose aspirations are to fight amongst the elite must splash the cash.
Because one club is spending crazy cash, other clubs are having to try and do the same or else face the prospect of being left behind. Manchester City are the club who, right now anyway, are at the forefront of this crazy spending spree.
The reality though is, Newcastle United were the front runners of the latter 20th century with Sir John Hall and his cohorts taking on an ambitious plan to rule the roost, and it very nearly succeeded. It was a gamble, in fact it was a mammoth gamble at the time, but he had a vision of propelling this club into the 21st century as the elite, top of the pile club with worldwide recognition..
At some stage he even wanted a team full of Geordies. Anyone remember the “Geordie Nation” malarkey?
Unfortunately, his vision and his stance on eventually creating a team full of Geordies was flawed because although we as a club were looked on as rich at that time, we were only as rich as the borrowing Sir John and crew relied upon and it was reliant on a success that would require continuity.
The first phase was all but completed until Sir Alex Ferguson psyched out Keegan and we went on to lose a 12 point cushion from which we should have comfortably won the title. While this wasn’t the start of our decline as such, it did start to hammer a few nails into the coffin because building the stadium whilst also trying to compete at the top was becoming a bridge too far in terms of what financial resources we had at our disposal.
Of course we had ‘The Entertainers’ tag which was very befitting of the team that Kevin Keegan built with the money afforded to him and the players he could bring in based on his stance as a superstar in the game.
Unfortunately, the first team squad was relied upon while all else was disbanded or put on the backburner, meaning we didn’t really have a future in terms of homegrown talent coming through the ranks, which naturally was the major flaw in Sir John Hall’s vision as he allowed Keegan to call the shots at the time.
Now Keegan done a fantastic job at the time and created a team that all others envied. Yes that’s right, ALL others, because not only was it enjoyable football but it was winning enjoyable football with a mindset of ‘we will score more than you’. All those who lived through that era will realise just what it was all about and the excitement of seeing excellent football coupled with some excellent signings in Ginola, Shearer e.t.c.
The shame of it all was that we were living in a wonderland dream world that from the outside was forever but from the inside, it was collapsing. The vison of a team full of Geordies was a pipe dream because our future was effectively killed stone dead whilst the money was available to recruit outsiders who wanted to ride this rollercoaster.
Sir John Hall and Kevin Keegan was a marriage made in heaven, and hell. The vows were real, the vision from both were real, the potential for immediate success was real. But unfortunately the potential for a sustained future wasn’t to be because the funds became chicken feed with the emergence of another man with a vision ….Roman Abramovich, who was to do what Sir John Hall and Keegan failed to do. He bought and bought for immediate success and managed it only to be outshone by the new kid on the block. Enter Sheikh Monsour who’s vision is the same and looking like it will come to fruition at Manchester City.
Newcastle United. So near yet so far and yet we will never experience the buying power of a Sheikh and we will (probably) never experience the pulling power of a Sheikh who can hire the type of manager to persuade just about any player on the planet to slip into a light blue shirt in rainy Manchester. But do we want that anyway?
Do Manchester City run on any real sort of in house finance? Of course not. We all know it’s “in” wallet Sheikh hobbyist pocket money isn’t it? And kids with toys do get bored don’t they. Imagine Monsour getting bored, shock horror. Would it kill off Manchester City? Probably not, but it will render them ordinary once again.
Abramovich has spent obscene amounts of money and seemed to get a bit bored because he doesn’t believe in just allowing all managers to buy what they want. He wants to choose a few players himself. Torres and Shevchenko spring to mind.
In doing so, he is reaping what he has sewn with his impatience replacing managers that do not bow down to him and also buying players that he likes. Chelsea are known as the best of the rest now, instead of the best of the best.
Newcastle United are a different gravy in the financial times stakes as we are doing it all from the ground up and it takes time and it takes change. In fact it takes a 21st century outlook to gain as much momentum as possible in raising the clubs stakes to compete from within the club (academy) all the way up to the clever dealings in the transfer market and being able to gain the upper hand by identifying the rough diamonds that can become the experienced backbone of the club for years to come and to nurture the home grown potential diamonds of the future beyond that.
Our dealings are cash on the hip so to speak and we play within our means whilst storing the excess change into a massive bottle to be used later and we live by that as it builds and matures. Hire purchase items break down at times but the finance company will still knock on the door, it’s better owning your item outright so nobody knocks at the door!
Financial times…….. Buy now pay later?……… Pay as you go?
Are we doing it right? I’d say so.