Mostly I write about poker but today I make an exception. Today is about Newcastle United, my local football team.
Because I am sick of hearing the views of biased negative people that listen to the masses and never look at a long term plan or give consideration to what is really going on.
The Current Understanding
Last seaon Newcastle United finished 5th in the Premier League. Alan Pardew won the ‘Manager of the Year’ award. Our football wasn’t as exciting as some make out but we were a solid enough team and the excitement generated around the city and local area was fantastic.
This season we went from 5th top to 5th bottom (LOL). The football was definitely of a poorer standard.
Alan Pardew has been given a vote of confidence by the owners and will remain as manager for next season. This has caused absolute uproar up here.
Now we are being linked with buying new players. One name that is talked about each day is Andy Carroll. It seems a 50/50 split on fans opinions as to whether or not we should buy him back. But some people say he is rubbish and if we buy him we will resort to poor football where we simply boot the ball up the pitch.
Opinions Of The People
The opinion of most is that Alan Pardew should be sacked. They say the football has resorted to ‘hoofball’. We simply kick the ball up the pitch and give it away. They say we should play a very technical game with gifted players playing free-flowing super football and that will get us up the league. They say we should be buying exciting expensive footballers like Aubameyang. They say Hatem Ben Arfa is the ‘be all and end all’ and the best footballer we’ve ever seen. They say don’t buy Andy Carroll as he is rubbish and will produce ugly football.
As the days go by I find that more and more of them are jumping on the band wagon. The blogs I read have fallen into disarray with constant arguments, and moans and groans about the manager, the chief executive and the owner.
It has even got to the point where all articles I read are totally biased, one sided affairs. I don’t think I have yet read a balanced view on the matter.
This is how I like to view the matter…..
Why Don’t We Play This Exciting New Brand Of Football?
Who does play this exciting football? I suppose Manchester United do. Their free flowing football is great to watch. But their players cost a fortune and the clubs financial clout is probably 4 times what Newcastle’s is. It’s easier to play great football if you have great players.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs are similar but once again they have a lot more money than us. Their players are better.
We also have other Premier League teams that are known to play a nice game. Swansea, Southampton etc. Its good to watch but I wouldn’t call it very exciting and as far as chances created or challenging the top places, well they simply won’t manage to do it.
To play a super brand of football and at the same time challenge the top teams you need a lot of money spent on top players. That will not happen at Newcastle. Just look at Liverpool. They have an income way higher than ours and they are trying to produce this nice game with a manager in Brendan Rodgers. He is building a team to do this and it is costing a lot of money. For it to be successful the forwards have to be real classy players. Suarez, Sturridge, Suso, Borini, Sterling etc. These are real top class players. Newcastle can not hope to buy a team like that. Let’s be honest about the facts here.
But it is my firm belief that Newcastle United do want to challenge at the top. We want to eventually challenge for those Champions League places. There is definitely an ambition to do that but it won’t happen overnight. But if we can’t play a brand of ‘keep the ball’ football and challenge at the top because we haven’t got that sort of player then what do we do? Do we just give up? Do we play keep ball and accept that we finish in maybe mid-table? No we certainly don’t. We come up with another plan.
Just like me, these doubters on the blogs and forums haven’t got a clue what goes on over there behind closed doors. We have a genious businessman who owns the club and a chief executive that I rate highly because he was chosen by this genious. Together they chose a manager whom they believed could take the club forward. It certainly worked initially with a 5th place finish and Alan Pardew became a hero up here.
Since this time, the city has turned against him. They believe the team is playing poor football. They believe we will be fighting relegation next season. But really we have to try and look outside the box to see what is going on.
Is Alan Pardew So Bad?
Firstly, why would Mike Ashley decide to keep Alan Pardew as manager? We don’t know why but I would have as a guess that he still sees Pardew as the right man for the job. The more I look into it I would tend to agree.
I can remember Alan Pardew in his previous jobs having great teams at lesser clubs. It was good stuff to watch. We know he is into the overall stats behind what happens on the pitch. To me this is one of the most important factors.
Knowing we can not challenge playing a certain type of football means as a group these people with power have to come up with a new plan. They are working on that and moving it forward. This season was a blip. Firstly we entered the Europa League and had to play an extra 14 European games. That along with all the travel and a small squad meant we were in trouble right from the off. It was always going to be tough. In addition to that we had injuries to a lot of players. Out for lengthy spells were R.Taylor, S.Taylor, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Coloccini, Krul, Santon, Marveaux etc. We also lost Demba Ba to Chelsea in early January.
The owners have admitted they made mistakes last Summer in not recruiting enough players. In January they tried to make amends by bringing in five French players that are all looking good. But it takes these players time to settle in. We can’t blame Alan Pardew for this lot.
What can we blame Pardew for? Maybe the style of football. I will also admit this hasn’t been great near the end of the season but I look at it differently. A number of players seemed to lose form and the main problem for me was that our forward line simply doesn’t work. Papiss Cisse is not a footballer that plays a good style of football and certainly would not fit into these free flowing teams I mentioned above. Nor is he the type of player that can play up front alone and be strong and hold the ball up. He may score a few goals but he doesn’t create any. In fact he never really creates chances for others. Admitted there have been the odd one but nowhere near what is required.
This has been the key to this awful season. It’s my belief that Ashley and co have realised this and Pardew is still part of the plan and indeed my view is that the future is very bright indeed.
Can We Move Up The Table Next Year?
If we can’t buy two or three expensive forwards and midfielders to compliment this new style of football what do we do? Well firstly we already have some super footballers in that midfield. We need Tiote to regain his form. Cabaye is a regular in the French team. Ben Arfa is a genious player and although his game is somewhat flawed he would still be a starter in most teams. Gouffran is looking good. Sissoko can achieve enormous things. Anita with a season under his belt is an exciting prospect. The list goes on. But we still haven’t got one forward that I would class as good enough to play a type of football that can get us to the top.
Why Don’t We Buy The Best Players Like Aubameyang?
Here’s the answer. We have to work on a budget. The owner should not have to put his own money into the club. We get 52,000 fans at every game and the money is rolling in. But the cost of players wages and general running of the club ensure that we are only close to breaking even each year. Indeed last year we had a turn over of something like £90million with only £1.4million profit. The players we buy and the total cost of their wages have to fit into the clubs income. It’s very simple really.
So if we want to buy Aubameyang for £12 million and pay him £3 million a year for five years that has to be factored into the equation.
The blogs are saying we must get this player. We may be trying to do a deal to get him here but if he is as good as people say then I doubt we will get him. He will be offered more money elsewhere. The same goes for most of the star strikers that are around. We have been turned down so many times in the past. The money talks.
If we do manage to get a player like that it’s my opinion that we possibly need two similar strikers. And they must fit into Pardew’s plan for the future. And most importantly I would look at the long term value. Let’s look at a few others we have bought in recent years.
Cisse. Very decent but also lacking. He will get a few goals but his link up play isn’t what it should be. Look at other Premier League strikers that can really get involved in games. Suarez, Dempsey, etc. I don’t even have to pick the superstars here. The general Premier League striker is a better footballer than Cisse. He may stay a bit longer but I wouldn’t be surprised if they sold him.
Ba. Usual stuff. He did well and jumped at the first chance to get away because he was successful.
Martins. Decent enough but never hit the heights.
Owen. £15 million and just faded away.
In fact I could go on and on. We have had some decent strikers but they are few and far between. The best in the recent past is Alan Shearer. Local, committed and loved the club and the city. We are crying out for another player like that. And here’s the key. He could play in a team that wasn’t neatly passing the ball around the pitch. He could play in a way that got us up the league and challenging for Europe.
So if we cannot buy the best players from around the world, who do we buy?
Should We Buy Andy Carroll?
I am a supporter of Andy Carroll yet I find that he is not rated highly by a lot of people. Are they really seeing what is on offer? Because he is a tall, bruising man and good in the air they seem to think he can’t play football. They also believe that Newcastle’s attempts to sign him are so that Pardew can have his way and play hoofball up to Carroll.
I really have to laugh at the ignorance of this belief. Alan Pardew is managing a top team in the toughest and most respected football league in the world. He has the support of a team of assistants. He has all the latest up to date information. He has a team of scouts. He may make the overall decisions but they will be made as a large team of which he is the spearhead.
His knowledge goes way above ours in footballing terms. To be in that post and win manager of the year when up against Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, David Moyes, Harry Rednapp etc gives evidence of this.
So to think that this successful manager wants Andy Carroll in the team so all these technical players from around the world can just ‘hoof’ the ball up the pitch just leaves me in disbelief. Do you realise how daft it is? I am seriously shocked.
Andy Carroll came through the Newcastle youth system and turned out so good that Liverpool paid £35 million for him. We knew it was a lot but people did not think is was crazy at the time. He seriously was that good a prospect. Since then things haven’t turned out quite so well for him. He has had a few injuries and hasn’t quite fitted into the new managers plans. He did however show how good he was when fit at the end of last season scoring at Wembley in the FA Cup. The Liverpool fans thought very highly of him and most still do.
He was loaned out to West Ham for this past season and although injured once again he has proved his worth when fit and caused havoc for opposing teams. So much so that the fans down there love him and the club have apparently agreed a fee of £15 million to buy him from Liverpool. To date he has not agreed to go and the rumours are that his choice of club is his beloved Newcastle United. I say beloved and some would argue with that because he left here in the first place. Again this is short sighted as even if you were the most ardent Newcastle fan and you played for the team earning around £30,000 a week you would still leave to play for Liverpool for £90,000 a week and increase your chances of international football and winning trophies.
He now appears home sick. He wants to come back. At least that’s what the reports say. And what I say is that Newcastle United need this player. This one player is the key to our success. This is the most crucial decision since we bought Alan Shearer. Out of any affordable player in the world that would be tempted to move to Newcastle, this is the one I would choose.
Whereas most strikers would come here to play for a big team and earn lots of money they are still mainly mercenaries who have short careers. They tend to stay and see out their contracts on the most money they can earn and often become worse players or they become better players and want to leave. We’ve seen it time and time again. A player will generally find his level and a club that suits that level. That’s why we don’t have players that are at the very top of the game. We have great players as we are a great club with a massive support but if any of them improve they will command more money and move on to a club that will pay what they are worth.
But Andy Carroll is totally different to this stereotype. Here we have a person that loves Newcastle. There are regular reports of him being seen up here. He always makes his way home when he can. He loves the club and the city and the area. His family and his friends are here. He knows what it means to play for Newcastle United.
My daughters were in Newcastle at a Chinese buffet and in there was Andy Carroll. Some young child was struggling to reach the ice cream machine and over stepped Andy to help the youngster. He had all the time in the world for them and helped all the kids. Afterwards he had the time to chat and have pictures taken with my daughters. Good old Andy Carroll.
Another report was that he was down at the local bingo hall sitting with the grannies having a game of bingo. Absolutely incredible stuff. Get in there Andy Carroll.
He is spotted around Newcastle in the pubs and the casinos. Good on him. This man is one of us. It’s quite simple really. He should be here fighting for this city. He is as important as every fan that pays their money and cheers and shouts for that team.
If Andy Carroll returns home he will be our player for years to come. That is a key point. We know what we will get and he will stay here.
I have four season tickets. I go to every home game and the odd away game. I even travelled to Lisbon recently to watch the match with Benfica along with my daughter. I am a supporter and I want Andy Carroll, a true Newcastle fan as our striker.
So that’s the sentimental stuff over with.
Is He Any Good?
It is clear that he is still one of the best strikers in this league. He is a monster of a man. He will terrorise any defence. Defenders simply can’t handle him. He is the biggest nuisance in the league. He batters defenders. He has no fear. He will smash his way to the goal.
Ability wise he is a very gifted player. He may not suit the style of football that Liverpool are wanting to play but he will suit the style that we want to play. And that’s a style that is the only way Newcastle can challenge near the top of that league. It is a well designed style of play that has been well thought out. He could be the missing part of the puzzle.
Imagine Newcastle attacking with Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Gouffran, Marveaux, Sissoko etc and Big Andy spearheading that? He takes so many defenders with him that he will create space for these players. They will love playing with him. They would be desperate to have him in the team. Ben Arfa is one of the most exciting players we have seen at Newcastle and I bet he would just love to have Carroll up there with him.
It isn’t a style of hoofball. Nothing could be further from the truth. It would be the most exciting football we’ve seen in years.
I really think it’s about time people saw through a few bad displays and got to grips with what’s really going on over there.
I’m already looking forward to next season as I know we have to buy one or two strikers. I just hope it is Andy Carroll. Come on Newcastle. Sign him up and lets get this city to the way it should be. A giant Geordie striker, what could be better than that?
Please bring Andy home!