Quality over quantity.

Keep the quality, and increase it!
Alan Pardew has given us another little insight into what he has planned with regard to summer transfers at Newcastle United.

The emphasis will be on quality over quantity as Pardew looks to strengthen the squad whilst retaining some of our current key players. He views our tight squad as something that should be harnessed and complimented rather than being ripped apart and started again from fresh, which is fair enough if the current players who need new deals – namely Joey Barton and Jose Enrique – actually do sign a new deal at the club.

Pardew told the Daily Mail: “I don’t want to necessarily increase the size of the squad too much, but I do want to increase competition for places. At times, we lack that. In terms of the starting eleven, most Newcastle fans would pick the same side and that’s a worry for me as a manager.”

“I don’t need two players in every position but somebody like Phil Neville at Everton who can play left-back, right-back or centre midfield. They call them utility players and they save you a lot of money.”

Now I’m not that big on utility players and I prefer to have able cover in every position. The fact is that even though a player is dubbed a ‘utility player’ they will still have a preferred position in which they tend to achieve their optimum performance. To use Pardew’s example of Phil Neville, I view him as a right back. This was evident when Everton beat us at St James’ Park as, despite the scoreline, Kevin Nolan ran rings around the former Manchester United man at times, and it’s not often that Kevin Nolan runs rings around anyone!

Now with regard to keeping the squad small it makes sense to sign a utility player. Whether I like them or not is largely irrelevant on this score as the fact that adding one player who can do two jobs will decrease the need for players is pretty hard to argue. It’s simple maths. Is this what Pardew is aiming for? Keeping the group together? It certainly seems so. Pardew continued:

“I don’t want to lose the focus of the group. We need to protect the spirit. I want to keep it tight and relatively small and easy to manage. I made that mistake before at West Ham when the squad got too big and it was difficult to focus the group.”

Make of it what you will, but to me it looks like we could see some evolving of the squad over the summer. By that I mean that we’ll probably add a few faces, but we’ll also lose a few faces, and hopefully they will be the ones that are surplus to requirements like Alan Smith, Ryan Taylor, Xisco, Ryan Taylor, Sol Campbell and Ryan Taylor.

To be honest it kind of makes sense. We have the 25-man squad rules to consider, so signing players whilst not expecting anyone to leave is folly. We’ll probably sign the four, five or six players that keep getting thrown around, but we’ll possibly lose two or three along the way.

What matters is losing the right ones!

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

54 thoughts on “Quality over quantity.

  1. As long as we don’t lose our ‘vital’ players (Barton, Enrique, Tiote etc), I’ll be happy with whoever he brings in.
    On a none footballing note, following on from the previous thread. I checked out ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ online and found this 😆
    Absolutely hilarious! Just wish I could access the BBC1 episodes, but they are not available from the USA 😥


  2. You must really dislike Raylor, making him surplus twice 😉
    Sorry but utility players while useful rarely improve the quality of the squad especially if you have to many.
    Raylor…..CB, RB, RM
    Gosling…..CM, RM, RB
    Perch…LB, CB, RB,Midfield
    Saylor…CB, RB
    Benny…LM, CM, RM, 2nd Striker
    Ferguson…LB, LM
    JB….across the middle etc etc
    Most players should be able to cover at least 2 positions anyway especially in an emergency…no to utility players for me, they’re generally average at best imo, is that going to move us onwards and upwards?


  3. Richietoon,

    Twice? Try three times, I think you made your point toonsy 🙄 😆

    I would also deem Perch and Routledge surplus to requirements (providing we sign a winger 😕 )


  4. Don’t know if this is news or not (couldn’t be arsed reading through the blogs today) but Brad Inman has een included in an Aussie development camp.

    The purpose of the camp is to identify Euro-based players for the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, 2012 Olympics qualifying campaign and 2011 U-20 World Cup in Colombia in August.

    The training camp will be held in Duisburg and involves two training matches against local teams Borussia Mönchengladbach Reserves on 23 March and Schalke 04 Reserves 24 March.

    James Troisi is in it too – he plays in Turkey these days.


  5. I don’t buy into this utility players thing.OK if you have cover in every position,if not ,lose your utility player through a long term injury and not only have you lost one player then you have lost cover for other positions as well,having said that I also don’t buy into what Pardew says any way he will do whats he’s told to do end of.


  6. “Alan Pardew has given us another little insight into what he has planned with regard to summer transfers at Newcastle United.”

    Pardew gives us insight into nowt **** just tumbles from his gob, He said last week we need 4 players, Then Carr (The person Ashleys seems to trust) says we need 6 players, Maybe hes been ordered to replace a certain couple of players in the summer… 🙁 😥


  7. jill the programe is realy funny 10 times better than that clip ,when it comes oot on dvd you will have too get it 🙂


  8. Thanks Batty, I’ll look it up online and see if the DVD’s are playable in the States. Just the excerpt I did see had me rolling around laughing. Absolutely brilliant! 😀


  9. Jill… you can google bittorrent and download it free, then you can google for example mrs Brown’s boys +torrent and if it’s available you can download it(apparently 😉 )….that series prob won’t be on as its so new but you can do that with anything. “I’ve heard extratorrent is a canny one for films etc, not that I’d ever do such a thing s download off the net 😀
    Just make sure your anti virus is up to date tho as there’s some bad peopple out there 😉


  10. What we have is cover (lovenkrands in the starting 11, for example). We need first team players! Quality, yes please.


  11. batty

    I think it’s great how they show it being recorded with a live studio audience aswell. Theres only the one from last night on iplayer I wanna see the rest of them. 😡


  12. This sounds like AP hedging his bets to me, to counteract Carr’s “6 needed” statements, which didn’t sound like club-sanctioned stuff to me.

    Perhaps I’m being unfair, but what AP’s quotes say to me is “don’t expect any dramatic spending; we’ll get some utility players, that’s all”.

    If that’s the case then we’re stuffed, because I don’t believe our best players will be interested in staying around for another season of mid-table mediocrity. And I wouldn’t blame them one bit.

    Having said, that, I think utility players, while not exactly an inspiring or exciting prospect, are key to running a successful and sustainable club these days.


  13. Whumpie you’re so pessimistic these days I used to rely on you for level-headed optimism (although to be fair your pessimism remains characteristically level-headed). I think something died in you when Avatar left…


  14. prime example of the importance of utility players: Love him or hate him, Alex Ferguson has given John O’Shea an £80,000 a week contract because he knows how important he is as a squad and utility player. Personally think it’s a ludicrous contract but Fergie thinks he’s worth it and he knows a fair amount more about football than me.


  15. the two most crucial type of players in any team for me is a 20 goal a season striker and a very good utility player……. We lack both atm


  16. Devonmag – you may be right there! I think it dowsed the early embers of belief a bit. Hopefully things will change!

    Good example on the utility player thing. If a couple of utility player free up enough budget for another Tiote-type signing, they’re worth it. While you have to get the balance right, priority spend should be on the starting 11, then about the backup, and utility players allow you to do that.

    The days of two top-class players for every position are gone.. I hope. With clubs having to balance the books, unless player wages drop drastically it’s just not sustainable. If the model works properly, we should eventually bring our own 2nd-choice players through the ranks for every position and have to buy in fewer and fewer.

    For this summer, if the club can keep its main players, all they’ll need to do is sign a couple for the starting 11 a couple of utility players and another handful of ‘prospects’ of the Vukic ilk. It’s a tall order, but possible.


  17. pearceet – what about a winger? We currently have one winger for two positions, with almost no backup on either side.

    Agree about the striker, mind. A poacher type, ideally. Not bothered about 20 goals a season; just someone that brings options and ups the overall scoring ability of the team.


  18. Basically I think we need an old fashioned no. 9 (like Carroll) and an old fashioned no 10 (like Owen in his prime.) Two Wingers a LB (or 2 depending on Jose) and a new RB with Simmo as back up then we can challenge for Europe no doubt next season


  19. I would like Agbonglahor (providing he comes at a good price – which I doubt) and Naismith. Naismith is a winger who can play through the middle or up front as well. Naismith can dribble, is skilfull and has pace. he reminds me of a Damien Duff in his prime but he is actually better as he scores a fair few goals. I sent the club a message through their official site advising them to get Naismith in January….but they just didn’t listen. I will send them it again now.


  20. @38

    Agbonlahor would be a great buy if we could get him, he gets played on the wing now at Villa so I bet he would take a move.

    I agree with what most people have been saying – if we can keep our best players (Barton, Jose etc) we do not need to buy many.


  21. Am I too cynical to believe that we already have the excuses for a non-existant transfer window this summer? We will have the never ending problems with Jonas, Enrique and Barton that will take all our time as we seemingly only have one man who can do contracts. We then have the rumours of a takeover that will prevent us from signing anyone as “discussions are ongoing”.

    This will end on the final day, we’ll sell all three guys, make a £5m bid for some guy from Wolves and then “we had no time, they didn’t want to sign and we couldn’t do anything”.

    I believe them in respect of Carroll wanting out – but the same thing feels like it’s happened every window since Ashley arrived. The miraculous takeover, the transfer requests and the lack of time.

    On a more comical note, the posters on Ed’s blog say Forster will never go to Celtic because “Celtic have no money” and can’t buy anyone. Clearly missing the fact Celtic have signed about 30 players in the last 2 years and recovered almost all they money from selling Aiden McGeady.


  22. Could use him as a make weight for Izzaguire too fj?

    Even though I would prefer Forster over Krul, Krul could help us bring in RVW


  23. What AP is saying is that the squad needs 4 to 6 players, but he has the money to buy only one, so it willk be a utility man to compete with Persh for the work. Whoever it is, based on the NUFC injury bonanza, will have to cover several positions at the same time. I can’t wait to see our utility star lump the ball far down pitch so he can knock it down and lay it off for himself to send in a cross he can head in.


  24. Either Forster or Krul – whoever leaves – plus £2m should get Izaguirre in a sane world. You might say “he is an SPL player”, but he is the same age as Enrique, is being scouted by Barcelona as well as the top English clubs and played as many World Cup games as Tiote did.

    We seem to have a good connection with Celtic with several former staff there so we might get in the door a bit if they get some dosh and a player they need.

    I’d also advocate loaning more youngsters to the SPL. Arsenal are benefitting from sending Kyle Bartley to Rangers. It’s the best place to toughen up defenders.


  25. Funky: “Am I too cynical to believe that we already have the excuses for a non-existant transfer window this summer?”

    Perhaps you are cynical – but I have to admit I think you have a point; that’s how it reads to me.

    I disagree on previous windows, though. Jan and summer 2010 were excellent, I think – did exactly what was needed, with enough extra to see us safely past the targets at each point. The ones before, and the ones just gone, though – ick. Especially the latter.


  26. Our budget this summer is largely dependent on how much money Ashley’s had to pump in to keep us afloat. Does anyone have any information about our operating balance so far this season? They were talking about breaking even in a few years, but surely the club must be getting close now, even without the AC money?

    I think Ashley’s said he’s not doing the £20m a year thing any more, which means we should get the £35m minus whatever the operating loss is. And fair enough, really.


  27. I am sure I read we are already breaking even, hence the bumper Tiote deal.

    If we got money for Enrique and his wages off, that is enough for possibly another 2 players. Our problem is still these gigantic contracts we gave out like sweets.

    We had no problem re-signing Tiote, Carroll and Ranger as they were on small contracts. Enrique and Barton, etc started on wages that Ranger will need to re-negotiate about 4 contracts to get to now.


  28. BeeGuy
    Posted March 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    “I can’t wait to see our utility star lump the ball far down pitch so he can knock it down and lay it off for himself to send in a cross he can head in.”

    😆 😆 😆


  29. The irony of that joke is that I remember several occasions where Andy Carroll won a flick on and then ran and won the ball again.

    Didn’t see him pass to himself like the old school Mr Perfect videos though. That would be worth £35m.


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