Where do you draw the line?

Alan Pardew.

Alan Pardew.
Barton - Waiting for ambition?
I’ve read many a comment over the last few days questioning the ambition of the club and bemoaning the fact that the club doesn’t pay massive wages anymore.

So in true NUFC Blog style I’ve decided to take a look at it from a broader perspective and question the merits, or indeed pitfalls, of this particular wage structure malarkey.

The sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool seems to have been the tipping point for some. There is no doubt that he could have been a hero on Tyneside, but a £35 million fee (incidentally, even an inflation adjusted Alan Shearer would cost only £21.5 million) was too hard to refuse. Or was it?

It’s pretty clear that Carroll was being whispered to in his ear. It happens all the time and it’s called tapping up. It’s also illegal but let’s not pretend that the murky world of football agents would care about a small fact like that.

Basically, Carroll wanted a pay rise, which is fair enough (don’t we all), but to want one that puts him on the same level of money that he is earning at Liverpool was just never going to happen at Newcastle. He was due a new deal in the summer, allegedly and couldn’t wait an extra five months to negotiate. His choice, but how far do you go to keep a player? £50,000-a-week? £80,000-a-week? £100,000-a-week?

I’ve read some comments suggesting that the club should have given him a new deal to signal ambition, but I’d counter that by saying that our wage cap is not too far off Tottenham’s, who had the luxury of Champions League football this season. Put simply, our wage cap is far from being low, especially for a team that has just arrived back in the Premier League after a brief flirt in the Championship.

Part of the problem that we have is that the club are still in the process of rebuilding the squad. We currently have players such as Alan Smith and Xisco who are on huge wages and offer little in return. It will take time to address these of course, as players have contracts and they can be worth something if they want them to be. These are eating up valuable wages that could be used elsewhere.

Our wagebill is still comfortably in the top ten in the Premier League, despite the savings that have been made. This is not a problem of course due to our income, which can cover it, but the problem is that we need to shift the focus from paying over the odds for players who offer little in return to paying wages for players who are actually worth it. As a crude example, Alan Smith (£60,000-a-week) compared to Cheik Tiote (anywhere between £35,000 and £50,000-a-week depending on what you read). Who is the better value?

If players can get more than what they can get here then fair enough, but they’ll only ever get sold to the top clubs as they will be the only ones who can afford to better us, and if a top club is interested in a player then it means that they will have performed for us which will hopefully mean that we have pushed that little bit higher up the league and caught up a bit more with those above us.

People need to get over this ‘we are a selling club’ notion and realise that EVERY club sells players when the price is right. Even Manchester United shipped Ronaldo off to Spain for the right price. Do they lack ambition?

I just think people need to remember where we are as a club – including some of the players. Back at the start of the season it was survival that was the aim. It still is of course, but some perspective is needed. The club can’t be sorted out overnight – it will require patience.

For those who are saying that players will leave if we don’t pay the wages and claim that by not paying them we are lacking in ambition, ask yourself if it really is a lack of ambition or whether it’s just the way of the world.

It happens. Get over it. NUFC will continue another day.

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.

122 thoughts on “Where do you draw the line?

  1. Brisvegas
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 2:32 PM
    For free? Who’s talking about doing things for free? The argument is that it isn’t all about money.

    So if it’s not for free what is it about then? Or do you buy things with chocolate and crisps?


  2. You’re an idiot Stuart. It’s too late at night for me spend time arguing with an idiot.


  3. @nora
    I’m on the mobile version so I can’t see my avatar. It should be a picture of bobby shinton unless I’m getting stitched? 🙄


  4. Brisvegas
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 2:36 PM
    You’re an idiot Stuart. It’s too late at night for me spend time arguing with an idiot.

    Very intelligent…

    Just to clarify – it always comes back to money.

    Point proven, now go to bed and get your mum to read you a story.



  5. Bris – 😆

    I know what you’re saying though. I’m taking a paycut to work less hours and be closer to home. The benefit is not financial to me, but it’s a benefit all the same 😉


  6. Is that Britishgas being abusive.
    Tut tut
    Night brittas
    It’s the nighty night club wishing you sweet dreams. 😳


  7. toonsy – That’s not the point of the discussion. He says investment doesn’t has to be financial – I say investment always come back to money.

    Of course I’m right.


  8. Not so. To purchase physical things maybe, but then you can also invest time and effort in personnel to grow your business from within.

    It’s the Toyota Way.

    And that is right 😉


  9. Off topic and not sure if this has been put up before but here are a selection of comments from a recent Joey Barton talk in:

    Subject: joey barton talk in

    Joey Barton was meant to be really good crack at the Hilton talk in last night, load of lads from here went through. £500 a table – well worth it they reckon.

    Said he is totally nuts and just tells it as and how it is, swearing his heed off and that.

    On his contract –
    I can honestly tell you I want to stop here, I know you hear this all the time, but I generally do so, whether you believe me or not…. The idiots who run the club keep moving the goalposts, they have offered me to take a pay cut – I’m nobodies mug and the idiots who run the show haven’t got a clue..
    If I don’t get what I want I will still stop here and let my contract run
    down, love it here, and Alan Pardew is working his b*ll*cks off to get me the deal I want.

    On Pardew –
    He is a cracking bloke and a great manager and coach, I hope the fans can give him time and see what he can do, people think he’s Ashley puppet, I can tell you he most defiantly isn’t anyone puppet and he isn’t scared to stand up to anyone at the club, I love working with him.

    On Shearer –
    I have a hell of a lot of respect for the man as a player, he was great, but mmm we don’t get on, we never will, I was recently out with a few of the lads and he was there, we didn’t say a word to each other all night, just a wink and a nod.. Fantastic player but wasn’t so good as a manager…
    when I was at Man City Robbie Fowler was my role model – haha.. He was a great player too, never scored as many penalties as Shearer though…. Ha.

    On That bust up at Anfield.
    We were 3-0 down and I f*cking hate that Alonso, I hate the c*nt… so I thought right, here we go… it was a very bad tackle and a very bad thing to do, I know that.. When I was in the dressing room Shearer stormed in after the game pointing the finger and shouting you are a coward! Nobody calls me
    a coward, if he had attacked me with regards to my football I would of accepted my b*ll*cking, but he attacked me personally, I can tell you now if anyone in here wants to call me a coward I will take you into the car park here and now, nobody calls me that.. Anyway yes there was a bit argy bargy and we haven’t got on since.

    Who is your most hated current Player –
    At the moment Carl Henry at wolves, what he done down there early in the season, I wished I had digged him like I did Pederson the other month, I really do… I know Mick McCarthy had told him to try and get me sent off, anyway I kept calling him Chris, and pretending not to know who he was after the game to wind him up.

    Who is the hardest player you have played with.
    Richard Dunn – I can tell you, no doubt about it, it was one of the biggest mismatches going, but yes I started on him and he gave me a right hiding, lets say I wouldn’t start on him again.

    Who else do you hate-
    Any journalists in tonight?… “yes”… I hate you c*nts as well, hate you.

    What’s your biggest highlight of your career so far –
    Winning the championship last year, I know I didn’t play many games and I hate it when players play 12 games or so and pick up a medal, it p!sses me right off, but yes, I enjoyed, it was great.

    On that 5-1 against mackems –
    Unbelievable, an amazing day that will stop with me for the rest of my life.

    On Nile Ranger –
    I can tell you he is the thickest man I have ever met in my life, he hasn’t got a single brain cell, dopey as hell.

    On Enrique, will he stop –
    I’m stopping, that’s all that matters to me, if he wants to go, go.. I’m not bothered.. He is the most vainest man I have ever met, honestly he is terrible, he cannot walk past a mirror with out checking himself out, I don’t know why, he’s an ugly Spanish c*nt anyway.

    What happened after that heavy defeat at Leyton orient pre- season –
    We got hammered 6-0, after the game we spoke about what we need to do to get this club back up in the premier league and who is up for the battle, I’m not going to name names here, but some didn’t want to be here and couldn’t care less, I want to tell you who they are… “come on Joey, we want names”.. Hmmm, okay right, I will tell you 2 of them, 2 names only, that
    f*cking Bassong and f*cking Martins, disgrace they are, total disgrace…
    anyway, the next morning after the match, me and a few of the lads confronted those who didn’t want to be there and, well, I basically told them to p!ss off out of this club and never to come back.

    On Stoke 4-0-
    I thought we were the better football team, but we got stuffed 4-0.. It happens.

    On this side now –
    Look, I believe we are a good football team, get behind us, we will be alright..

    On Andy Carroll –
    £35 million, I would of sold him as well, no doubt about it.

    Finishing off –
    When I speak, I speak my mind and tell the truth, I hope all of you here can believe everything I have said tonight as I don’t talk sh!t and tell things how they are.


  10. @ Stuart, 70

    Agreed that there are players signed for high expense that work out, and cheap players that don’t. But that doesn’t refute the point made in posts 63 and 67.

    The point being made was that good players can be found on the cheap, which is what Carr is being paid to do for us.


  11. @toonsy
    According to the News of the World, Ben Arfa flew into the North East without any meeting having been arranged last week and stunned Toon bosses with demands of more than £80,000-a-week in wages. The deal now looks unlikely as even his £52,000-a-week salary at Marseille is way out of Newcastle’s new budget. A similar message was given to Feyenoord midfielder Leroy Fer after he demanded £45,000-a-week.

    Out of NUFC’s three new signings, Sol Campbell, Dan Gosling and James Perch, only Campbell, is by far the top earner of the three with his £35,000-a-week deal.


  12. I have to agree with Stuart…investment will have a cost associated with, I believe the point of the blog is how you should invest & that’s there the difference in opinion lies…


  13. Why make up all that stuff about Barton?

    We lost 6-1 to Leyton Orient, not 6-0. At least get your lies realistic.


  14. According to the trust worthy NOTW the wage cap is way less than £50k and possibly in the region of £35k.


  15. Keith Lard #9…come on. You can’t quote the news of the world (criminals who tap phones) & expect to be taken seriously…


  16. So Ben Arfa must just be a really nice chap then if he was willing to sign for £50,000 a week less than what he was getting previously? He must be one of those ‘money doesn’t matter’ guys?


    1) The NOTW is chatting shyte, again, and our wage ceiling is higher.

    2) The wage ceiling is indeed at the level, which mean that the club are willing to break it if it’s worth it.


  17. We all know that the NOTW is not gospel but to my knowledge prior to your article, I believed £35k was the cap.
    If it is, then in my humble opinion we’ll never retain any decent player.


  18. When I was writing about tabloids 20 years back I decided that the NotW had the least amount of usable news of any UK paper


  19. FJ,

    I’ve just cut and paste an email from a mate of mine. He was there and this is just how he remembers the talk in. Could be that Joey was just playing to the crowd but those were his answers.


  20. @twitters
    Can you find me any quotes from any other source?
    It’s absolutely pointless discussing it unless you have an accurate figure.


  21. Bobby – Like I said, if the wage cap is 35k a week then I’m surprised at how generous Ben Arfa is having dropped his wage by £47,000 a week.


  22. @Britishgas
    Are you not peepies yet?
    The nightynight club wished you nightynight.


  23. Stuart – Yes, of course they are, and very well I may add. But what they do set out to achieve is to develop from within and to not go outside of the business. It keeps things cheaper in the long run.


  24. I didn’t say I was going to bed, I just said it was too late at night to argue with an idiot.

    Like Stuart, you should learn to read what people say rather than what you think they say


  25. @toonsy
    His wage demand was £80k his actual wage was £52k.
    That’s a possible £15-17k drop not £47k.
    He may be desperate to play in the premier like he says .


  26. Bobby – So if his actual wage is really £52k by using simple maths I’d say that is more than the alleged £35k wage cap.

    So that says to me that either

    1) The alleged £35k is ******* and it’s actually higher than that.

    2) The club will break it if it is at £35k

    Pretty simple, and you;re actually weakening your case by carrying on.


  27. I can’t believe Barton would come out and call Enrique a vain pussy and then say he wants him at the club. He isn’t that thick.

    I think if he said anything like that, it would be tongue in cheek and that text version gives no indication of it at all.


  28. I like the cut of that jib if thats what he said, and theres nowt wrong in calling someone vain, doesnt mean they dont get on. What text fails to convey is the humour with which it was probably delivered.

    I am not suprised Bassong and Martins were mentioned


  29. @ toonsy
    According to an old quote from a reliable source, Eds blog 😉 We had thought Ben Arfa’s wage demands may have been a stumbling block for the club, but the Evening Chronicle reported this morning the player’s representatives had reduced their demands, and presumably Newcastle can now meet those reduced wages. Who knows what’s accurate, that’s what I find frustrating. It could be £50k but just as easily be £35k.


  30. Bobby – True. It could be either, but I personally don’t think it’s plausible that a player would be willing to cut his wages by 60%, and give up European footy, just to come here.


  31. @twitters
    I feel we are bonding now.
    Let’s not get too comfy with each others company.
    My dad might be checking up on me. 😳


  32. If Barton leaves in the summer I could clearly say Mike Ashley is here for nothing.


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