Keeping hold of your best players isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Keeping hold of these could be harder than it seems.
Well that’s about it for another weekend. Another weekend of us NUFC fans having to dust ourselves down in preparation for the next weekend.

Maybe, just maybe, next weekend will prove more fruitful in terms of football results?

We’ll see on that one, but on the basis of the performance against Liverpool I wouldn’t want our highly-paid footballers to feel put out by having to play football for 90 minutes. Heaven forbid. Perhaps I’m being harsh? Maybe it’s understandable that the lads are looking a little jaded? I mean we have had to soldier on with pretty much the same starting XI for the bulk of the season.

That’s part of the problem though – strength in depth. We all know it, it’s been said umpteen times by many posters and we have to hope that it is one of the things that will be addressed in the summer. Adding to the overall quality of the squad is a must, but to add quality first you must maintain what you already have at your disposal.

Keeping hold of the core that we have is vitally important for us. Players like Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and, even though I think it’s futile trying to attempt to, Jose Enrique is equally as important as strengthening the squad is. This is where the problem starts.

It’s very very easy for me to sit here and type that. It’s common sense that you need to keep hold of your better players. Unfortunately it’s not always quite as easy as that and there are other factors that come in to play yet we, collectively as fans, seem to assume that it’s some sort of failing on the part of the club if a player chooses to move on to a better club.

Unfortunately, and this may come across as a big negative, it’s time for a bit of realism.

The fact is that we are, at the moment, a club that is looking to stabilise in the Premier League. We are unlikely, barring some miracle, to be in a position where we can push for Europe next season and top-ten is probably the realistic goal we should be aiming for.

There are an awful lot of clubs that are much much better than us. There is a new top-four made up of Manchester Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, followed by Tottenham and Liverpool who pretty much have Europe sewn up year-on-year. The fact is that these sides have been improving whilst we have been declining in the last eight years or so.

It will take time, investment, patience and good luck to be able to get in a position to compete over the length of a season with any of those teams, so with that in mind, if you were a player that had your eyes on playing in Europe would you go for the long haul or the short haul option? I’m guessing the latter.

I’m using Enrique as the example here, even though he could still surprise us and sign on again at Newcastle. Put yourself in his shoes. If a team playing in Europe came calling, what would you do? Remember, there is very little loyalty in football, and we constantly get told that footballers have short careers. Why not instant success?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that when certain clubs come calling there is generally only going to be one outcome. I call it the football food chain, and right now we aren’t near the top of it. It isn’t new and it’s always happened.

Until we can get ourselves to a level where we can compete with the big boys around Europe we will see our better players leaving. There may be odd exceptions to that rule, but it’s generally how it works – in fact it’s how Newcastle, for decades, have worked.

All this talk of aiming for Europe is premature in my opinion. We aren’t going to take the Premier League by storm like last time. We aren’t in 1994 anymore and the league is a very different proposition to what it once was. The fact that this season has been widely regarded as being one of the closest and exciting leagues to date yet the same teams occupy the top spots says a lot.

Players come, players go, but as long as they go to the top clubs I’m not overly concerned as it means they must have been doing something right for us in the first place. It’s just, unfortunately, one of those things.

It’s when we start selling our better players to teams that are worse than us I’ll start to worry!

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.

233 thoughts on “Keeping hold of your best players isn’t as easy as it sounds.

  1. Dave-re Nolan

    Its true we shouldn’t be carrying players, but I do fear for us as a team without his presence, which is both a good and bad thing really. A lot of his goals this season have been from scrappy set pieces and knock downs etc, by the looks of things we’re aiming at pacey strikers so you can rule the knock downs right out, and then we’re also going to be less effective aerially in both free kicks and set pieces, with perhaps our CBs offering the best attacks and they will be marked firmly. Nolan can spot a line to run so maybe he can still notch some up from passes, and he can still pass himself, but I agree, we can’t really afford to carry him

    Again the leadership though, well who do we use instead? Harper may not even be no.1 so can’t really be considered, Barton is influential, but he’s far too easily riled himself and is better as a deputy, he needs nolan to keep him in line quite a lot of the time. The only other option really is Colo? But I don’t really know about his personal qualities, he’s a brilliant defender but would he make a solid captain? hmmm


  2. You have some interesting points there Newkie.

    Personally I think Carroll, Barton and Nolan were like a little triangle and since Judas has left the other 2 just havn’t been the same IMO. I also think if Enrique leaves, it will have a detrimental effect on Jonas and Collocini.

    We could sign that highly rated french LB but he might not have the same je ne sais quoi; as Pardew would say. 😉


  3. Whoa,Norwich back to EPL. 😯

    two consecutive promotions within 1 year.

    Fraser got possibility of winning two promotion medals and played in EPL,if he remains with Norwich.



  4. Didn’t ears start off as a striker but is now playing more as a winger? I think he looks better as a winger to be honest.


  5. DJG….try looking at his club record instead of schoolboy football 🙄 🙄 🙄

    Toonsy….Aye most of them were as striker but shifted to winger as he couldn’t hit the proverbial cow’s arse.
    Scored early on in his career(possibly his debut) then waited about 60 odd games for his next. He’s got pace but nowt else and is a poor mans Routledge imo. Hasn’t even cut it in a shocking West Spam team and was only recalled from loan when all their strikers were injured, I’d be shocked and disgusted if he was even mentioned with NUFC…………..rant over 😆


  6. DJG….so what you are saying is that Nile Ranger is a 1 goal every 2 games striker then?

    Nile Ranger 2009–2010 England U19 12 (6) 😆


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