Why are we doing so well?

Hard work paid off against Manchester United
Roughly about a week ago I was asked to write an upbeat article asking why we are doing so well this season.

It was a bloody good idea I though so here goes.

It’s easy to look at the things that could have been done better. From squad investment, player recruitment and even names changes of stadiums I’m sure we can all highlight one or two things (ok, maybe more!) that could have been done better. After all, we all like to think we know what is best don’t we?

However that is the last time you’ll hear any chatter about how we should have signed a defender in January or how we have holes in the squad or how the names of St James’ Park has been changed – not in my mind like, but for some it’s enough. So last time, promise.

As has been pointed out we’re sitting in a rather favourable league position perched on the precipice of qualifying for Europe. If only we can haul ourselves over the line and pick up results from now until the end of the season eh?

Still there is little doubt that our league position is somewhat unexpected as we head into the final 11 games of another Premier League season. Improvement has been the order of this season, and already we’ve improved on last season. That’s not to say we should pack up now and go on holiday until the end of the season, but it is worth remembering that we were tipped to struggle by quite a lot of people after losing some key players from last season, yet in actual fact we’ve improved. Why though? What is the secret?

Player recruitment

I honestly don’t know how anyone can knock our recruitment policy. We won’t be taken for mugs by anyone and will only pay what we feel is a fair valuation of a player. Using that technique we’ve brought in players like Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheik Tiote, Davide Santon, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Demba Cisse which, quite frankly, is exceptional. All those players for roughly £7m less than what we got for Andy Carroll. Madness.

The reason for this is the exceptional and extensive research that Newcastle put into all of their signings these days. Whoever is responsible for this, whether it be Graham Carr, Alan Pardew, Lee Charnley, Derek Llambias or even, dare I say it, Mike Ashley or a combination of all of them, I don’t think they can be knocked on our recruitment policy.

Hard work

A lot of this season has been built on hard work. Whether it be in terms of an all hands to the pump defensive display or an ability to break down stubborn defences ultimately we’ve been successful more often than not. Yes there have been slip ups, but please show me a team who hasn’t slipped up so far this season. Even the best teams have been humped on occasion – Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United have all conceded at least five at least once this season.

Generally speaking we work hard, which is why players with technical limitations have shown that they can do a job this season. Our players are near the top of any table you want to have a look at when it comes to work ethic, which gives us a fantastic base to build on.

Staying level-headed

We hear a lot of talk from players and manager talking purely about the next game. There has been a refusal from within the camp to get carried away all season, and while none of us really know if the players are getting all dreamy behind closed doors, the United front to the public is that the next game is the most important.

Keeping feet on the ground has been a key ingredient for me. It would be easy for the players to get carried away or even switch off, but I think the second half against Sunderland shows that they are still up for it this season. Maybe that second half can be like the second half against Arsenal last season and give us some fresh momentum?

Those are just three reasons that I can think of when trying to answer why we’ve done so well this season. Can you think of any more?

Solanos Trumpet, this one is for you!

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.

36 thoughts on “Why are we doing so well?

  1. i think you are right on alot of what you have said toonsy.. but the player recruitment thing…. i could get it if we try to keep our best players… but to get in gems like cabaye and ba and tiote and the like…
    then to keep banging on and on and on saying that if a big club comes in we will have little choice but to sell. why is that? why if the player wants to stay do we have to sell at all.. we got the guys for bugger all ffs. Tiote says on the same day that he wants to stay as dekka broadcasts we will sell him – wtf? And even if perhaps you might have to sell, why the **** broadcast it from the SKY rooftops that we are a selling club and even make references to Toite and then go out to point out where he has even improved to make him even better for a team with bags of cash. It is crap.
    It makes you ask the question.. why bother getting them in at all??
    What are we supporting now.. what or who are nufc and what is its heart?
    I think what you said about the player recreuitment thing was spot on but you stopped short of their full plan.. you should have finished it off with that they will always look to sell on the best asset for the highest amount and start the cycle again.. then i would say your whole article was bang on. Thing is though… how can we ever get past first base as just when we get going we get our team split up-again-and again.. etc


  2. AOD
    bring him on last 15minutes to wreak havoc, like he did against spurs at home :mrgreen:
    Santon Willo Colo Raylor
    Ben arfa Cabaye Tiote Guti
    Ba Cisse


  3. craig
    they obviously can’t please everyone, people as for more information coming out of the club and then fans slate what they say, whether its them reiterating their determination to keep players “they’re lying, whoeverdangles pound notes in mike’s face which he’ll then put in his pocket” or if they say that for the right price anyone would be sold “told em’ FCBs just want to steal NUFC’s money and run away with it.” 🙄


  4. The fact is that all players, regardless of their team value, have an overriding monetary one – what the NUFC hierarchy seem to be saying is that, like AC, every player has his ridiculous price, or at least one on which a tidy turnaround in cash can be made. Who would own a footy club? It’s a mad business where people are not only your tools and equipment but your goods as well, and every business likes to sell it’s goods at a profit. They also like to use the equipment to manufacture something for profit, in this case winning games to bring in revenue from competitions and tv rights. In a footy club, when the tools are bought at much more than you paid for them, you go out and by new stuff, younger, better equipped, more versatile, able to get more done.

    Seems that the people who run the club are doing that, and I can see no wrong in doing an Andy with any player we have, as long as what we buy is better or the same but more numerous. You can’t get too attached to players, like most equipment, it wears out and becomes less useful so flog it while it is worth something I say. 🙂


  5. Theres a big write up in tonight’s chronicle outlining Lambias’ views from the sacking of Hoots to the finances.

    It’s a good read. It’s remarkable how much more money Liverpool earn thru sponsors and merchandise compared to the Toon.

    They intend to push the clubs brand globally over the next five years to try and close the gap.

    It can only be good for the club.


  6. Aye we get a piddly amount compared to the scouse. Maybe we are going to see a representative player from major countries of all continents in the world to highlight our name in those respective lands. Y’know, along the lines of that pathetic Dong the scum have on their books. 😆


  7. Troy @6- Yeh, that’s interesting regarding Pool sponsors .I wonder if the sponsors are satisfied with their brand being linked with a bunch of racist ,they couldn’t have imagined that would blow up .
    Toonsy- Great article yet again . With regard to your question ,why are we doing so well. God only knows ,could be anything from team spirit ,right player blend , good management or all the afore mentioned plus a healthy dose of good fortune along the way . Fact is this same blend might be total ****e next season , but if we invest wisely in good players hopefully not .For this season i’m well happy ,and Europe would be the cherry on top. 🙂


  8. I think the turnaround has to do with MA and co. suddenly finding their feet in this particular business, and applying their no-nonsense savvy to it. They have assembled a team that seems to think along the same no-nonsense lines, and importantly, they have deliberately sourced a team that shares their ambition, and have been pretty ruthless in cutting out the deadwood, in a manner of speaking. Breath of fresh air when you think of the unmitigated pillockry of Ridsdale, Mandaric and the great Mr G Reynolds. It’s also overdue for Llambias to be so forthcoming but it has to be appreciated by all that such sense is being steadfastly applied. Keep it going. I am one of those who have been very sceptical about the current regime but this along with the teams performance is changing my mind.


  9. Toonsy good read I think there is a few factors why we’re doing so wellthe ones you mentioned, and I think defence at the start of the season had a good bit to do with it, not to mention Ba, but I think we have to take into account that the rest of the teams have been poor so far aswell.


  10. I note Obertan scored in that silly reverse match last night when playing “the no. 10 role”.

    Can he play there too?


  11. Haha cheers Toonsy!
    Good read as well.

    I think the hard work done over the summer was there for the whole league to see at the start of the season, our early season form was no accident.
    Defensively Pardew trained our team incredibly well, such a shame about Saylor, i think games when we don’t have him or Tiote we lack the determination to cope with going behind which is why we just capitulate.
    I don’t think we will see a change in formation this season purely because Pardew will want to go through every scenario the defense and midfield could come across and would rather do it over the summer.
    I also think that now that we have strengthened up front a lot more training will be done to utilise it.

    Yeah I agree Tsunki, they’ve got the knack for it now and are putting most the league to shame, hope it continues, think we are in for an interesting summer, Ba aside all our players are signed up for the long term, I genuinely feel that they all want to drive the club together and will stay, just a few additions and this season will be the norm for us.


  12. Dave.. been thinking about this ‘rest of the teams have been poor’ thing of late.. are they actually having an off season or are they just not as good as they’re made out to be?


  13. So far Pardew has averaged 1.45 points per game, which is 55 points per season,
    Really impressive. Considering a good chunk of those games we were strikerless and are seriously lacking depth in some areas, i’m still backing us to get to the 60 mark (wishful thinking!), which would be our highest points tally since Sir Bob!


  14. Tsunki says:
    March 9, 2012 at 19:34
    I think the turnaround has to do with MA and co. suddenly finding their feet in this particular business, and applying their no-nonsense savvy to it.



  15. Keith I have no doubt that the results of the other teams will show that they are not playing the way they normally have, I think if you compare the top 4-6 results to what they normally are it will show. But I do agree that they can be made out to be better than what they are


  16. Dave.. judging off this looks like it’s the rest of the league under-performing rather than the top 7…

    Points tally for top 7 last season… 57, 56, 49, 48, 47, 39, 37

    Points tally for top 7 this season… 66, 64, 53, 49, 46, 44, 39


  17. At this stage last season…
    Liverpool on same points
    Chelsea were only two points better off

    Arsenal in fairness have 7 points less this season but seem to have just swapped with Spurs who are 6 points better off

    Man Utd 7 points better off compared to last season and City are a massive 17 points better off

    Newcastle 9 points better off than at this stage last season


  18. Keith they are really surprising because I can never remember the likes of arse, Chelski and even the bin dippers playing so poor ? some of the results we’ve seen this year have been real strange, for me the 2 manc sides are the only ones that have been playing like normal and even they had some strange results


  19. Keith if you did just look them stats up tonight did you think before you seen them that it would have been roughly the same as the stats show ❓


  20. Those are really interesting keith. I’d expected the top 2 to be better alright but surprised 3-7 hold up so well this year vs last. Liverpool with a game in hand in 7th too…


  21. team v arsenal




    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆


  22. tbh Dave no, not at all.. assumed chelsea were doing considerably worse this season, knew Arsenal were flying last season until the cup final then fell apart.. only one I would have thought wasn’t having a bad season in comparison to last would have been the bin dippers


  23. Don’t chalk me down straightaway as a Mike Ashley fan, but is it not possible that NUFC is one of the few clubs that are being run by forward-thinking owners who realise that the heyday of excessive outlay to buy revenue from TV rights, sponsorships & worldwide brand marketing is burning itself out? The economic recession doesn’t seem real but it’s effects are far reaching and damaging to those businesses that have traditionally run themselves at the far reaches of their financial extent, a hairs breadth away from being called in by creditors who have been happy to be kept at arms length, safe in the knowledge that the rights deals will keep the millions rolling in? Case in point, Abramovich can’t buy a win, he has been held to ransom by a generation of footballing brats who sift though managers and constantly underachieve. Chelsea is his hobby and when he tires of it, as I am certain he will, it will be cast adrift and broken overnight. Look at Rangers – how many had a clue last year what we would see unfolding there now? How many more are waiting in the wings?

    It is very possible. Man U, Liverpool and eventually the seemingly unassailable ones like Real & Barca may reach their end abruptly and terribly,don’t discount it any more than say 3 years ago someone telling you a European country would go bust. Man City have got on on this train late, so their experiment in overspending and luxury is in mid term. Teams like us may very soon be at the forefront of a new discipline in rigid business that deals in keeping it’s house in order on realistic terms, paying it’s way and on time, and being hard-nosed about what it will and will not do. If Football is going to survive this financial climate it has to be prepared, and it appears that NUFC is doing it, maybe because people who didn’t come from this background or understand anything about the ‘traditional’ way to run a club applied a business model they were familiar with, to a business they didn’t understand as the ‘insiders’ do, and it’s starting to look like it’s working.

    I am not a great appreciator of the stunts pulled by the Ashley regime in the past, yes, including the SJP renaming – but perhaps I, like so many others, may need to have my perception of what is necessary for our great club to survive adjusted, painful though it may be to admit it.


  24. Chalk me down as a MASH fan, always have been … hes sorted us oot from top to bottom .. pure belta MASH rules ok


  25. Tsunki,

    I agree with your points, however, in respect of Rangers, their debt issues have been known in Scottish football for nearly a decade. It all stems back mainly to the days when Celtic and Rangers were in the top 6 wage payers in all of Britain and were spending nearly £10m on transfer fees.

    Celtic adapted and now have nearly no debt at all while Rangers kept going and now they are suffering. These debt issues don’t appear overnight.


  26. i think the biggest reason we are doing so well,is that everyone, from the owner to the players,all seem to be pulling in the same direction,there doesn’t seem to be any unrest in the camp,and apart from ******** ranger, all our news is kept on the back pages.What a contrast from the last few seasons.Long may it continue


  27. tsunki totally agree mate,a lot of clubs will be envious of our financial and league positions,we are one of the best run clubs in football now,people can’t disagree with that


  28. Is it just me or do other people sense we have reached a turning point, whereby opinion is starting to turn, from simply hating and being suspicious of this regime; to thinking that they are playing a damn good hand of cards and wondering just how far they can take us. Maybe it needed to be an intelligent, ruthless, emotionless investor. Not someone clouded by emotion and having supported the club all their lives. I actually think Ashley must have admired and watched the club for many years though, people speculate about him being a Spurs or Chelsea fan at heart but why would he buy our club if he didn’t have an interest in us?

    I don’t think the haters will ever go away, or the arse clowns that were out last night ripping up signs. I see that national press and regional news got a hold of that as well by the way. Their parents should maybe start getting them to bed earlier on a school night. 🙄


  29. FunkyJesus – Rangers is not an exception rather than the sharp end of the problem I have outlined. Yes, their predicament was well known in advance, but the reluctance of such teams to acknowledge that you just can’t keep ploughing on with a profligate policy without it someday turning around and biting your ass is illustrated there. Rangers is a warning shot that such dogged adherence to a dinosaur policy of spending big to earn big makes you vulnerable in this financial weather to panicky banks and jittery creditors, including the tax man.


  30. We are doing good more in spite of Mike Ashely than because of him. He is running the club like a low cost airline, buying cheap and selling for profit. This is a strategy that never gives us any trophies.
    But our recruitment has been excellent this season, and we did not sell any in January. We have overachievd in the league, but has a chance of Europe. So Mike has given us a chance to get to Europe, but if we dont get there excpect to see our best players sold in the summer.
    Off course we should continue with the good things the current regime has done this years, but in the long term we need to invest more in the squad and if we want to take on City we also need a new and richer ovner. Thats the truet about football today.


  31. I think whoever recruits the players should get some credit. Also, whoever is in charge of team morale and inter player relations. The manager and his coaching staff deserve a lot for credit for preparing the team week in week out.

    The big thing, though, is the hard work put in the by the players on the field.

    The fans as well – obviously the players respond to them.


  32. Expert @ 32. That’s not much of an argument, mate. What it boils down to is that under Ashley we’ll never amount to anything because he isn’t rich enough.

    Shame on him for not being a bigger fatter *******.


  33. I disagree that we should be looking for the fattest, smuggest, most filthy rich man in the world, lets be honest Man City are on a planet of their own, even Man U who have spend decades getting where they are are struggling to keep up with them. Chelsea have a Russian oligarch and Liverpool have a legacy income from being a ‘big european club’ 😆

    Who is the richest man in Newcastle? Probably Bannatyne off Dragans den and double his wealth and you still wouldn’t get Ashley’s. Are people really just after the richest man on the planet to take over Newcastle….yawn. Football is a sport played on a pitch not a casino game played with money. This obsession with money has damaged the game enough as it is.


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