I was reading the latest article from Olivier Bernard in the Chronicle today, (http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/players-thinking-twice-joining-newcastle-9485041 ) and you have to say he makes some thought provoking points.
He argues we need around 10 new players and the need to build a spine of a new Centreback, central midfielder and center forward with Premier league experience and that’s hoping we avoid costly injuries along the way.
Still the thing that stood out for me, was the who would want to sign for us bit of the article. Given the chaos of last season and the not so good previous one and the apparent lack of ambition, then who indeed would want to sign? Factor in the whole attitude the regime has towards players, (Jonas treatment whilst poorly and the manner in which he and Ryan Taylor were let go ) and we look a cheap and nasty outfit to the outside observer.
When Mike Ashley stood before that sky interviewer on our last game of the season and said things would improve and he took the blame, I allowed myself a mediocum of hope but remained wary given his level of ambition over the past few seasons. All the same I had hoped the close shave with relegation and the poor previous season had made him really stop and think about his long term plans for the club.
Now it’s early doors, the transfer window is yet to open, but I’m getting that same old feeling that we just aren’t at the races again. The new momentum we all expected seems to be vanishing with the slow appointment of Steve McClaren and now the long wait for his assistants to arrive as well, and that’s before we even see a bid for a player materialise. Liverpool, Swansea ,Southampton and Chelsea have all been busy sorting Transfers already and their need is no where near as urgent as ours is.
Without a key quality signing it will be extremely difficult to attract players of the relevant skill to our club, likewise they will want to see quality coaches here as well. Given the way some of our players have been treated by the club, and the
lack of player replacements when our top players are sold, what player in their right mind will want to join us?
Bernards point that Palace look a less risky bet to players seeking a move is a valid one. They look more settled than us and all the fans are united behind the team and manager and the board are giving Pardew funds to improve the team with quality signings.
Meanwhile Newcastle have so far been linked to a lot of championship players, not surprising given that’s where our new coach has been previous to joining us; and a couple of mid table quality players at extortionate prices. Well if we ever end up paying £20million for Troy Deeney, we need sectioning as a club. How can a championship player who hasn’t even proved himself capable at Premier League level be worth that kind of sum?
And this is the problem we face, the whole of football knows we are desperate for reinforcements and will attempt to hold us to ransom. Ofcourse we will bulk at the fees being asked and walk away and bring in our 2nd, 3rd or 4th choices and a few foreign up and comings and hope for the best. We might even go with what we have and try for better deals come january 2016, it’s not like we havn’t before.
But the real key is what do the players want. If you were a decent player looking at us from the outside, would you see a fresh start with a healthy dose of ambition? Or do you see the basket case other clubs fans and the media have portrayed us as?
I do not see a fresh start, sorry but I don’t. I know a lot of you don’t care about what happened with McClarens first press conference and in truth a few hacked off journo’s doesn’t overly trouble me either. But the reality is, that one little act tells you nothing has changed, the regime are still insular,secretive and aloof unless cash is involved. It sets the press and media against us before a ball is even kicked for the new season . They had the perfect chance to start afresh and foster a new understanding with fans and media alike, isn’t that what THAT interview was all about.
If real investment isn’t made and that’s more than the reported £25million, then the fan unrest of last season will become even more toxic . With lots of empty seats it will be interesting to see how the regimes preferred partner Sky feels about their cosy relationship. More to the point, players will be looking at our level of ambition in who we sign over the coming weeks and I suspect that Bernard may of hit the nail on the head with his article.
We may have fifty odd thousand cheering players on and a beautiful stadium but it means nothing without real ambition and desire to improve. At this point we should be pulling out all the stops to attract players, I remember freddie Shepherd saying the fact we aren’t London is a stumbling block so we have to really sell the club and area. Let’s hope Lee and company are doing just that, otherwise it could be another long season.