Latest fans forum minutes

Below are the minutes for the latest fans forum, I think you will all agree that Steve McClaren comes across very well and seems to be very positive going forward. We just need a couple of good signings in and things will look much brighter.

1. Introduction

Lee Marshall (LM) welcomed all attendees to the meeting and meeting protocol was outlined (no live tweeting or recording, production of official minutes to be approved by the group).

As scheduled, six members’ tenures have come to an end at this meeting and all were thanked for their time and contribution to the Forum. The club will be arranging to send each departing member a small token of appreciation for their time and contributions to Forum debates. Due to work commitments, Adam Smith (AS) will be replaced and a women’s representative will also be sought.

LM stated that all vacant seats will be advertised shortly.

The club’s pre-season schedule was summarised, with details given of a ticket on-sale date for the home fixture with Borussia MΓΆnchengladbach.

LM confirmed details of the club’s annual open day for supporters. The open day at St. James’ Park – which will include an open first team training session – will provisionally take place during the school holidays on Tuesday 4th August.

2. Steve McClaren

The club’s head coach, Steve McClaren (SMc), was introduced and was formally welcomed by Fans Forum members.

SMc addressed the group and thanked them for their welcome.

SMc: “There’s a great determination with myself and the board and the people behind the scenes to take the club forward.

“The key thing was Mike Ashley’s interview before the West Ham fixture. What he said must have given everyone at the club an enormous lift. Certainly I said that for whichever head coach came into the club, what a fantastic situation. That’s what I’ve sensed going around and meeting people.

“We’ve needed to get things in place. It’s taken a while to get my staff in place because they’ve been here, there and everywhere. We didn’t want to rush that because the people around you are important. It’s important to get the right people.

“I think we’ve got a great coaching team. They are the right people to work with the players. Our culture is that we’re here to improve them. If we improve them, everyone will benefit.

“We’ve got quality people in and from day one, we’ve come in and just worked how we normally work. We set the culture and the environment. We want everybody to get up in the morning and want to come to work. That’s they key thing – they enjoy the work, it’s beneficial, they get

coached, they get taught and they get made better – as far as they want to go. We have the staff to do that.

“We set the ground rules. There are two agendas which run parallel. One is the present squad and present staff. Two is adding to that and looking at how we are going to improve the situation. That for me has been what we’ve been doing; identifying what’s present and what do we need to take us forward.

“The present staff have been fantastic. They’ve been really good. The players have come in and we’ve set out our culture, our rules. Discipline is the key to it.

“We’ve stressed from day one the kind of discipline we expect from players, as well as the discipline that they expect from us. We ask them to be professional; to do the right thing every day. Everybody knows what’s right and what’s wrong and we ask them to come in and do the right thing, to be professional.

“If we create that environment, people – players – will follow. It’s about setting up, getting the players in and identifying what success is. We want to win something and get into the top eight. That’s been stated by the owner and that’s our objective. How we get there is our job. You start right at the bottom in terms of what you create, the culture and the climate, what rules you set, the discipline, how you work, the professionalism, the character.

“My first job at the training ground is to create that culture of professionalism. That has to be the first success, then we’re building on that with recruitment – which is being worked on day and night relentlessly. Despite what you may read or hear, that’s what has been happening.

“Through the years, I’ve learned through experience that things will happen. That’s football. They don’t always happen when you want them to happen but if you hold your nerve, they happen how you want them to happen.

“Getting back to work has been great. Getting the players on the grass has been great. Saying to everybody, we’ve got nothing to hide. We’ve got an open door policy. We think that what we do is very good for the players and very good for their improvement.

“In the longer term, we have got to think strategically about how we develop this team into a top eight team that is going to win a trophy.”

Paul Loughlin (PL): “There has been a lot said over the last few months about the current squad of players. What’s your view on that current squad and how much potential do you see?”

SMc: “We’re trying to raise the standards. The key thing is talking to the players one-on-one. The majority of people who say things about players don’t have the benefit of knowing what goes on behind the scenes.

“I’ve been asking why is it that fans – who are the most important people – are questioning some of the players’ attitudes, ability, talent and things like that. It’s asking the players that question – why. They get to answer that. We believe with a change of culture and approach, we can change them. Will we change them enough so that they’ll improve and come with us to get back in your good books? That’s down to them entirely.

“We want to give the leaders, the senior players more respect and more authority within the group. That helps young players.

“The best thing we can do is have one-on-ones with the players. You, as fans, are questioning players but believe you me, I’m also questioning them one-on-one and saying ‘this is being said

of you, give me some background’. From that, we assess if they can change and if they can get better.

“We’re assessing what we have at the present moment and if it can take us forward. If the character, attitude, ability, mentality can help us to win a trophy and take us into that top eight. That’s a totally different level to where we are at the moment. Can the present squad do it? We go through each player and we’ll assess. Is he a winner? Is he with us? Can he go with us? That’s what we’re assessing.”

PL: “Has there been a lot of buy-in in terms of ethos and culture from the players? There have been positive things written about the impact of that so far.”

SMc: “We’ve said the players have a fresh start. We’ve written a lot of things down too and stated we’re here and this is where we want to go, but you’ll only judge us on the actions every day. It’s small steps. Is there a buy-in? Yes, but let’s see in 2-3 weeks when we assess the players and it becomes more apparent.”

Vishal Vedhara (VV): “It’s refreshing to hear about the new culture and that action is being taken.”

SMc: “You have a perception and an idea and previously I’ve gone for revolution and it hasn’t worked. It’s evolution and identifying what needs to be done. Every place needs something different so the last three weeks have been asking what this place needs and then trying to give it.

“As staff we’re here to help and we’re telling the players that they’ll improve, they’ll be a better team for all fans to enjoy.”

VV: “We want to see passion. That’s what’s been missing.”

SMc: “Speaking of passion, when Steve Black had his first chat with the players, he frightened them half to death. Everybody knows him and his reputation and it has been well received. He’s good at his job and has done it in every sport. He has told the players that we are here to help.”

Liam Hall (LH): “There has been a lot of negativity, lots of fans who have fallen out of love with the club. What would you say to them?”

SMc: “We can’t just say ‘come on, fall back in love’. I can write things down and we can say it here but you’ll only believe it when you see the action. That’s the job we’ve got to do, to show that passion and attitude.

“That last game against West Ham last season, the team was never going to lose that. The attitude, the passion wasn’t just on the field, it was also off the field. I’ve watched the whole game three or four times and we’ve clipped it down to 8-10 minutes to show the players. Within that clip, it shows their attitude and passion. That’s what you want to see. That’s the platform every time we turn up, that’s the least we expect.”

Brian Parkin (BP): “Did you have an idea of the positions you want to strengthen before you arrived, or is it from scratch on the training ground?”

SMc: “I’ve talked to the current staff and board but I also know the players so we’ve got a good idea of what we need.”

VV: “Most previous managers/head coaches have a brand of football. What is yours?”

SMc: “We’ve put the statement up that we want to be respected in football as an attractive, attacking, but effective team. That’s what we’ve always done. It’s trying to get a balance; a product out on the field and a product from individual players. “Everyone is different. I’ve talked to Peter Beardsley and he tells me the crowd like to see the team getting the ball forward, not passing backwards. We might have to adjust a little bit. I’m talking behind the scenes, talking to staff, talking to you (the Fans Forum), reading things and finding out what kind of football you like to see.”

BP: “You always hear in the media that we’d rather lose 4-3 than win 1-0. Not for me. I’d rather win, whatever the football is like.”

VV: “Fans want football which will get them off their seats.”

Phil Patterson (PP): “We want to see players who care for the club and not hiding.”

Steve Hastie (SH): “We’ve never expected to come from behind when we’ve conceded first. We need a winning mentality and attitude.”

SMc: “We’ll swap sides of the table and I’d say exactly the same thing. That’s what I want to see. Words are easy but I do. We want people to try, not to hide and people who can take the ball and want the ball all the time.

“That’s why Steve Black has been brought in. It’s easy to constantly tell the players to do something but we need the right characters in the team, the right mentality. When you cross the white line, everyone has talent but you have to have courage. At top clubs, the shirt is heavy and you have to have the personality to wear it. I’ve seen it – players are fantastic at some clubs but at others, they can’t handle crossing the white line.”

3. Communication

Following SMc’s recent email which was sent directly to supporters, the club outlined changes to how it will be communicating with supporters.

Direct communication to supporters will be a key element and emails will be sent on a regular basis from key individuals within the club.

As part of the club’s new strategy, it will communicate with supporters directly so they get the news before anyone else does.

The club will also be delivering more content via official channels, more short clips from the training ground, when the team are away, the academy etc. and giving fans an insight behind the scenes.

Dave Abbott (DA): “Have you considered making access to the entire website completely free?”

The club is looking at options and is continuing to review everything it does digitally.

Steve Cole (SC): “Can the club expand on why only Sky Sports and the Daily Mirror spoke to Steve McClaren first?”

Alongside Sky Sports and the Daily Mirror, SMc also gave interviews to the club’s media channels followed by local written media and BBC Newcastle. The club felt that this was the most appropriate way in which to announce SMc’s appointment to fans and best control and re-enforce the positive messages the club wished to deliver to them.

VV: “The club should be mindful of the negative impact that could have if journalists are unhappy.”

The club emphasised that it meets all of its obligations to the written media under Premier League regulations.

4. Supporter items/open questions

PP: “Motivation can be key and Steve Black could be a great appointment in terms of instilling belief into the players and making them feel confident to show their ability.”

The board noted that they have spoken at length about what they want in potential new players and character is key to that.

Dave Abbott (DA): “We had a lot of injuries last season. Have there been any changes?”

SMc: “It’s one of the first things we look at and we talk to the doctor and the medical staff. We’ve got very good staff behind the scenes. We’ve gone though training methods, what we do and seeing how we can avoid injuries. The doctor was one of the first people I spoke to.

“We want players to be available every Saturday so that’s our target. If a player gets injured, we need accurate diagnosis, good treatment, good rehab and to get him back as soon as possible.”

BP: “The club has admitted to making mistakes. Can you clarify what these mistakes were and what measures have been put in place to ensure that they don’t happen again.”

The club stated it did not wish to dwell on the past and stated its objectives are clear. With Steve and his staff now in place, the focus is now very much looking to the future.

SH: “Are we back to square one in terms of player recruitment since the new head coach came in?”

The club stated that its targets have been refined in some cases following conversations with Steve about his style of play and the specific expectations he has for each position.

LH: “Other teams on a similar level as us are reported to be making bids for players that we’re linked with. Why aren’t we?”

The club suggested that view was based on the presumption that it wasn’t doing the same and that what the media writes is often not necessarily the reality behind the scenes. In terms of the calibre of player and level of fees, the club is confident it is very competitive within its grouping.

The club affirmed that while its business principles still apply, there is the possibility to consider players that may command a higher transfer fee than previously considered. The club’s view moving forward is to pursue quality over quantity and the club is confident it can attract those type of players.

Taylor Payne (TP): “From fans, there’s a lot of residual frustration about last season. Why did the failures occur – was it the model, personnel or finance?”

The club stated that a combination of factors occurred but repeated it did not want to dwell on the past.

To club did however underline that its final position and being in a situation whereby it needed to secure its Premier League status on the final game of last season was wholly unacceptable.

TP: “What has been done to make sure that doesn’t happen again?”

The club stated its objectives have been revised and are clear. In addition, the appointment of a new head coach and new staff who have their own philosophy gives the club a platform from which it can move forward.

Sharron Lee (SL): “What can the club do to attract new players?”

The club’s view is that Newcastle United has always been attractive to new players. In addition, the appointment of the new head coach is a big step forward. Privately, Steve McClaren has been a big draw for players the club has been speaking to both at home and abroad. The club has no concerns about attracting players.

SMc: “I’m excited because the objectives are clear and you can sell that to players coming in. We want to win something. We are going for something.

“I’m excited because of the plan I’ve seen. We don’t just go short term with this transfer window, we look at the next window and the next one. We have a great opportunity in the next three windows if we get the recruitment right. I can understand if there is negativity but if I was a supporter and I knew what I know in such detail, I’d be very excited about the future.

“Talk is cheap. We have to make it happen.”

PP: “The statement from the owner seemed to lift the club but supporters still know we haven’t signed a player. The mood will change when the first player is brought in.”

The club is working hard to ensure the players who come in are the right players whether it takes a week, two weeks or more but understands there will be scepticism until that happens.

SMc: “As a coach coming in, I want to know what we’re doing and who we’re going for. It doesn’t always work. You need the right people and it has to be at the right time.

“I’m very chilled about it because I know what’s going on behind the scenes. Eventually, we’ll get there. I wouldn’t have come here if that hadn’t been the case. I know what we can do and what we intend to do. We’re in control of things and they’ll happen in their own time. There are clubs around the world chasing the type of players we’re interested in and that’s the challenge for us.”

BP: “Fans are waiting for something to happen. Do the club give false hope to fans ahead of important season ticket renewal dates?”

The club stated that it does not and emphasised the need to maintain a consistency of messaging via its direct communication to fans.

PL: “Will Mike Ashley (MA) be involved in that communication following his interview?”

The club explained that MA has made a statement and the objectives are clear. It is now up to the club to deliver on his statement.

SMc: “Would the club have been different if he hadn’t spoken?”

PP: “The atmosphere was negative and flat until we listened to MA’s interview. The place lifted and it went from negative to positive. That went from the stands to the players and we were never going to lose the game.”

VV: “Hardly any owners do speak so we should hear from Steve and get behind him.”

The club underlined that SMc will play an important role in communication but that fans will get an insight from right across the club to share that responsibility.

TP: “In terms of grassroots football, why would boys clubs be actively encouraging their best young players to join other academies rather than Newcastle’s?”

LM asked members who visited Academy for their views.

DA referenced Newcastle United players in the England youth teams and stated: “We have a better base of young players now than we’ve had for years.”

The club stated it has worked hard to develop good relationships with boys clubs and those relationships are now as good as they have been for many years. The general feedback is very positive.

SH: “What stage is the club at with the new training ground?”

The club outlined that planning has been approved, tenders had been out and prices had been supplied. In order to proceed, contracts needed to be signed well in advance but because of the position the club found itself in towards the end of the season, the decision was taken not to commit at that time.

Along with the head coach, the club is now identifying the best time to start work and is mindful of disruptions mid-season.

VV supplied a question from a supporter in Australia in relation to club finances and the use of funds across different bank accounts.

The club states that NUFC and all divisions within the football company operate a number of bank accounts and it is the consolidated balance of all accounts that is disclosed in the year end accounts. All funds are in current accounts with our bankers (Barclays) and form part of our working capital.

VV: “Based on the success of the England women’s team at the World Cup in Canada, are any plans to associate more with NUWFC?”

The club is continuing to work with NUWFC and further details for the 2015/16 season will be confirmed shortly. LM stated that the Newcastle United Foundation was capitalising on the success by inviting girls to take advantage of its coaching in the community.

No further questions were tabled and following the Q&A segment, LC, SMc and BM left the meeting as scheduled.

5. Meeting minutes

The club invited members to feed back on the production of meeting minutes and how the club conveys messaging from the Fans Forum.

TP: “The minutes can lose the nuances of conversations, tone and atmosphere. People pick up on it in a negative way and feed back that the club sound robotic.”

VV: “The club could condense the minutes in future but should keep it consistent at the moment.”

BP: “Making them shorter would probably leave more questions than answers.”

DA: “Lots of supporters I know read the minutes, especially on long away games.”

Forum members agreed that rather than producing a smaller executive summary, the club should continue to produce extended minutes. Instead, the club should add to the minutes with smaller, digestible stories on the website to convey key messages and raise the profile of the Forum.

The club will also send a personal, direct email with a summary of the Forum to bring it to bring it to fans’ attention.

The club also confirmed it will add members’ email addresses to the system behind the website so that they receive fan emails directly.

VV: “A fan from Australia found me, saw what I do and managed to send me a fairly complex financial question which has now been answered, so it does work.”

SC: “Our members have asked me to lobby for a permanent seat on the Fans Forum, on the same basis as NUFC Fans United. London Supporters Association has been going since 1962 and is the longest running democratically constituted supporter group that the club has.”

The club will consider adding the group permanently.

DA: How will the club replace members who are scheduled to leave the Forum?

The club confirmed that vacant seats would be advertised this summer and that new members will be appointed as previously (supporters fitting the criteria required to take a particular seat will be selected at random from applicants). The seats will be advertised via the club’s digital channels and if possible, via external media given the public interest in the Forum.

VV: “After Steve’s attendance, there should be a lot of interest so the club has a good opportunity to raise the profile of the Forum. Mentioning vacancies in the news stories and email would be useful.

6. Department updates

Media/nufcTV SH: “Could nufcTV be open to season ticket holders or members? Could there also be a Forum section in the programme with questions between meetings?”

The club is already discussing changes to its digital operations and will suggest the programme article.

TP: “Fans buy membership primarily so they can buy away tickets and the current benefits aren’t useful. If there was an extra incentive, you would see the numbers spike rather than paying separately for nufcTV.” Members agreed that adding nufcTV to the membership scheme would be a very positive step.

Ticketing

Following a ticketing sub-group meeting, a ticket Q&A and a St. James’ Park Visitor Guide are in production for 2015/16.

Stephen Tickle (ST) stated his view that the sub-group meeting was very beneficial and is open to future meetings.

LH: “Can the club give an update on season ticket renewals after what has been reported recently?”

The club stated that despite what has been reported, renewal rates are strong and are similar to this same stage last season. The club is pleased with the take-up by existing and new season ticket holders.

LH: Are we getting new season cards during the summer?

ST confirmed that new season cards have been delivered and will be issued to supporters shortly. All season card holders will get a new card.

TP: “I’ve been asked by a fan to ask what the thinking is behind 100 loyalty points for York City?”

ST stated that the club had decided on that initial starting point because seating was so limited at Bootham Crescent (less than 300) in addition to around 1,500 standing spaces. The club has to anticipate demand and the 100-point mark is a safety net to protect regular away travellers. The level will drop quickly in coming days.

LM confirmed a discussion had taken place to gather feedback from other staff members in order to set an appropriate first level.

DA – away supporter representative – felt the first level was a good idea given the limited space and the high level of interest supporters had shown in the York City fixture above most other pre-season matches.

BP: “Do the club regularly review the loyalty point scheme? I ask this as fans who may have built up a lot of points over a decade ago are still able to get tickets for popular games such as Sunderland away even though they may not attend many, if any, games today.”

The club does review it but explained there will always be some supporters who benefit from it and some who don’t.

DA felt that if a supporter wanted to push up their loyalty points, there should be ample opportunity across at least 19 away league games per season. DA responded to an email from a supporter with the same opinion. DA explained that many supporters who travel to all away games had to go through a long period of queuing for tickets overnight in order to obtain them, which in turn pushed up their points total.

SC: “Will the club be inviting others to enter into reciprocal ticket price deals again?”

The club confirmed it had already discussed deals with a number of interested clubs and that it was likely to continue into the 2015/16 season. Feedback from supporters has been excellent.

Gareth Beard (GB): “Will the club be providing free away trips for NUDSA in the 2015/16 season as it has in previous seasons? Very few disabled supporters are able to benefit from reciprocal prices between clubs.”

The club confirmed that this will be discussed shortly and that the club will work with NUDSA during that process. Again, feedback from supporters on the trips had been very positive.

SC: “I know of supporters who were adversely affected by the delayed kick-off against Leicester City last season and they have not had any contact from the club.”

The club asked SC to refer those supporters to LM.

Retail/kit

LH: “The new kits include the sponsors’ old logo, why is that?”

The club explained that it was simply due to the advanced lead-time required for new kit (usually by October in the previous season). In short, the logo did not change until a long period of time after the production process had commenced.

Facilities

PP: “How will the Rugby World Cup matches in October affect Premier League games?”

Eddie Rutherford (ER) confirmed the club was scheduled to be away from home for that weekend’s round of fixtures. The club has invested in additional provisions including new pitch lights to concentrate on areas that may take greater strain. ER confirmed his view that the pitch will be fine.

DA: “Have there been any changes to stadium during the summer?”

ER confirmed that Β£47,000 has been spent on the PA system and new speakers have been added. 12,000 seats in paddock areas have been replaced and a number of corporate areas/boxes have been refurbished.

Safety and security
LH: “Celtic have been granted permission to introduce ‘safe standing’. Can NUFC do the same?”
Steve Storey (SS) stated that permission had been granted by the local authority but that it had not occurred similarly within the Premier League.

7. AOB

Next meeting date: TBC.

298 thoughts on “Latest fans forum minutes

  1. Priceless comments from Gouffran today. (compressed a little)

    ‘It’s different. They want us to play well.. He wants us to pass the ball. It’s a very good idea.’ 😯

    What were Pards and Carvs training them to do, eat it?

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  2. Well let’s be honest, Ice, he wasn’t waiting around for the Earth to finish its orbit. He knew what was happening.

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  3. Wonder if SM says again and again and again we are close to signings,we will not get a striker or a defender at this rate or maybe that was the plan all along,jabba is good at bull****

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  4. Scum complete their forth signing Kaboul,who said a few years back,: I wouldn’t sign for Sunderland even if there was a earthquake,funny how scum can get signings over the line

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  5. I know it is a very simplistic comparison but Benteke and Austin each scored about a goal every other game last season for **** teams with Austin playing more but also scoring more, 18 compared to 13. Benteke is 18 months younger than Austin and has been hyped a lot more whereas Austin had to fight his way up from the lower leagues.

    If Benteke is worth 32.5 mil (release clause), should we just pay the 15 mil for Austin and see if he will sign for us? I mean, just stop the farting around and get it done or move on. Who cares if he only has a year on his contract, does that really matter when there is so much competition with so much money sloshing around?

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  6. Exactly Eric. Benteke created a lot more chances than Austin last season, but Austin was far more accurate in his finishing in terms of percentage of goals to shots. Overall performance I’d say they were just about equal but Bentekes price tag is huge! Just pay Austin’s fee for pity’s sake! I love the fact he worked his way up through the leagues too. Means he should be more.grounded. Fingers crossed we pull it off. Be great to have a proper English striker leading the line.

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  7. Eric a better comparison is Wijnaldum and Austin. We pay Β£14.5m for one who’s never played in the Pl and is a midfielder but won’t pay an extra Β£500,000 for a striker who scored goals in the PL. Work that out… Some will say it’s because he’s only got a year left on his contract and I agree to an extent, however what is the alternative? Get him on a free when we have been relegated?

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  8. 1 year or 5 to run on his contract – he’s a too notch striker that has proven he can hold his own amongst the elite. 4th top scorer in the PL and 2nd highest scoring Englishman despite being in a p!!s poor side. Is what he brings to the table worth Β£15m? In PL terms, he’ll yeah.

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  9. SHARPY17 193
    were ya geting this austin is our top target πŸ˜† from hes 2nd choice in my view

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  10. Chelsea in for Mitovic now 😯 this looks totally dead. Shame as we nearly pulled it off. At least we tried, offered the cash, had his family over. So it wasnt all smoke and mirrors like previous seasons. I reckon we’re turning the corner.

    Mitovic is obviously a wanted man, maybe we were punching above our weight, I reckon we’ll have Austin by next Tuesday…

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  11. Benteke is caught offside more than Shola πŸ˜€ I Iike Benteke but not for that price. Austin would be my choice.

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  12. TAE – well the club said they wanted to sign more English players and we desperately need a CF – as Austin ticks both boxes, that puts him as top target in my opinion.

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  13. Got to love these comments coming from the squad. McLaren wants us to play attacking passing football.
    WTF were they trying to do previously.

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  14. Not sure why Satka and Abeid have flown out to USA to be with the squad at this late show. Both should have been their originally instead of Williamson and Gouffran.
    It is amazing no club has came in with offers for Williamson, Obertan and Gouffran.

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  15. I have this horrible feeling we have put all our eggs in a basket labeled Mitrovic.

    We’re also cutting it fine to sign another 4 players in 4/5 weeks if this is anything to go by.

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  16. Toby – they were coached to contain a football match for at least 60mins and then see what we could get out the game. Defend first and if possible hit teams on the counter attack. Maybe now they are being coached to try and go out and boss the game.

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  17. So I see Martinez has said Everton AREN’T in for Jonny Evans. Still think we should be though – at Β£7-8m he’s a great option I reckon.

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  18. For Mitrovic this season read Gamiero, Erdinc, LDJ and Lacazette from the previous summers where we’ve failed to land a striker we wanted. What is it about strikers and our transfer team?

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  19. Suspending betting is just free advertising for the bookies! Don’t know what we’re waiting for – Villa to buy him?

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  20. Georgio- Villa will be nice and flush that’s for sure.

    I find our attitude and actions over Austin completely bizarre. They know Β£12m isn’t enough so either walk away or pay the ****ing money!

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  21. Wow…still more negativity…
    1 – I couldn’t give a damn who scum are signing. They signed about 12 players last year and they were pretty much all bad. Why would we want a 29 year old French defender who can’t get into the Spurs or France team? No thanks.
    2 – Still early days in the transfer window. But surely we MUST sign a good striker and defender at least
    3 – None of our better players have left
    4 – We have signed a very good player and spent proper money on him!

    Why is it either doom and gloom or unrealistic optimism?

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  22. STUART

    Negotiation doesn’t work like that! There’s a bit of brinkmanship with this and they just need to see who blinks first. It’s not just a case of pay it or don’t pay it. Come on…

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  23. Kaboul, 25 PL appearances in 3 seasons…why would anyone care if scum sign him? I certainly don’t want us to sign him!

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  24. TDS – my fear is that our lot believe that is the right approach to signing players too – utter ******* mate. Get the deal done, coz what happens is while we are blinking some other club moves in and gets the player.
    Look at what happened when we tried to sign Remy – we pissed about and gave QPR a window of opportunity & they took it … still at least we got to loan him – we didn’t mess that one up πŸ™„

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  25. SHARPY

    For every Remy there’s a dozen players that a club rushed in to sign and ended up paying too much or signing a complete duffer. Look at what happened before Ashley. Granted, we’ve gone too far the other way, but there’s a nice happy medium there.

    Quite simply, if we show desperation to sign the likes of Austin, we’d end up playing Β£5m more up front and maybe an extra Β£1m per year too. Multiple that by 3 players every year and that’s a hell of a lot of money overspent!

    Look at the clubs who just spent willy nilly. You mentioned QPR. Would you like to be where they are? Bloody idiots throwing money at players.

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  26. We could have signed LDJ for about Β£12m and many fans would have been happy because it would have showed ‘ambition’…but what good would that have done us? We’d probably have sold him for Β£5m a year later!

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  27. So there goes another week.
    Pissing around trying to save a few bob, when we could.have had Austin already integrated into the squad.
    Clueless crew never really changes does it ?
    I hear we are linked with Douglas again.
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  28. TDS – I’m not sure we have ever really rushed into any transfer to be honest mate, and certainly haven’t paid too much under Ashley. If you consider Cisse & Debuchy – their transfers panned over 2 windows – hardly rushing into things.
    You use the word desperate, I would say urgency or decisiveness. It’s about knowing what you squad needs and getting the players in early to allow them to gel with the rest of the squad. Desperation is allowing the window to draw to a close only then to show that urgency. Let’s be right mate, the closer the end gets the more likely the prices are to rise as the selling club has less time to replace – plus they know the buying club are running out of time & options. It’s not desperation, it’s getting your house in order – and every other club is doing it, are all of them wrong and we are right? – I think not.

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  29. I wouldn’t want Kaboul, but the point is that he improves the Sunderland team. That means they’re improving on last season. As shave every team so far. Have we improved? Not yet as we still can’t score goals and still can’t defend.

    Yes there’s time to go but the fact is the closer to the end of the window the higher the price goes. That’s not too hard to understand is it?

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  30. My other worry (if these tweets are to be believed) is the suggestion that McClaren has had to convince Ashley on Austin. There has been a suggestion that Ashley was reluctant to pay as much as Β£15m for Austin but McClaren has convinced him. That’s hardly backing up his statement on Sky sports is it?!.
    However that said, he has just handed over Β£14.5m for Gini so I’m not sure he would be so reluctant. Also, he’s stepped back and left it to Charnley so may be fuel for the Ashley haters.

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  31. TDS – as for signing duffers, yeah there’s that risk – but every clubs risks that .. and signs their fair share of duffers too. You have to show faith in your scouting system and back it. If not then there’s a waste of money too. You mention LDJ, but equally there was Bony who was an option, but we refused to match Swansea fee – that turned out to be a dumb move. If the scouting system fails you make changes. But they must be pretty confident in it – they make Carr a director.

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  32. SHARPY

    Before Ashley we rushed in to sign loads of players! Not often at the beginning of the window, but just whenever. We overpaid for loads of players!

    Don’t know why you slate NUFC for not signing a player that turns good but don’t give credit when they do. So we could have signed Bony…I bet Spurs, Everton, Villa and others wish they had too, but they didn’t either.

    Urgency in signing players just means the selling club can up the price! It’s the same as at the end of the transfer window. If I know someone urgently wants to buy my car, the price goes up…

    No scouting system is perfect! Man Utd have signed rubbish like Veron, Djemba Djemba and Taibi. You don’t just sack the scouts and replace them. There’s a certain level of success you expect and that isn’t 100%

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  33. TDS – I’m not talking pre Ashley. I’m talking under Ashley mate. How many windows did we go without signing a single player pre Ashley?. That’s not desperation, that’s just stupidity mate. This isn’t just about getting a CB or CF in early this window … We’ve needed them for at least the last 3 windows man. I’m all for patience, but how much time has Mitrovic had now – around a week I reckon, how much time do we give him?.
    Do we want Austin or not, if so then bid for him!! – if not, say so and put an end to media speculation.

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  34. TDS – I also haven’t slated NUFC for signing or not signing players. I’m generally pretty fair – which gets questioned on here and occasionally listed as delusional – but I pay no attention to that πŸ˜‰
    I understand that transfers are not an exact science, and a player can look good in one club and then come in and struggle at yours. It’s a difficult one to get right. But at some point you have to commit yourself and sometimes you have to say ‘it’s a little more than we wanted to pay’ but bite the bullet anyway. We conceded too many goals last season and didn’t score enough – particularly when Cisse was out – whether you label it desperate or necassary – we need goals and we need to improve the defence … and we need the players in sooner than later.

    Whether you agree or not, it also has an affect on the players we already have. We don’t add, and your better players see that as a lack of ambition and look to leave as well – double edged sword mate.

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  35. So I take it the Austin bet suspended crap is exactly that then. Villa or Leicester will snap him up while we wait and wait and wait on Mis changing his mind no doubt πŸ™„ I don’t suppose there’s any sign of a new CB either.

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  36. Well, Liverpool fans can have no complaints over transfer business this window, they’ve really chucked the dosh around. Pressure on Buck this season.

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  37. SHARPY

    I don’t care about media speculation. They make **** up all of the time! A couple of weeks ago someone reported that it was a done deal! Fans lap up the media bull****, so they continue to churn it out. I follow SSN and BBC Sport and that’s it. Everything else is at least 90% bull.

    Negotiation just really isn’t that simple. I don’t know why people seem to think that it is. There are lots of players that we could bid for and if the club works in the transfer market like amateur negotiators, then they’ll be taken apart by experienced negotiators. If we just said ok to Β£15m, and they think we’re idiots, then they put out a story in the media about a Β£20m link and then demand more money. They play the game…

    Damn right we need to sign players but if we sign players like amateurs (think QPR, Leeds, Portsmouth), then we might end up like them. These days it mostly takes weeks or even months to sign a player, from the initial scouting, discussions, detailed analysis, negotiations, contracts etc. We don’t just go to QPR, ask how much and then say ok or walk away. There’s complexities like sell-on fees, agent fees, image rights, other clubs, existing clauses potentially with changes based on certain dates etc. It’s bloody complicated.

    But you’re right about one thing, we need to sign several more players or it will be another failure of a window.

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  38. Stu – so Mitrovic is missing pre season games & training sessions too now – he’s going to have some catching up to do, whoever he joins πŸ™„

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  39. TDS – you say “If we just said ok to Β£15m, and they think we’re idiots,”

    My point is we have offered nothing yet!!. Negotiations are impossible if you don’t actually place a bid.

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  40. SHARPY

    No. That’s not how negotiations work. This isn’t Football Manager mate. Negotiations could be underway as the club discuss the potential transfer with the player’s agent and QPR and explore some of the complicated options that I mentioned.

    And if our club are such idiots, why hasn’t Austin been snapped up by the other clubs that need a striker? The likes of Bournemouth, West Ham and others have been linked.

    I’ll judge them on results. New board, new policies. But the method seems fine to me.

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  41. Maybe Mitrovic is our first choice because QPR are holding out for Β£15m and Austin’s agent is demanding higher wages than Mitrovic. In which case, surely we’re better trying to persuade our first choice rather than settle for 2nd? Obviously there’s a point that we walk away…

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  42. Let’s just see out the window, as was said at the beginning, and see what happens. If we don’t get the players we need, blame away. If we get even two strikers and a decent CB plus Gini, and we do it at the best possible price we can, happy bloody days. I don’t believe we should just throw down 15 if we think we can get him for cheaper, especially if they are working from a budget, crazy thought, eh. If at the end, and your being kept abreast of all negotiations, you have to pay the money, well pay it, but if you don’t, ok. It is easy to say: “Oh yeah, just pay the extra 3 million.” 3 million is still 3 million. We should definitely not miss out on our main targets but equally we shouldn’t be doing a Liverpool and spending ridiculous money on players that aren’t worth it and who, more than likely, will still not get them in the CL. I will judge at the end, as was always said. The majority are getting use to the way of playing, the one where they chase down opponents to win the ball back and then pass to each other once they have got, new players will probably manage to fit into that system, whenever they arrive. πŸ˜†

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  43. LIONEL

    Well said sir. Agree 100%

    People don’t always realise, if we pay the extra Β£3m, we’d end up doing it every time. 4 times = Β£12m, probably means we get screwed in agents’ fees too and wages. Might mean Β£20m per season. That’s a new player we’d get screwed out of by being bad negotiators!

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  44. πŸ˜₯ πŸ˜₯

    so much doom and gloom!

    We went for Mitovic, good signing if it came off, his agent and dad want better for him so we’ve sniffed again for Austin.. plenty time boys and girls πŸ˜€

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  45. Yep, Toondarnsarf, I don’t go much for this getting them in early as a priority malarkey, if we can, of course, great! But, if not and we are still going to get the player at the best price we can, then ok. And another thing, who really knows exactly what is going on with all these negotiations, I read around all the reports but who the heck really knows. I thought Gini was an excellent bit of business, I am still interested to see what we also come up with. Even suggestions around that we may get Mitrovic and Austin, now if that turns out to be true I will be over the bloody moon. πŸ˜€

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  46. the Mitovic deal stank of his agent wanting more money. He even came out as said we were close to agreeing.. surely to push others into action.

    What more could we have done to sign him. He’s wanted by some of Europes big-boys. well done to charnley for getting close, unlucky he didnt pull it off.

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  47. LIONEL

    That would be incredible. And would certainly see Cisse gone. Not sure how we’d fit in SDJ, WJ, Austin and Mitrovic mind you.

    To be honest, I’d rather see serious cash spent on 1 striker and 1 centre half. Then maybe 2 or 3 others, preferably young.

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  48. TDS – let me put it another way. Sir Les has openly said that they have no received a bid from NUFC for Charlie Austin. You can not negotiate a deal without a bid – it’s that simple. Now, it may be a case that Charnley has rang QPR and asked how much for Austin Β£15m … would you take Β£12m. That is bartering because an offer has not been made – Sir Les confirms this. You can only negotiate a tangible offer – we have not made one.

    Oh, and I don’t play, or have I ever played Football Manager. You seem to know how complicated it is to negotiate a football contract though – how many have you overseen out of interest?.

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