Does relegation mean reinvention ?

Does Rafa's signing mean Ashley is singing a new Toon?
Does Rafa’s signing mean Ashley is singing a new Toon?
Now that the dust has somewhat settled I thought I would take a look at where we are and where we are heading. Firstly I have to say I am very pleasantly surprised that the club has managed to secure the services of Rafa Benitez. It cannot be underestimated how important that was. You would have to think that with him at the helm we have given ourselves the best chance of a swift return to the premier league.

Having said that though, we still need to exercise a note of caution. There are a lot of hungry teams down there who have and will spend big to gain entry into the worlds richest league. It’s not a given that Rafa will prevail when he is competing with managers like Pearson, Di Matteo and Villa’s likely new coach Alex Neil – who all have Premier League experience. Indeed, he has never managed in the second tier of English football before and he enters uncharted territory in that respect, though he has had experience in the second tier of Spanish football. All in all he has really put his reputation on the line and at a basket case club like Newcastle too… Who could of ever seen anything like that happening!

On the question of relegation, in truth it has been coming a number of seasons. We were branded a zombie club and it’s hard to argue against that label. Years of trying to run a ‘profit before need’ set up simply hasn’t worked out. factor in the age restriction on transfers and very average ability coaches and, well, we are where we are. Benitez had an impossible job over only 10 games – to turn around a team lacking in a mixture of confidence, ability and a few players that displayed a couldn’t give a damn attitude. That he even got a tune out of our ramshackle lot speaks volumes of the mans ability.

All that and relegation was the inevitable outcome, but has an ill wind brought us unexpected good fortune? When relegation was the end of the world for many of us, not least because of the prospect of losing the services of Benitez, do we now have the chance of reinvention? Step forward Mr Mike Ashley – so often the architect of all our woes, who now does a huge about turn on the way the club operates and moves forward.

Suddenly we have a Manager of the highest caliber talked into staying on in the second tier of English football, who is assured he doesn’t have to sell a single player if he doesn’t want to. No book balancing required here apparently, nor is there a problem now with the manager choosing who HE wants to bring into the squad, with all former restrictions seemingly lifted.

Too good to be true? Well time will tell, we still need to see Ashley & co stay true to their words and promises to Benitez, meanwhile Benitez still needs to build a squad capable of getting us back up. He will be up against some very good coaches and this will be no walk in the park as it’s arguably the toughest league in the UK.

Whether we bring in some quality loans or offer players like Agger and Arbeloa rolling or short term deals remains to be seen but we do need an overhaul of the squad because it’s not strong enough, physically or mentally in my opinion. If it was, we wouldn’t of gone down.

The good news is that under Benitez I did see real improvement, just a little too late to make a real difference. Now he has a transfer window, a pre-season and time to make those all important adjustments that are required. If he can keep hold of Townsend, Perez, Aarons, Elliot, Darlow, Mbemba and young Lascelles, well that’s a fine start. Add in the odd Championship experienced player and hopefully we’re good to go.

Benitez was right about us being a project. I do believe if he can get us back up then under his incidence and given time we could get back some of the good times and maybe even Europe if Mr Ashley backs him adequately.

Yes this is the perfect time for reinvention and not a moment too soon.


100 thoughts on “Does relegation mean reinvention ?

  1. Sharpy: we would have to see who stays, but you have to assume Wignaldum, Sissoko and Janmaat are gone. Then you need someone who is not wet behind the ears and is guaranteed their place. I think that leaves Krul, Townsend and Dummett. Of course, that assumes they stay.

    We might end up with a new signing as captain.

    I would probably give it to Timmy-the-hoof. I actually prefer Elliot, but after watching our other keepers have the same problem of having no-one to pass to I think it was a Management failing. I might have to change his name to Timmy-the-ex-hoof if he gets an option other than to belt it long to a lone striker.


  2. Shamrock: I thought of Lascelles but thought maybe he hadn’t played enough and wasn’t guaranteed a place yet. I do like the idea though as some players are just natural leaders on the field like Fabregas who I think Captained Arsenal at 19. Same with John Terry, who is a bit of an arse but also an inspiration.


  3. I read somewhere that if Colo didn’t play an additional 15 games then he didn’t get get the extra year contract. He did mysteriously disappear (after an injury in a warm down can you believe) so I think there’s probably truth in that and we’ve seen the last of him even though he hasn’t shagged my wife yet.

    Captainless Toon? Maybe we’ll sign the midfield general we’ve lacked since Robert Lee. That was from the CCC when we were in it.


  4. Well the retained list will be announced in the coming days, which should be interesting. The futures of a lot of players are up in the air, not to mention the coaching structure at the club – so it should be a very eventful close season.

    I wonder if Ameobi will get sold?


  5. If you win Eric, someone can open an account and place the bet on your behalf.

    Eric Sykes:
    Sir Bobby Robson foundation?

    I don’t even think I am able to set up an account. Gambling is illegal in Illinois.


  6. Shamrock:
    Well the retained list will be announced in the coming days, which should be interesting. The futures of a lot of players are up in the air, not to mention the coaching structure at the club – so it should be a very eventful close season.

    I wonder if Ameobi will get sold?

    SHAM he isn’t even good enough for the ccc,only got a odd game while on loan,my worry is club will drag it on like they did with Shola who was never good enough imo


  7. Georgio: I just looked up the Wikipedia entry for Colo and he played 21 games last year. It was irrelevant though as he had a 1 year guaranteed contract extension which is this coming season.

    The silly buggers then added another year as an option (next season). I think that is where the 15 games issue arises. That if he plays 15 games this year it will trigger another year – similar to what Jonas had. Do they ever learn?


  8. Sham – I was thinking Lascelles too, but if it could be used as a tool to persuade Townsend to stay, then it’s his.
    I think Lascelles would still be a vocal influence in the dressing room, but captaincy for Townsend could be a good thing for him (and us).


  9. I’m not sure Townsend is a leader Sharpy. He comes across as the type of bloke that just keeps his head down and gets on with it. Good trait for sure but we need somebody that will hold teammates to account and raise the bar. Giving someone Captaincy just to convince them to stay is wrong in my opinion. I do hope he stays though, even if he goes on a seasons loan if needs be.


  10. Oh God, I think the Colo contract is worse than I thought. This is from the Club official website on August 6, 2015:

    “Newcastle United’s Fabricio Coloccini has signed a one-year extension to his contract, which will keep him at St. James’ Park until the end of the 2016/17 season, with the option of a further year.”

    So this is what he had:

    15/16 season – remaining year on his contract
    16/17 season – guaranteed 1 year extension
    17/18 season – option for a further year

    Hopefully, the option is a club option with no automatic trigger. However, I had seen somewhere about a 15 game clause as well and fear it is like the Jonas deal where if he plays a certain number of games the option automatically kicks in. Of course that would mean we would have to sit him after 15 games this year and still pay him.

    Can anyone confirm this?

    It makes sense because of what we saw with Jonas but also what we saw with Cabella. They put the option in that Marseilles had to buy Cabella if he played a certain number of games for them. If true, we are screwed and Colo has all the cards.


  11. Shamrock:
    I’m not sure Townsend is a leader Sharpy. He comes across as the type of bloke that just keeps his head down and gets on with it. Good trait for sure but we need somebody that will hold teammates to account and raise the bar. Giving someone Captaincy just to convince them to stay is wrong in my opinion. I do hope he stays though, even if he goes on a seasons loan if needs be.

    Sham – I didn’t mean just give him it for that reason – though it does read that way. I agree he’s a player that gives his all every game & I think he’d be a captain that leads by example – if I’m grafting my arse off then I expect you to!!!. Have Lascelles as his vice captain who would be the muscle.


  12. How the hell did they think an extra two years for Colo was a good idea !

    Captain depends on who stays really, lets wait and see who we retain. So long as it’s not captain spineless I’m not too bothered.


  13. I know what you mean Sharpy, but as a fan looking on I want to be able to see the passion emitting from the Captain on the pitch. Just working hard is not good enough. That should be a basic requirement anyway. The leader should stand out from the crowd and not be afraid to speak out during games/interviews whilst also defending his players when required. I just can’t see Townsend being that bold. Lascelles is the man for the job. He did really well when given a run and knows the Championship. Time for him to be our #1 CB IMO. Mbemba still has a lot to learn in my opinion, so if one had to make way from the line up for an experienced guy to come in – it should be him.


  14. Kimtoon: This from The Guardian and shows it was McClaren who gave Colo the new deal with a 1 year extension and one year option. I am convinced now that in order to fend off Pards they put in a trigger for a 3rd year. It all makes sense because Colo was not taking part in pre-season and then miraculously recovered. He was playing hardball with NUFC and got what he wanted:

    “Aware that Alan Pardew, his former manager, was prepared to offer Coloccini a three-year contract at Crystal Palace, McClaren used his position as a board member at St James’ Park to urge his fellow directors to extend the player’s agreement by one year until the summer of 2017 with an option for a further 12 months.

    There was interest in him which went beyond speculation,” said McClaren. “That hindered Colo’s preparation. It had gone on too long but hopefully he’ll finish his careeer here now.”

    An achilles problem has prevented Coloccini playing in pre-season but he is back in full training and is in contention for involvement at home to Southampton on Sunday. When he returns to the starting XI a central defender described as a “Rolls-Royce” by Pardew knows he will have to win over a sceptical Tyneside public whose trust he forfeited after some underachieving performances last season.”


  15. Sham – I know what you mean, that’s always been my type of captain – Keane, Adams, Viera type leaders.
    I think if that’s the type of captain you have in mind, there is only Lascelles in the squad at the moment that could perform that role that I can think of.


  16. What a bunch of dopes. It is obvious that Colo doesn’t fancy another year in The Championship but wants to be paid this years money and made a free agent. If he returns he can put in a half-arsed effort knowing the club don’t want to pick up his option. He can skulk around the training ground and nobody will be able to do a damn thing about it. Hell, they wouldn’t want him around the other players so they will pay him off. IDIOTS!!!!


  17. I bet in the next few weeks that we will see that Coloccini’s contract has been cancelled by “mutual consent” with nice words on all sides and no details of the financials at all. In reality, Colo will get this years pay and Charnley and Co will keep schtum because otherwise it will show what idiots they are.


  18. The only other option is for Colo to be reunited with Pards. Sorry to go on about it, but you are talking about Captains and in my opinion Colo has played his last game for NUFC.


  19. Eric – I don’t see Colo going to Palace mate. If he leaves, it will only be to return to Argie.
    If he wants to leave then he has to agree to rip up his contract & take no more money from us.
    The money he has now will be more than enough to get him & his family by in Argie. If he wants to be a **** about it then nobody wins


  20. I have read quite a few articles about the England selections and there is a whole lot of love for Wor Andros from the writers and on the comments pages. I really hope there isn’t that reported exit clause in his contract. I think we will get some offers anyway and will find it hard to hang onto him. At least he won’t be scoring the winning goal in the QF penalty shootout 🙂


  21. Sharpy: I have said my piece on Colo’s contract but I think I am more cynical about Agents than you are. Colo gets paid 3 million quid a year and I doubt his Agent will give that up easily.


  22. Last word: Sports Agents, Theatrical Agents etc are often known as Mr. 10% because that is what they typically get paid as their commission/service fee. In Colo’s case, his Agent would be giving up 300k if Colo simply walks away this year, assuming NUFC let him.


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