Dear Matty Longstaff…
Choose St James’ Park. Choose Newcastle Brown Ale. Choose Greggs. Choose the Gallowgate End. Choose the Strawberry pub. Choose Wor Flags. Choose Monty the Magpie. Choose living the dream with brother Sean. Choose windmilling fans after a last-gasp winner. Choose Saint-Maximin’s tweets. Choose Sinners, Popworld and Flares. Choose #cans. Choose the best supporters in England. Choose the best league in Europe. Choose your boyhood club. Choose Newcastle United.
That is my message for Matty Longstaff, with a slight reference to Danny Boyle’s 1996 film Trainspotting.
This comes after news broke from Sky Sports’ Keith Downie yesterday (amongst others) that the younger Longstaff brother is close to joining Italian side Udinese, and had already flown out months ago to discuss a lucrative £30k a week move.
The same report revealed that this offer is MORE than double the wage on the table from Ashley & Co to keep the local youngster – who has played just nine times in a Toon shirt at senior level.
Imagine being paid £15k a week to play for your boyhood club? There are a lot worse things I would be doing for that sort of money!
Young Longstaff has had an impressive breakthrough season for us and his winner against Man United back in October is one of the standout moments of the season. But £30k a week this early in his career? Give over.
An argument can be drawn by taking a peek at another ginger-haired Geordie’s wages, with Jack Colback currently picking up a ludicrous £40k while contributing very little to our cause. However, we must remember that Colback himself was signed on a free, which automatically bumps up a player’s wages, and was actually a first-team regular for us at one stage in his career.
Longstaff has bags of potential but he’s only a kid. It would be extremely short sighted of him to run off to Italy for £30k a week when a much bigger Premier League contract could be sat right here on his doorstep further down the line.
If he wants to leave the club, either for financial reasons or because he thinks it will better his career, then I say let him crack on.
Just like any other Newcastle fan, I want to see promising academy products stay here and excel at the club they love. But if he feels disrespected by a £15k a week offer to play for the Toon after just six Premier League appearances then I won’t be shedding a tear if he chooses to leave.
For now, we should all give him the benefit of the doubt. There is an ongoing takeover saga that is draining the life out of every Newcastle fan out there, and there is a possibility that Matty could be holding out on his options to see if there is a breakthrough on the situation.
That said, in a post-takeover world filled with big investment, record breaking transfers, new-found ambition and an era that allows us to compete again, would Matty Longstaff’s services even be worth fighting for? That is another debate to be had altogether.
Under the current regime that is Mike Ashley’s dictatorship, however, it would be a real shame to see him go.
Choose Newcastle United, Matty.