For those of you who don’t yet know, I am a lifelong Newcastle fan, having been to my first match in 1985 and holding the distinction that between 1986 and 2003 I only missed 3 home matches (1 was for my honeymoon, the 7-1 win over Leicester City as we were promoted to the Prem League)
The close season is always a fun time for the rumour mongers, the sports writers who still need to fill column inches without any firm stories and of course the agents whose wallets only get filled when one of their players signs, moves or manages to get a better deal
It’s with some surprise then, that in the first 4 weeks of this close season, NUFC have managed to bring in 4 new players – 3 of which were courted by other Prem clubs – and released a number of squad players whose days in Black & White were surely up.
True, there is still some consternation around the selling of Kevin Nolan, but tbh, when the club offers an extra 2 years onto the remaining 2 years, all of which at a very healthy weekly salary but the player wants 5 years then there’s nothing else to do but turn it down and go to the Championship. I reckon that Nolan probably insisted that as captain he should be afforded almost immovable rights to being 1st on the team sheet, a promise which neither could, nor should have been given – not when we are looking to bring speed, skill and dynamic approach to the team. It’s true that Nolan was excellent for us, when we needed a battling leader and could manage to win enough points to be safe by out fighting teams, but I despair at the number of fans bemoaning his transfer as a sign of lack of ambition by the club; our ambition must be to push upwards to the top 6 and the team we finished last season with clearly wasn’t able to do that.
Another area which seems to warrant huge numbers of barely literate Newcastle fans bombarding the blog sites and message boards is that Mike Ashley has still yet to really spend any of the Andy Carrol money – too many ‘fans’ have an unwaivable grudge against Mike Ashley (most of them are only in their late teens and so can’t even remember what it was like to truly suffer under McKeag et al) and believe that he is ‘out to get us’ and ‘only looking to make himself rich’ – Small-minded fools that they are, they should stop for a moment and realise that under Ashley we are 3rd in Europe for having the best potential to meet UEFA’s financial regulations. Likewise, we are still bringing in young & talented players, building for the future and not just shopping in the last chance saloon for ex-prem stars
The biggest disappointment when it comes to the minority group of fans who can’t see anything positive is that they are too blind to realise that the biggest clubs, those with the bigger stars who these fans a desparate for us to sign (Sturridge being the most popular at the moment) have yet to start their summer trading – most European transfers start on 1st July so to suggest that Mike Asley is not going to spend the big bucks is far too presumptuous. I do not agree with everything that Mr Ashley has done, nor the way some things were carried out, but I do have faith that for him, a successful Newcastle United is the goal; for the financial return, for the prestige and for the bragging rites over some of his other football contacts (Dave Whelan at Wigan being the biggest)
I say, wait and see who we bring in, and to those ‘anti-Ashley’ fans out there – it’s better the devil you know !