It started with a statement
By Paul Marsden
Monday 22 Nov 2010 12:41:00
Browse all Paul Marsden articles

Relegation was a disaster that followed a season of almighty lows for a badly represented, badly run, great big mess of club.

The resulting year in the championship though, came as a shock to many. We were expected to struggle once more, following the likes of Leeds, Forest and the Owls. Somehow though, despite having the same amateurs at the helm, we appeared to have found some stability throughout the club.  The stability, confidence, solidarity and team spirit that was shown on the pitch appeared to have filtered through to the board and Mr Ashley.  The success on the pitch masked an awful lot. The lack of communication from the board, the lack of front page headlines and a lack of knowledge as to what exactly was going on upstairs was all good.  In most quarters no news is good news. Right?  Maybe Mr Ashley had learnt from previous mistakes and had decided to change his ways. Taking advice, sorting the club out, and pushing us in the right direction.

Unfortunately for us all, while optimism and confidence was finding its way through the mag society, Mr Ashley was planning what I like to call “The Statement”.  A statement that was set to disappoint and let down even the most realistic of loyal fans. You would be no fool to assume that he had planned it this way.  Let’s give everyone of them a massive kick in the town halls. Giggling to himself over an empty pint glass.

Although I completely agree that the clubs financial future and stability is of huge importance, I also think that surely success on the pitch needs to go hand in hand with it for any plan to work.  Not once is the aim for success on the pitch mentioned.  They mention the fact that survival is most important. I agree, but with no outlay is this a dead cert.  With success and continued improvement in the squad, both players we already have and reasonably priced new signings comes that financial stability they speak of.  So let’s have a go shall we.

Quite frankly until we find our sheik or at least maybe someone with half a football head never mind a little financial nouse, I know we can’t compete with the Chelseas and Citys of the world, but cementing our place in the world’s top division will leave us with a platform to get our finances in check. Now just isn’t the time.  I am a realistic guy - I don’t mean twenty million here or thirty million there.  Just a few reasonably priced confidence and squad building signings. That’s what we need.  Before Ellis Short, how many times have you heard the daft Mackem at work tell you, “well we should have spent at the time”, or “we should have built on that promotion squad”.  Do we really want to walk around in their old Gola trainers??? That’s what we will be doing, if we don’t build on last season. The club, the squad and Mr Ashley’s finances will this time hit the downward spiral that we have so narrowly escaped this time around. This five year plan that they speak of will be over in just over one.  Of course, I’ve missed out the figures and took a simple approach with my views on the financial side. Overcomplicating things is what got us here, with this Spurs fan in charge of our club and the mess he inherited.

No comment, no comment, no comment........

With regards to the club’s relationship with the media, I reckon that if Osama Bin Laden put out one of these statements, that he could copy and paste quite a few of the sentences used. Osama will never be available for interview, Osama will never answer questions about his business (well, maybe if he is planning to destroy something that we love - See the comparison), Osama will never let you know of his whereabouts and once again, Osama will not, will not, will not. Is it just me or does all this just ouse a lack of belief and for want of a better word, pure guilt.

Overall to me this statement was either rushed together by a couple of sixteen year old Fulwell-ites or it has been structured and planned out behind the backs of thousands upon thousands of mags while the most calculated and calm head in English football pushes a spirited and confident side back to the premier league. A great man he is, a man who I really do quite like in charge. But with a man like Chris Hughton, who is happy to push and plod on, without showing emotion, it papers over the cracks like a 1-0 win over Slovenia. Through no fault of his own, we start thinking that things just might be ok.  His friendly, calm and approachable get-on-with-it demeanour makes you feel safe as houses. I believe the only good to come out of this statement was the fact that we now know Mr Hughton will be around next season. I see a top, top gaffer in the bloke. He has all the attributes.

Who knows? Maybe with all these Geordie Hungarians, Geordie Africans, Geordie Aussies and Geordie Irishmen (most of whom have arrived quite recently) in our academy we may yet go quite far.  After all every ‘Home’ grown and great Geordie footballer is now going to get his chance to grace our beloved St James Park.   In all fairness I’m rather happy with the academy; the way it’s mentioned though in the statement is absolute bull. Why speak of something that doesn’t need to be spoken about, especially when it seems to be so far from the truth. That ‘Will not comment’ thing is growing on me as a good idea.

“Newcastle United Football Club is an organisation that holds a special place in the hearts of Geordies worldwide and the Board understands that it is they who are the spiritual torch holders of Newcastle United Football Club.”

Good reason to take a long run up to hoof us all in the balls. Thanks so much.

So what happened after “The statement”.....................?

So since “The statement”, not an awful lot went on. A quiet post season period without any news from the board.   There was an air of scary silence around St James.  No talk of players coming in and a fear (on my part) that, if anything, there would be plenty players leaving. 

After a slow start to the summer the transfer window re-opened and the rumour mill began.  It started with rumours that our newly appointed number 9, Andy Carroll was on his way to Chelsea. Steven Taylor could be gracing the pitch at the emirates and even the ever loyal Steve Harper could be on his way.  The world cup led to fear that if Jonas had a blinder then he could be off too.  All of these rumours were quickly quashed by calm, collected Chris Hughton and then came the rumours of players coming in. Campbell, Yakubu, Beckford, Boyd, Diarra, Cleverly and even shouts that Raul. Madrids record breaking superstar was on his way. Once again Hughton quashed the best part of these rumours as quick as they grew. Disappointing maybe, but in my eyes the signings of James Perch and Dan Gosling were a shrewd bit of business by the man.  In Perch we have what seems a very solid right back, even if he does have to prove it at this level.  In Gosling we have a player with the potential to go to the highest levels. Already a hit for the 21’s and I reckon there’s so much more to come from him.


There will be more signings to come by the sounds of things. Hughton has announced that there is money available and I for one am very optimistic. Hopefully by the time you are reading this we are sitting with a new Bellamy style front man to partner Carroll up top along with a few extra new faces that add weight and quality to a squad.

In all honesty I have been pleasantly surprised by our summer. “The statement” set out to break my heart.  But since then it seems the outlook has changed slightly.  We are still trying to build a squad. It is still one of the most shocking things I’ve heard in football.  But with the confidence and belief coming from the players, the management and pundits, it’s all rubbing off. We will be ok even if that numpty upstairs does try his best to mess it all up.

With a couple more bodies in the dressing room I’m hoping for a comfy mid table finish and I just hope that ticking coming from Mr Ashleys office isn’t a time bomb waiting to explode, ruining my club.

 I would love to be wrong about the bloke but you have to earn trust and respect.


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