As a fan that has been following Newcastle since the mid-nineties when Ã¢â‚¬Å“King KevÃ¢â‚¬Â ruled the club for the first time and had players like Ginola, Ferdinand and Asprilla to his disposal, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a very sad transition period to see how a club, who arguably played the most attractive football at the time, became one of the most under-achieving clubs (if not the most) in the EPL in modern times.
With many managers, players, and millions of pounds later (wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go into that in any further depth), the club have obviously failed to meet the expectations both from its owner(s), board members and fans. And that is something that has been haunting us Geordie fans for over a decade now.
St. James Park holds a capacity of around 52,000 spectators, which would put them third in the Premier League only after Manchester United (76,000) and Arsenal (60,000). With the stadium practically filled to its capacity at every home game, you would expect a club like Newcastle to at least be competing for a European qualification every year due to the financial strength that comes from their local fan base alone. Just to draw a comparison, Tottenham, a club that have been considered an equal of Newcastle in recent years, have a stadium (White Heart Lane) that only holds around 36,000 spectators. Now, look how well they have done recently with both achieving things (won the League Cup last season) and with attracting players of good quality.
Since Sir Bobby RobsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s departure as manager for the club in 2004, Newcastle have never looked close to regain its stature since KeeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first tenure at the club. Sir Bobby Robson was fired for not achieving ChampionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s League qualification that year, which was something he did achieve the year before. Imagine how much a qualification for the UEFA Cup would mean for the club and its fans today, even if it came via UEFA Intertoto Cup. That shows how far behind we have come since.
Not to bore you with more data and club history, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cut to the chase and see exactly where the problems lie and how I think some of the problems could be corrected and hopefully steer the club in the right direction:
1. Communicate better with your fans. Since Chris Mort left as chairman of the club and was replaced by Derek Llambias, there has been very few statements of importance from the upper-level management directed to the fans. With all the recent rumors circulating of a possible takeover by either Anil Ambani or Profitable Group, neither Mike Ashley nor Derek Llambias has once in recent weeks spoken out in public to acknowledge or refute these rumors. Most of us who have been following these rumors have only been able to rely on news from other media like newspapers and web blogs. In fact, there was an unknown Newcastle official that did dismiss these rumors, according to the Times Online. But still, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just ainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t good enough! We expect good owners and chairmen to hold a good dialogue with the fans; especially, concerning an important matter like this.
Furthermore, there has been no clear indication by the management of how much money Kevin Keegan has to spend on new players this summer. Keegan himself has been quiet on this subject but continues to offer inspiration, even though if he knows that his squad is rather thin at the moment.
Still today, I think no one except Mr. Ashley himself and perhaps the people closest to him, has a clear idea of what his vision for Newcastle FC is.
2. Put your money where your mouth is. Mr. Ashley denied former manager Sam Allardyce any funds to spend in the January transfer window, because he knew he would sack him and wanted to give that money to the next manager he appointed. Kevin Keegan became that manager, and Keegan didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t spend a nickel in the January transfer window. Instead he wanted to see what kind of squad he had inherited before making his own mark of new players signing and playing for the club.
So far, Keegan has only spent around Ã‚Â£15million this summer (assuming the transfer of Coloccini will go through) on four players. Considering that you have at least the same amount of players leaving the club this summer, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just not good enough when you have clubs like the Spurs spending more on one single player (Modric for Ã‚Â£16million). You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect a club like Newcastle to be challenging for a European qualification or winning a domestic trophy without spending serious money on new players. At the moment, there just isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enough quality and depth in the squad to be expecting these results Ã¢â‚¬â€œ sad but true!
3. Distinguish between good and bad players. I still have no clue what players like Alan Smith and Shola Ameobi are still doing playing for a club of NewcastleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stature Ã¢â‚¬â€œ let alone in any club that wants to achieve any success in the Premier League besides just surviving relegation. Sometimes like in any business, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better to cut your losses and move on. I find it unimaginable that any professional scout would come up with worse players to replace them with for whatever amount they would sell for. That being said, it looks like Smith could leave for Everton this week, which at least would make one fan very happy.
4. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect gold when digging for dirt. For a lack of a better choice of words, this is the title I chose for this paragraph. Nevertheless, this is something that hurts me the most to say as a true fan, but we as fans must ease the pressure on what realistically can be achieved by the club. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face it; we are not in a position to be challenging the Big Four (Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal) anytime soon. In fact, we are still far from it. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s try not to relive the moments from the past as they still would be happening now, but rather look at things for what they really are today. I hope, and still firmly believe so, that Newcastle will once again flourish and regain that status they had in the mid-nineties. Maybe it will not happen this year or next, but with the full backing of its supporters and management, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure it will happen sooner rather than later.
So there you have it folks. As football fans, we might not be able to influence a lot in the bigger scheme of things, like how a club is being managed and run. But at least we can voice our opinions and always hope for better times and better football being played by the clubs we hold dear. As final words, I just want to say:
Keep the faith Geordies!
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!