Newcastle: If You Want Ashley Gone, You Have To Pay The Price
It was yet another predictably disappointing transfer deadline day for Newcastle United. The outgoing loan move for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa demonstrated that not only is Alan Pardew totally unable to get the best out of expensively scouted, highly rated young European players, but that also we haven’t learned any lessons from the past in terms of transfer dealings.
Prior to signing for the Magpies for £8.5m in a flourish of cash splashing in January 2013, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was one of Europe’s most promising young central defenders, having won Ligue 1 as captain of Montpellier. He leaves Newcastle having been played out of position at right-back more often than not, having lost his place in the France squad and having had the confidence slowly drained from him, until a horror show at Everton in the rotten second half to the 13/14 Premier League campaign gave Pardew the excuse he needed to write him off. This spelled the end for him.
After leaking goals left right and centre since the end of last season though, we were crying out for a commanding centre half to shore things up in this transfer window. Our remaining centre backs leave a real cause for concern. Fabricio Coloccini is a shadow of his former self, Mike Williamson is an average squad player at best and Steven Taylor seems unable to learn from previous mistakes and he remains a liability when called upon – the ‘Geordie passion fist clenching’ act is wearing very thin. So to weaken ourselves further in this position this season may well back fire very badly. The club did sign the highly rated Jamaal Lacelles from Nottingham Forest this summer, but he remains at Forest on loan until the end of the season – by which time it’s unclear if Alan Pardew and his coaching staff will get the chance to ruin his potential too.
The biggest deadline day story for Newcastle though was that of Hatem Ben Arfa leaving on loan to Hull City, a player which a large number of Newcastle fans had been using as a figurehead for the ‘Pardew Out’ campaign. Talented as Ben Arfa is, it was only a matter of time before this happened – you only need to take a look at his history to realise he’s fallen out with managers and players at every level he’s played at so far. This shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. In some ways I don’t blame Alan Pardew for his treatment of Ben Arfa – footballers are paid handsomely to remain professional and when they don’t, there has to be repercussions. A manager has to stamp his authority on his players when it’s required. Due to a general dislike of Alan Pardew though, this situation has been blown out of proportion and used against him. It looks unlikely that Ben Arfa will play for Newcastle again, unless there’s a change of management and this loan move is a success.
The other shortcoming of this window was a failure to recruit a proven goal scorer to replace Loic Remy, a player we’ve been trying to sign all summer despite it being clear that he had no interest whatsoever in signing for Newcastle permanently. Pardew further irked Newcastle fans this week by suggesting that the return of Papiss Cisse from injury would instead be like a new signing. He did have a point to be fair – Cisse was awful last season, however he’s clearly a confidence player. Given that confidence, it’s a fair bet that he’d be as good as, better even, than most of the strikers we’ve spent an entire summer trying to sign. Unfortunately, Alan Pardew seems unable to instil that confidence, not just in Cisse, but in all of our attacking and flair players. We continue to churn out unimaginative, leaden footed defensive minded football. We don’t seem to have a clue what to do when we go forwards and our set pieces remain utterly woeful. Our Chief Scout Graham Carr might as well not bother trying to unearth the hidden gems he’s found in recent seasons – our coaching team seem universally incapable of bringing these players on and don’t allow them to flourish. The one shining light so far this season is the emergence of Rolando Aarons, the fresh faced young winger. At 18, he’s hungry and wants to perform and he’s yet to be driven into the ground by negative tactics and getting a roasting each time he loses the ball when trying something new.
We’ve signed 9 players this summer, 7 of which are available to us now. However having lost 10 players out the other way, we’ve actually weakened a squad which struggled for three-quarters of the previous campaign.
My feeling is that nothing will change at Newcastle United whilst Alan Pardew remains manager and Mike Ashley remains owner. If results do not get any better soon though, there is a chance that Pardew will lose his job – Mike Ashley will not risk the expense of another relegation. However, Newcastle fans have to realise that if they want Mike Ashley to sell the club, this comes at a price.
Ashley will not sell the club until he’s made back the money which he lent to the club on an interest free basis. This means that the club will only spend what it can afford to spend, and every penny of profit the club makes will go back into Ashley’s pocket. This includes TV money, sponsorship, and the proceeds from shirts which fans continue to blindly purchase in his tatty sportswear shops. It’s obvious this is what is going on. My view is that instead of pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes with false promises etc., he would gain more respect by just admitting it. I’d certainly not blame him for doing it – he’s entitled to take back the money he lent to the club. It’s the silent process he’s undertaking which is the problem in my eyes.
When he’s made his money back, only then will he sell up. It’s quite clear that having already purchased shares in Glasgow Rangers, he sees that club as a more lucrative investment – Champions League football could potentially only be a couple of years away, with the required investment to make this happen only a fraction of what it would cost at Newcastle United.
So we can’t have it both ways – Mike Ashley will not spend a sack load of money and then leave. If we want him to leave, we have to accept that paying huge transfer fees and wages for footballers isn’t going to happen anytime soon. The least we should expect in the meantime though is a manager and coaching team who have the ability to get the best out of the few talented players we actually have. At the moment this isn’t the case. If only 1 win in 11 games extends to 12 or 13, it really should be the end for Pardew and his staff.