Messi won't play in that kit and Ashley's pocketed the cash from Carroll. But Chatty Man's dad holds the key to transfer window success for Newcastle United...
It’s the silly season in football – do you love it or hate it?
In theory the silly season should be much more exciting now news can be shared before it has happened, but it is not. In the olden days you had to work to hear a rumour, they were valuable - when you heard one it gave you a shiver of excitement. Now anyone with a twitter account can spread a rumour, anyone with a smartphone knows Tevez is going to Real Madrid long before he's even had the chance to say how flattered he is to be the subject of blah, blah, blah.
Transfer news saturation has definitely taken the fun out of the silly season. At Newcastle the current regime do seem to have done a sterling job of keeping leaks to a minimum. The teasing 'Club Insider' is part of the concrete in some motorway crossover and even Julian Assange could not find out for sure who our striker targets are. It does make the surprise of a new signing a touch more enjoyable than if it was chewed over everyday for months on end. The boredom endured by Barca fans during the Cesc saga is a case in point.
This summer what are you hoping to read every time you check your club news each morning?
Discovering that the club has been taken over by a progressive new owner is a dream scenario, but to hear of wise progress in the transfer market would be just fine.
What do you inevitably end up reading instead?
News filler and regurgitated stories flecked with the odd piece of useful information lifted shamelessly by thousands of websites from some underpaid, underappreciated and uncredited journalist who actually worked for the story.
Got much cash in the kitty?
Derek Llambias, in one of his famously motivating public announcements, has tickled the alarm bells by stating that not all of the millions earned from Andy Carroll's transfer will be spent in this window. That's £35m. This means that they either don't trust Alan Pardew, want to save some cash for the next one thousand windows or, as most people fear, Mike Ashley wants to claw back a chunk of his investment. What everyone expects is to be fobbed off and patronised with some miserable statement on the 30th of August designed to take the last traces of fun out of another frustrating window.
Hulking midfielder? Tricky winger? Big b*stard defender? What types of players would you like to sign this summer?
Two quick, goalscoring strikers and depending on what happens to Jose Enriqué either cover or a new first choice left back. Demba Ba's signing was a positive start, but the forward line still needs serious refreshment. Mevlut Erdinc has been strongly linked. He's an interesting player with a decent scoring rate but it seems as though PSG won't stand in his way should he want to leave them. Selling club apathy is always slightly worrying, especially when it concerns a striker. Despite that most fans would be more than willing to take a chance on him.
Martin Samuel won't want to believe this, but Newcastle fans are not unrealistic. We are acutely aware of the raw reality of our situation. Like fans of all clubs we would love to sign Villa, Eto'o and Falcao in a triple swoop and win every game playing like the football version of the Harlem Globetrotters - we know that isn't going to happen with Danny Guthrie pulling the strings on the pitch and Derek Llambias tangling them off it. Newcastle fans just want players to give it a damn good go playing without fear. Optimistic, proud and lovers of exciting football yes, unrealistic, no. When it comes to this transfer window most just want some interesting, well thought through signings in the positions where we are light.
In scout Graham Carr, we trust. Graham, father of Chatty Man, Alan, has become something of a hero to many who still suffer from ticks brought on by the sight of Fumaca shinning the ball to the linesman.
What types of player will you end up signing instead? An U21 Moldovan left back instead of Spanish international forward perhaps?
French Freebies and possibly one player at around £10m, maybe two if we are lucky. In scout Graham Carr, we trust. Graham, father of Chatty Man, Alan, has become something of a hero to many who still suffer from ticks brought on by the sight of Fumaca shinning the ball to the linesman. Graham's record has been excellent, the signing of Cheik Tiote his masterstroke.
Buying in established stars is easy, unearthing a gem who hasn't been permanently tainted by his association with another Premier League club and watching them sparkle is much more fun. Chelsea might well sign Tiote this summer, but he'll always be 'ours'. If Carr scouts some players who excite the fans and become 'ours' next season it won't matter where they have come from or how much they cost.
Who wants to leave the club and what’s your attitude towards them?
It appears as though Jose Enriqué is edging towards a move. This is understandable, but sad. There are few fans with a bad word to say about Enriqué, he's a skillful player and 'ours'. There is still a chance he will stay, if he does decide to stick around it will be great news and he will cement his reputation as a fans favourite. If Barca sign him then he will go with pats on his back and a lifelong invite back to Newcastle whenever he feels like a cold blast of North Sea air. If he leaves Newcastle for another Premier League club it will be bitterly disappointing...
Who has been the biggest t*sser of this transfer window?
Mike Ashley is yet to properly slap his ham fists all over the window as seasoned ham fistery experts expect him to. Many did not like the selling of Nolan. At all. They are waiting with baited breath to see what the plan is. If he strengthens the squad well then that transfer will be excused, if he plays it safe and doesn't invest into the squad then he will take yet more heavy flak - he has the final say so he can have no complaints. Alan Pardew could well find himself second on the fans shitlist if he mixes his messages during the window. Fans are looking to him to challenge Mike Ashley if he makes the wrong calls, not to say one thing one week to keep everyone happy then toe the wonky line the following week to stay in the job. It's a tough situation for Pardew to handle, but he is well paid to manage it.
Reckon you’ll be stronger or weaker next season?
Stronger. It would take some special mismanagement to make the squad weaker (this sentence was written with crossed fingers and eyes closed, not easy...). The midfield has been strengthened by the signing of Cabaye and Marveaux, two quick thinking players with pace whilst the return to fitness of the wonderful Ben Arfa will feel a new signing. Last season the midfield lacked pace and was starting to look like it needed some spark. If N'Zogbia signs then we could easily field a completely French midfield. The vain hope here is that they will at least be able to communicate with each other well. It is inconceivable that the club won't sign at least two more strikers. If they do, that alone will make the squad stronger.
Any other news?
Lionel Messi could sign for the lads, but sadly the shirt-holding cheesed-grin photo would be spoilt by the presence of the worst shirt design seen since Timmy Mallett last got paid for waving his polystyrene tool around on ITV. Puma have managed to throw up a shirt that hurts to look at. The twin 'road stripes' down the front are meant to represent the twin stripes on the badge, but it could also 'echo' the twin stripe 'homage to Cruyff' detailing which is present in other Puma shirt designs this summer. The badge placing looks like it was performed blindfolded, the messy design 'cues' continue all over the kit as if the 'designer' submitted the final design as a dare.
You want your star signing to look great gurning away in the new kit on the day he signs, not grimacing because he looks like a sartorial faux-pas. Next year when the club creates the new shirt they need to employ someone who knows how to design.
What has been the best ever bit of business your club did in the transfer window?
Newcastle United have made great signings in the past. Peter Beardsley's in 1993 was inspired. Les Ferdinand, David Ginola - those two players transformed the club. The best overall was Alan Shearer. In recent years Ben Arfa was a great buy, Coloccini too has proven to be a superb signing, but the best would be Cheik Tiote.
And the worst?
There aren't enough pixels in the world to do that question justice. Sorry.
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