Tyne for Some Sol Searching
As we await the news that Sol Campbell has put pen to paper on his reported one-year £30k p/w deal at Newcastle, I think back to two and a half weeks ago.
I was at the pub on a Friday afternoon after a hard week at work when I saw it flash up on the Sky Sports Breaking News ticker on the big screen "Sol Campbell travels to Sunderland for talks". For a second I was genuinly quite worried. Despite his age, I still really rated him as a defender and thought he`d be an excellent addition to their squad. I remember Sol as being the only player I`d ever seen have Shearer in his back pocket for a whole game and I worried he might do the same to Andy Carroll if the two faced off in the Tyne-Wear derby. So you can only imagine how chuffed I was when he turned them down in favour of us!
It`s not just Sol either, Dan Gosling was reportedly offered a contract by Steve Bruce before opting to join their bitter rivals that little bit further north.
I couldn`t work it out - why would these two players choose Newcastle over Sunderland? Its definitely not for money, Ellis Short isn`t afraid to dip his hand into his pocket to pay his players more than Mike Ashley is and I wouldn`t say it was for first team football either as Sol and Gosling would most likely have got the same amount of games whichever team they`d chosen.
So why the hell would a player choose us over them? I mean, they`re a stable Premiership club and we`re newly promoted. They`ve got a chairman and owner who back their managers, we`ve got a stingy owner who wont even let us play a friendly ouside of the UK and we`re only a few miles down the road from eachother, each have great stadiums and have a loyal devoted fanbase. In all senses they`re a 'bigger club` at the moment, so why choose Newcastle?
Could it be that Chris Hughton is telling the players that there`s a revolution happening at SJP and he wants them to be a part of it? That we have big ambitions and that we have a plan to take the Premiership by the scruff of the neck? Could it even be that we have a big money signing lined up that`s getting the boys excited?
Okay, so maybe the latter is far fetched, but regardless, the way Chris Hughton conducts his transfer business really impresses me and my confidence in him grows every day.
Hughton refused to comment on Campbell and Gosling until the deals were done which is a far cry from ex-'managers` like Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness (it pains me even to say his name) who liked to shout from the rooftops about their transfer targets, leaving teams like Real Madrid to cash in on our naivety. Now we have a sensible manager who has been in the game long enough - and under god knows how many different managers - to know how to conduct himself professionally at all times and that professional attitude oozes through his team. Long gone are the days when we`d be in for Rooney and Ronaldinho offering millions in transfer fees and throwing ridiculous wages out there in a bid to lure in mercenaries like Michael Owen.
Our relegation has given us some time to do a bit of soul searching and appoint a sensible manager that makes sensible signings and I`m starting to become convinced by our solid signings that I`m sure are all down to him. Long may it continue.