Date:Saturday September 3 2011
Following the fiasco of yet another failed transfer window, the club has spoken. ToTT gives a gut reaction to the gut-wrenching excuse of a chairman.
The club statement was sneaked out in a manner reminiscent of the former Prime Minister who claimed to sit in the Gallowgate when it was standing room only, watching Jackie Milburn who had retired before the Tony Blair`s birth.
This could be seen as a good day to bury bad news, late on a Friday with international fixtures coming up. Just as Blair waged a potentially illegal war, justified by hiding rhetoric in a fog of misinformation, Llambias has declared war on the fine traditions of a once proud footballing city.
Supporters can see the context, even if Llambias can not. Here is a club, the 3rd best supported in the Premier League. Staying in the league, let alone success in the league is a money spinner. This is the richest league in the world. As with any business, investment is key to success. That would do justice to the fantastic support given to the players.
It could be argued that there is a shortage of funds to compete in the transfer market. Manager Alan Pardew has already suggested that Newcastle United can not compete, but more of him later.
A previous statement, back in May 2010, suggested that there was "a five year plan in which the ultimate goal will be to ensure that the club is run at a 'break even' manner by the year 2015/2016".
The fact is that Newcastle United made a profit last year, in all probability in excess of £50m once the sale of Andy Carroll was taken into consideration. This has been something more than "break even". In addition, the club would seem to have suggested that advance revenue from season tickets would have created a further £20-25m. This type of revenue is widely recognised as an astute means of investment funding. Over £70m should have been available.
Out went last season`s top scorer and captain, Nolan, player of the year, Joey Barton, the improving Jose Enrique all to add to the hottest home grown prospect for a generation, Andy Carroll.
The apparently inescapable conclusion is that contrary to previous assurances also given in May 2010, the owner, Mike Ashley, is taking money out of the club, a net transfer deficit of a meagre £1m seeming likely for this summer. Most of the signings have barely played at first team level during the last 12 months.
So what of the manager?
Pardew is with his 3rd Premier League club. He was sacked by West Ham when in the bottom 3. He was sacked by Charlton after taking them down and looking to a 2nd relegation with them. Starting with Stevenage, of the last 23 competitive matches, he has won 6, including an extra time escape against Scunthorpe.
It will be remembered by some that Talk Sport`s Alan Brazil produced a story that Pardew had been seen having a meal with Llambias in London prior to the sacking of Chris Hughton. Allegedly, Pardew boasted that he would be back in work before Christmas. So he was, as Llambias`s monkey.
Llambias seems not to have heeded Pardew`s words of forward planning: 'You need to have some sort of strategic planning about what you are doing and some sort or game plan ……and you need Plan B and then you need Plan C". The statement from Llambias seems to confirm a lack of planning in the short 8 months since Carroll was sold.
Pardew did make assurances on 1st February this year according to the national media: 'I said to Mike: 'Look, this money has to be reinvested in the team. All of it and he assured me of that. That is the most important message I can give Newcastle fans today. I talked to Mike 15 minutes ago to clarify that and he was pretty clear. The money will be Andy's legacy to the team.'
Clearly someone was not telling the truth, Ashley to Pardew, Pardew to the media or dozens of renowned football journalists. The club hierarchy has already been implicated with the damning comments from the Keegan tribunal.
Pardew also made assurances that he would strive to keep Nolan and Barton, in early April this year. He had also assured us that Andy Carroll would not be sold, that he was going nowhere, not at any price, shortly before his transfer to Liverpool.
Pardew may be frustrated, or given his relationship as reported by Alan Brazil, might be deemed as Newcastle United`s own Lord Haw Haw reporting to Derek Goebbels.
Pardew is on record as saying that Newcastle United can not compete with the big boys in the transfer market. The Premier League`s 3rd best supported club apparently, if media reports were true about our targets, can not compete with the likes of Fulham over Ruiz, Swansea over Situ and Williams, QPR over Barton, West Ham over Nolan and many more besides, being out-invested by almost the entire league.
Mr Llambias is welcome to come out with a clarifying statement. His patronising of supporters may well result in a further loss of patronage from the paying public. If attendances are anything to go by, he has already devalued the Newcastle United brand by around 25% since he took over from Chris Mort.
Protests may mean nothing, especially since the club now seems to be cowardly evicting supporters who voice discontent, starting at level 7 and moving through the terraces. Increased Premier League revenue combined with £30m slashed from the wage bill will ensure that the owner continues to make a profit.
However, unless Ashley does something about the monkey (Llambias) and the monkey`s puppet (Pardew), he will find himself unable to sell the club, even if he wants to. One can only feel sorry for the PR guru at the club, Ms Wendy Taylor, who must feel something akin to the monkey`s puppet`s rag doll.
Date:Saturday September 3 2011
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