Gallowgate Voices: Speculators

by • June 23, 2017 • tf blogsComments (4)1244

There’s nowhere else to start this blog than the unexpected departure of Graeme Carr from Newcastle United.

Classic NUFC. 9PM on a Wednesday night with absolutely no hint before hand.  I like the new culture at the club.  Many of last summer’s transfers were almost delivered by surprise.  I have a lot of time for the lads in the local media and I don’t envy them having to churn out ‘news’ day after day in the off-season, but they were nowhere near this one.  It says a lot about how things are done under Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United.

I am pleased that Graeme Carr has gone.  All of the signs point to this being a positive for Rafa Benitez and his ‘control’ over football matters at Newcastle United.  I would have more time for Carr’s achievements at NUFC had he not publicly undermined the manager by appearing with Mike Ashley in games January.  Media reports of him being less than impressed with signings like Daryl Murphy amongst others have not helped his case as a reported disruptive influence last season with United.

That said there is so much of Carr that is unknown we still have no idea about his motives or his affection for United.  I’ve heard some say that it would not be necessary for any ‘chief scout’ to liaise with a fan base yet Carr was happy to be appointed to the United ‘football board’ and was allegedly instrumental in the decision to approach Steve McCalren for the “manager’s” position three times in 2015.   Without the almost miraculous appearance of Rafa Benitez, appointing McClaren could have been a decision from which the football club never recovered.

For all of the fall out and the ‘character’ of his signings he put together a side at the start of 13/14 that read;


Debuchy Colo Yanga-Mbiwa Santon

Cabaye Tiote

Ben Arfa Sissoko Jonas

Loic Remy

Injury, arsehole players and Joe Kinnear stopped that side from appearing together often but I have to admit – not a bad side on paper and United were 4th in the league on Boxing Day 2013.  I doubt it was Graeme Carr’s decision to sell Cabaye, and not sign a replacement for the Frenchman or backup for Loic Remy.  Carr was an essential part of a football club which alienated many fans and ultimately went backwards until March 2016, after the initial high of 2011/21.  The future of Newcastle United is a tad brighter with his departure confirmed.


There’s still eight days left of June and we’ve already entered meltdown territory for many fans (of all clubs).  Despite United not signing ANYONE at this stage last season, yet signing a further eleven new players  and sixteen leaving the club after July 1st 2016 many fans are already taking to social media daily panicking and speculating.  Is it their fault? Probably but younger fans especially know little different than permanent fervent transfer speculation.

It hasn’t always been like this and while I can’t say transfers didn’t excite and frustrate while I was a teenager in the Robson era, they carried nowhere near the same level of relevance to the average football fan as they do today.  I have to admit to a general disdain for the wider football media these days. It’s not just one outlet nor is there a difference between national, international – it’s the whole game.  There is so little fascination on the actual football.  Games of football pale into insignificance to many journalists these days compared to potential transfers, contract renewals, disciplinary issues etc.  It’s not just the journalists of course.  Someone has to read about this and engage. While doubtless loads do, I still can’t bring myself to think anyone of any credibility is remotely interested in where Real Madrid’s 32-year old striker ends up unless you support one of those clubs.  For those that do support those two clubs, surely you’re sick of the bullshit every single summer that surrounds transfers between those two clubs.

‘Transfer-shite’ is an industry.  The bookmakers make a fortune.  ‘Insiders‘ spout drivel and it encourages people to gamble on a long shot transfer.  Think Alexis Sanchez will end up at Man City?  Why not back it at 4/1? ‘Sanchez spotted looking at homes in Alderley Edge’ or something.  Every bookmaker now views transfer  betting markets as lucrative. The tabloid newspapers now run regular articles on ‘what odds’ are available on a transfer, doing the book makers work for them.  For Free?  I doubt it.

This is a double bonus for the paper as it gains clicks for the transfer story and most likely allows them to make money from bookmakers desperate to feature in the article. Win, win.  You now have transfer rumours purely created from gambling markets.  Players or managers not linked with clubs until large sums of money are wagered on them.  After all, if someone if putting ‘good money’ on a move they have to have at least some inside knowledge, yeah?  The managers gambling market is a good example of this.  Remember when Fabbricio Colocinni was the ‘favourite’ to become the new United manager?  The innocent bookies claimed that the market had forced their hand.  As it did presumably with the other four ‘favourites’ for the job; McClaren, Remi Garde, Harry Redknapp and Ronald De Boer.  All of these ludicrous candidates (bar McClaren) who Charnley wouldn’t have touched in the dark early days of 2015 all became news locally and even nationally.  Everyone won again as the managers got their name out there, newspapers got fresh clicks and presumably the bookies made money when Lee Charnley rocked the footballing world (not) by announcing John Carver  as manager for the rest of the season.

It’s a load of shite.  Much of football is a load of shite but this part of the game seems to pleasure and frustrate more than any other.    The antidote to this to those who disagree with me and enjoy transfer ‘speculation’ will point out that Premier League combined will spend more than £1bn this summer again.  That’s worthy of news and worthy of the adulation/speculation.  We now follow a game where Man City’s manager is paid £15m a year, spent £170m last season after taking over the league’s most expensively assembled squad – and blamed not having the funds to build a new squad from scratch for finishing fourth in a poor division.  Transfers equal success in the eyes of some people and while their impact is crucial to a club developing and competing, there is more to football than stories of footballers moving clubs.

With all of this in mind I was delighted to see the FA had ditched their lucrative £4m gambling partner Ladbrokes this week.  Football gambling is dangerous and many young fans will now associate gambling on the game as part of the game.  It’s not and nor should it be.  Transfer season is difficult to deal with as a fan without multi-million pound corporations demanding ever more speculation so they can con fans out of money.  As a lad or lass in London on barely enough money to get along, hoys in SEO buzz words for clicks on a story that no one really knows the source, a bookmaker is already plotting the odds on it as a response and laying a fresh trap.  It doesn’t matter anyway as Matts Selz  is 1/8 to return to Anderlecht while I type this. Printing money.


Sorry about the lack of news on the new singing section at SJP – we had hoped to have a podcast this week on how it came about, how it’s structured and what the long term plans are.  Myself from a Gallowgate Flags perspective and the lads from Wor Hyem have been asked to hold fire by the club who understandably want to release news on the section themselves and include information for fans who want to move there.  As soon as it’s out, true faith will have an article online and a podcast out.


United have announced pre-season friendlies at Hearts, Preston, Bradford and now VFL Wolfsburg.  The Steve McClaren derby awaits in Germany.  The Germans had the sense to bin him him in February, like we should have.


If you’re interested in becoming part of what we do at true faith please do drop me a line at or message me on twitter @tfalex1892.  We’re looking for fans to contribute to our website content, write for the fanzine and appear on our video blogs in the new season.

ALEX HURST – Editor, true faith, Newcastle United Fanzine. 

Follow Alex on @tfalex1892



Related Posts

4 Responses to Gallowgate Voices: Speculators

  1. Wallace Wilson says:

    Good article Alex. I’d like to see more analysis of what really goes on during a transfer window with agents, media and bookies all having a stake in perpetuating the transfer feeding frenzy. It allows ‘journalists’ to cover their lack of technical knowledge of the game by hiding behind easy (and lucrative) headlines instead of finding out what is actually going on and who benefits. Sports Mondiale anyone?

  2. Andy bee says:

    As soon as the final whistle blows at the end of the season we all crave nufc ‘news’ but all we tend to get is speculative shit, the Ronny gill up there with the worst click bait merchants. It’s ball busting when you try and survive the summer and you’re fed dead end rumours time and again – even trying to stick to credible sites like BBC just leads to story after story of multi million big four deals which we don’t want to read. There is a big gap out there for credible transfer market updates no idea how it’s filled but I’m going cold turkey now and prey for Rafa to repeat the keegan approach – fuck the press here’s the player – loved that way, keegan was the stealth bomber of the transfer market. Boom I reckon Rafa is the same and the deals that are in the press aren’t the king of Spain’s soon to be unveilings…….over to you señor .

  3. Pat Hughes says:

    Good words and lots of sense – from the FA too about ditching Ladbrokes, that must have had their greedy hands wringing. I’ve never liked the rumours, speculation and ITK merchants who stress me out unnecessarily. Surprises, on the pitch in the shirt will do me fine. I was in a supermarket in Northern France when Shearer signed and a distressed Blackburn lady rushed up to me and demanded to know whether I knew – no but thank you for telling me. That’s the way to do it, French red wine had never tasted so sweet