A nice away win at Aston Vile was a tonic for the troops after the International break and sets us up fair with Hull City and Steve Bruce due at St James’ Park this coming weekend. The performance in the West Midlands was as good as anything we’ve seen this calendar year in the PL (possibly shaded by Chelsea at home last season) and now we have to build on it. I always felt the first five games of the season were crucial for Pardew’s coaching credibility and to be fair, if we round off that number of fixtures with a win and decent performance over Hull, a club that have to be one of the candidates for relegation this season, then the manager has bought himself time. He won’t be out of the woods though. He’s on probation after a woeful season last time out and maybe we’ll need to see where we are after 10-15 games to judge the real Alan Pardew? Is it the diligent, confident manager who took is to fifth in 11/12 or the man who seemed clueless so many times in 12/13?
Pardew has certainly lost credibility following the statement that went online at the end of a fruitless transfer window and the comments he passed last week about United having to go overdrawn. I’ll make no apologies for describing this as bull-shit and part of so much dishonesty that has slid like a turd down a toilet bowl out of United under the Ashley regime.
“I have to say a marquee signing would have taken us into our overdraft facility” – Alan Pardew, Team Manager, Newcastle United (September 2013).
If the finances were so dire in the summer then why did he and Joe Kinnear constantly express confidence they were about to sign players?
Why then did the ex-MD Derek Llambias say this?
“We have made a profit of £1.4m, but we will not have to sell to buy in the summer. There are several positions we are looking at. Next year, we will have the extra TV money. There is a budget to spend. We are actively looking at players and have been since October, all over Europe.” Derek Llambias, Managing Director, Newcastle United (March 2013).
I’d rather not quote the constant garbage from Joe Kinnear since his appointment because you’ve heard all of that before and no-one with any sense listens to that idiot any more, though he has gone to ground and unlike his previous colourful statements to the contrary, does lack the arsehole to front up following dropping one bollock after another. Hopefully, he’ll just go away.
Thankfully, albeit lacking a bit of urgency, the national media is looking more closely at those things that never lie at Newcastle United and they are the the club accounts. You’ve already read here about the £11m that left Newcastle United at the end of June 12 for Mike Ashley and you have also read about a further £18m ear-marked to go out of United in the period ending June 13. I am hardly reassured by club officials insisting money has not left the club yet. It wasn’t ear-marked to go to Ashley for nothing. How much is now expected to go to Ashley for the period ending June 14 is something we’ll only find out in January 14 when the club accounts are published. I expect the lion’s share of the new extra money from the TV deal and possibly more to be heading into Mike Ashley’s bank account. I look forward to hearing supporters being informed otherwise.
The deals with Wonga and PUMA have had no impact upon United’s ability to strengthen the squad. How is that extra money being used?
Now we are on the subject of finances, the monies above may represent only part of what Ashley is taking out of United. We are already aware of the advertising Ashley gets for Sports Direct around St James’ Park. Our contacts in-the-know calculate that is worth around £8m p.a.. That has been given away gratis to Sports Direct. However, I have read the Sports Direct PLC may make a payment of appreciation for sorting this gift of advertising to Ashley. How much money that will be remains to be seen but I’m sceptical any of it will find its way to be invested in the club.
Where we are desperate for investigative journalism is in looking at certain areas of the club’s operation that are causing concern. We really need proper investigation of the club’s merchandising operation to see how much is spent on Newcastle United merchandise (i.e. shirts etc) and how much goes into the United bank account. The lines between Newcastle United and Sports Direct appear to be blurring but I fear this is not working to the advantage of the club we support. As supporters, we have a right to know where the money we spend on the club is going. We need clarity on that.
A case in point is the NUFC Direct online operation. This is a company which appears to be owned completely by Sports Direct and operates from its HQ in Mansfield. The club and indeed Sports Direct need to be transparent about how this arrangement works. If a supporter buys Newcastle United merchandise from NUFC Direct, where does the money go?
I don’t expect Newcastle United to provide that transparency to be honest and that’s why we have a supporter who is also a Chartered Accountant going through the books of Newcastle United and Sports Direct (they are a matter of public record) and attempting to make sense of it all. What is in the true faith biscuit tin couldn’t afford much of this service and this is being provided free of charge by a supporter concerned about what is being said by the manager in September, what was said by the MD in March, what we know is in the books and what we know is going into football clubs generally. United is quoted as the twentieth richest club in Europe but our manager has been telling us we can’t compete financially with Swansea, Southampton, Norwich et al as well as having to hit the over-draft to buy the players we needed in August.
May I hasten to add however, that no-one here is accusing or insinuating Mike Ashley, Newcastle United, Sports Direct or any of its associates is doing anything illegal. But we do have questions that need answering and we’d like to gather the information ourselves.
If you have the kind of expertise to support this investigation, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
Frankly, it’s laughable that a gobshite fanzine that employs no people, has no resources (other than inquisitiveness) should be attempting to undertake this work with the support of volunteers when the football media has never had more journalists, never had more space to fill and never been better connected with available expertise. But as we learned with Rangers, Leeds, Portsmouth, Hearts, Coventry and many more the appetite to provide forensic analysis of what clubs are up to just isn’t there though there will be plenty schlock coverage when business meets football meets soap opera.
As for the local press and media …. what can you say?
But back to the manager!
To tell the truth, I was really disappointed in his statement during the week about the outrage regarding what did not happen during the transfer window and am now back to where I was in my thinking when he first took ip post and that he is a puppet of Ashley’s. Just as a reminder this is what he is quoted as saying:
“The fans’ reaction has been the kind of reaction we have here, which is extreme. We have extreme reactions to our football club”. Alan Pardew, Manager, Newcastle United (September 2013).
These are ill-chosen words. An extreme reaction to the deceit of the transfer window would be the Box Office under siege by angry supporters who want their money back from season tickets bought with money earned from hard work. Season-ticket holders who were led up the garden path by the previous Managing Director, Derek Llambias, by the so-called Director of Football, Joe Kinnear and by the manager, Alan Pardew. The fact over 46K are turning up for matches at a club which has no ambition other than to stay on the PL gravy-train is not an extreme reaction. An extreme reaction would be a mass desertion from the SJP stands. Pardew and others at United appear to feel entitled to the third-largest attendances in the Premier League and amongst the top ten average attendances in Europe. Where is the sentiment that they have to earn that support, not only through performances on the pitch but also with an ambition off it to be the best football club possible within its resources and potential. We know we can’t compete with Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd but we do believe we can and should compete with Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton and Spurs. Any Newcastle United side that finishes outside the top ten has failed and that is from the owner down to the tea lady. We should never be conned into accepting less, simply because it suits someone’s agenda. Please, let none of us ever stop believing in the potential of Newcastle United Football Club. We know better.
I’ll confess to taking great exception at Pardew’s comment because it plays to a national media myth about how difficult our support can be, how unreasonable we are, how deluded we can be and how hysterical and febrile the atmosphere around Newcastle United is, which we all know is absolute crap. This reference to a “marquee” player plays to memories of ill-fated purchases of Michael Owen et al and it is completely misleading. We needed a striker, a centre-half and a wide-midfielder. We wanted three players over the close season and Pardew agreed with us and the previous MD suggested that was the plan too.
Marquee players and extreme reactions? Don’t bull-shit us Alan, we can smell it a mile off.
Is it just me who finds this claim repeated by Pardew of United having spent £30m in January a little difficult to reconcile with the business we did earlier this year? We brought in Debuchy (who was a signing we should have made in the previous summer window), Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa (we’ve been waiting for a central defensive purchase for over a year), Gouffran and Sissoko. I’m sorry, but the fees quoted around the time of their purchase does not add up to £30m but in any event two of them should have come in the previous summer, when we made only the Anita purchase and we accept Sissoko had been planned for the summer gone. We had just sold Ba for £7m, who I’ll remind Alan Pardew had come to us on a free from West Ham.
More bull-shit but we’ve got a well-written piece in the next issue of true faith examining comings and goings and doing some basic arithmetic about how much has been invested in players since Ashley, for reasons best known to himself, bought Newcastle United FC.
For the avoidance of doubt regards the investment in players on Ashley’s watch please see the attached Spreadsheet put together by one of our regular writers, Chris Betts. Okay, he can’t spell Permanent but he can add up and take away quite well (Chris is an accountant – a different one to the fella as above).
There has been a lot written about the Steve Harper Testimonial and unquestionably it was a reminder that Newcastle United remains, completely, a club with soul. That soul is provided mainly by the support but also from those who come here and connect with the support and become part of our story. Obviously, the comments from Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Rob Lee and of course Steve Harper might have come from the mouths of supporters. No-one will mourn the day when Mike Ashley fucks off out of our football club and takes his huffy, joyless defeatism with him. Fair play to the Milan Glorie team who made the journey to SJP for such an event! I’d love to have seen this side and these players in their pomp but if they have gone away from Tyneside impressed by the love the locals have of football and the appreciation for those who serve our club with the panache and commitment worthy of its traditions then that will be a very good thing. Good so much money will have been raised from supporters (and it was supporters) for good causes.
Fair play to Paolo Di Canio too. He’s still got it and if things continue in the same vein as they have for our dear friends down the road, then maybe he needs to get his boots back on and show the dullards under his charge how it’s done.
Yon Taylor & Besty will be recording the true faith : PODCAST this coming Tuesday and I’m delighted we’ll have The Mirror’s NE Football journalist, Simon Bird as our very special guest. It’s a tradition started by his colleague George Caulkin (The Times) and we’ll be expecting Simon to bring a decent standard of ket with him. Hopefully, the PODCAST will be available later on Tuesday night and if the feedback is the same as the first one of this season, we’ll be doing something right. Keep logging onto the true faith website for the craic. The PODCAST is absolutely FREE of charge.
We also had the third instalment of Gareth Harrison’s true faith : SATURDAY SPECIAL, which as you’ll have worked out, comes to you every Saturday and unless you are up earlier than 5am will be in your in-boxes just as you are wiping the sleep from your eyes and scratching your bollocks (other genitals are available). There has been a terrific response to the true faith : SATURDAY SPECIAL with big numbers all over the world having signed up for what we are hoping will become a staple part of the weekend and our preparation for the match. Our resident design guru Glenn Ashcroft Esq has put the thing together for us and as ever has done a brilliant job. It’s absolutely FREE of charge, you can read it on your Desk Top, Lap Top, i-Pad, Tablet, smart-phone and I suppose you can even print it off, put it in your arse pocket and read it that way as well.
I know I’m gannin’ on a bit even by my standards this week but should let on that yours truly met a representative from the newly formed supporters group (I know, another one) Time 4 Change this week and was pleasantly surprised. It’s obvious the Time 4 Change group aren’t exactly media-savvy just yet and have been bruised by how they have been misrepresented by the local press (sighs) but I believe they have the right motives and we’ll be doing a Q & A with them soon, so we hope we can give them a fair and friendly space to express what they are about, what they want to achieve and you’ll then be able to draw your own conclusions. Watch this space for more details.
Look, I’m now sitting here bursting for the toilet, so had better wrap this up now.
We had a good day and a great result at Vile Park on Saturday and we hope it can be repeated this weekend. It won’t paper over the cracks though and I’m sure none of us are being carried away either.
On a lighter note, we have heard something about Di Canio’s communication problems in the Village of the Damned and heard about a previous experience he may have had in Malta (with thanks to John Milton).
Have a great week.