Pound For Pound

42 days later – Is this another sequel? Well, the answer to that isn’t clear.


No, there’s no societal collapse, nor has a chimp infected our community with a deadly, contagious virus. However, there is a collapse and there is a virus that has seeped deep into the blood of our club. In our eyes – there’s only one antidote.




Like some sort of zombie apocalypse, Newcastle United finds itself once again looking for fresh blood. This time, it needed not just a snack, but a feast of it. From owners to directors, managers to coaches, forwards to defenders. It seems, as fans we will have to settle for managers and coaching staff.


The interview that made the football world’s ears prick up. The silent owner who had rarely previously spoken, finally spoke. He spoke with responsibility, he spoke with desire, he spoke with intent – but with honesty…seemingly not.


“It’s Lee Charnley and the football board that make those decisions. As it was Derek Llambias supporting Alan Pardew. So I will not be picking the next manager – it’s not what I do.”


So Mr Ashley advised us that the task of picking the manager was not his responsibility, and so Lee Charnley has appointed the man he best sees fit to carry Newcastle United forward – back in the right direction. Action required, action taken, the right action? We all wait and watch in anticipation. McClaren may not have been the most popular choice, and word of his arrival didn’t set Tyneside alight. However, he will be supported by those that hold the club to heart. So long as he doesn’t prove to serve as a mouthpiece of the hierarchy, as Pardew did in the end, and sticks to footballing matters.


Like the latest, (proper) predecessor – Steve finds himself with his hands seemingly tied. 42 days later and a lack of any activity in the transfer market. A window now wide open. So open that the sunlight signings shine through for the super-clubs, the fly signings buzz in and hover around the bin-clubs and all with optimism and ambition that they achieve their seasons goals. All pre-arranged and pre-decided as viable options to have in before pre-season, so that they could be settled and organised in time for the new campaign.


Our club, is the dying flower that sits on the window sill. A few last remaining drops of water or hope in its vase with petals falling off every stem. The last signs of life so close to being gone. So Ashley’s intent and PR spin was to inject some hope. To fill up that vase and potentially lift a vase:


“It’s now going to be definitely to win something…”


That interview, as many expected, appeared to have been the first in a summer of PR moves from those running the club. Bishop’s boys working their way across the chess board of the summer. Pieces put into place and moves made like rooks behind a line of pawns – with no sight of worthy leadership on it’s (the clubs) side. Just like a rook, the club can move backwards if given the opportunity, and it appears the man playing with those pieces will happily do so.


The inept Charnley, compliant with the Ashley regime, has seemingly done his job, and what he is responsible for, for the summer. A job he could and should have done back in January and maybe the ticket sales wouldn’t have taken such a hit. Instead, no action at that time was taken, and here we are.


So now we look at who else needs to take the bull by the horns and begin showing some responsibility. McClaren is in and making himself at home. His staff are slowly being appointed and he’s gradually getting settled and prepared for the new season. The players are training now. The work at the bottom is being done. So from Charnley upwards what is being done?


Recently, a letter was released. A letter from the new captain of our sinking ship. Desperately trying to get all hands on deck instead of evacuating:


“On the surface, things can seem quiet…”


We know, that’s because they clearly are, Steve. It’s taken us 6 full months to get a new manager and we’re still setting up your staff.


“…but beneath it, I want to assure you that we are striving to be prepared for the upcoming season. The hard work needed to push us where we want to go is well underway.”


That’s good to hear, and we trust you Steve. Don’t lose that trust by becoming another of a line of “Yes” men.


Now as we read further into this ‘letter’. We begin to see a mixture of messages. Ones that there are tough times ahead. Ones that additions will be made this summer, but only the right additions. Ones that communication will now be stronger than ever, but patience will be required.




This letter comes as fans vote with their feet, and less season ticket renewals have been made – bad timing…and what about those fans who have, blinded with their faith, opted for renewing? What message does this give them – more fence-sitting from those who don’t hold all the cards but are forced to use the hand they’re dealt. That’s not exciting. That’s not inspiring. That’s not ambitious.


So now this seems like a threat:


“To be categorically clear, I’m not going anywhere until we win something.”


…and why wouldn’t it?


Where does all of the responsibility lie again?


“My door.”


What is Newcastle United again?


“…the horse and cart scenario, and we may have the cart financially, but we now need to bolt the horse on, and we’re going to.”


..and whose job is it to bolt the horse on Michael?


“…My job is to make sure they have the maximum amount of financial resources…”


Okay, thanks for clearing that up. How much has been invested so far this summer? Nothing.


How is your new man supposed to “get the best pound for pound value out of those resources” when a pound won’t even be spent. Instead, he’s scraping around the piggy bank, throwing around the copper like a child at the amusements. Desperate for a prize but with little or no chance of winning.




To summarize, the main culprit for not getting the best value out of the club is the man whose door that ownership falls at. We’re right behind McClaren and we wish him all the best. A bad workman blames his tools. A workman without tools isn’t a workman.