Sam Allardyce talked yesterday about what he thinks he needs to do at Newcastle – not only to restore – or should we say create - a new team spirit at the club – but he also talked about the fans – and their responsibility – to help build a fortress at St. James Park.
While five players have already been released – and one has been sent out on loan – Sam knows he still needs to augment the squad – and is no doubt working on bringing one or two players in very quickly.
He has already been given a dozier on the current squad – and is currently reviewing each player – but may be in no hurry to cull any more of the present playing staff until he has started the training sessions in early July – so he can have a look at them.
Big Sam Negotiating – I’ll Give you 2 Pints and a Pie for Him”
As we reported yesterday Sam met with the existing coaching staff – and since he will have a back-room staff of up to twenty - (wonder if Freddy knew the cost of that?) – the odds are high that quite a few of the current crop will keep their positions in the coaching set-up.
This would certainly help with stability and continuity at the club – which is something we need.
This is what Sam had to say yesterday:
“This summer is about recruitment and getting the best players we can for this great football club,”
“I’ve gradually been getting around seeing the staff at the training ground, which is one of the most important things, getting a run down from them on the players we’ve got to start next season. I’ve also been looking at the training program for pre-season with the chairman and Russell (Cushing). And then we’ve got to target a few players.
“We’ve released one or two which is something that has to be done from my point of view. I know some of the players will be disappointed in that – but it is a fact of life. We have to move on and get better and better.”
As we’ve said on this site before – we think the existing squad is quite strong – (if they were all sorted out and come to games with some passion) – and as Allardyce reviews the players – he will secretly be pleased with the talent he has – which he didn’t really have at Bolton. These players can play – and if Big Sam can sort out the problem guys – and even get rid of one or two – the squad he has inherited is good and quite strong – certainly compared with what he has had in the past.
Sam went on:
“I think first and foremost we need to get the first team right and get the playing squad all pulling in the same direction. Although I haven’t spoken to all of the players individually or collectively, one or two people have said to me there are one or two fractions between one or two of the players and they’re not all in the same camp. We need to sort that out.
“We have a talented bunch of boys who need a little more guidance and I think pulling together as individuals is okay, but what you need most of all is team spirit. To be collectively together, be able to roll your sleeves up, fight, wear your heart on your sleeve, enjoy your football and, hopefully, that will pass over to the fans who will look forward to watch us play.”
“The first priority is to win your home games, which means you’re always going to send your fans away happy. They’ll enjoy and look forward to their weekend when they’ve left St James’s Park with three points in the bag.
“That is going to be the catalyst to where we’re going to finish in the season. And when it comes to playing away from home it is about becoming more resilient and a bit more determined to dig in and defend a bit more correctly, rather than going away to play attacking football which is what we want to do at St James’. We’ll be seeing two different Newcastle Uniteds if you like.”
“But it is all about team spirit – we’re going to need it day to day, not just on a match day. We need to build a solidarity between ourselves, learning to trust ourselves, me learning to trust them and them me. That will pay dividends, hopefully, in the end.
“I managed a couple of sides (at St James’) and the latest one was the best one. We managed to get a goal off a free-kick and win. It was probably the easiest time I’ve ever had here. But from now on I want it to be as difficult as it always was. If I ever got a draw here I used to be delighted in the early days. We need to get back to that fear.”
When he does have his first group meeting with the players – we certainly would like to be a fly on the wall – but Sam knows if he wants to succeed he must get the players playing for him. While not wanting to get too carried away (it’s sometimes hard not to) – the players that won six of their last seven games last year – are still around – waiting for someone to inspire them to play at their best – as they did then.
Sam (and his coaching staff) know that’s what they need to do – as a first priority – in this new era.