Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has already lost two players â€“ Steve Sidwell and Tal Ben Haim â€“ both free transfers to Chelsea. The double whammy is that there is an attraction to living in London plus Chelsea are always in the Champions league and play over 60 games a year. Even backup players (like Sidwell and Ben Haim) can expect to play 25 games a year. Allardyce has admitted he is struggling to compete with Chelsea in the transfer market.
Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho
Sam – not to worry – that’s just a reality right now – but all things change over time – even Newcastle United winning trophies. This is what Big Sam had to say to the News of the World today:
“You try all you can and use all the weight behind you to persuade players to come to you,”Â “But when you are competing with Chelsea it makes life extremely difficult, even for Newcastle.
“There are the lures of London, Champions League football and the fact they play 56 to 60 games a year. “Any player there can play 25 to 30 matches because of their huge fixture list every year, so it is hard.”
What Sam says is true but we can fix at least part of this problem by next summer â€“ and that’s by qualifying for Europe. We may not be able to get into the Champion’s league by next year but certainly the UEFA Cup has to be a real target for us. With suitable rebuilding next summer we can make a really serious attempt to win the thing in 2009.
But as Sam has already said since becoming manager at Newcastle â€“ it takes a special player to play at Newcastle. That’s not just because Newcastle is a little desolate â€“ well at least compared to London â€“ but the 52,000 crowd is both demanding and very loyal at the same time. Any player not prepared to give 100% effort every game – need not bother even coming.