Given Unhappy with Newcastle Squad

Shay Given, who is probably now the favorite to take over as captain at Newcastle has talked about the lack of squad depth – particularly in defense and midfield.

While Shay knows that Sam Allardyce is scouring the market for talent it’s not at all easy to pinpoint who he may be after as he has denied he is after some of his well publicized targets like Brede Hangeland and Curtis Davies.

It appears that Leighton Baines is holding out for a move to Everton and Luke Young has just signed for Middlesbrough (wasn’t he good enough?) so as we said who Sam is after is getting difficult to know.

Let’s take a look at what Shay Given said about the situation.


Shay Given

Here’s what Shay said yesterday:

“The manager’s working hard behind the scenes and I really think we need some players,” “The squad’s the lightest that it’s been for as long as I can remember.” “It’s extremely important that we get some players in, but the manager knows that, he’s not silly. Offensively we’re very strong and as strong as most clubs in that department.”

“But we don’t have too many defenders floating about these days. I know we’ve got some young defenders coming through, but it’s a lot to expect of them to be playing every week in the Premiership.”

“They’re learning their trade and it’s important we get some experienced defenders in to help them develop and improve. We’re extremely short at the moment.”

Sam’s aware of that and we think his nightmare scenario is that Newcastle will suffer an injury meltdown again this season. That would impact any manager’s plans – which is why Sam went like a steam train when he first was appointed and brought in four very good players for little cost. But then he has been frustrated by being denied recently by a number of his targets – whoever they were.

Shay went on:

“This time last year we were starting our European campaign and playing against Celtic has brought it home just how much we’ll miss that this season, it’s a long season, but on the other side of the coin we can really concentrate on the Premiership and getting up the league.”

“Last year we were playing on a Thursday and traveling back to play on a Saturday lunchtime and that wasn’t ideal. But there’s no point me standing here and saying I won’t miss Europe, because I will.”

“It’s important we improve on our league position form last season and get back there next summer. We possibly didn’t have a big enough squad to play in both Europe and the Premiership last season, it’s a big ask and you probably need two full teams, we didn’t have that strength in depth last season.”

 “ We’re very thin on the ground, we need to improve on last season, because our finish last time was a big disappointment to everyone.”

Well everything Shay says is right on in our opinion. It’s interesting that Shay says he will miss Europe becasue that’s one of the reasons we are having trouble bringing in the better players to the club – according to Sam. We must have a bigger squad this season – even though we don’t have European competition.

The injuries are starting to pile up again with Taylor, Butt, Emre, Barton, Owen, Ameobi and Babayaro all injured although some of these are niggles and we would expect Owen and Ameobi to take some part against Juventus tomorrow. We hope they feel pressured in their positions now – given the expert finishing of Luque and Martins on Thursday night.

Competition in the squad is what we want at the club – but first we have to make sure it’s big enough.

Comments welcome.

23 comments so far

  • ToonKing

    Jul 28, 2007 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #1

    Again no transfer activity ………………….

  • carl

    Jul 28, 2007 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #2

    i agree.ive got a very bad feeling we are not going to get the players we need.theirs 2 weeks before kick off and sams had plenty of time.all this bullshit of how hard it is. i take a qoute from a newspaper this week when sam says ( the pot of talented players has gone down,i may be able to get the numbers in but not the quality)strange how young went to boro? isnt he good enough? i think sam and mort are offering too low a price for their targets trying to get real bargains.all i can say is sam – yes you need to know when not to panick but mostly of all when to forget about your money saving bargains and swollow your pride and just buy some f*****g players with this supposed transfer is the time to panic , same bullshit,different year,different manager.

  • george t

    Jul 28, 2007 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #3

    patience man ,patience bsa will get it right. no use buying for the sake of it, look where it got us before.

  • Arthur Prince

    Jul 28, 2007 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #4

    What is wrong with Nicky Shorey ???????

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 28, 2007 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #5

    Arthur – maybe he was the 7M defender that turned us down. We’re not sure who Sam’s after but there’s a report today that Silvetre of ManU turned us down – – but I thought Brown and Silvestre didn’t want to come weeks ago.

  • carl

    Jul 28, 2007 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #6

    arthur-another good defender but no approach. oh and if dyer goes theirs another position we will need to fill.just splash the cash sam or our season will cost us more.

  • Ian

    Jul 28, 2007 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #7

    Yep, we need to buy and quickly.

    Sol Campbell, Nicky Shorey for the defence and maybe Gudjohnson for midfield/attack when Dyer goes. Still need one or two more squad players though……

    Come on Sam, please make the right offer(s) and bring in the quality reinforcements needed to make Newcastle a top four team again!

  • carl

    Jul 28, 2007 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #8

    george t – i understand that but it isnt a case of buying for the sake of it, WE NEED PLAYERS AND URGENT.their are plenty of quality players who would come to sjp and plenty of quality out their .

  • nightfall

    Jul 28, 2007 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #9

    looks like cicinho wants to leave real…he would be great… and if necessary…he can also play on the left…

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 28, 2007 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #10

    nightfall – Cicinho would be excellent purchase for us – a little class – and he will know Edmilson who we hope is coming in January.

  • Chris

    Jul 28, 2007 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #11

    I remember Glenn Roeder saying he wouldn’t buy players for the sake of it, and where exactly is he now.
    Big Sam has to realise he has to pay for good players. You can’t get any player you want for peanuts. As Given has said, we need a good few players in just to have a bit strength in depth.
    If we go into the season with a light squad and we start to get injuries, we’ll end up with something like Ramage and Huntington in central defence, and to be honest, that doesn’t bear thinking about.

  • apan

    Jul 28, 2007 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #12

    time is running out, seriously and hopefully againts the italians we didnt have any more injuries….since juventus is coming why dont we acquired their defenders? aaha not boumsong though

  • evil dick

    Jul 28, 2007 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #13

    I think BS knows what he’s doing, still plenty of transfer time to go.

  • Dinko

    Jul 28, 2007 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #14

    Do you remember january and roeder? He was tought every day that he will get some players untill end of transfer window and then only oguchi came. I am very sceptic from then and i don’t belive anybody now altough Sam is much,much better manager then roeder but it’s look like good players are not interesting in clubs without european football next season. It will be hard to get some really good players now and sam is trying very hard but I think that at the end he will buy couple of players like we had in Bramble and Moore and it wont be any step forvard. But I think that we could be in top six last season with same players that roeder had only if sam was our manager then.

  • george t

    Jul 28, 2007 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #15

    carl…..yes we do need players but dont forget there is still four weeks of the transfer window to go and i would much prefer to have two really good defenders than four less than average just to make up the numbers. we all want what is best for the club.

  • Rob Kirton

    Jul 28, 2007 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #16

    IMO Mr Ashley is keeping his powder dry (and money in pocket) possibly for our next manager. The strategic review of the club undoubtedly includes assessing the manager he inherited. I would also hazrd a guess that Chris Mort will only be the chairman for a relatively short while. He’s not a fotball guy and is only on secondment from his regular job

    It will be no skin off Ashleys nose to have yet another manager sacked. I suspect he will want to be in and out of St James’s within 5 years with a handsome return on his investment. If Sam proves himself on limited resources this year, he’ll get some cash to back it up – once he’s earned his stripes. Otherwise expect a top drawer (possibly) european manager to be given a shed load of money this time next year.

    If I was running the club I’d do the same thing. So far big Sam has talked a good game in close season. The proof of his skills is how much he gets from the resources at hand. Sam, although stating the obvious, is actually already distancing himself from the owners by going public with his views on us the club being a little slow in moving in the transfer market. His exit position is already covered.

    I hope Sam does succeed this year and eventually bring us success in the reasonably near future. We fans want to see stability and if possible a successful team. Ashley will see us a line on a balance sheet, a brand which needs some investment but unsure whether or not yet it has the right product mix, including the manager.

    From a fans point of view I’d love to see us make a the 4 or 5 signings we need to kick onthis year as a team. I don’t think Mike Ashley ever got to be a billionaire by giving large sums of money to unproven employees to spend on his behalf

  • Obafan

    Jul 28, 2007 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #17

    george t – I know the window closes on 31 August, but by that time the season is already 3 weeks on his way. And if you buy than you have to wait and see how the new player(s) is going to settle in a new team. I favour how quicker we get our team gelled the better.

    Shay has got it 500% right by saying this. Hopefully the board and BS will listen to his comments and handle faster to assure the players we need.

  • bottlodog

    Jul 28, 2007 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #18

    Rob – totally agree but where does that leave us – Another grand extorted from me using the promise of a bright new dawn when in reality it’s all turning to shite – again. I don’t want to wait until BSA gets the bullet and some big name foreign manager embarks on yet another 5 year rebuilding plan
    I want the excitement of at least competing with the big boys NOW – THIS SEASON – I want to get excited about how all the new signings we’ve been waiting for with baited breath – FAT CHANCE – unfortunately another season of mind numbing mediocrity beckons – I wish I’d hung on to me money

  • bottlodog

    Jul 28, 2007 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #19

    Rob – totally agree but where does that leave us – Another grand extorted from me using the promise of a bright new dawn when in reality it’s all turning to shite – again. I don’t want to wait until BSA gets the bullet and some big name foreign manager embarks on yet another 5 year rebuilding plan
    I want the excitement of at least competing with the big boys NOW – THIS SEASON – I want to get excited about how all the new signings we’ve been waiting for with baited breath, improve the team – FAT CHANCE – unfortunately another season of mind numbing mediocrity beckons – I wish I’d hung on to me money

  • Chris

    Jul 28, 2007 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #20

    Rob Kirton. if Ashley thinks Allardyce or any other manager for that matter could finish in the top half of the table with the squad he’s got now, he fooling himself. At the moment i would say our defense would look something like
    N Zogbia-Rozehnal-Taylor-Solano.
    Choose a left-back of your liking cause I can’t. We know Solano can do a decent job at right-back, even though he was found out in a couple of games. Taylor is still quite raw as he showed against Celtic. Rozehnal is still unproven and I am not happy in the slightest with the left-back position.
    Lets say first game of the season Taylor gets another knock. Who replaces him? Choices are Ramage or Huntington. None of which are qualified IMO to do a job there week in week out. They might have 1 or 2 good games but they won’t be consistent.
    So we want a left-back definitely. At least 2 central defenders and at least one of those experienced in the Prem. We could need a right-back but we’re not desperate. Dyer will need replacing. We could do with a good holding midfielder, but if Butt can stay fit maybe (if the rumours are true) Edmilson will come in January. The Deco Rumours have now died and I think he would make a good replacement for Dyer.
    But 1 thing is certain. We need to build on our defense. If we don’t we’re in for a rough ride. Big Sam is a good manager but he is not a miracle worker.

  • Keep Oba

    Jul 28, 2007 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #21

    I hope BSA doesnt see Oba as the third striker. Ask any team coming in and they would probably be thrilled to see him start the game on the bench. You have to keep tabs on him because he can score from anywhere with any foot. And I especially like our chances with Nobby and Milner lobbing some excellent crosses into the box….but yea, need more defenders and all that.

  • Rob Kirton

    Jul 28, 2007 at 6:39 PM

    Comment #22

    Chris: I agree with your views and I think we all realise where our squad is paper thin. The situation with respect to the full backs is desperate. The point I was trying to make is that either Allardyce hasn’t been trusted with the money or he can’t draw the players. I think more likely the former. Compare our situation with Man City with Sven in place. He has a had far less time to set about the task of rebuilding their team from scratch, yet seems to have been backed in his efforts to do so.

    From where I’m standing at the moment I reckon if Dyer is sold, we will suddenly come up with another player or so.. Our net spending has been very little so far and I suspect it will stay way that way. For this reason alone we have to think, why?

    No doubt he will be cut a little slack and go into the red a bit to help shore up the defence, and hopefully those players will be found.

    He hasn’t been given the big funds, and as I said, I suspect Ashley want the place to be run on a very tight reign. He has to grow his investement. I think Sam will have to prove himself before being given any major sums in terms of investment with players.

    Imagine sitting on a pot of money. Say £200 million and then approach a newly acquired employee who you know little about and didn’t appoint into the position, hence having earned little trust; then saying to them, go and spend this and show me a return in terms of results to make me £300 million. I know it’s not as simple as that, however I’m sure you get my drift.

    We’re all football fans, Chris Mort is a chartered accountant and Mike Ashley a billionaire. I suspect we all have slightly different mind sets.

  • the big p

    Jul 28, 2007 at 9:04 PM

    Comment #23

    Agents!!!! Interfering little maggots, thats the problem Aye!! I reckon we should wait until the last 48hours then pick up a few players from the bargain basement. The Agents will panic and realise no sale = no percentage and slash their prices.
    What you think??
    I know what you are thinking. My name is Glen and I only have a few quid to spend…..


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