Newcastle’s Fitness Standards Sky High under Sam

Sam Allardyce has admitted this week to Paul Gilder of the Journal that the Newcastle’s players have proved themselves unable to tolerate the training techniques he has recently introduced at Newcastle.

It seems the problems may stem from the Glenn Roeder regime – with Allardyce suggesting the previous training methods had allowed the first-team squad to become deconditioned and left the club’s players in poor shape to deal with all the demands the modern game places on top footballers.


Newcastle’s Sam Allardcye
unhappy with fitness levels of the squad

Although the Premier League season has not yet begun, United have 10 senior players on the injured list and have the worst injury record of any Premiership team in terms of the number of injuries sustained in pre-season. This has to be the last time we have this diabolical injury record and we look to Sam and his staff to fix the problem. It may take him several months however.

It is a situation Sam believes will validate his faith in the prevention program he will implement at the club’s training headquarters in Benton. Many fans will agree with that sentiment.   The implementation, however, will not come fast enough for this season’s campaign opening – with Allardyce’s worst fears about his squad’s general fitness levels having been realized in pre-season.

This is what Sam had to say to Paul Gilder earlier this week:

“We’re disappointed with the injuries we’ve got,”“It seems as though the players’ tolerance levels are still very low.”

“I warned everyone about that before I came. I felt that the players were deconditioned to a point. It has been proven.”

“We’re trying to train in double shifts, that’s what is needed at this stage in a pre-season campaign but the players haven’t been able to tolerate it,”

“We’re having to work them in other areas and other ways with the sports science and medical staff to keep up their fitness while recovering from these niggles,”

“We’re trying to give them three rehab sessions a day to (help them) get over their injuries and keep them as fit as we can.”

Michael Owen and Shola Ameobi both seem likely to miss Newcastle’s opening fixture at Bolton since both have played only 45 minutes this summer – the former with a thigh complaint and the latter with a back problem.

Albert Luque, Celestine Babayaro and David Rozehnal have all suffered groin strains recently and these types of injuries suggest the players’ fitness levels are just not good enough.  Damien Duff was sidelined with an injured ankle that will keep him on the sidelines until November.

Emre has not even played yet in pre-season and continues to receive treatment on the ankle problem he suffered last season. He was dipatched to Germany to receive treatment from the same top German specialist  that earlier had fixed Michael Ballack’s ankle injury.

Sam knows his squad will not be as fit as their Bolton opponents next weekend and that will be hugely ironic given that Sam was the man who revolutionized the fitness and medical programs at the Reebok Stadium.

We think Newcastle’s fitness levels, once attained, will be a huge factor in having us be a successful team. One thing Sam just has to get to grips with is fixing the injury problems that have dogged the club for many a season.

 Comments very welcome.

26 comments so far

  • Hammy

    Aug 3, 2007 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #1

    Sam is absolutely right…long gone are the days of a bit of 5 a side, posing for the cameras and then out shopping for a new swimming pool with the Wags…….. pre season to me usually means throwing up on a regular basis, not to be confused with the Dyer and Baba style throwing up outside in the gutter in the early hours before a game, and a lot of hard graft……..
    Come on Sam whip those boys into shape….get em down the sand dunes…

  • Hammy

    Aug 3, 2007 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #2

    Seahouses is nice this time of year..lots of steep sand dunes too…

  • carl

    Aug 3, 2007 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #3

    i say get a top class military pt instructer and physio in. that would weed the men from the boys and kick them into shape lol

  • MightyMilburn

    Aug 3, 2007 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #4

    I will give BSA the benefit of the doubt – to prove that his methods will rid us of the “injury curse of NUFC”..

    Shocking if his indirect allegations are correct – thought that these managers received top-of-the line educations before they could become managers of a “huge” club.. (remember the whole Roeder-license issue last year)

    I mean – these managers/coaches are paid big bucks.. and apperantly they are not doing their job properly.. In the corporate world they would be fired without hesitation!! Of course, senior management of the club are also the blame if they have not made sure that the people they employed had the necessary skills.. and if they didnt have them – the club should have made sure that they got them!!

    The combination of a competent business man concentrating on running the business aspects of the club – combined with BSA focused on running the football aspects should FINALLY move NUFC in the right direction (again)..

  • paul p

    Aug 3, 2007 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #5

    its been crying out for something like this since robson was sacked. hopefully sam’s method’s, once the initial period is out of the way, we may see less injuries if their bodies are been trained correctly. its about time they were fitter. after all, they get paid crazy money to play football, so they shud be trained harder. hopefully all this, with the new signing’s which are coming in, baines the next one after drago, we should have a good season.

  • George

    Aug 3, 2007 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #6

    I dont think many will disagree with SAs comments about lack of fitness, have not the majority of fans not been saying this for more years than i care to remember. You dont get injuries like we have for so many and for so long if you are fit. I am not the fittest nor is Gazza, (im more like his pal 5 bellies), but i think at my twilight years i could outrun most of the squad, especially after a good VINDALOO.
    It will be interesting to see how SAs methods address this problem and if his methods do improve our overall injury list and fitness levels. Like in the film the Dirty Dozen, maybe with a bit luck we can become a respected, hard fighting, bunch of men, that take shit from no one and prefer the front line to internment in the sick bay. Well its off to the pub for me to get my fitness up. Bottoms up chaps.

  • Archie Brand

    Aug 3, 2007 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #7

    Dont know about anyone else – and I’m a huge fan of Sam’s – but there are always 2 sides toa story.
    Sam says the lads were not fit enough for his new training regime – others might say he didn’t do his homework properly and implemented an unsuitbale training regime taking into consideration their fitness levels.
    So, we’re already hearing that old SJP war cry “Injuries, injuries, injuries”.
    At least it looks like this time we’ll have decent depth of squad to cover for all of these walking wounded.

    Personally I think modern training methods have taken things too far and are taking todays footballers too close to their limits. Hamstrings, calves and groins are going like elastic bands. People have limits, and those limits are not being respected.

    Look at what Beardsley and Keegan used to be capable of – non-stop for 90 minutes without the need to limp off for an ice pack. A friendly rub with the magic sponge and they were back on again.
    Maybe that’s what’s missing – the threat of having your groin rubbed with a cold, damp sponge infront of 52,000 howling fans.

  • Dingo

    Aug 3, 2007 at 12:23 PM

    Comment #8

    Archie… the more more you push yourself fitness wise the fitter you get. The fitter you are the less injuries you have. Its all about a balance of damage and repair within the body. Giving them a pie and pint of best scotch they saying “ok do 20 pushups before bed” will never help anybody.

    IMO the harder BSA pushes them them better they will be, they will resist injury play harder and longer and raise the level of fitness for the whole team. His results speak for themselves – ask boltonites

  • Rich

    Aug 3, 2007 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #9

    yep BSA knows what hes doing, i always thought Roeder was a bit of a soft touch.

    im hoping we can at least field a decent team next week!

  • Steely

    Aug 3, 2007 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #10

    I see Krul has gone out on Loan to Falkirk – will be good for him to get some games under his belt! Do you reckon we will get another keeper in then? Coz if Given or Harper gets injured then we’re pretty much stuck!

  • Nufc1000

    Aug 3, 2007 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #11

    I’m certainly a big fan of the scientific aproach that Sam brings to the club and it can surely only be a good thing, but as far as injuries go, I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the previous reigime.

    I think over the last few years (and this pre-season) we have quite simply just had nothing but bad luck. You cant blame anyone for incidents like Owen’s injury in the World cup (and against Tottenham when he did his metatarsal), Barton doing his metatarsal, Luque nearly snapping his hamstring in his second game for us, Duff picked up a knock on his knee during a game last season and is still out now, N’Zogbia was out for ages after twisting his knee at Chelsea last year, Taylor aggrivating his ankle again….I could keep going all day so I’ll stop.

    Yes, there are a few annoying little ‘new’ injuries that have occured this pre-season (Owen, Ameobi, Rozenhal, Luque) but all of the rest are either long term absentees or players that have been injured just through pure bad luck.

  • Bosck

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #12

    Steely – where did you see that about Krul, i thought he was off to leeds. either way it will be good for him too get a good run of games and some experience, the kid does look like he could be a worthy succesor to the toon duo of legends shay and steve.

  • Hammy

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #13

    It’s on the Toons official website…6 months @ Falkirk.

  • Bosck

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #14

    yeah cheers hammy, had a quck look, see smith has signed and got the 7 shirt then, must mean sam sees him as regular starter

  • apan

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #15

    We still have forster as backup gk

    yup newcastle players arent fit enough thats why we always let goals in the last minute due to fatique, lets begin the training

  • Darren

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #16

    Smith signs 5 year deal,,10278~1084227,00.html

  • Tom Cairns

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #17

    I know you cant really read too much into this but last season Bolton actually conceded more than us! Just thought it was suprising since we were known for having a rubbish defense made even worse by injury and Bolton were renowned as one of the hardest teams to beat.

  • Dave

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #18

    …getting excited….not long now chaps…squad shaping up…fitness coming round…new owners…new manager…new players…new optimism…

  • Dave

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #19


  • Bill F

    Aug 3, 2007 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #20

    I wonder if BS is a fan of the ice baths as used by many of our top athletes. A dip in the North Sea may do the same job.

  • Neil W

    Aug 3, 2007 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #21

    Regarding Krul – I suspect the club and player have taken a look at Leeds and reasoned that the culture at Leeds (i.e. poor, faction ridden and lacking quality coaching staff) would probably do more harm then good (understatment!).

    In contrast Falkirk are a small, well run club who Toon management know well.

    Personally I am glad that Krul is away from Dennis Wise and Ken Bate’s clutches.

  • michael

    Aug 3, 2007 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #22

    I’ve a bit of grounding in sports science, in the UK and in Austrailia, and I must say that in the southern hemisphere there is a lot more sports physiology, injury screening, preventative regimes and tailoring of programmes. I’ve heard great things about Sam’s centre in Bolton which used a lot of the Yanks methods. (Same as the Aussies but more money!)
    Allardyce has only had two months with players who have been “deconditioned” by Souness (Who also had an appauling reputation for poor fitness amongst the blackburn team)and Roeder (Who didn’t really have a clue due to his lack of exposure). Whilst some have picked up niggles, the truth is that if newcastle are to compete at the top level in the premier league then they have to have players who can get their levels up to that standard and mantain it.
    Players who haven’t been fit are Dyer, Luque, Carr, Babayaro, and Emre.
    Michael Owen snapping both his MCL and ACL, plus broken bones (Owen and Barton) are complete flukes. But that’s 2 high profile injuries instead of 6!

  • peter

    Aug 3, 2007 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #23

    2 instead of 7 actually

  • michael

    Aug 3, 2007 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #24

    sorry 2 instead of 7!

  • Bill F

    Aug 3, 2007 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #25

    I agree, as a Shiatsu Practitioner I have dealt with sports injuries. Poor fitness levels, training and lifestyle are very much contributary to them. It really is not rocket science

  • Rich

    Aug 3, 2007 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #26

    i believe BSA does get Ice Baths involved, im sure i read that somewhere.

    Players like Nobby have already stated the fact that pre-season is the hadrest they have ever had but should preserve the longjevity of players like Solano, Capaca, Drag and even Given.

    i wonder what the odds are for Given to still be inbetween our sticks at age 40? if Sam sticks around id like to stick 20 quid on that!


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