Distrurbing News For Newcastle Today – If It’s True

There’s news in lots of the Sunday papers today on Newcastle United, and as usual it doesn’t seem to be too good, if you take it at face value.


Michael Owen – reduced contract at Newcastle?

Before we go much further on this let’s always remember that the gossip press loves doom and gloom and sensational things, which are even better for selling if they are really negative.

With that level set let’s review what the papers this morning are saying.

The major news is that quite a few papers are reporting that Newcastle’s wage bill it too high, and needs to be cut.

We had heard that several weeks ago, and it seems that of the total costs each season at the club, which are around £90M, the wage bill is £70M – which is about 78% of the total cost.

As we mentioned yesterday, one way to reduce the bill is to get rid of players, who are either not good enough, or highly paid but not worth it.

This would include players like Carr, Ramage, Rozehnal, Ameobi, Troisi, Diatta and Smith. We can also add Charles N’Zogbia to that list, since he still seems to still want to move to London. Of course most of these would then need to be replaced, since our squad is still small.

The disturbing news today is that the reduction in the wage bill could affect Michael Owen and Steven Taylor. Both of their existing contracts run out next summer and need to be renegotiated soon.

Owen is said to be on a massive contract of around £110K – £115K/week, negotiated of course by the previous regime at the club, and the news being reported freely today, is that he will need to take a pay cut to stay at Newcastle.

The pay cut would limit his wages to around £80K/week, which is at least close to the £2M/year cut reported yesterday (£40K/week). So there may be some logic or thread of truth there – maybe.

Some news also says that Ashley will introduce a wage cap on all players of £80K/week, so Michael would be getting the top wage of anybody at the club.

Other clubs like Tottenham and Arsenal have different types of wage caps, or at least some restrictions on the total wage bill.

Of course there is news all over that Michael will not accept the contract, and will just let his contract run down and move on a free transfer next summer. He has every right to do this of course.

If we cannot agree with Owen on a new contract, then we should probably sell him this summer, to at least get something. That’s from the club’s side of things.

But if this course of events happens, Keegan is unlikely to be happy with the situation at Newcastle.

But let’s not over-react too much to the news, since this is the gossip press. We have no idea if it is true, or that some possibly some exceptions may be made for our very best players.  We’ve already renegotiated a contract for Nicky Butt, and there seemed to be no problems there, so these reports may be a little (or a lot) over the top.

We should know within a couple of weeks if there are indeed problems with the new contracts being offered by the club.

Let’s hope there isn’t.
Comments welcome.

69 comments so far

  • Davy C

    May 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #1

    I hate this time between seasons and this season hasn’t even finished yet!

    The papers have got to sell and as they have no football to report on they do what they do best – speculate. Yes there are some reporters who seem to have the inside track with some clubs but I think that Newcastle have become almost a secret society over the last few months.

    Yes, it is possible that Owen could see out his contract as could any player at this stage in any contract. Yes, it may be true that Man Ure have started to try and procure Owen to warm their bench next season. But it is also possible that Owen signs a new deal and stays with us for the rest of his career.

    Let’s wait and see!

  • AdamCF

    May 11, 2008 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #2

    Why don’t they pay him the 120k per game that he plays. Shouldn’t be that expensive then.

  • wolfhound

    May 11, 2008 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #3

    newcastle has been run like a headless chicken for years crazy wages for crap players (dire dyer ) lets hope its the start of something good to long has this club been used as a cash cow for over rated players and greedy agents

  • jezzer

    May 11, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #4

    more sh*t

  • Jezza

    May 11, 2008 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #5

    If it’s true about Owen having to take a pay cut, I can still see him ultimately agreeing a new contract on those terms. £80,000 a week is still almost certainly more than he’d get at any other club, given his injury record in recent years, and the fact that he’ll be 29 this year.

  • Fernando

    May 11, 2008 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #6

    since keegan has no say on contracts, why should this be a bother to him. he has already said he doesn’t deal with contracts therefore this has nothing to do with keegan. it’s the executive’s decision. if they can put a wage cap and still attract players kudos to them, and if it affects keegan getting the players he wants then it’s a problem.

  • Rob Kirton

    May 11, 2008 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #7

    For those who are saying it is crazy to reduce the wage bill and that we must spend more – how many of the teams around us in the league spend £70M a year on wages?

    When it comes to bangs per buck I’d like to see a comparison with Arsenals wage bill lined up against ours.

    Asking Keegan / Wise to keep costs down is not all that difficult. We cannot attract the very top for the sake of not offering European football. Why then pay top dollar?

    Of all of the players signed by Keegan last time around, how many were big money signings, commanding top dollar wages? Not many. He will always manage to get the best out of what is available.

    OK, a strategy of signing up and coming (and cheaper) players will not win the league. It will however move us forward. It has been a long time since I thought that possible at the club.

  • craig chisholm

    May 11, 2008 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #8

    its all crap…..simple fact is, it will save us alot of money by putting owen on a new 4 year 115K a week deal. Work it out, 35 grand a week pay cut means 1.8 million a year, multiply by 4 and that means over the course of a contract we would save 7.2 million by reducing his salary by that 35k. however, if they try to reduce it, owen will not sign and will leave. to replace owen with another world class player and someone of his stature will be just about impossble for us to do the way we are set up at the minute. either way, if newcastle had to spend a penny over 7.2 million to replace owen it will have meant that they have lost money, not saved it. and lets be honest, what can you get in terms of world class names for 7.2 million……….nothing. we were prepared to pay 20 million for modric. so, as we now are run bythe bean counters they will know all of this nad will therefore give owen his 115k a week in order to SAVE money!!

  • Cloudstrife

    May 11, 2008 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #9

    i agree with wolfhound. our club has been run like crap for too long. we have often spent more than most teams in the league (including Arsenal and Liverpool) in transfer fees and wages with evidently very scant reward if you look at our league position.

    i think this is not disturbing news at all, quite the opposite. it could be the beginning of the club being run professionally. the more i see of Mort, the more i seem to like him. he could yet get our club right. Newcastle will no longer be a cash cow for the greedy people in football. i would be fully behind a wage cap or restriction at our club.

    However, i belive it should not come from wage cuts for existing players. most players are unlikely to accept and Owen would not be blamed if he did a Flamini in a year’s time. i believe all future players should conform to the new wage structure but let those currently over it see them out. after all they wont carry on playing forever.

  • Cam_Toon

    May 11, 2008 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #10

    This story is from the Daily Mail… enough Said.

  • Peter Perfect

    May 11, 2008 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #11

    If EMO decides to up sticks and go to Manure I have to be totally honest and say It wont bother me in the slightest.
    If he wants to stay, fine, if he wants to bugger off…. “see yer Michael”.
    I couldn’t give a toss either way to be honest.

  • Eric

    May 11, 2008 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #12

    Have put my comments about all of this Sunday crap on the match preview site. The People say we are after 35 year old Edgar Davids. More shite. The Mail on Sunday did not print my email to them. They hate printing the facts. If Owen wants more money sign a new contract and play to get us in a position where more will be paid. Play well and Ashley will pay well – that’s the deal.

  • faustino

    May 11, 2008 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #13

    Well it definitely seems as if the Mail are wrangling to represent some pathetic lead they’ve been given. Notice they stuck in a Shepherd quote on KK today. Desperate?

  • Big Al

    May 11, 2008 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #14

    What a load of cr*p i think it was the mail yesturday that said somthing similar however they also said we had been negotiating with owens people for the last 6-7 weeks over a reducing 80k a week contract.
    Funny that since owen himself said there had been no contact from the club to his people at all yet.

  • Taiwantoon

    May 11, 2008 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #15

    I don’t think this is true as if it is, it would not be leaked at this stage of time. Well, but must admit that it can be very disturbing, and I hope Owen will take a professional approach to it.

    Nonetheless, I still think it is crazy to start cut the wage bills with probably our best player. It could backfire.

    How many ppl would take a pay cut and thinking that the company still have a high regard of you? Can anyone swallow it when been told “you don’t deserve what you are taking” and just reply “Yes, you are right. I will take a pay cut and work my socks off from now!”?

    It will also send a terrible message to potential signings. “YOU CAN NOT GET LONG TERM INJURY OR YOU WILL BE INSULTED WHEN OFFERED THE NEXT CONTRACT BY NUFC.”
    Can this do us any good?

    No, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the board is stupid enough to do this. I think it is just a terrible strategy from the bad medias to sell papers. The board should stop appointing new members to the board if they really mean to cut the wage bill.

  • GraemeR

    May 11, 2008 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #16

    Bit of a dilema – in as much as top player demand top wages coupled with the fact that top players win you leagues (or a least get close).

    That aside, it is obvious that we have been handing top wages out in the hope of attracting players. It all started with the ridiculous “Ill always be the top earner” deal struck with AS. Paying 115K for Owen is hardly good business and if he driven purely by money and not the club then he can go (hopefully in the summer for 10M).

    What we need is players that are more interested in football than money and then we may start to move forward – admittedly more slowly than Chelski. If not we end up with a team of high earners, who simply do not try – Luque, Marcelino – or spend most of the time on the treatment table – dyer, Marcelino, Luque, Owen etc etc.

    Whilst it may not be palatable to the masses the soone the club is run as a business and not like fantasy football the sooner we will see improvements on the pitch.

  • Archie Brand

    May 11, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #17

    I think we’re missing the point in all this.
    How are we going to get into the top 6?
    By attracting quality.

    How do we attract quality when we’re a bottom half team? Salaries.

    How do we get quality if we’re not paying the money? Quite simply we dont.

    Yes the salaries are stupid at the moment but that’s what its all about.

    They should leave the salaries up there for a couple of years to give us a chance to get European football, then we could cap the salaries and attract players on merit.

    Why would good solid players want to come to Newcastle if we’re not offering European football or silly money?

    A few more of the likes of Beye, Faye and Enrique , and a few less Smiths and Bartons might help the situation.

    Unless we’re willing to wait for this new crop of youngsters to come through……….

  • Russel

    May 11, 2008 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #18

    totally agree with Archie Brand

  • Dave

    May 11, 2008 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #19

    Basically, IMO i think all footballers are overpaid. It would be interesting if the powers to be introduced a world wide wage cap for every club, then we would see which players wanted to play for what clubs.

  • craig chisholm

    May 11, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #20

    i see it is breaking now that man utd are in for owen now……a reported 7 million. well thats that well and truly fcuked if its true. they should have done what keegan said 6 frigging weeeeks ago and tied him down……ifthis is true, he’ll be off and you know what, who can blame him.

  • Russel

    May 11, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #21

    man utd ???
    IS IT TRUE???
    OH ,NO.

  • geordie nick

    May 11, 2008 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #22

    i agree with introducing a salary cap to a certain extent, but we cannot possibly ask our best player to take a 35k per week cut and expect him to sign, it aint gonna happen, our wage bill may be at around 78% of turnover this season, but surely doing better in the league and cups and euro qualification next year will see our turnover rise. so if our turnover rises next yeatr and wage bill is still 70million then the % will drop, and the only way were gonna do better in league and cups etc is by keepin hold of owen etc

  • Slam Dunc

    May 11, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #23

    You can see from this Premier League salary table that Newcastle have the 5th highest wage bill in the Premier League.
    It’s time we did start moving the club forward by sensible management.
    Keegan gets success by inspiring players to greatness, if Owen is a casualty of this then so be it, he’s never going to play more than 20 games a season anyway:


  • geordie nick

    May 11, 2008 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #24

    dave if tht happened then players wouldnt come to us, the only way we get good players is by paying top wages, so a world wide salary cap would mean us gettin less top players comin to us, they would all go to london or a team tht wins things

  • geordie nick

    May 11, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #25

    slam dunc, mihcael owen has already played 32 times this season!!!

  • Leo

    May 11, 2008 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #26

    the newspapers do not have anything to report on at the moment therefore these stories appear in the newspapers and not just one, if one newspaper prints a ridiculous story they all print it because then their story has substance because they can claim theres no smoke without fire etc…

    makes me sick

  • Bobby Ollox

    May 11, 2008 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #27

    May I respectfully suggest that every one caught up in the nonsense over whether its 80 or 110K per week, goes and reads the Sunday Times today – read the article a Knights Tale and then decide whether its really important.
    This man bears his illness with such dignity.

  • t-g-w

    May 11, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #28

    I would blame him… This club has stuck by him through some lows in his career, given him the best medical care and then he’s going to turn his back on us as soon as he has a good run of 7 or 8 games? If he leaves now he better not come back to SJP. i would love him to stay of course.

  • t-g-w

    May 11, 2008 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #29

    Slam Dunc – looking at the list of our players who earn the most, I would say Viduka and Butt should take pay cuts (too old and won’t get paid anwhere near as much anywhere else) and that we should sell Emre and Smith who get paid loads but deliver absolutely nothing. That way our best players, Oba and Owen, keep their wages beacause at the end of the day they deserve them more because they are better players. Seems better sense to me…

  • Hadrian

    May 11, 2008 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #30

    mort and ashley just stuck over 10 milllion per year onto the wage budget in sams tenure .

    there seems tobe alot of the blame game going on as a reason ashleys not investing .

    *blame the 100mill debt (that nobodys quite sure where it came from)

    *blame the wage budget

  • craig chisholm

    May 11, 2008 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #31

    it dont matter anyway. he will be a manure player soon. i am not a mathematical genius so i need some help here lads cos i must be missing something…. here goes….its just been quoted that we have the fifth highest wage bill in the prem….fair enough, i can believe that. so, why is this a problem if we have the third highest gate reciepts and are also the only club in the whole of the prem with no debt, not a single bank payment? manure are in it for 600 million, liverpool for 360 million. why does it seem that all other clubs are ok with their finances yet us, with the third top attendences can not cope with a wage bill only fifth top. plus our team is in the top twenty rich list in the world, plus merchandise plus tv rights etc. so help me out lads, , does it all make sense to you or are we all scratchin our heads now??

  • domton

    May 11, 2008 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #32

    One word:


  • Hadrian

    May 11, 2008 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #33


    4 words

    taken over 3 years .

  • Ausgeordie

    May 11, 2008 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #34

    We know they want to reduce wages so it makes sense to the papers to say our highest paid player might have to take a pay cut. Hope we can keep him though

  • Luke

    May 11, 2008 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #35

    Firstly don’t believe a word of any of the details.

    Saying that, we all know in the deep recesses of our mind, that owen’s priority is to be fit, play regularly and then to join a bigger club.

  • Bots

    May 11, 2008 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #36

    Is he really worth similar wages to Ronaldo and Rooney? Bollocks to him. He’s been shit anyway, apart from a few strikes late on. Get someone new in let some other club pay his ridiculous salary before they too realise he’s not worth it.

  • jeff

    May 11, 2008 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #37

    There are alot more players at the toon that should have pay cuts other than just Owen….To be honest we wouldve been f***ed without Owens goals in the last few weeks so maybe ashley should count himself lucky his club is still in the premier league or he would well and truly be f***ed without television money…premier money etc etc etc……clear the crap from the club….but Owen Martins milner Beye taylor faye enrique for example will be first team players next season if they sort things out quickly…..Any new players coming in should have a wage cap when signing…Introduce it now…not to existing players..I also heard from a mate who was at a talk in with John Carver,and the talk is that ashley is prepared to sell if he makes a profit…Its not common knowledge to the world allegedly but in the billionaire world the club is being touted about….If its true then that would make sense to why he hasnt spent much in transfer windows….But surely a club with top assets like owen and martins would be a better seller….IF ITS TRUE!!!!

  • Newcastle United.

    May 11, 2008 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #38

    I pray the lord this isn’t true, the main reason we attract some players is money.

  • faustino

    May 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #39

    I’m glad someone else is watching the team at the mo. He hasn’t been THAT good ffs. A diamond in the rough perhaps , more likely he looked good compared to some seriously under performing players. Oba is a more important player imo.

    As everyone knows, we need a total change. I am sick of being precious about things. F*ck it as long as they’ve lined up two of Gomis/Gudjhonnsen/Anelka/Crouch as replacements sell the sick note on if that’s what he’d prefer because we need players who want to play for the team.

    Anyone with a bit of soul and in his position would accept they owed something to the club and sign a contract stating atleast a slight drop in pay that would increase if we do well!

    It would be healthy if this club changed the attitude that the ‘star striker’ is the be all and end all of the team. Shirt sales and computer games aren’t everything. Get rid of Owen and two 50k players and you can just about have three 75k/week players. Half the Man Ure team at the Barca semis were on less than that! Build a 100% qulaity team then add the stars!

  • Tom_Toon

    May 11, 2008 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #40

    We need to lower our wages bill. The wages some of our players get for not performing is sickening.

    We should have a like a base 20k a week and a then a pay as you play on top of it.


You must log in to post a comment.