Newcastle’s New Blueprint For Success

The Times has issued a good article today, and it has contacted an insider, who has told them how the new Newcastle will be managed, and what type of players the club will be after.


Mike Ashley – no debts at Newcastle and he’ll get more involved

It’s a very good article, as usual, by the excellent George Caulkin, who is one of the best writers on Newcastle.

However, there’s not too much new news there for Newcastle fans, that we haven’t worked out already.

Mike inherited almost £100M of debt, which he was not fully aware of, when he bought the club last summer.

He had Chairman Chris Mort pay that off last year, but the wage bill has increased by over 30% in the last two years to around £72M. It increased by £9M when we recruited our new players last summer.

Yet the team were still hopeless overall, and finished with their worst points total ever in the Premier league – 43 points – so something isn’t right.

Newcastle will now be run far more like a real business by Ashley’s executive team, and Mike will take a more hands-on approach, especially in the transfer market.

There will also be a huge emphasis on youth, which Chris Mort set up over the last year.

Mike Ashley is also keen to get value from the wages he pays his players, which he hardly saw in his first season at the club, due to both injuries and poor form.

Many players on huge wages last season were hardly available because of injuries, and these included Emre, Carr and Viduka.

It’s interesting that Viduka is the only player still at the club for next season.

The Times has been talking to an insider, who made this comment to them:

“The determination is to build a team, rather than simply buy big names,”

“The desire is for a young, hungry squad which will stay together for the good of Newcastle for years to come, rather than for just a season or two.”

The change in approach has been easy to see with Newcastle focused on multiple teenagers and also on the younger, not always fully established stars, like 22 year-old Luka Modric, 21 year-old left sided midfielder Arda Turan and 22 year old French striker Bafe Gomis.

That seems to be the age range Newcastle are targeting specifically, but we will still need one or two experienced players brought in during the summer, who are already at their full potential, if we are to be able to compete for 5th place next season, which is our stated target.

Dennis Wise is the executive responsible for recruitment, and that is a key job that carries with it a huge salary, but also a big responsibility to recruit top players.

If he is not able to do that, we don’t think Dennis will last too long in the job, it’s that important to the club.

Wise has brought in five excellent teenagers, but many of them were already being tracked by the club, before Dennis arrived in January.

15 year-old whiz kid Aaron Spear from Plymouth Argyle, could be out next capture at the teenager level, and he is still very willing to join Newcastle, even though Arsenal are now interested in the youngster.

One of our sources claims to be friends with the youngster in Plymouth, and has told us that Aaron does not want to join Arsenal, and is only too happy to come to Tyneside.

We’ll see if that’s true – very shortly.

The key to Keegan and Wise working together is to ensure that Keegan is continually kept informed on everything happening in the recruitment area.

And Keegan has the final decision on which players can leave and which are acquired by the club.

He is helped big time in that area by Dennis Wise, who is looking around full-time for other players and youngsters that Kevin will not know about.

Kevin’s job is to manage the side and train and coach them to success, and doesn’t have to go and search out players.

We assume Kevin has already bought into the young player recruitment process.

Mike Ashley, as we reported earlier in the week is now ready to be more involved at the club, and will work closely with Derek Llambias, our new Managing Director at the club, which we assume is a CEO type role.

We think this strategy is a viable approach for the club – and at least it’s a plan, which we never had under the haphazard structure that Freddy Shepherd presided over.

The team will be a young side, but if we bring in the right youngsters and a little added experience, we can soon be one of the top clubs again.

We are still confident of that – that’s our view – and we should give the new team, and the new management structure, a chance.

Comments welcome.

61 comments so far

  • Pete

    Jun 20, 2008 at 2:03 AM

    Comment #1

    Makes perfect sense!

    Lets all give him time, you don’t become a multi billionaire by being stupid

  • Pete

    Jun 20, 2008 at 2:03 AM

    Comment #2

    A link to the original article that ed has neglected to show:

  • Tom_Toon

    Jun 20, 2008 at 2:05 AM

    Comment #3

    Great plan, great article, however Keegan should be able to speak to prospective players near the end of the deal, no sure if he can or not, thats my only reservation.

  • Pete

    Jun 20, 2008 at 2:07 AM

    Comment #4

    I am sure if Keegan would like to speak to the player, he will be allowed.

    I thought Wise was just mainly dealing with the U-18 signings with the rest searching for first teamers.

  • tapir

    Jun 20, 2008 at 2:19 AM

    Comment #5

    action counted,not only talk
    so roll the ball in pls Ashley..

  • SwedeEric

    Jun 20, 2008 at 2:23 AM

    Comment #6

    Sounds great… And noone can say this club has been run proply latly… 100M in debt tells you that, and all the scandals… I mean, even on swedish football forums when for exampel Seb larsson in linked with newcastle people start saying nonono, don´t go to Newcastle, just a big club that is being run dodgy, and wants him to go to Everton, city or some other club…

    Would realy like this big spending on big names that plays like shite stops. People don´t se that as ambition, just that we are doing the same stupid thing over and over again…

    Glad to se the club being run in a good way now! Althou some people seems to think it´s worse than during FF time, just because we havn´t spend any big money before the euros (wich we would have if spurs didn´t snatch Modric) and don´t spend money that doesn´t exist…

    For exampel, during FF we played CL and in europe year after year… and he still managed to take the club in debt… Of course we can´t spend as silly money now when we have less income…

  • nufctj

    Jun 20, 2008 at 3:00 AM

    Comment #7

    5 years! And it will all be different for us my Geordie brethren! Let’s just hope we can acquire some decent players so we are not dealing with another relegation scrap next season. Let’s start things off by beating the pants off of a Ronaldoless ManUre.

    No one that has exited so far will be missed. None of them added to the equation. We can only get better. But realistically, I will be shocked if we can attract a player like Arshavin in our present state. We have to find the yet to be discovered Arshavin, wherever on the globe he may be.

    Bentley is overrated and will never come here, forget about him.

    Until he shows us otherwise we must put our full faith behind Ashley and KK, and the management team.

  • micepie

    Jun 20, 2008 at 3:40 AM

    Comment #8

    Sorry to be a bit off topic but why are there always rumours about us selling Martins? Admittedly from mostly crappy newspapers etc. But just don’t sell. If we didn’t have Martins we’d be trying to buy him for a lot of money.

  • Hadrian

    Jun 20, 2008 at 4:22 AM

    Comment #9

    right ……………
    someone wanna tell the media then (times are just as guilty)

    Coloccini, 26 ,—- BUY 12mill
    martins, 23 , ——SELL 15mill
    Arshavin 27 , —– BUY 10mill
    linked with older players and selling our younger ones doesnt sound like what the times are on about.
    club insider my backside , and i dont agree with it anyway , kid’s dont win you anything , and wenger didnt start with the likes of smith and barton !.

  • craig chisholm

    Jun 20, 2008 at 4:59 AM

    Comment #10

    i think its all aload of smooth talking to glaze over the eyes of us geordies. the bottom line os if he chops the wage down from 72 million to around 30 or 40 million, plus the other cut backs, selling named players, bringing in young ones, increased season tickets bby 10%, increased tv revenue etc by massive amounts etc he will have paid off the 100 million he ploughed into paying off the debt in less than two years. I have said it so many times…. i have no doubt ashley wants us to do well, of course he does…. he just wants to do it on the cheap to maximise his returns. He’s a gambler though, we all know that, he has eve nput a gambler in charge of us now. He is now gambling with cheap inexpirienced youth over established players. will it work or will the enthusiasum of youth only get us so far?? I think he needs to buy both and mix it up. He isnt though is he. He could have had turan for 11 million but we dicked around a peeny pinched – the bloke is now worth nearly double that now that he has set the euros alight. Arron Spear – they wanted a million – we offer 150 gradn up front with some add ons that might or might not happen. He wanted to pay for arron depending on his development – how mad is that?? It would appear that mike ashley wants to have his cake and eat it. I hope its not going to be another season long relegation battle for us.

  • Taiwantoon

    Jun 20, 2008 at 5:55 AM

    Comment #11

    A gambler’s plan? 🙂 Could certainly see the points craig is trying to make.

    I am not that impressed by the three wise man and MA lately, but let’s give them one more month. Football club can be run as a business, but not like a chain store. No fan would follow a chain store, er?

  • Matthew

    Jun 20, 2008 at 6:38 AM

    Comment #12

    Terry Mac said the other day that Keegan had been speaking with potential signings so the Times interview is off slightly there.

    Craig – Turan isn’t worth anywhere near £22 million so lets try and keep things in perspective, the club wanted to do a deal before the Euro’s but Galatasaray understandably wanted to wait and see how he done, as for Aaron Spears most young player deals for the academy are done in such a way, Tozer’s being the perfect example.

  • Matthew

    Jun 20, 2008 at 6:44 AM

    Comment #13

    I agree with the clubs plan btw, the problem with buying older players means you have a larger turnover of players, every year for the past 5 summers we’ve needed 5 or 6 signings which means some average players on the cheap.

    People shouldn’t take this plan as set in stone though, even if they want to concentrate on bringing in quality players in their early 20’s there will still be a few older ones brought in for experience, the way some people go on you would think we won’t sign a player over 24 ever again.

  • Steve

    Jun 20, 2008 at 6:50 AM

    Comment #14

    Galatasaray attacker Arda Turan is keen on a move to England.

    “I’d like to play either in England or in Spain,” Arda, who is wanted by Newcastle and Arsenal, told Hurriyet.

    “Okan, Emre and Arif Erdem are admired by everyone in Turkey.

    What I find humerous is the name of the newspaper. “Hurriyet”… If only…

    Ps. Can I just say that I think Scolari is a disgrace the way he encouraged Ronaldo to move… It’ll make our job easier come the opening day of the season, but he had no business telling Ronaldo this only comes around once. Complete conflict of interest. He abused his position of trust and confidence as Portugal Manager

  • Taiwantoon

    Jun 20, 2008 at 6:55 AM

    Comment #15

    That’s part of his job as Chelsea manager. 🙂

  • owengoalmachine

    Jun 20, 2008 at 6:58 AM

    Comment #16

    i think we have good youngsters at the club and owen will always score. also vital to keep martins. what we need is an experienced classy midfield playmaker. we missed out on modric. what about going in for alonzo. he isnt flavour of the month at liverpool and would certainly add more than barton or butt.

  • 51times

    Jun 20, 2008 at 7:12 AM

    Comment #17

    I like this new policy, no 28+ old c*nts, they’re on the way out.

  • Nobby's Dad

    Jun 20, 2008 at 7:21 AM

    Comment #18

    craig chisholm ……he wants to pay for Aaron depending on development??Isn’t that common sense! There is no way Plymouth want £1 million – the lad hasn’t even played for their first team. Buying is a gamble so if it works pay more – I cannot see how anyone can dispute the sense in this.

    The club has been a joke for too long and we all know it. We are the team other supporters in the Premiership laugh at more than all others and it’s about time it stopped.

  • GSfan

    Jun 20, 2008 at 7:31 AM

    Comment #19

    What’s so funny about the name of the newspaper? :p And besides it’s just another newspaper that loves filling its columns in. Even news agencies didn’t report something like that and the stuff it says there is irrelevant. So Arda’s a fan of Arif and Okan? Err… ok. And there’s no way in hell we demanded 22m pounds. The highest I heard was 15m, but then again the board at one point said Arda’s not for sale. Let’s see if money talks after the tournament’s over.

    Gonna have a random rant here now: FFS, we can’t field a proper team for tonight’s quarter final match, Servet (our only defender) can’t play apparently, aurelio’s suspended, gokhan is injured, volkan’s suspended. lame lame lame.

  • Graham

    Jun 20, 2008 at 7:34 AM

    Comment #20

    Nobbys Dad – couldn’t agree more about your thinking on Aaron Spear.

    I have said a couple of times that i like the way this club is starting to be run. For the first time in my living memory (and i’m 32) I can see a long term objective for NUFC – not just splashing the cash to keep everyone happy, which as we all know has not worked. Things need to be different.

    We cannot expect to be spending silly amounts of cash just to keep people interested – we need sustainable development both on and off the pitch

    There are no guarantees but I would rather see it done sensibly and for the long term instaed of crazy for the short.

    And to anyone who says youth never win anything – we could spend £100m and still not win anything, but we will progress with the new format.

    PS Man Utd won the league 14 years ago with Butt, Scholes, Beckham, Neville etc etc etc all in their early twenties…….

  • craig chisholm

    Jun 20, 2008 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #21

    Nobbys dad… i dont really agree with you on the spearthing. iwish it could be that way but to my thinking its ridiculous. they want a million -fair enough. also fair enough we pay 150 down even. howver, we must pay the rest though, we cant just say , well, lets see how he develops and we will pay you accordingly. for a start, his development is down to US at newcastle, not argyle anymore, i he dont develop whos to say whos fault it is. secondly, it would be like agreeing to buy a car cos it really looked the bollocks adn then after a couple of months saying, well, its not what i really wanted, i dont want to pay anymore. either buy the guy or dont. we often buy and sell players with fees that may rise depending on appearances, however, an initial transfer fee is agreed no matter what. they want a million transfer fee in some form or another. They are not saying we want 150 grand transfer fee are they.
    as for the ronaldo thing, i think scholari wants ronaldo out of the prem of course, he couldnt give a wank where he goes, but of course, manure are alot weaker without a 40 goal a season player maker. i cant believe ronaldo can not see scholari’s thinking in it all. He’s tell inghim to leave while at the same time he is coming and bringing deco at co with him.

  • Dr O'Style

    Jun 20, 2008 at 8:07 AM

    Comment #22

    The youth plan’s all well and good but where does Michael Owen fit in with this?

    If we’re going young, why would he want to stick around (other than the pay packet)?

  • Nick Dryden

    Jun 20, 2008 at 8:10 AM

    Comment #23

    Ed if NUFC were allegedly so close to going to the wall, how did Shepherd still come away with 40million ? I know Ashley would still have had to realise all the debt and liabilities that Shepherd’s regime had incurred in drivng the club in to the ground, but surely if Ashley had waited a little longer or done the ”due diligence” he could have got the club for a song and not parted with so much money to an absolute crook.

  • figsdad

    Jun 20, 2008 at 8:10 AM

    Comment #24

    I want to know who is this mole or insider.?

  • The Entertainers

    Jun 20, 2008 at 8:12 AM

    Comment #25

    I have every faith in Ashley and his ability to run the club efficently. Forget all the rubbish he wants to sell, if he wanted to he would have by now. A professional colleague i work with assures me of that.

    I would love to see us bring in up and coming 20 -25 yr olds and see the team develope over the coming years.

    There will be quality new signings coming in. They may not be the top top players any more but the next breed ie Arda, Gomis and to me these players will more exciting to watch their development.

    If you spend £5m on a player but pay him £60k p/w over 4 years you are spending about £17.5 m…this is the out lay on a Joey Barton type player.

    Or you can spend a bit more £10m on a promising youngster and pay him £30k p/w over 4 years and the out lay is just over 16 million.

    The outlays are similar, except you are buying a better quality player and one with added sell on value…..the only down fall is these players tend to be foreign as British players want high wages.

    Ashley seems to be balancing this out by scouting very young English / British kids (Spears)

    Happy days …….we just need the ball to get rolling and it will, the guy is no fool

  • staffsmag

    Jun 20, 2008 at 8:42 AM

    Comment #26

    figsdad. There is no mole or insider it just paper talk for saying “here is another story we hav made up” lol

  • valle

    Jun 20, 2008 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #27

    So we’re supporting Ashleys plans to be a successfull billionare now?… I dont care if he became a billionare by turning every penny, he is running a football club now and we are turning into a talent center while the clubs around us invest… Get the finger out, and give Keegan some support!!!

  • valle

    Jun 20, 2008 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #28

    Ashley dont want to sell, he wants to make a load of money on us…

  • MattyDread

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #29

    Nick Dryden – “if NUFC were allegedly so close to going to the wall, how did Shepherd still come away with 40million ?”

    Maybe this could explain why Ashley ended up with more debt than he expected…?

  • Ian

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #30

    I am sorry, but i agree with Craig, I am not convinced at all, I think the so called plan is a not a bad one as far as a long term plan goes, I totally disagree with it as a short term one.

    Owen and Martins are bought and paid for, we only have their wages in the future, Viduka was a free transfer, their wages even though higher than the future intended level dont matter as there are no transfer fees involved, a young useless person on half the wage who is promising will cost the club the same in total, so only a total plonker would sell a known player for an unkown.

    Then moving on, when a high quality player even at 26-27 is a giveaway which rarely happens in football but did with Anelka, Johnson and Mccarthy a few years ago, only a complete idiot would overlook that type of player, just because they have a plan which involves youth.

    I hope that clever wheeling dealing business sense is used and not just, ‘I am the boss this is my plan now put it in place’ is used or everything will go belly up.

    I said to you all on here what would happen to the French coach, before the first game was played, when he adopted that plan of youth and he simply took the best players in the French league that were young and fell flat on his face. Dumping proven goalscorers in key matches.

    A healthy mix is required, no good player at any age overlooked, a healthy reserves team which produces first team players or sells them quickly and a couple of first team youngsters in addition to proven players and we will fly.

    Buying a few foreign youngsters that have had one good season, the press are making in to superheroes and their clubs are trying to entice premiership mugs to pay silly prices are not needed. the foreign clubs have major financial problems and look to the premiership transfer markets as big pay days.

  • The Entertainers

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:27 AM

    Comment #31

    @ Ian

    I dont think the French adopted a youthful approach….Viera, Makelele, Henry, Thuram, Sagnol, Coupet all 1st teamers and all at leats 30.

    You say that Owen and Martins are now paid for and all we have to pay out is their wages. Do you realise that if Owen signs a 4 year contract at 100k p/w that will cost us inexcess of 20 million and thats just Owen.

    I cant argue the point about McCarthy, but Anelka given away at 9 million then his wages!

    As for making a mistake buying foreign players, this depends on our scouting network and Ashley has put a lot of time into this department, more time than most fans would like. But if you get it right its fantastic, just look at Arsenal and there rarely paying over 1 million for some of there 15 – 19 year olds (check out there website Youngguns). Besides look at our record in the past with English mercenaries….Smith, Duff, Barton, Viduka, Carr they all will have been on at least 40k p/w AT LEAST!!

    The one point i do agree on mate, is we still need a mix of experience in the squad, which is why we need to tie down Owen and keep the likes of Geremi (like or loath him).

    Its time for a change in direction at Newcastle and i am buying into Ashleys vision.

  • Hammy

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #32

    Liked Ian’s post:
    “Buying a few foreign youngsters that have had one good season, the press are making in to superheroes and their clubs are trying to entice premiership mugs to pay silly prices are not needed. the foreign clubs have major financial problems and look to the premiership transfer markets as big pay days.”
    That has certainly happened to us in the past, we must have about a 50% failure rate with Johnny Foreigner which is maybe why we haven’t as yet been splashing Ash’s cash. They’ve probably looked at our spending recoerd over the last 10 years and aren’t going to make the same mistake.
    Foreign clubs don’t get the revenue that we do from Sky and the Italian clubs who were so successful in the 90’s are now casting envious eyes over the Premiership as they no longer have the financial muscle to entice the galactico’s type player.
    The European football thing is just a load of bull…..most players want to be in a good team, playing every week and earning shed loads.
    The next few weeks are going to be very interesting……

  • sirjasontoon

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #33

    Nobody will pay top dollar to watch kids getting beat every week…how many kids at academy level make the grade..very few.

    Forget the youth investment for now Mr Ashley kids win nothing or if they do not very often…
    I think it is just a way of saying I am not backing the manager and the fans are stupid enough to pay to watch a load of shit week in week out.

  • Spyro

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #34

    read this last night, good article and finally something positive to read about us

  • The Entertainers

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #35

    @ Hammy

    I think Ashley is looking at a different type of foreigner.

    In the past we have gone for the ageing more established players:

    All have cost large transfer fees or / and have been on large wages. A pretty mix bag, but alot of high profile failures.

    Some of the foriegners we have had realtive success with have been lesser buys, less risk attached and have a hunger to succeed:

    If we buy young forgein players who have that hunger to succeed at least we’re starting off on the right foot. The Arda’s and Gomis’s have show promise and still need to take it to the next level, we need that drive. If they fail there will still be a relative sell on price too.

  • tapir

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #36

    you guys shud be in the mgmt team
    as a team planner or at least team predictor?

  • The Entertainers

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #37

    Newcastle fans give local / academy kids more chances than the more estabilished rubbish we’ve bought in the past.

    Taylor, after an indifferent season fans still backing him to succeed, why? Hes one of ours.

    If Shola had not of been local, would he have been around as long as he was?

    Zog has been as petulant as Anelka ever was, do we still what him to stay? Most fans do, thats because we’ve brought him through the system.

    Boumsoung big money big wages, few naff games and we’re all on his back.


    I dont think you’re giving the fans much credit by saying we wont watch young players getting beat every week. Yet we have still filled SJP every other week watching high paid mercenaries get beat most weeks for the last few years!

  • Ian

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #38

    Entertainers however someone like Gomis on a 3 year deal would cost £17.8m and that is if he will work for £50,000 per week. If the wage is higher he could be over £20m. Owen would be £16m over the same time. Martins £14m. Cisse £17.8m if we had to pay him £80k per week.

    Now who still wants to sign the young players instead of the above?

    Anelka I am on about the Bolton purchase, he was a bargain.

  • Nobby's Dad

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #39

    craig chisholm….I’ve got to come back to you on Spears. Firstly buying players is NOT like buying cars. This lad is on school boy forms – I’ve never read anywhere that Plymouth want £1 million (where did you get this from?).

    The premiership clubs willn always dictate to the lower league clubs what fee they will give – I expect if Spears comes we’ll get him for about £300,000.

    A players development at this age is down to a lot more factors than the club. At 15 he might stop growing or not develop as expected…….I remember years ago (about 20 yrs ago) Liverpool paying a fortune for Wayne Harrison when he was about 16. He got injured and didn’t make the grade. The fact that a lad has never even played 1st team football has to be factored into the price.

  • tapir

    Jun 20, 2008 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #40

    on another note, Newacstel has signed two face today ALan Thompson and Money
    and heard that Thompson had some big argument and issue with KK long time ago.
    anything bad is happening???


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