Newcastle Are Playing A Dangerous Game

Newcastle have again upset their fans by allowing captain Kevin Nolan to leave for West Ham, and the deal is said to go through today.

Kevin Nolan – captain and one of Newcastle’s best players

Of course West Ham are getting not only a very good player, but a leader both on and off the field, and Kevin can also score goals.

So he’s a good player in more than one sense, and unfortunately Newcastle’s loss will now be West Ham’s gain, and Kevin can lead the London side back at the first attempt, now he is again partnering up with big Sam Allardyce.

It’s a massive coup for big Sam and for West Ham too, to get a player of Kevin’s undoubted class and leadership ability, and he’s simply been terrific for Newcatsle over these last two seasons, when in 92 appearances for the Magpies he’s scored 30 goals.

Why Newcastle are selling him we have no idea, other than his wages are high, and Mike Ashley is trying to cut the wage bill and bring in younger players on Tyneside.

The news yesterday was that Newcastle were after Birmingham’s Craig Gardner, who scored 10 goals for Birmingham City last season, and he’s a somewhat of a similar player to Kevin, although of course not as experienced.

The leaving of Kevin Nolan has come as a shock to most Newcastle fans,  because Kevin made it clear he wanted a new five year deal on Tyneside, and was a huge favorite with the Newcatsle fans.

And anybody who can score a hat-trick against Sunderland, which he achieved last year in the 5-1 humiliation of local rivals Sunderland at St. James’ Park, is a hero indeed.

I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what Newcastle do to compensate for the loss of Nolan, and the likely loss of both Joey Barton and Jose Enrique, two more of our very best players.

But Newcastle do have two players who featured in total only five times for the club last season, in Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling, so they will be like two new players next season.

This releasing of  top players reminds us of a certain Kenny Dalglish in the summer of 1997, when Newcastle had just finished second in the Premier League, after Kenny had taken over from the departing Kevin Keegan.

But Kenny then demolished the side in the summer, by selling key players like Lee Clark, and bringing in new unproven players.

And  Newcastle struggled the next season, even with a relegation threat – and finished in 14th place – a disaster and of course Dalglish was sacked in the August.

The only surprise was that Kenny was surprised when he was finally fired.

You cannot change the heart of your side all at once, because that becomes a very dangerous game, especially when you are replacing top experienced proven performers with younger players.

But Mike Ashley is not a footballing person, as he keeps proving to us, and he is now clearly running the Newcastle club, and decides who comes and goes, and it’s certainly not manager Alan Pardew.

Trying to look on the positive side of things, which is sometimes difficult in times like this, if Newcastle can bring in Demba Ba,
Neil Taylor, Craig Gardner, Charles N’Zogbia (or Tranquillo Barnetta), and PSG striker Miralem Sulejmani., things may look a lot better.

But it’s a dangerous game Newcastle are playing this summer, by unloading their best players.

Clubs usually unload their fringe players in the summer, but of course this is Newcastle United.

We just have to hope the powers that be at Newcastle, namely Mike Ashley, knows what he’s doing.

Comments welcome.

144 comments so far

  • lewis.1989

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    Comment #1


  • Eyeball81

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    Comment #2

    is I first?

  • Eyeball81

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    Comment #3

    nope, cheers lewis hahah

  • Toonboy_84

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    Comment #4

    Thanks for everyting big kev. Will always remember the chicken dance and hat trick against the scum. Best of luck for the future.

  • Brand New Carr

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    Comment #5

    Why the persistent doom mongering? As many have suggested Nolan offers nothing much except the opportunistic goals he was able to get through AC. Keep the faith!

  • geordiescamp

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    Comment #6

    this article is missing the point ‘Why Newcastle are selling him we have no idea’

    because he wanted a 5 year deal that would take him to 34!!
    Look i like Nolan and has done well but hes no Beardsley, hes slow, plays well at home but anonymous away from St James. 4 years was enough and HE didnt want the deal.
    Time to move on….

  • dak76

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:18 AM

    Comment #7

    ‘We just have to hope the powers that be at Newcastle, namely Mike Ashley, knows what he’s doing.’…..

    Highly unlikely Ed, proved this over and over during his ownership that he doesn’t. Trying to run a football club like sports direct/casino ain’t gonna work..

  • pavel

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:28 AM

    Comment #8

    Geordiescamp. I take your point about the contract and if it was an isolated case then perhaps I would agree, but when all of your players with any kind of resale value are supposedly making unrealistic demands, you eventually can only conclude that the club have unrealistic expectations.

  • Crawfordladd17

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    Comment #9

    I think Keegan is rite

  • cyprus

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    Comment #10

    Good comments Ed, regarding Dalglish. It was he who dragged us to mediocrity (e.g. he brought in mates Rash, Barnes as 50 year olds!) and we are still trying to recover from that.

  • pavel

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    Comment #11

    When Pardew arrived he said he had been guaranteed funds. Let’s say that was 5m. The Carroll money was guaranteed to him: 35m. We will sell at least Barton, Nolan and Enrique for another 15m or so for the three. Anyone see us spending 55m this summer? (not to mention the fact that if nobody had been sold you would expect to spend something in the summer)

  • geordiescamp

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    Comment #12

    if he players are young enough they will get long contracts and good pay-
    Cabaye – 5 years
    Tiote – 6 years
    Its about time this club stopped being a meal ticket for ageing players.
    Alan Smith – VFM??

  • spitfire_

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    Comment #13

    Why for the most of the fans, Ashley is guilty by presumption… It’s ridiculous.

  • radge

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    Comment #14

    I think the better comparison is Keegan rather than Dalglish. Kev never had any sentimentality towards players…a few weeks after Ned scored at Grimsby to take us back to the promised land, he was gone. So was Cole a few years later. Keegan’s rationale was that he wanted to upgrade the team at every opportunity. That’s what we need to do. Moving on the likes of Nolan and Barton who are close to their peak, arguably past it, and therefore on the downward slope makes sense to me. Replacing them with players who are a few years younger, a yard faster, perhaps better and definitely cheaper also makes sense. The whole “team spirit” thing is a smokescreen…winning games creates team spirit, nothing else. Is Ashley’s strategy a risk? Absolutely, but so was buying Owen, Smith, Boumsong et al. There’s no guarantees, but at least he has a plan (time will tell whether it’s a good one or not). Wait till the season starts and Cabaye slips a perfectly weighted ball for HBA to run on to, who then bursts the net from the edge of the box…Kevin who?

  • pavel

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:45 AM

    Comment #15

    None of us know what Nolan’s demands were, but it hardly seems like much time was taken in negotiating. All we know is that the club’s offer was was turned down by Nolan and the next week he is out.
    Without knowing the details we can only judge both sides on their track records.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    Comment #16

    @Brand New Carr // Jun 16, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    Its not about what Nolan’s offers ON the pitch. Its what he’s capable of off the pitch. He’s a leader. And the last time we got relegated we had a quality teamsheet but we had no leader who could keep players in check. We might go down that slippery road again, if there is no leader to keep the new players in check.

    Nolan and Barton has formed a team spirit in the dressing room. If they are no longer around even if we get quality players its USELESS.

  • Jarra_Mag

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    Comment #17

    Would have been wise to let his contract run another year to have him nurturing the incoming players and let them know what the toon is all about before offloading him. He still had 2 years on his contract after all

  • Tom4Nufc

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #18


    The PSG striker is Melvut Erding- Miralem Sulejmani is a winger for Ajax!

  • geordiescamp

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #19

    great point radge, KK had no sentimentality at times it was also a policy Liverpool used to do in there heyday – move on players just before they were on the slide.

  • Angryman the (Mildly) Angry fan

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    Comment #20

    What Nolan and Barton bring on the pitch can be bought, but what the bring to the club and the dressing room……priceless!!

    The Maggot apologists on here think his blue print is right….and his blueprint is nothing more than one huge gamble and he likes it that way!!

    Thing is, ask the Jabba apologists what good he has done for this club in the 5 year he is in charge??? and they do a better sidestep than that tw@ anton du beck!!

  • keyser soze

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    Comment #21

    Tranquillo Barnetta and Matudi are the names being mentioned.

  • Angryman the (Mildly) Angry fan

    Jun 16, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Comment #22

    Jarra Mag
    On the money!!!
    Hard to believe that the Vast Majority, if not all posters on here wanted to have Nolan a new contract, but soon as the club dump him…..’oh too old anyway’ thats not backing the club thats backing the owner!!

    Supposedly statement out today….

    I would wager that it would be along the lines of , we tried with new contract, asked for transfer, wish him all the best…..bla bla bla…..

    Save it fat mike and your little bog brush dorty derek…..

  • Fenham Boy

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:01 AM

    Comment #23

    Nolan is a journeyman pro who was captain of the least skillful team we’ve had in 20 years. This idea that he is a leader of men may be true but the idea was as a result of his own cultivation of the media. His transfer is not life-changing get over it.

  • radge

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    Comment #24

    If Nolan and Barton were such great leaders, how come they led the team to relegation in the first place? And if they’re such a great influence on and off the pitch, how come one of them’s back in the championship and the other’s struggling to get a new club? Move on…

  • cla5hb0y68

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #25

    This crack about Keegan having no sentimentality towards players is a fair point. However, Keegan moved players on for footballing reasons and to benefit the team, Ashley’s doing it for financial reasons. He’s trying to apply his business model at chav direct to the running of the club. Minimum in, maximum return out.

  • Angryman the (totally p!st off with Jabbas mismanagement of our club) Fan

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    Comment #26

    Football is not life changing!
    Whats you point??

    The majorities point is we were carried through last season on team spirit. Not skill, Not flair, pure spirit.

    That spirit was generated from a team captain who was Proud to wear the strip. Who instilled into his fellow players what it was to wear the strip. Who almost single handedly destroyed the scum, because of his pride in playing for the toon.

    Who else will brign that to the table in the current squad??

  • ChicagoToon

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    Comment #27

    To whoever mentioned Marco pappa coming in to Newcastle, I can tell u as a chicago fire season ticket holder, he’s not our answer. Love the guy and easily the fires best player but I would be extremely surprised if he could make it in the prem. He’s championship at best. If true tho I wish him luck cause he’s a good lad and will give his best. He gets lost on defense at times tho.

  • roshan MAGPIE

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    Comment #28

    i think this is a dangerous games that ashley is playing but he is trying to bring in good young players with high pedigree not the likes of Pearch from english second tier

  • Angryman the (totally p!st off with Jabbas mismanagement of our club) Fan

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    Comment #29

    Did Nolan and Barto lead the team to relegation did they??
    Nolan was signed arse end of the january tranfer window the relegation season when we struggled terribly and looked on a one way ticket into championship…caused by the wonderful Mr Ashleys mismanagment of NUFC!!

    Barton hardly played a game that season, mainly due to injury!!

    However, the both of them were very instremental in keeping us in the prem last season….Nolans goals, and Joeys creation, without these 2 we would be back down in the championship, no arguments……

    So if your gonna post something man, at least try and get the facts right!!

  • tynesidetommo

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    Comment #30

    Think we also need to look at the role of the manager in all of this. Remember he attended the summit the other week to finalise transfer targets. Surely they would also have decided which players would be surplus to requirements. Find it hard to imagine the manager is clueless in all of this and that just Mike Ashley is making all the decisions.
    Nolan was a true grit player for the Toon but knowing the club’s new buying policy cannot understand why he supposedly held out for a five-year deal.
    But what’s done is done. I’ll make a final judgement on our dealings when the window slams shut.

    However, think I might shred the telly licence and ditch the box. Who needs to pay to watch soaps when you can always rely on Ashley & Co for some real life drama? I’m keeping the faith for now.

  • Angryman the baffled Fan

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    Comment #31

    Do you know that good young players replacing all the older players in one fell swoop will work?
    Has it ever worked??

    and if so, where??

  • Nufc_mo

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    Comment #32

    MsiDouglas Mark Douglas
    The morning after the night(mare) before. NUFC will release a statement on the Kevin Nolan sale this morning. Full details in the Chronicle
    51 minutes ago

  • Danj_008

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    Comment #33

    Oh No its the end of Newcastle, its the end…. Oh NO!! please!! how old are some of you?? 12..

  • NathanH NUFC

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    Comment #34

    Sorry to be a dick and all but, Miralem Sulejmani plays for Ajax.

    However, we should sign this lad instead of Barnetta. Just saying.

  • shear-class

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Comment #35

    Its Absolutely Ridiculous the over reaction to Newcastle selling Nolan i am not that fussed hes over weight to slow and i ask the question why arent there any premier league clubs in for him

  • Davidelder888 tweet

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    Comment #36

    We employ Alan pardew ( who everyone says is a great man manager ) to build a team and team spirit. This is not a players responsibility. How many people had Nolan or Barton in there “likely line ups” for next season? Im not happy Nolan has left he was a great servant to our club from what I gather even helped with the sale of judas. There is no point crying about this or blaming Ashley, maybe he wanted to go? As someone said judge this window when it’s closed not now! No one wanted Andy Cole to go but I think we seen why he did shortly after.

  • Southern Pride

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    Comment #37

    Well there is an undoubtedly clear difference here. We finished 12 as opposed to 2nd this time around so a complete overhaul isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    Our so called core got us relegated, we played shocking football this year albeit some good games, finished 7 points from the drop and here we are complaining because things are changing.

    With a mediocre core we aren’t gonna get anywhere. Ashley is building around Collo, HBA & Tiote and we have a problem with that? Sorry but our so called premiership experienced players and squad camaraderie didn’t really get us anywhere.

  • jim

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    Comment #38

    Jeez have u seen the way the villa fans are goin on? lol-worse than us lot when Keegan went! Is Alex mc Leish that bad like? I know he was brum’s boss but their on about burning their shirts etc, hahaha…..

  • Cheick and Bake

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Comment #39

    listen guys… stop this bullsh*t.. the last thing this club needs is turmoil … and radge.. in my opinion, nufc fans are the ones who got us relegated that year and not mike ashley .. ofcourse some players played their part and some didnt .. but fans were the major reason .. some stopped attending matches .. some sang negative songs at St James park.. some returned their season tickets .. THATS WHAT GOT US RELEGATED.. not mike ashley .. we arent the first club to sell our star players .. get over it.. i know nolan was probably our best player .. and i love him and wish him all the best.. but we need to support our club no matter what .. the only way for us to improve and gain stability .. is if we all just shut up and support newcastle

  • toonruz

    Jun 16, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    Comment #40

    for the fans that have been slagging j barton off and all so all so slagging k nolan off have been brain washed by ashley and co , a lot of people need to wake up and smell the coffee


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