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.