Here are the final set of answers from Derek LLambias with some comments from us.
Derek LLambias and Mike Ashley
Are you aware of fans’ disgruntlement with the away ticketing policy given the Toon Army are amongst the most loyal fans in the UK, and will you consider reviewing the policy?
Yes, we’re aware that some fans are unhappy with the changes we’ve made.
There was however a lot of anger from the majority of law-abiding fans at the behaviour of a few at our friendly game against Darlington that evening, and it’s as a result of their behaviour that we have introduced these restrictions.
We did so to protect the reputation of the club. The scenes we witnessed at Darlington were disgraceful and cannot be repeated. The changes we’ve made ensure that the club has better control over who gets access to away tickets so that people who break the law are able to be identified much more easily.
If non season ticket holders want to purchase tickets for away games, then it’s very simple to do so by way of a club membership.
We certainly don’t want to see any more of the antics we saw at the Darlington game, and that sullied Newcastle’s reputation, there’s no doubt about that.
Once again it seems the behavior of a few has spoiled it for the vast majority of Newcastle supporters, and it’s a great pity that some supporters will not now be able to attend the away games.
Alan Pardew said he was 100% convinced he would get a new number 9. What changed?
It was everyone’s desire at the club to bring in a striker. As I said in answer to a previous question, we worked hard to make that happen but ultimately couldn’t complete a deal that we’d hoped to.
Alan was aware of the efforts we were making in our negotiations and as such had every right to be confident. We were making good progress on a number of fronts, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the player over the line.
Well on the positive side Derek at least supports Alan Pardew’s view that it was almost a certainty the club would get a top striker over the line in the transfer window.
But we didn’t, and we still think it major reason is because the club stubbornly refused to pay a little over the odds for their targets. We now have to hope the club moves big time in January for two or three top players.
Why was Joey Barton allowed to leave for free and join a club that could be considered to be a rival in the Premier League?
Joey’s a big character and a talented player, which is why we supported him from the moment he came to Newcastle, in spite of the difficulties he faced in his first two seasons here.
In January 2011, we were keen to offer Joey a new contract because we wanted to keep him at the club. We offered him what we considered to be a great deal but unfortunately Joey chose not to accept it.
We felt we couldn’t improve on that offer and therefore would need to consider selling. However with a transfer fee attached we received no formal interest from any club. We eventually made a decision to release Joey on a free transfer after well-publicised differences between the club and the player couldn’t be resolved. We wish Joey all the best at Queens Park Rangers and look forward to seeing him on Monday for our fixture at Loftus Road.
We think Joey didn’t sign that deal because Andy Carroll was sold, and ever since that time, Joey was skeptical about the ambitions of the club, as was Jose Enrique too. Apparently Joey was about to sign the deal in late January, but then Andy was sold.
Unfortunately, Joey then got that Twitter account of his in May, and his criticism of the Newcastle Board, right or wrong, made it almost a certainty he would be moved out, and in a nutshell, that’s what happened.
We still wish he had stayed for the last season of his five year deal, because he was a great player on the field for Newcastle.
Many fans now consider us to be a “selling club” after the departures of Nolan, Enrique, Carroll and Barton. How do you respond to this?
The term “selling club” is a misnomer. In reality all clubs are selling clubs at the right price – even the Premier League’s top six clubs.
We’re no more a selling club than any other in the Premier League – you sell players, you buy players; that’s football. The Manchester Citys of this world operate on a different level to most other clubs, including ourselves, and it’s easier for those with greater financial clout to hold on to their best players and replace those they need to.
The fact is, we’ve done some excellent business in this window and brought in seven very good players. The quality of these new signings shouldn’t be overshadowed by the fact that we were unable to bring in an additional striker.
I’ve addressed the circumstances of Andy and Joey’s departure in earlier answers. In relation to Kevin Nolan, we offered Kevin a new contract at the start of the summer. Unfortunately he wanted a longer deal than we were prepared to offer and ultimately an approach came in from West Ham which worked for the player and his long-term security, as well as for the club..
The situation with Jose was very straightforward. We tried to negotiate a new contract with him early in the 2010/11 season, but the player wasn’t willing to enter negotiations at that time. When we did eventually get round the table with Jose we offered him an exceptional deal. His advisors subsequently made it clear to us that he wanted to pursue a new challenge elsewhere.
If a player wishes to leave the club, then there’s only so much we can do to try and keep him. We did everything we could, but he chose to move on. Faced with the prospect of running his contract down and leaving for nothing, we had to look to sell.
If players want to leave Newcastle for any reason, then so be it, because we’ve found out over the last three years or so, that only having players who want to be at the club helps to build the team spirit, which thankfully is still excellent, by all accounts.
That doesn’t stop us from still being stunned that we have managed to lose our four top players in Carroll, Nolan, Enrique and Barton, in a short eight months.
The policy taken by the Board is that if a player wants to leave they will sell him, or if he doesn’t accept the terms of the deal offered to him, they will also move him out.
No player is bigger than the club, and we have to at least agree with that.
Players come and go, managers come and go, the Board members come and go – but Newcastle United goes on forever – even if we don’t win anything.