Answers To Questions Six Through Ten – With Responses

Here are the answers from Derek LLambias to questions six through ten with our responses.

 Derek LLambias and Mike Ashley – I don’t know what I’m doing – honestly

Question 6:

Given that level 7 was deserted in some parts at the Fulham game, is there any reason why those who want to sing can’t all be sat together rather than upsetting fans who don’t want to sing, which appears to be the problem in the Strawberry corner? What has caused the club to fundamentally change its stance to standing in the stadium?

I think it’s worth restating the reasons behind the changes we’ve made to Level 7.

The Family Enclosure last season was extremely popular, so much so that demand regularly outstripped supply. It’s important for us to be a family friendly club and to encourage an atmosphere where future generations of supporters feel welcome and are properly catered for.

Given that our previous Family Enclosure wasn’t large enough to accommodate all those wishing to sit there, we took the decision to extend it from 5,000 to 6,500 seats, making it the largest dedicated family area in the Premier League. The sensible thing to do was to extend the existing enclosure into the North West corner, rather than ring-fence a separate pocket of seats elsewhere in the stadium.

The positive result of this has been that we now have an additional 1,000 children and their parents with season tickets in the Family Enclosure this year.

Understandably those fans who had to move seats as a result were disappointed to do so. Whilst it heralded the end of the Level 7 ‘singing section’, we didn’t want to create a new singing section elsewhere in the ground. We would far rather encourage a good vocal atmosphere around the whole stadium than in just one part.

The club hasn’t changed its position with regard to standing. Persistent standing has never been condoned, not least because it’s in breach of strict ground regulations that apply to every club in the country. The safety certificate issued to us by the local authority is conditional on us complying with those regulations. The bottom line is if we don’t take action to address persistent standing, then we will find ourselves in trouble with the local authority and ultimately the Football Licensing Authority.

Just to be clear here, we’re not talking about temporary standing during moments of excitement – that’s part and parcel of enjoying a football match. We’re talking about standing for long periods of the game.

We should point out that less than five percent of fans stand for long periods of a game. The vast majority want to use the seat they’ve paid for and abide by safety regulations. We’ve only had two home games so far, but we’ve already received over a hundred complaints from supporters upset that their match day experience has been spoilt by a minority of fans who refused to sit down and on occasion used threats of violence and foul and abusive language in response to reasonable requests from fellow supporters.

A number of those complainants actually felt the situation was so disruptive that they chose to leave the ground at half time. That is not fair, plain and simple. We won’t tolerate persistent standing or foul and abusive language and we will look after the needs of the vast majority of supporters by issuing bans to those who continue to ignore our repeated requests.


A long winded answer that doesn’t say much at all – fact.

Question 7:

Many fans clamoured for a marquee signing on the striker front. Are those days gone and can we expect more continental-based players coming in January, if any?

The days of Newcastle United acquiring ‘trophy’ signings who command huge salaries for past successes on the pitch are over.

Yes they have generated excitement and anticipation in the past, but ultimately many of them have left the club poorer and with little to show for it in terms of our standing in the league.

As for where we scout from, we have no specific policy to recruit continental players and we obviously have to satisfy the Premier League rules in respect of home-grown players.

It’s not about where a player is from, it’s about their ability, age, character and value for money. We’ve found this year that we have got better value for money on the continent which is why we’ve recruited well from France in particular this summer.


Some of the signings that Freddy Shepherd made as trophy signings were absolute disasters and a complete waste of money for the club.

The other thing is we don’t need to make trophy signings until the club is back in the top six, and until then we can build up the side with intelligent signings like those of  Cheick Tiote, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye.

We’d much rather see those type of signings than paying out £17M for Michael Owen, £11M forAlbert Luque, £8.5M for Jean-Alain Boumsong  £6.5M for Marcelino.

For one  reason or another the above signings were just disastrous  for Newcastle , and a  complete waste of money in both transfer fees and wages.

Question 8:

Are you concerned about the 10,000 drop in attendance and that fans are either not renewing season tickets or have headed to support local non-league teams instead?

On the contrary, season ticket sales are actually up on where we were this time last year.

We introduced a ground-breaking ten year fixed price deal for season ticket holders this year. This was a genuine initiative aimed at rewarding loyalty and guaranteeing long-term affordability for fans. The deal was very well received and in fact two-thirds of all season ticket holders have taken advantage of that deal. So we’re delighted to have introduced a genuine initiative which has been so popular, and we’re very happy with the number of season ticket holders we have this year.

It’s too early in the season to suggest there’s any trend emerging with regard to on-the-day sales. The Fulham fixture was a Sunday match and a 1pm kick-off, as well as falling during the school holidays too. Those factors undoubtedly played their part. Also of course Fulham’s travelling support was very small at just 433. The attendance was actually not far off what we had expected for that fixture. For the Arsenal game, the attendance was far higher than we saw for the first game last season which is fantastic.

The support this club receives is phenomenal and never taken for granted. If we do see a trend emerging for whatever reason, then we will look to address that.


We certainly hope the attendances don’t stay at around the 42,000 mark, but we’ll know soon enough. We also don’t like the demonstration stuff too much, which some fans always suggest when things are tough.

But that always has a negative impact on the players, and even helped the club get relegated  two years ago.

Supporting the lads through thick and thin is what had made this club great, and different from all the others. We haven’t won a trophy since 1969 yet the Newcastle fans support their team like no other fans on earth.

That’s the truth and it’s probably the single thing that makes Newcastle known all around the world, and which still allows Newcastle to attract top players to Tyneside.

If only we could get a team out on the field approaching the support level from  the fans – we’d win the Premier League.

We hope the support will be there this season for the players.

Question 9:

Is Mike Ashley considering putting the club up for sale?

Mike Ashley has no intention of putting the club up for sale.

He is still extremely passionate about strengthening the club and making it a real success. We are balancing the books and getting the finances in order, but there’s plenty more work to be done and he’s committed to doing that for the long-term.

That said, it’s worth going back to the analogy of the house that’s not for sale. If suddenly an incredible offer comes in, he may have to consider it.

From time to time we are approached by people claiming to have an interest in buying the club. Our message to them is clear: buy a box for a commitment of five-seasons and then we’ll know you’re serious. No-one’s taken us up on that offer!

I’d like to make a further point here. This club can’t support itself without the financial backing of Mike Ashley; we still rely heavily on the owner. To date Mike has invested over £280m into the club, including £140m in interest-free loans. For him to continue to support the club, he has to be interested and enthused to do so. He deserves credit for his financial support but a section of supporters don’t make him feel welcome at St James’ Park, or when he attends away games. Criticism is part and parcel of the job, abuse is not. This makes life uncomfortable and certainly doesn’t make Mike feel more inclined to put his hand once again in his pocket. That’s not stubbornness, it’s human nature. I think most of us would feel exactly the same.


Immediate knee jerk reaction is that’s a pity, because we just don’t think Mike has the personality or is the type of person who should own Newcastle United.

He just doesn’t seem to be cut out to be an  owner of  a football club, least of all the passionately supported Newcastle United, and as we’ve said before, his biggest failing is his woeful communication.

We often wonder why he didn’t buy a low key club like Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City, or one of those smaller clubs who have less ambition than Newcastle.

Our big question remains as to what Mike wants to do with Newcastle, and why he bought the famous club in the first place,  if he doesn’t want to take the club forward?

Time is starting to run out for some of us older supporters, and we’ll not get anywhere quickly under Mike Ashley.


Question 10:

Newcastle United has the third highest attendances in the country, Sky TV and income from merchandising, plus a lower debt position than many in the EPL. Why in terms of player recruitment can Newcastle not compete with smaller clubs like Stoke, Fulham and QPR?

We’re privileged to have a huge fan-base and the TV income and merchandising revenue that goes hand-in-hand with that.

The efforts we’ve made over recent years to reduce our debts has only been possible because we’ve kept our operating costs in check and carefully managed our wage structure, wage to turnover ratio, and transfer spending policy.

It would be inappropriate to pass comment on the way other clubs run their business, and it would be a largely irrelevant exercise. Suffice to say that we have a strong business strategy which we are committed to following and which we believe will reap benefits for the club and its supporters over the years to come.


That question is tongue in cheek.  We  know we cannot compete with the big clubs but last last summer, but we didn’t fare too well against some of the smaller clubs either.

And those smaller clubs spent a lot more than us in net spending in the transfer market, even though Newcastle had plenty of money to spend.

Derek seems to have completely missed tongue in cheek nature of the question.

A sterile answer with no new information.

23 comments so far

  • AussieToon

    Sep 10, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #1

    If anyone really believes the wage bill has risen with the higher earners off the wage bill then they have rocks in their heads. Absolute lie that is.

    I’m with Ed, poor answers, not specific, so with everything we know, the club is run by a bunch of liars so yeah, not worth reading into these answers

  • vengis

    Sep 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #2

    You get it right in the beginning Ed, its NOT THE AMOUNT OF MONEY SPENT that is important, its THE QUALITY WE GET FOR THE MONEY! If we get two good players for 5m then its better than one for 10m?

    I think they have a sound vision for the club, we were in the crapper but have gotten up and are now financially stable and challenging for a top10 (my opinion). I think many supporters are just dumb for attacking MA. Ok, communication isnt all that good, but its not unheard of by owners. But where has he gotten us? Huh? Ok first season was a disaster, but hey, none of us rode a bike perfectly the first time around? I mean Wise, Keegan-out, Xisco etc was a fiasco but now? Cabaye, Tiote anyone? Ben Árfa?

  • Versace101

    Sep 10, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #3


  • Versace101

    Sep 10, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #4

    PROTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • boater

    Sep 10, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #5

    First thoughts – why is he going on so much about selling Carroll? that isn’t even a question anymore,, we all get it and accepted the reasons – the failure to deliver on promised of investment over 8 subsequent months is the issue…

    tosh, tosh,., divvent believe any of it.

  • Versace101

    Sep 10, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #6


  • boater

    Sep 10, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #7

    Vengis – unless you have a crystal ball, I am struggling to see how you are in a position to preach on the quality of our signings, when so many of them have yet to prove themselves fit, able and adept at this league and level consistently. Your best-case imagination and the reality of empirical data is not the same thing…

    like I say, if you have a crystal ball I take it all back… otherwise peanuts and monkeys,,, and ones with dodgy knees an’ all.

  • Versace101

    Sep 10, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #8


  • shamsoftabriz

    Sep 10, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #9

    The big issue is what happens to teams who spend beyond their means when the Financial Fair Play rules come into effect. IF thy are enforced and IF there are consequences, then eventually, Ashley’s strategy may be beneficial. The problem is that all contracts signed prior to next year are grandfathered in under the old rules. Therefore, NOW is the time to overspend on young talent and get them on the books. Once the rules come into a effect, it will much harder to do that. Overall, though, Ashley has been a disaster. Freddy spent too much on older, over-the-hill stars, but Ashley needs to be more aggressive in his pursuit of young, up-and-coming talent (Pieters, Gervinho, Sturridge). We’ve had owner Porridge-too-Hot, now we have owner Porridge-too-Cold. What we need is owner Porridge-Just-Right.

  • Andy

    Sep 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Comment #10

    The answers i was expecting. Nothing new or shocking out of today. Also boater you say

    “like I say, if you have a crystal ball I take it all back… otherwise peanuts and monkeys,,, and ones with dodgy knees an’ all”

    But with the same respect unless you have a crystal ball how can you say they’re monkeys. The club is chancing on players settling quickly which doesn’t always happen but i still don’t think we’ve got any bad players in this window just the lack of back up and players leacing is what i am unhappy about. And the constant lies of course.

  • solano

    Sep 10, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #11

    Point of order on Ed on did talk of a boycott get us relegated 2years ago? No boycott materialised, the team played in front of near capacity crowds and failed dismally to save themselves. This was due to team morale being about zero caused by the managerial upheaval.
    On the contrary, definitive fans actions would have seen the end of Ashley in quick time back in 2008 – instead, we let him off with his self-pitying statement and empty promise to sell up. He is now entrenched at the club and the fans need to decide if they want to remain so limited in ambition that we are below Swansea and Stoke in investment.

  • leazes upper ( moved to the gallowgate )

    Sep 10, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #12

    why is there more seats for away fans on level 7.the whole upper tier in the leazes end is now for away fans. how many did fulham bring.bout 700.wigan blackburn bolton etc will all be the was just to get rid of the vocal opposition to ashley in the singing section. as for spreading the atmosphere round the stadium wot bulls..t. its been dead last 2 games

  • terencelim

    Sep 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #13

    I straight scrolled my mouse down to Answer 9 without reading the rest, and it spoilt my day =(

  • bills-son

    Sep 10, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #14

    Ed, your response to Q9 is an absolute disgrace in my opinion. It shows you for what you are, just as bigoted and anti-Ashley as the other bigoted lot on here.

    FFS, Ashley has invested £280M in our club, £140M in interest free loans, he’s revived the youth policy, put in place a transfer policy that has made extremely astute signings such as HBA, Tiote, Cabaye, Obertan and Santon AND lets not forget he wore the shirt and stood on the terraces with the fans when he first came – how many owners have done that?

    His biggest problem is his woeful communication? What the fcking point of him or Llambias communicating when their answers to the questions are rubbished as lies, lies and more lies?

    A fcking disgrace your responses are. Thats me finished with posting on this anti-Ashley led forum which is doing NOTHING to help our great club.

  • leazes upper ( moved to the gallowgate )

    Sep 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #15

    revived youth policy ? didnt shola saylor and carroll all come thru b4 ashley took over. not forgeting various other players who came thru the system.huges chopra caldwell ramage etc. i know sum off these players did nowt for us but just examples

  • solano

    Sep 10, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Comment #16

    Bye Bills…

  • Thump

    Sep 10, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #17

    This is all just lip service…

  • GoalsBringSmiles

    Sep 10, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Comment #18

    Bills Son

    very mature and unbigoted of you to spit your dummy out just because people’s opinions differ to your own, pick it up pal, it’s over there next to that huge pile of hay.

    ‘Thats me finished with posting on this anti-Ashley led forum which is doing NOTHING to help our great club.’

    I will remember these words just as I remembered your last foolish remark-lets hope your man enough to stand by it this time and fvck off from this blog, with your moronic and condescending comments and your rimming of the bloke whose continued presence ruins our once great football club. i must admit though Bills i’ll miss laughing at you.

  • Dai

    Sep 10, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #19

    The response to 7 is just so negative.


  • Dai

    Sep 10, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    Comment #20

    Ed, your replies to the answers are just rude, ridiculous, anti-Ashley, aggresive and not well thought out.

    You are showing your true colours and it’s not supportive at all.

    I’m embarassed for you, or which ever member of your family is posting.

  • solano

    Sep 10, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Comment #21

    Dai..many times Ed has been provocative and backed up the “clubline”, much to the chagrine of independent thinkers – however, like the majority of fans, I suspect Ed has had enough of the same old same old. Don’t you realise these jokers in charge have had their chips and can no longer lie their way out of a corner ? You are one of only a few voices now that refuse to see what is glaringly obvious to the majority of fans now – MA and DL have no ambition to take this club forward.

  • wynsleap

    Sep 10, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    Comment #22

    My feelings on certain questions;
    Q6. “A good vocal atmosphere around the ground” won’t work and they know it. Why don’t they just admit they wanted to break up the chants against Ashley?
    Do agree with the points about standing though.
    Q7. The days of buying “trophy signings who command huge salaries for past success are over”. How about buying “trophy signings who command huge salaries for CURRENT success”?
    Q9. Sounds like sinister and petulant blackmail to me. Ashley obviously ISN’T big enough to take criticism.

  • Toon-Norway9

    Sep 12, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #23

    fkin muppet’


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