Newcastle Squad Still Stronger Than Last Year At This Time

It’s probably worth it,  now that the transfer window is finally over,  what a pain that was, to see how our squad now compares with the one we had last year at this time,  when we had already qualified for the group stages of the Europa League,  and had an extra six games to play before the end of the year.

alan pardew in black wonga

Alan Pardew – does he now have a stronger squad than last year?

We had brought in Vurnon Anita last summer, who is now looking a very decent player in central midfield, and young Gael Bigirimana, who is still a top young talent and now an England U20 International.

Here are the players who have arrived since last September”

Mathieu Debuchy
Moussa Sissoko
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
Yoan Gouffran
Massadio Haidara
Loic Remy – on a season long loan

And these are the players we have lost, one in Jnauary and three this summer:

Demba Ba
James Perch
Danny Simpson
Steve Harper

So that’s basically the players who have moved out and the ones who have moved in – and that;s the comparison.

The big difference of course with the two sets of players is on the Premier League experience, and our five new players brought in from France in January had no PL experience at all, and some of them struggled when Newcastle were fighting relegation.

But their experience in the last few months of the season should stand them in good stead for this coming season.

But if you look at it that way our squad is stronger than it was a year ago, and of coorse we will have lees games,  and with Performance Director Faye Downey now overseeing things from a fitness perspective, we are hoping we will get less injuries.

We have brought in Loic Remy for Demba Ba and Loic was our number one choice to replace Ba in January but we didn’t get him then, and he is not the proven goalscorer in England yet that Demba Ba was – which is why we would have liked to have brought in say Bafe Gomis from Lyon.

Demba Ba is still at Chelsea, and we cannot see him getting many games under Jose Mourinho, and he may try to move again in January, and we could even go in for Bafe Gomis in January too.

But when you look at the players who have left since last Septmber and the ones we have brought in this year – six Frenchmen – four of them Internationals, we still think the squad is stronger now, although still a little light up front.

What do you think?

Is The Newcastle Squad Stronger Than Last Year At This Time?

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You notice I’ve cut out the “not sure” category to force a decision from readers one way or the other.

Let us know what you think.

Comments welcome, but please keep them civil.

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80 comments so far

  • Sydney Toon

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #1

    Sorry lads, work duties calling!

    Yes we needed maybe 1-3 players, either depth or first team, so many areas we could add to.

    We did have money to spend, bid on PEA and Gomis confirm this. Something occurred behind the scenes, whether Ashley has held things up because of possible sale, finances not as strong this far and will wait till January before deciding in budgets. It doesn’t add up, MA with all his faults and there are a lot, he has a way of doing things that align with what I deal with for work, so there is definitely something in the offing in the background.

    Pardew is a limited Manager, yes I want him out but only for someone stronger on the tactical side. Unfortunately there are only so many Pelligrini and Klopp types around. Pardew may spout out rubbish at the best of times, but he certainly does it in a professional manner, well IMO.

    Nico, yes some gets put in depending on live games, but most gets distributed at the end of season, that’s my take on it. It would irresponsible for Sky To give it straight up, all clubs spending and no more coming in for rest of season.

  • Transfer Sage

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #3


    sky are nor responsible though so that wouldn’t concern them. Also TV money comes from all sorts of companies world wide, it is given to the prem league and they dish it out.

    If Ashlye knew it was coming in he could have spent his own then taken then out when it came in? or staggered payments like 99% of clubs do

  • Markaccus

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Comment #4

    I would like our normal match day subs bench to be:

    Elliot. Staylor. Tiote. Jonas. Marv. Goofy. Sammy or Shola.

    This way thee are subs for any eventuality ( marv and goofy for attacking changes, Jonas for those games that need a player to settle things down and see out a difficult 20mins, Tiote to kill an anoying player)

  • Markaccus

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #5

    Has anyone asked the media what their England side is for Friday??

    I am guessing Hart and then 10 Danny Welbecks.

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #6

    it all depends on what area he is talking about

    defence ? only just stronger

    MF, sissoko is a huge plus, but not used right

    FW we are weaker then last year, Demba Ba is a huge miss

    I like loic , but he has a lot to porve, he is coming into a team that does not create chances,
    goffy is a waste of space, only slightly better than obertan

  • Thump

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #7

    How could it possibly be stronger? We’ve actually lost depth (Simmo, Harper etc.)

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #8

    Grand morning in Newcastle Just been out taken photos of the mist rolling up the Tyne Valley.
    Stronger squad – I agree it is stronger than last year at this time – Debuchy, Sissoko, Goufran, Mbiwa, Remy, Haidara and Dummett making the breakthrough – plus loosing no ‘purplies’

    Best signing could be taken on the fitness women

  • numba9

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #9

    We weren’t strong enough last year as we realised too late in December but we saw it in the summer.when scrooge only bought Anita the season had past us by and the same applies this year so in effect we are going backwards and definitely lagging behind likes of Norwich swans west brm well every 1 really… Disgusting gettin joke as dof that wage could have been put to better use like the extra it took to get gomis over the line

  • John Tudor

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #10

    i bet he does a lot of porveing

  • kira13th

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #11

    Hello!! I’m Thai Newcastle Fan, living in Sydney (but moving to Seoul this month)

    Nice to meet you all!!

  • Markaccus

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #12

    Welcome to insanity central, Kira!

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #13

    So far 88% of voters think that the squad is stronger than last year, yet there will still be a few vocal idiots claiming that we’re all wrong and that we’re in danger of relegation.

    We’re surely not going to face the injuries to key players that we had last year and we’re not going to have players seemingly on a hangover from the Euros (notably Cabaye). Not only do we have those 6 players coming in but Dummett has been added to the squad and at least Sammy seems like he might be part of it too. So more players means we can rest others who have knocks.

  • Transfer Sage

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #14


    welcome to the blog, it’s a bit mad here so hope you enjoy it

  • Mr Magpie

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #15

    Our squad is definitely stronger than this time last year with the January signings having had time to gel & get used to the pace of the premier league.
    Now if pardew can get the team playing attacking passing football with the ball on the ground & players in the right positions i think we will have a good season. The problem will be if we get injuries then the lack of incomings in this window will hurt us & then if players are out injured pardew panics & starts to play long balls again!

  • ArtyH

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #16

    Do you think anyone cares now? I am really in a state of ” I don’t give a dam “, and I hate it. The team would be O.K under a decent manager and the club would benefit from an owner who cares. After over 50 years supporting this club I am disgusted to say ” I DONT CARE NOW “.

  • wynsleap

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #17

    You think the squad is stronger than last year Ed?
    Behave man.
    Maybe at the beginning of last season but lets face it the arrivals in January didn’t exactly propel us up the league and we’ve lost more players since then.
    Treacherous talk this Ed at a time when everybody should be putting extreme pressure on our wonderfully magnanimous owner.

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #18

    Try and be as ‘balanced’ as your like. Our much-vaunted first 11 is poor enough, but just wait until we hit injuries and suspensions.

    Stronger my ass.

  • John Tudor

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #19

    what makes it stronger
    its stronger perhaps in quality(that wont be used to full effect)
    weaker in strength/depth
    time will tell

  • Slank

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #20

    Markaccus @ 4

    If that’s the bench then I assume this is how we will line up against Villa:

    Debuchy – Mbiwa – Colo – Santon
    Sissoko – Cabaye – Anita
    Ben Arfa – Cisse – Remy

    My only doubt is Anita but I guess Tiote could come on midway through the second half.

    I don’t know what to expect from Villa. There were great against Arsenal (or were Arsenal rubbish?) but have since lost twice but that has been against Chelsea and Liverpool so perhaps mitigating circumstances?

    Looks like a draw.

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #21


    Can’t you add up?

    Simpon replaced by Debuchy (better)
    Perch replaced by Sissoko (better)
    Harper doesn’t need to be replaced (Alnwick or emergency loan)
    Ba replaced by Remy (promising but jury is still out)
    Goofy added
    Haidara added
    MYM added
    Dummett added (from youth team)
    Sammy looking likely to be worth of being added too

    To me that looks like we’re 5 first team players better off than last year…

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #22

    John Tudor

    Please read my post number 21…

  • Transfer Sage

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #23


    Agree we are safe. Everything went wrong last year…injuires, more games, bad management, lack of signings and we still survived. Doubt everything will go that bad again.

    Im not happy at all with ashley but we just wont go down.

  • Howay50

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #24

    Best bit our journalism I have seen for years in today’s Chronicle, it reads:

    Ten questions we want to ask Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley

    The Chronicle has inside put ten questions to the man who holds the hopes and dreams of ever Toon fan in the palm of his hand

    Mike Ashley wasn’t available for interview yesterday.

    Meanwhile, in other news, night followed day, followed night

    The man who owns Newcastle United doesn’t do interviews. He doesn’t even have a right-hand man at the club any more to act as his mouthpiece.

    Football journalists whose job it is to cover the club – and this newspaper in particular – are constantly criticised by supporters for not asking the hard questions.

    They, quite rightly, demand to know what is going on at St James’ Park during these troubled and peculiar times.

    But who do we ask these hard question to? Alan Pardew, with the best will in the world, is only the manager. He can’t say what his boss is thinking.

    As for Joe Kinnear, the director of football, he can’t sign anyone or pronounce the name of existing players, never mind anything else.

    No the buck – and he has almost three billion of them – stops with Ashley and we can’t get near him.

    But after the summer transfer window closed without the club spending a single penny on a permanent player – which might be a first for any Premier League outfit – we need to ask the owner these hard questions.

    Even if there is little chance of receiving any sort of reply.

    1. Do you actual like owning Newcastle United?

    Let’s start with an obvious one. It seems to me that you bought the club on a whim because it looked like jolly larks having your own Premier League team.

    You drank pints with the fans, stood with the travelling support and enjoyed the adulation for a bit.

    But then it went sour. Bad decisions, bad results and an awful relegation.

    You wanted to sell and nobody wanted to take the club off your hands.

    We are now a few years down the line and there is not the smallest hint that you take any enjoyment of being the owner of Newcastle United.

    You seem unwilling or at least incapable of strengthening the playing squad, which leads everyone to think that the club is a tool to promote Sports Direct and nothing else.

    Do you feel as if it’s a burden.

    You are a fantastically rich man. It’s not like being left with a mortgage you can’t pay. You can walk away any time you like. Just a thought.

    2. Are you actively trying to sell the club?

    If so, do you have an asking price or anyone lined up as a potential buyer? From the outside looking in, that would appear to be your plan.

    Can I even go one further and enquire whether Rangers is next on your list? That is certainly the strong rumour doing the rounds in Glasgow since you became the third biggest shareholder.

    It would make a lot of sense because Rangers might be in the grubber now, but they will recover soon enough and that club has the potential to be a real cash cow.

    Will you only walk away if the next man is willing to pay over the odds?

    3. Please explain Joe Kinnear.

    Honestly, at least try.

    If I were being a cynic, I would suggest your friend is only there to put pressure on the manager.

    His job was to sign players. He didn’t sign anyone – Loic Remy can hardly be described as his bit of business.

    In any other walk of life, this would surely mean at worst a sacking, or at best a severe reprimanding.

    As a successful and hard-nosed businessman, it seems odd to keep on a man who has quite obviously failed.

    Or is Kinnear there for another reason?

    4. Are you deliberately ostracising Alan Pardew?

    Because that’s what it looks like.

    In public he has spoken time and again about getting players over the line. He has been left high and dry.

    Is this a tactic or incompetence on the part of Kinnear? Is the manager being forced out the door?

    If the DoF has done nothing wrong, then you are obviously happy with going into the rest of the season with a weaker squad than ended last season.

    Managers gets sacked for bad results.

    If Pardew goes, is Kinnear his replacement?

    5. Do you care whether Newcastle win or lose? Does a result, good or bad, affect your mood?

    This is important. The fans live and breath this great football club. They are suffering right now.

    Did you sleep after last season’s derby defeat? Did you go in a bad mood after the humiliation at Liverpool?

    Or does it not make a blind bit of difference?

    6. Why do you believe Newcastle supporters don’t deserve to know what you are up to?

    Rich men are not known for their empathy, this is true.

    But there are 50,000 people who pay good money, many of them who can ill afford it, into your coffers every home match.

    If they all disappeared, Newcastle United would be nothing.

    Surely to goodness they should be kept informed.

    I don’t mean revealing every minute of every meeting, but a bit of transparency would not hurt.

    Unless you have something to hide, of course.

    7. What’s that website all about?

    You know, the Sports Direct News one that had Manchester United buying Yohan Cabaye on Monday night, and Newcastle in for Wayne Rooney a while back.

    It does you no service at all. It’s an embarrassment, in case you didn’t know. Shut it down.

    8. Is annoying the supporters something you enjoy?

    Wonga, changing the name of the stadium, the appointment of Kinnear.

    Surely you knew what the reaction would be when those decisions became public. Many fans believe these are deliberate ploys to anger them. If that’s the case, it’s working.

    If not, then who told you that any of these choices were good ones?

    9. Have we got this all wrong and in fact there is a grand plan?

    The thing is, Mike, nobody knows what you are up to. We can guess, but that’s really all it is, a guess.

    And when there is a vacuum, it tends to be filled with nagativity.

    Maybe you can see the way English football is going. Perhaps you have worked out that the bubble is about to burst and the other rich owners are getting bored and will leave the clubs with huge debts. And then Newcastle rise to the top.

    Do you know something we don’t? Is the club strategy in place because all your competitors are teetering on the brink?

    If so, well played. If not, please see points one to eight.

    10. And finally, how much do you pay the North East Press pack to write nice things about you?

    This is one straight from the websites and social media.

    The fans would like to know what it costs to ensure us lot don’t criticise you, although I personally can’t remember one piece appearing that has praised you.

    If you could come out and admit that, in fact, you have no influence on the written media at least, then that would be nice.


  • Thump

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #25

    @TDS: Dummett and Sammy coming through doesn’t add much strength to the squad, I’m afraid. Dummett plays a position where 2 others can play, and the same goes for the left wing and Sammy (Marv, Obertan, Remy, Goofy, Jonas). That doesn’t offer us much in the way of depth. Sure, those players can and will be utilised elsewhere but once the injuries start hitting and players are pushed out of position to fill a gap… well, you saw last season.

  • Beattie25

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #26

    A lot of people seem to be forgetting that the strength of any individual squad depends massively on the strength of their opposition.

    Just because we added to our squad last year doesn’t mean we are as strong as last year, that’s what none football people like Mike Ashley don’t seem to realise.

    Other teams have strengthened whilst we have stood still for another Summer window.

    We aren’t any weaker than last year but we certainly aren’t any stronger thanks to the ambition of our rivals.

  • Slank

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #27

    Charlie in the Gallowgate @ 8

    I agree with you that we are stronger today than this time last year. In fact, I would say much stronger because of the French imports in January have had time to settle and adjust to life in the premiership and life in a different country and integrate with the team.

  • John Tudor

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #28

    read it only hiadara dummet ok sami thinks hes made remy its bye bye temp mym looks suspect no third keeper.
    it goes on

  • jayphoto

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #29

    Think really we only actually needed 1-2 players, the main one being a striker! If we play 4-3-3 Remy will start left, and Gouffran, Marveaux and Sammy can compete, if we play 4-4-2 then cisse and remy will start up top and marv, jonas and Sammy can compete for the left side with gouffran and shola back up up top! If we go 4-5-1 vuckic offers support in the behind the striker role! Would have liked to see a top striker come in, not a massive fan of cisse or shola and we could definately do with a striker edging shola further from the pitch! No denying we’ve got a very strong 15 players tho, our squad is zonks ahead of norwich and southampton and swansea! Shame our manager isn’t….

  • Transfer Sage

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #30


    I agree others are closing the gap and the top 6 expanding the gap. But would you swap our squad for any outside the top 6 clubs?

    Not using it as an excuse not to spend, just curious if you, or anyone, would rather have a squad that isn’t (man utc, city, arsenal, chelsea, spurs or liverpools)

  • Beattie25

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #31

    Down Sarf

    Do you get a monthly wage when you’re a sports direct employee?

    Last year our squad was comfortably better than 12 other teams in the Premier League in my opinion.

    Now our squad is comfortably better than about 8 other teams in the Premier League in my opinion.

    So can you explain how we have a stronger squad than last year.

  • kira13th

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #32

    I watched 2 matched of this season, against West Ham and Fulham…I think the team was ok except the attacker…Ben Arfa tried to play alone too much time though he could score…

    What is your all opinion of Shola Ameobi since he have played for our club???

    In Thailand, Newcastle fans called him (ironically
    ) God Ameobi…however, his loyalty is great.

  • Thump

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #33

    @TDS: And our backup right back is…? Santon isn’t brilliant on the right despite being right footed. The lad is a left back, pure and simple. Dummett can do a job there but, like Santon, looks shaky, slow and makes poor decisions. Switching flanks is a difficult one because you have to reverse everything you know about the game. Haidara might be able to but as far as I know, he’s never played there. I was just about to hit “Submit” when I remembered Anita could play there. If he was rated in that position, he’d probably have played there a lot more than he has, so I’m going to go with the square peg argument.

    Harper isn’t in dire need of replacement, I agree, but on the same note we’re still going after a replacement for Alnwick. The lads not good enough, I’m afraid.

    Sissoko for Perch? Haddaway, man. Sissoko came in for the first team, Perch was brought in for depth. The two are not comparable in how or where they play for the club. If anything you could say that Gosling has moved up into the fringe role (given that Morecombe was the only time he’s really had a proper sniff of a game) and have more credence to your argument.

  • Thump

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #34

    @kira: What is your all opinion of Shola Ameobi since he have played for our club???

    That’s probably not a question you want to ask here haha

  • John Tudor

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #35

    the cries not sammi whats he playing for
    the cries mym turned inside out again tiote lunatic on legs giving balls away like xmas pressies

  • Transfer Sage

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #36


    Could say shola is loyal but who wouldn’t be. He is getting a good wage to play for the club he loves…..but nobody else, or no other club as good/big as us would have him.

    Shearer was loyal as he had chances to go to bigger clubs like man utd and turned them down. Shola has never had a chance to join a better club, good loyalty but it was easy to be loyal in his situation.

  • kev

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #37

    The problem with this analysis is you are evaluating against a squad that finished 5th, the reality is the “stronger” squad nearly got us relegated.

  • Indian Magpie

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #38


    Shola Ameobi is not a footballer. A scarecrow is better than him.

  • Thump

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #39

    I’d also like to say that this is the squad who managed to confirm safety on the penultimate game of the season. Nobody knows the reason for why we fell apart so spectacularly but it’s unacceptable nonetheless.

    Christ, the only reason I’m not worried about this season is because it’s a World Cup year! Then we can really judge the players based on how they play. If they work their socks off for a place in the international team then somebody wants to ask them why they don’t play like that all the time. Consistency, after all.

  • Markaccus

    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #40


    Most of us feel that Ameobi, whilst being very loyal, should not be starting football matches for us. He has the occasional use off the bench, and despite feelings about him on the pitch, off the pitch he is generally liked. He has never missed a penalty for nufc, and when he is eventually no longer here, he will most likely be remembered for being a Makem Slayer. That is to say he always seemed to score against sunderland.

    There are a few people who say they really hate him, but i think its unfair.


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