It was really a great night on Wednesday night for Steve Harper’s testimonial match, after his 20 years of service to his local club, and we had many for our former great players return, along with some Italian greats from the past representing an AC Milan eleven, and over 50,000 fans were willing to turn out to be reminded of just how good a side Newcastle were under both Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson.
Rob Lee – in his days at Newcastle
But things have changed since Mike Ashley bought the club in 2007, and his unwillingness to spend money to build Newcastle into a top team is being revealed, after a second successive summer of only getting one senior player through the door, and Loic Remy is on a season long loan deal.
Rob Lee is now 47, and was signed by Kevin Keegan back in 1992, and he had this to say about Mike Ashley and Newcastle:
“It depends on whether Ashley wants to spend some money, whether he is going to back Alan Pardew or not.” “It’s not going to be a short-term fix here.”
“It’s not a case of the club only needing a couple of players and they’ll be very good. It’s more long-term than that.” “There aren’t the kids coming through the academy. Since I left here we’ve had Steven Taylor, Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi through. They aren’t coming.”
“Players don’t want to join Newcastle any more. Kevin Keegan sold this club to me when I joined. If Joe Kinnear was speaking to you, are you going to join this football club? I’m not so sure.”
“In an ideal world, Ashley should sell up, but it isn’t an ideal world,” “If he sold it, you don’t know if you’re going to get someone even worse. The likelihood is you are going to get a foreign owner. There aren’t any Geordie billionaires out there. That’s the problem you’ve got.”
“The fans want to see the club progressing and they want to see the owner spending some money on the team. That hasn’t happened,” “I’d like to see them spend it on a few more British players. They’ve not got enough in the squad.”
“They’ve gone too far. Some of the foreign players have been good, but some of them aren’t good enough, and there doesn’t seem to be any desire to invest in domestic talent. When I joined Sir John Hall was pushing the club forward and Kevin was pushing the team forward. We had 16 English players here.”
We will probably see an effort to sign more English players over the next year, but that may be difficult, because English players are a lot more expensive these days than those from Europe – like France for example.
In his time at Newcastle when we were actually a good side, Lee was part of the Newcastle side that were runners-up in the Premier League in 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 under Kevin Keegan, and we were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1998 and 1999, when the managers were Ruud Gullit and Kenny Dalglish respectively.
It would be great if we can have a good run in one of the Cups this season, because there’s little (make that no) chance of challenging for the Premier League title, (yes I know I shouldn’t have even brough that up), and maybe the best we can hope for this season is a top eight finish?
What do you think?
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