Former Great’s Dim View Of Newcastle’s Future

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 while at newcastle

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?

Comments welcome.

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13 comments so far

  • Graeme

    Sep 13, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #1

    The whole situation at NUFC is simply depressing!!

  • Hatem's better than Messi

    Sep 13, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #2

    It is guaranteed we’ll be relegated at some point with this mid-table minimal cost approach. It’s so risky.

    Probably 2014/15 after the WC when there’s no proper preseason and nothing for our internationals to play for.

  • Graeme

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Comment #3

    I wonder how long it will be before FCB REALLY decides to maximize his advertising returns, over and above the Pitch and stand hoardings we have become.

    Does anyone know if he is allowed to change the name to Sports Direct United? It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  • Hatem's better than Messi

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Comment #4

    I believe it is legal.
    It was done in Wales – Total Network Solutions were Llansantffraid FC.

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Comment #5

    Graeme…I think he would have legal difficulties including the word United…probably fall under false advertising or something.

    Hatem…Never one to jump to conclusions, however I do have a niggling worry, that if the players can put in some decent performances this season (if) and then after the WC that perhaps there will be more interest in our players next summer which will see more outgoing movement.

    Some are trying to make the point that we’ve managed to keep them yet again, but I feel it’s more a case of no one wanted them at the prices we’re asking. That could change next summer. So, we have that to look forward to…

  • fatman

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Comment #6

    i heard from a good friend of mine Ashley considered changing the strip to the colours of sports direct but thankfully never carried thru now rangers that’s more likely.

  • jimiley

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Comment #7

    We are a bottom 8 team which means we could get relegated. The bottom 8 last season were in a dog fight until the last few games. Apparently, according to Percy anyway, we would need an overdraft to buy a player. PATHETIC. the FAT man’s company is worth three BILLION. Thats three thousand million. Why would he need to borrow to splash out 10 million. And lets not mention last season’s SKY money and the 80 million coming his way in May. He is bleeding the club dry and getting off on it. He is not getting any more of my money. The money goes straight in his pocket. We are all mugs for putting up with it.

  • fatman

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Comment #8

    One option for Ashley is to buy rangers ignore the 1 club rule as it breaches EU free market law on a restriction of trade, just think how much publicity that would get him.

  • Tinman

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Comment #9

    Was at the game on Wednesday and have to say Barton’s reception was truly remarkable. The fans absolutely love that bloke. 1st thing he did was trip Di Canio as well, in a fair enough way that he knew he wouldn’t hurt him, was brilliant. Di Canio bottling the next 50-50 was priceless as well. Was such a shame Joey missed his pen, could see it meant a lot to him!
    Have to say gained a lot of respect for Di Canio, played brilliantly and handled being the pantomime villian with a lot of class.

  • jimiley

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Comment #10

    Pardew is a bare faced liar. He has been screaming all summer for three marquee signings and then says he is happy with the squad he has got. Watch him moan like a drain in January when we are struggling. This guy blows with the wind and comes up with a different story every week. He is waiting for the chop and 10 million. But I would take Ashley for every penny as well so I cannot blame him for that. I doubt he will be our manager by Xmas. A couple of bad results and he may not see the end of October.

  • 9

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Comment #11

    Rob Lee – great player, great lad, great for NUFC. It’s quite interesting looking back at his progression over the years for us – fewer and fewer goals, playing deeper and deeper (he was a goalscorer for Charlton when we signed him)- something like Jonas, except Jonas never had goals in him, but worked his socks off for the club.

    He shouldn’t worry about NUFC’s future. We are owned by a successful businessman, like we were under Sir John, who sold his shares to Mr Ashley. He (MA) has told us long ago what the plan is, before the days when he got so fed up of the sh*te he had to take from some fans who haven’t been able to trust him since his early f*ck ups, which persuaded hin there was no use trying to talk to the likes of Ashley-haters, so he just ignores all NUFC fans 100% now (easiest way): but remember what he said and look at what he’s done: 5 year plan, steady the £s, steady progress. You can be sure finishing 5th bottom wasn’t in the plan, hence last January’s spending – some of which was brought forward from this summer, hence no spending/very little left for this summer. If everything we read about the super £ bonus for every PL club not being released until the end of 2013-14 season is true, it’ll be very interesting to compare NUFC spending next summer, to those smaller clubs who’ve done the dough instantly. Not many of our bloggers are taking this perspective it seems, but it’s worth a thought.

  • HullMag6

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Comment #12

    Boycotts hurt the team/club not Ashley would you accept relegation as collateral damage?

    Go to matches cheer the team on just dont buy anything within the ground run petitions, rallies, marches, campaigns and demonstrations.Last time we did he threatened to sell so why not now?

    No money? MA is creaming off the top to reduce his loan at a guess, other clubs have speculated borrowing against the new tv money getting paid to the clubs later in the season. I’m betting most of that will disappear too. Is it football club by sports direct model a preparing to sell as Rangers will soon become a more attractive easier option for him when the old firm dominance is restored.

    Will he/should he sell?

    More importantly who will buy us?

  • HullMag6

    Sep 13, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Comment #13

    I can see it now ‘Ibrox Sports Direct Arena’ sounds good doesnt it.

    Now hurry up and sell big boy Preferably to someone who knows what they are doing and invest wisely rather than penny pinch.


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