Newcastle still have to bring in our first signing of the summer, but Steve McClaren is doing a good job of communicating what he wants to do at Newcastle to the fans.
Steve has talked today in the Mirror and he says he’s had a long talk with Chief Scout Graham Carr, and Steve wants players with character, which is an important element of Newcastle’s recruitment drive this summer.
Steve McClaren – wants players with character
It seems that Steve is talking directly to the fans as he tries to tell them what he’s trying to do, and while Newcastle were always supposed to concentrate and do background checks on character that didn’t always work out for players we have brought into the club.
This is what McClaren has said:
“There is expectation here and 52,000 fans demand a performance, to do that we need characters and I have had a long chat with Graham Carr – top of the formula in terms of recruitment is character, everything starts with that.”
“I have worked abroad and with foreign players, I had foreigners at Middlesbrough. It doesn’t matter where they are from if they have character – that’s what we have to recruit.“ “We can’t stand still in football, we can’t just say we will make these players better.”
“If you stand still you go backwards.” “It is a unique club and sometimes good players go to a big club and the shirt is too big for them, they can’t deliver.”
That last line is a well known statement in the business world – if you are not moving forward then you are going backwards – and that’s so you never rest on your laurels, because if you do you go downhill and rather quickly too.
We saw an example of that at Newcastle in the summer of 2012, when we had just finished in 5th place and Mike Ashley decided not to strengthen the side in terms of either number or skills, and we brought in just one senior player – Vurnon Anita.
Newcastle struggled against relegation when we were also in the Europa League that season, and we just didn’t have a big enough or a good enough squad.
In the following January transfer window we brought in five Frenchmen – four of them in the week following our 2-1 defeat at home to Reading, but we should have brought those players in during the previous summer.
Newcastle only just avoided relegation in May of 2013, so that’s what Steve’s talking about, and of course he’s absolutely right.
Come to think of it maybe that’s a message for his boss Mike Ashley?