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More Pointed Criticism Of Newcastle´s January Signings

12:06 am, Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 69 Comments

Newcastle spent £29M in the January transfer window and going into the window we had one of the worst defenses in the Premier League, but of the four signings not one of them was a defender.

Last summer we needed a proven Premier league goalscorer brought in, but we still haven´t got one and so we continue to miss chances in games and have difficulty scoring goals.

Joey Barton has said Newcastle should have signed defenders in January so the team could stay competitive in games as Sunderland have proved they can now do with Sam Allardyce shoring up their defense in January.


Rob Lee – while at Newcastle

We signed three midfielders in the January window – Andros Townsend, Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey – and a striker – Seydou Doumbia – who hasn´t played since early December when the Russian Premier League started their winter break –  so he´s a little rusty  to say the least.

Following on from Joey Barton´s statement that Newcastle should have shored up their defense last month is another former Newcastle midfielder, Rob Lee, who says much the same as Joey – we spent money on the wrong players in January and we should have brought in defenders and a top goalscorer.

This is what Rob has said:

“The two players they’ve bought, Townsend and Shelvey, I like them but if you look at it, they weren’t essential buys.” 

“It’s like going to get your groceries and you see something and think, ‘I wouldn’t mind that’.” “But we need a goalscorer, we need a leader at the back, a centre half and a left-back.”

“We’ve got Rolando Aarons playing there at the moment. He’s just a young kid and that’s not his position. For a club the size of Newcastle, that’s ridiculous really.”

“I don’t see much of them live these days but I wouldn’t want to actually. Chelsea was a poor result and a poor performance.”

“That’s the trouble with Newcastle. You think they’ve turned the corner but people forget their previous win was against West Brom who were awful and it was only 1-0.”

“They’ve got a lot of problems but I’m not really worried. I think there are three worse teams than Newcastle.”

It´s good that Rob thinks we will still survive – that would be a huge relief.

But it´s even worse than Rob says because we were short of a proven PL striker, a top center-back and a top left back last summer – and we still haven´t signed them.

Notice these are now supposed to be the top transfer targets for this summer.

So if we do go down these are some of the mistakes that those running the club – in this case the Newcastle Board – have made.

And we made enough mistakes last year that took us to the brink of relegation on the last day of the season against West Ham.

We may not be so lucky this time around.

These are the basis of some questions to ask Lee Charnley next Monday night at the Fans Forum meeting – always assuming the meeting goes ahead.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Recruitment · Scouting Network · Transfer News and Rumours · Transfer Target

69 responses so far ↓

  • 1 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:09 AM

    I like pointy criticisms. The pointier the better…..

  • 2 MacToon // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:10 AM

    “For a club the size of Newcastle, that’s ridiculous really.”

  • 3 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:11 AM

    I also like witty criticisms that are pithy and pointy.

  • 4 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:11 AM

    For a knob the size of Ashley it all makes sense though….

  • 5 MadisonToon // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:15 AM



    I also wonder why we haven’t gone 4-4-2 more. The two holding players seems like a good idea because we leak goals, but we are still leaking goals so it’s clearly not helping that much. We need to be able to play on the front foot sometimes and to do that we will need to have more players forward. It has to be worth trying out more.

    I think SMc should be here through the end of the season. Changing managers at this point is unlikely to fix things. Additionally, these are the players that SMc wanted in (at least it would appear he had some influence on who came through the door) and if we bring a new manager in, what will they do with them? We just spent 80+ mill and I doubt Ashley sees it in his best interest to give a new manager the reigns and have him say that he doesn’t want the players that were just bought and needs an additional 80 million. I just can’t see it happening.

  • 6 Jeffrey // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:16 AM

    Is this Belfast?

  • 7 jimmysmith // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:20 AM

    “When you haven’t got that work ethic in your trousers, then you are going to struggle from minute one.”

    “……… that work ethic in your trousers,…”

    Deary me, that is absolutely priceless.

  • 8 banjax // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:21 AM

    All of our ex great players like Rob Lee are too diplomatic to say what the real problem with Newcastle United is – apart from M A and that is his executive and management. There, said it Rob !

  • 9 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:21 AM

    Excellent post Madison mate@5. I think you’re saying we’re toasted. We’ve spent the money and now Steve can’t get us playing properly. We didn’t get the defenders we needed, that everyone except Ashley and his yobboes knew we needed that is and we’re hooped…. And really now, how do I get this damn thong off?

  • 10 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:22 AM

    I don’t leave my work ethic in my trousers either jimmysmith mate. Sometimes it causes a rash. I think that may be Steve’s problem. He’s got a bad, itchy, rashy work ethic thing going on in his trousers……

  • 11 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:25 AM

    Sometimes I worry about Steve. I really do………

  • 12 MadisonToon // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:25 AM


    I wish it wasn’t so, but I think it might be. If SM can get the players he wanted (Shelvey/Townsend, maybe also Wiji/Mitro) playing well under him, then he might have a chance to survive the summer. As it is, I think he will be the manager through the summer and if we stay up he will stay and if we go down, he will go. I just don’t see Ashley making a chance before then. It would be hugely risky to do so since who would come in and how well are they likely to mesh with the team in both the short- and long-term?

  • 13 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:30 AM

    Again you’re spot on Madison mate@12. We do have trouble meshing. Sometimes I think, oh look we’re doing it…. We’re meshing! But then things fall off and it gets nasty with a lot of screeching and we grind to a halt. It’s verrrrry disappointing!

  • 14 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:33 AM

    Just listening to Nick Drake’s The Riverman while doing this excellent bloggery….. Lovely.

  • 15 jimmysmith // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:33 AM

    I played football against Rob Lee once, when he was playing for Charlton Athletic, who were then in the old English top flight, before SKY invented modern football.

    It wasn’t a first division fixture I’m afraid, just a post season friendly with North Queensland, but hard fought and in driving rain, in front of a few thousand people, at Brolga Park, Townsville, Australia.

    I doubt Rob even remembers it, winning 4-3 against the local amateurs, although of course I vividly do.

  • 16 MadisonToon // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:35 AM

    The meshing is never permanent with NUFC – it’s a pretty permeable mesh in our case. When was the last time you saw Newcastle with a strong mesh? We haven’t let in less than 50 goals in a season since 06-07 – maybe our mesh has been weakening since then?

  • 17 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:35 AM

    now switching to Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds, The Riverman. Very nice…..

  • 18 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:40 AM

    Well, that’s what I’m saying as well Madison mate! I think some of the players don’t really understand the meshing…. Some of them are busy in one corner meshing, others are running about just ignoring it! I mean what’s really going on mate? Is this the only mesh we have? And there’s Steve on the sidelines trying to organize his work ethic in his trousers….. It’s just puzzling frankly…..

  • 19 MadisonToon // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:45 AM

    I fear we are too enmeshed in this topic.

  • 20 RonVanDam // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:57 AM

    I hope the board has a decent coach on standby if SM loses the friendly and the next game.
    Of the available PL experienced managers waiting on the wings, my money is Rodgers at this stage. We will be able to grind 5-6 wins before the season concludes under guidance

  • 21 Toon-Prodigy // Feb 17, 2016 at 12:59 AM

    I know Rob beats on about signing what we need but I have to go against him here. We did sign that CF. i do think from now until the end of the season the defence will pull through and we will be better for Townsend, Shelvey, Doumbia, and Cisse coming back. Aswell as Taylor coming back to fitness.

    We could have signed defenders but we were also lacking goals and that’s what wins games also. There is just amount of risk in signing only defenders with the situation we are in. No guarantee in dropping Colo and bringing in a new CB at this stage of the season with the problems this club has.

    I think in signing some experienced players will be enough, Doumbia is still up for debate but his pace will be key I think.

    Plenty outgoings and incomings in the Summer and hopefully a squad ready to compete will be the outcome.

  • 22 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 1:10 AM

    You must have been a very decent player jimmysmith mate. It’s hard to give it up as you get older. I still dream about playing but that’s all now.

  • 23 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 1:12 AM

    You may be right Madison mate. But we deserve better! We deserve a decent side. To support through thick and thin yes, but where is wor thick mate? Where is it???

  • 24 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 1:14 AM

    I’ve had more than enough thin! I’m sure you would agree Madison mate. We’ve become bogged down in thin! I demand some thick! Unbelievably hard to get that point across with this owner……

  • 25 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 1:16 AM

    I miss playing more than anything else. That feeling of being able to run forever.

  • 26 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 1:20 AM

    RonVanDam mate I hope you’re right. Even if it’s under Steve we need those 5-6 wins. I hate this fiddling about in 18th place. What kind of season is this? It’s just like last season. It’s a repeating nightmare. I’m expecting Freddy Kruger to pop up at any minute…..

  • 27 GeordieTwo // Feb 17, 2016 at 1:21 AM

    Well I’d better leave it at that. A lot of pent up frustration though. Fed up with it. I want my club back.

  • 28 lesh // Feb 17, 2016 at 1:42 AM


    A player’s had his work ethic in his pocket?

    I can think of one at least!

  • 29 lesh // Feb 17, 2016 at 1:45 AM


    I’d never have expected to hear of a Nick Drake fan on here.

  • 30 RonVanDam // Feb 17, 2016 at 2:07 AM

    The way SM has got the team playing, i’m sure Freddie Kruger is having nightmares

  • 31 Sav // Feb 17, 2016 at 2:09 AM

    Black Eyed Dog would be more appropriate for Toon fans of Nick Drake.

    As the actress said to Whispering Ray Wilkins, “Is that your work ethic in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?”

    If I thought they’d appoint someone good (Eddie Howe?) I’d be happy to risk Macca until the end of the season rather than pick up a Rodgers or a Pearson now. But I don’t and they wouldn’t.

  • 32 Sav // Feb 17, 2016 at 2:10 AM

    As the actress said to Whispering Ray Wilkins, “Is that your work ethic in your trousers or are you just pleased to see me?”

  • 33 Jeffrey // Feb 17, 2016 at 3:27 AM

    Nicholas Rodney “Nick” Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician, known for his acoustic guitar-based songs. He failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, but his work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition. Drake signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and was a student at the University of Cambridge, and released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. Neither sold more than 5,000 copies on initial release. Drake’s reluctance to perform live, or be interviewed, contributed to his lack of commercial success. There is no known footage of the adult Drake; he was only ever captured in still photographs and in home footage from his childhood.

  • 34 jimmysmith // Feb 17, 2016 at 4:32 AM

    Yeah, I was a top notch semi pro attacking right back, just as they were coming into fashion – (think of a hybrid of Crocodile Dundee and Roberto Carlos), and quite the dashing figure, although cruelly robbed of a professional career in the game by the most unsympathetic combination of pathological bad luck and insufficient talent.

  • 35 posada // Feb 17, 2016 at 4:37 AM

    Lee – We need a leader and a centre half at the back.
    That’s code for Collo is crap.
    Shearer – Costa is not the quickest but he gave him 5 yards start for the third goal.
    Again, code for Collo is crap.

  • 36 toonincheek // Feb 17, 2016 at 5:29 AM

    Ed – Your latest health update – Great news.

  • 37 magscar // Feb 17, 2016 at 5:48 AM


    Yes congratulations on your continuing good news on your health update.

  • 38 Jail for Ashley // Feb 17, 2016 at 6:18 AM

    Ha ha, fairplay to you.
    What’s with the extremes, why did it have to be only defenders, Saivet was brought in for the same price as Kone who we’ve been linked with for ages, I doubt very much that Saivet will get any more game time this season. If we’ve got a LB lined up for the summer, why not go the extra and bring him in now, the extra ?M is going to be peanuts compared to what we’re going to miss out on.

  • 39 Jail for Ashley // Feb 17, 2016 at 6:27 AM

    I see you poo poohed the cup competitions the other day in your defence of the regimes heartless decision to exit them as soon as possible, you do realise that they offer the only feasible way of winning something. You can argue PL survival all day long but there have been a few occasions noe where we have been safe in January and took the same course.

  • 40 Ron Knee // Feb 17, 2016 at 6:49 AM

    It’s always nerve-racking waiting for blood test results!

  • 41 jasper // Feb 17, 2016 at 6:53 AM

    Nick Drake went to my school. I bought Brayter Later and Five Leaves Left in 1973 so I suppose I was one of those early few.
    No one at Uni had heard of him so it was gratifying when he gained recognition eventually.

  • 42 Jail for Ashley // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    I wore a Jim Morrison T shirt in 1988 when nobody else in my school had heard of them, when they brought out the film a couple of years later and regained popularity, I was too cool for school.

  • 43 John Akomfrah // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:18 AM

    Can’t believe the slagging the ex player’s have had on here ala Shearer etc.What poor memories some have.
    Not all were money grabbers.

  • 44 Ron Knee // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:19 AM


    For me, in the Sixties it was walking around the town with an obscure blues album under my arm!

  • 45 hibbitt // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    Ron Knee,,,60/70
    marcus price . mark tony. windows and a Lambretta happy days

  • 46 Ron Knee // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:40 AM


    I was thinking of Marcus Price this morning too. Ben Sherman shirts!

  • 47 Jib // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    When there’s a mini injury crisis and players are asked to do an out-of-position job it’s generally OK for the older pros but a young’un can be set back years.
    Young Aarons has been played at left back 3 times now with one good performance sandwiched between two iffy ones.
    I’m sure the coaching staff will have worked on his state of mind as well as his physiacal fitness.
    He has probably seen all the flak coming his way on social media (I would read it avidly too if I were him) I hope it doesn’t “get” to him too much .

    Rolando kidda if you are reading this.

    Ignore the majority of what you read.

    In the main posters on social media haven’t got a clue.

  • 48 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:45 AM

    Morning Ron…

    I agree with Lee, there are definitely 3 worse teams than Newcastle I just don’t think it will necessarily be the 3 worse teams that go down.

    …maybe those who are also worse run!

  • 49 Jib // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:47 AM

    The Gents hairdresser at the Haymarket end of Northumberland Street (was he above C and A’s ?)
    Italian feller ?

  • 50 Jib // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    Was there a Marcus Price in Whitley Bay bus station shops ?

  • 51 Ron Knee // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    Morning jesper

    In that case we have no chance! (But we know that already!)

  • 52 Jib // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:50 AM

    Shoot I’ve just remembered the Sands club in the same area !

  • 53 hibbitt // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:54 AM

    Jib /

  • 54 Jib // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    In the main you and I don’t see eye to eye.
    But on this one I think you have it.
    In a relegation dog fight (which I never in a million years thought would happen ) Allardyce over McClaren every time.
    Big Sam is a total pragmatist who has no problem with his teams being awful to watch.
    McClaren’s hubris is going to take us close to the wire.

  • 55 Jib // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:57 AM

    Cheers Hibbitt
    Well remembered !!

  • 56 stan anderson // Feb 17, 2016 at 7:59 AM

    So Rob is,nt really worried and thinks 3 teams are worse than us.Great news that is.
    We now have to look forward to another season in the P/L.
    Do you really want this shit to continue forever.
    Things will never change as long as the nobs running the show are doing so.
    I am totally pissed off with what has happened to our once proud club.
    Do something to bring about the change we desire.
    Stay away,Walkout,demonstrate against the regime till change happens and dont be taken in by their false promises.
    We all know what was needed in the window but they brought in expensive misfits instead of what was needed.


  • 57 Blackley and Brownlie // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:05 AM

    Rob Lee is finally saying what Old Blackas has been saying for two windows. It was obvious they were poor windows. Charnley and Carr had me banging my head against the wall. So too did the vast majority who voted January a good window.

    “The two players they’ve bought, Townsend and Shelvey, I like them but if you look at it, they weren’t essential buys.” 

    “It’s like going to get your groceries and you see something and think, ‘I wouldn’t mind that’.” “But we need a goalscorer, we need a leader at the back, a centre half and a left-back.”

    Charnley and Carr will have us banging our heads against the wall for as long as they’re in office. No matter what happens, they never learn. Complete incompetents. I have to include Makro in that too now that he’s part of the set up.

  • 58 Jail for Ashley // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    It is music to my ears when you point out others lack of “footy” knowledge as it highlights just what a buffoon you are, it is not just social media posters that are pointing out that we had a young, inexperienced lightweight left winger playing at LB and nobody is blaming him either, stick to “rugger” you cauliflower eared half wit!

  • 59 Blackley and Brownlie // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:21 AM

    It’s more like crawling to the garage with an empty tank and flat tyres at front and back. Excellent Charnley. Fill the tank, blow the tyres up and let’s get back on the road.

    WTF Charnley! Nice new chrome accessories but what about the bloody tyres. And it’s diesel not petrol, you idiot.

  • 60 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:25 AM

    There is most likely three teams worse than us
    Sorry have players that are not as good as our players
    but what these players do they play as a team

    Take the Mackems on Saturday – big Sam has them organised – when they defended they let Man Utd have the ball but defended around the box in two blocks of four making it hard for Man Utd to break down

    Now us when Chelsea were attacking defenders tried to get back – midfielders did not give our defenders any cover at all – non existant letting Chelsea run from their own half to our box with no-one trying to break them down.

    Also our movement off the ball is still shocking – year after year our players pass the ball and then just stand still.

    Yet we have tried Manager after Manager and still cannot get it right at the back.

    And I’ll have a little dig at our supporters including me – we got rid of big Sam and a few more because we did not like his/their style of play – maybe we have got to swallow the ‘attack’ style we want and as someone wrote a pragmatic manager.

    My biggest gripe is the management below Ashley. I know Ashley chose his minions under him to run the club under him and gave them money to spend …
    AND could the idiots not see what every fan sees we needed the defence strengthened for year after year and nowt has been done – just more midfielders. ie what was the use in buying Saviet, Cabella, Thauvin

  • 61 Jib // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    Under Carver last January from Sunday 18th to Thursday 22nd NUFC went to a warm weather training camp in Dubai.

    Everyone accused them of going on a jolly .

    However the next fixture was 31st Jan away to Hull , a 3 -0 victory which probably saved our season.

  • 62 Jib // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    There is merit in the accusation that compared to some managers McClaren could be called soft.

    That is not necessarily a fault , Sir Bobby could never be accused of being hard , in fact his hurt reaction to being sacked by the pig Shepherd with no criticism of the club was possibly too noble.

    The same with Wenger , the constant message from Arsenal players is what nice guy he is.
    Both Robson amd Wenger showed that the “hairdryer” treatment is not always guaranteed to get the best out of young millionaires.

    The fickleness of footy fans can be breathtaking , Wenger must often afford himself a wry smile that those same moronic Gunners that were calling for his head four seasons ago are now chanting his name.

    McClaren tried to build an attractive footballing side from the outset , not changing his coaching ethos at all. Whether it was the right thing to do , giving us a good starting point for next season , or horribly misguided remains to be seen.

  • 63 Mag52 // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:45 AM


    Your point about a ‘pragmatic’ style of set up is apt.
    Look at Leicester’s stats. How often do they have more possession than their opponents ? Rarely.
    They rely on a solid defence and catching out the opposition on the break.
    Fans will be happy with this system, as long as it is getting results.
    The ‘attack, attack, attack’ is all very well, but without the quality players to implement it, it falls down.
    Our problem is that we can’t rely on a solid defence, and we haven’t the quality up front for the all out attacking game.

  • 64 magscar // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:46 AM

    Hibbit/Ron Knee

    Arcadia mid to late 60’s?


    Be pleased to win a cup – my post as I recall was in relation to your musing about players being attracted by thought of it and I was simply pointing out it wasn’t perhaps on their horizons because cups didn’t carry same appeal abroad. Also said that it’s significance had diminished here over the years and the latest news on moving to mid week matchs, no replays etc sadly confirms that.

  • 65 toontaff2 // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    The biggest and best change they can make at present is to drop Collo – play Saylor and Mbemba at centre-half, Dummett at left back and make Shelvey captain. Put Sissoko on the bench. Maybe Shelvey would actually have a go at some players when we throw away a goal!
    Collo is more of an issue than the board, until the end of the season – the mackems are hoping he stays fit for the derby- they may have curly wigs, instead of horse masks and a ditty involving Collo to match our AJ songs!

  • 66 Lindisfarne // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    This is perhaps the model MA should be looking to implement at NUFC, rather than the current bodge job of a Board.

  • 67 Rotonda heights // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    The sad thing about our woefully imcompetent and inadequate board is that we can never accuse them of being pro-active in the first place, but worse still they don’t even seem to be reactive in any sense and look to address long standing problems.

    JB is just stating the obvious. We haven’t had a proper LB, a commanding CB or a goal scorer for I don’t know how long, yet we can blow 80M without resolving key issues and our future development coaching is in the hands of Beardo and watson. YCMIU.

  • 68 Wayayman // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    Regarding the makems, they will struggle against the ‘lesser’ teams and the less attack minded ones. Man United are a stragne team this year, that one against the makems were actually trying to play football but scumderland’s back 8 defended well. I think they will find it a different proposition to play against less possession based teams (especially at home) as they don’t have the players to retain possession and hurt teams. Remember it’s a lot easier for a coach to drill players into a pressing game and to keep their shape when the opposition has the ball than it is to coach teams to attack effectively. That’s Fat Sam’s whole career!
    I think that’s why they will stay below us and why we will beat them.

  • 69 magscar // Feb 17, 2016 at 8:55 AM


    McClaren can set up to defend away occasionally – Arsenal 2/1/16 but one piece of sloppy defending and an inability to put our own chances away cost us 1-0 defeat. He can’t seem to get the right balance in defence or attack. Midfield is the key ( as we can’t do much with defence now window is closed) as many of us have realised. This break is an opportunity for them to concentrate on a shape and personnel to protect back 4 when we lose possession but be incisive and ruthless in attack when we regain it. We can hope 🙂

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