Thursday, 13 May 2010

Making A Statement

It's been a busy week for everyone. So much so for myself that I've barely been able to keep up with all the nonsense coming out of St. James' Park.

On Sunday, Newcastle released a statement outlining the future for the club that seemed to address the press, the fans, the players, their agents and just about anyone else who holds any interest in the Toon. As if that wasn't enough, a second statement was released to add the little fact that our esteemed owner was in no rush to have his £111 million loan to the club repaid. To be fair, it's an easy thing to forget.

The media were thrown into a frenzy when the original statement was released as it revealed that nobody on the Newcastle board would be willing to say anything about anything. Not now, not ever. Ironically, something the second statement seemed to almost immediately contradict.

Apparently the press believed this was a bad thing which of course it is, for them. The news makers have had more than their fair share of fun with quotes from former chairman such as when the ignominious Freddy Shepherd once claimed the manager's position at the club was one of the top five job's in Europe.

In reality this is a good thing for Newcastle fans, after all no news is good news, right? The infamous statement also said that only the manager and the coaching staff would comment on football matters, such as selection, tactics and transfers. Again, definitely good news.

The biggest talking point from the statement was by far the subject of transfer funds. The Sun and The Mirrror conveniently forgot stories they ran just a few days ago that claimed Chris Hughton would have between 15 and 25 million pounds to spend this summer, to report that he would in fact have nothing.

Once again they had read between the lines and found something that wasn't there. When we take a look at what the statement actually said, it read like this.

"The first team squad that won the Championship this year will form the basis of the team for next season in the Premier League. There is no plan for new capital outlay on players."

To me this says that the board haven't handed Hughton a blank cheque and sent him out into the world. Instead they've asked him to be prudent and make the most of what he's got, which isn't to big a surprise in a week when we've found out that the Toon have suffered £30 million losses in succesive seasons and, despite promotion back to the Premier League, don't expect to break even until 2015.

I never expected us to go chasing big names this summer, or even little names with big prices and this statement seems to have confirmed that feeling, but I do believe that Hughton will be backed if he believes a player is truly worth their price tag. As he was with both Wayne Routledge and Mike Williamson in January.

Let's not forget we signed just one player last summer and that was a man who had been with us during the back end of the previous season, in Peter Lovenkrands. Yes, it is definitely a different task going up a league than going down one but there is no denying this group of players is almost completely different to those that were relegated.

It's certainly not the same Kevin Nolan and Alan Smith that fumbled around the Villa Park pitch on that fateful day and Andy Carroll has discovered something of a clinical touch after a season in the second tier.

Team spirit has propelled us this season and I believe that is the most important thing at the club right now. I'm not too bothered who comes in because I genuinely believe we already have a squad capable of staying up.

You can quote me on that.

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