The saga that is Newcastle United never ceases to surprise, disappoint or intrigue the club’s fans, or indeed, the casual observer. The ownership of the club, and the opposition to it from both fans and more recently, players, is well documented. From the Andy Carroll sale, to Barton’s Twitter fiasco that had all the hallmarks of a rebellious teenager with signs of amnesia, the result is a bunch of unhappy fans.
Some argue that Ashley has a sensible vision for the club, and that the sale of players for huge profits is purely symptomatic of the economic reality facing football, and a necessary evil in trying to implement his vision of self-sufficiency. Some argue that he more akin to a Communist propaganda archetype, rotund, sadistic and with pound signs for pupils. What the fans, journalists and players all agree on is that all is not clear, whatever the truth of the situation is.
However, there should be some solace for the fans when the season kicks off. The transfer profit since Ashley took over is estimated, with a very good degree of accuracy by writer Paul Brown, as £37 million. A figure remarkably close to that which was received for Andy Carroll, and which has quite apparently yet to be reinvested in players, unless the borehole installed at the training ground with the Carroll money picks up where Sol Campbell left off last season.
The lack of clarity about where the money is going, and the belief that it isn’t going anywhere near where it was promised, has left fans irate. However, whilst the lack of promised expenditure should be a cause of indignation (tables turned over in the temple of Shearer’s perhaps?), it should be one of celebration on the pitch. Why? Because success is a phenomenon relative to the circumstances in which, and from which, it occurs.
Any success story worth its salt occurs against a backdrop of strife, or at the very least, fierce competition. Whilst there is no agreed paradigm of value in football, there is at least a widespread acknowledgement that there is something noble about the underdogs triumphing over the dominant force in any given competition.
Many Newcastle fans are aggrieved that Sunderland has spent far more on its squad than their club, but why? The two teams were separated by a point last season, and the Magpies humbled Sunderland in both performances, with one of the score lines in particular exemplary of the difference in both side’s performances.
Although the final table of any given Premier League season is largely dictated by expenditure, it is not decided by it. There should exist a recognition that clubs have succeeded on account of their position in relation to their expenditure (for silverware should not be regarded as exhaustive of success). Whether this success is survival, or more simply, that they are in close proximity to other clubs who have spent far more: it should be celebrated.
The thorough scouting of quality players who cost very little, like Cheick Tioté in Newcastle’s case, should not be underestimated, or undervalued. Equally, the refusal or inability to throw money at the challenge and ‘secure’ a players signature, should be put into some context: if the team continues to perform relatively well, this lack of expenditure can be viewed in a comparative, positive light. Of course every fan wants their club to progress, and expenditure is necessary to do this.
However if Toon fans put aside the anger and frustration at the current lack of expenditure when the games get under way and consider the results in relation to what it took to assemble each team, there may be some solace, and indeed joy, to be found. Newcastle fans better hope so anyway, especially on August 13th…Tweet Sign up with bet365 today and receive up to £200 in free bets
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