Newcastle potentially playing with fire 4

The Premier League Owl

Most of you will have read Alan Pardew’s comments about the possibility of a high player turnover in this Summer, and his lack of protection if affluent clubs take a fancy to any of his players.

The newly-crowned Manager Of The Year also spoke of the solace he takes in Mike Ashley’s aggressive selling philosophy.

Why are Newcastle are so public about this? Derek Llambias made some similar comments earlier in the year, which only really served the purpose of letting everyone know that all the players at St James’ Park have a price. It’s almost as if Ashley, Llambias, and Pardew are trying to attract interest.

What Pardew said about his owner is definitely true; Ashley does drive a hard bargain, and that obviously has its benefits, but is that the way to run a club? It’s starting to look a bit like the footballing version of property flipping.

This year it’s worked, Newcastle have bought well and all the incoming players have gelled seamlessly. But there are no guarantees about sustaining that kind of approach over the long-term.

Say, for example, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, and Cheik Tiote all leave the North East this Summer, Newcastle are then in the market for three core players, and – fitting with what’s gone on previously – they’ll be looking to bring them in as cost-effectively as possible. If it goes well, then great – you get a season like 2011/12, but if doesn’t, you have the potential for turmoil. The Cockney Mafia look very smart at the moment, but this a risky way to run a team – not financially of course, but in the ‘on-pitch’ sense it is.

Obviously Newcastle are not Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea, and they face the same vulnerability over their players as all the other clubs do, but it’s just a bit unsettling to hear how willing the owners are to take profits on key performers and then roll the dice by only reinvesting a fraction of that in the team.

That’s putting a lot of faith in your scouting department.

Newcastle have been a breath of fresh air this season, and financial austerity should certainly be applauded in the current climate, but this kind of talk is a bit of a red flag over the kind of boardroom gambling that could end badly.

Betting Comparison

William Hill – Everton 6/5 Draw 23/10 Newcastle 23/10 (Bet – £20 new member bonus)

Paddy Power – Everton 7/5 Draw 7/2 Newcastle 9/4 (Bet – Stake £10 receive £20 new member bonus)

Bet365 – Everton 6/5 Draw 7/2 Newcastle 11/4 (Bet – £200 worth of free bets for new members)