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Nolan May Live To Regret Leaving Newcastle United’s Revolution

Photo by gadgetdan.

After relegation in 2009, it appeared that Newcastle United was on a downward spiral, they had just lost their Premier League status and problems were rife in the board room. Premonitions of gloom circled around St. James’ Park, ones that were only heightened by the unveiling of that horrific away kit.

However, despite being dressed in yellow and orange on the road, Newcastle pulled through terrifically, and Chris Hughton’s men easily claimed the Championship title. In Andy Carroll, a new star was born, and his impressive Championship performances were further complemented by those of men like Kevin Nolan and Shola Ameobi. In April 2010, Newcastle was back in the Premier League, back in the limelight and ready to stay around for a long, long time.

The 2010/11 season was a very mixed one for Newcastle United. There were moments of brilliance, think back to that stunning 4-4 draw with Arsenal and a fine Carling Cup win at Stamford Bridge, but there were ones of madness as well. Due to the idiocy of owner Mike Ashley, controversy continued to follow the club around; Ashley went against popular opinion and sacked manager Chris Hughton early in the season, only to bring in a disappointing replacement in Alan Pardew.

On the football pitch though, Newcastle succeeded and with Pardew at the helm, and they continued to cruise along even after the departure of striker Andy Carroll. Their position as a Premier League club was maintained without too much duress; Pardew’s team eventually finished twelfth in the standings. So comfortable were Newcastle, that the last few games of the season became academic, and though certain players were accused of being over economical in their late season effort, United concluded the season with a three game unbeaten run.

Over the course of 2011, a new wave of stars established themselves at Newcastle; players like Cheik Tiote and Jose Enrique finished out the season while striker Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool. However, now that the season is over, Newcastle have already lost one of their most valuable assets, bizarrely, Kevin Nolan decided a couple days ago to move to Championship club West Ham United. It is strange enough for a player to elect to move from a top flight club to one in the second division, but it is even stranger that Nolan is doing so at the dawn of what could be an exciting new era for Newcastle.

Nolan is gone, but so much remains at St. James’ Park, I think that the Englishman could be missing out on being a part of the best Newcastle team since the end of Kevin Keegan’s first term as manager. With a thirty-five million war chest gleaned from the Andy Carroll sale, and a further few million coming direct from Ashley’s wallet, Newcastle are set to be highly active in the transfer market; they have sealed three signings already.

Coming in are West Ham striker Demba Ba, Lille midfield man Yoann Cabaye and Rennes star Sylvain Marveaux. All three are men of real promise, Ba has already forged a reputation as a prolific Premier League striker and both Cabaye and Mareveaux are highly rated in French football. However, that trio look to be only the start of the Newcastle revolution, there are yet more players linked to the club, including men of the caliber of Dimitar Berbatov (a boyhood Newcaste fan), Moussa Sow and Eden Hazard.

Mouth watering as those potential transfer targets are, the players they would be complementing are also cause for much encouragement. Jose Enrique and Cheik Tiote, though both linked to moves elsewhere, may be willing to stay on after the arrival of all this reinforcement and many have been guilty of forgetting about the returning likes of Hatem Ben Arfa. Potentially boasting an attack made up of Berbatov, Ba and Ben Arfa, Newcastle days of cavalier offensive play could be returning, as could a place in European football.

So as Kevin Nolan rubs Vaseline over the innumerable cuts and bruises he will have acquired in the rough and tumble World of Championship football, perhaps he will think of what could have been. Turning on Match of the Day, he will see his old teammates celebrating another blistering attacking performance, but he will neglect to watch The Football League Show; West Ham will have lost yet another game earlier in the day.

Read more by David Yaffe-Bellany at In For The Hat Trick.

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  1. Kir106

    June 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    If the club is really serious about getting young talents (19-21 years of age), offer them 5 year contracts, develop them or harness their raw talent, by the time they are 24-26 they should be in their prime and the club will still be in the position to offer them a 3-5 year extended contracts, which will take them to 29-32 years of age….which by then they’ve served the club 8-10 years (and if they deliver the goods, then we can say they’ve served the club loyally, faithfully, effectively, make songs about them and got our return in our investment).

    Obviously one of the drawbacks here is, if the lad showed more talent than expected, I am sure Ashley will cash it in as soon an over-priced offer is made (ie Carroll). Or if the lad doesnt develop, we need to ship him out quickly (ie Nile Ranger).

    One fact that will be hard to accept under this ‘business practice’, is that the fans need to balance and accept the fact that if a player hits late 20’s we should learn to accept that the club will play hard ball (with contracts), his days are numbered and the club will be in the process of lining up the next young talent.

    I think this is called surviving in the 21st century pro football. I also think the price age for a player is 21-28 (peak at 25-26)…past that age, we should expect the club to say say “thank you for your services, thank you for your loyalty during the past years…however, if you want a longer contract, its not with NUFC”.

    That’s football…as a “business” – ie marketability and maximising your returns from your “product” or “investment”. Just like a bottle of milk, once the used by date is closing in, it’s time to get a new one.

    Whether we like it or not…this is football as a global business in the 21st century.

  2. Rob McCluskey

    June 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Crazy really. We’ve made three signings for a total of £4.8m and people are upset just because we haven’t spent any big money.

    As far as I’m concerned, we’ve done good business buying players so far. I’m disappointed Nolan has left, but we have three new players and more to come, as well as the majority of the money we’ve made off one player. Newcastle don’t need to get roped in to the ridiculous transfer fees being banded around this summer, their signings are a lot smarter and I’d rather my team didn’t suffer in the future by going into heavy debt (again).

  3. Jog on

    June 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

    “Turning on Match of the Day, he will see his old teammates celebrating another blistering attacking performance, but he will neglect to watch The Football League Show; West Ham will have lost yet another game earlier in the day.”
    What’s that all about? You talk about why NUFC will be strong in the Prem (fair play that would p!ss Nolan off), but how do you justify saying that WHU will be rubbish in the Champ? I’d put money on them winning more games than Newcastle in their respective divisions.

  4. trickybrkn

    June 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Pardew has picked up two players that at best are injury risks…


    And the only way Nolan regrets leaving Newcastle is if they get a new owner and manager. Hazzard and Berbatov are wishful thinking…
    the only players really up for Pardew are mercenaries… speaking of which, Adel Taarabt has said that he’d love to play for Newcastle. You can have him for £10 million.

  5. Nut

    June 20, 2011 at 8:11 am

    In response to the above yes I actually would say Ba is prolific if the stats are anything to go by Pardew has made a very good signing for free and perhaps we might discover he’s the best signing of the season!

    Ba played a part in 13 games for West ham and I understand he scored 7 goals in those 13 appearances, thats a strike rate of just over 1 in every 2 games, when we had Shearer, Owen or Carrol those were the rates they would get, Ok that said just before Andy went he was pulling around 1 goal a game + which is why he commanded such a high price.

    One player I liked in his time in Newcastle was Martins and I thought in the season we went down, towards the end he was coming into form, never seen the stats on him though, but I suspect he had a decent rate then. Doubt he’ll be on our radar though.

    I suspect Collocini may be sold if a good enough offer comes in because of his age, Enrique is probably waiting to see if a champ’s league club come bidding and also whats going to happen with the Newcastle squad before he decides, Barton as he say’s won’t leave unless a champ’s league club come knocking (Ashley and co might want him out but he won’t go unless lol as is his right) and Guitierez will stay however if Enrique leaves the club coming in for him may do a double deal since the two are known to work well together.

    As for areas I’d like strengthened?

    I’d like to see some strengthening of our defence, we are weak as dishwater on the right side so a rightback/wingback would be a shrewed signing imho.

    I’d say sign a right winger too, however I suspect that with the signing of Marveux and Ben Arfa coming back from injury Pardew is now planning to move Guitierez onto the right wing since that is his prefered possition, I believe this would be an excellent move too so if this is the case well done Pardrey.

    We need at least another striker and preferably 2 more, other than that we then want to add whatever quality signings we can to the squad to give strength in depth.

    One thing I am noticing under Pardew is a preference to sign players who are versatile, which means we can have a smaller squad and still cover for injuries by moving people about.

    So far signed 3 quality players and with the sale of Nolan effectively spent nothing in the process which means we’ve still got 35 million in the bank.

    What everyone is forgetting though is that Ashley specifically said that “the money would have to cover the wages of anyone coming in”.

    That is why I suspect Pardew is trying to get the most he can while spending as little as possible.

    A 50 million warchest is not so full once you start removing wages for everyone, we’ve got 3 players in now and if we say for arguments sake their all on 40k a week wages then thats around 2 million a year for however many years each contract is which means that in the case of these 3 players given that 2 are on 5 year contracts and one on 3 we’ve spent……

    26 million already!

  6. jake

    June 20, 2011 at 7:17 am

    apparently we’ve given up on N’zogbia but were willing to pay the £12m asking price. but instead those funds are being diverted to pay for a new striker. and coincidently on the same day papers are saying we will bid for sturridge if chelsea land Neymar

  7. Geordiedoonsooth

    June 20, 2011 at 7:13 am

    I am sick & tiered of all of the negative posts on this and many other NUFC blogs we must have the most negative fans in the world. Let’s wait until the season start and see what squad we have it could as this article says be one of the most exciting squads we’ve had since Sir Bobby’s days.

  8. Stevey Star

    June 20, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Retaining players is key with one more striker. I must say I am pleased that Enrique still hasnt signed for Liverpool and elsewhere. He got his offer from NUFC and he’s sitting tight, as is Barton. Theyve made noises but only that. The key will be getting that marque signing. A prove attacker with prem experience. Berba would be nice but lets face it, he wont come. A real coup would be Sturridge on loan, then with Ba up front and a bit more guile in midfield we might get another season from Enrique and Barton will resign at that point. So, for me, that second better quality striker is key…or it might fall apart as they both leave and all the steel has gone from the club

  9. JSG

    June 20, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Cheik tiote cost us 3.5 million and he was arguably our best player of the season. Admittedly, that was a rare find but I doubt that Ashley, possibly the most money tight guy in the world, would blow it all on 2 signings.

  10. Archie Brand

    June 20, 2011 at 6:08 am

    I would hardly call 35 million a war-chest.

    Its enough to buy 2 decent players – quite ironic when we are likely to lose 3 or 4 crap ones.

    • MUFC77

      June 20, 2011 at 7:08 am

      I would hardly call Ba a prolific Premier League striker either, decent maybe but prolific im just not buying that. I couldn’t tell you how many EPL goals he scored last season but the fact West Ham went down tells me he wasn’t prolific enough.

      • Jfnufc

        June 20, 2011 at 8:01 am

        Considering West Ham only got him in the jauary transfer window he managed to score 7 goals in 12 games. In my eyes thats prolific by anyones standard in the EPL.

        • Zammy

          June 20, 2011 at 9:50 am

          Can I categorize our own Leon Best as prolific too, scoring 5 in 8

      • Kir106

        June 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm

        So Ba scored 7 goals in 12 games for WHU last season, I am still not convinced it’s “prolific” (note: all goals came in the second half of the season when Ba signed for WHU in January 2011).

        However, you can almost say that it is almost (if not the same) ratio as Andy Carroll and Leon Best. Andy scored 6 goals in our first 11 games (including a hat trick vs Aston Villa). Leon Best scored 6 (I think) goals in his first 11 senior appearance (with a hat trick vs WHU).

  11. Big Phil

    June 20, 2011 at 6:05 am

    You’re joking, right?

    Ashley has made a profit in every transfer window bar one since taking over, do you really think this one will be any different?

    Coloccini, Enrique, and Barton will all be sold and cheaper replacements will come in.

  12. Farhan Ahmed

    June 20, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I hope after Nolan, S. Taylor/Barton become the club captian…. Also hope that Enrique and Barton signs new contracts…

    • spyinthesky

      June 21, 2011 at 4:07 am

      I can just picture Berbatov as a youth bare chested on the terraces dreaming of one day playing for his beloved Newcastle. Then I wake up. I suggest you do too.

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