What’s wrong with Newcastle United?

Newcastle United

Newcastle United is currently 19th in Premier League, thanks to a series of bad results, with exception of a crazy victory against Norwich. Apart from that victory, Newcastle form is quite terrible. Reasons for this are three main components of any football club. In this post, I am going to analyze this three components, and than seek out possible solutions!

 

Newcastle United has had quite a lot of ups and downs in recent seasons. Their worst result was in 2008/2009, when Newcastle manged only 18th place in Premier League and got relegate. The best result was inĀ  2011/2012 season, when Newcastle reached fifth position in Premier League, and qualified for European competition, after a very long wait.

 

In the past seasons, Newcastle was always on a verge of being relegated to Championship, because of their poor results. This season is proving to be no different (especially due to losing 3-0 against their arch-rivals Sunderland.

 

Its impossible to pint point just one reason for this. This is why I have decided that poor results are down to three main components of any club. First one are the players, second one is the manager, and the third is the owner. So lets start with the players!

PLAYERS

PROBLEM

 

Newcastle United has a wide range of players from different countries. There are seven first team players from France, five from Netherlands, and only three from England.

 

I am not trying to say that Newcastle’s main problem is too many foreign players, but the fact is that Newcastle is missing an English core of players. The reason for this is that English players tend to stick longer in an English club than other players. This is not just specifically for England. In every country “home” players tend to stay longer at the club than foreign players.

 

Every club needs stability, if it wants to get better results. Newcastle simply doesn’t have that stability, because their core players are mainly foreign. In other words, they are going to leave (have left) as soon as opportunity arises.

There was a great article in The Guardian about that, which states that…

“The PFPO study shows a clear correlation between player stability and success, Manchester United is the most stable club, with players staying an average of 5.71 years”

Of course, stability isn’t everything, but it is important for a club to get some kind of direction. If players are constantly coming and going, club’s results usually falter. Newcastle has been no exception. Since 2011/2012 season, Newcastle had more or less bad results in the Premier League. They constantly had to avoid relegation in the last weeks of competition.

Constantly selling and buying new players have made Newcastle very unstable club, and results are equally unstable. Arsenal had similar problems when they had their “trophies drought”. During those years, their core players were mostly foreign, and when opportunity arose, they all left.

 

SOLUTION

 

This solution can only be made slowly. They need a core of players that are English. They can start buying perspective English players, buying already proven English players, or better yet, start using the English players they have in their youth team. This must be done slowly, or else Newcastle could face even bigger crisis they are facing now.

 

Currently, Newcastle strategy is based more on buying perspective young foreign (French) players. This isn’t that bad, but as I said before, these kind of players don’t have any special link to the club, and they usually leave as soon as they reach certain level.

“Focus on youth English players”

 

I believe that Newcastle strategy must be changed in order to get stability. Newcastle should implement more English players so that this players will stay longer at the club, and bring more stability. Perfect example here is Steven Taylor. He could have gone somewhere else, but he stayed at the club. Newcastle need more players like him, because they offer the stability, and good long term results on the field.

MANAGER

 

PROBLEM

 

Newcastle United has had quite a few managers in recent years. They had eight managers in last ten years. This number is simply too big for any kind of club to be effective.

 

Everyone knows that its bad to change managers that often.Well everyone except the people in charge at Newcastle. Alan Pardew was probably the most successful of the last couple of managers, but even he had a lot of problems after that fifth place finish.

 

The fact is that managers need time to bring in players they want, and to play the strategy they want. Usual owner hires a manager, and keeps faith in him as long as there are positive results. When results go awry, he fires the manager and hires someone new. This new manager (usually) has good results at the beginning, and he has owners backing as long as results are good, but when results go bad, he is fired, and the whole cycle goes again.

All this create uncertainties in the club. Team’s strategy gets completely lost, because every manager has his own ideas, while results usually turn to completely negative (relegation from the league). Long term manager is the only sensible option, because there is a certain team strategy in place, results are more stable and they are usually improving with time.

As this awesome article in British Jurnal of Management state..

“Long incumbent tenures appear to render long-term benefits to the organization more readily than change.

I believe that the main reason for this impatience is money. There is so much money in the game, and people are itchy when it comes to bad results. A drop from Premier League, or not being able to play in Champions League is a financial catastrophe. When there is a possibility of that happening, the manager gets the sack.

 

Newcastle is doing exactly the same thing, they change managers far too often to be considered a stable club. This is also one of the reasons why they are always in danger of being relegated from Premier League.

SOLUTION

 

Newcastle has to pick their man and stick with him. I don’t know if Steve McClaren is the “right” choice, but given that he is currently in charge, he should be given at least five years to prove himself.

 

That’s a very long time for any manager in modern football, but most of the clubs, that had a manager for a long time usually profit on the field, and outside the field. Arsenal, and Manchester United became strong because of Wenger, and Ferguson. If Newcastle manages to do the same thing, they just might be at the start of their “golden age”.

“Stick with one manager for at least five years”

 

Keeping the manager for a longer period of time is the only way for Newcastle to became more stable club, and avoid potential drop from Premier League. There are going to be poor results at first, but they have to stick with their manager if Newcastle wants to compete for Champions League places, again.

OWNER

PROBLEM

 

Mike Ashley has been in charge of Newcastle United for the past eight years. In modern football, that’s quite long time. In his eight years at the club, he has managed to go from fans favorite, to fans main villain.

 

There was a time, when Ashley was proudly wearing Newcastle United shirt on match days, and mingling with Newcastle fans. Well a couple of decisions later, he was acting like your usual owner, while fans were screaming for his resignation.

 

I don’t think that its all Ashley’s fault. Still, Ashley admitted that he didn’t know what he was doing when he diceded to take over Newcastle United. This is the reason why Ashley did some weird moves, like wanting to sell the club twice, or appointing Joe Kinnear as the manager.

 

The biggest mistake Ashley made was to became an enemy with Newcastle fans. I know that it isn’t easy, for an owner, to keep a good relationship with the fans, but Ashley didn’t do himself any favors with his decisions. The funny thing is that he actually listened to the fans, but his decisions were simply to rash.

 

Given his relationship with the fans, Mike Ashley is simply not going to be the owner that’s going to bring Newcastle United forward.

 

SOLUTION

 

The best thing for Newcastle United would be to get a new owner. This new owner will have to have some kind of a plan to make Newcastle great again.

 

I think that Ashley wants to make Newcastle a club that will make profit (for him). This is basically mission impossible, because ownership makes a millionaire from billionaire. Newcastle United need an owner that will focus more on being at the top of the table, than on profit.

 

For this to happen, this new owner will have to make substantial investment into the club. He will have to put money into every aspect of the club, to make it compatible with other football clubs in Premier League. He is also going to be have to be patient, because it will take some time for Newcastle to be strong again.

 

SUMMERY

 

Newcastle United has to fix three things, if they want to get out of their slump. Firstly, they should concentrate on English homegrown players, because they will stay at Newcastle longer than other players. Secondly, they need to stop changing managers that often. They need to stick with McClaren, and see where he takes them. Thirdly they will have to change the owner. New owner should focus on how to make club great again, and not to make it profitable.

 

I believe that this changes would be crucial for Newcastle to became a stable club, and more so, a club that will challenge for top places in Premier League. It won’t be easy or quick, but if a club decides to do this, they will profit a lot more than just in terms of stability.