Why this summer may decide if United are a Big club or Selling club?
By Paul Reece
Monday 11 Jul 2011 12:22:00
Browse all Paul Reece articles



Pride appears to have been temporarily restored to Tyneside after the fantastic 4-4 draw with Arsenal, a game which will live long in the memories of those who witnessed it and those who left at half time; like two season ticket owners I know.


While the result undoubtedly lifted the doom and gloom around St James following the Andy Carroll saga and offered a chance to put the whole thing behind us I still can't help but wonder - Are Newcastle United a big club or a selling club?


I believe it is an important question and could outline the club's ambition for the foreseeable future with growing interest in the rest of our star performers; notably Cheick Tiote and Jose Enrique.


With Andy Carroll after all the anger of fans it is important to recognise that £35 million is an incredible amount of money for a player who has played only 6 months of Premier League football and has attracted his fair share of negative publicity of the pitch.


The deal does not signal the club's long term intentions as it was in financial terms simply to good to refuse - though I have wondered how much staying in the Premier League will be worth to United, surely more then £35 million.


The answer of the type of club we now are will, in my opinion, be highlighted in the summer when Newcastle are likely to be tested to keep hold of Ivory Coast star Tiote among others.


Speaking on December 20th Newcastle boss Alan Pardew said: "We have to have a big-club mentality and hold on to our best players."


And whilst we lost Carroll it is difficult to say whether we enforced that 'big-club mentaility' during negotiations; we certainly held on to secure what may prove to be a great deal.


But if this does become the trend of Mike Ashley then the club will never make any real progress forward; Ashley has spoken of following the Arsenal model at United of developing players from a young age and selling for a profit.


It is the second half of that point that worries me as the difference between us and Arsenal is they choose when a player leaves the club; just ask Cesc Fabregas.


The Gunners had the 'big-club mentaility' that Pardew spoke of in this summer to resist continued interest in want away captain Fabregas.


And it is that sort of development which United are hoping recreate at St James and after watching numerous academy games this year it is clear to see the club is putting real effort into its youth system.


We are now producing players who can come into the side and challenge over the coming years - names like Harris Vuckic, Tomas Kader, Ben Tozer, Dan Gosling, Nile Ranger, Tim Krul, Shane Ferguson, James Tavenier and Bran Inman among those rated highest.


And with rumours already liking Vuckic with AC Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United will act like the big club Pardew and fans want it to be.


The youngsters could be the future of the club but their is little point producing these stars only to sell them as soon as they are successful in the first team.


12 months ago Andy Carroll sat with just two league goals in the Championship; If Vuckic breaks into the side and attracts similar attention will we give in at the first window and let him go?


Or will we dictate when he leaves the club and make sure we get the best deal for the club first and foremost.


This summer may be one of the most defining in the club's history; Alan Pardew has promised every penney of £35million will be reinvest in the squad but promises are easier said then kept - especially at Newcastle.


Assuming United get the 40 points or so they need to stay in the division the squad we enter next year with will be a telling sign of the future.


If we keep hold of Tiote, The Beast and Barton and reinvest the money wisely fans may begin to accept the exit of Carroll was beneficial to the club.


It the names above go then I believe it will be a sign of the direction the club is heading in off quick profits sale at maximum prices rather then long term stability and progression.


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