Liverpool FC and what could have been for Newcastle
April 1, 2012. St James' Park, Newcastle. Papiss Cisse scored his second goal of the day to put the home team 2-0 up against Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool side whilst Newcastle old boy Andy Carroll was jeered for a poor display and another former Magpie, Jose Enrique, spent a period of time as a makeshift goalkeeper. What more could Geordie supporters ask for from a game?
The win pushed Newcastle 11 points clear of Liverpool and they would end the season 13 points above the Reds.
Fast forward two years to the present day and Newcastle are once again struggling to finish in the top half of the Premier League, playing woeful football whilst an exciting, free-flowing Liverpool side look set to claim their first league title in over 20 years.
The owner of Liverpool, John Henry, saw that a change was needed. The management style of "old school" bosses like Dalglish and Roy Hodgson before him was quickly becoming irrelevant. He appointed a young manager whose modern style of football caught the eye of many, and although the appointment was risky and scorned by many, the American was keen to support his man in the transfer market.
According to Forbes, the personal wealth of Henry stands at $1.4 billion -- a long way short of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's personal wealth of $6.5 billion. Obviously, Liverpool generate a lot more cash than Newcastle (I'll get on to that later) but whilst Liverpool backed their man, Newcastle stood still. Standing still in modern day football sends you backwards.
Rodgers has signed 12 permanent players and three loan players in his 21 months at Liverpool. He has been backed to the tune of 95 million pounds, or a net spending of 60 million pounds if you consider the sale of players.
Alan Pardew, meanwhile, has brought six permanent players and two loan signings to the club with a net spend of approximately 4 million pounds.
Of course, I would never argue that Newcastle would have been title contenders with investment to match Liverpool's. In fact, with Pardew at the helm, big spending on players could have disastrous consequences for the football club as he is not cut out to manage at the top-end of English football.
Since Kevin Keegan's "Entertainers" team, Newcastle have made mostly appallingly bad managerial appointments. Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Sam Allardyce and now Pardew all favour the same type of old-fashioned, British footballing style that delivers little in the way of success and even less in the way of entertainment. Since Keegan's first appointment, only Sir Bobby Robson's Newcastle teams of the early 2000s have provided a great deal in terms of football worth paying to watch.
I was listening to a former England cricketer who now works as a football pundit on national radio (!) talking about David Moyes this afternoon. Said cricketer was appalled at the idea that Moyes might be an option for Tottenham.
"Spurs fans wouldn't want Moyes, they like entertaining football," he said. "I could see him doing a job at Newcastle though, they're not happy up there at the minute."
Really? Only Spurs fans "like entertaining football" whilst the people for Newcastle would settle for any old tripe? Don't be so ridiculous. Ask yourself why Newcastle fans are "not happy at the minute" and the answer will slap you in the face -- they are craving entertainment.
I'm a Newcastle fan myself and I'm resigned to the fact that my club will never win a trophy. What more, then, can I hope for other than some entertainment when I spend my hard-earned money to watch them? As things stand, I'm not entertained and the team aren't successful.
Sadly, some supporters seem to have been brainwashed into the notion that Newcastle can't compete on a financial level. We can't even compete with Southampton if you listen to Pardew. And yes, Liverpool's total turnover of 206 million pounds far exceeds Newcastle's 96 million pounds, but it is not too long since Newcastle United were the world's twelfth biggest club in terms of revenue generation -- their income greatly exceeding that of Tottenham, Manchester City and Everton at the time.
With a manager whose football leaves a lot to be desired, and a multi-billionaire owner who is failing to make anywhere near enough of the club's vast potential, Newcastle fans are being badly let down.
All we want is a club to be proud of.