Newcastle United are ready to back up their new cup policy – with cash.
The club is proposing a new players’ bonus scheme with massive incentives for cup success as well as Premier League progress.
United’s squad could each pocket six-figure sums should the club end its 46-year wait for a major trophy next season under new head coach Steve McClaren.
In recent years, the club’s bonus scheme has been focused on top-10 league finishes – with little or no incentive for domestic cup success.
Newcastle have not got beyond the fourth round of the FA Cup under Mike Ashley’s ownership.
The Gazette also understands that the planned bonus scheme, which sees a top-half finish as the minimum benchmark, would also handsomely reward the squad for Champions League or Europa League qualification.
United’s move follows comments made by owner Ashley immediately before the final game of last season against West Ham United, which the club had to win to be sure of staying up after a troubled few months on the field.
Ashley said the club, which had previously told Fans Forum representatives that the cups were not a “priority”, would target silverware and Champions League football.
The billionaire pledged to “invest” in the club after putting it on a “sound financial footing”.
And he added: “Now (my intention) is definitely to win something – and by the way, I won’t be selling it until I do.”
The new bonus scheme, which is likely to be formally agreed by the players next month, backs up Ashley’s statement.
There was a dispute over players’ bonuses at the club in the wake of promotion to the Premier League in 2010.
Joey Barton claimed after he left St James’s Park in 2011 that the row was a factor in his departure.
Barton and a number of his senior team-mates, including then-captain Kevin Nolan, told the squad not to sign the proposed “bonus sheet”.
The midfielder alleged that United tried to “railroad” the players into signing.
Newcastle, meanwhile, are yet to make a transfer breakthrough, though efforts are continuing to sign Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin.