Derek Llambias wanted exciting football and boring finances at Newcastle United.
These days, the figures are sexy – there are lots of noughts on the end of the numbers – but the football is a BIG turn-off.
We must remain positive and retain the belief that we can secure our Premier League status and we are doing everything we can to support Rafa and the team.Lee Charnley
And the balance sheets won’t be nearly so attractive next season should the club find itself in the Championship.
United have been good at making money – lots of it –over the past couple of years.
We know Newcastle had almost £50million in the bank last summer.
And it raked in a profit after tax of £32.4million.
But at what cost?
We now know.
The club’s obsession with the bottom line, a flawed recruitment strategy and a disastrous managerial appointment from managing director Lee Charnley have taken it to the brink of a financial AND footballing catastrophe.
United are six points adrift of Premier League safety with seven games left to play.
Rafa Benitez – who succeeded sacked head coach Steve McClaren last month – is simply running out of time.
But it is still do-able. Just.
Charnley – who took over from Llambias three years ago – did his best to be optimistic in the club’s Press release.
“We appreciate that football results and not financial results are what our supporters want to see from us,” said Charnley.
“We acknowledge the seriousness of our situation.
“However, we must remain positive and retain the belief that we can secure our Premier League status and we are doing everything we can to support Rafa and the team.”
Newcastle just need to win some games.
There are still 21 points to play for, and if United – who take on Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday – can win four or five of their remaining matches, the club could yet stay up.
The club has spent almost £80million on players in the last two transfer windows.
And there has been a “significant” increase in the wage bill, according to Newcastle.
Yet that spend – the first part of which didn’t touch the sides at st James’s Park after years of under-investment – has not bought results.
United might be rich in terms of finances, but the club has been impoverished on the pitch.
The team lacks leadership and the squad lacks depth and quality in key areas.
And players who should have been sold or paid off years ago are still on the books.
Committed, hard-working players have been discarded, and the club hasn’t learnt from transfer-market mistakes.
Hindsight can’t be used as an excuse. Enough people have point out the club’s shortcomings enough times.
This has been coming.
And if ever there was a season NOT to be relegated from the Premier League, it’s this one.
A new multi-billion pound TV deals kicks in next season.
Newcastle, as it stands, don’t deserve a share of those riches.
There was dithering when there should have been decisiveness when it became clear McClaren was not the right man for the job.
Hope is in short supply.
And the expectation is that United will be in the Championship next season.
Should that be the case, there’s no telling when the club will be back.