As I approached the climax of my first, very successful, season with Newcastle, in which I won the League Cup and FA Cup and finished fourth qualifying for the Champions League Best Placed Playoff, I made plans for progress in my second season. These came under the following ‘commandments’:
“Five commandments I intend to stick to going forward:
- Always adhere to the overarching philosophy of creative, composed possession football
- Buy technically gifted players who suit this philosophy
- Avoid harbouring “deadwood” in the squad – use everyone but know your key players
- Take the time to sign the players for an existing role
- Play players in the roles which they are best”
In terms of number one I’ve not really changed my team instructions much at all. I’ve created a new formation but I still use the old 3-5-2 95% of the time.
I really need a defensive midfielder but I’m 90k over the wage budget (with a £30.7m balance).
Tony Dalglish is a newgen from Scotland.
In terms of deadwood I’ve only really got rid of Jonas Gutierrez (for £1m to Dnipro) but the remainder are on low wages.
I spent all of my transfer budget which started at about £15m and was only added to when I sold players, notably Davide Santon to PSG for £27m.
As you can see above I spent a total of £37.15m which isn’t that much so buying ideal players for certain roles was very difficult and I didn’t manage to get a defensive midfielder who can play half back. Instead, I was tempted by the precocious Alberto Moreno and John Stones, who took most of my spend.
Ferreyra was BRILLIANT in 2013/14 so I had to buy him and luckily he had a £6m release clause. He’s been AWFUL so far this season but I’m sure he’ll come good as an advanced forward.
Oh and I signed Juanmi from Malaga. A very talented young Spanish striker but at 5’7″ and from the games I’ve watched him play in the Premier League, I’m worried he might be too small. I’m sure he’ll become great one day but maybe not in England.
Point five meant similar to point four. I think I’ve done that too, although, as I said before I haven’t a suitable player for half back apart from the 37-year-old Massimo Ambrosini.
One positive is we’ve had about five players come through the youth intake with four or four-and-a-half star potential.
- Trust youth
- Be realistic. We overachieved in the first season. Europa League qualification is our aim.
- Don’t quit