Andy Carroll: Another Messianic Ascension?

31 Jan

"Yeah, man. 'Course you'll look class with cornrows"


Back down in the gutter again. After the serene reaffirmation of loyalty from the last article, the club go and do something like sell Carroll and I’m right back to resenting them with impotent frustration.

A more generic account of the sheer insanity of the January transfer window needs to be done (£50 million for Torres, £35 million for Carroll, £30 million for Giuseppi Rossi): all this money spent in one day, supposedly in the midst of cutbacks and the (enforced) tightening of purse strings for us plebs, does not serve to enhance to reputation of the Premier League as a representational, tangible, meaningful, entity. Grant: I’m back on your side!

But my mind, predictably, is focused on one of these 11th hour deals in particular; ‘Wor Andy’: The Great Gateshead Hope. I’m going to endeavour to keep this as pragmatic and down to earth as possible. Here are a few of the pragmatic reasons why this deal may not be so bad after all.

Firstly, £35 million is an incredible amount of money…. well, actually, in the world of the Premier League, it actually doesn’t seem to be. But for a forward with less than half a season of top flight experience, for a young man with a serious history of off-field violence (not wishing to go down the Louise Taylor route of uninformed sensationalism, but let’s not apologise for the lad; for all his goal scoring prowess, he’s a bit of a thug) it seems like a fairly big gamble of Liverpool’s part.

Secondly, and having said the above, I do think Carroll is destined to be (i.e. is far from being now) a very good striker. I think he has much more footballing talent than he is given credit for (the recent chants that greeted Crouch at the game against Spurs of “you’re just a shit Andy Carroll” were made all the funnier by the fact that its true; while the two players share a similar game type, Carroll’s touch, technique and awareness are vastly superior to that of Mr. Roboto) and I think he is destined to become a regular in the England national team (whatever value that particular accolade has left). That he is destined for a ‘bigger club’ is not surprising (though I think Liverpool are some years off winning a trophy again). That NUFC are selling him should not be too much of a surprise either. We have previous history off selling off the family silver and cashing in our chips early (an apt metaphor, given that a sizable portion of the transfer money may find its way onto the poker table at one of our owner’s soirées). Beardsley, Waddle, Gazza: all were, being totally objective, ‘too good’ for NUFC, all were sold on. So that we managed to hold out for an extra £15 million over Spurs’ initial bid[1] seems pretty good.

Thirdly, perhaps we have nipped in the bud another burgeoning ‘Messiah’; or more precisely have stopped the accusation of parochialism and ‘messiah complex’ those in the football media like to level at NUFC fans. The comparisons to Shearer can stop. He’s not the messiah, he’s a Liverpool player. Al, in an article below, did a great job of talking about this very subject, so I will point the reader in that direction[2]. I will just add this little vignette.

On the way to the game against Spurs the other day, me and my brother walked past a gentleman that could, even conservatively, only be described as ‘extremely obese’ hawking spurious looking and shoddily made wares. Among his assorted goods – and modelled on his own rotund personage – was a t-shirt with Andy Carroll celebrating, fist clenched. Underneath read the words “If he doesn’t score, he’ll break your jaw”. A lovely present for all the family, available – or so it would seem from the proprietor’s own shirt – in sizes up to XXXL (though a sizable portion of his gut was left naked in the space between t-shirt end and stained tracksuit bottoms). Now if the only good that comes from this whole sorry farce is that that man is left with a box of t-shirts that he won’t even be able to give away, then there will at least be a silver lining!

But here are the bad, infuriating, depressing, aggravating, points. Actually; they are not any of these adjectives. All I have left for the present custodians of this club is disappointment, coloured by crushing inevitability.

Firstly, if it’s about money (and it’s always about money) why make such a show of insisting that he was not for sale? And why not wait until the summer? Give him a full season, ensure that we survive – who knows, maybe even get a top-half finish – let Carroll finish with a 20-plus goal tally, get a couple more impressive international caps to his name; all that would boost the price, then we could cash in. It’s not like he’s coming to the end of a contract, or that he has insisted on leaving.

Secondly, and I know this is going to sound like hero-worshiping and irrational jumping of the gun, but relegation is back on the cards again now, mainly because we are left pondering Hansen’s old maxim ‘who’s going to score the goals?’ Are we really going to invest all our hopes in Shola, Leon Best, Ranger and Lovenkrands? A risk to say the least. But also, importantly, what will this do to the club morale; perhaps our strongest asset this season. As saliently pointed out, what will the likes of Enrique and Barton, both of whom are re-negotiating long-term contracts, think of the clubs ambition? What is to stop them stalling on talks, before having their heads turned in the summer?

Thirdly, this transfer provides yet more proof, as if it were needed, for the fact that Mike Ashley is running this club as a plutocracy that can have only one prominent figure: himself. I think he learned the lesson of the dangers of having populist figures at St. James’ with the whole Keegan debacle. It was only when Hughton began to get constant requests from the ‘Toon Ultras’ for waves (something he always seems strangely reticent to do), and when the national media began to garner praise that his job was threatened. Now Ashley has ousted another fan favourite. It seems the F.C.B. can put up with being despised, as long as there is no-one to take his limelight. As my dad just put it; “for a supposed recluse, he seems to love attention”!

But here is the worst thing – it’s been the leitmotif of Ashley’s whole tenure it seems – it’s the almost wilful stream of misinformation and duplicitous doublespeak leading up to a major event, then almost total silence from the club immediately following it. If someone – anyone – from the club gave a press statement saying ‘look, this is the reasoning behind the deal’ tomorrow, then at least there would be a reason, there would be some concession to at least informing the fans. Any of the following would do: ‘this money will be invested in youth development, this money can be used to ensure the contracts of other big players, this money will be used to bring in two or three young players in the summer, the amount offered was simply too much to turn down’. But I know we will hear nothing. Pardew, having said that Carroll was going nowhere from the moment he took over, will (be told to) keep schtum. The result will be more frustration and bafflement on the terraces; this will manifest in (yet more) ill-feeling towards Ashley, and could turn destructive if results start going against us.

So, who knows what ‘I remembers’ this latest dip in the emotional rollercoaster will spark in the future. NUFC… FFS!      

[1] Just as a little aside – and I know that the effects of inflation over 15 years make this point slightly redundant – Alan Shearer cost £15 million! Alan Shearer at the height of his power cost the amount more that Liverpool offered above Spurs’ £20 million! How far we’ve come!   


7 Responses to “Andy Carroll: Another Messianic Ascension?”

  1. lewis 01/02/2011 at 00:19 #

    I’m impessed. all champ could manage was a three hour long

  2. matt 01/02/2011 at 00:50 #

    I guarantee NUFC will see less than £5m of that “£35m+” reinvested. Not having ‘smart’ at all. Even if we got the ‘lot’….

    OF COURSE! 3 x £12m players!!!

    1) Which £12m players would even come
    2) Obv. this is assuming they take a 30k wage-cap.
    3) No European football.
    4) No prospect of European football.
    5) Probably 3 or 4 installments from LFC anyway,
    6) Meaning 9+ tops per player = 1/3 Darren Bent.
    7) Andy Carroll goals this season = 11
    8) Darren Bent goals this season = 9
    9) Ergo 3 more goals this season.
    10) Leon Best already has 3.

    = No reinvestment at all.

    I’ve said it before (Hughton sacking), but I’ll say it again. I am so fucking close to sacking off this whole charade. So much faith placed in the loyalty, talent and passion of our Gateshead-born number 9, only to be thrown back in your face as he follows the money to play under a man who almost destroyed the club be “loves”. Sickened to my absolute core with the whole ‘modern game’, and I don’t even remember the ‘unmodern game’ – can’t have been worse than this bullshit though.

    Well done Ashley, you took LFC to damn cleaners, £35m. Thirty. Five. Astounding. Credit for that. Not that anyone other than you and your croupier will see any of it however. Why did I ever expect anything better? You have systematically ripped the heart out of this football club in the most robotic and unemotional way I could imagine. Roll on the gates of sub 30k next year, a whole season is only 1 bet on a £1m roulette wheel remember.

    Pardew, well done on looking the tit I always knew you would. “Not for sale”. “Wlll not be leaving”. Wow. You’ve been so undermined that you will surely have lost the dressing room now, if you ever had it. If you had the balls you’d quit. But then again, you don’t. Good luck imposing authority on Tiote, Barton, Simpson, Taylor, Nolan, and Enrique when they inevitably (and hopefully) get out of this shite club in summer.

    Captain Nolan. THAT’S what going out of your way, endangering your family and acting like a normal human being get you. Please go and play Serie B football in Tuscany and live a beautiful life with your wife and children.

    Jose Enrique. Please fuck us off and sign for Milan in the Summer and win the World Cup in 2014.

    Joey Barton: You were bang on as ever: “Most footballers I know are knobs…”

    Fucking awful game.

  3. Edge 01/02/2011 at 09:20 #

    It’s all about football’s perverse business/non-business status I reckons.

    Abramovich injects £71 mill into Chelsea, Torres pushes for move, Liverpool realise they have to let him go but, after already selling Ryan Babel, their only recognised striker is David Ngog(!)so panic and spunk their money up the wall after being held to ransom (Interesting too that original offer for Suarez was only half of final price, which they only met after Torres said he wanted to leave). Depending on which reported prices are real Liverpool have only £1.2 – £2 million net. In other word cash injection is passed on to NUFC and Ajax.

    Who to blame? Abramovich for injecting cash on the day Chelsea announced a loss of £71 million last year? But all clubs use outside injections of cash (if you don’t have a rich owner this probably consists of Bank loans) to buy players – in 2008 only Arsenal made a profit in the Premier League and all clubs have debts with various levels of interest to pay (exceptions: interest free loans of Man City and Chelsea owners).

    Ashley? Personally I don’t think he is selling off popular rivals in the fans attentions. He is surely trying to run NUFC as a business – eliminated majority of debts in relegation season, known to complain that he had to put in £40 – £50 million of his own money, putting in policies (including selling players on at inflated prices/massive profit) that look like business ones. No matter how well Sports Direct is doing shareholder obligations mean he can’t just transfer cash from one business to other – he wants profit within NUFC in longterm (probably in terms of sale price).

    [because he’s doing this something like a fall in attendance would really hurt – in my opinion – which is why I though more fuss should have been kicked up when Hughton left]

    If he doesn’t run it business wise it means it’ll never be an attractive prospect to buy (i.e. he’ll be there forever) and the clubs long-term future could be in jeopardy. If he does your sell local lad star striker and face relegation battle, low morale etc. The modern football dilemma. Business/non-business dilemma.

    It seems wrong and you want to complain, but its some sort of weird globalised market. Players think they are entitled to play for a big club (always bigger than yours)and it can’t really be stopped. Hell there’s entire leagues seen as merely feeder leagues for Prem, La Liga etc and Holland might well be one of them.

    Looking for romance? What about non-league’s Crawley and their cup run? Well they’ve spent more than all the League 2 clubs combined (which incidentally they may have already made back with this cup run).

    It’s just a fucked up business/non-business with no controls.

    UEFA’s fair play rules will make some difference, but football ‘social mobility’ will be dead. Business – wanna win a trophy? Get some outside investment.

    Don’t hate the player hate the game.

  4. Edge 01/02/2011 at 09:27 #

    Oh and final insult, Guardian Headline:

    ‘Fernando Torres could prove to be bargain of the season at £50m’


  5. matt 01/02/2011 at 20:26 #

    Heard Football Weekly’s take on the “Romance of Crawley”, Edge? Interesting stuff.

    Now that I’m sober I can collect my thoughts properly on the whole sorry saga. How didn’t I mention the ‘main man’ in my first reply.

    Carroll is no angel in this whole thing. He had his bezzie-mate Steve Wraith at it, pulling out the damage-limitation stops, from around 7am this morning because he knew his name had turned to shite overight. This was duly picked up by every shitbox media outlet going, and almost instantly it was ‘poor Andy Carroll – forced out’- The Dunstan Diana; wronged and let down..

    The over-arching opinion of #nufc fans on twitter is that Carroll is a greedy, disloyal turncoat, that Ashley will not reinvest, that Pardew was wholly powerless to stop the move – but there also seems to be the view that our team spirit has got us to where we are, and will keep us there.

    Some seem to be suggesting Ashley called Carroll’s bluff by letting him go; that maybe him and his agent we using to bid for some leverage to increase his deal at nufc further, despite it being mere weeks since his last increase.

    “I didn’t want to leave at all. Make sure they know I didn’t want to leave.”

    He’s protesting too much. If he REALLY didn’t want to leave he could have easily fouled up his terms with LFC as the window closure got ever closer, he could have refused to travel etc etc. He wanted more money, he got it. It meant he had to perform a U-turn that would even make Damien Duff blush. How do you go from this:

    “This is Newcastle, this is where I want to be. This is where I want to play my football and live for the rest of my life. The five-year deal I have signed is serious. I would not have signed it if I had wanted to move”.

    to this:

    “When I knew it was real and that there was a chance for me to come here I knew it was a great opportunity and I had to take it.”

    …in a matter of weeks.

    Especially as when he signed that deal his stock was even higher, (actually playing and scoring, not just ‘recuperating’ all over Europe) and, had he wanted it, could have had his ‘dream’ move to LFC or Spurs or whoever, and avoided looking the judas. Maybe we would have wished him well. Not now.

    Still thoroughly sickened to the core with the move, and the mercenary way that AC went about essentially, getting more money – first at NUFC (which didn’t work) then to LFC (which did). I hope that this makes up for the fact that the next time he turns up at Blu Bambu the glasses won’t be slipping out of his hands for one.. or to paraphrase, to be unwelcome in his own city by most for an act of betrayal that I for one, never saw coming.

  6. Scott 01/02/2011 at 22:06 #

    Good stuff as always, but I thought Alan Pardew was pretty convincing and plausible talking about the Carroll deal. Let’s be fair, it seems as if the lad wanted to stay, but only if Newcastle matched Liverpool’s prospective deal (whatever happened to tapping up?).

    Seems to me that Ashley played his hand pretty well* – let’s not forget that the deal was off/on and that Spurs were brought to the table in a bid to get two clearly desperate clubs to auction raise the price. Which they did, and Spurs might have got their man after all… Though I do wonder if their offer was blown out of the water with a reminder from someone in the boardroom that potential part-ex makeweight Peter Crouch was, after all, just a shit Andy Carroll.

    * I’m aware of the province of the metaphor. Good, eh?

  7. punxsutawney phil 02/02/2012 at 14:15 #

    right to work
    Well thought out, your article gets me writing about all of this. don cornelius

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s