Newcastle Need More Star Power
The new Newcastle home shirt for the 2011/12 Premier League season is released on 19th May as the Geordies look forward to another season in England’s top flight following their shock relegation to the Championship for the 2009-10 season. As the club reflect on what has been a successful and relatively comfortable first season back in the Premiership, the release so early of the new kit shows there really is no time to waste in planning for next season.
2010/11 has been a season of many highs for Newcastle, with thrashings against Aston Villa, West Ham and most notably Sunderland underlying their status as a top flight side. Relegation was never a serious worry and even the disruption of Chris Hughton’s controversial departure or the last minute January sale of star striker Andy Carroll didn’t derail the clubs progression.
However, although Newcastle do not fully fit the mould of a “newly promoted club”, the reality is they are one and statistics show that it is the second season which is toughest for these clubs. Club legend Alan Shearer this week spoke of the need to spend £10m “just to stand still” and reinforcements will be needed to the clubs squad to ensure they are able to continue to progress for the new campaign.
This summer will certainly be a huge test of Mike Ashley’s ambition for Newcastle United. The £35m received for Andy Carroll in January has not yet been spent and if used wisely, could not only help Newcastle avoid looking over their shoulder towards relegation, but could provide the basis for them to push forward and back towards competing for a European place as they did in the glory days of Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson.
How much of the £35m boss Alan Pardew will be able to spend remains to be seen, but Newcastle fans – who support their club through thick and thin – will be expecting to see the majority if not all reinvested in the team.
The release of the new home shirt raises an interesting point. In days gone by, Newcastle have always had a number of star players such as Shearer, Faustino Asprilla or David Ginola who would sell football shirts in their droves. While the clubs fans will buy the new jersey regardless, Newcastle currently lack the big name star who is going to help them market themselves as a brand to a wider global audience. As a result of years of mismanagement, Newcastle have fallen behind in merchandising and marketing terms which had diluted their presence as one of the biggest clubs in the Barclays Premier League.
With £35m burning a hole in his pocket, now is the time for Newcastle to invest in real quality which can re-establish themselves as a leading Premiership force and put St James Park back on the global map.
Written by Eddie Smith, a sports blogger who writes about official football shirt printing.
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