Newcastle United had an extraordinary season in the 2011/12 Barclays Premier League, finishing in 5th place with a more than respectable 65 points. The Magpies ended their campaign above the likes of big spending Chelsea and Liverpool and challenged Arsenal and Tottenham for Champions League places but, arguably the most interesting thing about their success, was the fact they did it while making a profit.
Manager Alan Pardew was appointed on the 9th December 2010 following the unexpected departure of fans favourite Chris Hughton. Wimbledon born Pardew was only backed by a minority of Newcastle fans. Fans anger grew when local superstar Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool for an astonishing £35 million on the last day of the January 2011 transfer window, and to add to their rage, no replacement was brought in, and in most supporters’ opinions, this left them short when it came to attacking options. Amid this, people seemed to forget that Pardew secured the services of loanee Hatem Ben Arfa for a reasonable fee of £5.75 million who has recently more than proved his worth, and incidentally earned himself a call up to the French national squad for the European Championships. Apart from a few loan arrivals and departures Carroll and Ben Arfa’s transfers were the only ones of note in this window.
This brings us nicely to the summer of 2011. Newcastle finished the 2010/11 season in 12th place, two places behind their fierce rivals Sunderland, much to the disappointment of the Geordie faithful. Although the new season didn’t start till August, it was as soon as the previous season finished when Newcastle United’s work started, with much praise ought to be given to head wonder-scout Graham Carr. Fans were once again disgruntled when free scoring midfielder Kevin Nolan was sold to Championship outfit West Ham for a fee of around £3.5 million and again when midfield anchor man Joey Barton was snapped up on a free by London based Queens Park Rangers but, little did the supporters know that this was a blessing in disguise. Too add to Chris Hughton’s signing of midfielder Cheick Tiote a year earlier who was a revelation on Tyneside, the services of Lille midfield maestro Yohan Cabaye were secured, going some way to relieving the fans pain of losing two of their most influential players. The Geordies then took a gamble when other clubs wouldn’t, and signed former West Ham striker Demba Ba on a free transfer. Although Ba was a striker, fans didn’t see him as a legitimate replacement for Andy Carroll, they wanted owner Mike Ashley put his hand in his pocket. As time passed and the transfer deadline neared its climax, there was still no stand out figure that would fill the vacant number nine shirt previously occupied by the likes of Alan Shearer and Malcolm Macdonald, despite Newcastle gaining players such as Sylvain Marveaux, Mehdi Abeid, Gabriel Obertan and Davide Santon. Despite fans dismay that they had not found a new number nine, the season started well, with Newcastle going on an eleven game unbeaten run, leaving them much higher than expected in the Premier League Table.
It was in January 2012 where Newcastle United’s best piece of business came about, when Pardew managed to sign Senegalese striker Papiss Demba Cisse from Bundesliga side SC Freiburg. Cisse was pivotal in The Magpies 2011/12 campaign, scoring 13 goals in just 12 appearances. It was also recently revealed that Newcastle are set to announce a profit of £10 million, which is a real coup when you compare it with other Premier League clubs. Although Newcastle do have debts, £111 million of them in fact, these are just in the form of loans from owner Mike Ashley, not from the banks. Compare this with Manchester United for example; they have debts well in excess of £400 million.
So, with more transfer coups expected to be pulled off by the magpies this summer, the 2012/13 is lining up to be as exciting , enthralling and mouth-watering as ever, and one that Newcastle fans across the world will be ready to meet with much anticipation and high expectations.
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