When you go shopping for a gift for Mother’s Day this week, I am sure you will put some thought into it, and get her something that you think she’ll like, appreciate and get some use out of.
If she is a fan of romance movies, she’d love it if you bought her a blu-ray of the Fifty Shades trilogy, Titanic or Doctor Zhivago. All movies that a romantic would love, but from vastly different eras.
Football is the same. When considering what you should buy for the fans, an owner should be thinking: who would the fans like enough to keep attending matches?; What type of player would they appreciate pulling on the jersey?; Who could we get the best out of and could win us games?
The answer to these questions does not always fall into a particular blueprint. Some will be exciting youngsters, others will be experienced professionals.
But at Newcastle United, those questions seem somewhat irrelevant. Particularly, it seems, in the case of current loan striker Salomón Rondón.
The Daily Star reports that Mike Ashley is set to torpedo a deal to sign the Venezuelan international at the end of the season because he is 29-years-old, and in the controversial owner’s mind, that is too old.
Forget the fact that he has been in the form of his life this season. Forget too that his goals are the reason that the Magpies look set to secure Premier League survival. Forget, also, that his failure to stay at Newcastle is likely to see him end up at a top flight rival.
Those facts seem to mean nothing to the high street mogul. Because if they’re not under-25, they’re not worth it.
It is a short-sighted view, despite his insistence that it is a long-term strategy.
It is misguided, and destined to fail. The enthusiasm of youth is a fantastic commodity to have at a club — but it must be mixed with experience.
Without someone with the guile and nous of what it takes to succeed at the highest level, how are those youngsters going to hone their talent, discover the tricks, or hear the words of wisdom, that the older pros can offer them?
Rafa Benitez knows this, which is why he wants full control over incoming transfers at St James’ Park. He knows what the experienced players can do to benefit a club — off the field as well as on it.
It is why Newcastle should do everything to keep Rondón at the club.
Getting value for money does not always mean developing a player to increase his value when he reached his peak, as Ashley thinks.
It means having a player who can be a role-model for the younger ones through his performances on the pitch. Someone who can be a voice in the dressing room to encourage them when things are not going well. Who can teach and guide them in training.
That is value for money. That is what can help you get the best out of your younger players. That is the long-term strategy that is needed to build a successful football club.
Mike Ashley does not see it, or think, that way, and it is yet another sign — were any more needed — that he knows nothing about running a football club, and why 52,000 fans are praying for the day that the ‘SOLD’ sign appears outside their stadium.
What are your thoughts Newcastle fans? Should Newcastle do everything they can to keep Rondón? Or is Ashley’s under-25 policy the right way forward? Let us know your opinion…
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