Alan Shearer will be offered a four-year contract to continue in his post as Newcastle United manager today, when he meets Mike Ashley for the first of a series of critical meetings that will determine the relegated club’s immediate future.
Shearer is eager to remain in his position following the expiration of his eight-game deal, but will demand complete autonomy over playing matters at St James’ Park and will request a transfer budget in excess of £10 million on top of whatever money he can bring in through player sales. In turn, Newcastle’s owner will point out that an annual wage bill of £74 million is unsustainable in the Coca-Cola Championship and must be halved.
After their 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa on Sunday – a result that condemned Newcastle to existence outside the top division for the first time in 16 years – Shearer called in his players to the club’s Longbenton training ground at 9.30am yesterday. Over 45 minutes, they were provided with summer fitness programmes and told that pre-season training will commence on July 1.
In brief remarks to the first-team squad, Shearer intimated strongly that he would return to the dugout and warned that significant upheaval would follow. “If I’m here next season, there are going to be big, big changes,” he said. He will look to freshen his coaching staff, with Colin Calderwood’s departure as one of the first-team coaches expected to pre-empt John Carver’s return to the club.
The scale of the task facing Shearer is enormous. “The problem this club has got is that the other Championship teams have already started preparing regarding players and everything else,” he said. “Newcastle are already lagging behind. The sooner a decision is made, the better for everyone.
“It needs to be filled with people who love this club. We’re up against it already. We have to get over what happened at Aston Villa. We need to look at it with a clear head. I will give them my opinion on what is wrong and what needs to be done.”
Shearer will present Ashley and Derek Llambias, the managing director – whose statement expressing “disappointment” in the immediate aftermath of relegation contained no apology to supporters – with a list of players he wishes to retain. Steve Harper, the goalkeeper, Steven Taylor and Nicky Butt will figure prominently, but offers on most other players will be considered.
Players such as Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Claudio Caçapa and Peter Lovenkrands are all out of contract and will leave, while there is little chance of high-earners such as Obafemi Martins, Gérémi, Alan Smith, Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez staying at the club. Buyers will also be sought for Joey Barton, Xisco and José Enrique, although the danger for Newcastle is that interested clubs may be unwilling to match their wages; Xisco, for example, is believed to have a six-year contract worth £50,000 a week.
Taylor, the England Under-21 captain, has pledged his future to the club he supported as a boy, while there were also words of encouragement for Shearer from Damien Duff, the Ireland midfield player. “I am as loyal as they come, whether the gaffer stays or not,” Duff said. “But if there is one man to get us back up, it is him. It has been a proper football club for eight weeks and it was about time it was.”
As ever, Ashley’s intentions are unknown, but having invested more than £250 million in Newcastle, the club are now effectively valued at £100 million. A potential takeover involving Freddy Shepherd, the former chairman, has been mooted, although the financial position is stark, with the club’s annual television income of £40 million being replaced by a £12 million parachute payment, plus Championship television revenue.
it’s quite emotional to see newcastle and middlesborough relegated this season. they used to be the big strong clubs. especially newcastle. but with shearer guiding them now.. they’ll bounce back. give him some time to rebuild and maybe after few seasons they’ll come back strong.. i have to agree with espn comentators the other day while watching the game, the club needs major change from top to bottom. anyhow i wish good luck to them. article from TimesOnline.