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Interviewed by the Evening Chronicle, published Thursday 07.02.2013
The "s" word - stability:
"The club has never had stability. It needs it. This is too big a club not to have stability. Do we want to find ourselves in a situation when we have a manager for 15 or 20 years? Absolutely. If the manager works, we work. You cannot get any better than that.
"Eventually, you will bring to the club what it has been crying out for. Stability is a big thing for us. We started off with Graham (Carr) and he is a major factor for us. We went through the managers and the coaches, giving them long-term deals, and fundamentally that’s what we want to do.
"You can work through our
backroom team, from masseur all the way through, and they all have
stability. In reality, we do not work like other football clubs.
"Alan, JC, Stoney, Peter
Beardsley – they are all part and parcel of planning for the years to
come. We do not work any other way. We do not make knee-jerk decisions –
we react but we do not knee-jerk.
"Where would that come from? I phoned Mike and asked him if he had heard and he started laughing. He said, ‘They are mad, they do not get us.’
"That is what it is, when things
are bad we are actually stronger as people and as a team. We are
criticised on blogs and forums.
"Those eight-year deals will
continue. We would like to have everybody in place for as long as
"It is a very difficult competition for us. Even now we have to concentrate on the Premier League. In reality, this year we aren’t as ready for it as we’d like to be. Our priority is the league.
"Next year we will have more depth and we will have a better foundation. Then we can go for everything, then it’s different. Once this squad gels, this squad is capable of achieving great things in a very difficult league.
"If we have this squad and we can add the depth to it, we can give a run to anybody. I really think that, but do I think we’re really ready to be in Europe? Talking as somebody who runs this part of the business, we just haven’t got enough depth yet.
"The Premier League is where we
have to be. Let’s concentrate on that. That’s what we have to build
on. We are building."
"There have been three stages to the season. If we go back to the summer, we had a fantastic season last year, it was way above our expectations. We worked really hard to keep our players.
"We had interest and pressure from agents and clubs wanting to buy some of our players. People perhaps do not realise it can be a difficult task to retain them all. We kept them and kept them happy. We brought Vurnon Anita, who I think is going to be a star.
"Then we had the horrendous
injury list – and you cannot have a working model that is set up to
withstand such a horrendous injury list. So we found ourselves in a worse
position than we expected. We had too many top players out for too long."
"Looking at our working model, I had planned for two of those signings to arrive in the summer. We missed out on two others by the way. The other two would have been on top of the five we brought in. They were not next, they would have been on top.
"We just had to bring things forward. Normally we would not do that. I spoke to Graham Carr and he said in football you will not see this again. He felt what was happening with our squad was unprecedented as far as injuries were concerned.
"We felt we had enough because we
had finished fifth with the squad we had and we had added to it. We keep
rolling, so the new players we have now, two of those deals were lined up
for the summer (Gouffran and Sissoko).
"At the end of the day it is a market which excites us. We have to explore other markets, though, which we do. We are still going to other markets. We keep an eye on the UK market too. British players are very expensive, which is a factor for us.
"What is fantastic about our fanbase and Newcastle is they are embracing it (the French influx). Football is entertainment, it is passion. They know we have found a niche and they have bought into that.
"It is getting harder for us in
France. One president of a club said: ‘What are you doing with all the
French players?’ I said: ‘Eventually the national team will just send
their plane to Newcastle and collect them from here!’He laughed –
while he was twisting my arm for more money!”
"He made the decision, so there you go. What can I say? We put our work in, we lost it and we moved on. We did it before with (Modibo) Maiga. We put the work in, we move on – it is what it is.
"Let’s not forget Loic is a very good player. Unfortunately he is now injured, but he has had a season of injuries. Sometimes you have to take that risk because you might not get value in a player. They can rejuvenate themselves when they come here.
"I would not criticise what QPR have done. I would say they have good people behind it and they are giving themselves a chance. The same thing could be said at Villa, it is different for them, they are taking a gamble on the opposite side.
"They are saying ‘We have a decent squad, can they keep us up?’ That is a gamble too. Only a week ago, we were three points away from those guys. Are Mike and I taking a gamble by bringing everything forward? No, it is what we felt we needed to do.
"I would not want to criticise the passion QPR owner Tony Fernandez has, he is very communicative and has a flair and understanding of what the fans want and what he wants for the good of the club.
"I listened to Phil Beard and Tony Fernandes. You take out what you want from what you read in the press. They played down Chris Samba, but if we were in a similar position?
"Tony is a good guy and a good owner and has passion for his club. If Mike and I were in that position we may sit back and say: ‘Do we need two players to push us away from relegation?’
"We might have taken the gamble
too, but not irresponsibly. Tony is not being irresponsible. He is giving
himself and his club a chance. If he did not do anything then he would be
"The guy never missed a day of training and played in every game he was asked to play. What more can you ask? People criticise us for the clause, but it was part of the gamble for Demba as well. Did he want to structure himself in a way where he would not be able to achieve what he wanted to achieve? Every player has that to consider.
"Maybe he wanted to prove
himself, but for us I have no regrets on the Demba deal or Demba leaving.
We have to move forward. With Demba we had him for 18 months and he scored
29 league goals. He went out of the cub his way, and we have replaced
"The Europa League needs fewer
games - that is really the way I see it. The competition needs to be
shaved down and reshaped. The incentives need to be different. The
Champions League is worth around 44.3m if you win it, but the Europa
League is 8m if you win it."
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