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Andy Carroll Departure 
NUFC.com's coverage of the events of Monday January 31st 2011

 

 

10:45 First rumblings of a bid from Liverpool for Carroll, claimed to be £30m.
11:15 Reports that NUFC have rejected that bid.
11:30 Claims emerge that Carroll asking price is £35m.
11:45 NUFC confirm that Pardew's press conference moves from 2pm Darsley to 3.30pm SJP.
14.30 NUFC confirm that Pardew press conference is cancelled - "may be held tomorrow".
15:00
Reports that LFC have bid £35m for Carroll - conditional on sale of Torres to Chelsea
15:30 Carroll reported "keen" to join LFC.
16:45
NUFC reported to have rejected £35m LFC offer.
17.30
LFC announce that they have agreed a fee for Carroll.
17.30
Carroll reported to en route from Newcastle to Liverpool in Mike Ashley's helicopter.
18.15
NUFC confirm Carroll submitted a transfer request that was "reluctantly accepted".
19:00
Carroll seen at Liverpool airport and LFC Melwood training ground.
22:45
LFC and NUFC confirm completion of Carroll deal.
23:00 Transfer window closes.

(all timings are approximate and vary slightly between different media sources)

Andy Carroll joined Liverpool on a five and a half year deal around 10.45pm on Monday. Confirming the deal, NUFC called it an undisclosed fee, although most other sources went with £35m plus undisclosed add-ons.

The thigh injury that means Carroll hasn't kicked a ball in anger since December 28th 2010 and required specialist assessment in Sweden last week didn't prevent him passing his Anfield medical.

Bizarrely, the club's mouthpiece SkySports claimed that the tipping point had come when Carroll submitted a transfer request to NUFC on Monday. As if that makes a shred of difference, once the big wedge was offered. 

Monday's Chronicle back page headline at Noon had rather a different take on the situation: 

ACE CARROLL: I WANT TO STAY

(which does tie within previous press interviews about never wanting to leave, happy wearing the shirt etc.)

If that is the case though - and we understand that the number nine is reluctant to leave United - then failing to agree terms would put the cat among the pigeons and blow a hole in the supposed transfer request. Therefore, you can only conclude that in the end, the player wanted to go as much as the club wanted him to go.   

Quite where this leaves Alan Pardew though is open to question, having repeatedly said since he arrived that Carroll wouldn't leave in this window - forcefully making that point to journalists as recently as January 17th:

"They can put together whatever they like. He is not for sale. I am going to say it one last time, he is not for sale."

The difficulty in bringing in another striker at this late stage means that Ashley is taking a colossal gamble that the current squad can avoid relegation this season.

The much-praised team spirit at SJP will now also be called into question - quite what those players who have signed new deals and are about to do so will make of Carroll's departure remains to be seen.

As to the $55,468,000 question of whether Gateshead's most recent full England international is worth it.....

Given the financial issues that see United continue to trim their costs to the bone, £35m+ seems too good to turn down for a player with some recent off-field "history". 

And if Carroll managed to find trouble on nights out in a one-club city, then he may be in for a rude awakening when he treads the boards in the North West. It might be an ill-advised phrase, but the jury's out on that one...

Inevitably it proved impossible to acquire a replacement - after deadline day dealing last year brought us Leon Best maybe that's a blessing - but the prospect of that full £35m going on players in the next transfer window doesn't strike us as very likely.

Could we be under new ownership by then? Would we still be in the Premier League? Gambling on the latter seems like a big fat punt but that's par for the course now round these parts.

The departure of James Milner to Aston Villa in August 2008 for £12m was deemed to have been good business, but as we pointed out at the time, you can't play a bag of money on the wing. For January 2011, read "up front".  

In theory, £35m would buy you three or four perfectly serviceable players that would boost our squad - or ten Cheick Tiote's. But not within a few hours....

Aware of a desire from both Liverpool and Spurs to sign a striker with just hours of the transfer window remaining, why couldn't Newcastle have stonewalled Carroll bids, in the knowledge that the same clubs will have the same funds in the summer - and the same vacancy.

Carroll by then could have scored the goals that kept United in the league, before departing to wherever he pleased, leaving Alan Pardew to invest at his leisure.

So why couldn't they wait? Because this is a dash for cash perhaps? Flogging the club's number one asset before high-tailing it out of town. We can but hope.

The farcical "turning down offers" looks to be nothing short of a pathetic, patronising pantomime and a deliberate drip-feeding of information - with the transfer request a poor attempt at a face-saving exercise.

It's worth noting that Liverpool currently sit just two points ahead of us, having played one more game. They are currently managed by a failed ex-Newcastle manager who trawled the world to bring us Andreas Andersson, Stephane Guivarc'h and George Georgiadis....

The Reds currently occupy a smaller ground than us and are watched by smaller average crowds. Big club, my arse, as a well-known Scouser might say. Perhaps they just have more ambitious owners, who did due diligence...

From £0 to £35m in 91 games represents a fine example of the declared Ashley/Llambias policy of emulating Arsenal in developing young talent, signing unknown overseas players, making them into first team players - and then selling them. It's not much fun up in Level 7 though.

The sums involved here are another reminder that we're quite literally not in the same league as the mega money men like Liverpool - whether we'll physically be in the same league as them by August remains to be seen. 

Everything else -Geordie boy, famous number nine, fog on the bloody Tyne, whatever - goes out the window. Football romance is dead, everyone is a liar, contracts should be printed on toilet paper. None of that - or this deal - should come as a surprise to anyone. All depressingly predictable.

PS: Start the new month with a new attitude, draw another one of those lines in the sand and turn over your official NUFC calendar to February 2011 - oh, it's a big picture of Andy Carroll.... 

Derek Llambias quoted in The Sun, Wednesday:

"We didn't push Andy Carroll out, far from it - he asked to go. The fact is Mike Ashley didn't want to sell him, it's not like he needs the money is it? And remember we turned down bids of £30m and then £35m from Liverpool.

"That's serious money for a 22-year-old with only six months' experience in the Premier League. But finally Mike's point of view was the player's put in a transfer request, so what can we do?

"Andy was already earning top money at the club after signing a new deal recently.

"But he said he'd been offered £80,000-a-week from Liverpool and asked what we would pay to make him stay. We told him the club just couldn't afford to give him a deal like that, nothing close.

"And when we said 'No' - well, that's when he put in his transfer request. Yes, he went in our helicopter. But the sooner the deal was done the sooner we could make our own moves in the transfer market. It was already very late.

"We will spend in the summer. Every penny of the £35m will stay in the club."*

* some people have interpreted that as spending £35m in transfer fees. We haven't.

Alan Pardew, quoted in the Shields Gazette, Tuesday:

"What can I say? We didnít force anybody to leave.

"I disagree with that point. He had a contract here for five years, and at some point it would get renewed, but for him to sign in October and it get renewed in January Ė where would it stop?

"Personally, Iím disappointed. Heís a lovely lad, and I really like him, but it was his decision, and you canít change that.

"Was this about football? Thatís what you have to ask. I donít think it was. We turned down a big offer, and they came back with a second big offer. We were having a discussion about what we were going to do with that offer when Andy requested to see me.

"I went to see Andy, and face to face we had a conversation about him wanting a new contract, even though he signed on in October, and if he didnít get that contract, he wanted go.

"I asked him what he wanted, and I went to the board. We had a discussion about what the ramifications would be for the whole club. We took the view, with him signing a contract in October, that this would cause us all sorts of problems.

"We decided that we needed the conversation confirmed, and he put in a transfer request, which he did. He spoke to his agent, and between them they put the request in. We decided with the size of the offer, and what it meant to us, that we would accept.

"We werenít expecting him to go, so we werenít in a position to replace him. One thing I can guarantee, having spoke to Mike Ashley, is that every penny will go back into the club*. Mikeís assured me he wonít take a penny out of the transfer.

"We never put him up for sale Ė we fended off a bid from another Premiership club, but no clubís about one player. Weíre absolutely gutted that heís gone. Itís disappointing, but weíre not in a financial position like Liverpool.Ē

* again, some people have interpreted that as spending £35m in transfer fees. We haven't.

Further quotes from the BBC:

"When I first heard of a substantial bid, my advice was to turn it down as the reaction time for us to buy anyone else was too small, regardless of the size of the offer and Derek and Mike agreed with it.

I wanted Andy to stay but events took over and the size of the fee was obviously a big part of that. We have got an extraordinary figure for a 21-year-old who has done six months in the Premier League.

"Could it have been used (on Monday)? Late last night we made a couple of bids, but we were getting extortionate figures thrown at us. It was ridiculous. 

"Were we going to pay an over-inflated price for a lesser product than Andy Carroll? No, so unfortunately as I sit here now, I am weaker than I was yesterday because I had Andy Carroll maybe four or five weeks away [from full fitness].

"No, I am not comfortable with it, but it is what it is. That doesn't feel good and that's part of why it's a difficult day because I've got to prepare a team to play Fulham, but we have to stay strong as a group and my message to the players and fans is that we have to be strong in the second half of the season. We have done well without him and we have to continue doing that.

"Andy is probably slightly misguided. We didn't twist his arm to get on the helicopter. If he wanted to stay he could, but he's not here. He had a five-year contract and we said we would renew it in the summer but he wanted it renewed straight away and that is when the power shifted.

"Andy's a local boy and he doesn't want to have bad feelings with everyone and I don't want that either. He's gone to a good club and good luck to him.

"And it wasn't just about Andy Carroll. If we did a deal with him where does that leave everyone else at the club? If he scores another five goals does he get another contract? This is about Newcastle United being bigger than anyone and the decision was right for the club."

Alan Pardew on the official NUFC website:

"...our last few performances without Andy have been terrific and we need to carry that on....if Andy really wanted to stay then he could have stayed. But he's not here."

Andy Carroll, speaking to the Chronicle, Tuesday:

"I was in talks about a new contract and talking to the gaffer about that. He told me that they are now not going to give me a contract. That was as soon as the offer of £30m came in.

"So I asked why
(I wasnít getting a new contract) and he said his hands were tied. He said it wasnít up to him. Then a £35m bid got accepted and then I was allowed to talk to Liverpool. The owner then made it clear to me that I was not wanted at the club. Saying that his own helicopter is waiting for me to go down to talk to them. 

"So being shown Iím not wanted I said OK I will talk to them. Then suddenly the bid was rejected and then Derek asked me to hand in a transfer request. So I was pushed into a corner and had no choice. I wasnít wanted by them and they made it clear they wanted the money.

"Then I flew down in his (Ashleyís) helicopter. I didnít want to leave. Iím gutted that I wasnít wanted at my home team after everything Iíve done and progress Iíve made. I didnít want to leave at all. Make sure they know I didnít want to leave. The players, staff and fans were fantastic."

 

We can't help wondering what would have happened if Carroll had actually said no to Liverpool? What could the Newcastle management have threatened him with? Would they really have left their prize £35m asset to rot in the reserves for the rest of the season?

And to those claiming £35m is a "great deal for Newcastle" - only if every penny of that gets spent on quality players. What happens to the money if Ashley sells the club?

We may see some summer signings but don't forget that will be with season ticket money and Sky dosh - only something
approaching £50m will actually see the Carroll fee being reinvested.

Anyone willing to wager we'll see that sort of spending? Pardew certainly seems to think so, but there again his most recent predictions about Andy Carroll's future hardly inspire confidence that he has any more idea about what's going on here than the punters have....

Andy Carroll, LFC press conference, Thursday (extract):

"I have a massive respect for Newcastle. Itís my home club and Iím not really going to talk about what happened there. My friends and family are still there. Newcastle means a lot to me but Iím a Liverpool player now.


"Kevin Nolan told me it is a great club and that I should settle in well and the fans will take to me. He has got a few friends down here and that will help to settle in.

ďIn fact, I already feel at home here, everyone had been great with me. I know a lot of people down here through Kevin, Joey Barton and Ryan Taylor. So I have a lot of friends down here who were always going up in Newcastle every week anyway. They could be up a couple of weeks at a time so Iíd see them in and around the training ground. Iím seeing the same people down here anyway.

"I donít mind a pint now and again, but that is the way I have been brought up; thatís who I am and Iím not really going to change. Iím just going to carry on playing my football, keep my head down and do it at the right time. Iíve made some mistakes but they are all behind me.

"Iíve been in the headlines for the wrong reasons and when Iíve been travelling to Sunday games, reading the papers on the way and looking at all those headlines ... Everybody at the club and my friends and family knew they werenít true. It didnít bother me.

"Iím aware the spotlightís on me. Whoever it was, given the money spent, was going to be followed around. I know theyíll be watching what Iím doing. But I know I can score goals so I can handle the spotlight. Iíve scored the winner against Arsenal.

"I knew it (the NUFC number 9 shirt) was empty and knew Iíd done well the season before in the Championship. So I thought Iíd go in and ask for it. Watching Shearer when I had a season ticket, that was the shirt I wanted.Ē


PS: Wigan Athletic confirmed in the final hour of the transfer window that they had rejected a £10m bid for Charles N'Zogbia from Newcastle United - and United then were given the bums rush over an alleged £12m offer.

Where do you start with this? Selling a striker and trying to buy a midfielder, looking to bring back a player who made an ignominious departure from SJP for half the price, or trying to wheedle a last-minute favour out of a club owner who is a regular critic of all things Ashley? Bullsh*t.

PPS: Spurs boss Harry Redknapp talking Sky Sports News on Monday night:

"I had a good laugh this afternoon watching an interview from Newcastle, I thought it was the most amusing thing I'd seen, how hard Newcastle have fought to keep him, how they've pulled out all the stops, he's handed in a transfer request but they've battled it all the way and they've got the £35m for him.

"I thought, 'My God'. Every time they sell a player these clubs they have to want the player to put in a transfer request to make it look like they don't want to sell him. It's good money for the boy, but I'm sure they're quite happy with the business they've done."

Unfortunately, Sky didn't ask him on camera about his club's bid for the Newcastle striker last week - we're now starting to wonder whether even that was genuine, or a bid of the sort that we made when Wayne Rooney was on the verge of quitting Everton.

Earlier that same day Redknapp was quoted as saying: 

"I never made a bid for Andy Carroll. Maybe the chairman did but I never did. Nobody has told me we've made a bid."


Harry Redknapp, January 17th 2011: 

"We are nowhere near getting Andy Carroll. How much is he? You are talking £30million to 40million."

Well that was a lucky guess wasn't it? Anyone would think that the loveable old rogue could see into the future... 

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Page last updated 19 November, 2014