Serendipity

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Geordie Nation v Janner Nation

Found an old newspaper today. This article was in it:

http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,1704798,00.html#article_con tinue

It was written just after Souness was fired and as Newcastle looked for a new manager. A situation not dissimilar to our own at present. Amongst other things it suggests how Newcastle were turned from also rans in the 2nd Division to the club they are today. The article pulls no punches about the financial commitment, or rather lack of it, from the board or the vast sums realised by the Hall family and Freddy Shepherd along the way.

The Big Question is: What price are we prepared to pay?

If we roll back the years then Argyle and Newcastle were very similar clubs. Attendances were about the same; both clubs had just appointed extremely high profile managers (Shilton and Keegan); both clubs struggling to avoid relegation. They did. We did not.

Ignoring what we have done since - that is not the focus of this posting - and concentrating on what they have done I have to ask... Could we do the same (or at least similar)? Do we want to do the same?

Hall exploited the siege mentality of the Geordie: far away from London, suspicious of southerners, deprived of influence in the corridors of power, proud of their area and turned it into a positive force for the team.

We tick all those boxes or at least directly comparable ones.

That passion, loyalty and pride was then mercilessly exploited at a financial level. Bonds were issued. Prices went through the roof. Shares issued and fortunes made.

Keegan-inspired Newcastle thrived and became a beacon for all things Geordie, the ground got redeveloped to a 50 000 capacity, huge signings, European football, Cup Finals and glory (no trophies though).

Newcastle now sit resplendent not at the very top of the tree but near it and established and along the way Shepherd and the Hall family in one way or another have profited very nearly £45m!!

Is there a model there for us to follow? To hell with the concept of organic growth, to blazes with "run by fans for fans". Should we rush headlong into the embrace of venal, self-serving capitalism to gain the success that we all yearn for?

Or is it all a price too high and not worth paying?

Would you want Argyle to be successful even if you couldn't afford to go and be a part of it?

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