Newcastle United have confirmed they will continue to relegate Cup competitions to a secondary consideration next season – as they pledge to “stick to their principles” in the wake of fan anger.
For those asking for the club to show more ambition next season, the message projected within the Fans Forum minutes that were released on Wednesday was a familiar one.
As expected, United have backed Alan Pardew to continue next season despite the protests that dominated matches at the end of last term. But other than that the message from their end of season Fans Forum – which was attended by managing director Lee Charnley and John Irving – is that their approach on many of the key issues will not change next season.
They stressed an inability to compete with the top six financially and said the club must concentrate on being the best United “pound-for-pound”.
The club did confirm that money will be spent in the summer transfer window, but it is their steadfast approach to the Cups which will continue to infuriate supporters who see that as a route to glory with the Premier League now the preserve of the mega-rich.
Quite simply, the club does not believe that it is worth risking the funds collected from being in the Premier League by committing to the Cups. When challenged by supporters on the forum on their attitude to the knock-out competitions, they produced “independent research” to back up their belief that teams outside the top six that win Cups are usually relegated.
The minutes stated: “The board outlined research into Premier League clubs in relation to domestic cup competitions in the last five years, with Swansea City the only club outside the traditional top six to win a domestic cup and not be relegated in the same season (Birmingham and Wigan Athletic were both relegated).
“Independent research into the cost of relegation over the past ten years showed there is a 50% chance of not gaining promotion back to the top flight and a 30% chance of being relegated to League One or further. In addition, if clubs do return to the Premier League, it takes four years on average.”
Pardew’s future had been a major topic of discussion towards the end of the campaign with the manager himself admitting that he “hoped” to still be at St James’ Park next year.
But United backed him, and said they would be taking legal action against reports that stated they’d sounded out other managers, including St Etienne boss Christopher Galtier. In the minutes, an unequivocal statement read: “The board stated that Alan Pardew will remain the club’s manager. The board stated that incorrect media reports which claimed Newcastle United had contacted other individuals about the manager position were in the hands of the club’s legal team.”
United also effectively squashed talk of fans abandoning the club by saying the number not renewing season tickets was the same as last year – six per cent.