Newcastle United is a business, not a football club.
That's the message club representatives had for Newcastle fan groups who attended the first meeting of the newly created Fans Forum at St James' Park on Monday night.
The meeting was attended by Club Secretary Lee Charnley, Finance Director John Irving, Head of Media Wendy Taylor and Head of Newcastle United Foundation Kate Bradley.
Discussion centred around the club's accounts, transfer policy, the appointment of Joe Kinnear and the Wonga deal.
It was a welcome change from the usual silence of senior figures in the club hierarchy, but the club's future plans don't make good reading - and it would seem like fears of a lack of ambition are slowly being realised.
The six key points as outlined by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust are:
- Mike Ashley has no real intention, desire or ambition to sell the club.
- The club's five year plan is to establish the club in the top ten of the Premiership.
- The cup competitions are not a priority for the club. They are used to be able to look at our squad as a whole. The focus is on a top ten league place because the financial rewards are so great.
- Transfer policy continues to be to target players under the age of 26, but there is some flexibility. In the summer, the club wanted to retain the players we had rather than buying because they thought we had a good squad.
- Joe Kinnear was appointed because Mike Ashley wanted someone he trusts to work with the football side of the club and have the football conversations with Alan Pardew.
- The financial planning is done on a three year cycle linked to the TV money. Newcastle's only debts are interest free debts owed to Mike Ashley which are unlikely to be called in until and if the club is sold.
So, top ten is the target with no ambition to win a cup, for the next five years - at least.
What do you make of this insight from Newcastle United representatives?
image: © machernucha