Is ‘weird dynamic’ with ‘salty’ Howe a contributing factor in Ashworth’s defection to Man Utd?

Editor F365
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe during a Premier League match.


Has a ‘weird dynamic’ at Newcastle contributed to Dan Ashworth’s decision to move to Man Utd? Plus, debates around spending caps, the blue card, ‘red cartel’ nonsense and more…

Get your views in to…


Salty Howe 
Unguarded comments from Eddie Howe today. He seems to be talking about Newcastle as someone like Sir Alex would talk about United. As if he runs the place.

Howe was appointed as Head Coach of Newcastle. Whilst the terms Manager and Head Coach have been and continue to be used interchangeably, there is a difference in remit between modern head coaches and old school managers like Fergie, I.e. head coaches have less responsibility.

It would be interesting to see how things work at Newcastle in practice as the way he spoke about Dan Ashworth – a man who in theory has Howe’s Newcastle career in the palm of his hand – as an equal or even an employee.

Seems like a weird dynamic there and maybe something that has contributed to Ashworth considering leaving.

I guess if Howe is in charge of more than just coaching then Liverpool can expect some good bids coming in from Newcastle for some of their young players in the not too distant future.
Ash (can someone explain gardening leave to me, seems like Berrada has started early) Metcalfe


Spending cap…
Tarqs from Woolwich asks
why a spending cap equal for all clubs would be worse than the current system. Well Tarqs though I know exactly what you mean its Friday and I have a headache so I’m choosing to be a pedantic bastard. The system we currently have is an equal spending cap. Clubs are equally required not to spend in excess of £105m more than they generate in revenue over any 3 year period. That is a spending cap, same for everyone. You’re just unhappy the cap is related to a clubs revenue rather than some arbitrary figure that allows Newcastle’s royal owners to spaff their oil profits right in your face.

What often gets forgotten is how obvious it was 20 years ago that football needed some stricter financial regulation. Whilst transfer fees had always been trending upward there was a jump from the late 90’s where £10m – £15m was common for the best players to the early 00’s when it quickly became £35m – £45m. The Premier League was at the forefront of this spending increase but it was being done with reckless abandon across all of European football. It was a regular occurrence for a club to spend big for a season or two (especially after a new owners took control) become some version of successful then collapse as the money disappeared and the debt piled up, tumbling down the leagues or worse into administration. It happened all the time.

In 2008 13 of the 20 Premier League clubs recorded a financial loss for the year. The worlds most popular and richest league couldn’t sustain itself. Football has never been a particularly lucrative business and it still don’t make that much money all things considered but since the introduction of financial restrictions clubs are in a far better position. As soon as FFP came into effect in 2013 the Premier League became profitable, in 2017 the top 5 leagues of Europe collectively made a profit for the first time ever. Just look at the effect the Premier League have had by charging one club with a PSR breach, January spending is down massively as clubs tighten their belts. So really you’re utterly incorrect when saying ‘FFP does not seem to keep clubs from going under’ because that’s exactly what it continues to do.

FFP is a rare example of a governing organisation doing something which is broadly good for everyone in the sport. A big picture, greater good type thing which come around far too infrequently.  Its not the barrier people portray it as, it’s a brake, a hand on the shoulder and quiet word saying ‘slow down a bit, we’ve seen this happen before and it usually doesn’t end well’. Its not anti-competitive, in fact just the opposite, it maintains competition by restricting the uber wealthy’s ability to ‘Level Up’ a club with a huge cash dump. Football is now more sustainable as a business, meaning your club will likely still be around in 100 years for your great great grandchildren to enjoy. That’s a good thing. If in turn it means Newcastle have to wait a season or two to spend £100m on a player then I think its worth the sacrifice, don’t you?
Dave, Manchester


“Colour Blind” 
Hi there,

Chris Bridgeman asks why the “blue card” isn’t orange, as that’s the colour between red and yellow, in an email headed “colour blind.” The answer is probably in his email heading. I have deuteranopia, (formally known as “daltonism”) which is the most common form of colour-blindness, and this makes it very difficult for me to distinguish between different levels or intensities of red (also greens, but that’s by the by.) People affected by this condition (1 in 5,000 people in the UK) may not be able to consistently determine the difference between red and orange.

In my case, I generally can, but I remember watching a game between Doritos-era Wolves and Liverpool on a very sunny day, and really struggling to distinguish between the teams.

So, yeah, that’s probably why.
Dara O’Reilly, London


Blue Card concept ill-conceived
The proposed Blue Card idea appears illogical, lacks clarity and appeals and has the potential to add more confusion and misunderstanding to the “world game”.  I am not persuaded to give credence to the idea and I believe that the concept is ill-conceived  and that a total rethink will be in order. Officials have no doubt been struggling in some matches to interprete the rules, make decisions and implement them. To introduce Blue Cards will definitely create further challenges, disagreements and anger. While still waiting for the full protocols, the recently revealed protocols on goal keepers and Blue Cards are utterly unfathomable, make no sense at all and will bring the “world game” into disrepute. A number of related questions may be raised and I am drawing attention to a few essential ones. How can any team afford a 2nd goal keeper on the pitch? What position will that goal keeper play when the normal goal keeper  is the posts? How will that affect the overall performance of the team?  and what will be fans’ reaction if a goal is scored or conceded during that period? Sight should also not be lost of the fact that teams lacking depth in their squad will be unduly punished. Many teams don’t have good 2nd goal keepers and we should not ignore the potential consequences. Proponents of this concept should reconsider.
Professor (Dr) David Achanfuo Yeboah


No Country For Old Men 
I don’t disagree with large parts of the criticism of IFAB and the people who run football, generally speaking. Certainly not enough to write in to argue against it. But after reading Gofezo’s Mailbox contribution on Friday morning I wanted to make one observation.

Gofezo wrote that IFAB are “displaying the behavior of stale old men rapidly losing relevance and desperately flailing around trying to find something, anything to justify their waning influence and prolong their undeserved involvement”. This is not an outlier opinion; I’ve seen it expressed fairly often.

My observation: we (= ‘football fans / the media / the F365 Mailbox’) used to complain that the people who ran football were old men who refused to get with the modern era and embrace change. Now we are complaining that the people who run football are old men who are making changes for the sake of staying relevant. It seems we just don’t like old men running football, regardless of what they do. (I’m not pointing this out as right or wrong – and I am distinctly middle-aged so I don’t have any particular skin in the game).
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


‘Red cartel’ nonsense…
This ‘red cartel’ nonsense is becoming more prevalent and it’s got me thinking, is it possible that the sportswashers are using bots and amplification to influence the twitter discourse so that the narrative steers away from oil states and their completely benign power grab (apart from the obvious in the PL we’ve got LIV Golf, Boxing, F1, World Cups, Winter flipping Olympics)?

Or are we really going down the path that football is completely in thrall to the whims of 3 clubs who could be outvoted on everything in the PL due to the structure of the statutes.

Quick question for all those who think that FFP is a grand conspiracy dreamed up by the ‘red cartel’ to maintain the status quo.

Why do The Championship, League 1 and League 2 have FFP rules in place?
James Outram, Wirral


Grief and Love (In response to John Matrix AFC mail about losing his brother
Dear John,

I do not write too often but I have read your mails before and within the F365 community, I almost feel like I know some people who are ultimately only names and aliases on my screen. So to hear about the death of your brother absolutely broke my heart and compelled me to write. In case the editors do not publish this mail, I do hope they send it to you but I do hope they can forgive me for not delving too much into football in this mail.

I have had the great misfortune of having buried/cremated too many family and friends since a very early age. So from an early age I have had to grapple with grief and the finality of death. They say time heals all wounds but to be honest, while there is some truth to it, there are days and circumstances where that void just becomes real and painful all over again. When a classmate of mine died in a road accident in 11th grade, our school principal (who was otherwise a right proper knobhead) said something that has always stayed with me. He told us that we must internalize at least one great quality of the departed and bring it into our lives. That way, we honor their memory and they continue to live on within us.

I lost more friends and family since then but his words always stayed with me. Today, I find myself on occasion listening to a couple of immensely peaceful religious hymns that my grandmother used to listen to (even though it would be a stretch to call myself religious). I find myself offering my immensely wise departed uncle’s pearls of wisdom to my friends and have fully internalized his immensely generous persona. I find myself reading a certain author or donating to certain charities that another departed friend used to love. There are many more such examples. But the point is, that I reflected on these today when reading your email and it fills me with both joy and sadness. Joy that I had the opportunity to have these people in my life and that their favourite things have enriched my life so. Sadness, that perhaps they might never know how deeply they have left a mark on me.

I cannot offer guarantees, and of course your pain must be so raw right now. But I do believe that one day you will find tremendous joy in Arsenal’s wins. You already love something so deeply that your brother did too. How wonderful it is in a way, to have this great love also remind you of your great love for your brother. They say grief is just sorrow from unexpressed love. But I hope that in the continued love for this great game and team, your love for your brother continues to find expression.

In the meantime, I hope you know you were wonderfully blessed to have him in your life. May his soul rest in peace. And may the tribe of wonderful brothers (who hopefully also happen to be gooners) continue to grow.

Abhilash, Geneva