THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Wednesday 8 July ~

Jonas Gutierrez and (Sir) Fred Goodwin are names not often found in the same sentence. But the pair share more similarities than it might seem. Both were paid handsomely to do a job that mattered to a substantial portion of the public; both failed to do that job; and both have gained personally from their incompetence and left others to pick up the pieces. Sir Fred's story has been documented well elsewhere, but Gutierrez's is a tale less told. Newcastle signed the promising winger from Real Mallorca last summer for £5.2 million.

Despite his 23 appearances, the Argentine failed to register a single goal for his new club, depriving us of the chance to witness his Spiderman goal celebration. Newcastle's ills are multifaceted and no one person can take the blame for their relegation, but Gutierrez did as little as anyone else to keep the team in the Premier League.

The 26-year-old declared over the weekend that, despite signing a five-year deal with Newcastle last season, he was not willing to stay at the club and help them fight their way out of the Championship. "It is no dream of mine," said Gutierrez on the task ahead of Newcastle. The player has not returned to training and, according to today's papers, has been offered a move to Roma.

The two biggest flops at Newcastle last season – Gutierrez and Michael Owen – have been the two people to benefit most from Newcastle's demise. Neither player deems Championship football to be worthy of their standard and they are making their escapes to bigger clubs. Bizarrely, relegation has benefited their careers. The inevitable fall in income at Newcastle means the club needs to offload their expensive players, leaving Gutierrez and Owen free to negotiate new moves. Had Newcastle stayed up, they could have afforded to pay Gutierrez and he would not now be on a plane to Rome.

This curious case illustrates bad management on the part of Mike Ashley and the Newcastle directors, but it also displays the lack of honour required and expected from professional footballers. Neither Gutierrez, nor Owen for that matter, have recognised that they have any culpability for the relegation of their club. Football fans have to put up with a lot, but they should be able to count on a simple sense of responsibility from the players whose wages they pay. Paul Campbell

Comments (9)
Comment by The Exploding Vole 2009-07-08 13:15:37

"the lack of honour required and expected from professional footballers"?

Comment by ian.64 2009-07-09 07:46:33

Could have the sharp edge of irony/sarcasm, there, Vole. Which sometimes doesn't read right when looked at coldly.

Comment by hullabaloo 2009-07-09 10:29:13

Wasn't Owen's contract up anyway? So he was free to negotiate a move relegation or not.

Not sure why these two players are singled out (technically, can you single out two? Anyway...) when the entire malaise that has enveloped St James' Park over the last few years is to blame. This relegation is not the result of a few players' lack of motivation/effort or an untried manager's (in)ability to get results in 8 games, but rather the outcome of several season's mismanagement by current and previous owners.

Comment by The Exploding Vole 2009-07-09 13:51:17

Fair comment, ian.64.

Comment by jackofalltrades 2009-07-09 15:47:46

I wonder at what stage of the season he stopped bothering to put the spidey mask down the back of his shorts?

Hope he takes Coloccini with him...

Comment by Leitrimick 2009-07-11 22:51:49

Sorry, harsh maybe? He arrived at a club who project frequently messianic hopes on every foreign player that comes through their door, and if they don't suddenly become the new Alan Shearer/Jackie Milburn/Kevin Keegan all rolled into one they are immediately labelled the new Asprilla/Marcelinho or any shorthand for "money grabbing foreigner". The facts are he wasn't both to score goals, he's a winger who has only scored six goals in his career, which btw has seen him win the league in his native Argentina and Mallorca and win ten caps for the national side. He's a player from a different culture trying to adapt to a different style, the unique style of the Premier League, which is not as suited to wide players as La Liga. He was also lauded by pundits during his early performances for the club and only lost his place in the side initially because of injury. He played 30 games for the club, much more than the likes of Xisco, Barton, and Geremi, all players who commanded high fees as well. If he was such a bad player, why are Roma, a team who finished 6th in Serie A, coming in for him?

Comment by Leitrimick 2009-07-11 22:53:02

Jst realised, didn't mean to say he won the league in Mallorca, they never finished higher than mid table during his time there

Comment by jackofalltrades 2009-07-13 07:18:57

Did you mean Mirandinha and not Marcelinnho? Assuming you did, they weren't particulary good examples as both are still held in affection at Newcastle, Mirandinha scoring some excellent goals (overhead bicycle kick on his debut) in the single season he played, currently acting as a scout for NUFC in Brazil, and Asprilla forgiven his inconsistent league form for his Champion's League peformances including - majestically - his three headed goals which beat Barcelona at SJP.

And "money-grabbing foreigners"....pur-lease! Credit Newcastle supporters with the common-sense to realise that an Argentinian winger is coming to Newcastle because he's being handsomely rewarded and not because he's supported them all his life from afar!

Gutierrez has decided - despite his contract - not to go back to Newcastle...did he say "It's because the supporters projected Messianic hopes on me I had no chance of fulfilling and when I failed to do so, they turned on me as a 'money-grabbing foreigner'"?

No, he was sold a pup - he came to a club without a plan, bought by Chuckie Wise for Keegan when he asked for a left-back. He hasn't made any kind of impact, the club's been relegated, he's going elsewhere to play, as it's not his 'dream' to play in the Championship. And good luck to him, no-one bears him any ill-will - he's been a bit-part player in a season when we've (Gutierrez included!) had far greater villains to contend with.

So what's your point exactly - are you Gutierrez's agent? Or did you just fancy having a vague pop at Newcastle supporters for no apparent reason?

Comment by Leitrimick 2009-07-19 00:58:07

No I meant Marcelinho, that'd be the Spanish centre back who was troubled with injuries when he came to Newcastle and got villified by the fans for having the temerity to get injured. What a freeloader (sic)! And I think you'll find a sizeable proportion of Newcastle fans will point to both him and Asprilla (and, incidentally, the afformentioned Mirandinha) as foreign players who flopped at the club. The point i'm getting at is that there is undue focus on the likes of Guttierez when a club with a large support base like Newcastle don't do well. I disagree with the idea that he hasn't made an impact, I think he's been one of Newcastle's better performers this season. How can he be described as bit part when he has played 30 games for the club this season?

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