Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Relegation Comes with a Hefty Price; Another Drop through the Top-Flight Trapdoor Would Leave Magpies Counting the Cost

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Relegation Comes with a Hefty Price; Another Drop through the Top-Flight Trapdoor Would Leave Magpies Counting the Cost

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Ryder

THERE has been plenty of talk about the art of escapology this week for Newcastle United.

But one thing that Mike Ashley can't escape is just how much relegation will cost the club if they fail to rise to the occasion against Queens Park Rangers and Arsenal.

If it isn't blatantly obvious to anybody who cares about the blackand-white cause, then it should be.

Actually, it is written all over this football-mad city with billboards screaming out "Game Changing" to signify the new TV revolution that no Premier League club wants to miss out on.

It is boom-time for Premier League clubs when it comes to TV revenue next term and, while there will be a post-season inquest into why Newcastle have flirted with relegation for much of this campaign, you wouldn't envy whoever has to tell Ashley that PS60m has slipped through his fingers quicker than you can type the address of Yeovil Town's Huish Park into your sat nav.

Dropping into the Championship for the second time in Ashley's tenure would actually be a bigger disaster than 2009.

There would be no figures like Kevin Nolan, Steve Harper or Joey Barton to rally the troops.

Fabricio Coloccini has his own personal problems and few would bet on him hanging around again in the second tier this time.

And it would be difficult to see stars like Hatem Ben Arfa, Tim Krul, Cheick Tiote and Moussa Sissoko all staying to fight on for the cause at Doncaster and Barnsley on a Tuesday night in November.

Even if they did want to remain on Tyneside, their agents would have a busy summer ahead. Therefore avoiding the drop could save Ashley a lot of trouble - and a lot of money.

If the bulk of his French Legion were to walk away, assembling a squad good enough to mount a promotion challenge would be tough in what has always been a madhouse of a league - you only have to look at the last day of the regular season at Hull and Watford to see that. …

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