Culture At Newcastle United Football Club Management Essay

Newcastle United Football Club’s current financial difficulties are tied into its corporate culture which was stated recent years. With such greater planning and more use of strategies should be pursued. Newcastle United could start with the implementation of a new mission statement, with profit and benefits of the company tied more closely to everyday operations. Internally, the four forces, the management, coaches, the players’ work rate and the marketing should achieve better communication and cooperation. Alliance and cooperation between competitors should also be actively sort after in order to create standards in new fields. Newcastle United should aim at being the leader instead of being the maverick. As for cost cutting, Newcastle United should seriously consider setting up football school in United State and Asian countries in order to take advantage of the cheap labour and the budding markets. Finally, diversification, instead of pursuing the fast changing and easily imitated consumer goods market, Newcastle should use its technological know-how for high-end business and office equipment.

2. Introduction

The first thing that comes to peoples’ minds of the company and products of Newcastle United is its club honors and legend. It was also this legend that makes Newcastle United one of the greatest companies that started succeeds in post-war. Newcastle United has used its great players in building markets out of thin air, created a multimillion, Europe football empire with legends such as Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Paul Gascoigne and Les Ferdinand that changed everyday household lives forever.

However, those football fans targeted quest for excellence and constant success instead of targeting mainly at profit also has a lot to do with current crisis Newcastle United is facing – sales and profits are down or are slowing down, capital investment cost and R&D are climbing, competitors such as Sunderland is standing in Premiere League, the battle in the Championship and the search for a smash hit wonderkid such as the James Milner or Haris Vuckic.

Furthermore, this volatility and emphasis on signing new promising players instead of concentrating on profit and loss statements have always been a part of Newcastle United since its beginning days. For each high profile injury-suffered players (i.e. Michael Owen and Kieron Dyer), R&D cost often ran so high that they pushed the firm to the verge of bankruptcy. This can also be seen through the eyes of the investor in which financial liabilities have increased tremendously throughout the past twenty years, and Newcastle has already exited from stock market.

3. History and Culture

The current Newcastle United Football Club has a unique culture which is firmly rooted in her history especially what a club, what history, what players they have had. And what pots they have won – four top titles, six FA cups. Back in the Dark Ages, but shows it can be done.

It is the capital of the Geordie nation, focus of all local pride and culture, unlike any other provincial capital in Europe. The nearest counterpart is Barcelona, but there are two big competing clubs in Barcelona. Newcastle has only one. Not just an opportunity. It is a monopoly. These emotive points of reference bring tears to the eyes of true Geordies.

In addition, the ground facilities of Newcastle United differs greatly from other clubs with its great atmosphere, in terms of the facilities, view of the pitch, and access to and from the ground, According to Geoff Aucock, UK property consultancy, he stated that Newcastle’s St James Park only is followed by Old Trafford, Arsenal Emirates, Barcelona’s Nou Camp. Moreover, fans also voted unanimously that the single most important thing that makes a top quality football stadium is atmosphere.

On the other hand, filming of the movie ‘Goal’, the first of a trilogy of football movies, with the first installment set at Newcastle United, was completed and the movie successfully premiered on 2005 in London and regionally in Newcastle. This has been an exciting project for everyone involved at the Club. It will enhance the image and awareness of Newcastle United and the North East region on the world stage.

4. SWOT Anaylsis

4.1 Weaknesses and Threats

Referring to The Times, sales have slowed down considerably since the beginning of English League Championship. Matters are unlikely to improve during the present financial year, with Newcastle’s season ticket sales and home crowds dropping appreciably, their income from corporate boxes also falling and a low finish in the Barclays Premier League table beckoning. In protest at Ashley’s management, the Newcastle United Supporters Club has been promoting a boycott of all official club merchandise. Furthermore, the player might still have take a few years to develop, but the time reaping the result and profits might be much less. As seen in the potential wonderkid example, James Milner and David Edgar were trained and developed by Newcastle United. However, in a short time, other football clubs could come up with a competitive player base on Newcastle United training development. Therefore, it is fair to say that other football clubs would be able to purchase Newcastle United training in a much shorter time while offering more competitive prices. The margin for training and development is therefore diminishing.

Associated with players squad is the capital expenditure cost and return on investment ratio. The report discloses that, of the annual turnover of £100.9 million, the wage bill amounted to £73 million, or 72 per cent of Newcastle’s income. About 60 per cent is generally accepted as the safe limit. This may explain why the club have been eager to cut the salaries of senior professionals such as Michael Owen, Nicky Butt and Steve Harper, all of whom are out of contract last summer, provoking disaffection in the dressing-room. The question is that does this high rate of investment represent corresponding growth in profitability? As they are not the key players in the future because of injury-prone, bad discipline the potential quality. However, the internal dimension also poses as much of a problem.

4.2 Strengths and opportunities

The greatest asset of Newcastle United Football Club is of its human capital, especially its talented players which play in the first team and academy, their constant signing new blood is crucial for a football club which specializes in cost cutting and the higher profit margin, which come from being the leader of English League Championship. The brand image is also well established, such as ‘Goal!’ in which is the first installment of trilogy. This film was made will full cooperation from FIFA, which give Newcastle United an opportunities to show its reputation in the United States and Europe market. It also makes Newcastle United an international corporation, bringing the talents and enhancing the brand image.

The determined style also stems from the traditional culture, the generous funding of the home-grown players scouting and huge amounts in capital investments. As described by Dennis Wise, “I have to concentrate more on the academy, we need some young blood coming through of our own. We need to look abroad for players and that’s my intention over the next few years.” With the rise of the Asian countries, Newcastle also has the opportunity to make use of them for markets and for economy but decent players, such as Makoto Hasebe, Keisuke Honda.

5. Organizational culture

According to researchers, within any society organization members similarly engage in rituals, pass along corporate myths and stories, and use arcane jargon, and these informal practices may foster or hinder management’s goal for the organization (Baker, 1980; Deal and Kennedy, 1982; Peters and Waterman, 1982). Various private or public organizations come with their inherent culture to influence the organizational operation. Schein (1990) states that organizational culture consists of two layers of concepts, namely, visible and invisible characteristics. The visible layer means external building, clothing, behavior modes, regulations, stories, myths, language, and rites. On the other hand, the invisible layer means common values, norms, faith, and assumptions of business organization members.

In the current management literature on organizational culture (for example, Deal and Kennedy, 1982; Peters and Waterman, 1982) which includes the work of Schein (1990), culture is widely understood as an instrument to be used by management to shape and control in some way the belief, understandings, and behaviors of individuals, and thus the organization to reach specified goals. Therefore, a number of definitions for any organizational culture have been proposed (for example, Kilman et al, 1985; Uttal, 1983). Many studies have been conducted about the impact of organizational culture on different variables in the organizational setting. In such research, for example, the impact of organizational culture on job satisfaction (Lund, 2003), individual learning (Aksu and Ozdemir, 2005), organizational effectiveness (Denison, 1990; Denison and Mishra, 1995), leadership (Kasper, 2002; Chang and Lee, 2007; Schein, 1992), organizational problem-solving (Bate, 1984), creativity (Koberg and Chusmir, 1987) organizational commitment (Lock and Crawford, 1999), organizational performance (Wilkins and Ouchi, 1983), TQM (Pool, 2000) communication and information (Brown and Starkey, 1994).

5.1 Level of Culture

Schein has arguable developed what has become one of the most influential theories of organizational culture. He postulates that culture exists on three different levels; at the surface level there is the artifact, underneath these artifacts. there is a series of held value and at the deepest level there is a set of core assumption. The artifacts are the visible, tangible and audible remains of behavior that are grounded in culture norms, values and assumption. (Morley, M. Et al. 1998)

Figure 1. Schein’s Levels of Culture

Source: Schein, E. (1997)

5.1.1 Artifacts

Artifacts are the traits that a person sees, hears, and feels when they encounter a new organisational culture. These include the physical environment of the organisation, its language, its technology and products, and its style in clothing, manners of address, and stories told about the organisation. “The important point about this level of culture is that it is easy to observe and very difficult to decipher”. (Schein, E. 1997) .When entering a stadium for the first time a new player will look to the football manager to guide them. It is the manager that dictates the environment, the language, the football club products and how the stories are told in the stadium. The manager has control over the first impression that the player receives and it may not be until the new recruit has been there for a substantial amount of time that they are exposed to the football club sub cultures. 

Stories about the organisation typically contain narritives about the founders, rags-to-riches successes, organisation coping with adversity etc. These stories connect the present to the past and provide explanations for current practises. (Robbins, S. 2003). It is common to hear a manager describe how they have worked there way up from nothing and instill an ethos of hard work so as to make the players believe they can be were the football legend is. 

5.1.2 Espoused Values 

According to Robert, H. Et al. (1999) an organisations espoused values consist of its strategies and goals. He believes it provides the reasonling behind implementation certain practises and proceedures. Morley, M. (1998) writes that the values of an organisation are the strategies, goals, practises and procedures that that organisation places importance in. There are numerous ways to run a football club and it is up to the manager to decide in what manner that is. The manager will decide the procedure of training, the tactic style and the formation. The manager is responsible for establishing the match strategies and goals in order to ensure it succeeds. Without this implementation the football club would have no leader and no organisation. 

5.1.3 Underlying Basic Assumptions 

According to Armstrong (1999) basic assumptions are composed of the unseen but identifiable reasons why people perceive, feel, believe and say the things they do. They are the shared assumptions that are held by an organisation, usually over a substantial period of time. They are difficult to define as they are not normally recorded and they are also thought to be difficult to change. (Stoner, J. et al 1995). The traditional squad rotation is a system that has been around for years and is the most commonly used method of football club. These basic assumptions of organisation not only exist in the pitch but also in the mind of the manager. If the manager implements a new system it is up to the staff to adopt these new values or the team will fail to run smoothly. 

By using Schein’s levels, which range from the very tangible to the deeply embedded, unconscious basic assumptions, it is possible to define culture. The football club culture is a combination of both the tangible and unconscious basic assumption. The manager brings the tangible elements with them to every team and transforms them into the basic assumptions that underline how the team is run.

6. Human Resource Management

This report lists some important human resource affairs in the Newcastle United Football Club, especially during

Managing diversity encompasses the organization’s process and systems, its culture and the skills of the managers within it (Kandola & Fullerton, 1998, p68). After analyzing the first team of Newcastle United, I found some problem that will probably cause the working atmosphere and break a well-balance operation in the first team. This discussion describes some major problem in first team, even in the whole football club.

7 Critical Analysis

7.1 Lack of instruction

In addition, the problem is lack of an official guideline for new staffs to know their responsibilities in details before they get in, so that it is hard for them to adapt themselves at beginning of work, such as Kevin Keegan risked a serious confrontation with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley because of no official guideline.

On the other hand, Dennis Wise, who is appointed by the owner, could limit the information release and communication between Kevin Keegan and Mike Ashley so that the transfer policy will come out difficultly. Mike Ashley gives control of transfers to Dennis Wise, when clearly Kevin Keegan has proved himself to be a fine manager at the end of last season. This enraged Keegan, and meant the club signed like Coloccini when £10m could have spent on talent. An ample supply of the fresh scheme is considered to be the major attracting point for customers. If there was not an effective change, the company will lose a number of customers.

7.2 Discrimination

Furthermore, another hidden trouble is that most managers are male, and most of the teams have single gender.

There are three elements (personal influences, external pressures, and organization pressures) will impact the manage making up their decision because of the discrimination (Hill, 2005, p245). This issue matter the organization’s equitable public image and reputation as well. It is obviously unfair for females and other races. In other words, this is taken account as discrimination, which will bring some disadvantages for its further development. What’s more, single gender cannot always consider the problems for every aspect.

7.3 Communication

Communication problems could be caused by disagreements of idea, team mates find it hard to cooperate with each others, and so on. There will always be disagreement of idea when it comes to group, which is also a very common issue in all team work. Since all of the team members are basically from all different position, they would surely have different ideas or different perspective of view towards a match or a problem.

The teammates might find it difficult in cooperating with each others as they are all from different position and targeting different area of achievement or handling different kind of tasks. It is hard to ask a defender s to work together with a attacker as their focus area or specialization are not the same and it is not suitable at all. (Murphy, 2006)

According to Kotter and Schlesinger (1979), there are four reasons why some people are resisting change. They are Parochial self-interest, misunderstanding, low tolerance to change, and different assessment of the situation.

The specialist from some of the position in NUFC might not want to change their working environment as some of them prefer security in work than taking any risks that might give them a promotion. Others might be more concern to their self-interest than the success of the company.

7.4 Working atmosphere

Additionally, the problem is that they work in a strong competitive atmosphere among all teams. Moreover, Torrington stated that, “in twenty-first century, teamwork is still used and introduced as a way of empowering employees and facilitating the development of their full potential in order to enhance organizational performance” (Hill, 2005, p576). Teams may be hard to create comprehensive opinions and ideas by working independently, and it is unhelpful for team member to enhance the effectiveness in match. Otherwise, although some of good humored “backchat” will improve the relationship among team members, some of them will weaken the cooperation of teams. This can lead to an inconsistent internal environment for all the teams during their work.

7.5 Leadership

Moreover, another key problem is that the first team that Executive Director, Dennis Wise, who makes decision for the first team transfer policy. However, he does not have enough professional knowledge and experiences to manage all of them. For example, Kevin Keegan loses his enthusiasm for his job and gets confused by those improper decisions.

Besides, the second issue in this team is that staffs need a right qualification or require attending suitable courses to gain a qualification. While having a qualification can partly ensure that the staffs are suitable for a work, sometimes people who withhold a high standard qualification will still call for a better training. Actually, abundant of experience can substitute the qualification in certain area. Even a company should support their staffs to finish a necessary part-time degree courses, too much expenditure will raise the owner’s pressure.

Finally, the team has an ineffective method to get things done, to be more precise, this process will be time consuming, if all the things have to be approved by executive director, not only the work efficiency will be reduced, staff will also upset in that situation. So it is essential to improve the quality of executive director work and effectively take advantage of working resources.

8. Recommendation

8.1 Inducting your employees

Induction is a planned introduction to the company and to the job which aims to help a starter settle in as quickly as possible. The sooner employees feel they belong, the sooner they will be able to make a positive contribution to the business.

Although new staffs could get improvement from certain projects without a formal induction and a training program, they might work repetitively as being an individual part of a project. Moreover, their proficient is likely to be obstructed to develop comprehensively. As a result, their career perspective in this company may not be so bright even when the project has been completed.

Although you have chosen the applicant who you believe will be the best for the job you cannot expect him or her to be fully effective from day one. The new employee will go through an anxious, although hopefully exciting period in which the job is learnt and the surrounding and people become familiar.

8.2 Team work

To have a team meeting, it is not a bad idea to solve the problem, at team meetings make sure that everyone has a chance to make their point and ask several questions. Maybe someone surprised how constructive it is, especially when someone start to bounce ideas off one another. Encourage them to participate in the decision-making. You will find that a team is greater then the sum of its parts

8.3 Boosting workforce diversity

If employers are genuinely interested in developing successful programs, they will need to change the culture of their organizations so that diversity is not just supported but valued. Managing diversity means managing cultural change, which is not just a simple program, but an initiative that will take many years. It requires incorporating diversity efforts into continuous improvement and TQM programs. A key requirement is accountability. Where behavior changes on the job are measured and rewarded when set diversity goals have been achieved. In effect, diversity initiatives become a standard way of doing business.

In average, women are considered to be charier than men. It’s feasible to combine men’s logo and women’s sensibility for analyzing and handling problems better. Similarly, different races’ backgrounds may contribute more advantages for a group. This association could bring new ideas for the company’s working environment. It also implies that a multi-combined group will pay more motivation and passion than a single race in their work. Therefore, it will win a more effective management by organizing different genders and races. Offering more internal promoted opportunities for female and other races will definitely encourage them for hard working, which enables a full support for organization to develop.

8.4 Mentoring

Firms can provide mentoring opportunities. Mentoring may be formal or informal. Informally, senior players may voluntarily help less experienced youth. For instance, by giving them some advices, then the productivity would be increase, and the time management is better than before.

8.5 Communication

To overcome the communication problems, the management has to indicate the people involved or who have caused the communication problem in the first place. Doing so allows you to uncover the depth, nature and roots of the communication problem for that particular group of people.

If the problems are serious or other reasons are causing it, a third party could act like a neutral negotiator as they could understand the problem deeper when the problems are between the insiders. They could be fair in judgement and calm the group down and settle the problem. (Murphy, 2007)

To deal with resistance to change, education and communication would be a good way as the employees are having improper information or lack of information. Educating or give away talks to the employees help to show them the benefits for both parties as well as the effects. NUFC could also negotiate to give incentives or sign an agreement with the employee to let them feel secure although changing their working environment. (Kotter and Schlesinger, 1979).

9. Conclusion

When putting money into the club, there was the potential for a number of decent signings that could strengthen the depth of squad and push them up the Premier League. Unfortunately, Sam Allardyce is not an ambitious manager that we can see the Bolton style in Newcastle. Hence, instead of investing in creative and gifted players, he went for the big, tough players who love to foul, like Joey Barton who had a prison sentence pending is beyond me.


Undoubtedly, Newcastle fans could not appreciate his approach, and they slowly drifted down the table, so Mike Ashley employed Dennis Wise to make some better signings. Of course, this could make no immediate difference to the club’s fortunes,

Moreover, Ashley had lost the faith of the fans, and this mood was transferred to the players, who ended up sliding down the table. But no matter how much Mike Ashley endeavored, it was clear that the players didn’t believe in their ability.

Furthermore, Alan Shearer was appointed to give the side a lift. Shearer is a hero, we all know this. But as much of a lift as Shearer can give the players, he cannot make bad players become good overnight, a fact shown when Coloccini made his huge error of the season in a loss to Chelsea.

As explained earlier. I have no doubts that Alan Shearer will make a fine manager in the future, but asking him to turn an average set of players into a winning side is near-on impossible.

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