Hello. It looks like you�re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best Tortoise experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help, let us know at memberhelp@tortoisemedia.com

The Newcastle snub

The Newcastle snub


Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor has said Newcastle United might struggle to attract big talent because players don’t want to live in the north east. It didn’t go down well – but is he right?


Hi, I’m Chloe and this is the Playmaker

One story every day to make sense of the world of football. 

Today, how is Eddy going to convince new players to live in Newcastle?


A home win. Three precious points. That’s what Newcastle United fans were celebrating this weekend at long last. 

New boss Eddie Howe led his players to a 1- 0 win over Burnley on Saturday. And while that might not sound like much, it was their first win of the season. 

“What does it feel like to have won your first game in charge of Newcastle United?”

“Fantastic feeling. I hope there’s many more to come. Delighted for everyone connected with the club, it’s not about me, it’s about the supporters and everyone that comes week on week, and we’re just delighted to give them what they deserve really.”


Next up? Leicester, Liverpool, Man City and Man United. But let’s not dampen the mood. At least Howe knows that he will be able to splash the cash in the January transfer window. 

And thanks to the club’s new owners from Saudi Arabia, he’ll have cash to splash, lots of it. So there’s reason for Howe to be optimistic. Maybe he can pull off a great escape. But the question is, can Newcastle attract the biggest stars to the club?

Gabby Agbonlahor can see a potential problem. 

“When I was playing in the Premier League, Newcastle was the place where you were thinking. I’m not sure. I don’t really wanna go. You know, that far north, the weather, I’m not sure about that. 

“I know it’s cold but it is a great city.”

“Yeah but players want to be close to London, you know.”


If you offered now, a player forty thousand pounds a week at Newcastle or thirty thousand pounds at Brentford, they’d go to Brentford. 


This comes from a player who came through the youth ranks at Aston Villa and stayed in Birmingham for his entire career. 

You could argue that he doesn’t know what it’s like to move around the country. 

Soccer Saturday’s Jeff Stelling was having none of it when a radio reporter said there was nothing to do on Tyneside.

He’s probably never eaten at the wonderful restaurants. He’s probably never appreciated the marvellous architecture through Grey Street. He’ll have never been to the Theatre Royal, he’ll have never been to the racecourse, he’ll have never strolled along the quayside in the shadow of the Tyne Bridge. I doubt that he’s ever visited the Baltic Gallery.

Sky Sports

It’s a wonderful city with loads to do and loads to eat and loads to drink and don’t believe what you hear on the radio.

Sky Sports

So where do Newcastle United footballers live?

Well, there’s plenty of exclusive pads on the outskirts of the city.

Darras Hall, for example, is an exclusive estate in the village of Ponteland in Northumberland. Keiron Dyer sold his property there for 2.65 million pounds in 2007. 

Alan Shearer still lives there, despite having work commitments in Manchester and London. And Sol Campbell bought Northumberland’s nine bedroom, Grade Two listed Hallington Hall in 2009. 

New boss Eddie Howe has said he’s going to move his whole family up to the North East from their current home on the South Coast. So is Gabby Agbonlahor barking up the wrong tree? 

Will they need to invest in an umbrella? 

Well actually the Met Office says that Tynemouth has less annual rainfall than Heathrow…although there are 117 fewer hours of sunshine per year. And of course there are some players that would prefer to be based in the capital.

But it didn’t stop Faustino Asprilla, David Ginola and Philippe Albert – all part of the Kevin Keegan team that finished second in 1996 – from joining Newcastle in the ‘90s. 

Ginola, Beardsley is screaming for it back, Ginola has other ideas! Those kind of ideas! Well, the French footballer with the film star appeal has fired in a fabulous goal for Newcastle United.

Sky Sports

Newcastle are currently second bottom of the Premier League. Eddie Howe is bracing himself for a relegation battle. 

But surely their biggest recruitment problem is the performance of the team and the very real possibility of relegation?  

If they can avoid that, perhaps players will overcome any reluctance they may have to play for – and live in – Newcastle.

Today’s story was written by Chloe Beresford and produced by Studio Klong.