On the heels of two less-than-stellar performances from Newcastle United, the Toon faithful would likely be excused their thirst for some good news. That news came on the penultimate day of the run up to the derby as the club announced that captain Fabricio Coloccini has finally agreed to a new contract that will keep him at the club for 4 more years. Captain Colo's travails during his Newcastle career have been well documented, but equally well documented is the fact that he has completely turned it around and become one of the more reliable center-halves in the Barclay's Premier League.
As more involved observers, many of the Toon Army have been watching for signals of Mike Ashley's intent with regard to player retention. On the one side, every glimmer of hope is met with a grain of salt attitude, and rightly so as the support have had the rug yanked out from underneath them more than once.. BUT- on a single-case scenario view (one in which the past is roundly ignored) this signing in particular has got to be considered the signal that we were looking for that Ashley is on board with a plan whose ultimate goal includes real on-field success for the club.
Why is this signing so important? In a way, it breaks away from the player recruitment policies that have been stated and backed up with action. Here is a player that is proven with the club, but his age is well outside of the age range of players that the board want to have in. At
29 30 [happy recent birthday, Captain - OSotP], he is solidly on the "downhill" side of his career (even though we can all safely expect that he will be playing at a very high level through the end of this contract in his mid-30s. Recruiting young, talented and salable players is well and good, but every similar model to what Ashley and the board are trying to do shows us that retaining key veteran players is vital to on-field results, and in this way, I am tremendously excited for this signing.
Fabricio had been rumored to be a target for Liverpool, Chelsea and other "bigger clubs" than Newcastle. This makes the signing so much more exciting on a fundamental level. Add in the fact that the press-appointed "Tottenham Hotspur Keeper Of The Future™" Tim Krul has signed a contract to keep him with the club through 2017 (which of course now makes him SIGNIFICANTLY harder to sign away) and you start to see that players are staying on Tyneside for a reason. These guys LOVE the club... and they LOVE us as supporters. It also means that they have bought in to Alan Pardew's program. Perhaps most importantly, it means they have bought in to Mike Ashley's ultimate plan which is perhaps the ultimate "Don't Panic!" bit of information that is out there for us to consume. At least until the next time the rug disappears from beneath our feet.