Thierry Henry has angered Newcastle fans around the country with his recent comments, essentially calling the Premier League side a small club, as reported by the Chronicle Live.
Speaking to Sky Sports (via Chronicle Live), Henry suggested Newcastle were no longer a big club – if they ever really were.
He claims a big club is not merely measured by the number of fans they have or the size of their stadium, and you must look at a club’s trophies to determine their size.
“I played there, they are very, very demanding,” he said.
“I think are dying to see a successful team.
“They had one in the 1990s but didn’t manage to win the Premier League.
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“Having a big stadium and big fanbase doesn’t make you a big club.
“It’s what you have inside the stadium and how many trophies you have that makes you a big club.
“So the capacity of them being a big club is definitely there, but are they a big club really?
“You have to show your trophies. How many titles or cups did you win?
“I am not saying that just about Newcastle, it goes with everyone. You have to show what you have one.
“They have the potential to be a big club, definitely, those fans are amazing. It is always hard to play there, but big club? I’m not sure.”
While it’s hard to argue with him, it obviously doesn’t look good for us that he thinks like that. While you could say we’re not as big a club as we used to be, we’re still unquestionably a massive club. The only trophies we’ve won in years are two FA Cups though, unless you count the Community Shield (or even the Emirates Cup. No, neither do we).
Regardless of how you quantify the size of a club though, Newcastle just aren’t one anymore. They aren’t even consistently in the English top flight at the moment, never mind challenging the other top clubs for honours.
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Part of a pundits job is to be a little controversial and stir up debate, but other than Newcastle fans most would agree with Henry’s comments. Currently just a point above the relegation zone there is no telling what will happen with the Magpies at the end of the season, and it’s far from impossible to see them starting the 2016/17 campaign in the Championship.