I would like to take this opportunity to both reflect on the first half of our season and look ahead to the future, a future that looks, at this moment in time, very bleak. I feel as though I am one of the more optimistic toon fans but with each day that passes, I feel the optimism being sapped away, only to be replaced more often than not, by disappointment.
I thought our start to the season was not too bad. A good win against Spurs on the opening day and a few more results that we were grabbing points from. But then it started to go wrong. Poor displays against West ham, Swansea and Southampton have summed up our season so far; no creativity, no enthusiasm and no real effort in my opinion. Decent result against a 10- man Wigan only for those hopes to be crushed by a terribly boring Fulham.
Then hope arrived once more. We dug deep at Old Trafford and scored three against the league leaders. But we let in four, my faith was still there for the trip to the Emirates and we scored another three. We all know what happened next. And so the results so far have built us up only to knock us straight back down to reality. Even when Everton arrived, Cisse’s terrific early finish left me dreaming of a five goal rout. Enter Bradley Wiggins and a useless player who only ever manages to make his way out of the treatment room to score against us.
So that leads me to the January transfer window and a few days in and Mathieu Debuchy arrives, a class right back to replace our poor one. I was dreaming once more, this time of having the rest of the window to bring in a centre back and a striker (at least), I was built up. It was only inevitable that just a short while later I was shoved back down when our top goalscorer (and pretty much only goalscorer) was off to London.
At this point I’m already down, and then there’s more, our leader, captain, curly haired talisman, Coloccini could be on his way out the door as well. This was followed by the news that all of our goal scoring problems could be solved by a Mr. Jeremie Aliadiere. Good lord. Are we that desperate? This is a man who not only played for the smoggies but scored an impressive 11 goals in 78 games for them. As well as a devastating 3 goals in 50 games for Arsenal, West Ham and Wolves. This was a kicking whilst I was down, salt in the wounds, insult to injury!.
I’m now having my doubts about those transfers. Remy does not look interested and neither does Coloccini. So will we have to rely on Cisse to score another bunch of goals in the second half of a season to steer us to safety? Most probably. (This by the way, is another of my dreams). No new players. No reliable goalscorer. Possibly no captain.
So where will we be playing our football next season? Whether in the top tier or in the championship, I fear a mass exodus is on the horizon. Why would the likes of Cabaye, Tiote, Krul and Coloccini want to be at a club on the decline? Then will these players be replaced? Almost certainly. Will they be replaced with players of equal ability? Almost certainly not.