I was down in London for the weekend and, during a journey on the Tube, found myself inside St James Park station. In a strange way it reminded me of our own St James’ Park.
The atmosphere was slightly tense, no one knew who was driving us forward and everyone was there just as long as they needed to be before they could move on to their desired destination.
I’ve got some serious concerns about the summer. The Newcastle circus has been in full swing and unless Ashley does leave/have a change of heart come June, I can see it continuing into next season.
For a start we’ve got a few prize assets who could well be fed up of the ongoing shambles at our club. For me Sissoko, Perez and Janmaat could all be in Champions League teams. Maybe not the elite teams in Europe but they could certainly play at a higher level than the mid-table scrapping we’ve become accustomed to of late.
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Colback is probably one of our best and most understated players and I’d like to think that being a Geordie he’ll be around for the long haul, but then we’ve seen former loyalists such as Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan pushed out when deemed surplus to requirements.
If players like Cabella, Abeid and Haidara can build on their undoubted quality then we really do have a decent spine to our team to move forward. Dead weights such as Williamson and Gouffran need to become peripheral figures at best. Everyone has their say on these two, as well as Anita and Obertan, but Williamson infuriates me the most of all of them. Every game he plays he looks petrified with the ball at his feet and despite his enormity doesn’t win that many headers in either box.
Then there’s the management situation.
When a manager leaves a club normal protocol is to hire a new one. Now sometimes the best options aren’t available straight away so an interim manager is brought in (think Chelsea with Hiddink/Benitez), or sometimes the caretaker manager is so successful that he’s given the job until the end of the season/permanently (think Chelsea again with Di Matteo).
What we get is something different. Three losses and a draw with another limp FA Cup exit in amongst those stats. Despite what couldn’t be a much worse showing, John Carver is offered the job until the end of the season. No pun intended here but why can’t we follow the Chelsea blueprint a little more closely.
Obviously Chelsea have a lot more pulling power but there’s surely a few experienced managers twiddling their thumbs, that would be happy to take a six month shot at it with the option of securing full-time employment. Saving that, why not give Beardsley a few games to see if he could cut it before any decision is made. He’s doing a good job with the kids. Why not give him a go? What qualifies Carver over everyone else?
My personal fear is that JC will get the job full-time in the summer. This wouldn’t bother me if he did go on to get a bunch of good results and lead us to a respectable sixth or seventh. I think even the most optimistic of us can’t see that happening though.
We’d all like to think that with Newcastle making a serious profit for the last couple of years and more guaranteed TV money pouring in over the next few years that Ashley, if he doesn’t sell up, will bring in a high calibre manager and spend the necessary money on the depleted areas in our squad.
The core of the team is strong and there’s some real talent there. If we could just bring in a decent man to manage them and a few quality players to join them, then things wouldn’t have to be so damn depressing.
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