The way things are shaping up at Newcastle United, surely this weekend’s clash with Stoke City is now one of our biggest of the season.

It’s a well-documented fact that the regime of occupation at Gallowgate (yes, that’s what I view them as), want to finish in the top ten, minimum.

Well, a quick look at the league table and I’m pretty sure Messrs Ashley, Charnley and their new head coach Carver, will view Sunday’s encounter with the Potters as a real six pointer. It’s a massive game, set in that context.

We are just two points behind Stoke. A decent ref, some tidy football, a bit of luck, home advantage, big crowd in etc etc and they can overhaul that magical tenth spot that they covet so badly.

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Of course I want us to win the game, but the scenario highlights the awful state of the club’s well worn mission statement – top ten, no cup runs, sell off the top talent for profit if the right offer comes in and minimal signings.

They really are experts at snuffing out the hopes of Newcastle fans, who are also customers by the way, paying good money to see a product on the pitch* (If you haven’t packed in your season ticket by now of course).

Where’s this all leading?

Well, for now the club looks to be destined for Premier League surival, with a small matter of an away game at Sunderland in the Wear-Tyne Derby in April. Oh, hang on, they didn’t buy a centre half in January so we go into that game with the same central defenders we had in the promotion season. Quite simply, it’s terrifying.

Then we’ll have the summer to contend with. I dare Charnley to deliver. I dare him. By that I mean a decent Head Coach and some sensible player recruitment, allied with tying some of our best prospects down to good contracts.

A summer of drift and next season we’ll be going into the game with Stoke looking for the points to stay up.

For now, it’s back to that battle for tenth. The excitement is just too much.

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