It’s a sharp stabbing pain. It happens roughly every seven days and takes a day or two to get over, just before the next one comes along. There seems little or no proper cure and it is happening to thousands of people across Tyneside.
That’s roughly what it’s like to be a Toon fan at the present time. One word: painful.
(To feature like Leazes Park Ender, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])
Not since the relegation of 2009 have I felt as hacked off with the club’s fortunes. I was asked the other week to come up with a more positive article and I am trying, but there really is nothing good to say about the current malaise on Barrack Road.
It’s been made worse by John Carver’s lack of tactics, his shoddy team selections and terrible media briefings, allied to a crippling injury list and a clear lack of discipline among senior players, whose actions have stripped the club threadbare on the eve of a massive derby day tester on Wearside. Is it any wonder I think it’s painful?
Whatever spell has been cast on our club it’s working because nothing is going right. At the recent Fans’ Forum a club official stated that social media reactions by a minority of fans had led to negative stories appearing in the press. They’re clearly in denial about the scale of the problems they face.
I’m not sure what memos Mr Ashley sends down to Lee Charnley, but they don’t recognise the shambles. The only ones that seem able to see it are the fans, who are powerless to stop it. I’m not sure a mass boycott would work or be realistic.
Charnley’s in-tray is weighed down with problems already. I’d suggest he’ll need to cancel his holidays to get through it all, and even then he might not be up to the job.
This leads me to believe that the seeds of relegations could be planted in the ground between June and mid-August 2015.
Just look at the issues they face, it far outweighs those ‘5 things we learned’ articles I keep seeing in the Chronicle every week.
- The manager. Go with Carver and it’s a joke. Get a new face in is fine but will they sanction the pay offs and wages for a new man?
- Player sales. Bids will be coming in (Sissoko and Janmaat) and they have to be managed and then anyone who leaves has to be replaced. It’s a huge job.
- The defence. Needs a complete overhaul and that’s a big turnover of players.
- Moving in the transfer market. Charnley has to move quicker on targets and not have a summer of wading through treacle with French club chairmen calling us names in L’Equipe.
- Contracts. They need to decide who they want to keep on and who is released. The underbelly of the squad needs major work. Do they keep Sammy? Ryan Taylor? Jonas?
- Rolando Aarons. Sort the lad’s contract out.
- Deadwood. The squad seems littered with deadwood who have to be moved on, can this be done easily when players are on long contracts?
- Young players. There is an over-reliance on academy players who are not good enough or ready for the first team.
- The blueprint. The reluctance to have at least a few players aged 28 – 32 is flawed. Every team needs experienced heads in there. Fair enough, don’t give Jermaine Defoe 80k a week like the Mackems are, but they do need a better blend of experience.
- Club captain. A new one is needed.
This is just a small fraction of the list of issues that need to be addressed.
It’s no fun being a Newcastle fan at the moment. We’re a hopeless club, devoid of ideas. It’s a club where very little seems to happen.
That could change next season when we get sucked into the bottom three. Under-investment will be our undoing next season. I know injuries are very bad at the moment, and at time of writing we have no central defence and only 13 fit outfield players, but it’s the lack of action to address it that sticks in the throat.
The club still has a chance to get a manager and wipe the slate clean, bring in some new players and go again, but all the signs at the moment point to more pain.
You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton