The Newcastle United manager has spoken of heading in the right direction.

The club captain has said we can escape the relegation scene.

This is all despite NUFC standing perilously close to the Premier League drop zone.

It begs the age old question: are manager and players deluding themselves?

Heads may not be buried in the sand but I do wonder if they’ve looked at the table. McClaren said he couldn’t understand booing after the Villa game. That was an astonishing comment given our position and a failure to get past a truly awful Villa side.

The manager seems to think we’ll be okay. I also hear many Newcastle fans saying that classic line – ‘we should stay up, like’.

newcastle united

So as we head into 2016 I’m torn. The wins over Liverpool and Spurs – both magnificent – have yielded a precarious foothold only. It remains a concern that without a few more new players and some better tactics we’ll be back in the soup come the Spring.

Staying up is not a foregone conclusion. The players have to step it up and not rest on some half-baked notion that it’ll be alright on the night.

They need to get out there and put this issue to bed. There are positives, mainly the form of Perez. I’d like to see more of him in the starting line-up.

2015 – an NUFC year in review

Don’t worry, the annual review need not be thousands of words. Quite simply it’s been a terrible year for Newcastle Utd.

John Carver very nearly got us relegated and we’re now seeing more struggles. We have to hope for better in 2016 but that will only happen if the owner is willing to build on what we’ve got and make strategic changes. Don’t hold your breath.

I note that the mackems have ditched their director of football model. Maybe it’s high time Charnley and Carr ditched our ridiculous policy of only buying cheap foreign imports with no Premier League experience. Oh and the club needs to think about buying players over the age of 27. Shrewd recruitment of a few older, more experienced footballers is what we’re crying out for.

Least said Souness mended

The former manager who made a spectacular mess of Newcastle United after inheriting a brilliant squad of players from Sir Bobby Robson has been making his mouth go I see.

I’m not that fussed on Souness the pundit. He’s better than clowns like Merson, Savage, Hartson etc, but his latest remarks about NUFC were staggeringly inept.

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Graeme Souness used that well-worn cliché of blaming the fans for the club’s problems. He claimed it’s the fans’ fault that players don’t want to sign for Newcastle. Really Graeme? He thinks the ordinary bloke in the street is to blame, not the board who actually preside over the recruitment of players, or the owner who refuses to consistently release funds when the right players are available. Souness clearly didn’t do his homework. NUFC is suffering through a flawed recruitment policy and a lack of quality investment between 2012 and the summer of 2015.

January sales

January is a short and annoying transfer window. I’d like to see us go after Andros Towsend and Jonjo Shelvey. Some good solid English players. Charlie Austin remains a pipe dream, but I do wonder if that ship has sailed for now.

January is certainly not the time to sell your best players. Players at the fringes, yes, but not the crown jewels, and that’s where a certain Mr Perez’s name comes back to the fore. He must be retained. I’d keep him until at least the summer of 2017. If possible. If he keeps his progress up that could be tricky with Mr Ashley eyeing a profit margin.

Mr Ashley remains

That brings on to the subject of our controversial owner. In May 2016 Mike Ashley will have owned Newcastle United for nine tumultuous years, with a scant number of high points. It’s an era that has left club legends insulted, awful brand names attached, stadium renaming, player sales, huge under investment and hapless managerial appointments.

I’m coming to the view that we may not see the back of Mike Ashley for another ten to fifteen years. The arrangement he has with NUFC is just way too cushy for him.

Never mind eh…it’s Xmas. Have a good one.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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