So, the machinations of the transfer window go on and, in a rare exception to the non-events of recent years, Newcastle United look to still be involved in some pending transfer sagas. It could even go so far as actually having a vested interest in the goings on of transfer deadline day.
There are a couple of viewpoints on the events unfolding.
The first is that the club is finally using the colossal funds that have been mounting up through the years and TV deals to reach the level of self-sufficiency previously mooted by the owner. The other is that Ashley is to some extent making good on his word from the pre-West Ham interview of last season, as the necessary investment seems to be beginning. Certainly some additional focus has come onto Lee Charnley and an abject failure to properly utilise those funds in certain cases.
What I’m sure everyone can agree on is that something still needs to happen. The Watford game has not built on the promise shown v West Ham and the ridiculous amount of chances going begging, sees us consistently mired below the relegation line. Mitrovic has obvious strengths and may come good with time.
However, in the short-term someone needs to be drafted in who can finish those chances.
My own personal preference would be Remy, who needs to play regularly ahead of the Euros and has proven he can do the business in this parish previously. If Pato is signed (by Chelsea), then a loan deal would surely suit both the player and Chelsea, and for Newcastle it would be a fractional cost of the price of staying up.
Whether this is feasible in comparison to other suitors, or we have other more sustainable targets (Berahino?) is something that will unfold, or have unfolded in the final week of January.
I am pretty sure something will happen. Whether it’s what we want or another ridiculous gamble, I have confidence that people at the club realize the prospect of losing out on untold millions of precious TV money, must be mitigated by speculating a comparative amount on person or persons more capable of winning at football.
If I had to predict an overall outcome, I’d say it’ll work too. Despite the tedious Groundhog Day feeling of returning to hopeless narrow loser status immediately after every sign of promise, I do feel there’s enough in this squad and enough left in the fixture list to achieve 40ish points, if aided by a suitable goal scoring addition.
I suspect the sliding newly promoted clubs will take the fall for us as we limp unconvincingly to something between 14th and 17th place in another glum season of no cup runs and shoddy underachievement.
There’s even an argument I’m sure we’ve all heard, that taking the fall may be a more appealing option, maybe winning a few more in the Championship will feel nicer than this, again, ad infinitum.
I suppose the question then, is how much of this is enough? The season ticket cancellation window is set to close and as ever, there will be people having a bit of a consider. Is this something-teenth place, third round of the cup half-arsed existence really worth the emotional investment?
I wonder how many people, ticket holders or otherwise, have faith in it ending some day. But I don’t really know how that looks.
If the Ashley regime managed to get it right and showed ambition, ploughed in investment and began to regain the club’s dignity, could the disaffected reach a state of satisfaction with the club?
For me, the attempt at renaming of the ground, the Wonga situation, treatment of Keegan and Shearer etc all adds up to more than a few million in investment to pay off.
I wonder where the future actually will take the club. Is it best to just accept the grotesque capitalism of professional sport, give up the soul of clubs as lost to big business and get on with just using the game as somewhere to take your little lad, or meet your mates for a beer? Surely that’s not what it’s all about.
I recently enquired to the club about the situation with loyalty points, to the end that if a season ticket holder gave up his ticket, then wanted to re-apply a year later, would the old points ever be transferable?
In theory I could get a job in Australia for a guaranteed year then be back in Newcastle wanting to renew as always, should that really count against me?
The answer came back as a flat no. Give up your ticket, give up the points forever.
If ever a statement summed up the turn of events at Newcastle United in recent years, that surely is it. The old loyalty points count for nothing.
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