It doesn’t take a genius to work out that both Newcastle United and Sunderland are in a serious state when it comes to the Premier League this season and indeed a number of seasons before this one.
The table shows that with only 12 of 38 matches to go, Newcastle are 18th and only one place and one point above Sunderland.
Misery truly loves company.
But what about the underlying health of the two clubs?
Are there springs of hope beneath the surface, signs of better in the future from the north east pair, slightly sheltered away from the headline news of the Premier League?
Well the answer is YES…and NO.
Have a look at these stats below.
These first set of statistics show how all three levels; first team, Under 21s (Reserves) and Under 18s (Academy), performed at both Newcastle and Sunderland from January 1st up to the end of last (2014/15) season:
RESULTS 1 JANUARY 2015 TO MAY 2015
NUFC First Team: P19 W3 D3 L13
SAFC First Team: P23 W6 D7 L10
NUFC Reserves: P15 W2 D4 L9
SAFC Reserves: P14 W6 D5 L3
NUFC Academy: P14 W4 D1 L9
SAFC Academy: P14 W6 D4 L4
Overall 1 Jan- May 2015 records:
Newcastle P48 W9 D8 L31
Sunderland P51 W18 D16 L17
As you can see, at every level Sunderland outperformed Newcastle, with the overall totals showing twice as many wins and draws for Sunderland, with Newcastle having almost twice as many defeats.
What about this current season then, have Newcastle picked up and shown signs of closing the gap on their neighbours?
RESULTS 2015/16 SEASON SO FAR
NUFC First Team: P29 W7 D6 L16
SAFC First Team: P29 W7 D5 L17
NUFC Reserves/Under 21s: P19 W4 D5 L10
SAFC Reserves/Under 21s: P21 W13 D3 L5
NUFC Academy/Under 18s: P22 W6 D2 L14
SAFC Academy/Under 18s: P22 W12 D3 L7
Overall 2015/16 record:
Newcastle: P70 W17 D13 L40
Sunderland: P72 W32 D11 L29
Only at first team level this season have Newcastle bettered Sunderland and that is only with one more draw!
Taking all three levels into account, Sunderland have picked up almost twice as many wins and have 11 less defeats.
What adds insult to injury is that Newcastle United’s Under 21s play in the second division, whilst the Sunderland Under 21s play in the first division AND compete in the top European competition for promising young players – the Premier League International Cup, against the likes of PSV, Bilbao Borussia Monchengladbach.
Total record 1 January 2015 to 25 February 2016 (Present day)
Newcastle: P118 W26 D21 L71
Sunderland: P123 W50 D27 L46
Whilst Newcastle United make grand claims of investing in youth and the intention is to have a future first team where a significant number of players come through the Academy system, the reality is that the whole club is a mess.
It isn’t the fault of individual players and we may well get the odd one such as Adam Armstrong who makes his way into the first team, but it will be despite the chaotic failure throughout the club and not because of it.
This week’s Fans Forum saw the club once again refuse to commit to the new state of the art training facilities that should have started work last summer. They cancelled those a year ago because of last season’s relegation battle and now still won’t give a date.
Surely when your youth levels and reserves are such a mess, it should prompt you to bring these kind of new facilities forward, not delay them indefinitely.
The first team picture at Newcastle is a total mess and arguably it is even worse below that, truly a club ruined by the touch of Mike Ashley and lack of investment in staff and facilities.