A key player throughout the Kevin Keegan entertainers era and beyond, former midfielder Rob Lee says he doesn’t get to watch Newcastle in the flesh very often but is grateful that he doesn’t!
A damning indictment on not only the relegation struggle that Newcastle find themselves in but also the dearth of entertainment on offer as well.
In away games this season, none of the other 91 clubs in the four divisions have scored less than Newcastle’s total of seven goals.
Newcastle’s hardcore travelling support have now seen the team win only two and draw one of the last 20 away games (including those pre-dating Steve McClaren), losing a humiliating 17 of them.
Whilst Rob Lee thinks that Shelvey and Townsend are good players, he sees them as unnecessary purchases, whereas a goalscorer, a left-back and centre-half are urgently needed.
Lee thinks that Newcastle will just about survive but it will only be because there are three worse teams, though he doesn’t think Sunderland are one of them.
The former Newcastle midfielder/winger thinks that in Jermain Defoe, Sunderland have something that United are desperately short of – an out and out goalscorer.
Rob Lee talking to PA Sport:
“I don’t see them much live these days but I wouldn’t want to actually….
“They shouldn’t be getting beaten like that, especially against Chelsea who are not exactly in the form of their lives. It was a poor result and a poor performance.”
“That’s the trouble with Newcastle, you think they’ve turned the corner, but I think people forget it was West Brom and they were awful, and we still only beat them 1-0.
“They’ve got a lot of problems. The two players they’ve bought, Townsend and Shelvey, I like them, but as much as they are good additions, if you look at it, they weren’t essential buys. It’s like going to get your groceries and you see something else and think, ‘I wouldn’t mind that’.
“But we need a goalscorer, we need a leader at the back, a centre-half, a left-back. We’ve got Aarons playing there at the moment, he’s a young kid and that’s not his position. For a club the size of Newcastle, that’s ridiculous really.
“It’s like a dam with a crack and you’re sticking your finger in the holes but, unless you do major surgery on it, it’s going to go…because all the teams that come up and the teams that stay up get a huge amount of money and they’ll spend it. If you don’t spend it, or you spend a limited amount, people will catch up with you and go past you.
“In the Premier League, you can’t stand still otherwise you’re going backwards. I sometimes get criticised for being anti-foreign players, which I’m not at all, I want the best players playing in the Premier League but I think some of them find it very, very difficult.
“I’m surprised they bought Shelvey and Townsend. I’ve been an advocate for a long time of getting more British players in. When I played we had 11. I know the game has changed but I still think the location of Newcastle and the passion of the fans, I think you need a spine of British players who know the Premier League.”
“I’m not really worried. The performances have been awful but I just look at the other teams and I think there are three worse than Newcastle. Villa are in all sorts of trouble – they look dead and buried. Norwich are dropping like a stone. Swansea I think are in trouble.
Sunderland are down there but they’ve got a goalscorer. If you’ve got someone like Jermain Defoe, you can always nick a goal and win a game, which is unfortunately what Newcastle can’t do.”