When I was at school, I was always taught never to ignore history – if lessons aren’t learnt from and noted of what has gone before, then you are liable to make the very same mistakes and end up in the same place…
Welcome to Groundhog Day, Deja Vu….welcome to Newcastle United.
Mike Ashley and his minions have managed to create the most ridiculous and chaotic season since all the way back to 2008/09.
The only difference this time is that Mike Ashley has managed to achieve it with zero managers rather than four different ones.
We do have a Head Coach though and before Steve McClaren was appointed, the club kindly let us all know that whoever was given the job would be there to coach & pick the team and that was the limit of their powers.
After seeing what a pig’s ear McClaren has made of the job, maybe it was one of the few things Mike Ashley got right!
Not that Lee Charnley, Graham Carr and other shadowy figures in the NUFC/Sports Direct shadows have done any better.
As for history, a lot of fans appear to be writing off all the away matches, which is maybe little wonder when Newcastle have lost 17 out of the last 20.
Braver ones are hoping/expecting something from the trips to Norwich and Villa but already accepting it will be zero points from visiting Stoke, Liverpool, Southampton and Leicester.
The consensus is that the survival battle will be won or lost in the home games against Bournemouth, Swansea, Sunderland and Palace, with no expectation of anything against Man City or Spurs when they play at St James Park.
This all sounds very much like 2008/09 for those who were around then, as Newcastle failed to win game after game against the ‘better teams’, everybody pointed to the last three home matches against Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Fulham as being the games that would save us.
In the event; one draw, one win and one defeat weren’t enough in those three ‘must win’ matches, the sad irony that only a single extra point would have saved us in the end, a wrongly disallowed goal against Fulham in the final home match a slap in the face, as United lost 1-0.
A sobering fact for us all today is that after 26 matches in 2008/09, Newcastle were three league placings and two points better off than they are now.
That season United only managed another six points from the last 12 Premier League matches – one win, three draws and eight defeats leaving Newcastle with 34 points at the end of the season…35 would have been enough.
Home wins against those four (Swansea, Palace, mackems and Bournemouth) would very likely be enough to save us, ensuring 38 points could well be enough this season.
However, Newcastle have to break out of this mentality which started in this particular campaign before a ball was kicked – Steve McClaren repeatedly going on about the tough fixtures to start the season, making his excuses for early results/defeats before a ball was kicked.
The net result was the players seemingly buying into this and repeating the drivel about tough fixtures etc etc as winless game followed winless game.
I can guarantee you now that in these final 12 Premier League matchdays, the likes of Bournemouth, Sunderland, Norwich and Swansea will pick up unklikely looking points from those clubs towards the top end.
I have heard Newcastle fans writing off the Chelsea hammering as only to be expected, yet they had won zero home league game sunder Guus Hiddink until we appeared, plus of course the fact that this season Bournemouth amongst others have beaten them at Stamford Bridge.
People say what is the point in getting rid of Steve McClaren if you don’t have any brilliant alternative lined up.
Well to me, could it be any worse – having a manager/head coach who sends out his players already beaten in at least half the games they play?
Surely this season the lesson to be learnt is anybody can beat anybody, home AND away.
Leicester have embraced this to the max and even the promoted clubs Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich have had a go in pretty much all their matches.
Steve McClaren talks of having 12 cup finals to come, even that in a way makes it sound as though the task is even tougher than it really is.
I prefer to think of it as 12 matches left that are all winnable – victory in any four or five of them and Newcastle may well be safe.
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