Last summer Newcastle United had a chaotic pre-season, which included a much criticised trip to America.
Steve McClaren repeatedly blamed the trip for hampering pre-season and amongst his many excuses this one had some validity, especially when half the players couldn’t even be risked in one of the three friendlies due to an artificial pitch judged too dangerous.
Whilst we all looked for the positives with the signings of summer 2015, the fact that only one of them, Gini Wijnaldum, took any part in that tour of America summed up the lack of thought that went into the preparations. The other four signed too late to take part and even Wijnaldum joined it late.
This summer sees Newcastle still yet to confirm even whether Rafa Benitez is staying at the club, with doubts remaining over a number of factors, including Mike Ashley reportedly still yet to agree to the budget Rafa has made clear he needs to do the job.
This morning it has been confirmed by the Chronicle that pre-season training starts in 36 days time (28 June) at Newcastle United and with a Championship kick-off of 6 August, this will be the shortest ever pre-season the club has faced, certainly in modern times.
Newcastle fans find out the 46 match schedule six days before (22 June) pre-season kicks off and with such a long season, it is imperative that the club is in the best possible place to kick it off.
It is going to be a big enough job even for somebody of Rafa Benitez’ experience and talents but the thought of a new man having to be appointed and then sort everything in the time available….is just too horrendous to contemplate.
It seems inevitable that a number of players will leave and very likely some/many of them not the ones we would all like to see walk out the exit door.
With the early Championship kick-off, we are then also faced with almost a further month of the transfer window when other clubs could potentially still take Newcastle’s better players.
Whilst an article on The Mag this weekend pointed out that this could have been the best possible time to be relegated with parachute payments jumping massively in the first season down, we also have to take into account that all of the 20 Premier League clubs will have far more money to spend, plus the same limited pool of potential players to target.
As the summer transfer window draws to a close, it is inevitable a number of clubs will get ever more desperate after not landing other targets.
Without somebody of the calibre of Rafa Benitez fighting our corner with guarantees from the owner in place, you would have to seriously worry about Mike Ashley selling a key player(s) without an adequate replacement, just as he gambled in the past with the likes of Carroll and Cabaye.
The sooner Rafa Benitez is confirmed, the sooner we can all start counting down these 75 days until the Championship kicks off, with an optimistic outlook.