The summer trading period has been a busy one for Newcastle United – but can it be called a success?

As it stands we have taken in nine new players and 15 have left the club. That’s quite a turnover, much of it needed.

Just for a change the NUFC hierarchy seem to have gone about their business in a professional and timely manner. Not too many wrangles or on/off sagas. There has been progress amid the upheaval.

It’s a pity they couldn’t have acted like this a few years ago. It seems that only relegation has prompted them to behave like a normal football club again.

Rafa Benitez is a very canny operator with the media. All of the positivity has flowed from his tenure. He seems able to smooth away worries with his statements. “This is normal”, is a well-used term. “We will see,” is another.

He has stated that we didn’t need to sell anyone this window, but the reality is that some needed to go, while others were instructing their agents to get them the hell out of Tyneside. We know who they are. Players had to arrive and they have done.

For these reasons the transfer window, which is yet to close (or slam shut as the Chron often like to remind us), has largely been a success. Whether it will deliver enough to get us promoted is less certain. The rest of the current window and January are still to come.

Where we may have fallen down is our inability to sign another striker and a winger. It seems to be our Achilles heel. I only hope these positions are filled because I’d hate to lose too much ground on that top end of the table come Xmas. I won’t go on naming names of potential striker recruits but clearly we lack height and power. We need another target man up there who can do the donkey work for Gayle, win headers and get on the end of crosses.

Shifting out the deadwood

A good chunk of the outgoings have been Dutch and French players. The club has shifted back towards a more British core. That is good sense in the current circumstances.

Whether or not Rafa questions the commitment and attitude of certain nationalities is open to speculation, he’d never say so himself. What he has done is get through an ‘in-tray’ of work in the transfer market that looked well beyond the abilities of the club’s managing director. He has cleaned house at an astonishing rate, and such is the scale of the mess that there is still a massive amount of work left to do in terms of the rebuilding. That is what leads me to think promotion may take two seasons, though I truly hope that isn’t the case.

Heads we lose?

The concussions suffered by Gayle and Mitrovic in that EFL cup tie are a nightmare. I’m a bit surprised Cheltenham Town didn’t face any criticism. The right decisions have been taken to stand both players down from duty.

The rules are much more stringent than they used to be regarding players who get bangs to head during games. Just a few years ago they would have been able to take the field against Brighton without any doubts. It’s frustrating for the fans but the rules are about right as they stand. I do feel we’ve been a tad unlucky though.

Name that Toon?

I hear our former number 9 Mick Quinn has been calling on the club to ditch Local Hero as the anthem the players run out to. This has caused much chatter on social media.

I seem to recall that Local Hero was dumped a few years ago and there was a pretty strong campaign to bring it back and the club relented. It has become a feature of a match day for so long now that it’s a tradition I’m not keen to see get canned.

I think Mick has got this one wrong. The Blaydon Races is a terrace song and it has more of an effect when the fans sing it out, without the need of a backing track.

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