Newcastle United is a funny old club.
It boasts a ridiculous number of fans when taking recent success into account.
It has, undoubtedly, one of the BEST managers in the world at its helm, despite having one of the WORST owners of a football club that recent footballing history has ever seen.
We have the BEST team on paper equipped to win a league that we have ever seen in recent times – the raft of premiership quality that our squad boasts is incredible when you think of where we currently find ourselves, yet, we are somehow lacking the cohesion required at the minute to turn games into points.
Thursday night saw Brighton lose 3-1 to Huddersfield, a result that leaves us only 1 point behind, and finally level on games played. I have hated looking at the table over the past 2 months with that game in hand hanging over us like a grey cloud on a planned BBQ day. The fact that they now lose Dunk for their weekend game after his sending off is also a great bonus. Brighton have had a great defensive record this season, and losing their defensive talisman, albeit for only one solitary game is great news.
This week has seen the ‘funny old club’ aura resurface, with a woeful FA Cup exit, no reinforcements coming in and then a draw against a team that we beat 6-0 in the reverse fixture.
Not exactly our finest hours, HOWEVER, I am quite confident that this week is NOT going to define our season.
FA Cup exit:
We all grew up, whatever decade or time period is irrelevant, watching football.
We all found an affinity with our chosen club, the poisoned chalice that is NUFC.
As a club, we boast a rather fine history in the FA Cup, agreed it is a dated one, but that is irrelevant. The FA Cup is magical at times and we all want to see our club do well in it. This season however, with the apparent struggles appearing in the race to automatic promotion, going out at the stage we did, allows Rafa and the squad to focus solely on the season’s main aim – promotion.
I agree, it was a feeble exit to lower league opposition, but in the grand scheme of things, it is less games to play in an already congested fixture list. Maybe next year – it most certainly isn’t the end of the world.
Well, what can anyone say?
Nobody truly knows what has went on behind the scenes. We all know that offers were made, we saw them…..Koeman confirmed in a press conference that he had received a bid from us. It would have been great to have some reinforcements in for the final push. 18 games remain and legs will start getting tired, but at the same time, we have enough depth.
We are not the only club that will start getting tired and the other clubs do not have the depth that we do. Yes ok, our depth may not be the best quality all over the park, but, I don’t believe that there are many of our squad players that would not walk into most Championship teams outside of the top 6.
We have enough to get out, we will get out. Is it going to be easy? Nope, it definitely won’t, and we may have to settle for second place, not that it matters.
The Rafa factor in the transfer saga may be an issue, but I honestly believe that if it was the case that Charnley and Ashley had taken control and refused his suggestions then he would already be gone. I can totally understand management not wanting to pay inflated prices for players that in all honesty, would probably not be what we need for next season’s premiership survival campaign.
Crystal Palace paid £13Million for Townsend, of which, due to staggered payments, only £11Million has been paid up to date. For us just to take him on loan, they wanted a £2Million Loan fee, which cancels out what they owe for him, plus a guaranteed £13Million buyout clause at the end of the season if promoted. We would have been £4Million down. I work in business, and that deal my friends, is a complete an utter no-no.
We dropped 2 points. If we had won, we would now be top of the league. We didn’t, we drew, hindsight can be a dangerous thing.
The backlash from that result has been ridiculous in my opinion. We lost only because of a lack of communication at the death.
Did we play well? Nope, but we were winning, and had it not been for the freak incident that saw Clark head into his own net (Let’s face it, things like that don’t happen too often) we would have walked away with the three points.
The best teams grind out results when they are playing bad. Everyone keeps saying we were atrocious, yet we still drew, and could have won it. Now is not the time to start being hysterical. We are only one point behind Brighton, who are by all accounts having an amazing season.
Just because we have a better squad on paper does not take away from the fact that we are still having a great season. Could it be better, of course it could. We could be 10 points clear. We could even be 20 points had we won all the games we lost. But we didn’t.
This football club has always thrived on the passion of the fans. We would have probably drifted into obscurity in our darkest days had it not been for the undoubtedly fantastic and fanatical support that has tempted money makers into buying our club and aiming high.
If cracks are appearing, we, the fans, need to paste over them. We can be the difference on match day. We can galvanise. We can show our support better than any other in this country of ours. We can be the 12th man that may be needed.
I personally don’t see the major cracks that a lot of Newcastle United fans are talking about. I see a series of events that have followed each other in quick succession, which has led to an apparent lack of club cohesion. Had the three topics discussed above happened over a period of 3-4 weeks then the hysteria that we are seeing and reading just would not be there.
Everyone take a deep breath, let’s try not to speculate on matters that we have no real idea to the truth of, unfurl the scarfs and banners and prepare for a weekend of football where come Sunday evening, we may just find ourselves sitting back at the top of the pile where we belong.