The issue of no January signings was something hotly debated by Newcastle fans.
As all the other promotion chasers added to their squads, NUFC didn’t get anybody ‘over the line’.
Rafa Benitez made clear that he had given Lee Charnley his list of targets and that he was expecting at least one or two new faces.
As January came to an end with no signings made, Rafa showed his unhappiness with what had gone on…or rather hadn’t, only to then issue a professional ‘business as usual’ message to fans and media.
He’d got the message out that he wasn’t happy with the actions of the club but was adamant that he wasn’t going to allow this to derail the promotion charge.
Most Newcastle fans thought it made good sense to bring in at least some new signings, both to give fresh impetus to the promotion challenge and potentially help prepare for what will be a tough task if Newcastle are back in the Premier League next season.
The last two promotion seasons saw:
Kevin Keegan brought in Andy Cole, Mark Robinson and Scott Sellars in March 1993.
Whilst Chris Hughton recruited Leon Best, Mike Williamson, Wayne Routledge, Fitz Hall (loan), Patrick van Aanholt (loan) and Danny Simpson (made his loan deal permanent) in January 2010 to help complete the job
So the question is, has the failure by Mike Ashley to back Rafa Benitez negatively (or positively?) affected the promotion charge?
You can never know for sure but the results are the only thing we can use to give some guidance.
The results before and after the transfer window ended:
Before: Played 27 Won 19 Drawn 1 Lost 7
After: Played 11 Won 5 Drawn 5 Lost 1
Before: 58 points from 27 games at an average of 2.15 points per match
After: 20 points from 11 games at an average of 1.82 points per match
Before: That points average would give 99 points over a 46 match season
After: That points average would give 84 points over a 46 match season
The stats tell us that results/points have dipped since the failure to make any January signings.
The feeling has to be that if Rafa Benitez thought players were worth bringing in, they would have added extra quality/strength to the team and squad for the remainder of the season.
As injuries and loss of form for some have hit the squad, new faces could/would have freshened things up and quite possibly helped add more points. Never mind the possibility of settling new players in so they are better prepared to be part of Newcastle team in the Premier League next season, hopefully.
Looking at the results since January, it is the number of drawn matches that stand out, five in 11 after only one in the previous 27.
Adding one or two quality players would surely have helped turn at least one or two of the QPR, Norwich, Reading, Bristol City and Birmingham matches into wins.
Every point is priceless in this quest for instant bounce back promotion, so let’s hope Mike Ashley’s failure to back Rafa Benitez mid-season doesn’t cost us all.
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