With Newcastle United It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand
Contrary to popular belief in the national media, ‘us’ Newcastle fans don’t really ‘expect’ much at all, certainly not in the way of trophies. My ‘expectations’ for this season would probably be to finish in the top 10. My hopes however, would be to emulate last season and take the fight for the last Champions League spot down to the wire once again.
After last season’s fantastic 5th placed finish coupled with no big player losses (so far) I would class a bottom half finish as a bit of a failure yet if it were to be combined with excellent runs in one or more of the cups then the feeling of failure would be tempered somewhat. As for success, a trophy would obviously satisfy many a fan’s desires whilst continuing to compete with the so-called bigger teams and qualifying for the Europa League again would constitute success in my mind.
Three most important Newcastle players and why?
This is a tough one and narrowing it down to three isn’t easy. Off the top of my head; Krul, Colo, Tiote and Cisse come to mind.
Colo is our captain fantastic, leading by example on the pitch. The Argentine colossus was named in the Premier League’s team of the season and is the best defender I’ve seen don a Newcastle shirt.
Between Tiote and Cisse I’ll have to side with the diminutive Ivorian, despite Cisse’s incredible goalscoring exploits last season. If Ba can return to his form of a year ago, then the burden of goals weighing on Cisse’s shoulders will decrease.
Tiote however, is a lynchpin in our side. When he plays well we play well and when he plays badly, so do the team. His performance in the 3-0 win against Man Utd was world class and if he can produce more of that type of performance, we’ll be an incredibly tough team to beat.
Champions League or winning a trophy?
I’d possibly take 4th place over a League Cup trophy but I’d rather see us lift the FA Cup or Europa League any day. The knock out stages of the Europa League last season showed what a strong competition it is and how far it has come from the much-mocked tournament of a few years ago. Personally I’d rather a trip to Amsterdam or Wembley come May than to finish in the top 4 with all the riches it brings.
Summer Transfer Rumours/Action this Summer
As I write this it seems Ajax’s Vurnon Anita is on his way and he should add some versatility to the squad with his ability to play at left back and as a central midfielder. I only hope that his arrival doesn’t mean the end of our Debuchy pursuit – I see the Frenchman as a key piece of the Newcastle jigsaw, with right back a particular area that requires strengthening. If we can add Debuchy and a decent striker before the close of the window, I’ll be very happy with our business, especially after the strengthening of the development squad with the likes of Amalfitano and Bigirimana.
Also, it seems that other clubs are aware that Mike Ashley will only sell our star players at a ridiculous price. That, combined with the tight-knit squad who seem to enjoy playing for and living in Newcastle, looks to have ensured that there will be no repeats of the Andy Carroll and Jose Enrique situations, touch wood.
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