Newcastle In Europe – Maybe I’m Too Old Skool
Champions League…We’re Not Having A Laugh!
Our Euro campaign so far has been a little underwhelming to say the least.
Struggling against the unknown Greeks to reach the group stage and then another disappointing team selection against the equally unknown Madeirans.
Yes we can quote injuries and suspensions but compounded by that is the manager’s comments about the league being our bread and butter and leaving others behind as a result. He’s not the only manager taking that approach but we shouldn’t have the 3 games in a week excuse to roll out if it goes wrong on Sunday.
My initial thoughts were why have Marveaux and Abeid on the bench? Then thinking if that’s the case, why Elliot in goal to protect Harper for Sunday when they are at opposite ends of their careers? That said we probably did enough to win the game if looking a bit dodgy at times – but then that’s always been the case following NUFC. I’ll take the point for now.
While I agree the league is vital it begs the question ‘What is the point in qualifying for European competition in the first place?’. It appears to be more of a hindrance than a positive experience. It’s like a glorified reserve team competition as several other clubs adopted a similar approach.
Maybe I’m too old skool and preferred the days of straight knock out in the European, UEFA and Cup Winners’ Cup where you lose and you’re out. Then you had to play a team to win, rather than gamble on accepting a bad result in the hope you can rectify it by finishing second in a league format.
If we’d somehow managed to get into the Champions League then what sort of team would we be fielding and would it have resembled the one we saw last night? Would we have made more of an effort to secure additional players of greater quality in the summer? Would Demba Ba (for example) be even more put out if more competition meant even less opportunities, or having to wait his turn or prove his place in the team? Would we have just accepted we’d get trounced in every game with the pay-off (excuse the expression) of the revenue it would generate anyway?
If I was a player who had worked hard to achieve fifth last year I’d be disappointed at not being able to play in the competition I’d earned for my club and to test myself against European opposition.
If we begin to fall short in the Premier League will we tolerate this approach? Then if we don’t qualify for Europe again this season from not paying enough respect to the cups, or falling short in the league, will our current first eleven hang around for another year?
Maybe as we all seem to think deep down, it’s about the production line of young uns getting opportunities to prove they can make the grade, with a view to them filling the boots of a first teamer who will be sold for big bucks anyway. I’d love to see the second eleven carry us forward but it’s definitely a gamble.
My head tells me it’s going to go pear shaped at some point and the next Europa game against Bordeaux looks like it may provide us with some clues.
I don’t have the answers and these are only my initial thoughts, opinions and observations.
It appears though we will continue doing things on a tight budget with little concern for the customer or product on view in Europe.
That’s why I’m surprised the official travel club is Thomas Cook and not Stelios and his crew. Maybe luminous yellow shirts and orange livery is just too much to contemplate!!
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