The Arsenal Match Is One That Means Nothing AND Everything To Newcastle United
Reaching safety a full ninety minutes before the end of the season has meant that Newcastle United’s final match of the season isn’t critical, at least not in a relegation or Champions League (for us) spot kind of way.
However, in many other ways this Arsenal fixture could have a massive impact on certainly the short and medium-term future of Newcastle United.
Despite United’s Premier League place being assured, the team/club/manager approach this match on the back of two shockers against Sunderland and Liverpool. These results/performances helping to bring to the surface the dissatisfaction of many fans, which the Europa League run had largely papered over.
The war of words and emotions between the manager and a growing number of fans has actually INCREASED since the QPR result, the manager choosing to go on the offensive with provocative remarks such as insisting staying up was an achievement in the circumstances.
Newcastle’s result and performance could be pivotal in terms of who is actually at St.James’ Park next season and subsequently, how the team fare next time around.
Mike Ashley has already shown many times that he is capable of changing direction, and managers, at the drop of a hat. I believe that Sunday has the potential to help massively influence whether we keep Alan Pardew, which players leave in the summer, what commitment (and funds) there will be for bringing players in, plus of course if the manager stays in his role, what relationship he will have with the fans.
When Alan Pardew made his throwaway comment/joke about it not mattering if Newcastle got beat by Arsenal, he was right, up to a point. However, unlike the result, the performance is paramount.
After those Sunderland/Liverpool matches, another similar ninety minutes could push Pardew out of a job. Regardless of that, it could put a really bad marker down in terms of morale and outlook for next season, with the bad form/confidence carrying over. Alan Pardew made a big deal earlier this season when he said that Everton’s strong finish last year had been a big help to them when they began this season in good form.
For the sake of everybody at Newcastle United, including/especially the fans, we need an uplifting team performance.
One that says that the ability and commitment is there that can take Newcastle United forward again. Especially if it means that it helps encourage Mike Ashley to make available the money for essential signings, unlike the fiasco of last summer.
Even in practical terms, Sunday’s result will help to decide where United finish in the table, the possibilities still range between 10th and 17th.
In financial terms it could mean a difference of up to £5m, which of course is a figure getting on for around £5m more than Newcastle’s net spending last summer.
Sunday might not have the potential to be a Newcastle United love-in but what it can be is an occasion that pulls fans, players, manager, owner, together just that little bit closer together again.
However, as always at St.James’ Park it will have the potential to do the absolute opposite. Let’s hope we start heading in the right direction again.
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