Newcastle United’s Pre-Season Is In Disarray – Again
The shambles that was Newcastle United’s pre-season last summer was a foretaste of what we got in the campaign just ended. Now it looks very much like we could be heading for more of the same.
If you remember, a planned visit to South Africa didn’t materialise in summer 2012 and what actually happened was that Newcastle played a mini tournament in the Algarve in front of a handful of spectators.
As well as that Algarve tournament, United ended up playing a ramshackle series of friendlies over on the European mainland against ropey/average opposition, with the added bizarre insult of the club often refusing to confirm where and against who matches would be played until only days before.
This was despite the host clubs/stadiums advertising and selling tickets for weeks in advance, the disregard for the fans who may have been interested in going was mind blowing.
Moving forward 12 months and a planned trip to South Africa has once again reportedly fell through and now The Journal are saying that Newcastle will be staying ‘short haul’ with a ‘training camp and friendlies’ likely.
While The Journal are complimentary of the club’s move to accept that South Africa won’t happen and resultant arrangements, it all sounds a bit ‘Groundhog Day’ to me.
Last pre-season didn’t appear to do the team any good and in terms of promoting the ‘brand’ (helping to attract extra money into the club that can help it grow and buy players etc etc…) it was a disaster. Playing to next to no spectators in matches that didn’t broaden United’s horizons one bit.
While Newcastle look increasingly likely to revisit past mistakes, the other Premier League club lined up for the South African debacle have had a decent plan B.
A week ago, Everton announced that rather than South Africa they would be taking part in the International Champions Cup in the USA, with other clubs such as Chelsea, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan and Los Angeles Galaxy also confirmed as taking part.
One friendly that has been confirmed (though not by Newcastle yet….) is a trip to Blackpool, with the seaside club’s Chairman announcing a match will take place sometime pre-season.
Up to a point I don’t care where Newcastle play their pre-season matches but I just want to see the team given the best possible preparation for next season AND fans given the relevant information ASAP so they can make travel plans if interested.
Obviously it would be a substantial bonus if pre-season also helped the club to grow off the pitch but I would just be grateful for the basics being put in place.
In terms of giving the Newcastle United ‘brand’ extra value we’ll just have to make do for the moment with the ‘Wonga Cup’ at the seaside.
I wonder if we’ll all get Wonga branded buckets and spades?
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