To Understand Where Newcastle United Are Now, You Have To Get Your Head Around Two Seasons Ago
Much is made of whether Alan Pardew is the manager who hauled Newcastle up to fifth top, or the one who dragged them down to fifth bottom.
However, the key to exactly where United are now, and what is needed to save/stabilise/shoot Newcastle back to the top, is at the heart of what happened two seasons ago.
Mike Ashley should have thanked his lucky stars at what happened in that 2011/12 season and thrown everything at building on that, instead of giving Pardew/Carr (& Llambias?) nothing to spend and trying to muddle through last season.
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Very few matches in that fifth top season did we take teams apart (as we did regularly under KK and Sir Bobby), the team hardly scored a scruffy goal between them. How many matches did we win with a cracking goal out of nothing?
We had to go until February with one striker (Ba), if he’d got injured we would have been knackered..so that season was massively down to a free signing! Then Cisse came into the mix and every goal was contender for goal of the season. Two inspired signings but it was a massive gamble that paid off in terms of the striking options that season.
The foundations of that season were built on scraping wins thanks to Ba’s goals and a back five who far exceeded their individual talents – Simpson now given away, Raylor would have been out of the door as well now if fit and then Staylor rumoured to even step down to the Championship though I think he is decent. Krul and Coloccini were of course outstanding that season.
In fact pretty much every player operated at their full potential, a situation that was impossible to repeat. Ryan Taylor, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson and even Gabriel Obertan gave us more than we were ever going to get from them again.
The squad also led a very charmed life with injuries, that season was just meant to be!
Freeze this moment – 39 days before the Premier League kicks off again, we basically have the players available who only once managed to score more than one goal in a game in the final 12 competitive matches of last season..and that was against QPR when Bosingwa gifted us two goals!
It isn’t a toss of the coin whether we bounce back to near fifth top, instead it is a toss of the coin whether we end up similar to last season.
That ‘fifth top’ season was a marvellous blip that could only be repeated with more inspired signings.
When you see teams like West Ham and Swansea who were better than us last season (league table never lies after 38 matches) going out and spending £17m and £14m on strikers you have to get a big reality check, even Palace signing a striker for £8.5m!
Alan Pardew is already talking up our chances even if we play City with our current lot of players…I can already then hear him repeating his mantra (if we sign next to noboby) ‘can’t believe luck with injuries, if only I could play my best eleven every week’.
The very minimum is we need two more players who can score goals; an out and out goalscorer and a midfielder/winger/striker who will score as well.
I think Alan Pardew proved he had ability in that uplifting season but hearing him having to paper over massive cracks in the void of no new signings just makes me fear for the new season.
Unless the lessons are learnt from what exactly did happen two years ago…
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