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The Two Missing Links That Could Transform Newcastle United

8 years ago
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The story of Newcastle United’s near miss with ultimate success in 1996 was summed up perfectly by the video that followed it.

‘So Close’ was the title of that video as we relived the rollercoaster ride of that 1995/96 season which we all dream of repeating and indeed improving on.

We had some truly exceptional players and a style of football that was breathtaking.

I’m not claiming that we are ‘So Close’ to recreating that level of player or ‘success’ but what I do really believe is that Newcastle aren’t very far away from having a team that could potentially bounce right back to that top 7 of the Premier League.

(To feature like Jim on the website/magazine, send in your letters/articles to [email protected])

With two weeks to go until we kick-off the season I have to say I have no confidence in anything heading over the line in terms of new signings but that doesn’t stop us hoping that common sense could break out at any time, with money made available to bring in sensible realistic signings that are essentially needed.

Yes we could well get through this next season without any kind of fatal damage but with a couple of inspired signings then I truly believe it opens up a whole different ball game.

There are still issues with regard to back-up in certain other areas but if you look at the team formation that I’ve laid out then as you can see, I think we are desperately in need of two missing links that could transform our hopes AND expectations.

Goalscorers and creative players are obviously at a premium but I believe that a striker and an attacking midfielder are out there and there would even be plenty change out of the guaranteed £20m or so extra TV money that is falling into Mike Ashley’s lap this coming season. With the potential as well of offsetting the outlay by letting a couple of other players leave if these two inspired signings were made.

Not ideal (letting more players go) but I live in the real (Mike Ashley) world and you have to accept the principle of ‘No pain, No gain’, a little bit of pain would be acceptable if we could anticipate seeing more talent on the pitch.

The right striker and attacking midfielder/winger would give the team the vital pace, goals, mobility and creativity that would set off the rest of the team.

Maybe the comparison that should be made is not with the Keegan nineties team but more the Robson era, when his inspired signings of Laurent Robert and Craig Bellamy gave the missing pieces to a talented jigsaw that already included great players such as Shearer, Given, Speed, Dyer, Solano and so on.

A bottom half of the table team was transformed thanks to a £16m outlay on a left winger and a striker, both of whom scored and made goals.

I have no doubt that Graham Carr will have scouted players that fit this exact bill, if only Mike Ashley accepts the wisdom of this then the Magpies could be flying again.

I have faith in all of the other nine positions and the back-up which would be provided by either Mapou or Taylor as I can’t separate them as Colo’s partner. With two inspired signings then the back-up provided by the likes of Haidara, Marveaux, Tiote, Elliot, Anita, Gouffran and Jonas starts to look like a credible plan coming together.

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