Newcastle United’s Championship Safety Net Disappears
Many of us like to hark back to that season when Newcastle finished fifth, only 15 months ago but it is starting to feel a whole lot more with each passing day of the current chaos.
The more pessimistic of our fans though, will always see 40 points as the most important target before thinking of anything else.
If you are a neutral and look at Newcastle United’s prospects this season then you would look at a few factors.
Especially if you fancy a bet, you would look firstly at recent form and that would tell you that last season Newcastle skirted with relegation off and on, with only the Mackems separating United from the three that got relegated.
(To feature like Sam on the website/magazine, send in your letters/articles to [email protected])
So the starting point this summer if you are looking for at least three teams that Newcastle will finish above, would logically be Sunderland and the three promoted teams.
The mackems only have a solitary point the same as Newcastle but from what I hear they are playing better football and after bringing in double figure signings, if even just a few of them click then surely they can only improve on the rubbish they served up last season.
As for the promoted clubs; as well as other signings, Cardiff spent £25m on the spine of their team this summer.
England international centre-back Steven Caulker from Spurs, Chilean international holding midfielder Gary Medel and young Danish international striker Andrea Cornelius.
Hopes that the Welsh club may go quietly back to the Championship were raised with a poor defeat at Upton Park on the opening day, something quickly overwhelmed by their thrilling and deserved 3-2 victory over Manchester City.
The other two promoted clubs definitely looked fair game for a swift return to the nether regions and maybe that will still prove the case.
However, a home win over Norwich is exactly the kind of result Hull need to stand a chance of staying up, beating middle of the road teams on home turf, something that Newcastle failed to do against West Ham on the same day. Add to this that they have picked up two Premier League standard midfielders (both capped by England) in Livermore (loan) and Huddlestone, amongst other signings.
The other team supposedly making up the numbers is Crystal Palace and though they have no points at the minute they did for a long time look like they would take all three at Stoke on Saturday. Like Hull they have brought in a mixture of buys and loan players and at least have scored a goal unlike United.
So what does this season hold for Newcastle?
As it stands, United have bought nobody and the only room for improving the squad at the moment is waiting for on-loan Remy to get fit. With every club that finished above Newcastle having strengthened, how can you argue why we should now finish above all/any of those clubs that finished higher than us in the league? The argument is that allegedly the signings made in January will have now settled in and that following that outlay results did improve overall, though not by a huge margin.
We look again at the transfer market and with less than a week to go, the hopes of Newcastle fans could be hostage to the ‘endeavours’ of Joe Kinnear. To have potentially our most influential player not on the pitch is clearly nonsense, though claims he has refused to play are weakened considerably by the fact no fine for Cabaye has been announced.
Looking on the bright side, by this time next week we should surely have either Cabaye back (as to how this would be presented to fans is another matter) available or alternatively one or two new signings brought in with some of that money (I’ve said all along that Ashley will make a profit in this window and see no reason to change that view).
However, it pains me to say it but sadly you can’t rule out the chances of Cabaye at last signing for Arsenal, or whoever, and pathetic reasons put forward by Kinnear and clan as to why nobody was dragged over the line.
If Cabaye leaves and nobody comes in, the topic of ‘The Championship’ could be under discussion increasingly for some months to come.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]