If Sunderland Win Cup – Embarrassment For Shepherd & Hall But Would Ashley Care?
I was just reading John Martin’s article [intlink id=”38809″ type=”post”]‘As A Newcastle Fan I Wasn’t Cheering For Sunderland But…’ [/intlink]and I have to say, it made me think.
Sunderland put up a spirited display at Old Trafford against a club on the slide and matched them for effort. That’s what Newcastle United did in December and came away victorious. Effort – that’s all that is required these days against Man Utd, they won’t outclass you. Man CITY however . .
However, I digress. The real crux of the matter, the real point of my indecisiveness on Wednesday night, was not who to support (Man Utd obviously) but what effect Sunderland winning the cup would have on me and other Newcastle fans.
The thoughts I have milling around my addled mind are that Sunderland winning the bloody thing would shake Newcastle into doing something, a proverbial rocket, so to speak. Then of course autopilot takes over and says ‘Better off on the course you are at the minute’ – Come on Man City.
Which is where the problem lies. Newcastle as a club (Or Mike Ashley more to the point) is quite happy on tick-over, not pushing the boat out, just taking the money and the whole idea of romanticism, dreaming and glory can shove it’s head right up its trophy laden arse.
Let’s not delve into the finances for a minute, just the philosophy, just the thinking process. What effect would Sunderland winning the cup have on Mike Ashley? Answer: Nothing. Probably best not winning it anyway, puts you in Europe and we wouldn’t want that would we?
Now ask the same question. What effect would Sunderland winning the cup have on Freddy Shepherd and Hall? Answer: Embarrassment? Jealousy? Probably both, but with a desire to achieve the same.
It’s not too much to ask. Build a side that can maintain a solid top 8 finish in the Premier League (while reaping the financial rewards that brings) but have a right crack at the two cups, or even the Europa League if you’re in it.
Last season we were in the Quarter Final of the Europa League and a goal away from going through, having played such European ‘giants’ as Maritimo, Atromitos, Bordeaux, Brugge, Metalist and Anji . . with understrength sides out in many of those games.
Hardly a taxing campaign when you look back at Champions League and UEFA Cup excursions of a decade ago, where we fought hard on a Tuesday/Wednesday night against Inter Milan, Juventus, Feyenoord, Barcelona, with first choice sides and battled on in the league to finish 3rd/5th on a Saturday/Sunday.
There were problems under Shepherd and Sir Bobby’s regime of 2001-04 but there are problems now under Ashley and Pardew.
Financial fatuousness and ambition has been replaced by profit maximisation and mediocrity contentment. A middle ground is sorely needed. Maybe then we can dream of winning a cup before I leave the building.
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