Newcastle United – Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail
A yield of one point from their final half a dozen matches ensured that Birmingham City, who had won the League Cup just a couple of months earlier, lost their relegation fight on the final day of the 2009-10 season, having prematurely taken their foot off the gas when sitting pretty.
The previous year had seen Hull City heading for their holidays after only nine league matches, hitting the cruise control following a barely believable start to their top-tier return.
(To feature like Dom, send in your letters/articles for our magazine/website to [email protected])
The Tigers secured an astonishing 20 points from those opening nine fixtures, a run that culminated with a 3-0 victory away at West Bromwich Albion, the fourth successive three point haul for Phil Brown’s boys.
From there, the newly promoted side and their less than convincing manager tumbled down the table, winning two of their remaining 29 matches.
Amazingly, Newcastle were unable to overhaul their relegation rivals, who crucially managed a 1-1 draw at Bolton in their penultimate fixture, the only point accrued from the last 21 available for Hull, whose final tally of 35 points was enough to gain 17th place, directly above Newcastle (who had a superior goal difference) on 34.
Hull City remain, in my opinion, the poorest team to stay up (and one of the most embarrassing ever Premier League moments when Tango man Phil Brown took to the pitch and sang after their final match) in a Premier League season and that they did it thanks to the incompetence of the club I support still stings!
Last season it was West Brom who shocked pundits with a breathtaking early season run, virtually guaranteeing safety with 33 points in the first half of the campaign.
From there the recliners came out, with a meagre 16 points acquired in their final 19 outings.
WBA finished eighth, with the sides below them having regularly taken points from each other, to ensure that the Baggies’ lofty position remained intact despite them hemorrhaging points all over the shop in the run-in.
That may prove to be the case with Newcastle this season, as the gap between Alan Pardew’s squad and murky waters shows no sign of evaporating any time soon, to bask in the ‘glory’ of that fact would be to miss the point entirely though.
Hull were relegated with only 30 points the season after their narrow escape, while West Brom continue to struggle this term, with even the mid-season appointment of Pepe Mel unable to provide the usual momentum shifting effect that a new manager brings.
This is probably not the season for those of a black and white persuasion to panic therefore, that particular joy appears destined to arrive in circa six months time if measures aren’t taken to arrest the current profligacy that casts a dark shadow over the club.
The natives are restless, both on the pitch and in the stands, and an uncomfortable energy surrounds the place. The speck on the horizon Is in danger of becoming a fully fledged meteor hurtling towards NE1 apace.
This needs dealing with now, not when we’re all breathing in rock residue and Mike Ashley resorts to the hair-trigger transfer market approach that ultimately saved our bacon last year – a method on a par with playing the Roulette tables to pay off your debts.
Hull City, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham fans will attest to the fact that football has a funny way of finding you out eventually if you don’t plan ahead.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]