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Newcastle United – The January Curse

8 years ago

Newcastle United sit 9th top of the Premiership, yet the fans have enormous pessimism for the future.

The Toon fans have been known for being a little demanding.

They want entertaining football, heaven forbid. They want to see some desire to compete to win things. They also want to see their football club having some aspirations to be a club to be proud of.

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Which bring us to here and now. In December we sat just a few points from Liverpool, with more than a fighting chance of qualifying for a European place next season – this was exceeding the club’s goal of a top ten finish …. So the wheels needed to come off.

Yohan Cabaye was sold in January – it wasn’t a secret he was going, he had gone on strike in August to force a move to Arsenal’s reserves. We knew he wanted out in January, as did the club. Joe Kinnear had already said he was going nowhere, so we had it confirmed that negotiations were in progress…

Anyway, the bottom line was that Cabaye was being moved on, and not being replaced.

We all know how Newcastle have fared since – we’re currently on our worst losing streak in the Premiership – 6 games, with only one goal scored.

Player sales happen – it’s happened in January before that we’ve sold a key player and not replaced him, with a post-January season of waste. Previous January sales include Andy Carroll and Demba Ba. These transfer windows are becoming like a stuck record…

But we’re 9th top and can’t finish worse than about 12th – so maybe we’re being typically whingey. Maybe, but us lot can’t help being levered by the omens of doom:

•             We’re the Premiership’s biggest selling club, and despite huge amounts of revenue from TV rights, we have made the biggest profits over the last 5 years in player buying and selling. Around £45m in net profits.

•             We’re the biggest non-investors in players. We’ve not actually bought a player in over 12 months, preferring to loan players only.

•             The club is open on not holding any ambition in cup tournaments – cup football is not important to the owner.

•             Our manager has survived in his job despite our club having its worst run of results since 1977 and even head-butting an opposition player during a match.

•             The local newspapers are banned from press conferences at home, and during away games, the club won’t take their questions.

•             The communication from the club is essentially soundbites to websites – they don’t take any questions, certainly not live on TV.

•             The famous old ground has already been re-named once and is essentially a huge advertising banner for Ashley’s business empire.

Okay, we’ve not gone down this year, largely thanks to Loic Remy, who isn’t even our player and come the summer, will be off to a Champions League side.

Looking to the future though, for a club that gets 50,000+ gates so often at home, to have no ambitions of achievement, having next to no local players or even any English players in the team, having no one who speaks to the fans, and having essentially no desire to give the fans football excitement is to me, what adds up to the death of a football club.

It may take a drop through the divisions to get the club back, but many of us would bite the bullet and take it to get our club back.

However, an ownership change won’t happen until the money stops flowing into the machine.


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