Newcastle United – Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory
Hope flew out of the window, just before it slammed shut, and brought with it the possibility that Benny’s Newcastle United saga has now come to an end.
Or maybe he’s just biding his time and hoping like many amongst us that Pardew will be sacked before the end of the season.
Mbiwa’s exit without a replacement was a dangerous move but shows Ashley is still prepared to gamble if it means financial gain in the short-term. How much Roma are paying of his wages is unclear but Ben Arfa’s wages alone represent a reputed £2m saving.
With the news of Mbiwa’s impending departure my thoughts were that it must surely herald the arrival of a new recruit in central defence. Although poor Yanga never got a fair chance, surely this new guy must be a step up, right?
A tinge of excitement and anticipation was probably felt by most of us, as we’ve all been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to the new mantra; one in for one out.
Was it Toby Alderweireld? Damn, off to Southampton! Could it be Matija Nastastic from City, erm no? What, not even Micah Richards?! Surely it must be Virgil Van Dijk then? Nope, not him either. Nobody!
Dick Van Dyke would have been a better back up plan to what we have been left with, as we are actually now minus one senior central defender when the need to actually strengthen was seemingly obvious to all.
Consequently, we now only have three experienced centre halves on the books.
An ageing and ailing Captain Colo, a shadow of his former self.
Mike Williamson, limited but a trier and possibly the most dependable of the lot.
Then this leaves us with Steven Taylor, enough said really.
So who will step into the breach once the inevitability of injuries and suspensions kick in?
With Curtis Good still out will it be Satka or Streete? Or more likely someone like Dummett played out of position? Why couldn’t Mbiwa have been kept and played in position?!
If the club was considering such a suicidal policy, wouldn’t it have been a better idea to have kept Lascelles instead of loaning him back to Forest? But wait, that would have involved some form of planning wouldn’t it?
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The Palace game not only showed what we had all been banging on about for a while now, the need of a decent striker and centre half, but it also exposed another couple of truths.
Firstly, it is obviously Cabaye hasn’t been replaced and that midfield drive and hub are still void and empty.
But the biggest gaping hole it exposed was that of the need for a new manager.
The way we defended and conceded three goals against one of the poorer sides in the division was quite appalling and doesn’t bode well, especially with the bare bones we have been left with.
I am now getting physical sick watching replays of Coloccini turning his back on goal after goal-bound shot.
Compare this for example to the same evening’s highlights, of how Stoke retained their shape and put their bodies on the line for Hughes against Man City?
Or if you remember how superbly Carlos Queiroz marshalled his Iranian team in their World clash with Argentina, which undeservedly ended in a last minute defeat?
Now, you may suggest these were more a backs against the wall type of performance and not how we should be playing against a team such as Palace. But you get the idea; tactics or the lack of them, and how to retain shape, adaptability, fighting for the cause etc…
Basically, how a team of lesser resources or talents can still give it a go.
While Ashley is here, the likelihood of Pardew being sacked is exceedingly slim though.
Surely if he’d had any intentions to do so, he would have axed him after the ‘head-butt’ incident, citing gross misconduct and therefore not having to pay up his contract.
But Ashley after all is merely happy with Premiership survival. The Pardew problem is all part and parcel of his like it or lump it policy.
It’s the Catch 22; a bigger cancer than Pardew has to be cut out from our club before we can dream of a better manager, or indeed dream at all.
Even if the vacancy were to arise, who would want to take such a poisoned chalice and work under the restrictions and financial juggling acts expected from Ashley?
You’d have to hope that Ashley hasn’t besmirched our name to such an extent and that someone of decent calibre could still be encouraged to come in and give it a better crack.
Whilst on the subject of juggling, I think it has been reasonably shown that Ashley isn’t ‘balancing the books’. ‘The Bernician’ posted a comment on my previous article, showing the figures from Companies House which illustrated the undeniable fact that Ashley is making a profit.
With the sale of Cabaye to add to last year’s still to be published figures, a conservative estimate would have him making over £60m over the last four years.
Now I only mention this again to illustrate the following;
That amount would equate to one £15m signing per season for each of the last four, and still keep his beloved books balanced. Imagine the difference that would have made to the team?
With only a relatively small extra amount of expenditure this transfer window could have been a success. The opportunity has now been lost, leaving us potentially vulnerable and exposed once more.
The small wave of optimism the club generated with its initial splash of signings has now broken feebly on the beach. On the horizon, another autumn and winter of discontent is looming.
How fitting it would now be if the club reverted back to its old city coat of arms crest but with a new Latin motto attached in place;
‘Rapere de Ore Victoriam Victis’ – Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
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