With only 63 days until the Premier League kicks off again, it is worth considering where Newcastle United were 12 months ago.
Last summer Newcastle were reflecting on a dismal second half of the season just ended, low morale in the team/squad and a massive rebuilding job ahead of them.
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As things stand today, Newcastle are reflecting on a dismal second half of the season just ended, low morale in the team/squad and a massive rebuilding job ahead of them…
This close season there is a week less to play with, due to the Premier League kicking off one week earlier due to the 2016 Euros which will be held in France next summer.
Exactly a year ago today, 6 June 2014, Newcastle United’s second signing of the transfer window was revealed – Ayoze Perez.
The forward arrived from the Spanish second division to general bemusement from fans, with Jack Colback having been unveiled two days earlier.
So stepping back 12 months, Newcastle had two new signings (and a manager) with 71 days still to go until the Premier League kicked off again (though Newcastle ended up kicking off a day later live on TV v Manchester City).
The timing of Newcastle’s summer 2014 signings was:
4 June Jack Colback
6 June Ayoze Perez
1 July Siem de Jong
13 July Remy Cabella
16 July Emmanuel Riviere
17 July Daryl Janmaat
3 August Facundo Ferreyra
9 August Karl Darlow
9 August Jamaal Lascelles
Even if as expected Steve McClaren is officially confirmed as manager in the next few days, it still only leaves less than nine weeks until the Premier League kicks off and only three weeks before pre season training begins (1 July).
With United’s first match in the USA being on Tuesday 14 July, you would imagine they’d fly off no later than Saturday 11 July.
Considering what a mess last season was both on and off the pitch, it is unbelievable the lack of urgency that is apparently being shown by Mike Ashley and his minions.
Obviously we all hope that a bit like a duck floating along seemingly without a care in the world, the NUFC legs are flapping frantically under the water/behind the scenes.
Things are compounded by those on international duty such as Janmaat, Sissoko, Dummett and Krul, with the club already saying that they would be granted a later return to pre season training. With all four having matches next weekend, that only leaves two weeks before that pre season training starts, with the squad flying off to America only around ten days after that start of training for the squad (less the internationals).
The squad fly back into England only two weeks before the start of the season and a domestic friendly with Sheffield United on Sunday 26 July.
What it all adds up to for me, is that for the squad to be in any kind of a shape to face the new season, we need the much needed signings on that plane heading to America.
Otherwise we are looking at a maximum of two weeks they’ll have with their teammates and coaches to integrate properly when the squad returns from the States.
The very last thing United need is to make a similar disastrous start to the season as last time, no wins in the first seven Premier League matches leaving Newcastle struggling at the bottom, the first league win not arriving until 18 October against Leicester.
Last summer, of the club’s six ‘proper’ (Lascelles and Darlow instantly loaned back to Forest and not counting Ferreyra…) signings, Cabella and Janmaat were unavailable due to having being involved in the World Cup but the other four signings (Colback, Perez, Riviere and de Jong) were all on that plane to New Zealand for the friendlies and team building exercise.
In the next five weeks Newcastle need to appoint their new manager/head coach, bring in a new coaching staff (hopefully) and sign a minimum of half a dozen first team players before flying off to America.
Mike Ashley proved that he can do it when in January 2013 he signed five new players due to the threat of relegation.
That threat is there once again (never went away) and we all wait to see what brave new world he has in store for us this summer…
What are your expectations? Comments welcome below.