As well as a ‘few’ other things to sort, Steve McClaren needs to tackle the severe (lack of) discipline problem that has built up at Newcastle United in recent seasons.
A lot of factors came together in the last 12 months to almost get NUFC relegated, but the final nail in our relegation coffin could have been the indiscipline that showed pretty much right throughout the squad.
Over the course of the 2014/15 season, Newcastle had seven players sent off in Premier League matches, no other clb having more.
This is the full list of how many red and yellow cards each club clocked up:
7 R 70 Y Aston Villa
7 R 66 Y Newcastle United
6 R 71 Y Hull
5 R 64 Y Manchester United
5 R 48 Y Swansea
4 R 79 Y Tottenham
4 R 77 Y Chelsea
4 R 63 Y Crystal Palace
4 R 49 Y Leicester
3 R 94 Y Sunderland
3 R 75 Y QPR
3 R 66 Y Liverpool
3 R 64 Y West Brom
3 R 57 Y Southampton
2 R 77 Y Manchester City
2 R 68 Y Arsenal
2 R 66 Y Everton
2 R 64 Y Burnley
2 R 64 Y West Ham
1 R 82 Y Stoke
This problem had built up season by season with 2010/11 – 2 sent off, 2011/12 – 2 sent off, 2012/13 – 4 sent off, 2013/14 – 6 sent off and now 7 sent off in the last league campaign.
The last time United had so many red cards was in the relegation season of 2008/09, when once again there was a shocking attitude shown by the squad, just as we have seen this past season.
Even leading John Carver to accuse Mike Williamson of getting sent off deliberately against Leicester, so he wouldn’t have to face playing in crunch relegation battles.
NUFC’s seven Premier League sending offs of 2014/15 were:
Mike Williamson (Villa away)
Moussa Sissoko (West Ham away)
Steven Taylor (Chelsea home)
Fabricio Coloccini (Everton away)
Moussa Sissoko (Liverpool away)
Mike Willliamson (Leicester away)
Daryl Janmaat (Leicester away)
In addition, Mehdi Abeid was also sent off at Crystal Palace away in the League Cup.
Delving deeper though and things could have been a whole lot worse, with Papiss Cisse dodging red cards against both Everton and Manchester United, only for TV evidence to ban him later, the striker missing ten matches in total.
On top of all this, Jack Colback may not have been sent off this past season but he managed to accumulate a Cheick Tiote-like figure of 12 PL yellow cards, a figure only surpassed by our old friend Lee Cattermole (13).
Altogether, Newcastle had 7 different players suspended and missing matches in 2014/15 due to their indiscipline during Premier League matches: Cisse, Williamson, Colback, Janmaat, Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Sissoko.
What made it worse was that almost all of them were the result of ridiculous challenges (Williamson, Coloccini etc) or actions (Cisse, Sissoko).
Maybe a starting point will be for Steve McClaren to decide who will be his club captain and then get the ball rolling by givin him the job of impressin on his fellow players what is expected of them.
The last time Newcasle got relegated in 2008/09, you could easily say the indiscipline (Joey Barton’s sending off at Liverpool?) was the final straw that pushed the club over the edge, last season could have the sam story.