It seems to be the buzz word(s), not just with our club but I notice with other ‘similar’ clubs, such as West Ham, Southampton and even god forbid, Crystal Palace.

Why the Top 8?

There is nothing magical about the ‘Top 8’, no Europe certainly (probably part of the attraction). The few million quid a league placing earns is pocket money  in this age of plenty.

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I guess the main reason is that the so called Top 6 (which includes Spurs, although I reckon they are pretty flaky at the moment) are untouchable.

The Man City owners control half the world’s money and just fling cash about like confetti (£49 million for that horrible squirt with average talent from Liverpool, I would be embarrassed if we did that even if we had the money), Chelsea are the same – whilst Man United pile it onto a debt, as do Liverpool. God I hope these two clubs implode.

Arsenal at least are better run and have a proper manager that I can admire, whilst I am assuming that Spurs, new ground and all, may be heading for some choppy waters.

At the foot of the table this year will be the normal culprits; the 3 promoted teams, Leicester, Mackems and somebody else who will have a crap year. Last year it was us, next year I do not expect it to be. It could be Villa.

So Top 8 it is. Not Top 7 you note, because Top 8 gives us two chances of success (although I kind of think Everton will take one place, they usually do). I am sure this Top 8 is a deliberate conspiracy to create some excitement in the middle ranks.

So can we become the best of the rest? Of course we can.

Whether we will, clearly depends hugely on the remaining days in the transfer window. For what it’s worth I think we will sign a centre-forward and a centre-back, going the other way will be Sissoko but sadly  none of the dead wood we have in the club. We have paid them too much and given them too long a contract.

Cisse will stay or go depending if we get a second centre-forward, I think we will not try too hard on that front. Assuming we get a £13 million forward, £10 million defender and recoup £8 million for Sissoko that will give a net summer outlay of between £25 and £30 million – job done according to Ashley/Charnley.

top 8

The real question is whether our new coaching team can improve what is there and integrate what we will have, into a team that simply performs better than last season.

I like what they have said so far, I like the plan to play football not hoofball, I like his continental experience, but I am concerned that for the past five years McClaren’s record has been, frankly, a bit shite.

What is undoubtedly true is that last year some decent players seriously underperformed, or were semi permanently injured (it does did not help that our only goal scorer took to spitting). However, that does not mean that they are not decent players.

Mc Claren and the coaching team will improve playing performance, at least for a while, if only on the basis that they cannot be as bad as the last ‘coaches’ we had.

Injuries are less easy to judge as we have deliberately signed injury prone players (being cheap), so we are always going to have a worse track record than normal teams.

However, looking at the squad and the additions that I think will happen (incl Sissoko to be sold), then we have this many decent players:


Janmaat/Dummett/New Centre Back/Lascalles/Coloccini/Haidara

Colback/Tiote/Abeid/De Jong/Wijnaldum/Aarons/Cabella

Cisse/New Forward/Perez

I accept this includes 2 unknowns from Forest but my fanatical Forest mate assures me they are ok.

Moving away from these 18 and there is a real drop in standards, I won’t name them but we know who they are.

Is it going to be enough to get us up to the magical Top 8?

  • Big Al 1967

    Sorry with this paper thin squad top 8 is delusional. No goal threat and liable to concede at least a goal a game means yet another struggle and the hope that there will be 3 worse teams. 
    Reinforcements needed big time and quick

  • DownUnderMag

    If everyone makes the step up, stays fit and fired into some good form then we could have a very good season (i.e. De Jong and Cisse need to stay fit, Riviere and Cabella need to find their premier league feet and Gini needs to hit the ground running, but also the two new lads from Forrest are being talked about like immediate first team signings which I find strange and slightly dangerous).
    Much will depend on McClarens tactics and how well the players transition away from Pardews negative style.  Much will also depend on further reinforcements before the window closes.  And of course we need a bit of luck with injuries during the season.
    We have a decent first choice set of players, the trick is keeping them on the pitch as our squad is painfully thin on depth still.  Hopefully the likes of Obertan, Gouffran and others who were so shaky find better suited tactics in the new era and can cause teams more problems…I still think mcClaren will have a better understanding of getting the best out of what skills are there so let’s hope he gets some more squad additions and we start the season off well!  If that happens then top 8 should be a realistic target.  I just fear that a bad start could see the crowd turn again, especially if we don’t sign anyone else, and we will be immediately in a relegation scrap.

  • Ollie Burtons Grandad

    DownUnderMag If our season depends on Riviere looking like a Premiership player then we are truely fecked.
    He is bloody awful and would struggle to hit a Cows arse with a banjo at 5 paces. There are better players at Spartans.

  • Alsteads

    I actually still think bottom 8. Not me being doom and gloom but we really have to look at the players performances last season and instead of sweeping it under the carpet and putting it down to a one off, we need to be thinking have they got it? are they good enough? can they perform at a level we expect for another season? To me the answer is no. I think we really are missing a trick with the premier league being the worst for quality for a long time we really should be stepping up to the mark and giving it a good go. Swansea are perfect example and thats with a crowd of less than half of ours. For a supposedly intelligent business man and a known gambler I  can’t understand why Ashley won’t give it a good go for a season or two. The positive response from everyone involved with the club and sponsors etc would surely be worth another billion to him over two years. 
    I think Villa (despite loathing them) will stay up comfortably (although Id love to be wrong) I think last season was their season to go down but they just avoided it (lucky wins at Spurs etc) I think McClarens tactics will keep us safe (maybe just) but again I think there will be too many games out of our control. At least if we are keeping the ball we shouldn’t get humped 3,4,5-0 every other week again (shouldn’t)
    This isn’t me being negative, just realistic. believe me I still wake up every day and want to be proved wrong on every front with FCB and the toon. I am praying for half a dozen signings so he could stick two fingers up me and prove to me he meant what he said and I would fall in love with going back to the ground again. I still get excited on a match day just not in the same way with the hairs on your neck standing up as your making your way into the ground just before kick off or the excitement of getting on the coach at daft a clock in the morning wondering what the day holds as your looking at everyone either half asleep or off their heads already! I love and miss all that. Those players and certainly the ones lucky enough to pull that shirt on again this season after the most disgraceful performances I have ever seen in a toon shirt need to prove everyone one of us wrong as much as FCB.
    Fingers crossed and still supporting them

  • Andgeo

    Williamson and lascelles are not Premier league quality. You can not aim for “top 8” with a central defense on par with a bottom half of the championship team. Doesn’t matter if de Jong stays fit and cisse stops spitting at people, we are easy pickings until the club signs 2 PROPER CENTRE HALFS. We have been saying this for years!!!! And what the F is gouffran doing back in the team?????

  • Andgeo

    That feeling of excitement is now replaced with the anger and horror of looking at the team sheet before a match and seeing the names of mike Williamson and gouffran there. The continued presence of the chuckle brothers at the toon is simply an appalling treatment of the NUFC supporters and completely insulting.

  • Andgeo

    We have already had a bad start. The club needed to go out and invest in half a dozen quality players and they have failed to do what was obviously needed. Looking at that team last night; you could see a change in style for the better, but every effort will be undermined by the clubs lack of investment in the playing squad. A back 4 comprising haidara, lascelles and mike “the donkey” williamson, will always concede goals and is a championship outfit. And the continued presence of gouffran leaves me speechless.
    How can we expect a good start to the premier league campaign with the same team that couldn’t win a game last season??
    Ashley “still” out!!!

  • Andgeo

    2 centre halfs and a striker desperately. In an ideal world a decent left back too.

  • cwtoon88

    You sir are an idiot putting 2 kids from Forest in you haven’t seen play ( and cant spell the names of) and including the worst player on our books in special Paul Dummett

    Can you tell me how he is a decent player? How many more decent games has he had than say Mike Williamson? 

    Being born near the stadium and being white and English aren’t footballing attributes. Dummett does not have any. You ignore Anita and he has 1000 x the footballing ability of a clot like Dummett

  • Ollie Burtons Grandad

    At this moment in time I reckon we will go down. We were abject last season and nothing has been done to improve our defence or attack.
    Top 8 my arse.
    Spend money Fatman

  • foggy

    Without signing two new quality centre backs any thoughts of a top 16 finish nevermind a top 8 is just pie in the sky.
    There’s not one chance in hell of a top 8 finish with the likes of Dummett, Taylor, Williamson and to a lesser extent Collo in the back line.
    Hasn’t anyone at the toon learnt anything over these last three years?
    Moncur ? Carr ? which F in team have you pair of clowns been watching?