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All levels health check: Newcastle United and not Sunderland in need of emergency resuscitation

6 years ago

I wrote an article yesterday about the story of 2015 so far for Newcastle United, taking into account the results (all competitions) at every level throughout the club.

Since 1 January 2015, 70 matches in total had been played in the combined efforts of the first team, reserves (Under 21s) and academy (Under 18s).

It didn’t make pleasant reading with the breakdown showing P70 W11 D 16 L43, yes only 11 matches won in the last nine months by the combined endeavours of all three teams.

That overall NUFC figure came from:

First team total from January 2015 P29 W4 D7 L18

Reserves total from January 2015 P20 W2 D7 L11

Under 18s total from January P21 W5 D2 L14

That then gave us the overall combined totals of P70 W11 D 16 L43

It is natural for us to compare our club with Sunderland, with them being neighbours etc, but particularly now, with the two first teams the only ones out of the 92 league clubs yet to record a single Premier League victory this season.

Both clubs have questionable transfer strategies and despite over £80m spent this summer between the two clubs, they are joint bottom of the league.

What about scratching below the surface, can Newcastle fans get any comfort in terms of being cheered up by what is happening throughout the club, as compared to Sunderland?

These are the Sunderland results since 1 January 2015:

First team total from January 2015 P32 W7 D9 L16

Reserves total from January 2015 P21 W11 D5 L5

Under 18s total from January P22 W11 D4 L7

That then gave us the overall combined totals of P75 W29 D18 L28

Comparing the two sets of statistics, including the first team, Sunderland at every level have won more and lost less games than Newcastle.

Overall, Newcastle United won 11 matches to Sunderland’s 29 and lost 43 compared to the 28 of Sunderland.

It gets worse than that, because you also have to take into consideration that Sunderland’s Under 21s (reserves) are playing in the first division at that level, whilst Newcastle are in the second division at Under 21 level.

In fact, as it stands, at first team level NUFC are joint bottom in the Premier League, third bottom in division two of the Under 21 leagues and rock bottom of 12 at Under 18s level.

In contrast, Sunderland might be level with us in the Premier League, but at reserve level they are top of the first division and at Under 18 level fourth top of 12.

With the whole transfer policy at St James Park appearing to be based on finding expensive superstars from the continent who will hopefully become even more expensive megastars to sell on in the future, Newcastle increasingly look like a football club comparison of the Emperor’s new clothes, or the Wizard of Oz.

When you look properly at the reality of what is behind the smokescreen we are presented with by Mike Ashley’s PR machine, what are we really left with?

A reserves and youth set-up which is grossly underfunded and underskilled compared to our near neighbours.

Is there really any other plan than hoping to hit lucky with instant ‘bargain’ signings from abroad?

Only this summer it was admitted by the club, that Mike Ashley had postponed indefinitely the grand plans to make the Newcastle United training ground and facilities as good as anything anywhere else in Europe.

Instead of the players and staff now enjoying the benefits of these now mothballed state of the art facilities, they are having to make do with the same old sub-standard set-up, with up to now the results throughout the club matching the quality of the training facility.

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