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Why there is no cart or horse at Newcastle United

6 years ago

I had a spot of good fortune on Saturday afternoon, I had to attend a family wedding and was therefore nowhere near a television, radio or the internet, which spared me the fruits of Newcastle United’s latest foray into apathetic embarrassment.

Obviously since Saturday I have learnt that, whilst I was enjoying my salmon and new potatoes, the team was doing yet another passable impression of the Keystone Cops, against opposition with far more reason to be a disorganised shambles than our own highly paid and under talented bunch of malcontents.

Being the glutton for punishment that I am though, I did tune into Match Of The Day on Sunday morning, whose highlights I realise can be slanted to say the least.

However,  even seeing snippets of the game was enough for me to note weak and sloppy passing, gutless tackles and absence of care when tracking an opponent, all of which contributed to Watford’s two goals.

Before the game I wasn’t sure what to expect, we were playing a club with a new manager and 15 new signings in only their sixth Premier League game of the last four years. We had been hopeless in front of goal this season but surely even we could not conspire to actually lose?

Looks like I was completely wrong because, not only did we lose, we were bullied, outfought and outthought by Watford, in a game which could prove far more damaging as the season goes on than the scoreline on the day suggests.

This was not just a league defeat, this was a defeat of the policies and ideals which Newcastle United have waved around like a banner since the final day of last season.

This was a defeat of the transfer policy, a defeat of the coach recruiting policy, a defeat of the retention of the old guard, a defeat of everything which has been crowed about from certain dark corners since a certain TV interview back in May, it is not working.

Yes, the true sad incitement from Saturday’s game (and the other games this season) is that a better start can be gained from recruiting 15 new players from all over the place and appointing a manager who barely speaks English. Than doing what Newcastle have done, which is sign players for commercial rather than football reasons.

Maybe soon someone will learn that the squad only retains its value whilst it is actually performing and winning football matches, rather than through some misguided hope of various players fulfilling potential.

Our signings this summer have been the transfer equivalent of a multi horse accumulator bet with William Hill, and the odds on those coming off are pretty remote.

In what realm of sanity did it seem ok to rest the team’s goalscoring hopes on the shoulders of a 20 year old, who had never played in the Premier League and with a questionable disciplinary record?

In what land of fantasy does it make sense to have four players competing for the ‘number 10’ position, but to have virtually no cover of any experience or quality in defence?

And most often asked, which genius decided that signing one inexperienced centre half would solve the defensive frailties which have plagued us for so long?

Now, in the cold light of day, the hope which many felt after the owner’s speech and the summer transfer activity seems almost farcical.

I fear that many have been duped again by the tat selling charlatan as , unbelievably, no matter how many times he is proven to be unfit for the job of custodian of the club, some are still prepared to give him chance after chance.

Now the plan has been laid bare, buying to sell with no thought of actually strengthening the football team whilst employing only managers (sorry, coaches) who will accept what they are told without question. We look increasingly likely to see a spectacular implosion which will make last season feel like a pleasant memory.

To be clear, there is no cart, there is no horse, there is no ‘making our own luck’ and soon the talk of cup runs will just be another nail in the coffin.

I would argue that tomorrow’s game against Sheffield Wednesday is perhaps even more important to the club that the league game against Watford, not in terms of survival obviously, but simply because through their own ignorance the club has made ‘having a cup run’ such a banner to supporters.

If we beat Wednesday then a club promise remains alive, lose to Wednesday and I believe that feelings will truly turn ugly towards the team, the coach and once again the owner, with another promise lying in tatters of lower league defeat.

My contention throughout last season was that the club had reached a watershed moment, where great action could bring about great change, whilst what the owner did at the end of the season and through the summer was present the illusion of change

With a myriad of cosmetic alterations disguising the fact that nothing has fundamentally altered at all. The current downward spiral threatens to remove those illusions in dramatic style, winless and sat with our neighbours at the bottom of the league, the brave new dawn suddenly feels all too familiar.

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