The next few days brings up a full season of matches for Newcastle United, since Alan Pardew fled the scene.
The games against Everton and West Brom will bring us a full circle since the majority of fans got what they wanted, only to find out yet again that there certainly aren’t any wise men making the decisions at St James Park.
Hopes of a clean slate and a new beginning were brought to a screeching halt as John Carver was given charge, Lee Charnley and Graham Carr tasked with scouring the world to find the long-term solution.
It all sounds like the equivalent of going on holiday and leaving your teenage kids to look after the house, with no neighbours/relatives looking in from time to time to check everything is going alright…
In the end, John Carver ‘saved’ Newcastle from relegation on the final day of the season and the world search ended up 30 miles down the road at the door of a recently sacked Championship manager – only at Newcastle.
So far, 30 points in 36 games post-Pardew, 13 in 19 for Carver, 17 in 17 for McClaren. Even wins over Everton and West Brom would only bring us to the 36 points in 38 games mark – another season’s worth wasted.
Pardew’s departure and the choice of Carver remind us that you just never know what lurks around the corner for Newcastle fans.
The onus is now on Steve McClaren and the players to solve the short-term problems of what looks yet another relegation fight this season.
The onus on Mike Ashley to accept the need to run the club in a way that allows it to have the best chance of success longer term.
The stakes are getting ever higher with the latest forecasts showing Premier League clubs can expect around £50m extra a year from next season, via the revamped TV deals.
Christmas Day should be a time for hope and that includes football fans, even Newcastle supporters…
Mike Ashley just needs to do ‘normal’.
Pick the very best people to run the club on and off the pitch, the Chief Executive to be given full responsibility for running the club and the budget(s) to do it.
A manager to then be given his own budget to pick who ends up at the club and therefore in his first team.
A bit like his Sports Direct empire at the moment, the closer Mike Ashley is seen to be to the ‘brand’, the more damage he causes it.
If Ashley is to stay then he needs to fade into the background and let those running the club prove to the Newcastle fans that things are different, that NUFC can be a ‘normal’ club with ‘normal’ aspirations, no matter who ultimately owns it.
Have a great Christmas and New Year and keep hope in your hearts.