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Managing failure

5 years ago

To get the first thing out of the way, I believe that Newcastle United are having a good transfer window so far.

Unfortunately, as is usual with the club, it’s an oasis in a desert of poor performances, defeats and lunatic tactical decisions, which have left us mired in the bottom three of the league. It’s lifesaving open heart surgery to try and prolong the Premier League status of a seriously ill club.

The problem being that the surgery is being conducted not by a world renowned cardiologist, but by a postman and an accountant, whilst the recovery will be overseen by a PE teacher from the 1950s.

Jonjo Shelvey looks a good signing, exactly what was needed in the middle of the park, Townsend has shown great potential earlier in his career and could turn out to be a shrewd buy, or not, Saviet has the jury still out on him but he doesn’t look awful so far.

Also, still we harbour hope of a goal scorer and maybe even a defender arriving before bedtime on Monday – this isn’t the problem, the problem is those orchestrating the madness.

To illustrate using another sporting analogy.

If you owned a Formula One team, if you had spent untold millions of pounds on your fantastic cars (players), would you then allow them to be driven by a van driver from York? My worry is that the amount, cost and quality of signings will be irrelevant if we persist with Steve ‘Hair Island’ McClaren and his nutty tactics.

I think many would agree that the home performance against West Ham had elements of some of the best football we have played all season – sure we came under pressure as the match wore on due to the dodgy back pass, but for long periods we were actually really good to watch and should have scored more.

The following week we go away to face Watford, a newly promoted club who have already beaten us once in the league and taken us out of the cup, we have lined up tactically the same in both previous matches and got no joy, so you would think that Steve would go with the same tactics which bought (arguably) our best performance of the season only seven days before…wouldn’t you?

Nope, he returns to type with a negative set-up and nobody is surprised when we are beaten….again.

You can point to injuries as the reason for this, but isn’t this a squad game now?

Shouldn’t we be able to cope with a couple of injuries to preserve the game plan?

If we can’t then how do we hope to avoid relegation, never mind compete?

I admit to being a bit emotionally conflicted this season.

Last year it was simple, the club showed no ambition, penny pinched all the way, kept faith with Carver when it became obvious to everyone else that he couldn’t manage his way out of a locked toilet cubicle, and bought in no extra help in the struggle against relegation, it was easy to say that the club would get what it deserved with relegation.

This season is a bit more complicated because the club is ‘sort of’ trying. They’re bringing players in, panicking yes – but bringing them in nonetheless, and spending the money that Sky gave Mike and Mike put under his mattress, finally, but it still seems a bit half-arsed.

Now don’t get me wrong, as already stated I believe this is a good transfer window for the club, but you would think that if they really wanted to avoid relegation they would admit that they got it wrong with Steve McClaren and bring in someone with a little more pedigree or passion to do the job that the expenditure deserves.

Should we not be looking to find a manager who favours the more expansive football which we hope the attacking players are now capable of, before it becomes too late and we are forced to turn out every week hoping to scrape a 1 – 0 counter attack win which seems to be the current manager’s away tactics.

When Ashley said it was time to bolt the horse to the cart, I don’t think any of us realised that by horse, he meant donkey, in the shape of a failed lower league manager.

I really want to think that the club is finally putting effort in to League survival but I can’t shake the feeling that they still won’t change course too much on the pitch, owing to their refusal to admit that Steve McClaren was a mistake and it could cost them dearly come May.

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