We’re all very familiar with the fact that Mike Ashley’s stated ambitions do not match his actions.
He states his intention for the club to “make its own luck”, he waxes lyrical about attaching the “horse to the cart” and then bluntly states that he will not get out of Toon until the club has “won something…and I count qualifying for the Champions league as winning”.
Admirable ambitions for a club the size of Newcastle United, some would say realistic if the club was run correctly, but that is the problem, it isn’t.
Realisation has well and truly dawned that, once again, we have been taken for a ride. Big Mike’s words did not match his actions, again we went cheap where it mattered and hoped that a couple of expensive signings in the wrong positions would cover the inadequacies of a squad which has been starved of attention for the best part of five years, clearly it hasn’t and nobody is surprised.
So here we are, twenty games into the season and staring relegation in the face once again. Worse off than we were at this time last year in terms of points and goals for and against, and looking like a certainty for the Championship in 2016/17, but is there any hope remaining of avoiding the seemingly inevitable?
The rumour mill is doing its usual work in linking the club to all manner of cheap foreign imports and familiar faces (or should that be faeces?), the Andy Carroll rumour has resurfaced along with the supposed return of the pea-hearted mercenary Remy, but what will happen is anyone’s guess.
The most concerning aspect is that I am yet to see a single player mentioned who looks like the kind of character to dig in and fight for survival with the requisite amount of spirit and experience, so what needs to happen this month if Newcastle United are to remain a Premier League club?
Firstly, and most obviously to some, we need to have a real change at the top, and for once I am not talking about the owner. We need to stop listening to Graham Carr, move him out and employ scouts with a brief of finding players with the testicular fortitude to get us out of a mess.
The manager needs to go, now, before he can finish the job of hurling us into the lower leagues at missile pace, because if he stays that is exactly what will happen.
In terms of the playing staff, we need a spine.
A dominant central defender who patrols the last third of the pitch with strength, experience and confidence, someone vocal and composed who doesn’t mind getting his shirt dirty.
A midfield player with craft and strength who can cover the ground to be a help in both boxes.
Finally, a striker who knows the league and is a proven finisher. Without these players we are dancing on the edge of a crater from which we may not escape at the first time of asking this time.
The club has a million problems, we debate them here every single day, but the major issue for everyone connected with the club must be to change this losing culture, and we can only do that by employing winners.
Steve McClaren is a failure, a loser, when you compare his managerial record to the much chuckled about (at the start of the season) Claudio Ranieri, you see just how farcical McClaren really is. Players like Wijnaldum are a step in the right direction, a man who is used to winning and knows what it takes – players like Thauvin who was merrily waved away by fans of his previous club are not.
When I talk about winning, I am not talking about trophies here, I’m not even talking about qualifying for Europe, I am talking about something far simpler. I am talking about bringing people into the football club who know how to win football matches, consistently.
From there everything else will follow – I don’t think that this is asking too much.
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