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5 years ago

With Newcastle United under a real threat of relegation and the arrival of Rafa Benitez, there are OPINIONS from all quarters on what has gone wrong with the club.

Everyone from the owner down to the players, including the board and coaching staff, has been condemned as culpable. Allegations of greed, incompetence, idleness, ignorance, senility, lack of talent and so on and so on have been levelled at all and sundry.

I have total sympathy with the frustration and disappointment of my fellow supporters, who not surprisingly need to lay the blame somewhere and therefore lash out on The Mag and the like.

On the other hand, I have little time for the journalists and pundits, paid for their OPINIONS when they take no account of (in my OPINION) the most relevant FACTS!

Here are some FACTS (prior to LCFC v NUFC)

NUFC Premier League starts:

5 players have made more than 20 starts

6 players have made between 10 and 20 starts

17 players have made less than 10 starts

2 players have made 2 substitute appearances only

Total 30

Contrast that with Leicester City:

13 players have made more than 20 starts

2 players have made between 10 and 20 starts

4 players have made less than 10 starts

3 players have made 1 or 3 substitute appearances only

Total 22

This illustrates the injury crisis that NUFC has suffered this season, that in my OPINION any and every club would struggle to survive, and if we do survive despite these countless Newcastle injuries it will be a notable achievement.

Before anyone leaps up to say it happens every year and for various reasons it’s self-inflicted, even if true it doesn’t alter the FACT that this level of injuries is a real impediment to success on the field.

Football is a team game and so much is dependent on building understanding between players. Most of us will have read the article on Rafa’s philosophy on building his teams on pairs all over the pitch. Fat chance of any such building at NUFC when there are so many injuries to deal with.

And before we condemn players as lightweight, does anyone really think that long-term and serious injuries to Krul, Dummett, Cisse, de Jong, Obertan, Aarons, Haidara, Tiote, Taylor, Riviere, Marveaux, Mbabu and Good are anything less than real? Or maybe lesser absences by Mbemba, Anita, Colback, Perez, Townsend and Mitrovic.

And please don’t tell me they’re ‘injury prone’ and therefore hopeless cases. Because there’s no such thing or condition!

If you don’t believe me then google it. Yes a player can be unlucky with a series of injuries, or yes the same injury may recur and he may not ever recover fully from a particular injury – but anything other than sympathy for such cases is misguided (in my OPINION!).

Some of these players are labelled as not good enough and so are some / most of the (5) who have played regularly but that is only OPINION because in FACT we can never know how any of the individuals would have performed in a consistent team.

Let’s hope that Rafa can actually build some pairings within the team in the limited time left to him and therefore still be with us next year. It does look like the club as a whole, including the owner, is committed to success at long last.

Then if we do survive let’s hope that we can be either luckier with injuries or that Rafa and team can actually somehow keep more players injury free. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a consistent team / squad of players that not only know their own roles but more importantly know how to play together?

One last FACT – we are overdue a trophy and I look forward to changing one of my passwords that ends in 1969!


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