— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 31, 2017
I’m enjoyed the relative placid calm, so rarely seen on Tyneside.
As political storm clouds froth and rage, it’s nice to know that Newcastle United, at least, have been quietly preparing for a new season.
For once, the club hasn’t been in a massive/essential hurry to plug the holes in the squad.
No matter what our weaknesses last season, the current squad of players, even minus a few ‘stars’, should coast through the second tier (on paper anyway).
Adding a bit of depth would be useful – perhaps squad contributions from 2016 equivalents of Peter Lovenkrands or Wayne Routledge could be useful – but Paul Dummett and Jack Colback can surely handle the Birmingham Cities of this world.
Nothing has changed except the size of players’ salaries since 2009/10. All that is needed is strong organisation and an ability to play through the physicality of gym-bunny journeymen.
The most crucial thing is having players who score goals (90 scored in the last Newcastle United Championship campaign).
Mitrovic, if he stays, is an obvious solution to part of that dilemma. Armstrong could possibly get a few but is still an unnecessary risk. We therefore need a lot more goals to be added and the impending Dwight Gayle signing looks to be a positive start, though with still more needed.
In the end, Middlesbrough could only get promoted by significantly increasing their level of spending by bringing in David Nugent and Jordan Rhodes, as well as Stuart Downing to supply them.
Newcastle have been right to be patient.
There is a mess to sort out, to be sure, but there is no crisis.