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All I’ve ever known of Newcastle United is the reign of Mike Ashley

3 years ago

Have Newcastle fans overestimated what the club should be spending and achieving, or are we bang on?

Before I begin…this is my first article for the mag, so please go easy in the comments!

I’ve been reading for a while so thought I should have a go at contributing.

As a younger Newcastle fan, I can’t say I saw the glory days of the 90s, or Sir Bobby’s positive influence, or the majesty of Shearer.

All I’ve ever known of Newcastle is the reign of Mike Ashley, so I’m probably a bit more pessimistic than most.

Hopefully, having had this unique yet disturbing experience, I can offer a slightly different opinion to most of the current content. However, I’m as enthusiastic as any, so I am always reading articles about Newcastle, and one thing that sticks out – amongst the transfer speculation, the squad evaluations and the Ashley fiasco, is the amount of people saying we should be aiming for top 10 and/or shouldn’t be anywhere near the bottom.

To be frank, I don’t agree. And I’d like to explain why.

Last season was just what Newcastle United needed in my opinion. It was like going on a natural detox to Thailand to flush out all the French from our system (bar Gouffran who was actually alright) and now we’re cleansed. Only thing is, now we think that our body is a temple and the sky is the limit. Personally, I would be happy just to stay up, and delighted with finishing 14th with no real concerns of relegation.

Newcastle have only finished in the top nine once in the last 10 years and that season we had a proven goal scorer to start the season, then a second striker with just as much quality signed in January – Ba and Cisse.

I’m not saying that our whole current squad is poor – but we only have four players that could fit into any team outside the top seven – Gayle, Ritchie, Shelvey and Clark…and that is probably/possibly wishful thinking.

Outside of that quartet, I think Hayden, Lejeune, Atsu, Elliot and Yedlin are all players that could hold their own in the Premier League. Despite this, I think we still need a player of at least Ritchie’s level in the 10 position, as I think Diame and Perez were our worst players out of those who started last season. Also, a striker to match or better Gayle for pure goalscoring, and a left-back of Janmaat or Debuchy’s quality (I would prioritise an attacking midfielder before the others).

I think we have been perfect so far in our transfer dealings and if we could bring in two of the deals I mentioned it would be a great window.

As Newcastle fans preparing for the season starting, I think we all need to lower our expectations a notch. We need to just create a solid squad with no rotten eggs and then bring in more top 10 quality players. I’m not saying a top 10 finish is out of the question, I just think it will only end in disappointment if that is what we’re expecting from this season.

After the atrocities of Pardew, McClaren, Allardyce and co, we finally have a top class manager, and my only worry is Rafa’s expectations.

If Rafa Benitez is happy, I’m happy, and I think that’s probably what we should all aim for.

(If you leave some feedback or opinion that would be much appreciated, as this is my first article and I’d like to know what to do better moving forward.)

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])


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