The kids aren’t even back at school and Newcastle United are out of the League Cup.
Considering NUFC’s dreadful record in the competition – no trophy and only one final in its history – it is quite remarkable that it is the first time since 1990 that the club have exited the competition at the second round stage.
Looking for silver linings, a third round tie (Forest have drawn Chelsea away!) would have meant an extra game having to be played between Stoke at home (Saturday 16th September) and Brighton away eight days later (Sunday 24th September).
Being able to concentrate on the league/survival isn’t the greatest thing though, especially coming only days after the club’s owner was saying he fancied a decent cup run this season, as well as a comfortable mid-table finish in the league…
The strange thing though about Newcastle United’s worst effort in the League Cup for 27 years, is that it was simply met with a shrug of the shoulders by most supporters, despite 10 changes and Chancel Mbemba the only surviving player from the 11 that started against Huddersfield.
It is clear that many/most supporters would have had a different starting 11 instead of Rafa’s and/or an alternative formation/tactics. However, the current mood is that there is much more at stake at the moment than whether it is second or third round of the League Cup the Magpies manage to exit at this season.
Something much bigger has to change and that is one of two things: either Mike Ashley sells up, or else he alters his approach to how he runs the club.
Easy to forget that it is only a year ago when the owner did bow down to common sense/desperation, allowing the Newcastle manager a free hand to wheel and deal in the transfer market. Promotion as champions and a £40m profit in the transfer market was a canny result all round.
The warning signs came in January when Rafa Benitez was blocked from bringing in signings he wanted to ensure promotion and potentially help prepare for life back in the Premier League. At the time Rafa showed his anger/frustration but said it had to be put to one side, to allow everybody to get on with finishing off the job of promotion.
The mood was still good amongst supporters, with even maybe a decent minority of fans believing that maybe quite enough had been spent already on building the promotion squad. So no harm really in keeping that £40m transfer surplus to give extra financial muscle to Benitez when this current transfer window came along, to help finance Premier League level talent.
That hasn’t really worked out either, has it? A current transfer spend of less than even that £40m figure and that reduces down to not much over £20m in terms of net spending on transfers this summer.
No pushing the panic button just yet but surely Mike Ashley should see that this very quickly could descend into yet another desperate situation he will have created at the club.
As much as extra finance is obviously needed to help Rafa Benitez, maybe far more important than that is Mike Ashley needing to recognise that doing things properly and working WITH the club’s manager is the only way this club can ever possibly achieve anything. Whether that is trying to win a trophy or even experiencing a little piece of stability and a chance to start and build towards something better.
It all sounds a little bit radical…but this is the only way forward if Newcastle United isn’t going to be a club permanently on the edge of a cardiac arrest.