Andy Cole has been talking about his old club and sees troubles ahead at St James Park.
The former Newcastle striker believes it is going to be a ‘mightily tough season’ and has pointed out two glaring weaknesses.
Andy Cole says ‘who is going to get the goals’ and ‘it is about creating chances too and United are short in that department’.
Interesting to compare and contrast what happened with Kevin Keegan 24 years ago and the Rafa Benitez situation in this current era.
Keegan may have run into problems later on with the Newcastle United owners but having saved them from disaster (sounds familiar!!!), Keegan was allowed to weave his magic.
Midway through the 1992/93 promotion season and despite Newcastle looking all but certainties to go up, Kevin Keegan was allowed to bring in both Mark Robinson and Scott Sellars mid-season, as well as spending a then new club record transfer fee on a striker from the second tier, a 21 year old Andy Cole arriving from Bristol City.
The idea being the new signings would help ensure promotion AND be bedded in to help with the step up to the Premier League.
Contrast this with Mike Ashley blocking Rafa Benitez from bringing anybody in, even on loan, in January this year.
The second piece of outstanding Keegan magic, was to then pay what was a sizeable £1.5m in July 1993 on a 32 year old (where’s the resale value…???) Peter Beardsley.
Very noticeable in the transfer window just gone, that Rafa didn’t bring in a single player over the age of 27. The manager setting up targets such as Willy Caballero on a free transfer but then Ashley/Charnley not getting the deal done – on purpose as Newcastle return to a policy of only younger signings (with resale value) being allowed.
Back then 24 years ago though, Kevin Keegan knew what quality was all about, unlike Mike Ashley who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Newcastle’s new front two, 21 year old Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley 32, were arguably the greatest partnership Newcastle fans had ever seen.
The pair of them providing the quality that created chances and goals in abundance, the very things that Andy Cole sees so absent now.
On promotion, Keegan’s side ended up finishing third in the Premier League and between them Cole (41) and Beardsley (24) scored an astounding 65 goals in all competitions, with 55 in the Premier League alone (34 Cole, 21 Beardsley).
Much has been said about the failure to properly strengthen up front but maybe even worse is the fact we are yet again relying on the likes of Ayoze Perez and Mohamed Diame in that number 10/Beardsley role, after neither of them even managed to impress and make the position their own in the Championship.
This yet again shows the value of when you get a good manager you have to back him. Just like Kevin Keegan, Rafa Benitez wasn’t looking to spend fortunes, but has been blocked in all of his best endeavours – having to rely on bargain signings.
None of us expected a third place finish but felt that with decent backing Rafa Benitez would see Newcastle safe, instead he has been undermined and manager and players (and fans) face a massive challenge this season.
As Andy Cole says, after ‘Rafa delivered on his promise…I don’t know why the owner wouldn’t back his manager‘.
Andy Cole talking to the Chronicle:
“It is going to be a mightily tough season for Newcastle…goals win matches and you need to be picking up three points to avoid a relegation battle.
“That being the case, who is going to get the goals for Rafa Benitez?
“The manager, a sound judge of footballers, was prepared to sell both Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic if he could find replacements – Joselu is a £5million buy, which is peanuts in the big league.
“A club that puts so much store on the number nine legend hasn’t got a regular goalscorer at this level…I don’t know who can do it.
“It is not just about putting the ball in the back of the net, it is about creating chances too and United are short in that department.”
“They deserved to beat an awful West Ham team but at Huddersfield you wouldn’t have known who the Championship champions were.
“I don’t know why the owner wouldn’t back his manager in the transfer market after he had won them promotion – Rafa delivered on his promise.”