John Barnes has been talking about his former club’s chances this season.
With three Premier League games gone, the one-time Newcastle midfielder says that the club/fans shouldn’t be thinking ‘Let’s go finish in the top six or the top 10’.
Instead John Barnes says that the only target is ‘survival’.
However, the former England star has had a dramatic change of mind over the course of the transfer window and after watching the opening games.
Back on 8 June 2017, John Barnes was saying he was sure Newcastle would finish in the top 10 and that Rafa’s team wouldn’t be ‘anywhere near the bottom’.
Barnes even adding back in June: ‘then in a few years time make a bid for the top five’.
The lack of backing from Mike Ashley for Rafa Benitez, clearly appears to have led to John Barnes significantly lowering his forecast/hopes for Newcastle United.
Let’s hope his earlier prediction proves nearer the mark…
John Barnes speaking to HITC Sport – 5 September 2017:
“The target for each club coming up should be survival.
“Newcastle are a big club, they have got a big stadium, but I think that in the first year if they can survive, then they can build on next year – rather that thinking because they are in the Premier League let’s go finish in the top six or the top 10.”
John Barnes – 8 June 2017:
“The key thing for Newcastle is that this is Newcastle with Rafa Benitez.
“So this side will be pragmatic. I have no fears about them not being in the top-half. I’m not saying top five, six etc, but that lower top-half. I don’t think they’ll be anywhere near the bottom.
“They will get results with Rafa but next season will be about managing expectations. Liverpool and Manchester United have had that problem in the past, after Kenny Dalglish and Alex Ferguson.
“Newcastle must get results first, and maybe that means sacrificing a more attractive style of football, in order to build for the future.
“Perhaps the scare of relegation may have made the club think long-term. They’re sticking with Rafa which is a good sign.
“They played an open game in the Championship but they will need to change that and be more pragmatic back in the Premier League.
“But hopefully the club and the fans will be willing to accept that in order to become a stable Premier League club once again.
“And then in a few years time make a bid for the top five – and bring that open style of football back.”