Alan Shearer thought before a ball was kicked that Newcastle faced a season-long relegation battle and has seen nothing to change his opinion.
The Newcastle fan saying that even the positive run of results in September/October didn’t change that view.
As for other Newcastle fans hoping for a quick takeover of the club and a more ambitious/realistic transfer budget being put at Rafa Benitez’ disposal, he finds it hard to see that happening now.
Alan Shearer thinks it will be a ‘long hard season’ and that adding better players in January is exactly what is needed – but he would be ‘surprised’ if it will be new owners making that cash available.
With only one point from the last 18 it has been a tough time for Rafa and his team, although there are at least hopes now that he is getting back to having pretty much all of his current squad fit and available once again.
Mikel Merino has now had two games only a few days apart and with a full week of training should be back to peak condition, whilst the United boss has already indicated that Paul Dummett and Christian Atsu are in line to be available for selection against Leicester.
Jamaal Lascelles is also progressing according to Rafa but it looks like Saturday will come too soon for him.
To greater or lesser degrees Newcastle have made positive starts to the games against Man Utd, Bournemouth and Chelsea but tasted defeat in all three, whilst the West Brom match saw Newcastle finish far the stronger and snatch a point after being two down.
Hopefully with more options available, Rafa Benitez can this weekend put out a first eleven that he can have more confidence in being able to put in a 90 minute performance, especially in a match which coincides with 125 years since Newcastle United were formed.
We all still hope that whoever is in charge, Rafa will get extra help with new quality signings, but whatever happens much/most of this season will depend on what the current squad can give the manager and fans.
They definitely suggested they were capable of better in performances against the likes of Stoke, Southampton, Swansea, West Ham and Liverpool, now there could be a chance of bringing that back in this crucial period – seven matches separated by 23 days – starting with Leicester at home on Saturday and ending with Stoke away on New Year’s Day.
Alan Shearer talking to Coral:
“I expect them to be in a relegation battle and I did before a ball was kicked because of the squad they have – even when they went three or four games unbeaten.
“They are where they are and it will be a long hard season.
“I hope that something happens with regards the takeover because the manager needs funds and he needs to get some players in January.
“I hope so but I’d be surprised if it were to go through now that quickly and free up funds for the manager in January.
“I hope I’m wrong because that’s exactly what’s needed to freshen things up – get some new players in.”