There has been much doom and gloom from Newcastle fans and media alike that has engulfed Newcastle United in the last 24 hours, and arguably the last 11 years, since Mike Ashley announced the death of a possible sale of the club.
In reality it was always destined to fail as Ashley wouldn’t budge from his asking price and prospective owners were unwilling to pay top dollar for a club that could be in the Championship come May.
If we are relegated, Ashley will stay because the value of the club will drop alarmingly and he won’t take such a big financial loss as part of any future sale.
If we stay up he’ll take the additional TV payments, may allow Rafa some coin to buy 2-3 players, and this may be enough quality to lift Newcastle to a mid-table side and see Ashley’s asking price for any prospective owners grow as a result.
Either way, it seems we are stuck with him for the foreseeable future.
We will not get the quality we need through the door this January. Players who possess enough class to make a difference are either regulars at their respective clubs, or would never leave to go to a club who could be playing in the second tier come May.
Rafa could secure one or two loan deals but they will most likely be young players with potential. Could a Charly Musonda type step into a Premier League team and make enough of a difference to change the course of a game?? Not sure – but it’s probably our only hope this window.
Therefore, it’s understandable when the doomsayers predict the club to free-fall, drop a division and be manager-less come the end of the season.
If we take Jamaal Lascelles out of the conversation, it would be reasonable to suggest that not one player on our list would be a regular starter at any other Premier League club. When you think about it, this current Newcastle side would be at an equivalent standard to a side that is in a battle to secure a play-off spot in the Championship.
And yet, after 23 games, we sit 15th in the table, three points and goal difference out of the relegation zone.
Bloody remarkable really and it comes back to a very wise manager and a playing group who give nothing less than 110% in every game. In a strange way, this season has been enjoyable for the fact that we have a team that is always trying their best and this hasn’t necessarily been the case in recent times.
Yes, we set up as a side who values team defence first, and the ability to attack second, but this needs to be the way with this group. Taking on established Premier League teams and opening up the play, will see us cut to ribbons by better standard opponents.
The thing about team defence is every player has to do their job or the system breaks down, so people calling for Mitrovic to play should remember he’s doesn’t give a flying f… about playing his role in a team defence system. This is why he sits out and Joselu plays.
Rafa has mentioned this week that Mitrovic is “back running”, which could possibly mean that the penny may be dropping and he still could get a chance to prove himself before being sold.
So we have come to a stage in the season where it could go either way and more doom will most likely hit this weekend when we play Manchester City away and our relegation rivals battle each other. This is the time when this playing group will really need the Newcastle fans. Yes, it’s frustrating to watch at times, but it’s still our team and our shirt, and apart from all the rubbish Ashley delivers we still want to support a team that we can be proud of.
Personally, I’m proud of this group and the maximum effort they display each week.
In Melbourne, there is an AFL club called Collingwood.
They, like Newcastle, were born out of blue collar working class people.
They were established in 1892 and just celebrated 125 years as a club.
Believe it or not they wear black and white stripes, their nickname is the Magpies, and they play in front of 60,000 to 70,000 supporters (image of Collingwood fans at the top) at the MCG.
A verse from their theme song is “Side by Side we stick together” which is so relevant right now for Newcastle.
So when our lads travel to the Etihad this week and for the remaining weeks till season’s end, I hope the people of Newcastle stand “side by side”.
Whether it be on the terraces, at the pub, or at home on the couch, because this manager, staff and playing group deserve it.