With a deep hope of being proved wrong, I have to state what has been staring us at our faces over the last few months, Newcastle United is probably at its most crucial juncture.

A tipping point if you will.

Relegation now will result in a cascade of events, recovering from which would be improbable.

Survive, and we have a chance at much better things, and a very possible takeover.

Terrible Signs

When it comes to our general overall play, it has been simply uninspiring.

Swansea, West Ham, Bournemouth, Stoke and Everton have picked up wins over the last couple of rounds. We have managed to eke out draws, squander chances and generally have not looked like winning anything. Against the top six, it would be too much to expect us to do a Swansea at this moment at least.

The last time around in the top flight, over the last 10 games, Benitez had the services of Daryl Janmaat, Sissoko, Townsend and Wijnaldum, all of whom were playing for the shop windows. This time around the pedigree is far less convincing.

Up front, the attack is toothless. Joselu keeps on leading the line and keeps proving why he was not a first choice at Stoke, or anywhere else for that matter. Gayle is a good Championship striker; his Crystal Palace days far behind him. Matt Ritchie no longer has his magic hat. Atsu is inconsistent. Perez provides mediocrity in spades. Murphy is a prospect, little else.

The midfield is not much better. Shelvey pings around passes sideways and backwards before aimlessly hoofing one up and turning over possession. Merino has lost his initial mojo. Diame disappears for stretches at a time.

In defence, Lejuene has been a disappointment. For all their grit, Lascelles and Clark have too many mistakes in them. Darlow has given away points at a distressing clip.

Unless Islam Slimani produces the goods, it is looking very bad for us. Rafa Benitez’ teams simply have not shown the results expected of them. Defensive solidity and attacking intent have not meshed together. There is no coherent philosophy, the selections and a lack of number 10, confusing.

Next up

Crystal Palace have seen a commendable turnaround under Roy Hodgson. He provided them with defensive shape and fight. Despite their injuries, it would not be wrong of me to say that, come Sunday, they will be up for it and have a much better chance of getting three points than we do.

The importance of this fixture cannot be overstated. It is a six pointer. Picking up draws will not be enough. Suffice to say that this match will be a bellwether. Lose this and relegation is a distinct possibility, especially as we look incapable of scoring more than the odd goal or keeping clean sheets at the moment. The next few fixtures include a number facing teams in the top ten; teams against which we have looked remarkably pedestrian.

Takeover Blues

Mike Ashley is unlikely to sell unless he gets his money. There is no way he is investing in the club going forward. He wants to sell and wants out. The TV revenues are never going to be invested in the club. If relegation comes, he couldn’t care less. Rafa Benitez will surely leave; he should leave too, for he is too good to be undermined by the likes of Ashley. I wouldn’t grudge him that. He deserves it.

Without Rafa, an immediate return to the top flight is untenable. In short, if we are relegated, we can look forward to Championship purgatory for the foreseeable future. No one would want to buy the club, at least not for Ashley’s valuation.

The only scenario in which the club comes out on top is entirely dependent on Rafa Benitez pulling off a miracle and keeping us on 17th or above. A takeover looks promising after that, especially if another Ashley Out campaign gains momentum, like it did during the reign of Steve McClaren.

I can but hope.

“Don’t ever give up on your club, keep supporting it,

“It’s your club and trust me, one day you will get your club back and it will be everything you wanted it to be.

“Newcastle United is bigger than anyone.

“It hurts I know but just keep going.

“He is only one man. We are a city, a whole population. Trust me.”

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  • Paul Patterson

    Well, that’s cheered me up.

    • TheNutJob

      got me jumping for joy

  • TheNutJob

    that means we`re useless then, not to worry, i wasn`t expecting anything else this season but a battle for survival

  • paul mclaughlan

    Shelvey for no10?

    • Lhc

      Good shout, he could be very effective in that role, Rafa has to mix it up abit now till end of season otherwise I think we’re really going to struggle to stay up. Massive game today & that is an understatement

    • Paul Patterson

      Prime Minister?

      • paul mclaughlan

        Har har har.

  • kingfisher

    Amanda Stavelys husband said in a newspaper report a few weeks ago, that they would still be interested in a takeover even if we were relegated! It could make sense, buy the club cheaply, invest a few quid in some new faces, and get promoted. It would be a lot cheaper than buying us if we were in the Prem.Job done.Simples 😁👍

    • Arty Hume

      If it goes that way so much the better, I could accept that. However I doubt very much if M.A would sell at championship prices, even if we were a championship side, which we are as everyone knows. So that is the problem, he wont sell for what he thinks the club is worth, and we all know what he thinks about that, hence the no sale to PCP. I also doubt if M.A uses any football logic to evaluate the sale price, IMHO it is only based on what he has put into the club as a business and what he expects from an investment return, a bit like stocks and shares but he never expects the share price to drop. This is the conundrum we as fans face and he as the owner, and sadly he dictates the terms just like he dictates how the club is run and who he buys, make no mistake about that. So sad but true.
      Lets hope Rafa can perform a few miracles today and one is to get Slim shady fit and onto the pitch and the lads give him a few chances. I have a feeling it will be reminiscent of when we signed Tino against the Boro, now that was some entrance, come on Slimani show us what you got.

      • kingfisher

        Yes Arty, definitely a case of s*** or bust, fingers crossed 🤞🤞

  • John

    Why is it down to Rafa performing a miracle? Oh yeah I forgot when we win it’s because of Rafa and if we lose it’s ashleys fault lol

    • Steven05

      You are right – but for the wrong reasons

      He hasn’t got a good enough team – Ashley’s fault

      He manages a win with said team – a miracle

      • Ram Kishore

        Rafa isn’t infallible .. Though Ashley had done worse ..
        At times Rafa has had his fair share of mistakes..
        He’s a manager too who does makes mistakes..

        I don’t want a debate lol especially not before the match
        Let’s hope for a entertaining win

        Just my unbiased opinion

        • Steven05

          What you have just wrote is a very fair, balanced comment. Have a good day/win!

    • robbersdog

      That’s a very simplistic view. The underlying problem/issue at the club is the fact that our first-team squad has suffered from years of under-investment, and Mike Ashley is the sole cause of that.

      The premise that we should blame Rafa when our bargain-basement team loses matches is nonsensical.

  • Leicester Mag

    Maybe a glass half empty perspective but then again every time the glass is half full fat boy p1$/es in the glass. Another doomsday scenario is we go down and this time the dead cat doesn’t bounce. Yet again greed drives Ashley to gamble this time though the value could plummet. Who knows where that ends.

  • shellington

    Ashley is gambling huge amounts of money right now, for an outlay of 30 million at the start of the season he could have all but guaranteed premiership survival and a big payday for himself.

    Now it’s down to three clubs being worse than Newcastle and if that doesn’t happen the domino effect is obvious. Relegation, Rafa leaving and fans very literally after his head. If there aren’t mass protests and walk outs at that stage Newcastle fans deserve everything they get.

    Liverpool fans managed to kick Hicks and Gillet out of their club, if they can why can’t we? Just looking over our shoulders and saying “at least we’re not Sunderland” is that all our ambition is these days?

    • thewildchimp

      Baffles me really, since the summer. Put that 30 million in the club, pocket the rest, instead of losing 100+m next year. Maybe he wanted a takeover but botched the negotiations or simply thinks that it’s so easy to bounce right back after the relegation, so no big deal if it happens.

      • shellington

        There will be no bounce back this time, 3 relegations in as many years will destroy the club.

        • HarryHype59

          True, yet there will still be numpties on here claiming Ashley has been a great owner!

        • thewildchimp

          Yeah. No capable managers with self-respect or ambition would take on the club in those circumstances.

  • thewildchimp

    Don’t be so depressed, man. There is but one positive in all of this. We can’t go any lower. The other teams can and will. So if Kenedy and Slimani lift the team spirit – we’re out of dire.

    But we need to press for victory in every ‘lower league’ match. No more “catch them on the break” bullsh’t. After watching the last game, I think even Rafa realised this. If we draw, it’s manageable, but leaves us with far less breathing space, if we lose, still not the end, but Palace are almost in the clear. That’s much worse.

  • HarryHype59

    It is good to see an honest and objective analysis of the problems on the pitch! I hope I am eating humble pie, but I can only see a defeat today or a draw at best.

  • Jimmy_toons

    ‘Rafa’s team have simply not shown the results expected of them.’
    In my eyes, that is exactly what United have shown, and we are more or less where I expected us to be. It’s Catch 22 with what happens at the end of the season: we stay up and it’s Groundhog Day…will he invest, will he buy players, is it worth getting a season ticket, do I feel any hope next season?
    Or, if we get relegated will he eventually bail out as no quick return likely, will he invest again to try and get a quick return, will he hang on and write off what we owe him, and just sit back and watch as we decline further?
    I’m not prepared anymore to wait and see what he is going to do. I’m doing what a lot of the lads did seasons ago, and what I should have done to spare me many seasons of frustration, torment and anger. I’m out and won’t be giving anymore money to the club until that FCB leaves

  • hetonmag

    The author list’s how bad the player’s are, then say’s Rafas team’s have simply not shown the expected results, I think he’s just answered his own assessment.

  • Tino o

    Nothing like taking the positives out of things! Half of the table is in the same boat! We’ve got Rafa they have amongst them pardew,moyes , woy , and fat sham. Give me Rafa any day howay the lads !