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It is the innocents I feel sorry for

3 years ago

Newcastle fans are facing some tough times.

Last season was a triumph in adversity.

A team that had been built to get out of the Championship and a very weak squad overall, somehow putting together a run with the assistance of a couple of late loans, that ended up with them edging the title of best of the relegation strugglers.

The 11 clubs that had fought out the relegation battle, Newcastle ending up top of them and 10th overall in the table, a final day victory over a totally disinterested Chelsea who had an FA Cup final to prepare for, when if results had gone a different way on that last day of the season, Newcastle could have finished as low as 15th.

Which would have been for the best…

I say this because I feel most sorry for those innocents now, the ones who took that 10th place finish as ‘proof’ that there were 10 worse teams/squad in the Premier League, that the same group of players could surely once again guarantee 10th at worst this season…

That isn’t how it works.

If you stand still you go backwards and Newcastle United didn’t even do that (stand still) this summer, instead the owner insisted on a £20m+ profit on transfers which weakened the squad.

Whilst at the same time every other rival was frantically spending as much as they realistically could to try and give themselves as good a chance as possible of survival. Nearly every other club had a net spend at least £50m higher than Newcastle.

After the summer 2017 window, Rafa said he hadn’t been able to compete with even Huddersfield and Brighton when it came to transfer fees and offering wages.

This summer it was most definitely the same story, or worse.

Yet the innocents would still look at everything with a glass half full instead of half empty.

The promising Merino sold for £10m and the innocents wanted to think of 29 year old free transfer Ki as a masterstroke. As though it would have been a signing Rafa would have made even if he’d had loads of dosh to spend. A PL regular, played at the World Cup etc etc, looking at all the positives even though I had never ever heard a single Newcastle fan down the years commenting on him, never mind saying they would love Newcastle to get him.

When people were getting excited/quite optimistic because we were signing players from the World Cup, I just kept thinking…so if we signed the entire Panama team that would be a great move?

Fabian Schar was another, played for Switzerland at the World Cup…in reality though he is hopeless. Only £3m after helping Deportivo get relegated last season, why were no other clubs after him? The same with Ki, which other Premier League clubs would have been interested?

On the World Cup theme, Yoshinori Muto. Bundesliga and World Cup look decent on a CV but getting a striker for under £10m these days already puts all but the innocents on warning.

The most he scored was eight in a season in Germany and he got one game for a very average Japanese team in the World Cup finals this summer.

No bid to buy Kenedy and with once again seemingly zero competition, Newcastle get him on loan again, comes back looking totally unfit and disinterested, plays poorly and then gives an interview in Brazil saying how he is always dreaming of success with Chelsea…and they say we are deluded???

Forced to accept a loan deal for Rondon who had just been relegated, was the best level of striker he was going to get for the money available, Rafa got him via a £2m loan fee.

However, the loan took forever so Rondon (and most of the other signings) had no proper pre-season AND Rafa had to even accept Gayle leaving if he was to get even Rondon. Unbelievable.

Yet still the innocents were looking on the bright side.

Fast forward to today and reflecting on the Leicester match, they didn’t even play that well and yet it was obvious they had better players all over the pitch.

Imagine that, when you buy the best level of players you can afford, you get better quality.

It is now dawning on the innocents, Newcastle didn’t comprehensively lose because of lack of effort or Rafa’s selection/tactics, it is because NUFC have really poor players.

Joselu and Perez wouldn’t get a game at any other Premier League club, FACT as Rafa might say.

Yes we have a few injuries but only Rondon in an attacking sense.

All fans must surely look at our attacking options and wonder how we are going to score any goals. Shelvey had our only shot on target yesterday and that was from his own half.

He actually looked ok but his biggest (only?) strength is he is very good at passing the ball, what use is that when he has nobody ahead of him to pass to?

I feel sorry for those Newcastle fans where it is just dawning as to what a mess the squad is due to lack of investment window after window.

The innocents are the same ones who have no doubt been wondering just why other supporters are protesting, thinking/hoping that things would magically settle down again, that Rafa had done it last season so why not turn it around this time?

Simple fact is that last season you had some very average players playing out of their skins at times last season, then Rafa’s expertise and massive helpings of luck at times, did the rest. We played Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea at just the right times and picked up a bonus nine points that made the final total 44 rather than 35.

The luck has almost certainly ran out, Rafa has no more rabbits left in the hat, we are instead simply left with a massive catastrophe that has been in the making for years under Mike Ashley, yet again.

It would be three relegations in the last nine Premier League seasons under Mike Ashley, even the innocents must now be accepting who is to blame.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Leicester 2


Leicester: Vardy 30, Maguire 73

Possession was Leicester 59% Newcastle 41%

Total shots were  Leicester 12 Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Leicester 5 Newcastle 1

Corners were  Leicester 9 Newcastle 5

Referee: Simon Hooper

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin (Manquillo 80), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Murphy 65), Shelvey, Diame, Atsu, Perez (Muto 69), Joselu

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Schar, Longstaff, Hayden

Crowd: 51,523 (3,000 Leicester approx)

(Video – Absolute disgrace as Mike Ashley sends in his people to take down Rafa Benitez and Kevin Keegan banners – Watch here)

(To read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Leicester defeat go HERE)

(To read the Newcastle player match ratings go HERE)

(Disgraceful lies as newspaper headlines claim ‘Newcastle fans turn on Rafa Benitez after Leicester’ – Read HERE)

(Claude Puel speaks after Leicester win – Read HERE)


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