Well, after the latest non-performance against Leicester City we can safely say that Newcastle United are firmly in a relegation fight this season.

If the odd result had gone in our favour, it could have been looking slightly more palatable, but if you don’t take your chances (Kenedy away at Cardiff being prime example) you won’t pull away from the dead men at the bottom. And we are sadly looking more like the dead men with each passing week.

There is one perfectly good reason for this mess we find ourselves in.

If you consistently buy Championship standard players, you’ll end up with a Championship standard squad. And we have just that, a Championship standard squad.

If you go through the squad, it’s a who’s who of lower Premier League players and decent to good Championship players.

Taking Dubravka out of the equation, we have Javier Manquillo who got relegated with the unwashed down the road.

We have Federico Fernandez who came in from relegated Swansea for £6m, Ciaran Clark was signed from freshly relegated Aston Villa for £5m.

Fabian Schar came in from Deportivo La Coruna after they suffered demotion from La Liga.

Moving through the team, Ki Sung-yeung came from the same relegated team as Federico Fernandez for free. Jacob Murphy arrived from Norwich, a middling Championship club, and Mo Diame from Premier League bound Hull City.

Up front it’s a similar story. Salomon Rondon was a relegated West Brom player and fellow striker Joselu was a Stoke City reserve player. Ayoze Perez was a second division player over in Spain. There is a theme developing.

That’s not to say that dipping into a lower league can’t yield a bargain or unearth a decent player. Club captain Jamaal Lascelles is a perfect example of a player signed from a Championship team who (albeit some years later) develops into a cracking player. Sadly, he’s the exception to the rule. If you rely on doing that sort of business time after time, it will catch up with you, you will end up with a Championship team and that unfortunately is what we have.

It’s important not to confuse honest professionals with people who simply don’t want to be at the club. In the past we’ve lacked the former and had too many of the latter. It’s all well and good buying talented individuals, but if they don’t want to be here, it doesn’t count for snuff. I’ve said in the past, I’d take hard grafters over talented mercenaries any day. Well, I’m having to retract that somewhat as we current have the wrong mixture of the two. They work hard, they try hard, they certainly fight for the manager and the club, but that will only get you so far.

Every now and again, genuine quality needs to be bought and that is where this club has fallen down over the last two seasons. We never built on that Championship winning day against Barnsley. Ashley and Charnley appeared with Rafa and to the wider world, it all probably looked to be a positive with the club ready to kick on the following year in the Premier league.

Sadly, we know Ashley through eleven years worth of experience. Whenever he can pull the plug on momentum or put the blockers on any sort of ambition, he can, will and take great pleasure out of it in the process.

If you go back six years, to the days of Alan Pardew, we had a few cracking players. Sadly, they all seemed to perform well for a while DESPITE the manager rather than BECAUSE of his input. We had a decent start in 2011/12, where we had a good mix of workmanlike players and talented stars. Look at the forward thinking players that finished that season- Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez and Yohan Cabaye.

Compare that to what we have now and it’s actually scary the drop in quality. The players listed had their faults, but looking back, they were better than they will be remembered. Even the back up players in 2011 were arguably better than what we have now playing in the starting XI. Here’s a sobering thought- Leon Best, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands are at least the equal of Joselu, Rondon and Perez. Look at their goals record that season if you’re in doubt. Let me remind you- those were BACK-UP players.

The one area we have improved on since then is the manager. Rafa Benitez can certainly organise a side, but when it comes to actually winning games, he hasn’t been given the tools financially. For example, Alan Pardew was afforded Papiss Cisse for £9m, Rafa Benitez certainly hasn’t been given the £20m equivalent in 2018.

Owner Mike Ashley has scaled the club/team back to the bare minimum it can get away with and that will lead to disaster in May next year, for the third time on his watch, unless results turn around and quick. It’s pointless waiting around for the January transfer window, the seeds for relegation were sown months ago when Benitez asked for a squad to be assembled in time to work with them in pre-season.

Rafa Benitez built a squad to get out of the Championship and he achieved it. Sadly, this season we’ve started games with at least five players that played for the club IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. That’s probably as damning a summary of where we’re at at present. The side needed some serious money throwing at it over a few transfer windows and the summer just gone was an ideal chance to do so after a good 10th place finish. It wouldn’t be the first time the owner has allowed the club to stagnate after some progress.

Instead, the man upstairs thought it prudent to make a £25m profit instead of investing that sort of money on a quality striker, whilst chasing his dream of buying the ‘Harrods of the high street’. The £90m spent on House of Fraser will be the similar figure wiped off the value of Newcastle United thanks to this plonker’s attitude to all things black and white. Priorities Mike, priorities.

This time next year Rodney….We’ll be in the Championship.

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  • Ron

    It won’t end there though next year in the Championship we’ll be buying from League One.

    How did the article end…..This time next year Rodney….We’ll be in the Championship, [but he’ll still be a billionaire!]

  • Cockneytrev

    This is a far worse squad than the last two relegations,,
    I can see us following Sunderland down another division,,
    The first time we came up with hughton , we had the spine of a team and unearthed a quality forward in Carroll, last time we had a quality manager ,, this time we will have neither,,

    • Ron

      It will be even worse if we play the filth next season and can’t even beat them!

    • Tomb

      Think we will stay up. Huddersfield and Cardiff will go down comfortably and I fancy us to finish ahead of Brighton. 32 points may be enough

      • Danimal

        30 points from 31 games remaining. Feeling confident? I’m not.

  • Waxi

    We shop in the bargain bucket every time we spend and lets be honest this summer was not the first time we made a profit and did not spend. If this takeover ( i say it with no conviction) does happen then we are going to need a shed load of cash spent on some upgrades in every position on the field and after the FCB up’s the price again will kenyon have that much to spend. Nope for me fatty will accept another relegation then gamble a few million to get back up and the big wheel keeps on turning.

    • JohnnyH

      Got to agree with you there. 100%

  • mentalman

    We have a championship squad because with the little money he has had to spend rafa has bought poor players.

    For every player rafa has bought other teams around us have spent a similar amount on transfers/wages on better players.

    I know the rafa brigade will say they weren’t his first choice and we all know they weren’t but they were his choice

    • Cockneytrev

      I’m not one of the “Rafa Brigade” but get real,, there is no way on this planet he would have chosen these players,,, they have been forced on him…

      • Kenny

        they most certainly were

        • Dillon Tovak

          I don’t reckon, he hasn’t bought players of this calibre anywhere else.

        • Cockneytrev

          😂😂😂😂, I didn’t see this calibre of player being signed at Liverpool , Napoli, Chelsea or Real Madrid,,,,

    • mactoon

      Rafa does have to take a share of the blame for the current squad but I would certainly like to see his prioritised lists of players he wanted for each window and compare them to the players he actually got before saying how much he is to blame

    • Kenny

      Rafa didn’t t buy them

    • JohnnyH

      You’re mentalman

    • Carverlier football

      And for similar amounts other teams around us have bought poor players too. Buying bargains is hit and miss at best, especially when you’re down to plan z a few days before deadline day. Look at the record of previous managers when it comes to bargains: KK bought loads of “bargain” signings that never got anywhere near the first team (Jason Drysdale anyone? Chris Holland?), Sir Bobby had a blind spot when it came to South American “bargains”. I’d say Rafa has had pretty much the level of hits and misses you’d expect from the bargain bin, difference is our squad is so poor he’s forced to play them whereas other teams’ punts don’t make the matchday squad

    • Mr T

      “For every player Rafa has bought other teams around us have spent a similar amount on transfers/wages on better players”
      I’m not sure who the teams around us are but compare us to the teams we were promoted with, Brighton and Huddersfield. I’m not sure which players of theirs you would take but both clubs outspent us this summer, Brighton spent over £30m on just 2 players and Huddersfield spent £18m on just one player alone.
      Brighton also spent about £40m on just 3 players (including one player for £15m) before last season and Huddersfield bought 2 players for £11m each.
      What’s Rafas biggest outlay? Matt Ritchie for £10m?

      • magpie0722

        Jacob Murphy for twelve that never gets a game. what a bargain !!!

        • Mr T

          Ok yeah, forgot about Murphy, doesn’t really detract from my original statement.
          He doesn’t play a lot and his brother seems to have settled quicker in the Premier League but he’s still a young player and could improve. It’s pretty much what £12m gets you nowadays whether anybody likes it or not.
          In fact I could of just copy and pasted, swapped Murphy for Ritchie/£10m for £12m at the bottom and it would have made absolutely no difference to my comment.
          Not sure what your point is in relation to what mentalman alleged??

    • Sickandtired

      You seriously believe that Rafa Benitez decided he wanted F’n Joselu? Loan striker, loan winger, free transfer midfielder.
      Ashley simply repeating what he’s done before. Get a F’n grip of yersel, man!

      • Leazes.

        Block it…. don’t respond to it!

  • Dillon Tovak

    We need to hope Southampton keep Hughes and continue downward.
    Then again…why? What am I hoping for, another year like this one? Great 👍

    • Superdooperhooper

      Agree totally. What’s the point of being in the PL just to make up the numbers? If ashley won’t allow the PL TV money to be reinvested we may as well be in the championship . We might even win a few games in that league!

  • Leazes.

    Why does Charnley hide I wonder?

    The club has been entirely stripped when you look at the squad and are down to the maximum allowed loan players…..what is left to take?

    • Leicester Mag

      Fans pride what’s left of it. Zombie sheep lining up to see football slaughtered

  • Leicester Mag

    Those paying to watch are being mugged. St James Park now resembles one of those winter wonderlands where the reindeer turn out to be a horse with fake antlers. Come to think of it the horse is getting a game at the moment

    • Danimal

      Didn’t Ashley say he was going to bolt something onto the horse? Or the other way round. Or something.

  • Mxpx

    It’s the same squad that finished 10th other than merino and gayle… And lejune but we have Brought in players to replace both of them admittedly I think ki for merino is a downgrade I think what it highlights is how dependant we are on shelvey Lascelles and to a lesser extent Kennedy were only a few players away from having Premier league first 11 that can really compete if we brought in a number 10 a number 9 and a box to box midfielder to play with shelvey our first 11 would look pretty good HOWEVER strength in depth is non existent goalkeeper and cb I’m happy with the rest not so much I do like Jacob Murphy and longstaff might come good beyond this our bench is non existent for me

  • Squintytoonarmy

    All these Ashley lovers – it’s clear as daylight. I got more chance pulling lasses in the Bigg Market in a pair of Armani’s and a Lacoste polo than I would a pair of Lee jeans and a slazenger polo.

  • Tomb

    Our squad has the same value in terms of transfer fees spent as Watfords Wolves Brighton Burnleys and more than Huddersfields and Cardiffs. Add to that Kenedy and Rondon who laughably would have cost 40 million between them.

  • Tomb

    The Bournemouth line up tonight, two or three good players but essentially championship squad by your argument. Dan Gosling? wouldnt get in our side. Steve Cook? journeyman defender. Ryan Frazer, average, nowhere near good enough for a top side. Ake and Begovic are big names but I bet the others didnt cost a lot. So how have they picked up a few wins?

    • Mr T

      I think that’s slightly disrespectful to some of Bournemouth’s players. Their strikers would get into our team, no problem. Ryan Fraser is quite a decent player I think and we’re not talking about them getting into a “top side” are we?
      Lerma cost £25m this summer, Ake and Begovic combined to about £30m and when they were first promoted Bournemouth had a net spend of approx £50m compared to our net spend of about £20m before last season.

      • Tomb

        Again, net spend with Bournemouth but they had a muxh lower starting point to build on than us when getting promoted. Our squad was the most expensive ever in the championship because it should never have been relegated in the first place, yet people only refer to net spend

        • Danimal

          Pretty much all the players who “should never have been relegated” were sold. Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Janmaat, Townsend. Replaced with cheaper models and not upgraded once promotion was achieved.

        • Mr T

          “A much lower point to build on than us”??
          Rafa had to build a new squad basically from scratch, we lost Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Townsend, Janmaat, Cabella, Cisse, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Tiote, Krul, Thauvin, De Jong, Rivière, Saivet, Vukic and more.
          A variety of reasons for their departures (end of contract, wanted to go, not good enough) but you are talking about at least 15 players leaving a squad and they needed replacing. The thing is most of the players bought at that time were to get out of the Championship but then they needed replacing/topping up with more quality once promoted.
          You go on about Keegans promotion team, apart from it being 25 years ago (football has changed dramatically) he discarded our top scorer because he felt he wasn’t going to be good enough for the Premier League and replaced him with Peter Beardsley. We already had Andy Cole who cost half the price of Alan Shearer at the time (how much would Cole have cost these days?).
          The gap between First and Second Level Football was not as big as it is today surely?

  • Tomb

    Can we not resign ourselves to the Championship already please. yes we’re poor but I dont see the rest of the bottom five picking up many points any time soon either.
    On championship players Bournemouth are doing well with lots of players who pkayed in the championship for them. Also Keegans promoted side that finished third contained mostly all players that came from that league. The players youve described in the article are the best players in relegated teams so theyre probably just about top flight quality

  • Tomb

    The money for Mitrovic was going to be spent on Rondon. So even if that money had been re invested we would have ended up with the same striker