When this Newcastle United team face Bournemouth, it will be an ambitious Premier League club up against another that is run on a shoestring and simply making up the numbers.
Despite gates of only ten thousand or so for the south coast club, I don’t need to explain to you which club is which.
Mike Ashley says Newcastle can’t compete with sovereign states such as Manchester City.
That isn’t the problem of course at the club, it is the refusal to try and compete with the likes of Brighton, Huddersfield and Bournemouth.
It is amazing that despite all the evidence that says otherwise, many Newcastle fans and neutrals will be talking about how the Magpies should be beating the likes of Bournemouth.
Rafa’s team might win but if they do, it will be a case of the underdogs pulling off a big result.
Last summer the Cherries spent £20m on central defender Nathan Ake, this summer they spent £26m on defensive midfielder Jefferson Lerma.
Newcastle sell a centre-forward for £22m (rising to £27m) and then only allow Rafa Benitez to bring in a 29 year old loan striker as a replacement, a forward who averages eight goals a season in the Premier League.
Mikel Merino is sold for £10m but Rafa limited to a 29 year old free transfer replacement.
This is how Newcastle are likely to line up on Saturday:
Take Ritchie out of the equation and the other 10 likely starts cost £25m, less than Bournemouth’s summer signing Jefferson Lerma!
When you look at the attacking/midfield positions in particular, Newcastle are relying on two loan signings, a free transfer, two players who cost £6m combined, plus Matt Ritchie.
It makes the £19m outlay on the back five look almost generous!
The harsh truth is that this summer and in previous windows, Bournemouth are shopping several levels higher than Newcastle, so any result that Rafa Benitez pulls off against these clubs is against the odds.
Quite unbelievable that this is what Mike Ashley has dragged us down to and it shouldn’t be forgotten when you are asked to join in with that one-off boycott against Wolves, to make your feelings known.