So, now that we have entered and are indeed a good portion of the way through the January transfer window, I feel it would be a good time to take stock of the current situation at Newcastle United.
I think all but the truly gullible have seen through the ‘takeover/fakeover’ story and all the counter PR that has come from the club in the last few weeks, so I won’t touch on that other than to say, that I believe that there is absolutely no chance of this club being sold in the short to medium term.
Expect a few more porkies to be told in the next fortnight as we progress through the window. My issues are based on the state of the current squad to remain in the league.
Starting at the back, we need not worry about the goalie Martin Dubravka (Manchester United rick aside) and we needn’t worry about the centre backs. Our full back situation isn’t the best as we only have one fit player that is any good on either side. We certainly needed quality cover at full back and money should have been made available in the summer to bolster this area.
At the start of the season, the glaring problem staring us in the face was the lack of a goalscoring centre forward and whilst this position is far from being totally rectified, Solomon Rondon is a cut above what we’ve had over recent years and we must pray that he remains fit.
I feel it’s issues in our midfield that will scupper Premier league survival in five months time.
We’ve gone from having a good few options last summer to having absolutely none by the first week in January. Isaac Hayden declared in the summer that he wanted to leave the club, Mo Diame’s form has reverted to its miserable worst from last season, Jonjo Shelvey has gone off to Spain to see a specialist on his thigh trouble, Ki Sung-yeung has tweaked his hamstring over in Asia and Ayoze Perez has slipped back to the kind of ratio whereby his bad displays far far outweigh his good. Throw into the mix that Kenedy ghosts his way through games all the time and it’s plain to see where our problems lie.
To go off on a tangent, we as a club don’t compete, that is abundantly clear. This is not specific to the cup competitions, as was a stated club policy a few years ago, we actually don’t compete in the league either. We appear on the face of it to be the only club in the league that is actually ran for the benefit of the owner and his subsidiaries rather than to actually achieve something football related other than simply staying in the league.
It’s not even up for debate any more, it’s even been spotted by much of the wider football population, if sadly not talked about as much. Balance sheet Champions we are.
Financially, we should be able to compete with at least around half of the Premier League teams, but we don’t.
Let’s take little old Bournemouth as an example. They have already had a great transfer window in my opinion, especially when compared to us. They’ve added Solanke from Liverpool and loaned Nathan Clyne, spending £17m on the forward and whatever on the loan fee. That’ll be roughly £20m spent on a team that is all but safe from relegation and looking to push on and maybe have a good crack at Europe. This is Bournemouth. BOURNEMOUTH? No disrespect, but they’d have to sell out their ground nearly five times in row to fill St James Park just once.
Now before any upset Cherries fans who feel aggrieved in supposedly demeaning their club, that’s not the intention and shouldn’t be seen as such. But when you see a club with gates of little more than 11,000, smashing yet again our now 14 year old transfer record, it highlights a glaring thing. Our club simply doesn’t want to compete.
It’s staggering that this club that attracts 52,000+ every home game are so far behind Bournemouth in professional standing, that they (Bournemouth) are the ones who want to build on mid-table security and push on and better themselves. Fair play to them and I hope their fans enjoy the ride, considering where they’ve come from in such a short space of time. Their manager Eddie Howe is getting backed to do the best job he can, while Rafa Benitez is shopping in a supermarket with a bank card that he has no idea how much is on it, if anything at all.
The club’s transfer policy has veered from where we could sign players for cheap and utilise their talents to the outrageously stupid where we provide an ex-England manager with millions upon millions of pounds worth of talent to mismanage, then we starve a world class manager of decent funds. Barmy, truly barmy.
Furthermore on the transfer policy, I seem to remember that we baulked at paying a fairly high fee for a centre back a few years ago. The powers that be thought the player in question wasn’t worth the risk and didn’t sign him. That player was Virgil Van Dijk (when at Celtic), now at Liverpool having gone there for £75m+. So even when we try to sign players to make a profit, we can’t get it right.
This club has been set up to fail.
Of course Mike Ashley doesn’t WANT relegation, but it won’t bother him IF we bounce back at the first attempt. That shouldn’t be the aim of Newcastle United.
I understand we can’t compete at this moment in time with the top four or even top six, but merely bumbling along and flirting with relegation year after year will result in my departure from actively supporting this club come May. For what is becoming clear, it will be without its Premier League status or without its current manager, or both.
If you don’t enjoy something, no matter how much you want to, you walk away. That’s where I am at this present moment, losing interest with each passing match. Fans will still support the club if it got relegated, but for the owner to not allow the club the best possible chance to avoid it, is negligent bordering on sabotage.
Rafa Benitez WON’T be here next season unless there is a takeover, which we’ve pretty much ruled out unless someone comes in with silly money. A great manager will leave this club in May purely because there are two things not present with the club’s owner, – trust and professionalism.
Rafa has had almost three years of this cowboy set up, the supporters of Newcastle United have had 12 years.