These are the Newcastle United positives and negatives this season – So far
Turbulent times as always at Newcastle United.
With now two thirds of the season gone, I thought I would put together the positives and negatives at our football club.
I have limited it to five of each but I’m sure you could add a few more onto the second list…
NEWCASTLE UNITED POSITIVES 2018/19
Not In The Relegation Zone
Once we saw the lack of investment in the Newcastle United squad last summer, fans knew that this guaranteed yet another relegation fight.
On that basis, it has to be seen as a relative positive, that with 12 matches to go, the team are outside the bottom three.
It might only be by one point but still a positive, for now.
Rafa Benitez Still Here
A bit like still being outside that relegation zone, at least for the moment Rafa Benitez is still here.
I always thought he would stick it out at least until the end of his three year contract, do the right thing and try to keep Newcastle United in the top tier.
After the end of this season, who knows? I think we all know that for there to be any chance of Rafa extending his stay, Mike Ashley has to sell the club or significantly alter his approach to how he runs it.
A few more cracks than last season maybe but generally the players do appear to give their best.
Last season’s eventual tenth place and 44 points was very much built on the team being better than the 11 players comprising it.
This time it has also been the case but not quite to the same degree, seemingly little chance of matching that position or points total, which reflects that.
Just when you had given up hope of anybody emerging from the younger age groups…
The 21 year old midfielder has been excellent since getting his chance as a sub against Liverpool on Boxing Day. Rafa Benitez not renowned for giving younger players opportunities, a number of injuries in central midfield forcing his hand.
Adam Armstrong was long talked about as the one who could potentially come through and yet only eight months younger, Sean Longstaff never really got a mention. Without getting the opportunity you just never know.
Breaking Club Transfer Record
It might have taken 14 years to break the record, as well as four transfer windows since promotion for Mike Ashley to allow over £10m to be spent on a single player.
However, you have to welcome the potential of Miguel Almiron’s signing.
The potential of him proving to be the flair player Newcastle have been crying out for in terms of scoring and creating goals, as well as the potential that maybe just finally there has been the acceptance by the club’s owner of what players now cost, if you want to have any chance of avoiding constant relegation struggles.
NEWCASTLE UNITED NEGATIVES 2018/19
Mike Ashley Still Here
In typical Mike Ashley style, turned up out of the blue on our TV screens to promise us a takeover was imminent.
It just so happened to coincide with protests against the club’s owner…
Now 11 weeks later it was clearly just the club’s owner messing with our minds yet again and deflecting attention from his dire running of the club. One day.
Most matches have been pretty shocking to watch.
Yes we understand the situation Rafa Benitez has been landed in due Ashley’s failure to allow proper investment in the squad and he is dong what he feels is best in terms of a survival strategy with these players.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t admit that with maybe a handful of exceptions, the football this season is seriously bad. Only 22 goals in 26 matches says it all. Only in five of the 26 Premier League matches have Newcastle scored more than one goal.
Lack Of Ambition
Even the Miguel Almiron signing didn’t happen until the very last day of the January window.
That club record signing still leaving Ashley in profit on transfers for this season overall, after the £20m+ profit on deals last summer.
The Rafa Benitez era seeing the club making a profit overall on transfers over the three years, at a time when every other club is spending ever more money to try and compete.
This would be a third relegation in these past nine Premier League seasons under Mike Ashley.
Add in two very near misses in 2012/13 (finally reached safety when winning final away match at QPR) and 2014/15 (reached safety on very final day of season when beating West Ham at St James Park).
Newcastle United should be so much more than perennial relegation fighters.
Managed to win one cup match this season and that was against a Championship side who Newcastle failed to beat at St James Park first time out.
Still haven’t reached the FA Cup fifth round in 12 years of Mike Ashley.
It really is desperate when you see Burton reaching the semi-final of the League Cup and the way the FA Cup has opened up this season.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]