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Newcastle United have ’24 days to repair a car crash of a summer’ – Surely joking?

1 month ago
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The circus continues at Newcastle United.

The football club still with no new players, no manager and looking as clueless as ever.

It is now exactly a week since news broke of Mike Ashley’s interest in Steve Bruce.

Exactly a week later they still haven’t managed to even get him over the line.

I think he is a disastrous appointment, amongst this summer’s (and the last 12 years…) many other disasters.

However, if this is who the NUFC owner really does want, which is now pretty obvious and I believe has been the case all along, then how can it be possible that with all the Premier League cash and other advantages Newcastle United have over Sheffield Wednesday, that Mike Ashley hasn’t been able to cut through the situation and get a conclusion?

It is almost as though time doesn’t really matter…

Last night, one of the journalists covering Newcastle United said that Ashley and his minions have ’24 days to repair a car crash of a summer’ at St James Park.

A reference to the number of days (including today – Tuesday) that are remaining in the transfer window, with 61 days having already gone by now.

Nothing’s impossible BUT talk about ensuring you are up against overwhelming odds!

I have a feeling that Steve Bruce has been Mike Ashley’s choice all of the time and this summer has been dragged out for whatever reason. Maybe Ashley did believe this time that somebody, BZG or whoever, would pay way over the odds for the club and agree to whatever other crippling lasting conditions (merchandising, SD advertising etc etc) he might be insisting on.. So Steve Bruce was his choice of manager/head coach/patsy BUT understood any new owner would 100% not want to be inheriting such a below par manager.

So if it is going to be Bruce, at the very least the NUFC owner could and should have made sure a deal was done ASAP. Even if you take that as last Tuesday, it would have still meant 31 days of the transfer window remaining instead of now 24, it would have meant 33 days until the Premier League season kicks off, instead of the 26 days we now have left.

On top of his malevolent running of the club and attitude to fans, Mike Ashley’s stupidity on even the basics has always shone through. Particularly this belief that it makes no difference when signings are made, that the last week/day of the transfer window is no different to the first.

Just look at the Salomon Rondon fiasco a year ago, ended up having no pre-season whatsoever at Newcastle United and it was a matter of months before he was fully up to speed. Who knows how much better Newcastle could have done last season if we’d had the end of season Salomon Rondon at the kick-off of the campaign as well?

Ashley gambles and gambles, Newcastle were in big relegation trouble in January 2018 and yet Kenedy only arrived on loan a week before the end of the window and Dubravka & Slimani signed on the very final day.

January 2019 exactly the same story, both Almiron and Barreca not signed until 31 January.

Here are a ‘few’ things that need sorting and/or taking into consideration:

Pre-season

Newcastle United are going through pre-season without either a manager or new signings.

If you believe that a new manager and signings will materialise, it means that what is happening now will bear pretty much no relation to when we face Arsenal on the opening day.

A new manager will have a certain way he wants the team to play and you are looking at probably four or five changes to the first team as it now stands, with new signings desperately needed for this season not to be a disaster (particularly if as rumoured some of our few remaining better players do end up leaving – Dubravka, Schar, Longstaff, Hayden etc).

Goals

Of the players now left at Newcastle, they scored only 16 of the club’s 42 Premier League goals last season. Schar is our top remaining scorer with four, Clark on three and the only other one to score more than one, Matt Ritchie with two.

Opening fixtures

Last season, to cap it all Rafa had a tough set of opening fixtures to contend with. It contributed to not a single win until 3 November 2018.

West Ham away is our 11th game of the new PL season and is currently scheduled for 2 November 2019. These opening 11 games include matches against nine of last season’s top 11. One of the other two games is our first away one and Norwich’s first at home after promotion, not ideal at all when they are full of enthusiasm and momentum.

Signing players

Considering past farces and indeed the fact a week later Ashley can’t even get Steve Bruce over the line, it hardly inspires you to think that the necessary signings will be made.

Even if the owner is going to allow signings to be made, why would any ambitious player choose Bruce, Ashley and this nightmare over other clubs? You can’t even sell them the line anymore of playing in front of 50,000+ crowds every home game, the club’s ticketing website having shown yesterday that there are over 13,000 unsold season ticket seats.

The only realistic way surely of having any chance at this late stage of getting signings who might prove good enough, is to be prepared to pay full asking price on transfer fee and wages, or maybe even an additional premium. When has Mike Ashley ever been prepared to do that? Only the relegation threatened Januarys of 2013 (five signings from France) and 2016 (Shelvey and Townsend).

Integrating signings into the team

Monday saw strong media claims that Ashley is ready to pay up to £36m to make Joelinton the first signing of the Summer.

Even if this proves true and say the striker was signed by the weekend.

You are still talking about him having only a couple of weeks of pre-season with his new teammates.

A 22 year old Brazilian striker dropped into a whole new club, league, culture…for him (and others) to hit the ground running is a massive ask. Decent clubs would introduce them gradually but Newcastle won’t even have any choice but to throw them straight in ASAP, especially in the attacking third.

Moving players on

Newcastle United are even running out of time when it comes to moving players on.

The likes of Colback, Lazaar and Aarons should be talking to new potential clubs now, instead they are out in China! Having to be included along with a handful of the under 23s because the first team squad is so bare. We all have this terrible feeling that the likes of Colback is now more likely to end up on the pitch this season for Newcastle, rather than playing for a new club.

Look at those mugs

So are Newcastle United/Mike Ashley right and everybody else is wrong. That leaving so much up in the air and last minute is harmless really?

Wolves are heavily investing in their squad and as an example, whilst Mike Ashley didn’t even try to buy player of the year Rondon, Wolves turned loan striker Raul Jimenez into a permanent deal on 2 April 2019, fully 104 days ago.

In that 104 day stretch, Mike Ashley has done nothing….well I say nothing but the reality is that he has done nothing but harm to our football club.

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