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Opinion

Quite amazing the belief that the worst that can happen is Newcastle United in mid-table obscurity

5 months ago
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It has been an ‘interesting’ Summer so far for Newcastle United.

Fans finding it quite difficult to take in that it is really only 60 days since the season ended with a 4-0 win at Fulham.

The biggest and most convincing victory of the season, Rafa Benitez and his players taking the acclaim of the massive away following, which had taken over the ‘neutral’ sections as well at Craven Cottage.

So where does the team and club now stand?

Well, for Newcastle United fans it is very simple, Mike Ashley appearing to be systematically removing any trace of the positivity that Rafa Benitez introduced, which managed somehow to paper over some huge cracks.

The supporters see the club facing impending disaster and yet I am hearing/reading something completely different elsewhere.

A lot of the media running with a line which seems to go something like: ‘Newcastle fans disappointed to see hopes disappearing with Rafa, hopes that they could once again compete towards the top, instead now looking at mid-table obscurity with Steve Bruce set to be appointed’…

As for rival fans, it has been a similar story, going along the lines of: ‘Same old deluded Newcastle fans thinking they should be competing at the top and in the Champions League, instead of accepting they are a mid-table club and Steve Bruce their level’ etc etc.

I think that whilst a decent number of other clubs’ fans sticking the knife in know that what they are saying isn’t really the truth, I honestly think the media by and large haven’t got a clue, actually believing what they are saying/writing.

Whilst they generally accept Rafa Benitez did a good job, I don’t think have any idea as to just how good a job he did. Producing not only two seasons of avoiding relegation but doing so with games to spare and finished of 10th and 13th, both time 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

So much of that relative success on a zero net spend budget was built on a relentlessly drilled back line and Rafa’s organisation, in each of these last two seasons, only two clubs outside the top four conceded less goals than Newcastle.

There is also a total failure by the media (and rival fans) to acknowledge just how much worse things have got since that Fulham game in May.

As well as losing Rafa Benitez, Newcastle United have also lost their entire senior coaching team.

When it comes to players, last season’s two top scorers are no longer here, as well as Mohamed Diame who was first choice until injury earlier this year.

The players still left at the club scored only 17 of the 43 Premier League goals NUFC got last season and the two top goalscorers that still remain from last season are Schar (4) and Clark (3).

Not one single signing has been made and now only 28 days until the window closes, only two days until the squad flies to China, no manager,  no plan, no nothing.

We are now looking at Steve Bruce seemingly set to get the job, he has an appalling record in the Premier League, far worse even than JFK, Pardew, Allardyce, McClaren (see HERE).

The fans are organising a boycott and regardless of that, the crowds are certain to be significantly down anyway, the mood is poisonous and the organisers of the flag displays which helped build positivity last season, will not now happen as they have stopped as part of the protests against the owner.

Added to this, no matter what The Chronicle might claim, the mood inside both club and squad must be absolutely rock bottom, especially amongst the handful of decent players still at the club.

You can’t imagine Schar, Dubravka, Lascelles, Hayden and Almiron will not be wondering what is the point of staying here?

As it stands now, I will be amazed if Newcastle United aren’t relegated, rather than this anonymous mid-table obscurity the media appear to believe is the worst that can happen?

Which Premier League club looks in a worse state than NUFC?

All of the other 19 have signed players this Summer and all have a manager.

I wouldn’t bet on Newcastle finishing above any of the other 16 clubs that were in the top tier last season. I think Brighton had a worse squad in 2017/18 but they have at least signed a couple of players and haven’t lost key players as Newcastle have.

If hoping for all three promoted clubs to save us, I think not.

Aston Villa are putting  serious investment into their squad and as it stands I think they are guaranteed to finish above Newcastle.

Norwich have made nine signings and shown ambition by putting  star players such as Max Aarons on new long-term more lucrative contracts to ensure they will be involved this season. They will have a tight knit team/squad with momentum and a manager who has done a remarkable job.

Maybe Sheffield United are the weakest of the rest but like Norwich I see a great team spirit and a manager that has done a great job.

Without bringing in credible goalscorers, can Newcastle outdo anybody next season?

As for attracting credible goalscorers/signings, who on earth would want to come to St James Park now.

With ambitious new owners, Rafa still here with a plan, the best players from last season with more quality added, then yes we had all the potential in the World.

Sadly, barring a minor miracle, mid-table obscurity is very clearly not the worst that can befall Newcastle United in the season ahead.

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