Les Ferdinand predicts what happens today “I have always said the Newcastle fans are a sensible lot…”
Les Ferdinand was a class player for Newcastle United.
Like many other fans who were watching NUFC in the 90s, Sir Les remains one of my favourite ever players.
A class act on and off the pitch, he scored 50 goals in 88 NUFC appearances and the two seasons he played at St James Park, Newcastle United finished second in the Premier League both times.
One of the worst decisions ever, Freddy Shepherd and John Hall were determined to sell Les Ferdinand because they thought £6m was far too good an offer to turn down for a 30 year old.
In his second and final season at NUFC, Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand scored 49 goals between them in 1996/97, 41 of them in the Premier League. To put it into perspective, last season (2018/19) all the Newcastle players put together only scored 41 PL goals (an own goal making the total up to 42).
The determination of the owners to sell Les Ferdinand, was said to be a key factor in Kevin Keegan deciding to go, as ambition was being reined in, at the very time it should have gone the other way, especially when at the end of the 1996/97 season, Newcastle became the first ever English club to enter the Champions League as runners-up.
The sale proved to be bad business on and off the pitch, as a succession of flops (Tomasson, Andersson, Guivarc’h etc) were brought in with far more than £6m wasted.
Now 22 years later we have just seen Mike Ashley force out Newcastle’s best and most productive (11 PL goals and 7 assists) player, who was also player of the year. No interest in keeping Salomon Rondon simply because he turns 30 next month.
Looking ahead to today’s match between his two former clubs, Les Ferdinand declares: ‘I have always said the Newcastle fans are a sensible lot and there won’t be many Geordies making the trip down fully believing they will win this game.’
The away end is sold out but yes, how many of the 3,000 think Newcastle will even get a draw. never mind win?
Mike Ashley forced Rafa Benitez out because the manager wanted to keep on building this team and saw Rondon as the key figure, the trio of Almiron, Perez and Rondon helping spark NUFC to 21 goals in the final 13 PL games of last season once the Paraguayan arrived, after only 21 goals in the opening 25 games.
Mike Ashley insisting on going back to having a patsy head coach who would have no say on transfers, so he could once again go back to his dream of inexperienced young overseas players coming in, who would magically instantly score goals AND be worth loads more money in the future.
Almiron now looks like a little boy lost and even after only two games there are grave fears as to not just the capability of the team to score goals but the team as a whole, with even Steve Bruce questioning whether the whole side was trying their best against Norwich.
Les Ferdinand says that whilst Newcastle fans might not expect victory ‘But what they will want to see is a turnaround in performance.’
Steve Bruce will obviously not enjoy a third defeat if/when it happens but if the team crumble like they did at Norwich with the body language suggesting real issues within the squad, it will be far far more worrying.
“Newcastle are struggling for form at the moment and with Spurs at home, I’d have to go for a Spurs win.
“Newcastle need a response after the loss at Norwich last week.
“I have always said the Newcastle fans are a sensible lot and there won’t be many Geordies making the trip down fully believing they will win this game.
“But what they will want to see is a turnaround in performance.
“If they do get a result, I’m sure it would work wonders for their confidence.
“But it’s a big ask for them at Spurs.”
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