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Opinion

Sky Sports come to assistance of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce with positive spin on 2020

8 months ago
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It is no secret that Sky Sports are a valuable partner of Mike Ashley.

The broadcaster happy to give the Newcastle United owner a helping hand with PR/propaganda appearances dressed up as interviews.

Whilst also allowing Mike Ashley associates such as Dennis Wise and many others to make unchallenged comments on the situation at St James Park over the years.

Newcastle United thankfully got a win at Southampton on Saturday.

Despite getting massive help via VAR (a 28th minute red card for a Southampton player and a 44th minute penalty), Newcastle wasted a flurry of chances before half-time, including the spot-kick.

Looking clueless how to break down 10 men after the break, Newcastle didn’t threaten until a Southampton mistake and Allan Saint-Maximin inspiration saw ASM steal possession and score the only goal of the game with 11 minutes remaining. Huge relief that NUFC weren’t adding to the growing collection of Premier League goalless draws.

Then we got the Sky Sports spin

This is that 13 game glory run since New Year’s Day:

Rochdale 1 Newcastle 1

Wolves 1 Newcastle 1

Newcastle 4 Rochdale 1

Newcastle 1 Chelsea 0

Everton 2 Newcastle 2

Newcastle 0 Oxford 0

Newcastle 0 Norwich 0

Oxford 2 Newcastle 3

Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0

Palace 1  Newcastle 0

Newcastle 0 Burnley 0

West Brom 2 Newcastle 3

Southampton 0 Newcastle 1

Well Sky Sports Pete isn’t lying but to present statistics in this way, isn’t exactly telling the whole truth either.

This last 13 game (all competitions) run shows:

Played 13 Won 5 Drawn 6 Lost 2 Goals For 16 Goals Against 14

Take out the five FA Cup games, four against League One sides and one against West Brom reserves (leaving just PL matches), it becomes:

Played 8 Won 2 Drawn 4 Lost 2 Goals For 5 Goals Against 8

Extend it to the last 11 Premier League games:

Played 11 Won 2 Drawn 4 Lost 5 Goals For 7 Goals Against 17

Dressing up these last three months as anything but a struggle of watching some terrible Premier League football and desperate for goals isn’t telling the whole truth.

Yes we are all happy to be in the FA Cup sixth round but at the same time aren’t blind to what a struggle it has been to get past Rochdale, Oxford and West Brom reserves (who had a middle pairing with an average age of 37, Barry 39 and Brunt 35).

Even yesterday, the failure to bring in a striker in January looked particularly ridiculous, as despite for once creating a decent number of chances (in the first half), Newcastle couldn’t score, sadly Dwight Gayle looking not up to the job when he could and should have had a quickfire hat-trick.

Some people no doubt may say I am being negative, but I don’t see how pointing out that with nine games remaining our four strikers have only one Premier League goal between them and Mike Ashley should have allowed one to be bought or at least loaned, is being negative?

I just want better for this club and whilst ASM (that was Newcastle’s first goal in almost eight hours of PL football) has thankfully put us in reach of safety for another season, I can’t help but look at the Premier League table with Leicester third, Wolves fifth and Sheffield United sixth…and think that if our club was run in any kind of proper and vaguely ambitious way, Newcastle could and should have been looking at Champions League football next season.

Same with the FA Cup, credit to Steve Bruce for putting strong teams out (unlike what he did in the League Cup) but after being gifted an easy route to the last eight, what if the lack of any decent striker/goalscorer proves the difference against Man City.

When you see what Leicester, Wolves and Sheffield United are trying to do, sorry if I don’t feel like celebrating these last three months of another crawl to Premier League survival.

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