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Opinion

Imminent Newcastle United takeover to now consign ‘Be careful what you wish for’ to history

2 weeks ago
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Well, this is a strange one.

Let me begin by thanking the people at The Mag for providing such a forum for fans of Newcastle United such as myself to air ones opinions for good bad or indifferent.

Let me also doff my cap to regular commentators who I’ve had regular verbal sparring matches with throughout these pages.

We haven’t always agreed but I enjoy hearing other peoples opinions and trying to reason with such opinions and see my way of thinking, even if the outcome is an agree to disagree détente which usually solves nothing.

Let me be frank. I’m a natural pessimist (Shock, horror, said no one never).

I don’t see the positivity in a lot of things, especially when there little on show. I look for ‘evidence’ of such positivity.

In deepest darkest 1995/96, I still couldn’t see any evidence that pointed to anything other than Newcastle United lifting the Premier League trophy, even though results were catching up with us and Manchester United were eating away at that 12 point lead, the title was ours, no doubt about it. The naivety of youth. But if people can see the positive in Newcastle United in 2020, then work away, tell me where it is and don’t simply come onto forums and argue “Well, be thankful we aren’t doing a Sunderland”, because that doesn’t wash, it’s a non-argument.

I seemed to get some stick for my comments on the “Instant Nufc Fan/writer Reaction” article on Sunday night after the 3-0 win. I simply stated- “There endeth the season. Minimum target achieved and proof that the players can’t perform in front of their own fans”

I can’t see what could stoke anything other than a neutral reaction. The club’s ‘unofficial’ ambition from Mike Ashley down, is to merely survive, is it not? I believe we have now reached that stage of affairs. I also have the belief that some of these players can’t perform in front of their own fans. Indeed, Jamie Redknapp alluded to the fact on Sky Sports that Joelinton probably benefited from the fact that there were no fans at St James Park during the 3-0 win over Sheffield United, although that doesn’t explain his shocking first half miss.

I could go with the glass half full mode, a mode which allowed me to see that we were banging on the door all throughout the first half, constantly pressing and beating a path to Sheffield United’s goal. Praise up Joelinton, who was a colossus up front, getting into a glorious position only for a defender to pop up and deny him at the last, Joelinton who outwitted two defenders and slammed the ball into the back of the net for his goal. I could wax lyrical about how superb our team played on the day and how creative we looked. I could say that after a glorious 3-0 win we now appear to be more than safe from relegation, look upwardly mobile and pushing for a top 10 place under the magnificent Steve Bruce.

However, I could go with the glass half empty look, a look which emphasises that Joelinton looked poor, missed a sitter and scored a tap in when presented with a chance on a plate. I could highlight that Sheffield United managed more corners than we did and more possession. I could say that we didn’t look particularly threatening, even with an extra man.

But no. The reality is somewhere in between. The point I’m making is that there seems to be two extremes at work in every day life these days. You’re either of one political persuasion or another, you either believe in this God or that God, the football match went this way or that way. For some people, there is no room for a middle ground in 2020. Unfortunately for them, there always is.

Let me be clear, I won’t blow smoke up people’s backsides. If I say something as being one way and not another, then I MEAN it. I can’t lie and say that I saw game I didn’t see.

The reality of the game against Sheffield United from my honest point of view is this.

If John Egan hadn’t been sent off, the game would have highly likely ended in a draw. The first yellow card he received was wrong but the moment that swung the match was probably a straight red anyway, so the correct decision was reached in an around about way. Newcastle United used that to their full advantage and were comfortable 3-0 winners, a result that will all but guarantee Premier League survival. If we had picked up a point, I’d still believe we would have enough to survive. That doesn’t disguise the luck Steve Bruce has carried, it merely highlights and backs it up. It’s up to him to ride it for as long as he can, regardless of what I think of him.

I won’t have it when pundits and media folk tell me that Steve Bruce has done a job described as ‘excellent’ and ‘fantastic’. I won’t have Bruce himself prattling on about how fixture congestion is a problem and decisions haven’t gone our way while overlooking the sheer bare faced luck that he has enjoyed in his so far short time here. That would be a severe rewriting of recent history and ignoring facts.

The facts that have come from the 3-0 win over Sheffield United are as simple as this. A goal from Joelinton is always a positive, even though he’s still underperforming and a waste of money at £20m per Premier League goal. Can anyone find a positive in that? Allan Saint Maximin looks a talent and one that would flourish under a manager that knows how to use him. We have the basis of a good side that with three or four players added this coming summer, we could challenge for Europe.

That said, I can’t endorse the talk of Andy Carroll being given a new contract under any circumstances, I can’t see Steve Bruce taking the club forward and push us to Europe even if he were given a king’s ransom to spend in the transfer market. This club was on the cusp of doing something last summer with Rafa Benitez in charge and a king’s ransom WASN’T required. The stumbling block was spite from the owner Mike Ashley. Now, a king’s ransom is probably required to KEEP us where we are.

And (as ever) that is where the problem starts and ends.

Nobody can argue the Mike Ashley merits at this club as there simply are none. I hate the term “Be careful what you wish for” because it’s a blatant negative. People only say “Be careful what you wish for” when things are going not so well in the first place in the sense that things might not be good right now, but things could be EVEN worse. How negative is that? Don’t worry about your broken leg, you could have a broken arm. Preposterous!

That is why the Newcastle United takeover is so important. This monotonous sludge of negativity isn’t half boring and that’s coming from a pessimist. I long for the days where we compete, where we be all we can be, where we lose a title defining game 1-2 in agonising circumstances, a la Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers in 1996 or the 1-2 FA Cup defeat against Chelsea in 2000, yet still remain proud of the club we grew up supporting, not the mess we find ourselves gormlessly following in 2020.

It would make a nice, positive change.

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