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Opinion

An elephant in the room at Newcastle United that can’t be overlooked now the season is over

5 months ago
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That’s it, job done, Newcastle United will now officially be playing Premier League football next season.

Credit should go to Steve Bruce and the players and planning must now be started for the 2020/21 season and beyond.

This includes transfers both in and out of the club but there is an elephant in the room that can’t be overlooked.

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The protracted Newcastle United takeover now needs to be finalised one way or another for the club to move forward and there is now no reason whatsoever why it can’t be completed or rejected, as there is nothing obvious standing in the way of an announcement.

If it’s an approval of the Saudi/Reuben/Staveley conglomerate then all well and good. There’s no problem with the politics from me, for if it’s ok for the Saudis to shake hands with our Government and our Royal family then there isn’t anything to stand in the way of them buying a football club.

There are other ‘dodgy’ regimes in charge of football clubs and until the game becomes totally ‘clean’ in that respect, the Premier League have no grounds to reject another prospective owner to enhance their product/brand. It would be in their best interests after all.

I have my suspicions that there are people at the FA and Premier League that are happy with the status quo and don’t want a new breed of owners upsetting the applecart but that’s just me and let’s be fair, there will be a few Premier League clubs sweating their backsides if Newcastle United all of a sudden became competitive after a 13 year enforced absence.

My opening comments about accrediting Bruce may come as a surprise to some who know me but credit where credit is due, unfortunately I appoint praise rather falsely. The bottom six in this league are WOEFUL and (on reflection) getting relegated was never an option for Newcastle United this season.

It would have taken something to be worse than the dross in that bottom six. There was no way Norwich were going to stay up and yet criminally, we have took just a point off them. Aston Villa are almost as bad and we’ve only took a point off them as well. A job well done but come on. Good enough to take the club onto the next level? Hardly!

Put simply, our record against the bottom clubs is poor and if it weren’t for superlative displays from the excellent Martin Dubravka and a freak record from our defenders at scoring, we would be in the clarts. I could pinpoint a backbone of our team that would form the basis of a good side (Dubravka, Fernandez, Hayden, Maximin) but it’s highly likely that certain members of the squad will be sold to finance a rebuild. Alain Saint-Maximin in particular is going to be hot property this close season.

That said, it’s a team game and our defence has been resolute and that is something which requires little work for next season. It’s a testament to our previous manager for building such a solid back line that has dragged us through this season. Steve Bruce has been fortunate in such regards and (regardless of what I think of him) shouldn’t change anything at the back if he’s to stay. Our forwards can take no such credit.

My issue with our attack is obvious, Joelinton isn’t a Premier League striker. I would venture furthermore that he’s not good enough at Premier League level regardless of where you play him. He may be better out wide left than he is in the centre but that means little, if he’s here next season and relied upon to get goals, we won’t have progressed. But who is at fault for this massive problem?

The simple answer is Mike Ashley. Joelinton was his pet project, the player he fought for and battled Rafa Benitez for. He told us as much in his statement. He said he was willing to pay money from his own pocket to land the Brazilian, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know the story and if you believe it, more fool you. It was power play against the then manager.

The other problem I have is the patsy in charge. After a few games, it was clear that Joelinton WASN’T good enough to be either a centre forward or play in this team altogether. There are better options but Bruce picks the player anyway. That is unforgivable. He either thinks the player is good enough or worse, is ‘obliged’ to play him from higher management and complies. Both scenarios are a no-no from me. Bruce not a puppet? Do me a favour. It’s a reason why he shouldn’t be retained as manager a moment longer than required and thanked for his work but moved on, takeover pending.

So as the season has reached it’s mathematical conclusion from our perspective, the work starts now. Who knows when fans will be allowed back in stadiums but one thing’s for sure, they must be allowed back, as the games I’ve seen have been sterile and like watching paint dry.

From a personal point of view, when football gets back to normal with full houses up and down the land we must hope that our own little revolution will be in motion.

If we start next season with Mike Ashley as owner there are a few certainties and they are all negative. Steve Bruce will remain our manager, Joelinton will be in the team, top players will continue to be sold for profit and attendances will fall further, ambition will be reined in and stifled. If 10k fans can disappear in the blink of an eye last summer, what will happen if the takeover falls through?

Another season over and another where Newcastle United have been prevented from achieving all it can be by the people in charge of the club. Either deliberately against such progress in the form of Ashley, or  in the form of Bruce. It’s been a hallmark of the Ashley regime and why the most important thing to get finalised is the takeover, once and for all, because if we all convene on football in a few months time for 2020/21 and the status quo are still involved with Newcastle United, my waning interest is finally over and I’m out.

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