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Opinion

New season at Newcastle United but these same old problems

1 month ago
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So how are Newcastle United doing so far in this important summer break?

I would say not good…but that would be putting a rather more positive slant on things than is in fact the reality.

Never mind the effects of the current pandemic, shifting the season tickets at St James Park has never looked a more difficult task.

Well, in scratching around for a positive, it’s a relief to know that we have (so far) retained our better players from last season. This is good news but I fear there will be bids being prepared as we speak, and that our resolve will be tested on the likes of Martin Dubravka and Alan Saint Maximin in particular, over the coming days and weeks.

Sadly, the negatives are many and they are serious. On the subject of the squad, we remain lacking a goal scorer, we have a £40m flop and a permacrock as our main forward players, we have only Dwight Gayle with any sort of Premier League pedigree in getting goals.

Further back we have lost a genuine prospect in Matty Longstaff, while Steve Bruce seems to hold an interest in acquiring the services of the poor Nabil Bentaleb from last season. Hopefully his wage demands scupper such a move as he was a complete waste of a shirt during his loan spell here. There appears to be incoming movement in the transfer market but that is the figure of free transfer of Jeff Hendrick, recently released by Burnley. I can almost hear the slow hand claps and see the rolling tumbleweeds.

Recent rumours have had Bruce linked with former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, but this is surely an impossible buy, when he’s apparently available for £20m and on £100k+ a week. Oh and he’s 30 years old. I bet the journalist had a giggle when he thought that one up. Not even those in charge of Newcastle United would blow £20m of an alleged £30m budget on one player surely?

More realistically is the idea that we could be linked with (brace yourselves) Oxford United defender Rob Dickie for £2m but is this REALLY where the height of our ambitions lie? Are our so called scouts really wasting their time looking at yet another centre back, a position which we could scarcely be better off with if we tried. Don’t answer those questions, for we’ve already signed a goalkeeper (Matt Gillespie) we didn’t need. Typical Newcastle United.

With the season starting in less than four weeks time, it doesn’t leave much time for new recruits to bed in, especially considering our usual snail like pace in getting players over that magical line. Still, this is the norm at this club.

Aside from the woefully underfunded and underprepared team, the club is in limbo once again, while up for sale, it remains unloved by it’s current owner and fans are safe in the knowledge that they and their club have been totally disrespected by the powers that be at the Premier League, while various clubs wiped their feet and backsides in our faces in the process.

If Sky and BT Sports are hoping to take advantage of the lack of attendances due to the pandemic, they had better think again. The Premier League is fast appearing to be a toxic closed shop cartel.

We have various consortiums throwing their hats into the ring to buy us out of our nightmare, that is if they are serious and not boosting their own profile, once again at our expense. The latest one is from Singapore (I’m sure we’ve heard that one before) who are apparently looking to appoint Alan Shearer as manager (slow eye roll) and have used former striker Michael Chopra as a mouthpeice. You really couldn’t make this up. Add into the mix the Henry Mauriss bid, backed by cries of frustration and “Show me the money” calls from Mike Ashley and we couldn’t be at a worse position heading into pre-season.

It’s all being set up to be yet another summer set to the backdrop of absolute chaos. It all plays into the hands of a tight fisted Mike Ashley who will be more than willing to proclaim the virus crisis and the “ongoing” takeover as excuses not to run Newcastle United as a professional football club.

Mind you, with blame raining down from the owner, excuses dribbling from the mouth of the Head Coach and a mixture of stony silence and out and out competitive bias from Richard Masters and the Premier League, what on earth has any Newcastle United fan got to be remotely positive about?

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