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Opinion

36 days gone for Newcastle United and 48 days still to go…

2 weeks ago
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Newcastle United signed off their season at Craven Cottage on 23 May 2021.

A 2-0 win over a long ago relegated Fulham, following up a 1-0 victory over an even longer ago relegated Sheffield United a few days earlier.

Those six points making the difference between ending the season fourth bottom on 39 points and twelfth top on 45 points.

Though appearances can be very deceptive because whilst only six points separated the half dozen clubs who finished 12th to 17th, Villa in 11th were 10 points ahead of Steve Bruce’s team and Everton in 10th were a massive 14 points above NUFC.

I don’t need to tell you that 2020/21 was a strange season, a four month stretch at one point seeing only two wins from twenty one games for Newcastle United.

United massively reliant on Callum Wilson, who finished the season injured, and Joe Willock on loan from Arsenal. As well as benefiting from two own goals, Newcastle players only scored 44 other Premier League goals and 20 of the 44 were scored by Willock and Wilson.

Willock scored eight goals in eleven starts (plus three sub appearances) and the eight games he scored in, helped produce 17 of Newcastle’s 45 points. End of season stats showed, that between them the 20 Wilson and Willock goals came from only having 66 shots between them all season. Very little decent service and an incredible success rate from the chances the pair had, especially Joe Willock, his eight goals coming from only seventeen shots.

The season ended with injury prone Wilson once again injured and Willock heading back to Arsenal.

A massive amount of work needing to be done this summer, as some massive cracks had been papered over by the 20 goals from the duo.

When that game finished against Fulham at the end of last season, nobody knew at that point it would be exactly 84 days until Newcastle’s next season kicked off. The first NUFC match of the season at home to West Ham, moved to Sudnay 15 August.

Anyway, here we are today (Monday 28 June 2021), 36 days since the 2020/21 Premier League season ended and 48 days until the 2021/22 PL campaign kicks off for Steve Bruce and his players.

So what have Newcastle United done since last season ended?

Well, they appear to be copying my brilliant plan when I was doing exams at school. I always said it was best to leave the work / revision to late on because I work better under pressure. In other words, I was lazy and far easier to try and forget about everything that I needed to do for as long as possible, rather than putting in the hard graft early on.

I get the impression with Newcastle United, that as soon as that Fulham match ended, that was it for Steve Bruce, Lee Charnley and anybody else who is supposed to be running our football club.

In exactly one week’s time, the Newcastle United squad return to start pre-season.

Do any of you honestly think that anything positive will have happened, whether with signings or anything else, by the time we get to Monday 5 July 2021?

I thought not.

When we get to next Monday (5 July), it will be 43 days since last season ended and only 41 days until Newcastle kick off the new one. A bit of a tipping point.

So next Monday, pre-season will have started and it will be only 13 days until Newcastle’s pre-season friendlies kick off (Sunday 18 July). It will also be less than six weeks until the 2021/22 Premier League season starts for Newcastle United.

It very much feels to me as though there is nothing at all going on behind the scenes.

My guesstimate is that Mike Ashley has basically allowed zero budget and even loans and free transfers will have to be justified to him by Bruce, Charnley or whoever.

I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think so.

Mike Ashley still dreaming of selling to the Saudis and has no intention of anything positive happening in the meantime, such as investment in either the squad or facilities.

No chance of buying Joe Willock and with Callum Wilson encountering more of the injury problems that have so badly affected his career, what are we left with?

No young players coming through and Elliot Anderson already a year behind in his development after Steve Bruce bizarrely refused to allow the young midfielder to go out on loan in January.

A first team squad with so few goals in it, apart from Callum Wilson. An ageing slowing defence and only four Premier League clubs conceded more goals last season.

This Newcastle United squad needed a serious refresh and instead the orders from above (Mike Ashley), have been to just give all the same players (who were set to be out of contract) new deals and try to crawl through another season, with the same players. Conveniently forgetting that Willock won’t be one of them, nor the fact you can count on nobody apart from Wilson to score goals.

Nobody has a clue as to why Newcastle United have refused to communicate anything to fans but as well as one year extensions to Schar and Dummett’s contracts, the media say 31 year old Dwight Gayle has been given a new three (THREE!) deal and even Andy Carroll might get yet another year…

This is madness.

Pure luck and massive contributions against the odds / chances from Willock and Wilson, meant Newcastle were safe last season but now Mike Ashley seems intent on booking Newcastle United up for yet another relegation battle.

No doubt the local media will do their bit for Ashley, pointing out the supposed benefits of keeping more or less the same group of players together because they know each other so well etc etc.

Let the madness begin yet again.

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