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Opinion

Won’t get fooled again…until the next time

3 weeks ago
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For Newcastle United fans waking up today, Wednesday morning feels just like Tuesday morning, Monday morning, indeed any other morning…

Looking at the fans of other Premier League clubs and wondering what on earth we did to deserve 15 seasons (and counting) of Mike Ashley?

It is not a case of all the other 19 Premier League clubs being run perfectly BUT at least to some greater or lesser extent, they all have tried to do their best to make this 2021/22 season a success, including eleven of them signing players on deadline day.

Or Tuesday, as Newcastle United fans called it.

As Mike Ashley played us all yet again on Tuesday / Deadline day, I thought: ‘Won’t get fooled again…until the next time.’

This time, not only did Mike Ashley take the proverbial out of Newcastle United fans, he also did the same to his willing lapdog Steve Bruce.

The club’s owner toying with the Head Coach (and NUFC supporters), pretending he was going to allow a couple of last minute loan signings, only to pull the rug out from under us once more.

Maybe we should have taken the hint when Keith Downie who covers Newcastle United for Sky Sports, was patrolling outside Elland Road and not St James Park yesterday, reporting on Leeds’ latest significant signing – £25m Daniel James from Man Utd. Amazingly, Downie tipped the wink to be down in Yorkshire reporting on transfer business, rather on Tyneside with tumbleweed blowing down Barrack Road.

For Newcastle United there was no need for last minute panic, as they’d had their business completed some time ago. Namely 13 August 2021, day 66 of the 84 days of this just closed transfer window, when Newcastle United did their entire business of the window.

It’s funny, because that makes it sound almost professional and carefully thought out, no last minute panic…BUT that entire NUFC business was one player, a player who was with Newcastle United at the end of last season and who Mike Ashley messed around for the first 65 days of the transfer window.

Ashley waiting for Arsenal to agree to a loan that was never going to happen, before finally, three months after Joe Willock ended the season with seven scoring games in a row, Newcastle at last agreed to pay money for him. However, leaving it so late that Willock has had no pre-season at all with Newcastle and with them waiting on NUFC to eventually accept they had to buy not loan him, Arsenal had given the midfielder only 40 or so minutes of pre-season friendly football.

A few interesting facts:

Joe Willock is the only senior player Newcastle have signed since 8 September 2020.

Mike Ashley has only allowed transfer fees to be paid for three Newcastle senior signings in the last 25 months (since 8 August 2019) – Callum Wilson, Jamal Lewis and Joe Willock.

Newcastle United signed one player in this 2021 summer transfer window, whilst relegation rivals have signed: Watford (10), Southampton (6), Norwich (11), Crystal Palace (8), Burnley (5), Brighton (5) and Brentford (5).

Newcastle United are the only one of the 20 Premier League clubs who have a weaker squad than the one that finished off the 2020/21 season.

Newcastle United are at serious risk of relegation.

When we reach the pre-Man Utd press conference, Steve Bruce will willingly read from his prepared Mike Ashley PR spin script, explaining how actually this has been a spectacularly brilliant transfer window for Newcastle United and he couldn’t be happier. Adding that he would personally and publicly like to thank Mr Ashley for his outstanding support and that Newcastle United couldn’t have achieved all that they have in this now closed transfer window, without Lee Charnley.

Moving away from the transfer window shambles for a moment, a few other key facts.

Newcastle United are already out of the League Cup.

Have only one point from a possible nine in three fixtures where they picked up six points from nine last season.

Next game is Man Utd and Ronaldo’s no doubt adrenaline fuelled second home debut.

Newcastle’s defending is a shambles, Steve Bruce turning it from the seventh best it was both PL seasons under Rafa, to fifth worst last season, whilst eight goals conceded in three games already, could end up the very worst.

Mike Ashley refusing to allow a striker to come in (despite Carroll and Muto leaving), means that if Callum Wilson is injured, Joelinton (6 goals in 72 PL appearances) will be playing centre-forward. 

Callum Wilson is now injured, a thigh injury, Steve Bruce unsure after the Southampton match how long he will be out for if proving more than a knock, saying they would know more this week. Last season (as with many of his other previous seasons), an injury prone Callum Wilson managed only 23 PL starts from a possible 38 due to thigh and hamstring injuries.

There were over 8,000 empty seats for the second PL home match of the season, despite it being school holidays still, a 3pm Saturday afternoon kick-off not shown live on UK TV.

Over 10,000 season tickets still remain unsold, supporters sick of Mike Ashley’s ownership and Steve Bruce’s ‘style’ of football and management ‘qualities’…

Newcastle United fans – ‘Won’t get fooled again…until the next time.’

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