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Opinion

The tale of the man with no shoes – Latest Newcastle United signing

1 week ago
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The man has no shoes.

The man has to get from A to B and the only route to get there is covered completely from one side of the road to the other by broken glass.

There is only one shoe shop open that sells shoes in his size and it will close very soon, they only have one pair of shoes for sale.

They are what your mother might call ‘sensible shoes’…not the kind of style you would usually choose.

Just in case you were wondering, Newcastle United are the man with no shoes.

As Newcastle United fans, our enemies (pundits, journalists, fans of other clubs etc etc) would have loved nothing more than to see the new NUFC owners dashing about in a pointless pursuit of lovely stylish, fancy looking shoes that either simply aren’t available this month and / or just don’t fit at this moment in time.

Those enemies relishing the thought of the Newcastle United owners wasting their time searching and searching for the more attractive options in terms of shoes, that simply don’t exist in January.

These enemies loving then the sight of that one shop that did have sensible shoes available that did fit, pulling down the shutters, the Newcastle United owners left outside forlornly looking through the now darkened windows, wondering just how badly their feet are going to be cut apart and perhaps unable to be totally mended, no matter what treatment is available after this self-inflicted harm.

Chris Wood was absolutely 100% the only sensible pragmatic choice of shoes for the new Newcastle United owners, by far the best and almost certainly the only option, to stand a chance of avoiding a disastrous attempt at walking over a sea of broken glass with no shoes on.

You know what as well, the reality is that when you look at this a bit more closely, these shoes really aren’t all that bad.

Yes, in the future you want to be able to buy the more fashionable shoes, but even then these Chris Wood sensible ones could still do for day to day wear, whilst you can also get the more stylish ones but mix and match with the sensible ones, making sure you get the best possible return and enjoyment out of the more stylish ones.

The Newcastle United owners were indeed between a rock and a hard place.

It being the fault of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce that they were left with no option but to pay the £25m release clause for Chris Wood, that is, if they want to have any realistic chance of avoiding relegation, starting with this absolutely must win game against Watford.

No doubt NUFC’s enemies would have loved to have seen the Jacob Murphy slippers filling in up front against Watford, as was the case against Cambridge, with disastrous consequences. A Championship level winger / wing-back in slippers playing as centre-forward in a must win Premier League match, how they would have laughed.

Quite astonishing that Bruce and Ashley agreed that Newcastle United had so many more than good enough attacking options, so able to ditch Andy Carroll and sign not a single striker in the summer. In reality, leaving NUFC with just an injury prone Callum Wilson and an injury prone Dwight Gayle who Steve Bruce made absolutely clear he didn’t think was anywhere near good enough, only four PL starts last season even though Wilson didn’t start in 15 of the 38 PL games, then Bruce only giving Gayle 20 minutes off the bench this current season.

If the new Newcastle United owners had taken control in May 2021, zero chance they would have been offering / paying £25m to buy Chris Wood.

However, we are where we are, due to the neglect and stupidity of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce. Last summer Newcastle United HAD TO bring in at least one, if not two, strikers. Even if it had been a loan it had to happen.

I find it very amusing that so many people, in the media and wherever, are loving taking these cheap shots at the NUFC owners for simply biting the bullet and doing what is needed to be done, bringing in a Premier League first choice striker who has an excellent goalscoring record. The biggest reason I find it so amusing, is that not a single one of them has put forward a viable alternative to Newcastle paying the £25m for Chris Wood. They would have loved it if instead NUFC had bought another Emmanuel Riviere, or loaned another Seydou Doumbia. Or put in pointless bids for strikers who their clubs would never sell at this point and / or forwards not wanting to come due to Newcastle’s current league placing.

When I end up on a train, gagging for a drink and starving, I pay the tenner or whatever for a can of lager and a sandwich.

I know that if I wait three hours I can walk out of Newcastle Central station, get a feast from Greggs and a far nicer pint at a host of bars, BUT those are not my options when the train has just left Kings Cross.

It still has to now be acted out on the pitch BUT I think it is massively impressive what the Newcastle United owners have done in these first two weeks of the transfer window. To be facing this first Premier League game since the January window opened with England right-back Kieran Trippier in the team, along with tried and tested Premier League first choice striker Chris Wood, is very impressive work. Can you imagine how you would be feeling walking into St James Park tomorrow afternoon if there hadn’t been any signings?

I also find the general media refusal to give Chris Wood any kind of due respect for what he has achieved and where he rates against his peers, as pretty inexcusable.

This is how the goalscoring has gone in the Premier League since the 2017/18 season kicked off:

111 – Salah

92 – Kane

85 – Vardy

72 – Sterling

69 – Mane

68 – Aubameyang

62 – Aguero

60 – Son

53 – Lacazette

49 – Chris Wood

I think it is absolutely fair to imagine, that if Chris Wood, instead of playing for the perennial strugglers Burnley, had been playing for any of the clubs that these strikers above have been playing for, he would surely have scored 50% more goals than he has done. Which would put him on around 74 goals, with only Vardy, Kane and Salah scoring more. Whilst turning that the other way around, exactly how many goals would the likes of Salah and Kane have managed, if playing for Burnley?

Chris Wood only turned 30 last month, is only two months older than Callum Wilson, whilst both strikers are contracted to Newcastle United until the end of June 2024, when the pair of them will both be just 32 (and a half). That is the age (32 and a half) that Peter Beardsley was when Kevin Keegan bought him in 1993.

The price tag is what it is, just like buying cans of beer and sandwiches on the train.

However, on every other measurement, Newcastle United signing Chris Wood makes absolute sense, as things currently stand at the club.

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