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Bit disappointing transfer window but Newcastle United in best condition we’ve been in for a while

1 year ago

In 1975, Malcom Macdonald had a bit of a fall out with new England manager Don Revie, who didn’t want to include him in his team, but finally did so following pressure from the press, and even told Macdonald that was the case.

Before the match, Alan Ball, also not flavor of the month with Revie, got the players together for a bit of a chat and told his team to get the ball to Macdonald every chance they got.

They did this, and the rest, as they say, is history, with Supermac firmly imprinted in the record books, scoring five goals in an international match.

I’m guessing Revie was none too chuffed.

We’ll come back to this later.

Probably the most overused cliché in sports writing…this Friday morning almost every article you read will contain the proclamation that the transfer window has finally “slammed shut”, though in our case it wasn’t so much a slam as that combined crunching squeal you get when you are trying to slide a rusty patio door closed.

First of all, I can’t get my head around Martin Dubravka leaving. I understand what’s happened but it’s such a shame for the club. Pope has come in with almost guaranteed playing time and Dubravka has lobbed his toys out the pram. The logic goes something like, “I’m not staying here to be a reserve keeper so I’m off to Man U were I can play reserve to De Gea!”

Sad! So very sad!

Well, we were all hoping that the final day would bring us a couple of loans from the top six clubs, possibly a midfielder and a winger, but alas, it was not meant to be.

However, are we really surprised?

When Ashley was in charge we were always rummaging around in the Sport Direct bargain bin next to the exit, seeing if we could find some kind of undiscovered gem, in amongst the flat basketballs and gloves with six fingers.

Now it’s generally accepted that we are shopping in the “seriously overpriced” bin, paying over the odds for our transfers in a market that is already over inflated.

We all got very excited when we saw recent reports with Amanda Staveley and hubby consorting with new Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali, who it was claimed is a little more than just a casual acquaintance. Were we going to get a couple of decent loans through the door because of this relationship?

I was never really convinced. When you ponder that we are now considered to be in serious competition for European places with the top six clubs, I’m not sure which particular field of logic suggests that any of those clubs would want to help us achieve that goal by making us stronger.

I have to admit to being disappointed that those final day transfers didn’t come through the door but our Carabao Cup game a few days ago, made me realise just how significant our transformation has been over the past eight months. Our starting line-up against Tranmere struggled to make an impact and it needed the introduction of some big money talent to secure the game for us.

It was during that game at Prenton Park that the realisation hit me.

Last season we were fielding benchwarmers and U21 players in the cups, whereas against the “Super White Army” we had started with what was essentially our strongest team from a year ago.

That’s some major league progress.

Unlike Arsenal, who sit on top of the pile with an unblemished record having played two teams that finished below us last season, and two newly promoted teams. Newcastle United dragged a 3-3 draw out of the current champions who have scored 22 goals in their last 6 matches, and pushed the runners up, who had just a few days earlier given Bournemouth a 9-0 drubbing, to the final seconds of the game before we surrendered the points.

In a somewhat congested middle of the table, at this time (in the distance a window can not be heard slamming shut) we have lost only one of our first five games and have not yet been able to field our strongest eleven.

It was claimed in the press that bringing in Bruno would open the floodgates for the more talented players coming in, but as yet that doesn’t seem to be the case, I suspect it will be results that do that for us this season.

That said, it’s possible that having the Brazilian on board tipped the scales slightly in helping Isak to make his move, and what a move it could turn out to be. With three shots in the hour he played he had the ball in the back of the net twice, both times giving the keeper no chance, a concept some of our other players might want to consider adopting.

Despite his modest goal tally last season, the young Swede obviously has the knack when it comes to finishing, looking crisper than Wilson. Maybe Howe might want to consider a bit of a Supermac type tactic, getting the ball to Isak as much as possible with him leading the line, with Wilson playing slightly behind him. It would certainly put the pressure on teams if they had to double tag Saint-Maximin, watch out for Isak and we still had Wilson having a bit of a lurk too.

We used to do that with a certain Andy Cole and it seems to work well for City with Haaland.

Either way, despite the lack of late transfer action, injuries permitting, we should have a half decent season, as opposed to that decent half a season we had in 2021/22.


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