Newcastle United – a new era beckons on the horizon?
After a surging start, as each match day goes by it seems Newcastle are edging ever closer to oblivion.
A possible return to the Championship at this stage of the season, seems both inevitable and imminent if the hierarchy of this once great club does not change. Fractionally over a decade ago, Mike Ashley burst onto the scene, snapping up 95% of Newcastle’s shares in doing so forcing all others out, becoming the Magpies owner. A turbulent ordeal has followed, the ever quotable Ashley frequently promising “to win something, and I won’t be selling the club until I do”, despite thrice putting the club on the market and delivering two relegations embedded within serial seasons of disappointment.
His long term goals are admirable, yet there’s an abrupt lack of any concrete plans to develop this establishment, and what a shame it would be to see another outstanding Premier League institution reduced to the deficit of remaining a Championship club.
Enter Amanda Staveley, she assisted in facilitating the deal that turned Manchester City into a European powerhouse and now leads a consortium looking to takeover Newcastle United. One thing is for sure, Rafael Benitez must be hoping a takeover is imminent, a relegation battle surely can’t have been what he envisaged after departing Real Madrid.
Ultimately succumbing to the drop due to joining late in the 15/16 season, the brains behind the miracle of Istanbul decided to endure a tenure in the Championship much to fans delight bringing home the title, courtesy of Brighton’s capitulation. Earlier this year when European summer spending reached incomprehensible levels, it was obvious Ashley couldn’t keep pace, now that lack of investment is beginning to catch up.
Furthermore, it’s becoming increasingly essential that Staveley’s bid is completed by January, freeing up funds for what has now become a vital transfer window, providing a glimmer of hope amidst a lacklustre campaign. However, spending big in January is risky business, not only do signings not have time to settle, but many clubs have trodden this path before, leaving themselves short of cash in the vastly more significant summer window.
For quite some time now a regular goal scorer has been absent from St James’ Park, Alan Shearer is now reduced to a nostalgic figure on Tyneside, a decade on from retirement and yet to be replaced. Considering Benitez’s statement striking acquisition before the season was Stoke reject Joselu for a measly £5.5 million, it’s hardly surprising finding the back of the net has been such a predicament. Rumours have circulated Newcastle are looking to bring in Danny Ings, this addition would perhaps appear to benefit both parties, giving the striker increased game time in his quest to reach match fitness, whilst seemingly improving Newcastle’s striking options. In theory this sounds like an astute singing, then again it’s a sizeable gamble as to whether he’s still the player Liverpool purchased after such a lengthy layoff.
A requirement to strengthen up top seems apparent, however going ahead against Manchester United and Chelsea, then failing to maintain either of those leads for a significant length of time is cause for concern defensively, 11 points dropped from winning positions exemplifies this. At the heart of defence Jamaal Lascelles youthful enthusiasm, effort and ability to score from set pieces is promising but he is in desperate need of a regular partner who shows more consistency. Couple this with the fact Shay Given and Tim Krul’s steady hands are now a thing of the past, as it is with astounding regularity Karl Darlow begs the question “should he have done better with that one?”, upon Newcastle conceding. Devoid of ability to manage games, in spite of showing real character, some players simply don’t look Premier League calibre. The Magpies require strengthening throughout all areas of the pitch and it’s critical the right personnel are recruited next month.
Regardless of having little or no influence at the club, Shearer’s regular Match of the Day rants represent the current voice of a multitude of fans, desperate to see the Ashley era come to an end. The Premier League’s all-time top scorer’s frustration resonates, anxious to witness his boyhood side’s rise back to where they belong after years of languishing at the foot of the division. The final day demolition of Tottenham 5-1 marginally over a year ago showed what Benitez is capable off upon being given the correct resources, even if Spurs were in disarray. If a takeover facilitates investment towards greater standard of player arriving at St James’ Park, then expect them to soar up the table as this club has all the infrastructure in place to be successful. Built on an unbelievable fan base who consistently fill their vast stands with unwavering support, accompanied by the most respected manager at the helm since Sir Bobby Robson, any owner willing to spend to compete with the established Premier League order should witness progress.
Written by Harvey Sayer.