Game number 13. Unlucky for some. Deserved for others.
Approximately 34% of the way through the season for those of you who would rather look at things a little more objectively. Newcastle at the end of this fixture were sitting on 10 points, and would seemingly finish on 30 points if more of what we’d seen thus far was yet to come, but how many of us could hand on heart say we’re even capable of hitting that?
2015 has become arguably the worst year in Newcastle United’s long history, with only 5 wins from as many as 33 (league) games. What’s even worse is the fact we’d have a points total of 23 points from those same games and even if you wanted to extend it to our last 38 league games we’d only have 26. So based on the fact, that in the Premier League era it takes approximately 38 points to stay in the division, that’s not only relegation form, that’s gone without the trace of a fight.
Some more stats, 2 wins from 13 (15.38%), shots 125, shots on target 46, goals scored 13, goals against 25, average attendance 48,340. So what does that tell you – all you need to know about Newcastle United…and that was before the trip to Palace.
Selhurst Park and a fixture that 8 years ago wouldn’t have existed. Since then, one club has been drenched in a downpour of disrespect and disregard for sporting ambition. The other is Crystal Palace. Newcastle on this occasion went ahead with Cisse opening the scoring, a lead short-lived before the oh-too-familiar capitulation that ensued. The goals conceded in this game took us to 30 and in line with the worst defensive record in Premier League history (Derby County with 89 across 38 games).
So what’s changed? The same old people being served up the same old garbage.
In the last 8 years Newcastle have been relegated once, which in itself is quite a feat, considering the mismanagement of the club from top to bottom. However, for 5 of the remaining 7 seasons it’s found itself languishing around lower-mid-table and hanging on the cliff edge of relegation. Only twice finishing in the top 10 with one season down in the Championship. For some football fans, who like to cling onto the mantra set by the media, us deluded Geordies are merely getting a taste of reality. However, the stark reality is that this is a one club city with enough in place to be at least, occasionally competing amongst some of Europe’s elite, if managed correctly.
There’s been glimpses of this over the years, with the Newcastle United of the 50’s clinching the FA Cup on 3 occasions, in the 60’s when the Toon lifted the then Inter-cities fairs cup and some time later in the 90’s when Keegan’s entertainers went off like a firework in the top flight, inspiring the magpies of tomorrow such as myself. So what does a parent show or tell his or her children now? In the last 8 years he/she could say:
“Look son, this is the club who got taken to court by the legendary Kevin Keegan and proven guilty.”
“Look daughter, this is the man who disrespected the greatest goalscorer in our history.”
“Look kids, this was the cathedral on the hill where we all went to worship such legends as Sir Bobby, Keegan, Beardsley, Joe Harvey, Shearer and Wor Jackie. It’s the centre of our community, the heartbeat of our city but now it’s covered in Red and Blue tat and has no soul.”
The fact of the matter is, that sport is about winning, it’s not just about taking part. We get involved with sport with the intention of being champions, the best a team can be, the best that each man or woman can be in their field of expertise. So why shouldn’t we aspire to being successful. What’s even more worrying is that it’s now seemingly acceptable to just fill up the league as another team that floats around from 7th to 17th. This is the case for many clubs, except for a few more recently such as Southampton or Swansea (who apparently we cannot compete with). That’s not because we physically cannot – it’s because mentally we’ve been duped into a safety net of Premier League stability and financial security. Ultimately, we’re a business being ran for business needs, as the slave to S** D** and its billionaire owner.
This man (Ashley) and his staff were proven to be misleading the fans in court. He’s renamed our ground, covered it in crap and after just one speech and a swift summer of spending the money that the club generates itself, we the fans just sit back and say he’s turned the corner?! We must be daft.
Therefore, is it time yet for those pessimists to tell those who had a little bit of hope left, that actually they were right about Ashley back in June?
An underwhelming appointment (McClaren) by an underwhelming appointment (Charnley). The same underwhelming appointment who previously made a dismal appointment in John Carver who nearly dumped us into the Championship. Just how many bites do you get at a cherry? Yet, he followed on from an even more despicable man, Derek Llambias, who appointed the very average Alan Pardew. We can all see how Pardew is doing okay with Palace at present – but ultimately he overstayed his welcome at St James’. Not only for footballing matters but for being the mouthpiece of Llambias and his boss.
Which brings us to the scout – Graham Carr. Without being involved deeper in the club it’s difficult to really establish who’s at fault for the transfer policy. But, regardless we’ve been found out, not only in France but in the Netherlands now too. We seem to be able to attract players for relatively cheap in today’s market, from both the Eredivisie and Ligue 1, on the premise that we can be the stepping stone for their move to somewhere like Arsenal or Manchester United. That only works if you play well when you get here!
So now you reach the players, the same lads who have seen club heroes and their very own teammates treated with the utmost contempt even when suffering from life threatening illnesses such as cancer. They see the lack of sporting ambition, the lack of character, the lack of soul and they must think “What the hell am I doing here?!” Therefore, some can be forgiven. Despite this there are others that are paid healthily and whilst you can forgive some for not having the required talent or for being understandably disillusioned, you simply cannot forgive those with nothing but the wrong attitude. If you don’t want to be here, then put politely, go.
So ultimately, here we are, in another year of the Ashley era as the club’s soul is slowly sucked away. He is the only common denominator in all of this mess. The dementor will leave with all the cash and leave this rotten shell of a club left to be reborn from the ashes, but why should we wait that long?
We need to act, and we need to act United.