I vividly remember having a few arguments with people who said that we’d be dead-certs for relegation if we didn’t invest any significant cash in the transfer market. I didn’t buy that and plumped for NUFC avoiding relegation and ending up somewhere in the bottom half of the table. Others were optimistic enough to predict a top-half finish. Time will tell who is right, but it certainly won’t be those who predicted relegation.
So, now that we are almost safe we can start to analyse the season a little bit. I suppose the place to start is with the players who won us promotion. If you think about it a little deeper, it’s those players who have also secured us safety.
Almost all of our signings this season have failed to made an impact really, so it’s testament to those lads who battled it out in the Championship last season for doing it again this season and getting us to safety.
Hatem Ben Arfa only played a couple of times before his season was cut short by that injury. Stephen Ireland managed two substitute appearances for us before being sent back to Aston Villa injured. Dan Gosling has managed five minutes on the pitch for us. Sol Campbell has only managed a couple of appearances as he just isn’t good enough anymore, whilst James Perch never was good enough and soon lost his place to Danny Simpson when he returned from injury.
In fact the only signing that has made any real impact this season is Cheik Tiote. So basically we’ve gone about this season with the same players as last year, plus one, minus a striker. Work that one out.
It kind of makes this season that bit more impressive when you look at it like that!
We’ve basically survived, and at times thrived, this season with last season’s squad, mainly due to injury to injury. So next season, when Dan Gosling and Hatem Ben Arfa are finally fit, it will be just like having two brand new signings in the ranks. Add to them any signings that we make over the summer and we could, for the first time since we gained promotion, actually see an improvement in our squad.
However, we shouldn’t ignore what this group of players have done for us over the last two seasons. They won us promotion and got us to safety in the Premier League. They are a credit to Newcastle United.
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