Target Europe?

Alan Pardew has dared to mention Europe for the first time today and claims that we are now in a position to challenge for a European spot this season.

Is he correct in his assumption though? Are we really in a position to compete for European qualification this season? With 30 points from the first half of the season the answer is probably, but if you look at our squad the answer is probably not.

We are woefully short in a few areas, namely attack and defence. This is not to say that we are short in numbers, instead I mean that we are short in quality. Now the riposte from a few will be that ‘we’re not Barcelona’ or some other stunt like that, which is correct of course, but I’m not asking for a 25-man squad full of international players like they have at their disposal. Just some reasonable back up.

“I think we’ve got ourselves in a position where its possible that we could have European football,” Pardew told the Sunday Sun. “I think that’s something we’re going to have to look to try to chase if we can. If we can come out the other side of the African Nations Cup seventh or eighth I think we could have a good chance.”

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens in that two months (around Janaury) – it’s a very difficult period for us in terms of 2012. To lose two of your best players is tough,” he admitted.



Now cast the African Cup of Nations aside for the moment as regardless of that we’ve needed anther striker to work alongside Demba Ba for the whole season as the quality we have in reserve is, well, not the greatest. A look at the defence and it’s the same old story in part, although in a way we are also lacking in numbers, and that was before Steven Taylor’s injury!

I understand that we are halfway through a rebuilding job at the moment and that it takes time to change a squad from a Championship one to a European chasing on, but the annoying thing is that we’re only a couple of signings away from doing just that. When you look at our league position it’s hard to argue that we’re not improving on the pitch but the problem is that we’re being left incredibly exposed by a failure to invest.

That could all change in January of course, although with the rumoured transfer budget being set a £8m (according to the Sunday Sun…) it might not change too much in this transfer window. In the end that lack of quality in depth will show I feel and with that our chances of Europe will fade away.

Now I’m not saying that we aren’t progressing and even if we don’t get into Europe this season there are grounds for optimism for the future in my opinion. You only have to look at the players we brought in over the summer to see that it is possible. As for this season however? Nope, nada, no way.

Mind you, I’ll happily be proved wrong!

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very ‘blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

69 thoughts on “Target Europe?

  1. Target europe? Why not!!! We need 2-3 players in to do that tho as our squad is to thin!! striker , defender and winger in and europes possible!!

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  2. On recent form we will be playing in the Championship.
    When we are giving games to players like Shola,Sammy,Llovenkrands,Perch,Best,Raylor……dream on Pardew you Puppet.

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  3. I think Pardew is just “talking the talk”. The bloke is good at that. In fact it is down to him a lot as to how well we do. With adequate reinforcement of the team, plus getting back to winning ways would all help.

    It’s bizzare to see that even though we have an absolutely gash record over the last 7-8 games we are still in touch with the top 4-6 places. We have no chance of breaking into that group though. At the moment we are too inconsistent and lack the strength in depth of thge squad.

    Would love to be proven wrong though.

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  4. Not a hope of europe. Thats the last thing the Fat Controller wants.
    Surely that would require a great deal of investment in quality players.
    Not going to happen.
    tbh if we dont find a striker to stand in for Demba Ba, we will be lucky to stay in top 10 by end of season.
    The time to look at this again, is after the transfer window closes, not now as we haven’t a clue who is coming, going or staying.

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  5. Our chance to lay down a marker for top 4-6 was against Liverfool. A golden oportunity to make other clubs and players take us seriously, as european contenders. And yet look how we performed. Piss poor in every department. Especially AP.
    Europe. Ha Ha we wouldn’t get through the qualifiers ffs.

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  6. Some people including Pardew need to get real.
    The best we can hope for this season would be “the best of the rest” and thats going to be no mean feat.
    Of course AP has to talk the talk of europe, how else is he going to convince players such as Cabaye to come to Newcastle.
    But its patently obvious we are noway near ready for that comp yet.

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  7. I think Europe is beyond us this season and it would be too soon for us as well. The europa league would be too much for our squad to take next season.

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  8. We are in a position to challenge though. We have the points on the board so anything can happen. If we do the same again in the second half of the season that will be enough.

    I just think our form will dip in the second half of the season due to the inevitable weakness in our backup players. Close but no cigar 🙂

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  9. Europe is beyond us until mike ashley leaves cos we NEED signings!!!! As long as we can stay up in the prem with ashley in control thats all i care about!! A tight owner with no ambition !!!

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  10. I think from our last 19 games we will get about 20 pts!!! That will be 50 pts !!! Better than last year so we are defo improoving

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  11. wots that Army, 5 wins – 5 draws and 9 losses ❓
    Howay marra, I think we will do a bit better than that.
    Hmmm! or maybe not lol.
    👿

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  12. We have shown very little over the last 6-7 games. Why should things improve WITHOUT 2 of our best players ? Not forgetting the disruption of the January transfer window.

    Sorry to be so negative, but I fear we are on a downward spiral. Pardew is also being found wanting at the moment. We have over-achieved on a shoestring budget. This was all to be expected unfortunately. Kudos for the great start to the season though.

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  13. If you look at who is under us in the table, there aren’t many teams you’d rather be, are there? At worst, we are the least rotten team, but realistically we have some promise in our squad – it has proved itself to be of some use up until recently but a few injuries and nervous reshuffling has exposed us, that’s all – Man U have had some nightmares this season so we are in good company regarding form. I think Al P. just needs to get through the transfer window and get his game head on, stop the long ball tosh and play to our strengths, cos we do have them. Get a left back in place who isn’t dependent on cover, let Jonas loose again and stick HBA in behind Ba (or whatever goal hanger we have at the time) to run at defenders from all angles. Can’t be any worse than what we’re doing now can it?

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  14. Sixth place this season will go to team on 65 points.

    Seventh to tenth places will go to teams with 49 to 55 points and we should be in this group but without a European qualifying position.
    I’m looking at 6 wins and 4 draws to give us a total season of 51 points.

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  15. Munich – Its fine saying that but the reality is that in our last nine games (after the man U match on weds) have been against the top six. It was always going to be a tough run of matches.

    Im still at a loss to understand why people were so confident going to anfield the other night 😕

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  16. Army, we are 2-3 players away from having a very good starting 11, but squad wise, realistically we are about 7-8 players short.
    We can’t allow our very good start to the season allow us to get too carried away here. As I’ve pointed out previously, Blackpool were the same league position as we are now on the 1st Jan 2011 and just look what happened to them!!
    I don’t believe that will happen to us but I do think we have to accept that the teams above us now have far stronger squads and aren’t heavily dependent on 1 player to score goals.
    There won’t be many seasons where we will find ourselves in such a good position to break into the top six but it needs investment, the 6 clubs above us have spent big in recent years and if we want to compete that’s exactly what we will have to do. I’m not saying spend as much as they have, the likes of Ba, Tiote and Cabaye prove if you do your homework then you don’t have to spend £100 million. I think if we got rid of some fringe players like Smith, Lovenkrands, Perch and Ranger and spending about £50m, and keeping the first teamers we could easily have a squad that could break into the top 6.
    It would also allow the younger players to still come through, which I think is important for the future of our club.
    I do agree with Army though, in that we will finish on more points than last season, and it’s looking very likely we will finish above the mackems, so we would have improved on last season, which is all we can hope for until Ashley says to Pardew, heres some money… and I don’t see that happening any time soon… do you?!

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  17. Our chances re good if we reinforce some weaker positin in the team such like the DC, Mid and striker. Without that I fear we might endup in 10th position. We should not forget that injury might comeup and redcards too. I believe if only if we make the right signings as soon as possible

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  18. I read in the Sunday Sun this morning that Llambias will meet with Pardew at the end of the week when he comes back off his holidays to discuss transfers so its obviously not one of the boards priorities.
    No one expects galactico type signings but one or two decent additions wouldnt be too much to ask for, surely they trust Pardew after he has worked a minor miracle with the squad he has got.
    My worry is that Pardew has more than proved his worth and that if he is not backed by the board, what will he do if say Chelsea come calling?

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  19. [email protected], For once I find myself agreeing with everything you said ha 😐
    As for europe well if wolfies 25 mill 4 players in none leaving is going to happen then yes no problem but if as I suspect that is absolutly never going to happen under that greedy bastard and we see little or no investment and maybe quality leaving then 9th or 10th is were we will sit untill he changes or leaves .

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  20. From the position we’re in, Europe has to be the ‘target’ and Pardew has to say that, is it realistic though? hmm probably not. Do we have the squad for it? Definitely not.

    For me our spine is as good as any, Krul, Collo, Taylor, Cabaye, Tiote, Ba. It’s just the 5 other player around them which, for me, bring the quality of our starting 11 down. If we can add quality in those areas, and keep our better players of course, I would fancy us to push on next year.

    Our target this year though, as someone said above, best of the rest.

    Peace and love

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  21. I think we are a rb and 2 strikers away from 6th, need to start santon, ferguson should get a game or at least gametime and harper should be ahead of elliott as krul was to blame for at least one of the goals against the bindippers but hardly afraid of the drop with a charlton reject as backup.

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  22. Robert, totally agree with your first point about transfers clearly not being a priority, with Lambastard being away – doesn’t surprise me at all though.
    But as for your 2nd suggestion that Chelsea may want Pardew??? – with the greatest respect to Pardew, there is no bigger club will ever come in for Mr Pardew. Trust me, he won’t replace Sir Alex when he retires, he won’t replace Capello as England manager and Barcelona ain’t gonna come head hunting!!. He’s doing a great job for us but let’s not get carried away here.

    I have read that he has £8m to spend. If that’s on fees and other money has been set aside for the likes of agents fees and the other expenses then I think, if he’s sensible, he could get 2-3 players in.
    If he looks at the likes of Nedum thingy from Man City, or Liam Ridgewell, they could be picked up for no more than £3m, Nedum would provide cover R/CB and Ridgewell L/CB and both are better than Perch or other options.
    I think it would be fair to say that we could probably get Maynard or Rhodes for £3m.
    Midfield wise, I really like the look of young Redmond for Birmingham, may not be a first teamer yet but looks a good prospect and I’d have a go for him.
    I think a loan move for Taiwo would be a good idea as well.
    These players may not be in a fully fit starting 11, but they would certainly improve our squad and we’ve dropped points recently due to a lack of depth so would be money well spent.

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  23. for me if we sold Ranger/ Best / Loven / Perch / for say 4mill + the wages we’re saving, this would allow us to buy a decent left back, ridgewell and spend the rest on a decent forward while renewing Colo’s contract.

    Considering we already have 8mil to spend we need to get our priorities right.. we have too many fringe players we dont need more. We need player that will make a difference now.

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  24. @Sharpy17

    I’m sure he had just returned from his jollies in the summer window too..

    Just prolonging their bullshit for me

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  25. Lambias isnt on holiday its a cheap way to get a week out of the way in jan for no1 to ask whats going on!!
    When i watched the match on fri night i noticed that we need a new right back , left back , right winger , center half and a striker!! Simpson is too slow and clumsy , raylor is too slow and only good for freekicks , obertan isnt good enough , willo is a sub player at the most and we need a striker to help our demba out at the top as he was very isolated!! Then i hear we are after one player in jan!!! its a joke

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  26. We have 31 days, let’s see what happens lads. 😀

    We are a strong unit that needs tweaking with a few quality additions to make us a proper force in the top 6 stakes and further tweaking to propel us higher but let’s just sit back and see what January brings before anyone decides to start getting depressed about who will leave and who will or won’t come in.

    Keep the faith lads and lasses. 😀

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  27. Mark – its total bullsh*t, they have had 6 months to get things in place, we know they have been working on the Maiga shambles.
    This meeting should have happened weeks ago, and Lambastards assistant or whoever should be making initial contact with clubs/players/agents today!!. Besides, with today’s level of technology, it shouldn’t matter which corner of the world he taken himself to.
    We can’t afford to waste a week waiting on shit stick to drag his arse back.
    Like I say, even with such a small transfer kitty, there are options… but they still need to be worked on (rather than his fucking tan!!!)

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  28. I was shocked the way West Brom made us look so weak.
    Now that we have a recognised centre half in there hopefully we won’t be so exposed.

    Would love to get a draw against Man U. With Santone in the team, and a tight compact midfield who keep the game tight, it should be possible. A draw would do us good to get the team and fans believing again. A win would be brilliant, especially to see Fergie spitting feathers !

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  29. I agree with a lot of the comments in that yes it is possible to get a european place this season, but that given the squad we have it would need a lot of strengthening in the summer if we did.

    the starting 11 as has been mentioned a solid spine in Krul, Colo, Saylor, Tiote, Cabaye, & Ba. and the bench has Williamson & Guthrie on it. However that leaves 5 players to strengthen the starting 11, and several more to provide the strength in depth the squad would need. However with a few pre-contract agreements for the summer and some of those fringe players stepping up it may be possible.

    Remember that at the start of the season we were aiming top 10 and hoping to be best of the rest. Given results so far we are entitled to look up.

    On the LFC game I backed the idea of Vuckic in 4-4-1-1 as Vucic is HBA’s natural backup and is more likely to be part of the midfield than HBA.

    How far away is our squad, 2 full backs, 2CBs, 1 Wide MF, 1 Striker.

    sorry just put this on the last article by mistake

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  30. Toonsy i was one of the people who said we would win. I thought we d win cause Liverpool are not as good as they are made out to be. But i don’t think the team went out with the belief that they could go and get the 3 points. We sat off them and gave them too much respect. We worried about them more than we did ourselves. Plus i am very strange person , I think we can win or get something out of every game we are going into. Even after fridays poor performance i have started to think that yeah we can beat man utd!! As i said Im a bit strange 😉

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  31. Go on sharpy17 ,I remember having disagreements with you over the board in the past and now you seem to be a fully paid up neg (realist) good lad.

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  32. @Sharpy17

    I think the fact we only have 8mill (rumoured) and a deal was done for Maiga, once Saylor was injured they pulled the plug on Maiga and blamed an old injury.

    Theyve just switched their 8mill attention to a defender instead, even after telling us the importance of a forward.

    I think it was always gonna be one player or 8mill to spend

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  33. @PremUp

    How far away is our squad, 2 full backs, 2CBs, 1 Wide MF, 1 Striker

    I think we all see that, hopefully the board will see it too.

    I’m sure the wages we pay, Shola, Loven, Best and ranger we could lose them all and replace with one decent striker and a reserve player. Our strike force is crap.

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  34. If we keep all our players and bring in two or three then yes, we’d be sweetly on course for Europe.

    Sweet fuck all chance of that though, so no we won’t be in europe.

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  35. I just cant see were the goals are comeing from, in that 2 mths. And it would be amazing that we have been told we were getting a striker then to change and not get a striker in, and to risk falling down the table, away from where we should be.
    I wish I had faith in the 2 tosspots running our club but I have long lost that faith that I once had, because of the way they have went about ripping the heart out of our club.

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  36. I can see us borrowing a centre half from somewhere, maybe Distin ?

    We won’t buy anyone this transfer window. We are waiting to get blokes for nowt in the summer.

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  37. lee_ryder Lee Ryder
    #nufc Gabriel Obertan is a doubt for #mufc game with a foot injury, he limped out of Anfield on Friday night
    27 minutes ago

    😕

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  38. Dave the only way i can see goals when ba is away is if best gets into form and we start playin benny from the start

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  39. I think it is deeply frustrating for us fans, as we can all quite clearly see that with the right investment this jan and over the summer, european football is within our grasp.
    However the reality of our owner/board’s lack of ambition will ensure this wont happen this year.
    Ha Ha maybe they can string us along for another couple yrs. 😕

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  40. first post,long time reader. does anyone else think Guthrie will be leaving this window. He only has six months left on his contract and cannot see him being allowed to leave for free.

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  41. Obertan out!!! Hmmmm raylor right midfield? Santon left back? Benny right midfield? Best and ba upfront??? God knows

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  42. I hope that we get Guthrie signed up, because during the period of Tiotes injury he showed himself to be a more than adequate replacement. A good passer of the ball, and an excellent link up player. Have only doubts about his fitness over 90 minutes.

    I fear though that the lad will leave for nowt, purely because he knows he isn’t going to force his way past Tiote and Cabaye in the centre mid.

    Now if Tiote were to leave 😥 Imagine the scenario if we lose them both 😕

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  43. Paulmag-its possible, but I think we’ll hang on to him and see if he shows his worth to get a new contract by the end of the year. I think its pretty clear he deserves one but his injury came at a bad time. Would be a shame to let him go as we’d not even have strength in depth in CM then.

    Would love to see Benny on the right but it won’t happen will it. Probably Sammeobi who’s just too inexperienced really 😕

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  44. If we only spend 8mill in Jan I’ll be totally pissed off with the board.

    We tried to sign Ruiz and Maiga last window, and apparently had it all tied up with Maiga last week.

    AP & DL spoke of the importance of a striker to push on up the table and mentioned work would be done after the summer window for strikers in Jan.

    Now after Mike asks Pards “when r we getting a new centerhalf” all striking options are dropped ? and the mention of 8mill seems right if we dont sign a striker.

    We obviously dont have much to spend, hope I’m wrong, it cud be all paper talk but I dont like the noises coming out of St James.

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  45. Oh dear,Obertan out. Now who is left to fufil the right wing.

    Simple. Jonas move to Right. Shane on left.

    But sadly,i don’t think Pardew will do that. He will just use a headless running sammy on that. 😆

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  46. Re topic

    Europe will be a very big bonus.. If we ever reach Europe, we MUST spend money and no key players sold. Hopefully.

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  47. @Munich Mag

    same goes m8, I’m being forever hopeful and a dose of Wolfie everyday helps..

    If all fails I want Wolfie at st James on Jan 31st to apoligise to all toon fans infront of Jim White live on Sky Spts in a mackem shirt 😆

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  48. Mark – I think that’s certainly what happened with Maiga. It’s no coincidence that in the same week that deal fell through, Pardew is in the press claiming Ashleys saying to him “when you getting a Centre Back then”. We all read that to mean Ashley was encouraging him to buy in Jan, however its clear now that Ashley was basically saying, you spend on Maiga and you’ve got nowt left for a centre back. I remember thinking at the time, that was a strange thing for Pardew to come out with as surely Ashley would know!, however I know think that was Pardews subtle way of explain.

    Keith – I’m not being negative (and have always been a realist), I said all along 2-3 players in and still think that will be the case. I was hopeful it would have been 2-3 first team players but not with £8m. It will either be 1 first teamer or 2-3 squad players. Either way, we can still stregthen with £8m, just not as much as I’d have hoped

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  49. Agree Newkie. I like Guthrie and hope we keep him. would not surprise me if we sold him. Then got a big offer for Tiote and sold him as well. Have a feeling we might sign Nedum Onooha. Not sure if thats how its spelt 😳 But think he would be a good aquisition imo.

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  50. …………..krul……………
    Simp col willo santon
    Benny cab tiote guti
    ……best……..ba……….

    Best team i can think of for manure

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