Roughly about a week ago I was asked to write an upbeat article asking why we are doing so well this season.
It was a bloody good idea I though so here goes.
It’s easy to look at the things that could have been done better. From squad investment, player recruitment and even names changes of stadiums I’m sure we can all highlight one or two things (ok, maybe more!) that could have been done better. After all, we all like to think we know what is best don’t we?
However that is the last time you’ll hear any chatter about how we should have signed a defender in January or how we have holes in the squad or how the names of St James’ Park has been changed – not in my mind like, but for some it’s enough. So last time, promise.
As has been pointed out we’re sitting in a rather favourable league position perched on the precipice of qualifying for Europe. If only we can haul ourselves over the line and pick up results from now until the end of the season eh?
Still there is little doubt that our league position is somewhat unexpected as we head into the final 11 games of another Premier League season. Improvement has been the order of this season, and already we’ve improved on last season. That’s not to say we should pack up now and go on holiday until the end of the season, but it is worth remembering that we were tipped to struggle by quite a lot of people after losing some key players from last season, yet in actual fact we’ve improved. Why though? What is the secret?
I honestly don’t know how anyone can knock our recruitment policy. We won’t be taken for mugs by anyone and will only pay what we feel is a fair valuation of a player. Using that technique we’ve brought in players like Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheik Tiote, Davide Santon, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Demba Cisse which, quite frankly, is exceptional. All those players for roughly £7m less than what we got for Andy Carroll. Madness.
The reason for this is the exceptional and extensive research that Newcastle put into all of their signings these days. Whoever is responsible for this, whether it be Graham Carr, Alan Pardew, Lee Charnley, Derek Llambias or even, dare I say it, Mike Ashley or a combination of all of them, I don’t think they can be knocked on our recruitment policy.
A lot of this season has been built on hard work. Whether it be in terms of an all hands to the pump defensive display or an ability to break down stubborn defences ultimately we’ve been successful more often than not. Yes there have been slip ups, but please show me a team who hasn’t slipped up so far this season. Even the best teams have been humped on occasion – Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United have all conceded at least five at least once this season.
Generally speaking we work hard, which is why players with technical limitations have shown that they can do a job this season. Our players are near the top of any table you want to have a look at when it comes to work ethic, which gives us a fantastic base to build on.
We hear a lot of talk from players and manager talking purely about the next game. There has been a refusal from within the camp to get carried away all season, and while none of us really know if the players are getting all dreamy behind closed doors, the United front to the public is that the next game is the most important.
Keeping feet on the ground has been a key ingredient for me. It would be easy for the players to get carried away or even switch off, but I think the second half against Sunderland shows that they are still up for it this season. Maybe that second half can be like the second half against Arsenal last season and give us some fresh momentum?
Those are just three reasons that I can think of when trying to answer why we’ve done so well this season. Can you think of any more?
Solanos Trumpet, this one is for you!