With the bulk of the squad back from their summer holiday pre-season preparation can begin in earnest as we build up to our opening fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on August 18th.
But whilst hard work will be being put in on the training ground in what is generally a footballers most hated time of the year, it seems as though Alan Pardew and Co will be putting in some hard work with regard to bolstering the squad before the Premier League campaign kicks off.
Speculation is continuing regarding a whole host of potential incoming transfers although as yet nothing has materialised other than the signing of Romain Amalfitano, who officially signed on at St James’ Park when the transfer window actually opened four days ago.
However Alan Pardew remains confident that he will be able to get some players through the door prior to our opening league fixture. Whilst remaining coy in terms of naming names, he does admit that things are moving along quietly, perhaps as they should be?
“We’re working on a few things,” Alan Pardew told The Chronicle. “I know this time last year we’d brought in a couple of players, but we’re very much in the market at the moment.”
“We’re planning to bring in a couple of players, for sure,” he added.
Is “a couple” enough? Personally I’m not so sure, but then again I never predicted us finishing fifth last season so it shows what I know. Time will tell of course.
I hate using the word “patience” as an NUFC fan. How can we be any more patient after going 43 years without even seeing a trophy and only briefly looking like we’d actually win one? All the same though, unfortunately, it looks as though patience will be needed in our hunt for reinforcements.
As an aside, I see our TV fixtures have been announced and already we are seeing what damage the Europa League can do to our fixture list. Our opening game against Tottenham will be shown live on ESPN as will the following league fixture against Chelsea one week later.
The problem is in the middle of that week we will be playing our Europa League play-off first leg which will take place on the Thursday which will mean that we will have two games in three days, or three games in seven days if you like. Nice. NUFC did appeal to the better nature of the Metropolitan Police and UEFA but neither organisation has budged on the scheduling of the fixtures.
Our TV fixture list in full:
Saturday August 18: Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur (5.30pm ESPN)
Saturday August 25: Chelsea v Newcastle United (5.30pm ESPN)
Monday September 17: Everton v Newcastle (8pm SKY)
Sunday October 7: Newcastle v Manchester United (4pm SKY)
Sunday 21: Sunderland v Newcastle (1.30pm SKY)
Sun 4: Liverpool v Newcastle (4pm SKY)
Plus obviously any Europa League games that ESPN or ITV decide to pick up along the way!