Many many things have contributed to what has been an awful season so far for us.
And the most amazing thing is that it could yet still get worse! But let’s not think about that too much yet.
Somewhere, someone, something is to blame for it.
In truth it’s probably a combination of factors although there is always one which is the deciding factor in all of it. We’ve had injuries, continental competition, lack of investment, rifts within the squad (allegedly) and many more reasons presented to us, but what, for you, is the main one?
I’m going to outline some of the more common reasons I’ve read for our spectacular demise from Champions League contenders last term to teetering on the brink of the Championship this term. I’d like you to read about, think about it, then vote at the very bottom of this article. If you don’t think I’ve covered your particular base just vote “other” and make some time to explain what you think is to blame.
In one year Alan Pardew has gone from Manager of the Year to a guy who looks and sounds resigned to losing his job. I might be wrong on that of course, but his recent interviews just seem to have a hint of resignation about them.
There have been serious questions asked of him in terms of tactics and motivation of a team which, on paper at least, has the potential to be one of the best teams we’ve had in years but for whatever reason is under-performing to the point of needing four points from our last two games of the season to ensure mathematical safety.
Every man and his dog knew that the team needed bolstering in the summer yet we failed miserably to do so. Common sense should dictate that more games would mean we needed a deeper squad yet we failed to strengthen during the summer transfer window and, rather predictably, it came back to haunt us.
The idea was that players from the “development squad” would start to make the step up to the first-team but they proved that they just weren’t ready for it. I have little doubt that the ideal scenario was not to use them as much as they were used, but injuries to first-team players left us with little choice in that regard.
However, kudos to Ashley, he did actually do something about it in January as a whole clutch of Frenchmen arrived in the January transfer window. It should have been done sooner but we had a problem which was addressed at the next available opportunity. Which then brings me to my next point…
It’s been said at times that we look like a bunch of strangers as a team, which is actually true in fairness, mainly because half of our team are a bunch of strangers! Trying to bed in so many new faces, all at one time when things aren’t going so well will be difficult, and so it has proved.
I’ve little doubt that our January signings will come good, but not all foreign imports hit the ground running and some need more time to adjust than others. It’s a new country, a new type of football, a new culture, and having to get all that right and maintain performance at a new club must be tough.
Let me get this straight, the players SHOULD NOT be completely blame free in all of this. We all know they are better than what they’ve shown this season, both collectively and individually, yet not enough of them have shown it this term. Perhaps it’s a confidence thing? I mean those little flicks and passes come off when things are going well, but when the going gets tough things like that don’t work out. Is it the players who are to blame for this?
I don’t like blaming injuries personally as all teams suffer from them at one point or another, but we have felt them this season more than most. Perhaps we felt it more because of a lack of investment in the summer, as mentioned previously? Maybe it’s our facilities, even though they have had a lot of money spent on them over the years and have come a long way since training on public pitches in the early days of Kevin Keegan. Maybe it’s the coaching?
You see there are many reasons you can pick for what has been a dismal season, and there is no doubt more than I have mentioned. So which one has had the most influence in your opinion? Take a vote and add your comment in at the bottom of the article.