Whatever particular reason you prefer to select for our failing last season, I bet that a failure to strengthen in the summer will have been somewhere near the top of the list when it comes to looking for a reason.
For me it was the biggest reason and had more of a detrimental effect than many people think. You can throw blame at Alan Pardew, the players, the coaching and so on but the simple fact is that the whole squad and management structure were left short by a lack of strengthening last summer.
Lessons were learned in time for the January transfer window but by then it was too late and the rot had started to set in. It’s easier to pick yourself up from a blip, but when things are continually going against you then confidence and belief will start to drain and as we saw last season, players who previously had no issue with performing well became unable to even do the simple things right out on the football pitch.
Fast forward a year and here we are, with pre-season training under way and with no new additions to the squad, so just what is going on at United?
Not a lot it seems. There are plenty of rumours of course but then that is no different to us or any club at this moment in time. The problem I’m having is that all of this has a sense of déjà vu about it. We’ve been here and seen it all before and I’m starting to believe that we’re going to end up in the same kind of situation as we found ourselves in last term. In fact it could be argued that we’re worse off as last term we had the chance to build from a position of strength whereas we don’t have that luxury this season.
Rumour has it that Joe Kinnear – the “dynamo” now behind our transfers – is to jet off on holiday for a couple of weeks which is handy considering that this and January should be the busiest times of his year. I don’t know how true it is and perhaps there is more than a hint of stirring by the press but it honestly wouldn’t surprise me.
It seems as though everyone is cracking on with business whilst we dither about and stand still whilst reported target after reported target fall by the wayside. Angst is building amongst NUFC and I can completely see why. I just hope it ends up being misplaced and that, despite my own particular gut feeling, Kinnear can actually get something right.
I won’t be holding my breath…