Over 50,000 fans turned up for Steve Harpers testimonial. A great time was had by all.
Surely this should be the template for every home match at St James’ Park. Yet for some reason it isn’t. I’m intrigued to know why.
Performances aren’t brilliant, but come on we’ve been served up some rubbish over the years. Spells of good times have been few and far between over the years. However it is a results based business and last season was disappointing. Finishing 16th is poor even by our standards. Note that an away win at Villa with a good performance has lifted the spirits with most fans, so hopefully we are in for a more positive season.
However, I’m not convinced that the discontent is generated by on-field factors. I think it is more off field. So I’ve decided that a survey of our bloggers might help to clarify the perspective of what is actually going on. I’ve come up with some headings, with a bit of a description of where I think we are in each of them. What I want from you is marks out of 10 of how important each category is, and marks out of 10 for how well we are doing in each category. I’ll use these to develop a feelgood factor that we can repeat and monitor. So first up…
Since the war we have been relegated four times spending a total of 17 seasons in the second tier of English football. We have also had four periods of “Glory Years”, top five finishes, 1948 to 1952 where with George Rutherford and Stan Seymour we finished 4th – 5th – 4th – 8th. These were also the cup years.
Next up we had three relegations and only seven top ten finishes from 26 top flight seasons until the Sir John Hall and Kevin Keegan years when in the four years (1993 to 1997) we finished 3rd – 6th – 2nd – 2nd and shortly thereafter we had the Freddie Shepherd and Sir Bobby Robson years where we finished 4th – 3rd – 5th. Other than that the only other high spots were the 5th places achieved by Gordon Lee in 1976/7 and Alan Pardew in 2011/2.
If we ignore the four seasons we were relegated (and the years in the second tier) and the 13 glory years above we have averaged 13th in the remaining 32 seasons. On that basis I think that the Alan Pardew years to date deserves probably a 7/10 and as league results are the key measure and worth 8/10
Europe and Cups
Even if things are not going well a good cup run and a trip to Europe can lift the spirits so with a run to the Quarter Final of the Europa League cup last season to remember again 7/10 but as a measure it’s less important so 7/10
Next we come to things that are less tangible such as style of play, PR and communications; as well as background matters such as Finances, Squad strength etc. Personally I don’t think these are as important but you may feel different. To me so long as we are not threatened with administration and can field 11 players on the pitch it will be reflected in the outcomes and so are marginal. Together I’ve given them half the overall value.
Turnover, Profit, Global Brand awareness, Deloitte rankings etc indicate that the clubs finances are in the best state they have been in a long time. Turnover of nearly £100m, Profit of a few million, ROI of 8%, 7th biggest in EPL, 20th in Europe everything good here so 9/10 in a measure worth 4/10
Squad including Manager and Coaches
The first team is as good as anybody outside the big six. The bench and squad is probably OK for a domestic season but still very susceptible to injuries etc, Management that can cope well in the good times but struggle when under the cosh. 6/10 from a measure worth 4/10
Style of play
Well I’ve seen some decent play and some hoofball and some horror shows so no, only 4/10 from a measure worth 3/10
PR & Communications
What PR? What communications? Decision making that baffles the imagination. Appointments that confuse. I don’t mind a reclusive owner, but that has to be compensated for. It isn’t, just 1/10 in a measure worth 3/10
I don’t know if you could rightly even call this a measure. Newcastle became my second team in The Joe Harvey years, Pop Robson, Supermac etc. Great entertainment on and off the field. Only four top ten finishes in ten seasons.
Since then nobody can claim to have been bored following Newcastle. Always in the news for right and wrong reasons. Once described as the best soap opera in English football and still living up to the billing. Other clubs may try to claim the headlines but only Newcastle know how to fill the column inches. I’m going to have to give it 9/10 even though currently it’s for all the wrong reasons, nothing new there. But as a measure I’m only awarding 1/10 and struggling to justify that.
So folks, over to you. What’s you’re verdict on the above categories. How are we doing in each. Have I got the importance right, and any other categories that I have missed out.
So on the basis of the above I award a Feelgood Factor of 63% or 6/10. Not bad, could do better. What’s all the fuss about?