There have been lots of reasons put forward this season to explain why Newcastle United is in the mess it’s in, but where does the majority of the blame lie? You, the reader will establish that with a good old fashioned vote.
At the end of last season Mike Ashley stood in front of the Sky television cameras and promised to ‘bolt the horse to the cart’. He promised Cup runs, investment in the team and that he would not leave until we had won something or qualified for the Champion’s League. Well here we are 9 months later having spent £80 million in the transfer market and yet the club sits in the relegation zone having been dumped out of both Cups in the earliest rounds. He also chose to trust Lee Charnley with the running of his club – not to mention his long term neglect of the club and blatant use of the institution that is NUFC as a Sports Direct advertising tool (for free). He has to be included in the list of candidates for this vote, but maybe he does not deserve the blame this time – as he did invest and I’m sure he will be as shocked as the rest of us by our current situation?
From the board we have Lee Charnley, thrust into the controller’s chair despite no history in football other than being club secretary. He does not seem to be a bad transfer negotiator, but bypassed a lot of top managers to snare Steve McClaren in what must go down as one massive mistake.
Then there is Graham Carr. His position on the board is unusual for a scout and it can be argued that he has far too much influence on Charnley. He seems to decide who we sign and not the manager, at least up until the winter window just passed – and bizarrely for a football man he has constructed a lopsided squad lacking depth and quality in almost every area of the pitch. Why have we not signed enough quality defenders for so long?
Steve McClaren (now also known as the Grin Reaper) has managed to take £80 million pounds of investment and oversee a squad constantly languishing in the drop zone all season, getting smashed time and again away from home and having the 2nd worst goal difference in the league. He repeats the same old tired rubbish after every loss and continually extends his own time frames from which fans can judge him on. He displays very little tactical forethought and makes questionable team selections.
I don’t even know why Bob Moncur is on the board or what he brings to the club? Is he taking up a space that somebody could actually be useful in?
Then there is the playing staff itself. ‘Captain’ Fabricio Coloccini displays no leadership skills of any kind and is past it as a PL defender. Why the Grin Reaper awarded him with an extention and retained him as Captain is anybody’s guess, but by signing that contract when he knew he was a spent force, he has guaranteed that our club struggles on with an immobile and gutless figure at the heart of our defense and squad in general.
Florian Thauvin came with a big price tag and big wage increase. He had a responsibility to apply himself every day and instead turned into a shrinking violet at the first sign of hard work. Carr should have done a better job of scouting him, but that does not excuse his lack of heart and application. That money could have gone on another area of the pitch.
Several other players seem to be ‘fair weather’ players. Happy to turn it on at home with the crowd behind them but can’t be bothered to put their bodies on the line when on the road, rolling over and allowing opposition teams to tickle their belly while the goals fly in at the wrong end of the pitch. Sissoko has created the most chances for us and has the most assists. Wijnaldum has the most goals, but they go missing on away days. Why is that? Is it tactics, the players or both? I will call these players the ‘homers’.
Mitrovic came in with a heavy price tag and a lot of responsibility for one so young. But he also came in talking about being the next Alan Shearer. He has failed to deliver. Is he one the main reasons for our poor form this season or was it poor planning by our board to pin all our goalscoring hopes on a young man that had never played at this level before? Is he applying himself enough?
How about the back room staff? Ian Cathro came in with a growing reputation. Steve Black is supposed to be a genius motivator and Paul Simpson is the Grin Reapers right hand man. What have they actually brought to our game? The team seems to lack confidence and basic defending skills. What do our coaches do?
Then there is the medical staff. Why is it we seem to always be top of the injury list, from both recurring injuries to long term injuries? Is it training methods, treatment methods or no methods at all? What does our club not do that most other clubs do?
Pick your 3 main offenders below;