Paul Merson still ‘fears’ for our Premier League status and believes we could be impacted the most by having no supporters in the stands.
The Sky Sports pundit was writing in his Daily Star column and feels that despite being eight points clear of the drop zone, we could get sucked back into a dog-fight down the bottom.
Here’s what he told the Daily Star ahead of the return of top flight football this month:
“Whoever hits the ground running when the season restarts is going to have a massive advantage when the season restarts.
“Teams like Newcastle, Southampton, Everton, Crystal Palace and Burnley can’t relax.
“If you don’t hit the ground running you could be in the bottom three very quickly. That’s an advantage for the teams who are chasing. It’s easier to make up ground quickly.
“I fear for Newcastle the most because they might struggle without 50,000 unbelievable fans behind them at home.
“Those fans keep your concentration levels high. They help you. With no crowd, you lose focus. And Newcastle might feel that more than anyone else.”
In the same piece, Merson also unsurprisingly predicts Aston Villa – a team he played for and one we’re set to face later this month – to gain some ground on the teams above them when the top flight action resumed.
Let’s be honest here, there hasn’t been 50,000 unbelievable fans at St James’ Park for a long, long time.
Our atmosphere has taken a massive hit in recent years and the lack of supporters could actually be seen as a benefit for the likes of Joelinton, who has struggled for form in front of goal and been placed under real pressure by fans as a result.
With a £300m takeover bubbling away in the background, let’s hope we can get a few early wins under our belt to ease any potential fears!