Some season at #nufc. Spent just 38 days out of 262 out of the bottom 3. Highest position a lowly 15th. Been in relegation zone since 13/2
— Mark Douglas (@MsiDouglas) April 26, 2016
SEE ALSO: A Guide To Surviving At Newcastle For Rafa Benitez
Fair play to those season ticket holders, who go week in, week out to watch a team that hasn’t risen higher than 15th place all season. And have been in the bottom three since the day before Valentine’s Day – you have to assume there’s been a lot of love lost since then.
We salute you.
When the Magpies were relegated at the end of the 2008/09 season, there was that bizarre, and quite frankly, unprecedented cliche thrown around that, long-term it will do Newcastle better to get relegated, to rebuild and to comeback up again.
So, yeah, about that. Eight years on, the club find themselves in the same situation but this time with a more hostile atmosphere, with worse players and clearly no lessons learnt from Mike Ashley down to Papiss Cisse.
How a club with such a huge following, with the third biggest stadium in the Premier League and the financial backing of a bloke who somehow gets people to pay well over a quid for a bag for life, find themselves facing life in the Championship again, is baffling and concerning.
There are clearly a lot of things wrong at St James’ Park, with issues more deep rooted than just failing to sack Steve McClaren early enough this season. The decision-making of the hierarchy has been questionable for some time now.
Much like Aston Villa, Newcastle opted for the transfer policy of buying good-value players from the European leagues just outside the elite – Ligue 1 and Eredivisie. They then hope to regularly unearth Yohan Cabayes in order to make a tidy profit.
Newcastle have a penchant for signing lightweight, skilful players who are much more suited to the Parisian sun rather than the hailstones of the north. Florian Thauvin embodies every single issue with Newcastle’s scouting and transfer policies, as does Hatem Ben Arfa who has returned to France to become one of the league’s shining stars, again.
Mike Ashley will point to the fact that the club spent over £45million in the summer and around £30million in the January transfer window. However, the willingness to finally spend has come to late – irrelevant of if they’re buying shite:
- 2014/15: £35million spent
- 2013/14: £350,000 spent
- 2012/13: £26million spent
- 2011/12: £21million spent
- 2010/11: £12million spent
- 2009/10: £2.75million
- 2008/09: £26million
Sure, in the real world – 2013/14 excluded – the money spent on transfers is high but football doesn’t live in the real world.
The fact that Newcastle have only spent more than Mike Ashley’s first season in charge of the club, twice, highlights the lack of interest and desire from the Sports Direct owner to make a success of the club – success in terms of what fans would deem, rather than the ever-increasing bank balance that Ashley no doubt deems successful.
The fact Andros Townsend wasn’t even part of Tottenham’s first-team squad and yet, when he moved to Newcastle, he earned a wage increase tells you everything about how lacking of sense and direction Newcastle’s recruitment policy is.
They will go down this year because Sam Allardyce is going to do what Sam Allardyce does best. And yet, after no doubt bouncing back straightaway, you have to fear for the Magpies that articles like this will still be being written about them in another eight seasons time, too.