It’s just 11 days before all our players gather back for pre-season training a week on Wednesday.
Steve Harper – we need to forget about last season and move on
And we mean all our players since we have still to sell one player over the summer, but of course Owen, Viduka, Edgar and Cacapa will have departed the club the day before pre-season starts.
And the first player to come up and talk about the new season is our longest serving player Steve Harper, who told the Evening Chronicle:
“We can’t reflect on last season now – that’s gone.” “It’s done, and it was done as soon as the final whistle went at Aston Villa.”
“At Villa Park it was a dreadful situation. But it’s done now and we have to look onwards and upwards.”
And the last 4 weeks have been perilous for the Newcastle club, and the club has had no manager since Alan Shearer’s contract ran out on 24th May – the last day of the season when we were relegated at Villa Park
So it’s not at all clear who will be at the club to welcome the players back, but this is now the second season in a row where our intial plans for the season have been in disarray under Mike Ashley.
Last season we lost Kevin Keegan after just 3 league games and really never recovered from that. We had a good pre-season last year, but then everything went into disarray with the loss of Kevin.
Now it seems Ashley is determined to leave the club without allowing the club to prepare properly for the new season – since he will not appoint any manager. And because of his incompetence on Tyneside, he should not be allowed to ever own a football club again, and if he does – watch out!.
The sooner he leaves the club, the sooner Newcastle can recover from this hopeless owner, and that’s being rather kind to Mike.
“It looks like they are going to have a new manager, as we will hopefully.” “It’s the toughest start.”
“West Brom will be one of the favourites, along with ourselves.” “That’s the last away game we won, so hopefully we can do the same.”
“Hopefully we can do the double over them again.” “It will be tough, but it’s a fantastic football ground to start at.”
“The Hawthorns is a great place – their fans will serve up a great atmosphere, and I am sure ours will too.” “It would be nice to get off to the best start.”
The rest of the Championship clubs seem to have been looking forward to the prospect of playing Newcastle next season, and this was summed earlier this week by the Preston North End chairman Derek Shaw, who said after the fixture list was released:
“I think we all looked for when we get Newcastle.”
But we cannot use this as any kind of excuse, because it’s really a compliment in that we should be a very good team in the Championship – but notice the use of the word should – and nothing is ever certain in life or in the Championship.
It’s nothing that the top four in the Premier League don’t get in every one of their games, but that’s what happens when you get to be successful and have a good side.
Of course if Newcastle flop next season that anticipation by other clubs will soon diminish, and certainly the team, and Alan Shearer, if he finally takes over, still have a lot to prove next season.
“We’ll be a scalp.” “The big club going down will be a cup final for everybody.”
“Everywhere we go, we have to make sure we are up for it.” “It’s going to be a massive challenge. Everybody I have spoken to says how tough it is.”
“You have two games a week and everybody is fighting to get into the Premier League – and that’s what we have to do.”
One way to look at next season is that if we have time to get a decent team together and actually start to win games, the home crowds at St. James’ Park ill grow, and it looks like the away games will give these clubs their biggest attendance of the season.
Yes, we could be a big fish in a much smaller pond, but that’s probably better than being a small fish in a big pool – it gives us a little feeling of success in any case – or it could.
We would hope that what happened to Juventus a couple of years ago when they were penalized and relegated for financial mishandling at the club. They kept some of their stars and came straight back up winning the Italian second division rather easily at their first attempt – and yet had the same problems Newcastle will be up against.
And in the Juventus case of course, their demise had nothing to do with the players, unlike the situation we had at Newcastle last season.
But clubs looking forward to playing against you, that’s what happens when you are successful – so it wouldn’t be too bad for the Newcastle club, and certainly let’s not complain about it or say that will be hindrance to our chances next season.
That kind of thinking never got anybody anywhere – that’s the kind of thinking that will get a team relegated.