WBA played extremely well last night at St. James’ Park, and that was following their last game, in which they were almost played off the park at home, by the other automatic promotion candidates in the Championship, the surging Nottingham Forest.
Chris and Colin – still have a job on their hands
Our usually sound defense was put under constant pressure by the fast counter-attacking of the West Brom side, and our midfield of Smith and Nolan was over-run, especially in the first half.
WBA are perhaps the only other side in the Championship with some Premiership class players, and it took Newcastle all they could muster not to lose their first game at St. Jame’s Park this season.
In fact, on the night, the lads did well to come back twice to get the draw, testament to their new-found spirit and fight.
The game told us at least two things.
- The automatic promotion places are still up for grabs between ourselves, WABA and Nottingham Forest
- We are still not a Premier League side and should we earn promotion we will need to significantly strengthen in the summer.
To gain promotion we will need to treat every single team with great respect, and have a game plan to get all 3 points – draws are just not good enough if we are maintain our promotion challenge – and Chris Hughton seems fully aware of that.
The Newcastle fans’ expectations during the January transfer window have been very low, and that’s turned out to be good, because they will not be too disappointed when we bring nobody in of any significant class before the end of January.
We just don’t think Mike Ashley is willing to spend much money at all, and after loosing out on our top two targets of Kilgallon and Beckford, we expect 3 players to come in on loan until the end of the season.
It would not surprise us if those players are Danny Simpson, Marlon Harewood, and Zurab Khizanishvili or Mike Williamson of Portsmouth.
The only interesting signing could be Nobby Solano, and because of Nobby’s undoubted class, still there at 35 years of age, he could add some creativity to the side, especially as he already appears to be super-fit, after training with Colchester United.
How many goals can Nobby score against second division teams with his free kicks and penalties? Lots we think, and while it’s a risk – we think it’s worth taking.
Since these players will be signed on loan only through the end of the season, we’ll need to do some significant strengthening in the summer – at least 4-5 good players – and by our estimate Chris would need something like £20M, to suitably strengthen the current squad. We could also try to capture season-long loan deals for players from clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
We have to hope that Mike Ashley sells the club early in the summer, and someone comes in quickly for the club – because we just cannot stand another 4 months of doubt and uncertainty, when and if the club is put up for sale for a third time – we have to pray it will be third time lucky – and the that a sale goes through quickly.
We think Mike knows he will never ever be able to mend the lack of trust the Newcastle faithful have in him – after the completely scandalous way he has run the club into the ground.
One good thing he has done is to put the club on a decent financial footing, but the sooner he sells up the better, and we have to hope by the end of May that we are again a Premier League club – since that will help the sale go through.
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