We were all delighted when Newcastle finished 5th in the league table last May, and we very nearly got a European Champions league position, and so things were really upbeat over the summer, even though we failed to fortify the squad by bringing in enough players.
Alex McLeish – won League Cup but got Birmingham relegated
Alan Pardew’s initial two goals were to win the play-off two-legged tie with Greek side Atromitos, and we did that, and the second goal was to qualify for the Europa league knock-out rounds, and we did that and we’ll finish at least second top of Group D, and the game at Bordeaux next week will decide who tops the Group.
Alan Pardew has said continually that the Premier League is Newcastle’s priority, and now we are very clear why that’s the case, as our European efforts have decimated the squad, and we are now suffering badly in the league and in a week or two – we could find ourselves in a relegation fight.
And if that becomes the case after out next two league games – at Stoke and at home to Wigan – then we should put a reserve side out at Bordeaux, and even if we are beaten – we still qualify for the knock out stages.
And if we are still in relegation trouble before the Europa league starts up again in February we should field a second eleven for those games, and rest our Premier League players, even it means going out of the competition.
We don’t want to be like Birmingham City of a couple of years ago, who played their first team in the League Cup under manager Alex McLeish, and managed to win the trophy by beating Arsenal at Wembley – but they were relegated at the same time.
No – a trophy can wait if it means Newcastle solidify our place in the Premier League – that’s where we belong.
We couldn’t stand a second relegation fight in the short five and a half years this blog has been in existence.
The old heart just wouldn’t stand it.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org