Newcastle did great last season, when at this time last year we were challenging for a top four place to be back to the Champions League.
Mike Ashley – huge clear-out this summer?
But it wasn’t to be, and we finished in 5th place, but that was still the best we had done since 2004, and above Chelsea and Liverpool.
Last summer we all looked forward to European competition again in the Europa League, but the huge mistake of not strengthening the squad was made – and that is one of the things that has cost us big time this season..
And to be fair we did very well in the Europa League, and got through the group rounds and won two knockout rounds against Metalist Kharkiv and Anzhi, and then were only narrowly eliminated by Benifca, when a second late goal could have seen us in the semi-finals.
Newcastle played 14 games in the competition and most fans would agree we did well.
But the opposite is true in the Premier League, where we may be having our second worst season ever – and we are currently 5th bottom with four games to go, after dropping three places yesterday with the 1-1 draw at West Brom – and we still have only one away win of the season.
And we’ve managed to be beaten by two of the bottom three teams in Wigan and Reading, and we’re not even going to mention Sunderland – whoops.
Our worst season was the relegation season in 2009, when we collected only 34 points and our next two worst seasons – as far as points accumulated were the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons when we got 43 points.
Glen Roeder was fired in 2007 after Newcastle finished 13th in the league, and Kevin Keegan had just come back to the club in January of 2008 to replace the sacked Sam Allardyce, when Newcastle finished in 12th position with 43 points.
Newcastle now have 37 points after 34 games so we need 7 points from our last four games to ensure we get more than 43 points, and that’s not looking too easy.
We obviously need to pick up as many points as possible, but we missed out yesterday at West Brom when we should have had the game wrapped up at half time but we missed some gilt-edged opportunities.
So with the team doing so badly this term, it may be hard to attract good players in the summer, but the squad has to be rebuilt, and we think a lot of fringe players will leave the club, and only a few of our youngsters – probably only Sammy Ameobi and Shane Ferguson – will still be at Newcastle in September.
It’s an opportunity for a clear-out and surely we will be aiming to have a top six side next season?
Steve Harper and Danny Simpson will leave the club when their contracts runs out in June, and it still seems likely that Fabricio Coloccini will leave the club to return to Argentina.
Mike Williamson will also likely move, and maybe to Swansea as a potential replacement for Ashley Williams, who is being looked at by some big clubs, and we think Dan Gosling will be sold before his contract runs out next year.
We also expect Gabby Obertan to leave, and of the youngsters it could be curtains for some lads who just haven’t come through, and they include Brad Inman, Conor Newton, Mehdi Abeid and maybe even Paul Dummett, although the local lad may stay on.
So we can see as many as ten players leaving Newcastle this summer, as the club will try to resurrect the squad after what has been a very disappointing Premier League campaign – and that may be an understatement.
It’s one of the worst we’ve had.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org