It was always going to be difficult to get new (good) players into the club this summer, and that’s proving to be an accurate forecast after one of the most disruptive and poor seasons we have had in a while.
We finished with only 39 points in 15th place last season, and that was two points less than we managed two years ago, when we were 5th bottom – 16th.
In fact two of the last three seasons have been the second and third worst points total we have ever had in the Premier League – beaten only by the 34 points we got in 2009 when we were relegated.
A worried Mike Ashley during final game of the season
But it’s not just the poor performance in the league that’s making it difficult to attract new players.
The club has again scored an own goal with the press – by allowing only the Mirror and Sky Sports at the unveiling of Steve McClaren as the new head coach, and that has cheesed off the remaining papers – which is hardly surprising.
And we expect good publicity in the press?
Why that was done we have no idea – and of course the club has said nothing.
And there were also two organized fan protests last season – one was to get rid of Alan Pardew as the manager, which was successful half way through the season – and the other was to get rid of Mike Ashley – the owner – that was not successful.
That’s an illustration of how fans are not happy with things, and that everybody is not pulling in the same direction at the club.
That will be Steve McClaren’s big test this summer to try to solve that, but we cannot see the dissent against Ashley going away anytime soon, and it will take a season like we had back in 2011-2012 when we finished 5th top for the anger against the owner to dissipate.
So when you put all of that together we’re not exactly a stable or happy club at the moment – if you look at it from the outside.
Mike Ashley was forced to come out before the final game of the season against West Ham and say something – and so he said the job at the club was only half done – and we had the money and had stabilized the finances – but now we had to build a good side that can win something.
That was good news and even a new vision and strategy – but like all good strategies it doesn’t mean much if you cannot execute on it.
One unsettling thing was that throughout the nightmare of the second half of the season, we heard nothing at all from the powers that be – like top executive Lee Charnley.
So we don’t know if he was trying hard behind the scenes to get somebody in for John Carver, who looked like he would take us down to the second division in a short 19 games, and we lost nine of the last eleven games, but only just survived.
That was as much a very poor appointment by Lee Charnley as it was a poor coaching from Carver – who seemed completely out of his depth – and that eventually cost him his job.
So things may not look too good at the moment – but we have to bring in the very best players we can this summer – and spend the money that’s available – and there’s a lot of that sitting in the bank doing nothing at the moment.
With Steve McClaren now installed as the new head coach and with his coaching team likely to become Paul Simpson, Ian Cathro, Eric Steele and Steve Black – then hopefully they can get the very best out of the players we have available.
But Newcastle should hang onto the players we have until we bring in replacements.
So we should not let Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote, Mike Williamson or Moussa Sissoko leave until we have players brought in who can replace them.
And in Papiss Cisse’s case we need two strikers brought in before we can let him go – although it seems he wants to stay on Tyneside and we would certainly keep him for next season – he’ll be 100% fit again.
So it looks like it could be another testing summer transfer market for Newcastle fans after a testing season last term.
A top signing would help to lift the mood on Tyneside, but we cannot see one of them coming in any time soon.
It would help if Steve McClaren can announce his backroom coaching staff soon – and maybe this week.
What do you think?