New season, new adventures for Newcastle United
We’ve made it. Newcastle have looked solid, without being spectacular in their first few games of the new season, and the camp is in good spirits.
August 29th, 2012
Fifth was a brilliant achievement last season, and barring a calamitous display against Atromitos on Thursday, Newcastle should make it through to the group stages of the Europa League.
As far as the Premier League is concerned, tough games at home to Spurs and away at Chelsea have ended with a total of 3 points, which is pretty good considering the gap between games in Athens and West London was less than 48 hours.
Things are never so simple with the Toon and pre-season was a rush. No home friendlies due to the Olympics meant a tour of Germany, Austria, Portugal and the Netherlands. For fans, it meant a late release of the new home shirt and perhaps more crucially, a delay in season tickets being sent out. I got mine 3 days before the season opener against Spurs and many fans had to collect from the Box Office on match day.
The mini European tour in pre-season was organised to give the players a flavour of what to expect during this season’s Europa League campaign and it was a success. We managed four wins, three losses and two draws in a schedule which also included Hartlepool and Cardiff away.
On the transfer front, building for the future has been the name of the game with the arrivals of Romain Amalfitano, Gael Bigirimana and Curtis Good for the development squad. Ajax star Vurnon Anita sealed his move to Tyneside last week as one of the first senior players through the door – but I think we need a few more.
The window has seen us linked with players from Liverpool to Lille, Twente to Troyes, but our sensible spending transfer policy has made negotiations a tough, gruelling process. With a few days left, Mathieu Debuchy, Andy Carroll and Douglas may sign up – or they may not.
At the other end of the spectrum, keeping our big players and leaders is as important as bringing in fresh faces. As transfer deadline day approaches, we’re susceptible to bids for the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Cheick Tiote, Demba Ba and Fabricio Coloccini. Big money offers will be accepted, no doubt, and the fear is that it might be too late to find a replacement.
I hope and pray we can keep hold and carry on. This group has worked so hard to being us here. The unity and team spirit has been a breath of fresh air. It’s a new adventure and one hopefully everyone will be part of.
Howay The Lads!
Umar Farooq, Editor – NUFCfans.co.uk