SAVE OUR SEASON – ASHLEY MUST SPEND IN JANUARY
As a Newcastle fan, I fear that this season could just fizzle out. What’s more frustrating is the fact that this group of players achieved a top-five finish last season, and Alan Pardew won two Manager of the Year awards. All of a sudden we’re waking up to the harsh reality of 2012/13 and nothing seems to be going right.
December 11th, 2012
The season which started with average, mid-table form could soon lead Newcastle into an unwanted relegation battle. Four defeats on the bounce against teams ‘we should be doing better against’ have left us in a precarious position. Any neutral would back us to pick up points against West Ham at home, Swansea at home, Southampton away and Stoke away – but we didn’t get a single one. The luck that helped us at the start of the season well and truly ran out in November, it was a shocking month.
The problem now is looking at the fixture list and answering ‘where is our next win coming from?’ because December is not easy. Defeat at Craven Cottage has left us in 14th and just four points above the relegation zone. Next up, it’s the champions Manchester City at home followed by Harry Redknapp’s QPR. We then travel to Old Trafford on Boxing Day, before a trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal. So we’re facing three of the so-called ‘top four’ teams in the country. Great.
Speaking to fans about where we’re going wrong, they all have their own ideas. The biggest reason put across by the majority is lack of squad depth with a European campaign. The blame in its entirety for that lies with Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias. Earlier this week, Alan Pardew admitted that mistakes were made during a window which only saw one senior player in Vurnon Anita move to Tyneside. We were reportedly in for many more, but the deals fell through due to financial demands in most cases.
So, fast forward three months and the thing fans feared the most is slowly becoming a reality. Yes, we’ve been unlucky with injuries – but there is a distinct lack of quality in the first team and limited options for Pardew. For example, Hatem Ben Arfa is our most creative player. Infact, this season he has been the only one. When he picked up an injury, we lost our shape and that big threat in the final third. Mike Williamson has played in pretty much every game this season and struggled, massively. We just don’t have a decent replacement for him.
There is no doubt that the failure to put out a settled team is our biggest problem this season, but maybe Pardew and co. should have seen it coming? A source close to the club told me that we are looking to bring in three long-term targets. The January window is traditionally a quiet one, but for the Toon this one must be the opposite. It’s time to spend well and bring in quality for the first team. It’s time to correct the wrongs of the summer window and freshen up the squad.
The Toon hierarchy knows the problems we face for the second half of the season. From January, we must have a better team to compete in the league, the FA Cup and the Europa League. No excuses. Mike Ashley must save our season.
Howay The Lads!
Umar Farooq, Editor – NUFCfans.co.uk