Newcastle United are perpetual underachievers who promise so much but rarely deliver when the pressure is on in vital games. Surely even the most ardent of Newcastle fans will find it hard to argue with this statement, especially when we consider the club’s last major trophy was won in 1969. Newcastle have had plenty of opportunities in the past to have acquired a healthy looking trophy cabinet. Two FA Cup finals, Premier League title showdowns, UEFA Cup Quarter and Semi finals have all proved futile. The club would be a fine ambassador for English sport in general with their surplus list of hard luck stories. I for one would like to know why such a big club floundered for so long in their pursuit of success, but more importantly what can be done to put it right?
Under the stewardship of Kevin Keegan Newcastle came closer, than they probably will again for many years, to lifting the coveted Premiership title. It was only a disastrous conclusion to the season that ended the dream. I don’t think Keegan could have done much more in his time to bring silverware to the North East. His body language in the classic 4-3 defeat to Liverpool in 1996 which saw him slump over the advertising boards summed this up perfectly. Since Keegan left in January 1997 Newcastle’s fans have been on a rollercoaster of emotions, with various problems and disappointments along the way.
No less than 11 different managers have been entrusted with the club’s fortunes since they were promoted to the Premier League in 1993. The high managerial turnover at Newcastle is an issue that needs addressing if the club are to achieve success in the near future, as stability is vital within a successful club. You only have to look to Manchester United and Arsenal who have achieved so much by having faith in their managers and a solid foundation to build upon. Success doesn’t happen overnight and the Newcastle fans are going to have to continue their loyal support to the team and get behind Alan Pardew.
Newcastle’s suspect defence has been an area for concern over the years, in contrast to the frontline which has never been a problem. If more emphasis had been put on strengthening the defence maybe the club would have already won a major honour. If a central defensive partnership can be struck up by Coloccini and Williamson or Coloccini and Steven Taylor for years to come, much like at Arsenal where Adams and Keown were playing alongside each other week in, week out, it would be a positive start. Or maybe a new centre back is needed to partner one of the three already at the club?
Maintaining the core of the current side over the summer will also be vital, it goes back to the earlier point of stability. Clearly new faces are going to come in, but Newcastle need to hold onto the likes of Jose Enrique, Barton, Nolan and Tiote and build the team around these individuals, Barton and Tiote in particular.
In a recent article I compiled the ‘TOP TEN Newcastle flops named and shamed’, if the club are going to move in the right direction they can’t afford to be making similar signings to those players in the transfer market this summer. More astute judgement is called for – hidden gems like Tiote will be what the fans expect. Furthermore, I would suggest that a great deal of resources should be ploughed into the youth development at the club. If Newcastle can produce a batch of academy players of a high standard in the next 3-5 years it can only bode well for potential success in the future.
Overall, the key areas I would suggest Newcastle should look to in their quest for that long awaited trophy, would be, faith in the manager, stability in defence, retention of key players, shrewd purchases in the transfer market and youth development. While success cannot be guaranteed, if Newcastle put some of the above theories into practice, these recommendations could go a long way towards aiding the process, and who knows the long 42 year wait for a trophy may come to an end.
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