It has been a strange season for Newcastle so far and with various winning and losing streaks, they find themselves in 10th place. The Toon had a poor start to the season with no win in their first seven matches, but then won five consecutive fixtures to climb into the Champions League positions- albeit briefly.
The Magpies soon after went on a four match losing streak, including a heavy defeat in the League Cup tie at Spurs, so overall, a mid-table position is where they deserve to be after such a mixed bag of results. But the defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup this weekend leaves them out of both cup competitions, sitting bang in mid-table with the season in danger of petering out in dull fashion.
Adding to that, we’re only in January and there is now no permanent manager at the helm; what can possibly lie in store for the rest of the season? After 20 matches, there is no danger of a relegation battle being 10 points away from such worries. A top four finish is out of the question, and so too looks like a dreaded Europe League spot, which might not be a bad thing considering how it hampered their season in 2012/13.
It is not exactly an appealing position for any future manager to take, with nothing really to gain from such a dead-end position. Maybe it would be best to keep John Carver in temporary charge until the end of the season, so a new man can be brought in where the club will actually have something to play for.
There also doesn’t seem to be too much ambition shown by Mike Ashley and the majority of the supporters in terms of a league finish. It seems as if the club are happy to finish mid-table or thereabouts every season, which restrains Ashley from pumping multi millions into the playing side of things.
That is not to say Ashley hasn’t spent money this season, but for a club of Newcastle’s size, ambition should be there to give the top five, six or maybe even four a go; which can only be achieved by spending two or three times more than this last summer. This is not an unrealistic point to make, with Ashley’s net worth well over £1 billion. And the fact Sir Bobby Robson showed what can be accomplished at this great club with the right backing, achieving back-to-back Champions League football for the 2002/3 and 2003/4 seasons.
Newcastle haven’t won a major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 1955 – although they won the Inter City Fairs Cup in 1969 which many don’t consider as a major honour – this is a stat which is bewildering for a club the size of the Magpies. With that in mind, the fact Newcastle made seven changes for the cup match at Leicester surely demonstrates that lack of ambition, especially when they have nothing to play for in the league. A full strength Newcastle side is capable of beating anyone on its day as they showed against Chelsea, and although there are some injuries around, this was a totally nonsensical team selection.
The lack of ambition can also be suggested through the sales of the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy and Demba Ba in recent years. Selling your best players is not a great sign for the club and one the fans surely can’t be happy with.
The Newcastle fans deserve better and although 10th is a respectable position, Newcastle are a massive club. The Toon could and should be competing with the very best in this division, as Sir Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan proved many years ago.