Newcastle United: When Magpies Fall Out of the Sky
Leeds, Charlton, Southampton, Watford etc. The list is continuous, the list of clubs that in recent years have fallen from the Premiership and now battle relegation at the bottom of the championship. Or in the case of Leeds, Leicester, and come Saturday Charlton have dropped into League One.
This is the fate that might await Newcastle if they do not stay up. The average Geordie would argue they are too big a club, but look at Leeds and Leicester stalwarts of the top tier in England. Leeds are even bigger than Newcastle in terms of success; having won many trophies in more recent times than the Magpies 1968/69 Europe League (then the Fairs Cup) victory. So the argument that they are too big to go down and not yo-yo up again does not hold water. This is given further emphasis when you mention that fact that Man City, arguably a bigger club, were second tier residents as recent as 2002.
Certainly it is important to identify that unlike a Leeds, Charlton or Southampton (who have debts of £27.5m). Newcastle would not necessarily be in financial trouble, however their crippling wage bill with the likes of Viduka and Owen cannot be helpful. In having to ease their wage bill they would have to trim down their squad radically. One plus is Newcastle have a brilliant asset in St James Park which they own. This means that unlike Southampton who have reeled from debts to St Marys (forcing them to sell Kenwyne Jones, Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott), Newcastle would have stable foundation.
For this to be a stable foundation they would need healthy attendances every week. This is a major problem as Newcastle would need to be doing well on the pitch. Which is not a good prospect give the last time, Newcastle were in the second tier in the eighties their average attendances were 20,000. Not exactly record breaking for the Championship, these debunk the myth of Geordie loyalty. How many of the capacity crowd that turned up for Shearers first match will be there for, say their first match against Doncaster? Furthermore Ashley would struggle to sell the club as their return to the EPL would not be guaranteed as Leeds have found out.
Certainly even if Newcastle don’t have financial troubles, that is not to say they wouldn’t be in trouble. Leicester got relegated to the third tier for the first time in their history last season. They are wealthy under the ownership of Milan Mandaric (formerly of Portsmouth) but due to the bad management of Ian Holloway they were subsequently relegated. A further example of this would be Derby who, until the arrival of Nigel Clough, were involved in back to back relegation battles.
So the Tyneside this time next year might find themselves in a second relegation battle. Yes seriously, they very well could be as they would have their squad ripped apart getting rid of their uncommitted greedy mercenaries. Players such as Geremi, Beye, Gutierrez and sorry England fans your golden boy Owen.
The list of people getting on the first trains, planes and Porsche traffic jams heading South in late May would be long. I will give this potentially comprehensive list a go: Colocini, Gutierrez, Geremi, Beye, Duff, Owen, Martins, Geremi, Viduka, Butt, Guthrie, Barton, Cacapa. This is just a quick attempt; the real list could be more extensive. Do you really think, despite headlines in the English press to the contrary, that people like Barton and Owen are going to stick around because they love the Geordie public? I think not.
It seems clear that Newcastle will find themselves in desperate trouble down in the Championship. The club wouldn’t suddenly become a mess, they already are a mess. Badly run and badly managed; they have had, since the well run period of Bobby Robson (a brilliant manager and the closest thing English football has to an elder statesman) six managers.
Something is rotten up north. As soon as players slip on that black and white shirt they instantly become injury magnets and can’t defend for toffee. Their signing policy reflects crazy panic buys with any clever buys coming in over priced and unfit. Maybe this might be a good thing if they get relegated; come summer sky sports news won’t have their Toon army specials, with panic buying of shirts emblazoned with names like Luque.
Newcastle are covered in magpie excrement at the moment. The only hope I think they have if they don’t survive is that maybe they need this. Maybe this club need to get rid of all their deadwood players. Have a new reincarnation based on the back of good management, and on a new dynasty led by the charge of Andy Carroll up front.
Despite reports to the contrary Shearer shocked at what his club have become may stick around.
Who knows? Shearer might turn out to be the messiah leading his people out of the desert of the championship and back to their promised land.
This is speculative at the moment however, what is abundantly clear is this season could be terminal for the soap opera that is Newcastle United. You can’t be sure as at the moment the Fog on Tyne is very thick. However the good news for Dave from Newcastle is Ameobi is staying, and he will probably be a star striker in the championship next season. So I suppose that is something, it really is.