The season coming and gone
So another season has rolled by. From a distance (as they all tend to be these days), it seemed quite a boring season. Chelsea, with its defence first, clean methodical approach, walked away with the league. Sure they looked good as the season wore on but even from this far away I could hear I was the only who wanted Liverpool to beat them in the Champion’s League semi. Considering how arrogant (and openly racist) Chelsea fans are, a dynasty is really not a pleasant thought.
Arsenal played like defensive children, missing Campbell and more importantly Gilberto Silva, a player I rate highly. He allows Vieira more forward space to play in. As usual, they need a defender and a goalkeeper. They still play the best football in the Premiership though.
Man U….I dunno. I haven’t been convinced of them defensively since the replaced Stam with a mix of Rio and Silvestre (a player who still looks like a slightly better Traore to me). The midfield looks okay though they got to replace them soon. Giggs, 31, Scholes, 30, Keane, 33. And if you buy players who play for the world cup winners, like Kleberson, stop playing them against WBA only. Upfront United need like but consistency from Van Nist and anything from Saha or maybe the old Ole back. Though looking at La Liga top goalscorers and seeing Forlan is no surprise to anyone. To survive in the Premiership, he just needed to be played and get a haircut.
Rooney looks truly special but they need a leader at the back, a goalkeeper and a future Keane. Easy eh? But its going to be more difficult for united to attract the glamour players to them. In the past, it was Arsenal or Man U with Chelsea third (if you wanted wages and a nice lifestyle with little hope of consistency) But now with Mourinho, times have changed there.
Relegation: well I got 2/3. Who couldn’t? Congrats to WBA to struggle next year.
Then onto the circus known as NUFC. The great thing back about Newcastle are the many facets that make up our season. The season started badly when Solano was no longer there. A team player loved by players and fans alike and one of the best crosser in the game. Sold because…he kept disappearing off to a country Bobby had never heard of to play for his country. An achievement that Bobby and other managers have always lauded as the highest point in a player’s career. Then Bobby was sacked after a few games, genius Freddie, we got rejected by a plethora of decent managers and ending up (there’s no other verb for it) with Souness.
We lost Bellamy, one of our few effective creative players, arsehole is apt, had under-performing and overpaid talents such as Dyer, Jenas, Bowyer, Robert and Butt. That’s called our entire midfield folks. The defence conceded 57 goals in 38 league games, only Boumsong escapes criticism. He must wonder why he joined. The rest of us wonder how long he’ll stay. There’s even talk that Given has played his last game for us to raise funds. Raise funds? This is NUFC, a team who gets 53,000 week in, week out. What happened? But Shay, a great keeper, I can only wish him luck.
Upfront, Shearer’s days are numbered, Kluivert, great touch but no motivation. Then we’re down to Ameobi (not good enough) and Chopra (first division). Massive investment is needed especially in motivation. I’m willing to give Souness next season, allow his the pre-season to make the changes he wants and hope that it makes the difference. 14th is not good enough. Ever. As Everton showed, it doesn’t take amazing money or talent to build a team but tactics, organisation, discipline and belief. We had none and that’s been true for three or four years.
Where do the fundamental problems lie? Fingers can get pointed everywhere. Our team is full of so many different or indifferent elements, from the racists (Bowyer) to the fighters (Bowyer) to the car racers (Jenas, Dyer) to the pure lazy (Butt, Ameobi, Babayaro, Robert, Kluivert) to the disruptive (Robert, Bowyer, Dyer and dare I say Shearer). Our board, full of classic fat capitalists from a by-gone era. God, is there a benefactor out there for us? Please. The ground and facilities have moved on light years but board is too high profile, too old style, too interfering and arrogant. But also even the faithful have to take some flak. We seen some great days over the last 13 years, nay 20 years when Keegan saved us from relegation. But this is the low. And it’s been spiralling for a 5 years at least. We need to be more critical, less taken-in by signings and more demanding. For years now, we’ve virtually got nothing out of a player like Dyer. You wonder what Ferguson or Arsene would do with him but the lack of interest from the top managers is no accident.
If Souness can show real motivation skill coupled with a tactical nous, then we can improve. But there’s a long way to go. The best we can hope for are a few solid signing (by the manger, not the board), a good defensive system, a new striker, and a good start to the season. I hope we aren’t selected for the Intertoto Cup. Let’s focus on the league and move on up to our rightful place and give Sunderland a couple of thrashings on the way