.... or how the hell have the managed to get themselves into this situation in the first place??
OK, so there are five games of this Premier League season to go. Newcastle are currently in 18th spot, on 31 points, three from safety. They really need a win, but there's no telling where it's coming from - they're playing Liverpool away today, Middlesbrough at home next week who are in the same position and will be fighting for all they're worth, then Fulham away after that who have the 3rd best home record in the league, and then Aston Villa away, who might still be having to scrap to get a European place. I can see them losing all of those matches - or at least losing most of them and getting a draw or two from the others, which won't be good enough. If they draw or lose against Middlesbrough next week they're sunk, I think. And if I were a betting man, that's exactly where I'd be putting my money. .... Which would then by consequence guarantee a 15-0 win for someone, which is why I'm not a betting man.
Anyway. The thing about Newcastle's plight that really strikes me is that they really do epitomise - or SHOULD epitomise - the expression "too good to go down". Have a look at their team. Michael Owen, Alan Smith, Damien Duff, Joey Barton, Mark Viduka, Kevin Nolan, Nicky Butt, Shola Ameobi and Njitab Geremi to name no fewer than nine players who are household names in any football supporter's house - and within that a good three or four in anyone else's house for that matter as well. Madness. You look at that team at the start of the year and you think "there's a lot of quality there, they should score a lot of goals, guaranteed top half of the table finish, probably pushing for Europe as well". And yet there they are, down in 19th.
What this does is really point out to me that all the money in the world won't get you anywhere if you don't have good management - and good management WILL get you anywhere with surprisingly little expenditure. Look at Fulham. 7th place, Europe looking entirely possible. Last year seemed down and out, but a change of coach, change of SOME of the personnel, and hey, presto, top-half finish. And conversely, look at Man City. A license to print money by their new oil-rich Arabian owners, and have struggled to be mid-table.
But I can't believe that the evidence of that would be so stark when it comes to Newcastle. Because there really are some great players in there. It makes you wonder what would happen to Arsenal or Manchester United if Wenger or Ferguson needed mid-season heart surgery like Newcastles's ex-boss, Kinnear did. Would their absence produce a similar fall from grace, and possible regulation? The mind boggles.
To explain the headline of this post, though - I would LOVE to see Newcastle go down. Not because I have any great dislike of them, but just to see what would happen to their squad. There would be a lot of players looking for new clubs at the end of the season, and a lot of them would be offering fantastic value for money in transfer fees by consequence. What chance me going to the Cottage next season to see Michael Owen up front for Fulham? Well - probably not. But there's every chance of seeing someone like Mark Viduka, or Shola Ameobi - or any one of the others, for that matter. What a fantastic prospect!
... to be honest, though - can't really see it happening. They'll probably bore everyone stupid and stay up on the last day. Care of an away victory against Fulham the week before....
Adventures in pond water
3 weeks ago