Sunday, April 22, 2018

Newcastle in major trouble despite finally spending

Former-England boss Steve McClaren has struggled to turn things around at Newcastle this season

Former-England boss Steve McClaren has struggled to turn things around at Newcastle this season

Newcastle United suffered a 3-0 defeat at Everton on Wednesday night, but even the most ardent member of the Toon Army would find it difficult to say the Magpies deserved to take anything away from Merseyside.

Granted Everton took until the 88th minute to score their second goal, but in truth the Toffees would have been home a hosed if it was not for a superb goalkeeping display from Rob Elliot, who kept the score-line relatively respectable.

Spent money but little improvement

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has come in for some heavy criticism for his lack of investment in the club in his tenure.

I have criticised the businessman in the past. However, Mr Ashley made a promise at the end of the season that he would invest money in the squad.

True to his word, Newcastle has spent relatively big by their standards in both the summer and winter transfer windows. However, there has been little or no improvement from last season.

The spending that the Newcastle fans had been hoping for had been on players who were maybe not the right signings. The likes of Chancel Mbemba, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Siem de Jong have been unconvincing so far this season.

The only summer signing that could be considered a success is Dutch attacking midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who has been the one bright spot in the Magpies season so far.

I have to say I am not quite sure what to make of January signing Jonjo Shelvey. At times he looks like he could be a world beater, dominating midfield and spraying Hollywood balls to teammates 60 yards away.

However, for every good game he has he seems to have four or five poor games. In these games he attempts a Hollywood ball with every pass, instead of keeping it simple and playing the easy ball.

In those poor games he also tends to get frustrated and loses his cool, which makes him a liability for his team. Against Everton he was not terrible, but he did not have one of his better games either.

I have not seen enough of French midfielder Henri Saivet to make a judgement of his ability, so will reserve my opinion until I have seen more of the former-Bordeaux midfielder.

I actually think that the gamble they took in taking Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia on-loan could be their best bit of business in the last two windows. The Magpies are struggling for goals and the 28-year-old was prolific for CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League.

The Russian league is not the strongest, but a better test of Doumbia was the fact that he has scored goals in European competition for CSKA. The striker may well be a very good addition to the Magpies squad.

McClaren appointment was a gamble

The appointment of Steve McClaren was a major gamble by the Magpies board. They put their faith in a boss whose managerial record is questionable at best and even put him on the board of directors, which for me was a bizarre decision.

The former-England boss has done little to suggest that he can turn things around at the north east club in his time in charge. The Magpies struggled against the drop last season and once again this season, despite spending money.

Newcastle needed a special boss to turn the mood around at the club this season and McClaren is definitely not special, he is more mediocre.

Not looking good at the bottom

Newcastle may just be lucky that Norwich are in such poor form at the moment. The Magpies are just two points away from safety, but are odds of 11/10 to be relegated this season.

For a second consecutive campaign Newcastle have endured a poor campaign, but this time Newcastle fans cannot completely blame the clubs owner for the teams malaise.

Instead maybe the clubs manager and players should bear the brunt of their frustration. Newcastle as a football club has so much potential to become bigger and better.

However, the team keeps underachieving, no matter how much money is spent, or who they have in charge. The club need to get rid of the losing mentality quickly, before it is too late and the Magpies are relegated to the Championship.

Will Newcastle survive the drop this season?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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