Newcastle United has gone from a Premier League force to a Premier League farce during the last 20 years. The team dubbed ‘The Entertainers’ that consisted of Alan Shearer, David Ginola and Les Ferdinand is nothing but a nostalgic memory – for football is a different landscape now.
It might be true that Newcastle fans were obsessed with dreams of grandeur and silverware then – they had the team, they had the owners and they had a manager capable of bringing silverware to St. James’ Park for the first time since 1955 or 1969 (depending if you count the Fairs Cup as a major honour).
The fans are certainly not begging for glory now, they are begging for their team to stay in the Premier League.
There is a myth in the media, and amongst other teams' fan-bases that Newcastle United fans are deluded and that they expect too much. This is simply not true – but here are five things that Newcastle supporters want:
1. Holding onto their top players
Historically Newcastle United have always been a team that sells on its prized assets. With a mass exodus of Geordie talent leaving the Club in the 1980’s such as Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle. But this came during a period where NUFC was not a financially stable outfit – so their sales were in a way required.
The Newcastle United of today is owned by one of the richest men in England – Mike Ashley, and they are one of the only Premier League clubs that are debt-free. They have no reason to sell on their best players, but they do.
Newcastle United in recent years have sold Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Mapou Yanga-Mbwiwa to teams who have played in this season's Champions League. Similarly, they also sold Andy Carroll, Jose Enrique and Davide Santon to Inter Milan and Liverpool.
While selling your top players may bring in a lot of money, it does not bring success. Newcastle is currently in a relegation scrap, while the majority of their exports are enjoying life at some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
2. Bringing players in
Andy Cole left St. James’ Park and he was replaced with Alan Shearer not long after – ‘Wor Al’ went on to score 206 goals for the Geordies, and solidify himself as the greatest Newcastle player ever. Andy Carroll left Newcastle in 2011 for £35m and he was replaced with Shefki Kuqi, a 35-year-old free-agent... This was not good enough.
Newcastle has recently come under a trend of ‘Not getting them over the line’. This quote was made infamous in Newcastle by Alan Pardew – but this habit of failing to bring in talented players probably started in 2008 when NUFC missed out on signing Luka Modric for £12m and Bastian Schweinstieger for £3m.
It is a horrible thought for Geordies – ‘What IF’ is asked a lot. Any Newcastle United fan would tell you they want their club to ‘Bring players over the line’.
3. An owner that CARES
Mike Ashley might have more money than most of the owners in the Premier League, but he does not care about Newcastle United and he has not for some time. He uses St. James’ Park as a huge advertisement for Sports Direct (he even renamed the stadium to the Sports Direct Arena in 2011).
Ashley acquired Newcastle in 2007 when they had a team consisting of Michael Owen, Shay Given and James Milner – and for the previous 14 years they had competed in Cups, qualified for Europe and even had two title challenges. Since 2007, Newcastle has been relegated, have not competed in the cups and only appeared in Europe once.
Add the failings in the League and Cups with Newcastle selling their best players and not replacing them – it surmounts to a disgruntled fan-base. Newcastle does not just want a new owner, they need a new owner.
4. A team that tries
In Newcastle’s recent defeat to Leicester City, a group of Geordie fans held up a banner to BT Sport’s camera that read: ‘We don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries’ – And after the worst run of defeats in the Club's history there are serious questions about whether NUFC players are even trying.
There is no question that Newcastle United have some talented player such as Siem De Jong and Pappiss Cisse, but there is very little work ethic and it seems the players have thrown in the towel in a relegation dog-fight; they do not just get beat 1 – 0 , they get beaten 3 – 0.
A team that has heart and tries – much like the team of 10/11 is all Newcastle fans want. If there team tries and still loses then they can say ‘Fair play’, but if their team does not try it can leave a very bitter taste.
5. A British spine to the starting XI
The current Newcastle United team is full of players who have no idea of the History behind the Club, or even who played for them ten year ago. Newcastle United is being sold to promising, foreign players as a ‘Stepping Stone’ club where they can earn a move to big-team much like Yohan Cabaye did with PSG.
This is the wrong philosophy for a football club to endorse. NUFC need a British spine to the team – like they had under Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan, signing players who know the History of the team and English football is a good idea.
A lot of Geordies would prefer seeing players who understand their Club turn out at St. James’ Park in oppose to some Mercurial player like Hatem Ben Arfa who has one good game in every 10.
Newcastle fans: Do you agree with the five points raised in this article? Have your say in the comment box provided...