Newcastle United must accept their current struggles in order to improve

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To many of us it seems a lifetime ago since Newcastle United were competing for European places under the great Sir Bobby Robson - the picture now couldn't be more different.

The club is in disarray and has been since its relegation from the Premier League in 2009. The fans demand passionate football, yet the Magpies have appeared incapable of anything but for much of the last five years. 

Changes are undoubtedly needed, with smarter transfer policies a must given the fact attacking players were bought in January despite a need for defensive reinforcements.


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The age-old cliché goes that one must first build from the back, yet it's become a case that each season Newcastle will cave to fans' wishes and sign exciting prospects going forward.

What's ultimately at the heart of the club's problems, though, are the unrealistic targets set. Those at the club, from manager Steve McClaren upwards, would have targeted a top-eight finish, yet this was never going to be the case for a side that belongs in the lower half of the Premier League.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but the club must accept where they're likely to finish and simply aim for slightly higher. Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City are a case in point here, the Foxes aiming to beat relegation prior to this campaign yet now find themselves top of the table.

Another change that must be made is the mentality of Newcastle fans, the local press and managers brave enough to take on the post.

Supporters should not expect the world of every new player, the media should not remind each that it's an honour to play for the club and the manager should not sign footballers he thinks the club wants.

Instead, fans need to appreciate and support during times of adversity rather than get on the players' backs. High expectations breeds pressure and pressure encourages mistakes.

If they accept their current status and focus on achieving the necessary seasonal goal of survival, then Newcastle, with the quality of players they possess, should steer clear of the bottom three.

In time the Magpies can work to re-establish the golden age, but in the meantime they should bide their time and achieve the bear necessities.

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