It’s fair to say Newcastle have had a decent first season back in the top flight of English football following a respectable 12th placed finish. It could have been even better for the Magpies if they hadn’t conceded a 90th minute equaliser on Sunday in the 3-3 draw with West Brom, as those extra two points would have resulted in a 9th place finish. Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley are already looking ahead to next season and Ashley is setting his sights on European football and silverware as the main aim. It’s certainly a statement of intent by the Newcastle owner but is he being overzealous with his goals for next year, or is it a realistic possibility for the Toon Army?
While I admire the ambition Ashley is showing I can’t help but think he is getting a little presumptuous in his expectations for the club next year. After one season back in the big time, surely the next step is building on the progress made this season and re-establishing the club as a top ten side. Yes, all the fans would love to be challenging for honours and a top six finish, but are you getting a little ahead of yourself Mr Ashley? I think Newcastle should set out with survival as the main aim once more and depending how the season unfolds, then loftier desires can be considered. Maybe it’s me not having enough faith and the club should be looking to challenge on those fronts next year? There’s no doubt the club is big enough to be brushing shoulders with the top six, however I feel it takes more than one season back in the Premiership before the club can realistically scale such heights.
Newcastle will be spending money in the transfer window this summer, that’s a given, but there have been fears among the fans that it won’t be as much as there hoping for. If Ashley does present Alan Pardew with the funds to bring in players of the calibre Pardew alludes to in this quote from the Daily Mail, then who knows, maybe Newcastle can set their sights slightly higher next season, “We could attract a squad here I know would keep us safe in this division but that’s not what Mike wants and it’s not what I want. We want to try and excel. We have to try and take a few chances with players that will keep us in the division but who might take us on to that next level.” Pardew is giving the impression he intends to try and lure players in the summer that are capable of injecting some extra quality into the side to push Newcastle on towards bigger things.
Let‘s imagine Newcastle sign a couple of quality big name players for hefty transfer fees this summer. Then the pendulum would swing for a lot of fans towards optimism and Ashley and Pardew’s bold statements about silverware and European football, though still premature, would carry slightly more weight with me for one. However until I see the fruits of a summer of transfer wheeling and dealing, my current stance remains one of positivity for the season ahead, but not one of glory and success just yet.
Written by Tom MacGregor