In a world that is constantly moving forward, standing still means falling behind. This is true for life and even more so for football. For Newcastle United, the failure to build on last season’s success will mean the club will struggle to make an impact this year.
According to Alan Pardew, Newcastle’s top priority was retaining their star players, and so it should have been – but it shouldn’t have been their only priority. To end the transfer window with only one addition to the first team was an utter failure by the management of the club. After standing stubbornly still while the likes of Everton, Spurs and Arsenal made signing after signing, it should come as no surprise to see the club languishing in mid-table obscurity.
If Newcastle United want to be considered a Big Club, then they must develop a Big Club Mentality. There was a collective sigh of relief when the club held on to Cabaye, Ba and Cisse while not a mention was made of the absence of any new faces. Without proper investment over the next year, Newcastle run the risk of surrendering the ground they made up after promotion back to the Premier League.
At the beginning of the season Pardew implored Newcastle fans not to judge their season until after ten games. Let the judging begin. Newcastle have put in one toothless performance after another, failing to control possession in game after game. If it weren’t for token games against second-rate opposition like Bruges and Maritimo, Geordies would have little to be cheery about.
An uninspired performance against West Ham was preceded by a lucky escape at Anfield, a game where Newcastle were thoroughly outplayed. There has also been the “get out of jail free” result against West Brom, a point against a poor Sunderland side and a 3-0 thrashing by Manchester United.
This time last year Newcastle were sitting in third place with 22 points from ten games. Today, the prospect of climbing the table and reaching those heights again is looking bleaker by the week. Looking back, it is only now that we can truly appreciate what the team achieved last year. Fans should enjoy the fruits of that achievement while it lasts because based on current form, Newcastle will not be in Europe next season.