Well this is it, the final match preview of this season and arguably the biggest match in the last twenty years for Newcastle United. A few have expressed hope that they would prefer to see us go down as a means to rid us of Ashley, I’m not so sure that is a given. Relegation has failed to force the Venky’s out of Blackpool, Vincent Tan out of Cardiff or the Oyston family from Blackpool, if we go down either one of two things will happen; either Ashley uses his considerable wealth to ensure we have the strongest squad in the division as he did last time or he loses interest altogether and allows us to rot away in the lower tiers of English football.
That isn’t to say the prospect of victory on Sunday is too attractive either, I fail to be convinced that there’ll be significant investment in the summer, I believe the way this season has panned out may have shocked him enough to look into increasing the squad size and to get rid of players past their sell by date; but there isn’t a chance of him putting up the sort of outlay that would get us even close to competing for European places again. Back in 2012 the opportunity was there to invest £30 million or so into the playing staff which could have provided the injection needed to qualify for the Champions League, that ship has now sailed and we’d need to buy a whole new team to get to that standard again.
In regards to the game itself we are boosted by the fact we can field a back four of defenders for the first time in months, I’m as horrified as anybody when I see Mike Williamson in a black and white shirt but we can’t justify going into this game with Jonas or Ryan Taylor in the defence (or midfield for that matter). I’d like to see Abeid and Colback in the centre midfield although I strongly doubt it, with Sissoko and Sammy as wide men; I’m not Sammy’s biggest fan and I hope this is his last game for the club but I’d sooner take a gamble on the hopelessly inconsistent younger brother having one of his good days than Cabella who has done literally nothing since coming here and a half fit Rolando Aarons. I’d also stick with Riviere who had a good first half last week, he brings others into play and I don’t think we can afford to throw Cisse in there given his poor hold up play and inability to find another black and white shirt; pinning my hopes on Ayoze here.
If you missed it the lads behind AshleyOut.com have planned a sit in upon the final whistle, in the event of us staying up this would send out a strong message that we’re not willing to become the sort of fanbase who are overjoyed at the prospect of Premier League survival year upon year and that the clubs desperate attempts to downsize Newcastle United and lower supporter expectation do not sit well with us. If we end up going down on Sunday then the sit in protest could well end up looking desperate and provide ammunition to those that look to poke fun at us, having said that it has been a long time since I gave a flying fuck what Ray Parlour, Stan Collymore, Paddy Barclay and van drivers from Dagenham have to say about those of us who know Newcastle United best and are ultimately best placed to smell a great big rat in its presence.
Wishing all TF readers an enjoyable summer!
(Ed: many thanks to Ryan for his match previews this season).
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