So, that was that then. Newcastle United travelled to Aston Villa needing to win to stay in the fight for survival and of course they didn’t. It was the most Newcastle United thing ever that they failed to beat one of the worst ever teams the Premier League has ever seen. United was the only team in the PL not to beat Villa this season. That doesn’t shock you does it? It was inevitable that a team that has flickered into life in recent weeks and looked like delivering an unlikely survival should cross the white line at Villa Park and deliver one of the most limp, anaemic performances we have witnessed of this wretched season.
News from elsewhere this Saturday gone variously cheered and crushed us but it never really mattered, relegation is inevitable for a collection of cowards and cheats now likely in talks with agents to get them moves to some other mug club that will put up with their cowardice. You all know who I’m talking about but for the avoidance of doubt I’ll excuse Rob Elliott, Karl Darlow, Jamaal Lascelles, Andros Townsend, Chancel Mbemba and … naw, no more, that’s it. They are the only players we have had turn out this season who I would like to see stay at United. The rest can fuck off.
There is a culture of failure at Newcastle United that runs through the club from the indifference of Mike Ashley to the incompetence of Charnley and Carr and a further collection of has-beens and yes men (step forward Peter Beardsley and Bob Moncur) and it has seeped into the fabric of our club. Losing doesn’t matter as long as profit is on the bottom line. That has been a toxic culture that has infected every nook and cranny of SJP.
This imminent relegation wasn’t cooked up this season. It has been years in the post. With the head-banging appointment of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football, retaining Pardew well beyond his sell-by date, allowing John Carver to coach a PL team for half a season, the appointment of the very definition of failure in Steve McClaren and the brain-dead transfer model, United have been seemingly intent upon relegation. Throw in a dysfunctional recruitment policy and a development squad / academy that is failing year on year and things are going downhill fast. That’s not to mention Lee Charnley’s disastrous self-satisfaction at the profit he has delivered for his boss over these last few years. Charnley actually thinks he’s been doing a good job I don’t doubt. If ever the expression, Fool’s Gold was applicable then this is it.
United are now set to miss out on the riches of the new TV deal. At a stroke our finances will be devastated. Burnley, Boro and whoever is to be promoted with them are now looking at revenue that will dwarf Newcastle United’s. Bournemouth are now set to be a richer club than Newcastle United FC. This is the good financial husbandry Mike Ashley has brought to Newcastle United through the dolts he has appointed and none moreso than Lee Charnley. I repeat however, Lee Charnley in the terms of how his performance is measured, has been doing a good job. Lee Charnley has just had a significant pay-increase. This is the world of Mike Ashley and this is the world of Newcastle United. Football club? Don’t make me laugh!
Ordinary men and women who have Newcastle United as an employer are now facing a redundancy situation that will be every bit as savage as 2009. I’d like to see the millionaires in their sports cars explain to club staff receiving their P45s how difficult it was for them to put a sweat on playing for our club on so many occasions since August. It is absolutely shameful and heart-breaking.
No doubt, attention will switch to the future of Rafa Benitez. Here are my words of counsel – Rafa Benitez is now in the last week of his time at Newcastle United. The Spaniard couldn’t fail at United. If anything by getting something of a tune out of this basket-case of a squad he has if anything enhanced his reputation. His stock is still high and as a manager he will be in demand this summer I have no doubt. This relegation is not the fault of Rafa Benitez. His appointment has proven to be too little, too late as many feared.
There may be a managerial vacancy at Everton which would suit Benitez’s family down to the ground but there might also be at Southampton and doubtless elsewhere including the Spanish national team which is sure to interest him. Mike Ashley would have to work hard to keep one of the best managers in Europe at United but that is not in the man’s character. He has no understanding or respect for football talent and neither does the man he notionally employs to run United for him.
Ashley and Charnley have a myopic view of how football works. They will see Benitez’s wage demands and walk away. They will appoint someone on a fraction of the money but completely fail to recognise their reduced talent. But they will congratulate themselves on getting a bargain. They will not, they cannot learn from their mistakes. Their wiring will not allow them to reflect on their errors. We are dealing with fools and knaves here.
What happens next is anyone’s guess but I’d imagine history will repeat itself. United will bleed to death over the summer for the want of a workable plan of recovery and a new leadership at SJP to take it forward.
I fully expect social media, so often the arena for the loud and the lazy to buzz with demands for all kinds of action. Boycotts and protests will be firmly back on the agenda. Good luck to those who wish to pursue this strategy. But I’m too bruised and care-worn to have anything to do with them. I’m worn down with the whole thing. I’ll go to the match next season and I’ll likely do a good few aways. It might also get to 3pm and I’ll decide to stay in the pub. Or I might decide to stay and have an afternoon with my significant other. Or it might get to half time and I’ll not be arsed and walk out. I might skip loads of games and dump my season ticket on some poor unsuspecting sap. But I’ll still be there or thereabouts. I’m not chucking it but I won’t be criticising anyone who decides they have had enough. I think I have had it myself but for various reasons, I’ll stay close to something that has meant a lot to me and lots like me. I won’t be poncing off to non-league football and talking laughably of “football with soul” as some kind of phony bull-shit standpoint. Newcastle United is my team and that’s that but I have to say it isn’t generating the same feelings it once did. Like many of you reading this, I’m running on empty.
This coming Sunday when we face Spurs, the game will be played in front of a St James’ Park that has been sold out for two weeks. I expect it will be played in a funereal atmosphere but I don’t expect Mike Ashley will be in attendance. Neither do I expect any statement from the club regarding future direction or anything you might expect. I fully expect a routine defeat on Sunday and the stands to be deserted by the full time whistle. I just expect the club to drift to the last sorry game of this season as it has drifted, doing its own thing for the last nine, desperate years of Mike Ashley.
I do want the vast majority of this sorry band of wasters in this squad to fuck off out of our club and I do firmly believe that every day that Charnley and Carr are in situ is a day wasted in what might be regarded as the rebuilding and recovery of Newcastle United if that can ever happen under the cancer that is Mike Ashley.
I would like to thank Rafa Benitez for his time at our club and although I’d desperately want him to stay to build a proper football institution, the truth is that will be impossible under the current ownership. I’d be amazed to learn if Ashley even likes football in any sense whatsoever.
I’d also like to congratulate Boro on their promotion. That part of the world deserves some success – SAVE OUR STEEL.
We’ll be doing the usual all this week online but after the Spurs game we’ll outline what is planned for the close season.
That’s it then.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
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