One year on from relegation for NUFC

By Lee Ryder on May 26, 10 09:07 AM

Just over 12 months on since relegation for Newcastle United from the Premier League it still doesn't seem straight forward in the world of the black and whites.

The questions, concerns, hopes and dreams of the Toon Army are evident in a city that knows just what can be achieved at football's top table.

Is a team which contains the bulk of the players that went down 12 months ago strong enough to get to that magic 40 point mark?

That's not opinion, it's a question and one that I've heard for the last eight weeks or ever since it became obvious we we're going back up.

As it stands, and if Newcastle don't sell anybody this summer, the starting line-up for the new season could look either like this: Harper, S Taylor, Williamson, Coloccini, Enrique, Routledge, Smith, Nolan, Jonas, Lovenkrands, Carroll or like this: Harper, S Taylor, Williamson, Coloccini, Routledge, Guthrie, Barton, Jonas, Ameobi, Carroll.

Much of it depends on who you prefer in the centre of midfield and really a fully fit/non self destructive/in form Barton should really be doing what he did at Man City while Guthrie will feel he is ready to be handed the chance of a run of games in the centre of the park.

I'm quite sure Alan Smith and Kevin Nolan will have something to say about that, and it will be interesting to see how the influential duo take to life back in the Premier League.

Defensively we could already be a man down before the season kicks off with Danny Simpson struggling with a tendon problem but Steven Taylor would be more than ample replacement at right-back and given his 2010 so far, he'll jump at the chance of any first team involvement.

Judging from the back end of last season Coloccini, Williamson and Enrique would start in defence and Routledge and Jonas are almost automatic choices out wide.

In attack Andy Carroll leads the way with Peter Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi and Leon Best scrapping for the other starting places while Nile Ranger looks certain to be loaned out by Chris Hughton.

Surely, Hughton has to be allowed to add to that?

A centre-forward in my opinion is vital and one that knows the Premier League.

Unfortunately, everybody wants one of those and they don't come cheap which is a bit of a headache when you've got limited funds.

And if Newcastle do loan out a Wilshere, Cleverley or Welbeck - can they offer them the games they need to justify coming here in the first place if it upsets one of the permanent members of the squad?

It's task that Hughton will already be thinking about now from his sun bed...


Peterktoon said:

My only worry is that I wonder if the team can cope with losing a lot of games in a period of time.. What will the team spirit we hear so much about be like then??
Will the team be able to pick them self up?

And another thing I worry about is will the fans turn on Chris H if we do indeed lose a lot of games and call out for “big name manager” ??

DavidK said:

Isn't it time that the Geordie faithful live up to their title and remember it's not the name but the game that counts and give Chris Hughton the opportunity to continue the job he started so well last season?
The squad is thin, but then it was thin last season in a division with more games. As to the team spirit, that's like a reputation, it takes a long time to achieve and very little time to lose. I personally see signs that the current squad are more than capable of maintaining that spirit even at a higher level and even through the prospect of losing a greater number of games at that higher level. If the performance of both the squad and the supporters last season told us anything, it was that the need for billboard signings to maintain support was a thing of the past and any player additions should be to augment rather than replace the current players (even Shola and Leon Best).

Magdansarf said:

I think it's going to be a case of cross your fingers and touch wood no one gets injured. Our best squad will be capable of holding their own against half the teams in the league especially at SJP but any long term injuries will be a bit worrying. The demotion season was a farce and its no wonder that a lot of talented players who thought they were joining a big side with European and cup ambitions understandably weren’t happy and left the club. What we’re left with is a team of grafters who will work together to get us some results but it probably won’t be pretty.

Peterktoon, surely no fan is deluded enough to think that a ‘big name manager’ would come here right now, they would want money to spend the most we’d get from fatash is a ‘someone you’ve heard of unsuccessful at pretty much every club they’ve been at manager’. CH is as good as it gets and he deserves a good crack at it and I for one will be behind him even if we do loose to some dross, HWTL

manfromutopia said:

You have to be careful Lee in giving credence to the delusional who infest the Chronicle boards with their ridiculous optimism.To say that Smith and Nolan 'will have something to say' about who plays in centre midfield is nothing short of laughable.They,and most of our team,never mind squad,have no chance in the PL.Why suddenly are long term Premiership failures (Simpson,Williamson,Taylor R,Taylor S,Ameobi in addition to Smith & Nolan)deemed as having the 'skill' and 'fight'to keep us up ? Do you see Lovenkrands or Routledge lighting up the Premiership ? There's 9 players who shouldn't even be offered the chance to embarrass the once proud shirt. I agree that Hughton should be given the chance but let's face it,he hasn't got a prayer unless he spends millions - Fat chance.
Yep,at least half the teams in the PL aren't any great shakes but they will soon suss us out as an easy touch. I think you would be doing more of a service by describing the players as most people described them following the debacle at Villa and setting an example by saying that 4th bottom will be a miracle.

Stevie in Iraq said:

I think far too much emphasis has been put on the term 'the same players who took us down'...They might be the same individuals who were relegated, but are by no means the same players or TEAM that grafted, fought, sweat and bled black and white to get us back up in the premier. These lads were leaderless, rudderless and totally demoralised during the whole shambolic relegation season. The managers office may as well have had a revolving door fitted to it, the directors box may as well have had Coco the clown sat in there, and on top of that, they had a hurting, devastated and angry crowd to face every week...Hardly a recipe for a successful team effort to avoid relegation.......Move on 12 months and it cannot be denied that those very same players have had a new lease of life under the calm, professional and dignified stewardship of Chris Hughton, Colin Calderwood and the strong leaders in the dressing room who have proved to all associated with NUFC that they DO understand what it means to be a Newcastle footballer. Alan Smith, Kevin Nolan, Nicky Butt, Stevie Harper, Shola Ameobi and others have played an absolute blinder all season both on the pitch and just as importantly (maybe more so this season) off it!! Yes, Nicky Butt's legs may have gone, but nobody could deny the influence someone of his stature has had on the training ground around the younger players. Also, Joey Barton...the much maligned and often injured bad lad, hasn't spent his time tripping over his lip in the treatment room...he has been seen at vitrually every reserve game, under 18's, Acadamy and first team matches all season. Thats what this club needs right now...COMMITMENT and senior pro's showing the younger lads what it means and what it takes to be a top player for the Toon. Because of this, and the fact that this season has given some much needed first team exposure to the likes of big Andy Carroll and a rehabilitation period for the likes of Collocini to regain his confidence, gives me much cause for optimism for next season. This team spirit which has been forged in the furnace of adversity, i'm sure will see us remain a force to be reckoned with next season at St James Park and a tough team to break down away from home. Apart from the Top 4, there really is no money to spend any more, so the time has finally come in football where a good manager and commited footballers really will be able to compete on a more level playing field next season. None of the bottom 12 teams can be classed as 'established' premier leaugue teams and there is absolutely no resaon we cant compete and beat all of them next season. Yes, we do need a few players to give us more strength in depth, and a few hungry loan players with something to prove to their parent clubs should give us that bit of class and depth to have a real go next year. I can't wait for the season to begin, as I can just tell that these lads want a chance to tear into the teams who mocked and laughed at them when we were relegated. HOWAY THE LADS.......KEEP THE FAITH!!!

chris said:

saying that the top four are the only ones spending big is nonsense, manc, pool, man c, chelski, arsenal, aston villa, birmingham, west ham, even everton all look set to spend big. we are actually in the minority of clubs with no money. Which is why we should land kris boyd, bouma/aurelio, petrov/pederson!. all would be free transfers. then splash a couple mill on a right back and we'll be set. a net spend of say up to 4 million i think we could and should be able to cope with, so bring in those players and then splash some money on a quality right back!

Jackie W said:

I am reluctant to say this but Chris Hughton is not the man for the job . I have to tip my hat at the bloke for his calm and dignified aproach to last season but come one how couldnt you get promoted from that league with the squad we had . Yes they took us down , yes they had no team spirit and yes they were over paid and over hyped but nevertheless a country mile above every other squad in the football league. ..For the money spent on just one of our players ( pick any from Collocini , Enrique , Nolan , Smith , Barton etc etc ) and you could have nearly bought Blackpools first team squad. Where do you reckon Blackpool would have finished with Chrissy boy at the helm ...exactly. His appointment as the permanent gaffer was up there with the best Newcastle Gaffs and you can all buy in to the " deserves the chance " and " well liked in the game "rubbish spouted by all and sundry but mark my words we are about to get a rude awakining. The bloke is going to get about 5 million to strengthen and we will be relying heavily on his judgement in the transfer market to hit the 40 points required ..Leon Best anyone ? Sorry to be all doom and gloom but regardless of what your heart (and Lee Ryder lol ) is telling you , we all know this has Glen Roeder written all over it What price Hughton gone just after Christmas ?


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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