A life more ordinary

By Lee Ryder on May 24, 11 07:46 AM

Given the incredible low of 2009 and the consequent huge high of promotion in 2010, I don't think a bit of mid-table mediocrity should really come as a major surprise.

Somen Tchoyi's hat-trick may have felt agonising and was painful to watch but if anybody was in danger of getting carried away at St James' Park on Sunday against West Brom, we were provided with a short, sharp shock.

Finishing ninth and above Sunderland would have been a good way to end the season but the reality is that nothing has changed moving forward.

Newcastle still need major reinvestment, there are still players that must be tied down to longer contracts, dead wood must still be cleared and the evidence of this season, we are still some way behind the teams challenging for the Europa League and years away from even living with the top four.

If a reality check was needed we got one against West Brom.

This season Newcastle have put up a good fight against some of the top teams in the division.

Manchester United (0-0), Arsenal (4-4 and 1-0), Chelsea (1-1, 4-3 and 2-2), Liverpool (3-1) and Tottenham (1-1).

United also made a reasonable account of themselves against the teams in and around things such as Aston Villa (6-0), Everton (1-0 away) and of course we tore Sunderland apart on a humiliating never to be forgotten day for the Mackems in October in a tremendous 5-1 win.

The worrying aspect of the season has to be that United didn't do it against the teams that United players vowed to get the better of in pre-season.

Newcastle failed to beat Wigan, Stoke, Fulham, Bolton, Blackpool, West Brom and Blackburn at home and this would have been the difference between an ordinary campaign and an unbelievable one.

The reason being has to be the squad's lack of depth in my humble opinion.

There is a clear lack of a regular goalscorer even though the goals were spread around the team.

Remarkably this was the best Premier League season for goals at St James' Park since the 1999/2000 season with 41 goals rattled in for the fans to enjoy.

But for me that does not change the fact that a predator is required on Tyneside.

In the games mentioned (the likes of Stoke and Blackburn) above, United failed to kill the game off during periods when they were in control.

A lethal marksman is the answer to that.

And while they don't grow on trees and don't come cheap, the main mission this summer has to be to find the man who can lift an entire city this summer.

Older fans will recall the arrivals of Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand in 1996 and 1995 and know what type of an impact it can have at St James' Park.

In recent years there seems to have been an unwillingness to spend any type of real money on transfers.

Mike Ashley has seemed hell-bent on getting on top of the club's debt and for that he must be given a degree of credit.

However, the summer ahead is key for everybody connected with the black and whites.

Players and backroom staff have made their feelings clear: money must be spent to kick on next season.

At least three or four quality additions are needed on Tyneside in the coming months and it would be great to see the likes of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and - although I can't see it happening - Jose Enrique all sign new deals.

An interesting and anxious few months lie in wait.


keir said:

a great season despite some frustrating results as you mentioned.

Forget finishing above Sunderland - this was about staying up...job done.

If we are sat here in twelve months in 10th place then ill be happy.

consolidation and rebuilding are the name of the game now.

Graham Southern Toon said:

I have to agree that staying up was the main aim this season, but I also agree that this could have been a really great season if we had beaten some of the lesser teams in the league. Selling Carroll was a mistake in my opinion, we should have been buying a partner for him in January and maybe Europe would have been achieveable?
Cant see us keeping Enrique, Barton maybe away too so not a great start to the summer! We should be doing eveything to keep them, get rid of Smith, R.Taylor, Perch, Lovenkrads and Guthrie.
What about trying to get Defoe and Sturridge? Those two could provide goals for sure.

Ade said:

Lee gotta agree we need to splash out on a proven and lethal marksman. In fact most of what you say should be obvious. Ashley doesn't seem to do the obvious tho. More likely is that he'll sell all the people we should retain, replace them with younger, cheaper alternatives. And gamble that we can avoid relegation. If we do avoid relegation that will be Ashley's version of success.


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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