June 2011 Archives
Before I go any further, I know that football isn't played on paper, it's played on grass.
Last season, at times, Newcastle United's squad was as thin as paper but with our first friendly game just two weeks away and things beginning to hot up Toon fans are now starting to wonder just what sort of starting XI we can produce for the opening game of the Premier League season.
I'm interested to know what YOUR team would be if the transfer window shut today.
Newcastle United will have an extra body on their hands come July 4 when Wayne Routledge regroups with his Toon team-mates after a six month stint on loan at Queens Park Rangers.
For Routledge, it represents yet another new dawn after QPR pulled the plug on a permanent transfer to Loftus Road.
Once again Routledge finds himself at a crossroads in a career that has had its fair share of thrills and spills.
Have you ever heard the one about the two Scousers, three French lads and the bloke from Buckinghamshire?
Well as far as Newcastle United are concerned, that is story of the summer so far with three incoming new faces from France and the departure of a popular figure in Kevin Nolan.
This has been my first chance to have a say on Nolan but for those who see this as good business I can certainly see why for a player that reaches 29 this month and by his own high standards suffered a dip in form in the second half of the season.
In the aftermath of relegation two years ago there is no doubt that "player power" laid the foundations of Chris Hughton's subsequent Coca-Cola Championship triumph.
With Tyneside losing its head and silence coming from within the four walls of St James' Park, a stand needed to be made.
Just over two years ago, bemused players returned for pre-season training with many of them not knowing who would be in charge of the team, let alone if they were going to stay.
With Alan Shearer sidelined and the camp split over whether he should have remained in charge, it was down to Hughton to lead the troops.
And so we've reached one of those periods in the life of a football fan which feels like walking through the desert without even a mirage in sight.
Yes, the light at the end of the tunnel during a non-World Cup or non-Euros summer seems some distance away at the start of June.
But still plenty to keep us entertained at St James' Park without a ball being kicked.
Agent brinkmanship and clubs unwilling to cough up thousands of pounds in wages for a month's pay in June to a player sitting on the beach hardly helps the anxieties of fans up and down the country.
That's not to say there won't be new faces coming to Tyneside in June, far from it.