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Hopes and fears

By Lee Ryder on Aug 25, 11 08:34 AM

For a couple of hours only tonight Newcastle United fans will focus once again on football rather than transfers when they travel to Glanford Park for the second round of the Carling Cup.

So far this season, the Toon Army have not sounded their concerns over what they feel is a serious lack of investment by their side.

But if the Arsenal and Sunderland games are anything to go by, those feelings will be put on hold while Newcastle tackle the Iron tonight in leafy North Lincolnshire.

Yet going into the final week of the window, there are hopes and fears on Tyneside.

If you have had your head in the sand since Andy Carroll was sold, those concerns are about the shape of the squad and the lack of depth which have left many fans worried over what might be a long hard winter ahead.

With Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique long gone and Barton also absent at Glanford Park, some have claimed the heart and soul has been ripped out of the team.

As it stands, Newcastle still have stars like Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote which is at least something to hang their hat on, but arguably nowhere near enough.

Others may argue, that with a French revolution taking place in the Toon locker room and a clutch of promising youngsters coming through such as Haris Vuckic, Shane Ferguson and Dan Gosling - plus Hatem Ben Arfa to come back from injury, the future can be bright when things settle down.

Newcastle have snapped up Slyvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Mehdi Abeid and Gabriel Obertan thus far.

The approach in the transfer market has been calculated, sounding out the best deals and trying to unearth potential bargains.

That was the case with Dan Gosling and would have been the case with Neil Taylor until he opted to sit it out at Swansea.

But spending big is out for now, unless there is an unlikely end to the transfer window.

A centre-forward and a left-back remain the underlying worry.

Some are not expecting much from the transfer window and a nervous but anti-climatic closure to deadline day.

Then there are those living in fear...

In fear that we will see another Carroll-type hammer blow right at the death and star men like Coloccini and Tiote flogged without enough time to recover - or be left trawling the soccer scrapheap for another Shefki Kuqi.

In fear that bids will be made but players aren't forced over the line such as in previous windows when Charles N'Zogbia and Kieran Richardson were heavily mooted but weren't recruited in time.

Memories of Joe Kinnear painfully explaining that Newcastle "tried" to sign Richardson from a rival club who were never ever going to sell, have left a psychological mark in the back of this hack's mind.

Then there are some who feel that leaving business to the last in the transfer window will only produce heartache and pain.

It was Alan Pardew who said that while Newcastle are out of the top six and don't spend mega money they are "vulnerable" to bigger fish.

But while his point is valid, they are also vulnerable to the other side of the coin which means that clubs will hike up their prices in the closing stages of the window.

Certainly, Newcastle scored a major fee the other way round when Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool for £35million.

The next few days will certainly be interesting, but until business is completed and the final product is there for all to see, nobody can do anything but be drawn to their hopes and fears.

4 Comments

LeazesLass said:

Good points Lee. I too fear a sudden sale of either or both of those two players.If that happens then we will know once and for all, that the owner amd chairman have no real ambition for this club, and simply see it as a money making opportunity.

Malta Mag said:

The majority of our fans spent 2 years criticising the management and board for bringing Joey Barton to the club. people like me were in the minority and were willing to give him a chance and we were proved right. The owners then stood by him while he served time in prison and then was injured. Recently he not only publicly criticised the people who pay his wages but also ridiculed a living legend in Shearer?
Sorry to see such a good player go but let's at least look at the bigger picture??

Chris Gray said:

Once again, Lee, reading the ridiculous comments on the various Chronicle blogs, I am left wondering whether Newcastle supporters have even an ounce of sense. Barton is bad news, and always has been. Nolan was finished well before he came to us – why else would Bolton have sold him? They knew his legs had gone, which we saw immediately – remember the derby when he made his debut? Everyone saying, he can’t be match fit, he must be carrying an injury. No, he was just slow, slow, slow. A great finisher and a legend after his hat trick, but not part of a premiership side long term. That’s why he’s back in the championship. Carroll, Enrique – unfortunate but for over £40m you can’t argue, and anyway we’ve been there before with Macdonald, Beardsley, Gascoigne, Waddle, Kennedy etc. And why does everyone say we have a “paper-thin” squad? It’s absolute rubbish. We need a left back, that’s all (and arguably we already have one in Marveaux, who has played almost as many games there as he has on the left wing). We can’t accommodate any more midfield players – Gutierrez, Cabaye, Guthrie, Tiote, Smith, Meidi, Obertan, Marveaux, Vukic, Ryan Taylor, Gosling, Ben Arfa, Ferguson – and Barton hasn’t actually left yet as far as we know: how many do you want for goodness sake? Up front: Ameobi, Ba, Best, Lovenkrands and still Ranger. OK, needs improving (a new addition would be good) but even minus Ba it did alright for us last season once Carroll was injured and then sold. Defence: three excellent centre backs plus Kadar who’s very good, and enough right back cover. Goalkeeper no problem – if anything an embarrassment of riches. Left back is the issue, and if that gets sorted with someone like Pieters, who is excellent, then I for one would be happy. As I say, a striker would be nice as well. But why does everyone have such a negative view of everything? And I just cannot understand the comments about the squad being “paper-thin”. Nonsense. A lot of people are going to be made to look very silly when this regime proves to be at least as successful as any other in living memory. Nobody likes them (even I don’t really) but that isn’t the point: it’s results that count and this lot are going about it in the right way in most respects. If only they’d communicate, of course, then things would be so much better. As it is they are simply inviting the vitriol which is being thrown at them from every angle. And, the window doesn’t shut for another week. Don’t hold your breath, though …

RAF MAG said:

Lee, its interesting you mention the £35 Million, lets not forget the £5.5 Million from our only left back! so that nearly £41 Milliion so where is it. To me it is becoming ever more clear why Houghton lost his Job..because he had vision where as AP seems more like a puppet. The fans no the sound of failure when a manager speaks (the toon fans more than most). How can you go from saying 'we will definatley have 2 more signings before the derby' then whn nothing is obviously happening change your tune to 'well we have a lot of the reserve squad knocking on the door'. Why cant he be honest and just say the board what to keep the cash despite what they have promised and I have jad to look elsewhere. We would be happy but atleast we wont feel insulted by you expecting the fans to believe what you are saying. The belief that Ameobi is the answer is still a delusion that only the management at NUFC can see, he aint a bd player but he isnt a permier striker. Arsenal was a prime example time and time again he fell over..Leon Best came on stood up and caused the gunner back 4 rpoblems from the word go..this is the player BA should be paired with. Come on Lee stand up for the fans and say it how it is, the boad are full of eastern promise only to find the turkish delight is a cheep rip off made in china. There are players out there we need and yes they cost money but hey as per the start of this comment £41 Million, where is it?

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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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