To kick off the brand new series ‘NUFC Hotspot Opinions’, we discuss the five lowest points of our current campaign. Although the season is currently unfinished, the return of football, scheduled for June 17th, will no doubt have a whole new feeling to it. We thought now would be the perfect time to reflect on a turbulent season so far.
5) The exit of Perez & Rondon
The transfer window at Newcastle United was not a great one in all honesty. Although the club broke their transfer record when splashing £40 million on Joelinton this window was overshadowed by the departure of our top two goalscorers from the 2018/19 season.
I believe a player will only leave a football club for 2 reasons; money or ambition.
Ayoze Perez left the North East for the latter of those reasons. While he developed immensely during his spell here, it felt as though the ambitions of the club had been capped at a top half finish, while Leicester City have been flirting with the Champions League positions since their unexpected title win.
Salomon Rondon on the other hand repeatedly expressed his desire to remain at St James Park past the expiration of his loan spell. The reason for his departure can be directly pinpointed to the reluctance from Mike Ashley to pay the permanent fee of the ageing striker.
4) Replacement of Rafa Benitez with Steve Bruce
Furthering on from the previous point, the combination of Rafa Benitez leaving Newcastle due to his frustration over lack of backing, and the subsequent arrival of Steve Bruce truly highlighted the lack of ambition clogging up the arteries of our club.
This is not a personal dig at Steve Bruce by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I think he has achieved the objectives he was initially tasked with when appointed.
The point purely focuses on the negativity which spread throughout the city when a Champions League manager who really understood our club, and was fully emerged in the philosophy and vision of the fans, was allowed to walk away due to the selfishness of Mike Ashley.
It can be argued that the name of Steve Bruce could be replaced by a whole host of managers, and would still have reflected a backwards step from Rafa Benitez.
3) Losses to Leicester City
Throughout the campaign, in both the Premier League and the EFL cup, we have faced Leicester City three times. A running theme throughout these matches was the team in black and white leaving the match empty handed.
A 5-0 away defeat provided us with our heaviest defeat of the season, while a 3-0 home loss to the foxes, repeated that record for our heaviest home defeat. The penalty loss in the EFL cup also knocked us out of that competition.
These defeats emphasised the direction of the two clubs, with the Leicester owner displaying all the traits of a successful football club owner, Mike Ashley continues to further separate our great club from the fans.
2) Defeat at Carrow Road
I personally feel the loss to Norwich City was more concerning than the two heavy defeats inflicted by Leicester in the Premier League.
When putting this defeat into context, we suffered a slim loss on the opening to weekend to Arsenal, before our next fixture served up an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to newly promoted Norwich.
Relegation became the hot topic of discussion around the club due to not only the result, but the awful all round performance from a multitude of players. The omission of any degree of a tactical plan worried all fans about the direction our season would head in.
1) Suspension of Football
Topping our list of the worst moments of NUFC’s season so far is the suspension of football. This postponement of football was an understandable one, when taking a global pandemic into consideration.
Although an understandable decision, the reality of no football was a low point for us as fans. We have not exaggerated when describing how bad some of our footballing performances have been so far this season, but in my opinion, no football is much worse than bad football.
There is more to miss than just the 90 minutes. With football being postponed a lot of fans have lost the focal point of their weekend. The match-days have gone, the anticipation of a good result, and the discussions that follow a controversial decision.
I just hope that football can return safely, not just on the pitch, but within the stands. Isn’t it just typical Newcastle United, that our first FA Cup quarter final in 14 years will be played out behind closed doors!
In summary the current campaign has provided us with some low points both on and off the pitch. As expected with our club, things never run smoothly, but then again this is one of the reasons that makes it so special, the unknown nature of what is round the corner.
Keep your eye out for a Top 5 Moments of our current campaign soon. Hopefully in years to come the good will outweigh the negatives!
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