Welcome, a very merry TFFmas from all of us here at the blog. As we head into the holiday season, there is plenty to look forward to both on the pitch and off it and we are looking forward to the month ahead. This December we will be running the 25 Days of TFFmas, every day up until the big day we will be we are publishing Christmas wishlists from members of our team for what they would like their club to get for Christmas.
Day 21 sees us speak to TFF Newcastle’s Joseph Jordan. He tells us what the high-flying Magpies could do with this Christmas. He is one of a number of our large Newcastle contingent here at TFF, check out what Jack Pattison, Joe Buck and Andrew Cliff thought here. We sure hope there are no disagreements!
Newcastle are a club on the way back. Last season they suffered the pain of relegation, paying the ultimate price for years of stagnation. The club were unable to prevent their gradual decline and to make things worse, their relegation was confirmed by their arch-rivals Sunderland beating Everton. There is little doubt in the footballing community that if Rafa Benitez was appointed earlier they would have survived. However, it was not to be and Rafa’s renaissance was too late. Newcastle then set to work rebuilding their squad, Wijnaldum, Sissoko and Cisse plus other big money flops were shipped out and fresh faces including proven Championship quality players were brought in such as Matt Ritchie, Mo Diame and Dwight Gayle, incredibly, their net spend was +£29m. After an early blip, two defeats in the first two matches, Newcastle hit their stride and haven’t looked back since. They put together a nine-game unbeaten run in the league and sit at the top of the Championship destined to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking. They also had a good run in the EFL Cup, although they will be disappointed to go out 3-1 on penalties to Hull in the quarter-finals after pushing them so hard throughout the 120 minutes. While in the FA Cup they will confident of being able to progress into the fourth round considering the ease in which they brushed Birmingham aside in the league and the upheaval the sacking of Gary Rowett and appointment of Gianfranco Zola has caused.
Wish 1- Get rid of the rotation system
There’s no doubt that Newcastle’s squad is the best in the Championship by far but is it too good? Certainly one of Rafa’s biggest problems is giving everyone enough game tie so there is no sulking which could negatively affect the dressing room. It must be hard for Rafa to strike the balance between rotation and consistency that all top sides need to succeed. Rafa has tended to favour rotation more though and recently Newcastle have rarely named an unchanged line-up. Premier League regulars Chancel Mbemba, Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic have all had to settle for life mostly on the bench coupled with sporadic starts and it is testament to Rafa Benitez that there has been no obvious signs of tension and frustration boiling over from the dressing room. However, there is an argument that you should always go out there with your best team and this is certainly Joseph’s point of view. “It doesn’t make sense not to field your best team when you can.”
Wish 2- A return to the Premier League
So far it’s only been five months away but already the reality of being a Championship club has kicked in for Newcastle, they’ve been faced with the barrage of midweek games the second-tier presents you with and they have faced trips to Barnsley and Burton, whereas, last year it was Manchester United and Chelsea. There is also the difference in the way the opposition set up, in the Premier League Newcastle were often seen as equals or even a very winnable match so teams were prepared to attack them, something they could exploit. However, in the Championship, Newcastle is like a cup final for a lot of teams and home and away attendance records have and will be broken throughout the season. This also means that teams come into games with the mentality not to lose rather than to win, causing them to defend deep and try to frustrate Newcastle. Clearly, this makes the game much harder and at times less interesting to watch, They may be winning more often but for the Geordie faithful, the Premier League is the only place they want to be. To sum in up from Joseph, “The Championship is rubbish.”
Wish 3- An Oil tycoon to take over
It wouldn’t be Newcastle without talking about the owner. Mike Ashley’s running of the club has quickly made him one of the most unpopular men in the city. The Sports Direct founder has often been criticised for not backing his manager’s financially and a general lack of investment in the club, despite an estimated personal wealth of £1.5m, and this is what has caused the club’s gradual descent into the Championship. His underhand tactics to try and gain a controlling stake in Rangers, which included loaning 5 Newcastle players to the club, also won him enemies in the footballing community. “If we were taken over by an Oil tycoon then all of these worries could go away and we could finally invest in the squad to bring those great European nights back to St James’.”
Do you agree with this list?
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Thank you to Joseph Jordan for contributing today, we’ll see you tomorrow for another member and another wishlist!