Frustrations of a Newcastle Fan
A Champions League manager with a Championship squad. That’s the way that Newcastle United has been described this season. And no, Championship is not a good thing when it comes to English soccer. The Championship is actually the league below the Premier League, and for teams near the bottom of the table in the EPL standings, Championship is not a word that any of them want to hear. Unfortunately, Newcastle fans have become very familiar with that word over the last decade.
For those following Newcastle or the Premier League over that time, you probably know why the team has struggled, and it all began in 2007. That’s the year when current owner Mike Ashley took over the team. Since that time, Newcastle has been relegated to the Championship twice, in 2009 and 2016, and are well on their way to yet another appearance in the lower tier. Through nine matches this season, Newcastle have managed just 2 points and currently sit in last place. That’s a quarter of the way through the season and this team has yet to win a game. Not good.
During their last game, a 1-0 loss to Brighton, there was a comment during the broadcast about how the Newcastle board knows they need to spend money in the January transfer window in order to compete in the second half of the season and hopefully avoid relegation. While that seems like common sense, things aren’t exactly that easy. Talk to any fan and they won’t hesitate to tell you that the real problem with the team isn’t the manager, or the players, but rather their owner. Mike Ashley has been notorious for being cheap during the transfer windows, opting to bring in a collection of relatively small-name or unknown players instead of reaching for one big star. This strategy would make sense for a team with a small budget, but Newcastle has a strong fanbase and typically brings in a lot of revenue. In 2015, they were the 17th-highest revenue producing club in the world. Not England, not just Europe, but all over the world. With that kind of revenue, the team should be able to spend on signing a star player or two.
Even though it’s still early in the season, relegation is starting to seem like the most probable outcome. Newcastle has scored just six goals this season, and has been held without a goal in four of nine matches. The only good news for the team right now is that they’re only six points behind the 13th place team, so it’s not too late to find some success. The future doesn’t look great, but there’s still some hope for this team left this season.