Premier League? You’re having a laugh!

Posted on August 3rd, 2010 | 27 Comments |

Welcome to the twilight zone.
Welcome to the twilight zone.
Thoughts on Tyneside are beginning to turn towards the start of the Premier League season and the return of real football, not this World Cup malarkey.

That task at hand is simple, survival is the minimum target. That’s not to say we can’t finish higher up the table than 17th place, but let’s just say that if somebody offered me 17th place and a guarantee of Premier League football in the 2011/2012 season right now, then I would snap their hand off.

But that got me thinking. Should we really be settling for 17th place? Can we not push on a bit higher than that, even with the players we have now? Am I being hopelessly optimistic by even contemplating this? Probably yes, according to some, but I don’t see why we can’t push on this season and secure safety in comfort. The Premier League holds no fears for me.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be some tough games along the way, in fact we start off with one away at Manchester United, but they won’t all be like that. Outside of the top eight teams there is very little to be scared of, in fact outside of the top eight teams there are 66 points to play for, which is European qualification territory if we get them all.

Now I’m not going to delude myself, or anyone, into thinking we will get all of those points on offer, but it does kind of put it in perspective when considering just how many points are up for grabs outside of those top teams. Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Tottenham, and Everton at a push, are all teams that I class as the top eight. So even if we lost all of those there would still be the opportunity of potentially amassing 66 points.

Now we will get the odd draw, maybe even the odd win against those top eight teams, probably at St James’ Park, but the vast majority of our points will need to come against the other eleven teams in the league. Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Fulham, Stoke, Sunderland, West Brom, West Ham, Wigan, Wolves, are the teams I am talking about, and not one of them has strengthened enough to overly concern me to be honest.

We will lose games, of that there is no doubt, but I still believe we have what it takes to survive, and with a bit of luck and a good start then who knows, perhaps we can push on?

There is plenty of football to be played this season, and there will be plenty of twists and turns on the way. A year out of the Premier League has enlightened me. The ‘best league in the world’ is over half full of average teams, of which we are one, trying to convince themselves that they are part of the spectacle.

Can we survive? Yes. Can we thrive? Yeah, why not?

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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27 Responses

  1. they can survive,but they can also go down easily,the problem we have is we are on a par with a lot of the teams you expect to be struggling.of course there is nothing to fear,but a lot of our games will be real 50/50 matches against our rivals.if i’d been ashley i would have invested in the playing staff more to make sure we were head and shoulders above the the blackburn’s etc.even at home against these sides it will be tough,i would much rather us be going into matches with players that would give us a 70/30 in our favour for getting points on board.

  2. The most important thing is staying up next season but i feel the momentum we have gained in the championship will help us push on. I agree we have to concentrate on the teams you mentioned toonsy but the flip side to that coin is im sure the teams you have mentioned will be looking to us for 6 points as well!

  3. Toonsy – do you think that your reflections are more indicative of the mindset that we have now having been constantly brow beaten by the press/SSN/Football365 etc etc? – its lowered our expectations – no bad thing.
    as i said on the other blog – i cant actually see us being worse than at least half a dozen teams in the league. Lets face it – we kid ourselves in this country that its a great league – really it isnt – its just packaged up well and we’ve been spoilt by the Sky package and monies.
    Talking about Sky – dont you just want to punch Steve Currys lights out every time the fat slug is on?

  4. I think we may surprise some teams away from home the way we played last season, with Nolan playing off Carroll, scored a goal and shut up shop, granted, this is a different level, however im optimistic that we are more solid and resolute now.

  5. Mick G – :lol:

    Tattyheed – I actually think that lack of investment is curtailing expectations a bit in fairness. I agree that Sky et all have done a fantastic job in packaging up the PL to be the greatest thing on earth, and it is if you focus on the top 8, but outside of that there ain’t that much to be worried about, but them teams rarely get mentioned when they are doing the coverage do they ;)

  6. imo our basis to survive rests on Carroll, Routledge, Jonas & Enrique staying fit.

  7. 25 man squad has worked in are favour.the top teams cant have a big squads anymore which is good for us and the rest of the teams in it.the balance of power shifts.why becasue they might have 17-18 great players the top teams if they get injuries they can only use young 1s so better 4 us and it doesnt affect us that much we will see more of are youngsters trying to make it then putting senior old 1ns in.

  8. stories have come out we had a bid for ben arfa rejected and say talks are on going.they wont us to offer a bit more becasue the player wonts to come here.

  9. tattyheed says:
    August 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Surely its not a case of our expectations being lowered, but what I think we’re reading from Toonsy is a realistic assessment of the minimum we would be prepared to expect this season. Next season we should quite rightly be aiming higher and assuming we succeed, higher again the following etc etc.

    The club’s avoided oblivion since MA took over an ok it may not have been a comfortable ride, but at least we’re still around and back im the Prem. One step at a time and patience is called for – both with MA and the players.

    But, escaping from the real world and into fantasy land, it’s reported that the Ben Arfar move’s still under discussion.

    Fingers crossed and let’s look on the bright side. It could be worse I suppose!

  10. I admit to not having seen a lot of the lad – when Setanta went arse ower i couldnt get French footie any more (shame cos i enjoyed it like) – but the very fact that reliable sources are confirming that we have genuinely made an offer is encouraging in itself. (mind we divvent knaa how much we offered).
    I’m quite encouraged actually

  11. got to be good news lads!if this story is becoming more and more real.if it doesnt happen,then at least they are trying and keeping the sinics at bay we wont be getting nobdy good.if we do buy him then it will shut a lot of people up.i bet they come out with this classic if we get him.he is trouble why have we bought him.

  12. Thing about the French press is that it is more regulated than ours as the sleazy politicians like to make sure none of their gossip gets out.

    Worth a write up?

  13. FFS! i followed Lesh’s link and i thought it was Kieron Dyer. deja vu all over again!:)

  14. Tattyhead, let’s hope the resemblance to Dyer’s nothing more than appearance – we don’t need a repeat of him and his antics!!!

  15. as good a talent as ben arfa seems to be, does anyone else have any concerns over his attitude? given that the club is looking to offload him due to his attitude and/or bust up with his coach, do we think bringing in this type of player is worth the risk?
    just seeing what people think.

  16. eastcoastmag doesnt matter to me as long as we get him.its a move forward in a big way.this kid could take us to the next level quicker then we might think. that would make better players come to 2 our 3 hours it might change he has signed for somewhere else.then people will be saying he wasnt going to come anyway.. lets get him on board and think about it after to see if he does well or doesnt.stop the moans the fans keep going on about we are not going to buy any1.

  17. I don’t know enough about this Arfa dude.
    Is he the real thing? Or do to many bloggers rely on Championship Manager or whatever they call it?
    Still it’s encouraging that a bid has been placed as reports have it, my concern is that we never appear to return with a higher bid under Ashley……….

  18. I agree Asim, and it’s sort of something that Stu touched on a while back.

    Ashley wants to make money, right? But how badly? If we bought Ben Arfa for say £6 million, he could be worth double that in a years time.

    So is his game really making money, or is about trying not to risk losing money on transfers? I mean Ben Arfa could go down from £6 million aswell, and that is a lot further to fall than from the £1 million players we have signed so far.

  19. FFS! i followed Lesh’s link and i thought it was Kieron Dyer. deja vu all over again!:)

  20. If we have made a bid I hope it is not a bid that is well below the valuation just so the board can say ‘we did bid for ….’ but it was rejected.
    Trying to appease the fans like this would just frustrate and disappoint us more!!

    Regarding Ben Arfa and his character and temperament, a lot of the top flair type players have a somewhat less than perfect attitude (e.g Ronaldo). I believe it is upto the staff to keep this in track and ensure the player is concentrating on making the headlines for his football and not other reasons.
    CH seems to have done a good job with keeping the clubs private affairs private and also seems to have a good grip of the players so far…

    I for one would love to see him sign as he is the sort of player that can make something happen from nothing to win a game, we seem to be running low on this sort of player currently.

  21. Hughton should turn a blind eye to Ben Arfas attitude and the fat man should get him signed up while we seem to be in the box seat.

    Frankly im sick of hearing about what model profesionals players like Smith and Butt are/were when they would contribute absolutely shit all to the side in the top flight, We need pace, creativity and quality all of which this lad posseses.

  22. There are ten or twelve teams with comparable squad qualities. I think that at season’s end they will be seperated according to management skills. Does Chris Hughton’s success in the Championship offer any hope that he’s now acquired the player-leadership talent and game-day tactical sense needed to compete in the Premiership? I’d love to believe it but, sadly, its just not realistic.

    Newcastle will struggle, particularly in the later stages of the season. Because Newcastle fans are mostly decent people, they will grant Chris the loyalty he’s earned. But survival may not be a reward for that loyalty.

  23. yea, agree that signing him signals our intent and could possibly lead to others electing to come to us, but i’m not sure i’m ready to put the pressure on this kids shoulders of being THE guy to move us forward. he’s not even guaranteed to start with jonas in the picture.

  24. This question of whether we’ll survive is only posed because of the half arsed, lamebrain manner in which we lurched through season 08-09.

    Four bleeding managers (and a squad that had lost interest by the time the second one arrived) in one season was, as we all now know, a recipe for disaster. EMO made his mind up halfway through the season that he didnt want to sign up for another stint and its a safe bet that most of the others, who eventually jumped ship, were of a similar disposition.

    Which is why we couldnt beat Villa on the last day of the season nor even raise a meanigful shot on target during 90 minutes.

    Whatever has been said about Hughton and Calderwood since they joined together, the one outstanding element they brought to the club was stability. By the time the window shut at the end of August last year CH knew the squad he had to work with and they set about bringing back a sense of normality to the club. Everyone knew where they stood, even the owner, and so for most of the time there was harmony in the camp.

    Taking that forward this season is not going to be enough on its own but with luck, as few injuries as possible and a belief in the squad that we’re capable of taking on most of the teams outside the top four, then we should end this season comfortably in mid table.

    If we got some additional quality to add to what we have already then a top six place would not be out of reach IMO.