Newcastle are a mid-table team

Posted on March 7th, 2011 | 91 Comments |

Toon supporter
Toon supporter
People are starting to think Newcastle United might be of European quality, but what’s the reality?

Realistically, are we European candidates?

I ask because there’s enthusiasm in some quarters that maybe we might have a shot at Europe.

In my opinion our best match this season was away at Birmingham and yet when I was up in the Toon for the Spurs game it was just as if something didn’t quite click.

Clint wrote an excellent post on this a while back about being cautious in our ambitions

I think we’re a mid-table team this season and I will not get my hopes up beyond that.

I do think there’s potential there though. Assuming Ashley doesn’t sell everyone, I think we have the makings of a good squad.

There’s such a lot of speculation as to who will stay and who will go, but I think Tiote, Colo, Ben Arfa and Barton are the ‘core’ to build on. I’m not so sure about our front line but I don’t want you all to moan at me, so I’ll leave it at that.

Incidentally, as regular readers will know I’m an accident waiting to happen. I kid you not when I say I knocked myself out with a broken chair. Just kind of leant back and the next thing I knew I had a massive bump on my head. I expect sympathy in droves!

Apologies for my short posts today. Loads of work to do.

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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91 Responses

  1. mid table is about right … not fighting relegation or being troubled by the european spot …

    given the possible spending in the summer (the highlight possible) it will be next year which will be the interesting one !!

    Nice photo by the way Hugh … not sure how it links to the story … but nice photo anyway … :)

  2. as long as ashley is here we will remain a mid-table team. Tto push-on you would be expected to have a decent manager (not a lying puppet) sign players that will make you progress (not Best, Shefqi). All this requires money being spent…and that’s the problem. All the Milners, martins, bassongs, carrolls sold we don’t tend to spend the proceeds. thats why we’ll remain a mid-table team and players will surely leave because of this.. happy days :) hwtl

  3. I think Best is developing canny.
    A full season playing regular will bring his sharpness on and he seems to have an eye for goal.
    For £1m he could be the Best business we’ve done.
    Time will tell.

  4. Best is a decent Championship team at best. I think we’re getting too used to bargain buys becoming useful. He is never going to temp big clubs in the future like carroll did. We need players for the next level not cover players. Best, Loven, Ranger, Shola are players that the likes of Wigan would consider. we’re bigger than wigan and should remember this. Ashley has us suppressed into thinking were a mid-table team, at best and we seem to be getting used to it..

  5. Agreed. For this season, i’m happy with mid-table, but I think, as long as we get some new faces in in the summer and we don’t sell anyone, there’s no reason we can’t be in contention for the European spots next season.

    Of course, I’d take a european spot this season if one came up. It is still possible.

  6. Mark so you are saying we are better to go and buy players that Man U or Chelsea will want to buy off us than going out and finding a bargain who actually wants to play for us??

    You represent the last of a deluded breed. We are now a mid table team and if we want to say we are more than that we need to earn it. You need to get used to that. Ashley is not the Devil, he has put the club on much surer financial footing and and we have made some great buys in Tiote and Ben Arfa

  7. Mark you are a bit of a stereotype newcastle fan i’m afraid.
    At the minute we are a midtable team at best, we need to accept that before we look at moving forward.
    There are 6 teams that are quite a bit better than us.

    Our aim over the next two years should be to be the best of the rest (though as with this year 7th doesnt always mean Europe), and then we can try and push on further.

    We are miles away from the likes of 4th and 5th, so I would rather not have any big money signings (Owen, Luque and the rest), and buy some young players to develop a team.

    I know people are going to say, the moment we develop players they will be sold, probably true, but that is what every team other than Arsenal, Man U and Chelsea have to deal with, look at the number of players Tottenham have sold, even now they are facing a fight to keep Bale. Lets just pray Ashley is genuinely going to invest sales in the team.

    On a side note, I thought Best looked good against Everton, without a doubt our number 1 striker now, I still think we need 1/2 strikers (depending on what formation we play), but Best is looking like a top squad player.

  8. bargains are great m8 if you can keep finding them. Do you think these bargains will stick around if we don’t progress (barton, Enrique, tiote, nolan) they’ve all expressed the need to buy decent players not cover players.

    These bargains are still hungry for success not mid-table mediocrity. I’m far from being deluded m8 I’m happy we’re prudent in the market, we’re buying very sensibly which is good but sometimes you need a bit more than Best etc. For all the money we’ve made with transfers, crowd etc we will still plead poverty under Ashley. We’ll see in the summer if I’m right, hope I’m not but trusting Ashley and Pardew is a big ask at the mo.

  9. Well last year we weren’t even a premier league team so I’ll take mid table happily

  10. Yeah – let’s hope so! Till I’m sure we’re safe, I’m not even going to tempt fate!

  11. 8 SolanosTrumpet I hope you are right m8. up until Saturday I was all for Ashley etc until I had a long discussion with pals and I tend to agree with them. I’m not after over night success I just think ashley has a problem with two step backwards scenario and doesnt seem to learn. We have a decent team and with a bit of spending we could be on course for a great future. The spending part is the bit where imo Ashley will make excuses again and we’ll be back to scrapping relegation come nxt season.

  12. Before the start of this season most supporters would have taken 17th. Given where we have come from, mid table would be good. With the exception of the brief years under Keegan and Sir Booby we have spent most of our life in mid table.

    We have got to our current position primarily on a fantastic team spirit that developed from the shock of relegation. Strong characters like Nolan, Barton, Smith and Harper have enabled Hughton and Pardew to maintain that team spirit. The danger next season is we bring in too many players, possibly with no experience of the premiership and living in the UK, and try and blood them together in the first team instead of a gentle and stuctured introduction. Tiote has settled in very quickly but he is possibly the exception. Colo and Enrique were terrible to start with but it is arguable that they have been the most consistent top performers this season after settled into their new country and club.

    The 35 million could be the making of this team if spent wisely but it could also be the cause of the second season syndrome. Caveat Emptor me thinks.

  13. this season was always about survival to be fair,but i commented before the start of it,that ashley would throw a couple of curve balls to derail us.
    the sacking of hughton,was bizarre to say the least,is alan pardew any better?some fans are saying the results are better,are they?what have we got,two wins in ten,not blaming pardew as such for that,but with the squad we have at our disposal,would any manager do well,with the team picking itself,week in week out.
    the failure to replace carroll with any reinforcements,was typical mike ashley,it was the milner situation all over again.
    some fans are saying wait until the summer,but how long have we been saying that since that con man ashley arrived?how many more chances do you want to give the son of sam and his sidekick the tawdry owl?

  14. Only 1 team have won less games at home than us, and they’re bottom = relegation form! And only three teams have won more away, and they’re top five… Champion’s League form!

    The signs are that we’ve got something to build on for next year, but with being only 6 points off the drop, and other clubs putting runs together, some tricky fixtures coming and we look like we’re complacently thinking we’re already safe, I’ll be very happy with mid-table obscurity at the end of the season.

  15. I dont think anyone who criticises Best is being fair on the lad. It’s his first run in the team and he looks better with each game and has 6 in the last 9 games unless I’m mistaken.
    He’s got a good touch and is good with his head. He’ll get sharper and he’s still only young. I think he’s a great prospect.

  16. Gotta say I am impressed with Best and he seems to really want the shirt I hope he keeps putting in the graft and taking his chances.

    It’s been a funny season all round with some crazy results and I think that with a little investment in January we really could have pushed on a few places up the premiership.

    A good example of if we are ready for European football was when we made substitutions on saturday Cookie Monster and Ferguson…..that in itself scrams out No Depth to me.
    No disrespect to Ferguson but If that is what we have as back up we are not in a position to have any cup runs domestic or european with the current squad.

    Anyone anticipating massive summer spending from Mike Ashley needs to look through the recent toon history books….hold your breath at your own peril.

    I expect more midtable stuff next season maybe less depending what other clubs owners spend in the summer…presuming we do stay up :lol:

  17. shrews mag says nice picture @1…..

    it’s well within context Shrews, we’re seeing just what good support can do to raise spirits anof course it provides an illustration of crowd control!

  18. Hugh… after the mauling Worky got yesterday you’ve done a grand job in picking up the blog’s momentum.

  19. Of course we are a mid level side and one that usually punches above it`s weight.
    A small squad that lacks quality in depth.
    Though I sense an unrest in the side, certainly not the to-gether side we had under Hughton.
    With apparent contractual problems with two of our top players and rumors that our present manager will see little in the way of funding, does`nt make us exactly attractive to would be signings, indicating a lack of ambition and perhaps not willing to spend on salaries.
    The fans i believe will be upset if we dont attempt to recruit some quality players, following Pardews statement that the “whats is name” transfer monies will be re invested in the side.
    I mean he did say that, right ?

  20. As for those who continue to knock Best, if the guy was playing for another side with his present scoring average, you would be raving about him.
    Give the guy a break, he`s doing pretty good and only needs the opportunity to play.

  21. kamar
    Have to say you make me laugh !
    a gentle and structured introduction…..
    Are we talking about a romance ?
    an adoption agency? or debating society ?
    Tell that to Tiote or John Terry and i`m sure they will be gentle.
    C`mon guy !

  22. Army69 – How can you not recognise the most famous geordie lass ever? It’s the always lovely Cheryl Cole. :-D

    Toonsy, why do you feel the need to drive bile and spite between these two blogs? You have issues with worky, don’t know, don’t care. So do some of the chums you took when you set up your own blog.
    You have each others e-mail addreses, why not slug it out in private and not on here?

    Feel free to reply to my e-mail, you have it as I registered with your blog.

  23. Micky Toon says:
    March 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    “You have issues with worky”

    Incorrect. When I left here it was all good, but then Worky decided to falsely accuse me of copying, which I refute, and stood my ground on it.

    Then I asked about donations, and got banned. You all know that I stand my ground, and that is all I’ve done here. No bad blood against anyone at all, but when somebody is lying about you I’d defy anyone not to stick up for themselves.

    I never started this.

  24. jimisol

    But out lad :)

    I assume you would be fine with lies being spread about something that you were trying to achieve. Crack on :)

  25. On topic, I guess it’s no real surprise that we are a mid-table outfit. We are no different to about ten sides in the Premier League in all honesty.

    The summer could change that of course, but that depends on the money, and Ashley doesn’t have a great track record of spending it on players now does he?

  26. Look, mate it’s got nowt to do with keeping it private,as in being sneaky etc..It just spoils this place for people who just want to read about NUFC.

    I’m sure you wouldn’t want the articles you and your fellow writers have taken time to write being taken off topic by people who have a grudge to settle.

    Oh the irony of my reply. Sorry all, last I will post on this on here.

  27. to 33

    In all honesty, I think Worky did you a big favour in just letting you write here. No offence mate, but your writing is of an amateur. Worky, Bowburn Mag, Hugh, Micky, Clint etc all write with a grace you haven’t yet found. Again, no offence, but go and keep practicing on your own blog lad.

    Actually, the Toon blogs are littered with good writers you can learn from who use good irony, intelligence and sometimes some well needed sarcasm. Go and learn from them before you come on here beating yer bush.


  28. Hey army69,
    alreet mate.

    There’s off topic & there’s ‘off’ topic.

    Howay lads, all welcome, but try & keep it civil.

    It always sucks after a defeat!

  29. Never claimed to be a writer. I’m just a lad who battles with dyslexia and loves writing about Newcastle :)

  30. If that makes me an amateur then ah well, I’ll get over it :)

    Plenty of others enjoy it. That’s why my viewing figures are the highest on here. A stat that can’t be denied :)

  31. Good. I’m glad I brightened up your day.

    And no need to call me Jesus. Sir will do ;)

  32. Hey guys, personally i think that its actually a blessing in disguise… Think about it, if we were to make it into Europe our already fragile team would have to play twice as many games as they do this season… If we’re just barely holdin on now, imagine what would happen if we had to play double the amount of games???
    This way we can atleast fortify our place in the premier league and then once we have more players and a stronger team we can consider Europe…

  33. Rob – It’s catch 22 though. If we had (slim chance) made Europe then we could have attracted that little bit better quality player to the player to the club and it would be easier to keep the likes of Barton and Enrique as it’s a definite sign of progression.

    As it stands though, just surviving… Will that be enough?

  34. Anyway, on topic. I think we are mid-table at best. It’s obvious to everyone that we lack depth. It’s a fine line between surviving and staying up these days. Just look at Wolves, West Ham,etc..
    They both have squads that are probably on par with ours, but they are relegation candidates.
    Avram Grant doesn’t seem to think so though, he reckons they can still finish 10th. He probably also thinks he’ll still be the manager there next season.

    We have to hope that we are shooting long term and we are building slowly. However, we need to build, not build a bit then sell a bit and then build some more. We need to sustain momentum and by that I mean by buying or developing players to play in the 1st team. And keeping them. Not buying low, putting in some work and selling high, like Andy Carroll.
    If we are serious about becoming a successful side we need to keep hold of these players and tell the clubs with the money to keep away. Only by doing this will we be able to build a side that is capable of competing at the top.
    We are constantly re-starting every season. I’m sick of saying, oh well perhaps next season.
    I’m no rabid anti-ashley radge packet, but I really can’t see us going anywhere under the current management structure from the owner down to the coaches.

  35. That would be the logical outlook, Rob, on which I may well agree with you. But if we don’t make it into Europe this season–which sounds ridiculous considering our pre-season projections–we’re gonna lose a few of the key players that make up the spine of our team. Enrique, for one. So, although sometimes a little to optimistic, I can’t see the harm in at least hoping for one of these places so we can keep the likes of Enrique etc.

  36. That was the sickener with the Carroll sale Micky. At the end of the day he was the perfect example and could have been used to display our intent.

    Now I know he put in a transfer request, but just how “reluctant” were Ashley and Llambias in accepting it? I bet the ink wasn’t even dry before they were yanking out out if his hand…..

    Of course, on the other side you could argue that they did display intent by refusing the £35 million and only accepting it when Carroll put in the request, but ten we just go back to what I said above.

  37. They probably only got £35m for Carroll because they left it so late. Owl heed has practically confirmed it. They probably had offers all day, including the spurs ones, but they waiting and used the “how can we get a replacement now if we sell him?” line.
    That probably sealed the record amount that was paid for him.

  38. I still say it was a cracking deal Micky, and when you put the add ons on it looks even better, but it’s the lack of a replacement that gets me more than anything.

    We needed a striker before Carroll left, but then to lose him and not get anyone else in is baffling in the extreme. Then we tried for a winger at the last minute? I mean WTF?

  39. Maybe the club saw the ‘you know who’ sale as the perfect opportunity to get money in to build a decent team with?
    Also, the lad maybe was trouble in their eyes, what with court cases & stuff.
    We would also be chained to playing to a big lad up top.
    Not very attractive football.

  40. Hugh/worky,
    if you’re out there.
    I’ve submitted something for review, haven’t mastered the WP thing, look at the revisions.

  41. Shearballs why dont you leave worky alone ,its a hard enough life as it is without you getting on his back.

  42. I know carroll hasnt been at the toon for a bit now but without his presence beginning of the season we would be deep in the sh*t now.

    Ashley is fobbing us off with promises etc which I don’t buy. I’d rather trust gary glitter babysitting than Ashley spending good money in the summer.

  43. Thisisgettingoutofhand – You’ve mossed the boat by a good while, but I agree. It’s a two-way street though ;)

    CLiNT – Possibly. Only time will tell, but I’m not confident about our summer. Even less confident now Best has started scoring (next number nine ;) ) but in a weird kind of way I would hope that the bareness of the squad is being exposed for all to see know which will hopefully get them to invest properly.

  44. @Shearballs my mum once told me, if you aint got nowt nice to say to others.. then shut the feck up! :) :) :)

  45. @60 I would hope that the bareness of the squad is being exposed for all to see know which will hopefully get them to invest properly. LOL

    wasnt that what Houghton was saying, Ashley doesn’t listen to facts, he’d rather sack you or sell you on.
    Ashley has knew for ages the depth of our squad is not sufficient.

  46. Ok Mark. We’ll all live in a happy world where evrybody gets along tra laa laaaaaaa

    Better? :roll:

  47. Mark,
    you (& others) keep saying stuff like ‘ashley is fobbing us off with promises’, i can’t recall anything coming out of the bloke since the last statement, months ago.
    It’s fair enough blaming him for this, that & the other, but for ‘saying’, i don’t think so, he’s renowned for saying FA!

  48. toonsy,
    aye mate.
    Can’t see how they could think we don’t need new players in, to move forward in the summer.

  49. ashley bank rolls the club, he doesn’t pick who comes & goes, he just rubber stamps it.

  50. Carroll money was a cracking deal. But as I said, I don’t think we would have received as much had we sold him in the middle of the month. I think NUFC held everyone who was interested to ransom and we eventually blinked when LFC went mad and put in a record amount for a british transfer to a kid who takes trouble with him where ever he goes and is unproven at the highest level.
    Madness. They are paying for potential.
    AC was more to some people than just money, me included. He was every Geordie boys dream. Playing number nine for his home town. I think that’s what made it such a bitter pill to swallow at the time.
    However, I still stand by my statement that Tiote is a more important member of the team than Carroll. He has more talent for a start.

  51. Clint – I agree, to a point. However he does have people like Owl Heed doing that for him and I’m not sure I’d trust Owl Heed more than I’d trust Gary Glitter with running a nursery.

  52. @66 he has obviously lost his rubber stamp..

    Kinear / houghton / keegan / Pardew have all asked for players to make the squad bigger. Ashley has failed to supply.

  53. Mark,
    JFK=stop gap.
    Houghton=wasn’t their man (stop gap).
    kk, wouldn’t work within the parameters.
    Pardew=Hasn’t been here long enough & the ac thing came on us last gasp.

  54. Micky,
    while he does have Lambias working for him as chair, that still means nothing more than another layer of red tape/rubber stamp.
    He doesn’t choose anyone either. The pair of them just agree/disagree with targets put forward based on cash etc.
    That’s how business goes, isn’t it?

    Houghton=wasn’t their man (stop gap).WHO ASHLEY GAVE A CONTRACT TO!

    kk, wouldn’t work within the parameters. WOULD YOU?
    Pardew=Hasn’t been here long enough & the ac thing came on us last gasp. ANOTHER MUPPET WHO ASHLEY CHOSE!
    all geared up for mid/bottom table mediocrity.

    can we not have a site vote if MA will sign some good player this season or is it just wishful thinking?

  56. Clint – Got to agree, it should be Pardew giving them a list of players he wants and then Owl and the pussy cat do the cash side of things.
    The issue I have is that in the old days (perhaps that’s the problem) the manager would negotiate with the player and the club would agree a fee. Not sure that’s how it works now. Doesn’t owl heed talk to the players and try to convince him to come?

    Remember the reason we had such a good team in the 90’s was because the players wanted to come and play for Keegan.
    Not sure Pardew is held in such high regard. Remember Keegan had no rep as a manager unlike Sir Taggart Ferguson, he only had his rep as a player to fall back on.

    This is our real dilemma. The club doesn’t have a good enough rep to get the best players like ManU, etc.. and we also don’t have a talisman at the club to make up for it.

  57. JFK=Only man who would take the job, remember?
    CH=was last man standing, wanted the job, but they obviously had other ideas, didn’t get a contract.
    kk=’nuff said.
    AP=like i said, plus it’s too early to say.

  58. Micky,
    aye mate,
    but in the meantime, since kk, we’ve built the club up with chumps league apps. etc. so that a lot of players round the world know it’s a big club, big fan base, potential for europe etc.
    That’s what we have now.
    Under FFS we just paid way over the odds & that was enough, sometimes.
    I suspect that things will start to change once the ‘new fifa rules’ start to bite & clubs will have to be more realistic in their spending.
    But we still have a rep for getting into europe with all the good work done by kk 1st time as manager & SBR.
    We’re still a world renowned brand in football, top 20 rich league etc.
    Regardless of what us locals think.

  59. Hugh/worky,
    i’ve resubmitted, hopefully, better formatting.
    Still needs a pic though.



  60. Micky,
    i think the ‘old ways’ of doing biz is over now, like you say.
    Dunno if that’s good or bad tbh.

    But i reckon with the cash(wages) & prestige floating around in the prem these days, most players from other countries jump at the chance to play here.

  61. shearballs says:
    March 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm
    Incorrect. When I left here it was all good, but then Worky decided to falsely accuse me of copying, which I refute, and stood my ground on it.

    Then I asked about donations, and got banned.

    What a liar. If youre Toonsy you posted lots of messages accusing Workyticket of stealing and lots of other stuff. What a sad act you are!

    Are you a grown man or just a kid? that Big Dave the armchair hard man is no better either. As I wrote to him, if you dont like this blog just piss off and use another one, stop ruining it for everybody on here!

  62. PAUL TOON,can you just let it drop mate,and lets talk footy,clint and me are still trying to understand this football stuff

  63. ice,
    aye mate, it’s gonna take some time, but we’re getting there bud.

  64. Paul, shearballs/toonsy has said he will leave it off the blog, let’s do the same eh?

  65. dog, I’m always the voice of reason, except when batty is around. :evil: :lol:

  66. Paul Toon your the Armchair hard man that started your childish insults calling me a Prick lastnight, I have never said nowt to you before lastnight and whatever I do say I would say to your face.
    As for telling me that I should go somewhere else as I told you lastnight I donated to this blog so I will not be having you telling me that I shouldn’t be on here.
    I noticed you still didn’t answer if you donated to here DID YOU ???
    Micky and all the other regulars I am sorry for all the crap but as a member of this Blog from it started I am not going to have some johnny come lately telling me to piss off and use another one, and calling me childish names then having the cheek to call me a armchair hard man when I have never said owt to him

  67. NICE TITS :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Going blind in a good way.

    Sorry, bored!

    I’d be more than happy with finishing 10th this season.
    Look at our performances over the season. Inconsistant.
    Some good results mixed with quite a few piss poor ones.
    This is the level we are at. Infact we are probably higher up the league than any of us thought at the start of the season.
    We need to keep it real, the club is rebuilding (yet again, I kna) and the squad is so thin on real quality at the moment. It’s going to take a couple of seasons til we are a consistant top 8 team again.
    Keep the Faith, those who have any left.

  68. Ice, not knocking batty. m8. Just having a laugh. Didn’t come across as I wanted it to like.

    Dave, you’re always welcome on here as far as I’m concerned mate.

  69. Hoping money is well spent in the summer as is everyone else and think that could put us on the right track. If it was a choice of speniding nowtand having A. C@#$&ll Id go spend £25 – 35 million any day.

    I also want to say to all the fans on here to give Leon Best a break FFS its doing my head in. He has come into the squad after a layoff and hasnt missed a beat. 6 goals in 10 matches (incl. 1 as a sub) is a great return especially when you consider the dissallowed goals against Arsenal and Everton which would have made him look a hero for securing us 4 points and would be 8 in 10. Dont know how much more he can do especially as he seems to putting in a big effort everytime ive seen him play unlike lercinaries of the past. Not bad for a “Championship Player”