Ifs, Buts and Maybes!

Posted on May 9th, 2012 | 24 Comments |

Half Full Or Half Empty?
Like most United fans, I’m over the moon at how well the team have fared this season. The fact that we’ll be finishing at least fifth and qualifying for the Europa League is way above what I expected before a ball was kicked. There is no doubt that Newcastle United have had a very successful season. However, I’m one of those people who can’t help but do the “if’s, buts and maybes” thing at this point in a season, and I know there are quite a few other people out there doing it too.

You know the sort of thing – staring at the league table, seeing we’re only one point behind Tottenham, two points behind Arsenal, wondering what might have been….”if only…”. I find it difficult not to revisit some of the happenings and add the points which might have been. Of course there has to be a cut-off point otherwise we can find reasons why we should have won every game! But there are indeed some happenings which are the most obvious – here’s my list:

* If only Steven Taylor hadn’t got that long-term injury
* If Ba, Tiote and Cisse hadn’t gone to the African Cup Of Nations
* If we’d been more defensive at Tottenham and Fulham
* If we’d beaten Wolves at home like we did away
* If we’d managed to score against Swansea at St James’ Park
* If the ref at Arsenal hadn’t added all that “Fergie Time”
* If only we’d beaten West Bromwich at St James’ Park
* If only we’d bought some more good defenders last summer

The list is longer than that of course, but I’m sure you see what I’m getting at.

I know quite a few folk will say that it’s no good looking back at things like that as there’s nothing we can do about it, but it does make you think about what the league table might look like if some of those events had gone our way?

But there’s always the other side of the coin of course! Where we were perhaps a little lucky?

Certainly the “siege of the Alamo” springs to mind, when we somehow managed to hold out at Old Trafford and come away with a draw. Then there’s Shola’s equalisers against Tottenham and 5under1and at St James’ Park which gained us points we might not have had. You could even point to the unbeaten run at the start of the season and the run of wins at the end. You might also consider the comprehensive defeat of Manchester United on 4th January 2012 and ask “how often do we do that?” and how often do we go to Chelsea and win?

Even during the period when the lads were away at the African Cup Of Nations, we actually didn’t suffer that much with the likes of Danny Guthrie slotting in and keeping things going. It’s absolutely true that we can’t influence the past, only the future – but I keep thinking about how, with a bit of luck, we might have influenced some of those things at the time we were there!

Anyway I still have one “if only” left. If only we can beat Everton in our last game!

What are your memories of “what might have been” in the 2011/12 season?

NUFCBlog Author: UTD111 UTD111 has written 59 articles on this blog.

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24 Responses

  1. All fair enough ‘if’s, buts & maybes’ UTD…But no doubt all clubs can say the same sort of thing. Though, the fact remains when it all boils down, as it has, Newcastle are at least the 5th best club in england, by hook or by crook.
    It’s a bit better than i thought possible at the start, i was in the 7-9th, with a possible 6th for good behaviour camp.

    So 5th minimum is a pleasant surprise!

  2. Have to admit – I thought we’d be mid-table mediocrity. Couldn’t see how Demba dodgy knees could possibly replace big Andy. Pah! What do I know! LOL!

  3. UTD,

    howay man, is that right?
    I’m glad we offed ac as our football style has improved because of it. He did well for us, but we are his home Toon team & we had a lot of time & patience for him, but i’m still glad we’re not stuck with him.

    It’s interesting that he’s kept his nose clean, pity he couldn’t have done that when he played for us.

  4. How can you say we needed better defenders? We have the second most clean sheets in the league! Only Man city above us??

    We had more fortune than foul this season I’m afraid so be thankful for where we are.

    Lets give it all on Sunday, one last push and who knows…

  5. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    May 9, 2012 at 10:34 am

    “I’m glad we offed ac as our football style has improved because of it.”

    How did our football style improve through the sale of Andy Carroll, Clint?

  6. Aye Roscoe,
    the defence/defenders have done the club proud this term & it is somewhat disingenuous to suggest otherwise, whether or not some of ’em are fashionable to like or not.


  7. Fair article. All things considered though I’m sure arsenal and tottenham have a few ifs buts and maybes themselves. But that said there’s no denying the progress newcastle have made. Pardews built one of the best sides in england and only 2 years after promotion from the championship were fighting for a cl place. Now I’m not going to worry about what could have happened if we had won at wigan, took all 3 points off wolves etc. We’ve done very well and I for one am ecstatic with what we’ve achieved this season. At least 5th place and guaranteed european football next season. Just awesome.

  8. Can’t see arse or spurs losing or drawing on sunday , the stakes are too high , millions of pounds of euro exposure at stske !

    I think if we play like we have played against chelsea and mannoo we will beat everton , however cant rely on the cockney teams losing ..

    Still 5th will be well deserved , and I said this before I think one season too soon for Champions League , Europa Cup place is what beckons we deserve it, and will do our crowd proud !

    HTFL …

  9. Funny I was asked the old question about would AC be welcomed back to NUFC, and when I thought about it from a playing/tactical point of view rather than the usual treachery angle, I just couldn’t really get my head round it. Would he walk into a first team slot now? What team would we field to support him? Managers definitely do build their team around their front men (even those they haven’t got yet) because winning means you have to get goals, of course. To fit A back into our squad, can’t see how with the current team, without faffing around with the demba’s until the whole thing falls to pot. I suppose HBA could get crosses in now though.

  10. nzedtoonman – I thought Chelski had a lot to play for the other day mind…. ;)

  11. Going for the hat trick here – the defence have done well with the tools supplied. Very well. Being shuffled around has made them adapt and a couple fo hiccups has shown this but they have got settled and come back stronger. Willo & Perchy have almost astounded me at their improvement, Santon is putting a gleam in everyone’s eye at this future prospects, and Colo is… Colo. However – our GD shows that it is a makeshift unit and needs backup so that we don’t have costly learning curves when injuries kick in, as they undoubtedly will when we go on our winning cup runs next year lol :)

  12. Interesting article – I’ve been trying not to think along those lines. Poor old Demba must have wondered of late though with the nearly goals he’s had. His goal record hasn’t reflected his performances and you couldn’t even really say his shooting has been below par, he just hasn’t had that rub of the green, like he did before the African nations, but I suspect like most fans when the seasons finished he’ll look back and be very happy with his luck and lot for the season.

  13. if only we’d signed cisse in the summer! then alot of the if’s, nuts and maybes would be defo’s!! :) howay the lads
    arsenal win, tottenham draw, toon win! champions league here come cos chelski WILL not beat beat munich in munich!!

  14. for next season a word of caution – hopes will be higher so we need a good start. And we will be in 3 cups – but we have nowhere near the depth of squad for a top 6 finish and 3 cup runs (just look at the number of games Stoke have played this year).

    I’d say we are 4-5 players short already, and it looks like 4-5 fringe/older/end of contract lads are leaving -the realities of modern football means that we will need to recruit big time just to cope, never mind moving forward.

    But will we?

  15. Good point Supermac – also an influx of lots of new players can disrupt the squad. Its imperative those brought in are of the right mentality. This is especially important as I think its been a huge part of why Newcastle have played so well. When I look at those who have moved on under Pardew and those brought in I’m fairly confident this will be the case. :-)

  16. If we rewind a few short months i think we’ll find a whole truck load of predictions of ‘there’s no way we’ll get top 6, or whatever ‘cos of a small squad, lack of defenders, etc etc. FF back to now & what have we got?
    Oh! We’re top 5, same squad, injuries, suspensions, ACoN, crap squad so on & whatnot!

    Yes! There’ll be more pressure to finish top 6 again, euro football but overly paid & armchair pundits alike seriously need to reappraise their ‘spiel’, or what?

  17. I think the one that gets to me most is the Arsenal game. Referee influenced by a whingeing crowd, adds loads of Fergie time until Arsenal score. Not only did that deny us a point, it also gave an extra 2 to Arsenal, which I don’t think they deserved – especially after Van Plonker’s antics

  18. -the realities of modern football means that we will need to recruit big time just to cope, never mind moving forward.

    But will we?

    I think Pardew already answered this a couple of weeks ago. He said something about…if we qualify for the CL there’ll be no problem recruiting players as the money will be there…it’s what he didn’t go on to say that’s crucial here. if we don’t qualify then I think money will be tight and recruitment will be slightly more delicate!

  19. A canny manager would know that the business end of the season begins with the very first game. That way, loosing points with a loss and a draw at home to West Brom and Wolves wouldn’t happen. No way would we allow that if we could see a Champions League spot within reach. Maybe next season we will know from the get-go that that is our very achievable objective, provided we can keep hold of our current first team.

  20. RE: “Fergie Time” at the Emirates-I still grumble about that. That half had no goals, no injuries and four substitutions. I had no idea where 5-6 minutes of extra time came from then and I still don’t. It felt like giving Arsenal a chance.

    But I digress. You have to play to the whistle.

    I like your last ‘if’ best. It’s the only one that matters.

    Roscoe-the lads have kept lots of cleans sheets…but we also conceded a total of 18 goals in just 4 fixtures against Wigan and at Spurs, Fulham and Norwich. And goal difference well may ultimately determine our final position. It’s not quality at the top we need in defense but we do need quality depth.

  21. Only thing I keep thinking of is throwing away the 2 goal lead against wolves especially when their equaliser took a massive deflection.

    We’ve had just as much good luck as bad luck though (maybe more)

  22. Yeah, we can’t really complain about the vagaries of decisions and the fortunes of the sport. We should have got clobbered at QPR early on, the match a the Molineux was 3 points we didn’t deserve, and even Blackburn away was a very harsh result for Rovers. But, we’ve been on the other end of some dire decisions over the years so it’s all good. However the season ends it ends. The lads have done well. 5th in the league at worst… brilliant.