Another Newcastle season is coming to an end — looking at the positive side — we should avoid relegation — looking on the negative side — another season of abject failure.
With the squad Newcastle have we should be doing a lot better than we are. Yes — we have had injuries – but few supporters believed that things would get better when the first-teamers returned — because the likes of Bramble, Carr, Babayaro not only lack sufficient skills — but they show little of the passion we saw from our youngsters — when the were representing the club this season.
A positive for the season has to be the emergence of young kids like Huntington, Edgar, and of course Taylor and Ramage — who always show 100% commitment and passion for the club. Fans will also excuse one or two learning mistakes when they play like they did against, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham — never accepting they were beaten.
I’ll never forget the moment when 19 year old Canadian David Edgar scored that great goal against Manchester United at St. James — he could not stop smiling for about 10 minutes after the goal — he was in dreamland — and so were the fans.
It also looks like there are more great youngsters in the pipeline like 18 year old Andrew Carroll, who seems to score goals with abandon and 16 year old Kazenga Lua Lua (cousin of Portsmouth’s Lua Lua). Indeed our under-18s team made the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup for the second year running.
Roeder is right to have a clear out of some of our senior players in the summer because it certainly seems we have good local talent coming through that can do the job when required.
Don’t be surprised if Carr, Babayaro, Moore, Gooch, Bernard, Luque and Emre are no longer with us next season — and there is even talk of selling Obefemi Martins if he cannot link up effectively with the returning Michael Owen.
With the announcement of Newcastle planning a £300million development scheme, called the Number 1 St James’ Park project that will increase the capacity of the ground to over 60,000 and include a major conference centre, hotels and luxury apartments built at the ground — Newcastle will need to build a much better team than we have now.
Funding for the development will come from outside the club so Glenn Roeder has two important tasks to accomplish before next season.
- He needs to motivate the team for the last seven games of the season so we finish in a respectable position in the league. It certainly seems a European place will not be ours — for the second time in three seasons — but a respectable position in the league is an absolute must.
- Roeder then needs to perform a clear-out in the summer of players who should never be at the club anyway. More importantly he needs to bring in some good and young players whose futures are ahead of them — players like Curtis Davis, Leighton Baines, Giles Barnes, Anton Ferdinand and the like.
Once these two tasks are accomplished things should look a lot better to Newcastle fans at the beginning of next season…..and we can continue to hope we can at long last become a team to be reckoned with.
If we can do that then attendance at St James Park in future years will be an average of 60,000 rather than the 52,000 it is at present.
Anything less than this — and the dark clouds of under-achievement will continue to hover over St. James Park.