In a lot of ways, Newcastle’s success last season has proven to be a poisoned chalice. The cavalier attitude with which the club’s ownership approached 2012/13 demonstrates fairly clearly that both Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias under-estimated how difficult life in the Premier League can really be.
I remain convinced that, following the fifth-placed finish, Ashley and Llambias spent the Summer on a yacht somewhere gaudily congratulating themselves for discovering a genius formula for success which required very little financial outlay. Spend peanuts, achieve a lot – if only someone else had thought of it first.
“The rest of them are mugs, Del, mugs.”
Yes Mike, but if you produce something with cheap materials eventually it falls apart and people start to get angry. Does that ring any bells with Sports Direct?
Had Newcastle not slumped so badly this year, and were they not currently embroiled in such an alarming decline, then that cheap and cheerful philosophy would still be the accepted logic at St James’ Park.
You can’t do the Premier League ‘on the cheap’, and there is no financial shortcut to sustained success in this division – and the Cockney boys are waking-up to that.
Loic Remy could and should’ve been signed, Massadio Haidara is imminent, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will complete a medical this week, and Yoan Gouffran is a very real possibility. The wallet is finally on the table, and the chequebook is open at last. These are good signings potentially, and ones who should shoot the club back up the table – it’s just a shame it’s take so long to reach such a blindingly obvious conclusion: Newcastle need more than eleven first-team players.
Thankfully, the flaw in the previous approach has been too blatant to ignore.