Newcastle United – Preparing For Life In The Championship

Newcastle United – Preparing For Life In The Championship
May 13, 2016

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It’s official – Newcastle United have been relegated from the Barclays Premier League and will be playing in the Sky Bet Championship next term. A 3-0 victory for Sunderland on Wednesday ensured their survival, relegating Norwich and the Magpies in the process. The club needs to bounce straight back up at the first time of asking, or risk the danger of joining the big club graveyard alongside Leeds, Blackburn and others. Here’s how they can avoid that scenario.


Keep Rafa

The most obvious (and crucial) thing the board needs to do – keep Rafa. In just 10 games in charge, Benitez has transformed Newcastle into a side that are compact and tough to beat. Imagine what he could do with a full pre-season under his belt. Will Rafa want to manage in the Championship, though? Remember, this is a man who was managing Real Madrid less than a year ago. He might not fancy a midweek clash away to Burton Albion. The Toon faithful’s support, though, has touched the Spaniard and is making this decision very difficult for him. The board needs to make his decision as easy as possible. Give him full control on transfers, a decent transfer kitty, put him in charge of pre-season plans, etc. In short, just give the man what he wants. If anyone can build a legacy at this club, it’s Rafa Benitez. Keeping him is an absolute must.









Have Back-Up Managerial Options

As much as the Toon faithful want him to stay, there’s still a good chance Rafa may leave. He will have much better options, and nobody could really blame him if he decided to activate the break clause in his contract. The fact that the Spaniard opted to come in the first place should be appreciated. The club needs to have a few proven managers in mind to replace him if he does decide to leave. The club cannot risk it’s future by appointing another left field option who would be happy to serve as one of Mike Ashley’s puppets. Garry Monk, Nigel Pearson, and David Moyes should all be on the agenda. The club’s uninspiring appointments in recent times have most definitely contributed to the club’s downfall. This needs to change, whether the man at the helm is Rafa or somebody else.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Garry Monk the manager of Swansea City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Swansea City at St Mary's Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)


Get rid of Lee Charnley and Graham Carr

Let’s face it – Mike Ashley is not going anywhere. The club still owes him £129m in debt, and he came out just a few months ago saying he was essentially “married to the club”. If he’s going to stay, he needs some people who know something about football working below him. Lee Charnley and Graham Carr are not those people. Lee Charnley has made mistake, after mistake, after mistake ever since being appointed managing director. He allowed John Carver to finish the 2014-15 season, despite the major dip in form which almost saw the Magpies relegated, appointed the ‘perfect fit’ in Steve McClaren and then decided to keep him for 28 games as he did not want to admit his own mistake. Graham Carr is another who has contributed to Newcastle’s demise. Handed almost full control on transfers by Ashley, Carr has wasted the club’s money time and time again. In recent years, most of the players who have signed for the club have flopped. 18 players have been signed by the club these past two seasons, and only 5 can be deemed as successful (Lascelles, Perez, Mbemba, Janmaat, Townsend). It’s simply unacceptable. With Benitez (or whoever the manager of the club may be) being handed full control on transfers, Carr’s days at the club seem numbered. Hopefully, he, alongside his useless counterpart Lee Charnley, will go









Academy Rethink

Newcastle’s first team haven’t been the only ones to struggle in recent times. The academy teams have had their fair share of problems over the past couple of years. The u21s finished third bottom in their respective division, as did the u18s and, as we all know, the first team. A losing mentality has been slowly creeping its way throughout the whole club, and that needs to change soon. Paul Dummett has been the only player to progress through the ranks and solidify himself as a first team player in the last five years (hopefully Adam Armstrong will next season). Much more homegrown talent needs to be produced. The North East is a football hotbed – it’s mind boggling how little we see coming out of it. Peter Beardsley, as great a player as he was, is not a very good coach, and he is one of many who need to be replaced. Rafa will have his own ideas on how the academy should function, and, if I were Charnley, I would just take a step back and allow Rafa to change where he sees fit. If anyone can rebuild and transform this academy, it’s Rafa Benitez.








Bring in Experience

One of the main reasons this Newcastle side struggled this season was the lack of leaders. When Jamaal Lascelles – a 23-year-old in his first Premier League season – is your most vocal player, you know you have a dysfunctional and disjointed group of players. That’s what happens when you sign young players with sell-on value. They see the club as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, resulting in some players playing selfishly/not for the team. There are actually some young, promising players in this squad. The problem is, they don’t have any experienced leaders to guide them. That needs to change this summer. Joey Barton, for one, is available on a free transfer – as are James Perch and Kevin Nolan. These three are prime examples of who the club should be looking to bring in. All of them have played in the black and white stripes before, so they know what it means to play for this great club. And, as much as you may hate to say it, Mike Williamson would be useful to have if he had stayed. He’s not a Premier League caliber player, we all know that, but he has done well for Wolves and would have been useful in mentoring two young, promising centre backs in Jamaal Lascelles and Chancel Mbemba. He is a top pro who could have instilled his professionalism and work ethic into these young players. Gareth McAuley and Michael Dawson are two players who could possibly perform in that role, as well. Whoever it is, the club needs to bring in experience – not just any experience, but those with the right kind of it to lead a squad full of promising young players.








Major Squad Overhaul

This squad, although it does contain some decent young players, is full of deadwood. There are too many players at the club picking up sizable wages without even being in first team contention. Yoan Gouffran, Steven Taylor, Emmanuel Riviere, Henri Saivet, and Seydou Doumbia are all on over £25k a week despite being nowhere near the first team. Taylor has played his last game for the Magpies, as his contract runs out at the end of this season and it will not be renewed. The other four will (hopefully) be sold in the summer. Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote, Ayoze Perez, Fabricio Coloccini, Daryl Janmaat, and Siem de Jong will also be expected to seek pastures new. Next year’s Newcastle side will most likely be centered around a young core of Adam Armstrong, Jamaal Lascelles, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba, and Rolando Aarons. Local lads Paul Dummett and Jack Colback will also have a big part to play in Newcastle’s promotion push. The majority of the players signed in the summer need to be those with experience of playing in the Championship – no more foreign exports looking to showcase their skills. Lewis Dunk, Tom Lees, Joey Barton, and James Perch are the type of players the board should be looking at sign. Newcastle academy product Marcus Maddison has just had a magnificent season in League 1 with Peterborough, finishing with 12 goals and 19 assists in all competitions and should also be considered, as he will know the club inside and out growing up in the North East. In short, get rid of the deadwood and replace them with experience and a couple of promising British players. Rafa has already started the clear-out with the early contract terminations of Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan – more must follow them out the door.

Gabriel Obertan Yoan Gouffran Newcastle United







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There is lots of work to be done this summer. Hopefully Benitez will stay and guide the club back to the top-flight at the first time of asking. If not, Lee Charnley must have ambitious alternatives and not a repeat of the Steve McClaren situation. The academy must be completely renovated. The deadwood needs to be cleared out and the right players need to be brought in. Lee Charnley and Graham Carr must be the first ones out the door, followed by Peter Beardsley and many others.

This summer could determine the club’s long-term future – Lee Charnley and Co. mustn’t get it wrong.

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  1. Avatar
    John Carvinho says:

    Haha, enjoy the championship.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get some silverware,

    well, maybe if you win league 1 a couple of years after.

    Kind regards,

    John Carvinho

  2. Newcastle are tosh, they aren’t coming back up lol. Should’ve kept me you idiots. Now I’m in a cup final lalalalas

  3. Avatar
    Classorla says:

    Good read mate. Enjoyed.

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