Newcastle United – The Gift That Just Keeps On Giving

Newcastle United – The Gift That Just Keeps On Giving
May 9, 2016


Newcastle United came into the weekend out of the drop zone with just two matches remaining – three for relegation rivals Sunderland and Norwich. The first of these two was against already relegated Aston Villa, a side who had only collected a measly 16 points all season.

It was the perfect opportunity to put themselves in a great position for the showdown with Spurs at St. James’ Park on the last day of the season.

In typical Newcastle fashion, they blew it.

Newcastle are the masters of getting your hopes up and then shooting them back down again. After a 3-1 humbling at St. Mary’s, the division the club would be playing their football next season looked certain. Six points behind Norwich and with just a couple of matches remaining, any hope that remained with the Toon faithful had certainly gone.

But, out of nowhere, Benitez miraculously transformed the side into a compact, well-drilled unit. The Magpies went unbeaten in their next four, picking up wins against Swansea and Crystal Palace as well as grinding out draws against Liverpool and Manchester City.

Newcastle had saved their season when, just a few weeks ago, it looked to be over. The Great Escape was truly on.

The way in which the Magpies potentially threw away their top-flight status for next season was extremely frustrating – albeit, not surprising. To blow it against a side who had lost 11 matches in a row coming into the encounter not only disappoints you but angers you as well.

Newcastle had enough chances to win the game. Colback missed a sitter early in the second half, Mitrovic squandered three golden opportunities, and Wijnaldum missed a decent chance, as the Dutchman once again failed to find the back of the net.

That’s not the point. Newcastle are the only side who have failed to beat Villa all season, and for that, they deserve to go down.

For a club who spoke of ambitions to finish in the top eight and have a cup run, this is truly embarrassing. It puts the arrogance and cluelessness shown by the hierarchy for years on full display.

Steve McClaren should never have been appointed, and Lee Charnley, the man who put McClaren in charge, knows nothing about football. His reluctance to sack the man he thought was the “perfect fit” for the club looks to have cost the Magpies their place in the Premier League.

Not only could they lose their top flight status, but also the best thing to happen to the club for a very long time – Rafa Benitez. He has significantly improved this hapless bunch in the space of just a few weeks. Imagine what he could with a full pre-season to bring in his own players and fully implement his system. Sadly, it looks like he won’t be doing so.

Although there is still a chance, it is a very slim one. Sunderland would have to drop at least five points against Watford and Everton, two sides already on the beach and with managers who will be gone in the summer. Even if Sunderland somehow do crumble under pressure, Newcastle would still have to beat Spurs, who now have something to play for as they’re bid to finish above Arsenal for the first time in over 20 years is in serious jeopardy. Only a miracle will save the club now.

In typical Newcastle fashion, the Magpies have all but sealed their relegation.

It’s the hope that kills you.

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