Just like the end of the 2013/14 season, last season was a catastrophe for Newcastle. Their league record read just three wins in the second half of the season and saw them record a run of eight consecutive defeats – as they just narrowly escaped the drop on the final day.
Alan Pardew had been under constant pressure throughout the summer and began hopeful of getting Newcastle back into the Champions League, but he soon departed to Crystal Palace and left John Carver in charge of the Magpies.
Newcastle had enjoyed an untypical summer transfer window by their standards, by splashing the cash on nine new signings to help Pardew in his bid to get Newcastle at the top end of the table. Despite strengthening the attacking third with Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Rivière, all three were unispired signings last season – as de Jong struggled with injuries and the two Frenchmen with form. However, Dutch international Darryl Janmaat, Tenerife youngster Ayoze Pérez and Jack Colback – who arrived from fierce rivals Sunderland on a free transfer – were the stand-out signings who instantly impressed and even more will be expected from the trio this season.
A new coaching staff headed by former England boss Steve McClaren have arrived at St James Park for the new season, so the Toon Army will be hopeful that lessons will have been learnt from the last two seasons and progress can be made this time around.
Despite the changes in management, layers feel that Newcastle will be battling for a place in the top half, never mind battling for a place in Europe. If the last two seasons are anything to go by, you are more likely to find Newcastle’s name near the top of the relegation betting odds rather than the top six market with most leading bookmakers, which suggests McClaren has to do more than bring in a few new faces to right the wrongs of the last two campaigns.
Newcastle’s Summer Transfers
Transfers In (signed from):
Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV)
Aleksandar Mitrovi? (Anderlecht)
Chancel Mbemba (Anderlecht)
Ivan Toney (Northampton Town)
Florian Thauvin (Marseille)
Transfers Out (Moved to):
Davide Santon (Inter)
Remie Streete (Port Vale)
Adam Campbell (Notts County)
Ryan Taylor (Hull City)
Jak Alnwick (Port Vale)
Mehdi Abeid (Panathinaikos)
Olivier Kemen (Lyon)
Jonás Gutiérrez (Deportivo La Coruña)
As well as these arrivals, Newcastle also have Sylvain Marveaux, Haris Vuckic, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana and Kevin Mbabu returning from loan spells. It remains who, if any of them, will remain as permanent features at St James’ this season though.
Looking at the summer signings, Newcaslte have done some good business as Georginio Wijnaldum could probably get a game for any of the Champions League chasing sides and Aleksandar Mitrovi? had also been courted by a number of high-profile teams, while Chancel Mbemba is tipped to have a bright future in the game.
With Newcastle expected to improve and be in and around mid-table in the league – as well as owner Mike Ashley stating that he wants some silverware – fans will be looking out for a good cup run to inject some life into their season. Newcastle have not won a domestic trophy since 1955, when they lifted the F.A Cup. Last year, an early Third Round exit from the FA Cup against Leicester was disappointment, while a place in the quarter-finals was as far as they got in the League Cup – after beating holders Manchester City along the way.
Should Newcastle fail to heed the warnings of previous seasons, another year of mediocrity could be on the cards for Newcastle United in 2015/16 and their fans have had too many of them in recent years.