A year or so ago, Alan Pardew briefed us we could not reasonably be expected to compete Lee-Charnleywith Southampton. A few jaws hit the floor but it has come to pass – we cannot compete with Southampton. The fact is, they have far greater football expertise at St Mary’s than we do at St James’.

Let’s go through the whole lot. The people who run Southampton are better at appointing managers and know when the time is up for incumbents of the dug-out before everyone else. Nigel Adkins had done well from 2010 to 2013 after taking over from one Alan Pardew and he got them into the Premier League after a few unhappy years sinking through the divisions. When Adkins went the journey, the Southampton board brought in Mauricio Pochettino, who impressed many in his 18 months on the south coast and so much to the extent that he has moved to the supposedly bigger club at Tottenham in that London. After losing their Argentine manager, The Saints then moved to bring Ronald Koeman to England from Feyenoord. All of that business was done in the summer and with minimal fuss. Southampton is currently third top. They are doing really well, despite having had to sell big in the close season. They were active as buyers too and have built a strong, well-balanced side that have taken many by surprise. Good luck to them. They are a good club. Like Swansea. They have people at their clubs who make the right decisions, have the right plan and most importantly, have the right intentions.

Away from the first team picture, they have an excellent Academy. It has produced player after player who have not only performed well for The Saints but who have earned the club a fortune in transfer fees as well.

They are miles ahead of us.

Once again, communications and public relations at United are beyond dire. No-one is asking to know the exact detail of what is going on with the process to recruit a new Manager/Head Coach or whatever but a heads up from Charnley might have been a good idea. He appears to be as sullen and belligerent as his boss. The silence is just a big fuck you to the supporters really.

This has to be sorted and quickly. It is becoming ridiculous.

That said, you have to wonder why Pardew hasn’t moved to take Carver, Stone and Woodman to Selhurst Park. That appears to be the norm in these situations. Are they unwanted? Or has the ridiculous contracts Ashley put them on made them unmovable from United?

What does the position of Carver, Stone and Woodman mean for any new manager/coach? Are candidates being asked to keep those three and take it from there because of any compensation situation? Similarly, in the case of Remi Garde, what scope would he have for example to bring his coaching team from Lyon to Darsley Park?

Is this what is holding up things up?

What the fuck does due diligence in checking out a manager mean? Are they checking his credit record or something? I’d have hoped they might have had all of the background checks completed before he even got to the interview stage.

Of course the delay is similarly making it increasingly unlikely we will invest in new players this window. I don’t think I’m going mental (well, not on this occasion) to suggest that we need two central defenders, one creative central midfielder player and a centre-forward. Don’t believe me? Watch a recording of the Southampton game then.

I also think we need a new captain because as much as I have purred at Colo’s defensive abilities down the years, it has to be said, he is not the player he was (he was ragged all over SJP by Pelle on Saturday evening – not for the first time) but most of all the lack of leadership on the park is alarming on occasion. When the leadership coming from the dug-out seems little more than in the style of a pissed-up cracker outside the Green Market there has to be something on the pitch. There isn’t.

I think while I am in the mood for asking for stuff, that is we were to go mad and sign some players (highly unlikely) I’d suggest we sign some lads who aren’t auditioning for the frontline of the Lollipop Guild (probably the first and last Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reference you’ll read in this old gubbins) and get some big ‘uns in. We are losing physical battles all over the pitch but especially in attacking positions where Perez, Goufrann and Cabella look like they have wandered in from the U-14s. You know some of the balls floated hopefully into the box might be better if we had a laddie running around looking for that kind of ball. It might improve our desperate set-plays and corners.

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Sissoko reckons Arsenal is the club of his heart. There was a time when such a blatant insult to Newcastle United would have had us outraged. Now, we just shrug our shoulders. We know the club is just a shop-window for those players trying to catch the eye of a proper club. They can flog him for me, he’ll do fuck all at Arsenal because he’s not that done that much here.

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I hope I’m wrong about Cabella but he looks woefully short of strength and resilience to play in the Premier League. I think I mean he’s soft as shite. £11m? That’s Graeme Carr off the Mike Ashley Christmas Card list.

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Apparently, a few NEDs charging the offices at Ibrox on Friday night is Rangers fans showing us Mags how to act to get Ashley out of the club. Honestly, it all made for great TV but what’s changed? What is far more effective is the organised efforts to take ownership of the club through the purchase of shares. That’s an option that isn’t open to us and which has never really been open to us – Sir John Hall was careful never to allow supporters to have a meaningful shareholding in the club. Its never going to happen with Ashley is it? However, there is nothing stopping anyone from storming the Milburn Stand on any given match-day. Unlikely to make a blind bit of difference I’m afraid.

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It’s been mentioned a few times in this place but it is worth giving it another shout out:

What: Newcastle United Supporters Trust – Annual General Meeting

When: 6pm, Wednesday 21/Jan/15

Where: Mining Institute, Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

How: Become an NUST member and come to the AGM.

Why: The Newcastle United Supporters Trust is the only members based organisation open to all fans to join. It has a correctly elected board. It operates within a correct constitution. Its accounts are fully audited and available for inspection. It is a full and participating member of the Supporters Direct national umbrella organisation and it is affiliated to the Football Supporters Federation. It has strong links with the City Council (an elected council member plays a full role on the Trust board) and the NUST has a strong and professional relationship with the Northern Group of Labour MPs.

The AGM will give a full briefing of NUST’s activities for the last year and some outline of its plans for the next. It does some good work. It could and should do more. For it to be stronger, it needs your support. Join up.

For full details click here: NEWCASTLE UNITED SUPPORTERS TRUST

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This week, we are going to have a couple of items online under the heading DISCUSSION DAYS – Keep an eye out we’d like a massive debate.

These are dark days but you know, one day it will change. It just has to. Doesn’t it?

 

Keep On, Keepin’ On …