It’s no secret Newcastle United haven’t had the best of times in recent years. Show-stopping individual performances have been few and far between, the coaching practices have been laughable and the managerial appointments have been, well, let’s not mention too much about those.
All in all, Newcastle have put themselves in the media firing line and allowed to pundits a free shot.
Nevertheless, it seems like the majority of ‘experts’ find too much pleasure in taking a dig at United. There are many examples in which this is the case.
Take Soccer Saturday, for example. Saturdays off work mean sitting in front of the TV watching Jeff and the boys having a good old natter to each other, but some of the panel seem to take an extreme dislike to Newcastle. Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas get a special mention.
Merson has a well-documented past and is lucky to have landed such a well paid gig at Sky but some of his analysis is dreadful. Earlier this season, he claimed all Newcastle players had to do was ‘give it their all’ and that would suffice. This was when Newcastle had went six games without a win, may I add. Sorry, Paul but giving 110% doesn’t make up for the fact our defence was utterly hopeless this season. There have been numerous other times in which Merson has belittled and slated the club.
Next, Charlie Nicholas. As previously mentioned, critics have every right to publicly slam Newcastle in their analysis after the goings on at the club recently but Nicholas made a comment this year that completely took the biscuit.
Back in April, the Scot describe this season’s Newcastle side as ‘possibly the worst team that has ever played in the Premier League’… Poor old Charlie must be forgetting the Aston Villa side that lost 27 of their 38 games this season. Or the Sunderland team that got relegated under Mick McCarthy. Oh, and that fantastic Derby County side that only acquired 11 points all season back in 2008.
It seems as if Nicholas’ memory is deteriorating as he enters old age, despite attempting to stay youthful with his vast amounts of sunbeds and diamond earrings.
Switching from one Sky studio to another. We have former Magpie boss Graeme Souness.
Souness had a 16 month tenure at the club and managed to fall out with a number of high profile squad members. Craig Bellamy famously had a particular nasty spat with the Scotsman. However, since leaving Newcastle all the way back in 2006, Souness has made a habit of twisting the knife when it comes to his former side.
Over the years, the 63-year-old has claimed that the ‘high expectations’ of the Geordie faithful can be ‘detrimental’ on the squad. He has also stated on numerous occasions that the NUFC job was his least enjoyable during his time in management.
This season he has had his say once again, this time claiming that St James’ Park isn’t the easiest place to play at, because of the fans. How he can genuinely come out and say that us fans are to blame for the showings on the pitch this season is simply incredible. Newcastle United fans stuck by their team week after week this year, even when times got extremely tough. Nobody can deny that.
People think because Souness managed at Newcastle he instantly becomes an expert on the club. That man will never truly understand Newcastle United.
For this reason, I feel it is easy to see why Alan Shearer sticks up for Newcastle whenever he gets a chance. He may rant and rave but he understands the club. He has been a fan, a player and a manager. He gets what it means to support NUFC. If anyone is to be deemed as an ‘expert’, it’s him.
However, as the page turns and a new chapter is dawns upon Newcastle United, we can only hope that a good season in the Championship will be the start of a new era for the club on the pitch, and off the pitch when it comes to the pundits. A Rafa Benitez revolution could be what it takes for pundits to stop sticking the boot into this football club.
AARON STOKES – FOLLOW AARON ON @
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