Prem Survival Series Part 2: Wolves & Newcastle
After the weekend FA Cup distraction our focus sharply shifts back to our upcoming trip to Manchester City in our Battle for Premiership Survival.
Our series of interviews with our recognized relegation rivals continues as we seek insight into the goings on at the clubs around us and begin to realize that it is not only ourselves reaching for the horse tranquilizer.
Jonathan at Vital Villa got the ball rolling, providing us with harrowing detail as to what has derailed Aston Villa's season and left them languishing in the bottom three.
Second up, our focus shifts to Newcastle United. Many thanks to Ken for his quick, detailed & humorous reply.
What were you expectations at the start of the season?
Expectation is a difficult word in the Premier League as anyone can beat anyone at some point, use Hull as an example a couple of years ago, Blackpool this year etc, Chelsea and Villa this season too, all dropping points...I hoped we would stay up and still do...
With 25 points on the board, there are plenty of other sides who have more to worry about than yourselves, but a couple of defeats can drag you right back into the relegation zone. Are Newcastle over achieving, under achieving? Tell us what is going right, and wrong.
We're doing OK, I think, given the squad we have, we're probably slightly over achieving, if someone told me that we would sit 10th in the New Year or even finish the year in our current position, I would say that would be a massive achievement for us, long time to go, I'd be happy to just stay in the Prem so far.
What players would you like to see brought/sold in January?
Selling is tough, our squad is thin on the ground, and we need to add players before selling, so nobody out yet, doesn't mean all our players are good though, just we don't have the luxury anymore - for me if we did, and I'll probably get slated for this by the NUFC fans, Jonas Gutierrez can move on, he's a luxury we can't afford as the end product is practically nothing, same can be said for Routledge of course, but, as I say, we don't have the luxury. I would like to see SWP at St James' Park, think he has a lot to give and experienced enough to help our plight. Our funds are limited so it's very likely we will see no exits and only the Ben Arfa signing will come to fruition, that said, Dan Gosling is on his way back so that will be like a new player for us too.
Will the sacking/hiring prove Ashley's greatest blunder to date?
Ashley is a tw*t, he will be forgiven by some fans if we get reasonable success, ie, mid-table finish will be seen by some as a major success, but lets not forget, if it did happen, Hughton had us there not Pardew. Ashley and Blunder are associated words, but he seemingly manages to ride the storm every time, another major blunder that some forget, Pardew is on a 5 year deal, longer than any other European manager, so any potential buyer of the club has a long assed managers contract to buy out should they consider buying the club.
Where will Newcastle finish this season?
I think we'll qualify for Europe, possibly even Champions league, we'll sign Messi shortly and that might even push us to top spot, I got Fifa 11 for Xmas....15th will do nicely thanks, good luck and lets hope you lot can stay up, not at the expense of us of course...
Please note! Ken replied to the interview January 4th, a day before Newcastle put five past West Ham, so...........
As things stand, Newcastle sit pretty in 8th, 7 points from a place in Europe, 7 points from a place in the bottom 3. If that doesn't underline the nature of this season then nothing will.
I think Ashley's treatment of Hughton was an absolute disgrace and I wished relegation on Newcastle, not aimed at the club, but him.
As Ken points out, 'Ashley and 'Blunder' are associated words.' After his years of mishandling this club I am amazed he is still somehow there and when you look at who is running that show it makes me grateful we have Steve Morgan at the helm.
As far as the relegation battle goes, I think Pardew would have to oversee a calamity of absurd proportions for them to fall into the bottom three at all again this season.
They had a very good first half season and with 28 points on the board already, they, like Blackpool in my book (they have 25) are probably only 3 or 4 wins short of ensuring Premiership football next season.
Despite the derby next week and Spurs the week after, Newcastle are 'free' of the FA Cup, and have from the following 5 fixtures, Fulham, Blackburn, Birmingham, Bolton and Everton of which I can see them taking 8 or 9 points.
That would put them on 36/37 and have them steering very close to safety by the first week of March.
If that proves of comfort to Newcastle fans, I'll revisit the fact they are 7 points off a place in Europe, and ask how many points Wolves are behind Newcastle?
Will Newcastle be playing in Europe next year? Will Wolves be playing in the Championship next year?
My answer to both would be no.
Once again, many thanks to Ken for his detailed insight and best wishes shared.
Who is next in the series?
Fulham, West Ham & Everton have all responded to our interview request. You call it, I'll publish it.
New York City Wolf