In case we had forgotten…
There was a moment in the Spurs game that – for me – summed up the malaise that has gripped Newcastle United this season.
It didn’t result in a goal for Spurs, and it wouldn’t have got anywhere near the Match of the Day highlights, but for me it said everything.
Joelinton received a ball out of defence (punting it to Joe on the wing seemed to be Plan A on Sunday). He got it under control and passed it towards Sean Longstaff and Joe Willock, who were maybe 10 yards away. Except it didn’t reach them.
Those around me were quick to blame the big Brazilian. Of course they did. They don’t rate him, and anything that he’s involved in that doesn’t work is his fault. On this occasion though, I didn’t see it that way. Neither of his midfield colleagues showed any interest in receiving the ball, in fact they barely moved. They just jogged back into position while we tried to prevent the resulting Tottenham attack.
They weren’t alone in the game.
As soon as Tottenham started imposing themselves on the game, none of our players – with the obvious exception of ASM – seemed to want the ball. That meant we could never pass the ball out of defence; we just recycled it back to the keeper, who then hoofed it up to Joelinton again.
I think in the excitement of the Newcastle United takeover, we may have temporarily forgotten that we have a very poor team representing us on the field. At least Sunday’s performance would have left the new owners in no doubt regarding the size of the task they face.
Their immediate priority is to get this team – this team that don’t want anyone to pass to them, this team that brawls in the tunnel, this team that gets more days off than…this team who look woefully unfit, this team that folds like a cheap suit when under attack, this team of brainless tacklers and mediocre talent – to amass 18 points or so by the time the transfer window opens.
That should persuade better players that we are a club worth joining. No reputable player will want to come here if they believe we are odds-on to be relegated.
We all believe the new Newcastle United owners will elevate us to a level we haven’t been near in decades, but this misfiring squad needs to help kick-start the process. We will lose a season or two if they do not, and right now, I’m worried that that happens.
Obviously, Bruce needs to go, and I’m sure he will (in fact I’m glancing at Twitter while I write this, half-expecting to read that it’s happened). But while the recent news has lifted the spirits of supporters, it appears to have had no effect on the team. Something, or someone, needs to, and quick.