Will Ashley’s gamble pay off?
Posted on August 13th, 2011 | 23 Comments |
With the new season just a few short hours from kick off, Toon fans everywhere take stock of the events of the past few months and are no doubt wondering what kind of start we’ll have given the merciless squad upheaval.
Since the transfer window opened Geordies have sat around with baited breath hoping for some good news to pop up on the Sky Sports News Ticker. Needless to say, it’s been a rollercoaster ride. [Neil] Taylor, Gervinho, Gameiro, Cabaye, Erdinc, Nolan, Marveaux, Ba, Barton, Routledge, Enrique, Crouch, Defoe, Long, Beckford, Lovenkrands, Bendtner, Benayoun – and that’s just the players we’ve bought, sold, are supposed to be selling or been linked with that I can think of off the top of my head!
Toon fans are a rugged lot and we’ve put up with enough of the proverbial for us to be able to pick apart a rumour from a genuine story and gladly celebrate when we are linked to a top player; at least somebody out there thinks we can sign Messi for an estimated £8m.
Still, taken into account our outgoing transfers (Nolan, Enrique, Routledge) and comparing them to our incoming (Cabaye, Marveaux, Abeid, Ba, Obertan) – I’d usually say we’ve done pretty well! Unfortunately Nolan was seen by many to be a captain on and off the field, which is something Joey Barton wasted no time in Tweeting about, and was widely believed to be the straw breaking the camel’s overworked back.
Jose leaving has hardly helped matters either – now we’re stuck without a left back for the start of the season.
Discontent amongst the players (read: Barton) have gave us a slight insight into the dressing room and what may be going around. The answer is of course: not a whole lot of good. Showing again that ‘preparation’ is the last thing on the boards mind, they let our only left back go and now we’re turning to square pegs once more.
The point here is that so many changes can’t be good for the squad. 5 players have came in, fringe players are pushing for a first team place, others are still looking to discover the rest of the teams style of play while some are yet to learn to string a sentence together in English. Yes, readers, it might be time to worry.
Or is it? Ashley is, as we all know, a gambling man. With the dice he’s been throwing during pre-season, it can turn out really good or really bad. After all, that’s Ashley’s business model as we all know. High risk, high payout. When it works, it’s amazing but when it doesn’t you best hope your paddle hasn’t just blown a hole in your boat.
Don’t get me wrong here, I understand the business we have done so far and have been reasonably happy with it. Players that have gone I have understood why, players that have came in are definitely a class above – but what about the breaking in period? Lest we forget that for 4 of those 5 players this is a new league, a new style of football and probably most importantly a new physical challenge.
We’re still hurting for a striker and now for a left back it’s safe to say we’re going to be left somewhat vulnerable in our opening game against Arsenal, however, with their injury woes and potential sales we may just have an easier time of it – and hopefully we won’t concede 4 goals in 30 minutes this time around.
Of course I haven’t even mentioned that the tabloids are doing a stellar job at unsettling players and fans alike; they’re considerate like that.
But is it really all just doom and gloom on Tyneside again? That’s a simple answer: no.
The bright side is so vast it’s almost impossible not to ignore. Gosling, Vuckic, Cabaye, Marveaux, Abeid and everybody else we saw perform so well in the awful conditions last Saturday in our waterlogged friendly. That’s not even counting the youth, flair and sheer ability we have in the squad and of course, news that Barton is free to play in the first team is also a huge boost to the squad – if Joey can pick up where he left off, today’s game will be an interesting one – especially that Diaby is supposedly out.
Maybe the Fat Controller’s gamble won’t pay off but there’s always another throw of the dice, another spin on the roulette wheel and another hand to be dealt with each passing minute. Especially at this club.
There is, of course, one way to make sure his gamble does pay off and that’s simply by using the power we all have to spur on the players, to remind the owners and journalists exactly who we are and exactly why we’re renowned for our unwavering love and support – let’s shake the Cathedral on the Hill this season.
At the end of the day, the only thing we need to worry about as fans is the 11 men on the pitch. Conjecture and guesswork regarding our transfers can come on September 1st and until then, we need to support the lads. We have two very tough games to begin the season so let’s get behind every player to run out in black and white. Let’s show the new lads that they have selected the right club – the best club.
They’ve chosen our club.
Howay the lads!