As a faithful Newcastle fan, 2012 has been a year of trials and tribulations. In my opinion it typified the emotional roller-coaster of supporting ‘the Toon’. Last year, Alan Pardew managed to do more than even the most optimistic fan could wish for, taking the club back to were the fans believe they belong: Europe! But for most fans that seems a very, very long time ago.
After a brilliant season finishing above Premier League giants of Chelsea and Liverpool. The summer transfer market looked to be an exciting prospect for many Newcastle fans. The general feeling on Tyneside was that if we were to remain in that top six and compete in all cup competitions, a few signings would be imperative to give the club that all important strength in depth.
The transfer window started well bringing in Romain Amalfitano, Gael Bigirimana and Curtis Good. Then, in August, Vurnon Anita was signed from European greats Ajax. Although these four players promised great potential and stronger reserve teams they did not look like the calibre of players the ‘Toon Army’ were expecting. Although Bigirimana and Anita have been involved in the first team this season, it was a pretty disappointing transfer market for optimistic fans.
The 2012/2013 season got off to a great start with a 2-1 at home to Tottenham. Newcastle found themselves up in the top 8 after the first few games. However this glory was short lived as injuries, fatigue and form took a toll on a very small squad that has now been knocked out of both domestic cups. Since Pardew was awarded the controversial eight-year contract, Newcastle could only manage wins in three of their 18 league games (W3, D4, L11). This left Newcastle with an all time low point tally of 21 points from 23 Premier League games.
As we entered the New Year anybody claiming Newcastle not to be in danger was being naïve. This January transfer window is going to be key in the battle for survival. It started on a very positive note when the signing of French international and Yohan Cabaye’s ex-Lille team mate and close friend Mathieu Debuchy. Newcastle had been chasing Debuchy for almost one year and his signature looked to be a great capture for the Club.
Just under a week later news reached us via twitter that Loic Remy a promising young French man had been heavily linked with a Newcastle. In the next few days Pardew admitted interest, a fee was agree and a medical scheduled. All was going perfectly well and the confirmation of the signing looked imminent. Remy looked like the perfect replacement for Newcastle’s latest departure of top goal-scorer Demba Ba.
The potential signing Remy looked set to begin an ambitious second half of the season and maybe offer some of the creativity lacked in the final third recently. However, after ‘tweeting’ previously what a good signing Remy was going to be, Joey Barton then broke Geordie hearts by breaking the news of Queens Park Rangers rival bid for Loic Remy (his Marseille team mate).
Although Newcastle still looked favorites to sign him, I certainly felt that QPRs wealth alone could lure a young talent like Remy to sign. Inevitably, Rangers offered Remy almost double the wage that Newcastle had previously offered and I may add, had been accepted. The contract is said to be almost £95,000 per week and a goal bonus of over £5,000.
I believe that if Loic Remy was motivated by football he would have joined Newcastle. Newcastle currently have three French internationals in Cabaye, Debuchy and Ben Arfa, Remy would have fitted in. Not only are Newcastle competing in European competition but also they are a comfortable few places above QPR in the table. I also must add that personally I would prefer to play in front of 50,000 faithful fans in a lovely stadium than 18,000 that QPR average.
Unsurprisingly today, Newcastle struggled to find a second goal which led to the inevitable loss to reading which looked like a must win game in our survival chances. While in London, QPR’s new signing Loic Remy grabbed himself a debut goal, which led to QPR picking up only their 15th point of the season. It can’t help but provoke questions like; have QPR’s stealing of Remy sent the Toon down and if Remy was at Newcastle would they have won? Personally, I believe that losing out on Remy could prove costly both in the short run (losing to Reading) and in the long run (survival chances).
Lastly, from somebody that has supported Pardew recently, I have a bad feeling that there could be some backlash to today’s loss to Reading. Could it see the end of Pardew with still 7 and a half years remaining on contract? Personally, I hope not but today his tactics were woeful and his substitutions worse. Taking Cabaye who was the player of the first half (apart from Federici who pulled off quite a few incredible saves) was – in my humble view – just stupid.
We started excellently but the second half was, in my opinion, our worst of the season. I dread the future…. something must change.
Written by Charlie Swinburn
Follow him on Twitter @SwinburnCharlie
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