The league table never lies according to an old football saying, but the board at Newcastle United will know that they are lucky to remain in the Premier League after a series of mistakes. They have only picked up four points since February, which is an awful run for any side and is the worst run of form of any Premier League side this season. After a poor start to the season and a very bad end, many will state that Newcastle deserved to fall into the second tier, but incredibly they finished 15th highlighting the lack of quality in the bottom half of the league. They have been handed a lifeline and a first public interview from Mike Ashley suggests that the club could be about to change their ways. Although, Newcastle fans will be cautious about believing anything that he or Lee Charnley say in the aftermath of an awful season.
The Sports Direct tycoon stated that he wouldn’t be selling the club and that he was fully committed to challenging for trophies and even spoke about gaining a Champions League berth. People looking at Newcastle in their current state will know that the club needs to make wholesale changes before they reach those levels, but it is encouraging that the owner is reacting to their poor fortunes.
This summer is crucial for the club moving forward as without huge changes, they will be back fighting against relegation next season. Firstly they need to address the head coach situation and despite John Carver’s claims that he is capable of doing the job, it would be a controversial move considering the Geordie’s record since he replaced Alan Pardew. Mike Ashley has been committed to appointing British coaches since buying the club, but Remi Garde, Paco Jemez and Jocelyn Gourvennec have been linked to the post and all would add an element of intrigue to the club given their impressive records on the continent. Steve McClaren is a manager who interests Newcastle and could be available in the coming weeks. However it would be an underwhelming appointment given his time at Derby County. It’s clear that the club need to make a decision quickly to allow the new head coach to play a part in the plans for next season.
They also need to address recruitment as the big signings from last summer have disappointed over the last nine months. Emmanuel Riviere and Remy Cabella have both failed to have the desired impact with the pair managing to score two league goals between them, despite an impressive pedigree in France. Although Newcastle showed they can still spot a bargain with both Daryl Janmaat and Ayoze Perez impressing this season, and yet both could be linked with a move away this summer.
The club have some important decisions to make when it comes to players departing the football club as Jonas Gutierrez, Ryan Taylor and Sammy Ameobi are all out of contract. Meanwhile Cheick Tiote, Moussa Sissoko and Tim Krul have all been rumoured to be looking for a move away from St James’ Park.
This summer could be the defining moment of Mike Ashley’s reign at the club. The protests against him and Alan Pardew earlier in the season have made him notice that he needs to put more time and money into the club, as shown by his TV interview prior to the club’s season defining match against West Ham. Now that the club has his notice, they must make decisions to ensure that Newcastle progresses into a club who can win trophies and challenge in the top half in the league. They have the facilities, fanbase and finances to challenge the top six sides in the division, but the board needs to back up it’s words with actions this summer.