With the Premier League season now finished, it can be time for football fans to get excited about the transfer window, and look forward to the next season and how their team will progress. That is of course unless you are a Newcastle United fan.
This is a fanbase that has had to deal with the way Mike Ashley has ran the club for over 14 years, so, you can forgive them if optimism is a bit lacking these days. To make matters worse, the club have Steve Bruce in charge. A manager who wouldn’t exactly set hopes and dreams flying if it was a straight shootout between him and Sam Allardyce. Bruce’s idea of what he needs in the summer may differ considerably to that of everybody else.
To look at last summer, a window in which Steve managed to get Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley to change their transfer policy and sign Callum Wilson for £20 million from Bournemouth. It was also the summer that Jeff Hendrick was brought in on a free. A signing that neither pleased nor excited the fanbase. This summer seems to be going along the same lines, although without the Callum Wilson-esq signing.
Reports have surface that the North east club may have as little as £10 million to spend this window. Granted it has been a season and a half of Covid hit football, with no fans in stadiums, but £10 million for a Premier League side, who spent the majority of last season fighting to stay in the division, is not only embarrassing, but in a more depressing aspect, somewhat expected.
Fans have been told to expect loans and free transfers. With paying actual money to sign a player looking less and less likely the closer the window gets; you start to worry whether Newcastle can in fact survive another season within the Premier league. Yet if you look at some of the fan’s suggestions as to who the club and Steve Bruce could bring in to improve an already half decent squad, Newcastle could still have a half-decent window.
The issue is that there is no trust between the club and the fanbase, and there hasn’t been for a while. So, expectations are not high for the window and the season ahead. There is no trust that the club are able to get the right signings, and when they seemingly look close to getting the right players in, they can’t seem to get them over the line.
Back this up with a complete lack of trust with the manager in order to improve signings once they are made. Look at Jamal Lewis for example, when he signed last summer there was some excitement from the fans. Here was a decent young player who could only get better, and for reasons only known to himself he has chosen to come to Newcastle. Fast forward a season, and most fans wouldn’t even have him anywhere near the starting line-up, with the general consensus he has been ‘Bruced’.
The Newcastle fans aren’t stupid, and are indeed very knowledgeable about the game, regardless of what some pundits will have you believe. They know what is needed to improve their team, to give them a slight glimmer of hope that maybe this is the year the club aims for higher than 17th in the league. The only problem seems to be that Newcastle United as an entity are on a different path.
So while fans can only dream of a £6 million defender from Celtic, or a free Josh King, or even attempt to bring Joe Willock back to the club. The club will find a way to break those dreams, and supply a loyal fanbase with uninspiring signings like Hendrick, who managed to live up to fans expectations, and fail to perform in anyway.