Man City may have won the title in the most dramatic style you have ever seen and have proven that they are the best team in the division, but looking at this season as a whole, it's got to be said that using a boxing analogy, Newcastle United are the Pound 4 Pound kings in the Premier League.
Citeh have spent a £1billion, that's ONE BILLION, in creating the title winning squad over the past 4 years. Within that same period, NUFC have been relegated and have a net spend of -£30million. So we have been selling where other teams have been spending. To finish 5th in the league is one of the most remarkable achievements in Premier League history. No question.
Other teams like Man Utd have been spending £16mil on a new goalkeeper, we have brought ours through the youth system into the first team. Where Chelsea have been spending £50mil on Torres, we have been signing Papiss Cisse for £9mil with much better results. Where Spurs have one of the largest net spends in the division and a Champions League season to use to attract the likes of Adebayor on loan, Newcastle have to sell first to spend and have a wage cap of £50k. Where Liverpool are spending £100mil on players to finish 8th, we are spending only what we can afford with free transfers and small sums like £4mil on first team players to finish 5th.
The only club that can rival NUFC with regards to net spend to league position are Arsenal. But lets be totally honest. Arsenal have had 15 years of continuous Champions League football and can attract the type of player the Toon can only dream of. For NUFC to recruit the likes of Yohan Cabaye & Cheik Tiote who both won there domestic leagues, for nominal fees, after being a Championship club 2 years ago is incredible.
NUFC fell just short of 4th place which is a shame but not unsurprising. The fact we were even in a position to qualify for CL going into the 38th game of the season is a minor miracle in itself. Champions League football could have changed our football club going forward but it wasn't meant to be. None of us can really complain.
However, looking at both sides of the coin it has to be said that Alan Pardew resorting back to the 4-4-2 hoofball tactics is strange if not plain baffling. I hope he doesn't have plans to have this as our Plan A next season. We all witnessed the glorified success of the 4-3-3 system which seemed to suit our front 3 and allow them to attack at will, with Yohan Cabaye able to express his creativity in the hole and Cheik Tiote and Jonas holding the fort was solid as a rock. To look for an explanation for his abandonment of this system must be aimed at Demba Ba and Pardew's seemingly desperation in pleasing him.
If this is true, then it's a disgrace. Demba Ba quite frankly has been a donkey over the past several games. The only reason he has been in the team is because of his flying start to the season where he scored 15 in 15 games. Looking at his last 10 games, his goals tally is nothing short of unbelievable. He has hardly looked like a 20 goal a season striker in recent months.
However, if there is an underlying aspect to why Demba seems 'undroppable' no matter how poor he plays or where he wants to play, than it will probably be his contract. Or more specifically, the infamous release clause. Every man and his dog knows that he has a mediocre figure of a release fee in his contract that any club could easily activate without breaking any bank accounts.
He has sulked, refused to shake the managers hand whilst being substituted and has been unable to hit a barn door ever since being asked to play out wide on the left. His toys have been very much thrown out of the pram. Craig Bellamy and Keiron Dyer both refused to play for NUFC on the wing in there time here and both were sold.
If I were Alan Pardew I wouldn't be as desperate to please Demba as I would be in showing the Prima Donna just who is boss. If you don't wanna play for NUFC out wide, then don't play for NUFC at all. Goodbye. Thanks for the memories.
This season has been incredible. Pardew has worked miracles on the whole and deserves his manager of the season award. Some of the goals we have scored is a goal of the season competition all by itself. Almost every signing we have made has been a success. We still have money left over from the Carroll sale and will earn a fair coin from finishing 5th in the league. We will increase our matchday income with Europa League games next season. So we should only get stronger. Keeping our key players is imperative. But even if we don't, they will only go for top, top dollar. In which we will use to find another Ben Arfa, Cabaye or Cisse. I already can't wait for next season. If it's anything like this season, then.....
...Bring it on!!!