Newcastle have been relegated from the Premier League, and we’ve taken a look at the things that have gone wrong for the club.
Sunderland’s victory over Everton on Wednesday night condemned Newcastle and Norwich to the drop, with the Magpies failing to avoid relegation after their final-day heroics last season.
Newcastle fans will have at least one season in the Championship to ponder how they ended up in the second tier, and here are five points they should consider…
Why Steve McClaren?
Whether or not there is ever a good time to appoint Steve McClaren as your manager is debatable, but one thing for sure is that immediately after requiring a final-day escape from relegation certainly isn’t it.
And yet, fresh from his failure-fuelled dismissal from Championship club Derby County, McClaren was the man that the Magpies board turned to in the belief he could revive their fortunes.
There was no sense to be found to it then, and hindsight has made the decision look even worse.
Newcastle are not the only club to have ever make a bad managerial appointment, but perhaps their biggest crime was sticking with it for as long as they did.
Former England boss McClaren was given until mid-March to get his squad going in the right direction, during which time he won just six of his 28 Premier League games in charge.
By the time Newcastle got around to replacing McClaren, and they did do a good job of it with Rafa Benitez, by then it was far too late to expect to see a genuine change in the Magpies’ performances.
You can’t buy experience…
Jermain Defoe was a crucial cog in the Sunderland survival machine, giving the Black Cats cause for genuine belief that they had goals in their side at the sharp end of the season.
However, the veteran would not have been considered worth buying by the Magpies due to a policy that prioritises potential resale value over all other things, including actual product.
While Defoe was firing Sunderland to safety, Newcastle pinned their hopes on £13.5million man Aleksandar Mitrovic – and he just wasn’t up to it. Still, at least he could be sold for a lot of money…
It wasn’t Mitrovic’s fault, it must be stressed. The problem is that Newcastle have been trying to beat the recruitment system for years, believing themselves singularly capable of finding and buying top young talent before anyone else has even heard of them. They can’t, and they didn’t.
Away day blues
Newcastle’s away form has been so bad that at times this season you have wondered what was the point of trying. You want to know how bad it truly was? Okay, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The North East outfit have won just twice in the Premier League this season on the road and earned a pitiful nine points, just three more than Aston Villa. They also finish the season as the lowest goalscorers while on their travels with just 12 AND contrived to concede more goals away from home (41) than anyone.
If you can’t perform away from home, you tend to deserve to be relegated.
‘Too good to go down’
Newcastle are a club that have become complacent and they have been like that for a while now.
Early successes with their transfer model with the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, and Mathieu Debuchy conned Newcastle’s recruitment department into an artificial state of invincibility.
Meanwhile, the club itself appears to have stood still and been taken genuinely by surprise at their relegation.
They are a club that likes to make promises but struggles to keep them. They seem to believe large gates entitle you to success. They have become complacent and it has made them very sloppy – and now the price for that has been paid.