Monday, March 26, 2007

Judgement time nearing

By his own recognition, Glenn Roeder will be judged next season. Having so far brought in only three players on full time contracts, Roeder has expressed a public acknowledgement that the approaching summer transfer window will effectively shape his time on Tyneside.

Typically measured and cautious, the press reports I read over the weekend talk about building steadily, about turning down second rate players last summer so that he can ensure he gets the right people this time out. All of which is heartening stuff.

But until we've actually seen the door at St James' Park revolve a few times, with departures as well as arrivals (and more arrivals than departures, please) we're going to be none the wiser.

According to the interview, Roeder is convinced that Michael Owen will be a Newcastle player next season - which is good news, and if we can get him and Martins fit and playing well together we could have a frighteningly quick strike force. (Although having only played about twenty games since he joined us, I can't believe there are that many clubs who pay the wages we do desperate to take Owen off our hands even if we wanted to sell him.)

What we need is defenders capable of defending and maintaining concentration for an entire game (well, actually for lots of games - even Titus occasionally manages the odd one). But then surely Roeder knows this - and knew it last summer when he was unsuccessfully sniffing round Robert Huth, but still no defenders on permanent deals have arrived.

This summer can't come quickly enough for me, with the remaining league fixtures nothing more than a prelude to the summer of transfers which we must see at St James' Park. If we don't, then next season will be a long and painful affair, the blame for which will start to land firmly at the manager's door.

Glenn knows what he needs to do, the question he now must answer is whether he's capable of delivering the goods.


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