Monday, February 10, 2014

Crisis - what crisis?

I debated whether or not to bother dignifying this article with a response, but... a hearty round of applause to the Torygraph for giving Little Saint Mick a platform from which to air his jaundiced, ill-informed views on our club and fans.

Where to start? How's about with the observation that we're "eighth in the league". That much is true - as I think is the suggestion that, with the existing squad, the club is "punching at their correct weight". Lower mid-table is where I'd expect us to be - the previous two seasons having been pretty freakish aberrations.

However, he also claims we're "far more likely to qualify for Europe than get involved in a relegation scrap" - again arguably true, but this overlooks the fundamental mistrust with which the Europa League is eyed by the club hierarchy. Our ambitions should of course be realistic and proportional, and European qualification is still achievable - so why not go for it? If the current squad isn't strong enough to compete in the additional fixtures that accompany qualification, then there's a simple solution: bolster the squad in the summer. But the appetite to do so simply doesn't seem to exist.

Owen also has a point in characterising our transfer policy as one of signing players cheaply and selling them on for a significant profit. Dreamboat would of course be a great example. I think most of us would agree, perhaps grudgingly, that if Jabba isn't prepared to put his hand into his pocket and fund the club in the manner of an Arab oligarch, then this is a sensible course of action. What he omits to mention, of course, is the crucial second stage of the model, the one that makes it sustainable: that departees need to be adequately replaced. Again, Dreamboat is a prime example of where we're failing.

Then there are the comments on JFK: "It appears that he was not a successful appointment as director of football". The understatement is laughable. Owen claims that this is a simple mistake now rectified, not something we should be up in arms about - but then when it comes to drawing huge wages from a club to which we contribute financially in return for fuck all, he should know. The aside that "there was a feeling the game had moved on too much for him to be given such a role" hints that he's aware of the flimsiness and ridiculousness of his own argument.

Much of the rest of the article is a lazy reheating of the usual tedious trash about fickle fans with unrealistic expectations and the goldfish bowl of life on Tyneside ("the scrutiny is unyielding"). He harps on and on about us being a "crisis club" once again - seemingly unaware that that's a term bandied about by the media rather than the supporters. A club in crisis sells newspapers. The media uses poor results on the pitch as an angle, when in reality the grumblings of discontent have been constant for some time now. Few of us would say we're in the midst of a "crisis" - we would, however, justifiably observe that our current league position obscures a multitude of problems, including a complete disconnect with an owner who appears to give no regard whatsoever to the people who have made and continue to make the club what it is today.

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