Latest Turmoil At Newcastle Casts Shadow Over New Seasonby Jack Kitson / 03 August 2011, 09:22Tweet
Newcastle United fans will be wondering just why the club continuously kicks itself in the foot after the latest player controversy hampers their pre-season build up. On Tuesday the Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, finally lost patience with Joey Barton after the controversial midfielder's unflattering tweets about the club's hierarchy. Ashley decided enough was enough and has thus booted the 28-year-old out of the club, which means - much to the fans despair - that Barton is now available on a free transfer.
In the past six months Newcastle have let their three best players leave the club. Few can argue against the sale of Andy Carroll as Newcastle received a hefty, although heavily inflated, £35m for a relatively unproven striker. However, letting their inspirational captain and top goalscorer, Kevin Nolan, leave for Championship side West Ham last month is simply inexcusable and provides some insight into the behind-the-scenes troubles at St James Park. To make matters worse, recent reports are now suggesting that Newcastle have accepted a £10m transfer bid from Liverpool for star defender Jose Enrique, which will come as yet another hammer blow for the Newcastle faithful.
Newcastle supporters will now rightly be peppering the board with questions, with What on earth are you doing with the £35m generated from the Carroll sale?' top of the list. It is integral that they use the funds to bolster their striking options after letting the highly rated Carroll leave in January. Although the club have signed the nifty striker Demba Ba as well as the likes of winger Sylvain Marveaux and midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Mehdi Abeid, what the fans really crave is a marquee signing, a big name player that can pump the club full of positive energy and get the fans excited ahead of the upcoming season, as the purchase of Alan Shearer did all those years ago.
All this turmoil isn't the most ideal way to prepare for the new season. Originally the club would have been hoping to build on a relatively successful first season back in the Premier League after they finished 12th, but what with all the recent controversy their prospects for the upcoming season now appear bleak. This therefore places an unnecessary and unwanted amount of pressure on the back of manager Alan Pardew. A vacuum of pressure which is rapidly growing to such an extent that if results do not come quickly then the widely disliked Ashley could exercise his trademark ruthlessness and short temper and axe Pardew, which would sink his popularity to an all time low. Pardew is currently priced at 14/1 with Sky Bet in the Next Premier League Manager To Be Sacked Odds, but expect these odds to be slashed if the Toon get off to a rocky start.
Newcastle kick off their new campaign with a tricky home match against Arsenal. If the game is anything like the spectacular encounter between the two teams last season (Newcastle remarkably came back to draw the game after being four goals down) then football fans are in for a real treat. Sky Bet have installed Arsenal as the 4/5 favourites, with Newcastle available at 11/4 to get off to a winning start, while a draw is 5/2.