We speak to editor of Newcastle United Fanzine True Faith, Michael Martin, ahead of the Swans weekend trip to St James’ Park.
It’s been another poor season for Newcastle this term, what has gone wrong?
Where do you start? This season has been in the post for years because the club isn’t really run as a football club at all. But getting every major appointment – Managing Director, Head Coach (and pursuing this ridiculous – Head Coach – Director of Football model has been disastrous), recruiting the wrong players and ignoring key positions at left-back, central defence and attack hasn’t helped. Spending £80m on players and actually getting worse from last season is some achievement even by the standards of the morons who run United.
Steve McClaren was recently replaced by Rafa Benitez. How did the fans feel about the decision?
An excellent appointment. McLaren is a failed Championship manager who was always going to fail and a blindman on a galloping horse could spot he was a dud but Charnley calculated he could keep us in the PL, do what he was told, rake in the TV money – job done. Wrong. Rafa is potentially the right man at the wrong time.
Who have been your star performers and who has flattered to deceive?
None have performed particularly well but I’d single out Sissoko as being particularly disappointing for a player who fancies himself to be on the point of a move to one of the best clubs in Europe.
Jonjo Shelvey arrived in the North East from South Wales in the transfer window. Were you pleased to see him arrive and how has he got on so far?
Yes. He’s one of a very limited number of players who have escaped criticism. If anything I think he’s trying too hard and attempting to show some of those around him what they have to do to compete.
The situation at the bottom is quite bleak for Newcastle. Do you view Saturday as being must win if your are to survive?
Absolutely. We have to win football matches to have any chance of staying up.
What do you make of Swansea and which players if any do you fear?
I think Swansea are a decent side and the new manager has made a big difference. I like the way Swansea play football. Is Routledge playing? He’ll hurt us given we binned him and thought we could do better but actually did a whole lot worse. We were supposedly after Gomis a few years back in one of our tortured transfer sagas. I know he didn’t do very well but he’s got a chance to write some headlines and add another sub-plot to our woeful season. Swansea are resilient, have a decent spirit about them. It will be tough for us.
Predict the score and where both teams will finish
We are due a win. 2-1 to us. Swansea will be comfortably mid-table and we’ll be 4th bottom or 2nd bottom. Ask me next week after the trip to Anfield.
All the best to Swansea fans – especially those coming to Newcastle – we all hope you have a good time. Leave the 3pts on the mantlepiece though and we’ll see you again next year. Maybe. Hopefully.