Newcastle United’s season is already on the cusp of descending into absolute chaos

We’re not even out of August yet and Newcastle United’s season is already on the cusp of descending into absolute chaos.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 12:49 pm

With the proposed takeover still up in the air, Mike Ashley up to his usual, tight, tricks and Steve Bruce still in charge – something many supporters still can’t fathom – there was hardly any optimism to start with.

The beginning to a typical campaign under Ashley, eh? Yet for all the constant disappointment and neglect, it doesn’t get any easier.

The crowds St James’s Park has attracted so far proves the club’s passionate fanbase cannot walk away from their beloved team, no matter how hard they try.

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Newcastle United exited the Carabao Cup after a penalty shootout defeat to Burnley. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There will never be an acceptance but deep down, fans are all too aware of what their once great club has become – a boring, rudderless ship. The blame lies, and will forever lie, with Ashley.

The financial impact of Covid-19 or the ongoing takeover saga can be cited as genuine reasons for the lack of spending in the transfer market, but is this really any different to a classic Ashley summer?

In recent times, yes maybe following the arrivals of Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson but over Ashley’s 14-year tenure? No.

The £25million arrival of Joe Willock from Arsenal is a fantastic buy but was an absolute necessity.

Overall, it isn’t anywhere near enough. A central defender, another midfielder and striker, at the very least is needed.

Ashley has done little to aid his under-fire head coach because barring a shock before the transfer deadline, Newcastle are the same, if not weaker than last season.

Certainly, Bruce needed a strong start to silence his critics but after opening Premier League defeats to West Ham United and Aston Villa, and now a Carabao Cup exit to Burnley, it couldn’t have gone any worse.

Bruce can point towards the positives, especially against the Clarets where his nine changes did everything but score before losing 4-3 on penalties.

But Newcastle or Bruce haven’t got time for positives, not now their long 52 years wait for a trophy continues. In the league, they need results, and fast, starting with Southampton.

Already, defeat to the Saints is unthinkable. It could get ugly.

Bruce needed to be backed in the transfer window but it’s not unfair to say he should be doing better with what he’s got at his disposal.

At any ‘normal’ club, the aim is to build your squad year-on-year. Of course, Newcastle aren’t normal but on paper, they’ve got more than enough to at least survive.

That is why fans doubt his credentials as head coach – focusing more on the two wins in 21 games rather than the five in eight at the end of last season.

It is, of course, early days and there is still time for the doom and gloom to fade for the timebeing by winning football matches.

The club will never function completely with Ashley in charge, it’s just about avoiding a disaster – and early form suggests it is heading that.

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