Paul Merson delivers Newcastle 'good job' verdict, makes £700m transfer claim
The Magpies slumped to their fourth defeat of the campaign with a lacklustre 2-0 loss against Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime, and have won just one of their last five top flight outings.
But while Merson was quick to point out how badly Steve Bruce’s men are struggling without the usual support of the St. James’ Park faithful, he also argued that the Toon Army do deserve some credit given the size of the task the club face in terms of making it into the higher reaches of the division.
Discussing the matter on Sky Sports News’ Soccer Saturday with host Jeff Stelling, Merson said: “Teams go to Newcastle now and they go, ‘Right, we’ll play on the halfway line, no-one is going to run beyond us, they’re going to let us have the ball’.
"That’s how it is without 50,000 Geordies there who, let’s be honest, for the last 10 seasons, have helped the club.
"This is Newcastle for the last 10 years – a couple of good results, a couple of bad results, we’ll stay up, job done. We go over the same thing with Newcastle every single year.
"They haven’t got the players to open a football match up. They just haven’t got it, I’m sorry.”
In response, Stelling said: “All this is why Newcastle fans are crying out for change, because they’ve had 10 years and they don’t want it anymore.”
Merson replied: “Then you get change and you’ve got to get players in. You’ve got to spend £700 million to get a team into the top eight. It’ll cost you how much?
"It’s alright everybody sitting there and going, ‘Get someone else in and spend someone else’s money’. It’s not that easy.
"What Newcastle do at the moment is a good job, in my opinion. They stay up.”
The Magpies have finished 13th in the Premier League in each of their last two seasons, but did win one point fewer under Steve Bruce last term than they did under Rafa Benitez in 2018/19.