Welcome back! Another season is down with Newcastle United and my word what a season it’s been! After last years 2nd place finish we had given ourselves another shot at Champions League football. Hopes are high, the Chairman is still throwing money about so let’s see how it all went…
A LOT!!!!! I’m not going to go through them all, a lot of them were youths or reserves who were never going to cut it. We lost quite a few first-teamers though, some on my own accord, some forced upon me. Coly and Shanley, both central defenders I’d mentioned in the previous post that they would go, neither featured enough and I cashed in. Montaperto was the Striker I’d signed last Summer and he really hadn’t played well enough. Romero (RB) was out of contract in the Summer so he left in the Winter window. Nannini (CM) requested a move, as he was 4th choice I let him go for a decent amount.
Now we come to the two big out’s. First up is Striker and cult hero David Ferrari, when he came in I pinpointed him as a major contributor moving forward, he had his up’s and down’s, major run’s with no goals then big upturns in form. The injury last season set him back and with Gifford taking over as the main Striker I moved him on. A £10m profit on him as well.
Now to the one I didn’t want to happen. Left Winger Griffiths was signed last Summer for £30m, Man Utd came in and activated his £60m release clause, I begged him to stay but he refused a new deal. A good profit but a major hole in my team.
So with quite a few players leaving I needed to make improvements to the squad. It’s quite thin anyway and now with a bit of money to spend I may have gone slightly mad!
Alex Diaz – Attacking Midfield – £1.2m from Santa Fe
This guy was actually brought in last season but I failed to mention him, with me only having Sam Butcher as a first team attacking midfielder I’ll be moving Diaz in to be his back-up. A top quality young player who, as you can see, is already improving massively!
Ryan Breen – Central Midfield – £8.5m from Eintracht Frankfurt
Losing Nannini meant I needed a new back-up CM. I’d been eyeing Breen up for a while and when he was offered to me for £8.5m I had to say yes, a decent squad player.
Omari Mensah – Central Defender – £16.5m from Birmingham
One of two new CB’s to join. Another guy I’d been eyeing for a while, a hefty fee but a really decent, high quality signing.
Gerardo Campinoti – Right Back – £18m from AC Milan
Ramirez and Romero had been pretty poor last season and I’d mentioned I wanted a new Right Back. When I saw this guy I had to say yes, the fee is really low for someone who looks so good.
Davit Khudoyan – Striker – £4.6m from Lech Poznan
The replacement for Ferrari and one for the future. He already looks absolutely stunning, £4.6m is a stupidly low fee.
Antonio Giovanelli – Central Defender – £86m from Inter Milan
Now for the final signing of the Summer. I needed another new CB and one who could go straight into the first team. My scouts sent me the report on this guy and I made him my main target. I went to Inter and asked what they wanted, they said £111m, with only £15m left in the pot I went to my Chairman, who we already know likes to throw money about. I asked him to do the deal and he said YES! They got Inter down to £86m! A stunning deal!
Terry Beautyman – Left Winger – £68m from Crystal Palace
My only Winter window transfer. I wanted Beautyman in the Summer but with no money left I couldn’t do the deal. He had a £68m release clause and Palace would not budge on anything lower. When January came about the Chairman increased the transfer pot so I went straight in for him. I had spent the whole first half of the season with no replacement for Griffiths so he was badly needed!
So there you go, transfers complete. £202m spent, £153m received, a busy season transfer wise but did it pay off?!
First up is the most disappointing part of the campaign. The League Cup was a total failure, we had been really struggling for injuries at the start of the season and because of that I had to play a rather make-shift team in the cup games. We ended up being knocked out the Last 16 to Everton, it was probably our worst performance of the season as we got smashed 4-1!
The main cup competition in England and my word did we have an amazing run. Wins over Stoke and Sunderland got us into the Last 16 where the games started getting tougher. In the 5th Round we faced Liverpool and dispatched them 2-0 before a Quarter Final tie against Man City, we played amazingly to get past them 3-1 in one of our best displays of the season.
As we entered the Semi finals nearly all the big teams were out, we had drawn Bournemouth and as expected we hammered them 3-0 to give ourselves another Wembley trip!
Where we faced Derby, the tycoon owned side hadn’t had the best of seasons but we knew the game would be tough. An early Nordin goal settled the nerves before Derby were given a penalty, it was expertly saved by Prendes and we made Derby pay doubling our lead on the half hour mark. 2-0 at half time and coasting.
Derby grabbed a goal back mid-way through the second half and really did come at us but we held firm to win the game and lift the FA Cup!
WHAT A START!!!! But could it get even better?!
2nd place last season was amazing but could we go one step further? Well it really didn’t start as well as I hoped, injuries galore throughout the first few months of the season meant we were dropping too many points, as October ended we had lost 3 out of our first 10 games and sat in 5th place, luckily there was no runaway leader so we knew with a good run we could get back towards the top.
With players coming back from injury and morale high results started to pick up, over November and December we only dropped points once, winning 9 games and drawing 1 in our 10 games played, this meant as we headed into the New Year we sat top of the table! A stunning turnaround!
With games coming thick and fast fitness issues were a problem but the boys coming in were proving to be good enough, over January and February we had lost twice including a 1-0 defeat to Spurs who were right on our tail. We sat top but only by a single point with 10 games left.
Form then seemed to pick up once more, with more and more games coming our way the boys seemed to kick on and they were just incredible.
As we entered May we had 3 games remaining, we sat 5 clear of Spurs knowing a win for us and a slip up from Spurs would hand us the title. In the first game of May we faced Man United at Old Trafford and in one of our most impressive defensive displays of the season we held on to win the game 1-0, Spurs then lost to Watford meaning with 2 games left we had somehow, from somewhere won the flipping League!!!!
PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!!!!!! After the start of the season we had I never expected it but the form after those first few months was nothing short of sensational!!!!!
Results – August – December
Results – January – May
So the League and the FA Cup is won but there is still another competition to talk about, could we end with a treble?!
Well it didn’t start massively well. It was like a carbon copy of last season apart from the fact we drew Barcelona and not Inter in the Group, it group consisted of Barca, Dortmund (who we played last season in the Groups and lost to them in Semi’s) and PAOK. We had a chance to qualify but after losing to both Barca and Dortmund in the opening few games it looked to be a struggle.
With players coming back from injury and with our form picking up we somehow scraped ourselves off the floor and qualified in 2nd spot, we won our final 3 games of the group, conceding no goals and hammering Barcelona 4-0 along the way! Amazing!!
Into the knockouts we go and we were handed what looked like one of the easier ties, we faced Schalke, I had high hopes but the games were a lot tighter than I though. We managed in the first leg to come from a goal behind to score twice in a minute to win the game 2-1. The second leg was similar, Schalke took an early lead but super Kenny Gifford scored twice to send us into the Quarters.
Where for the 2nd consecutive season we faced Stuttgart for a place in the semi’s, unlike last year where it was a tough first leg we eased our way to a 3-0 home win and then went even better with a 4-0 away leg win! 7-0 on aggregate and we’re into the Semis!
No Dortmund this time but we had a very tricky tie, Liverpool were the opponents, they had scraped into the Champions League ending 4th in the League last season and this year were down in 7th. I knew we had a shot and after the first leg we held a slim lead. A 2-1 win at St James’s Park was the perfect set up for the return leg at Anfield.
Liverpool took an early lead and at half-time sat 1-0 up and going through on away goals. Then we re-took the lead in the tie courtesy of Sam Butcher but Liverpool hit straight back. 3-3, the tie looked to be going to extra-time and penalties before super Oleg Wagner, coming back from a 6 month lay-off due to a broken leg popped up at the back post to smash the ball into the net and send us through!!!!! Absolute scenes!!!
We’re into the Champions League final!!!!!! Where we would face Tottenham, the Premier Leagues top 2 fighting it out for the right to be called Europes best team.
A full strength team was picked and after the season we’d had I really thought we could win it. Unfortunately our boys just didn’t show up, the game itself was awful, so poor with hardly any chances. The only highlight of the first half was for Spurs, their Right Winger Eric went bombing down the wing, got into the box and Stevenson our Left Back decided to dive in like a buffoon to clatter into Eric, bring him down and after a VAR check the penalty was given.
Tommy Rice stepped up and smashed it into the net. Tommy Rice is the bane of my life, at Watford and now Spurs he just ALWAYS scored against me!
We tried our best in the second half but just could not make any chances whatsoever. The whistle blew and we had lost, an absolutely gutting way to end the season!
But we can only look back in pride at what has been Newcastle’s (and my) best season ever. A League and Cup double is just stunning, it was just a shame we couldn’t cap it off with a Champions League win!
First up is new signing Antonio Giovanelli, the central defender had a stunning season scoring 12 goals in 47 games, ending with the highest average rating at the club (7.43) and ending as the clubs player of the year.
Next up is Striker Kenny Gifford, he ended as the clubs top scorer with 16 goals. A big drop on how he did last season which is one of my major concerns moving forward. However he still had a very good season scoring some massively important goals.
Central Midfielder Adrian Galeano is slowly repaying that ridiculous transfer fee, 13 assists in 36 games, he also scored 4 times. He still isn’t worth £156m!
Another player I want to speak about is a guy who came through our youth intake a few seasons ago, I had mentioned Joey Barton Jnr in the last post as a player who is really improving. I had plans to have him as my backup left winger behind Griffiths for the season but when Griffiths left and I had no money to buy a new LW Barton had to play and my word did he impress. 12 goals in 36 starts, he started the season on fire and did play quite a few games even when Beautyman came in. I’ve never seen an intake player progress as well and as quickly as I have Joey Barton Jnr!!
Finally is Oleg Wagner-watch, poor Oleg broke his leg early on in the season and missed masses of games. He still managed 21 starts, scoring 6 and assisting 4 times. With regards to his shot at the 300 apps/100 goals achievement he now sits on 272 apps and 73 goals, edging closer!
WHAT A SEASON! How on earth can we top this?!!?!
Well here’s hoping with a couple of improvements to the squad we can really push and cement our place as the best team in the league, it’s going to be tough, we now have a big target on our backs and I’m sure clubs will play differently against us which means we may need to approach games differently.
With regards to the playing staff it’s clear we have a squad capable of challenging but we need to keep moving forward so I will be looking at a couple of new players. The board however have only given me £55m to spend and £100k per week in spare wages. With our bank balance increasing all the time (it’s now at £230m) I’m really surprised the board haven’t given me more.
Maybe they know that if I REALLY want a player the Chairman will just sanction it anyway!
So for next season I want two new players. A new Striker and a new Attacking Midfielder, for me these are the two positions where I feel we could be better. We have proved this season that our Strikers just aren’t scoring enough, Gifford was our highest scorer with 16 goals, Joey Barton Jnr scored the most in the League and that was only 8! So we need a 20-30 goal a season Striker. As for the AM position Sam Butcher has been great but this season he seemed to drop off a bit, he is just about to turn 30 and maybe it’s time to bring in a younger, fresher face.
I really feel with those additions and if we can keep hold of all of our players we can mount another title challenge next season!
Anyway that’s all from me now, thanks for reading!!!!