It has to be said that this season has been a terrible one for Newcastle United. Since their fifth-placed finish back in 2011/12, they’ve been on a slow decline in the league table with Alan Pardew at the helm, but this season couldn’t have gone much worse for the Geordie side. They began the season with a poor run of form, which immediately put the fans back onto Pardew’s back. His job became almost impossible, even during their good run of form through November and breaking of Chelsea’s unbeaten run in early December.
The Newcastle fans then got half of their wish when Pardew made the decision to leave the North-East for pastures new down in London just a month after beating Chelsea. Under caretaker-management and then the appointment of John Carver, Newcastle won just 3 of their 17 remaining games, which put them in real danger of getting relegated. Eight losses in a row and 10 in 12 left Newcastle needing to match Hull’s result going into the final day of the season to avoid the drop. They managed to beat a West Ham side 2-0 that were already on the beach to secure Premier league football, but for a club the size of Newcastle, 15th is a terrible finish and it’’s no surprise that John Carver, the self-proclaimed “greatest coach in the league”, hasn’t had his contract extended and won’t be in charge next season, replaced by former-England manager Steve McClaren.
Such a disappointing season for Newcastle and their fans, particularly because of the players they brought in last summer. The introduction of Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere saw two players come in who had done well in Ligue 1, while former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback, more affectionately known as the Ginger Pirlo, moved across the North-East to sign for his boyhood team.
Key Player – Papiss Cisse
With no one really shining out in this Newcastle side over the course of the season, I think, although Cisse’s only played 22 times this season due to injury and suspension, he’s been their best player by far. 11 goals in those 22 games with a number of them winners off the bench during the Pardew-era, Cisse was Newcastle’s best player once called upon.
With one of the best minutes to goals ratio in the league all season, Cisse’s brilliance has been shown in the games he hasn’t been involved in. With Riviere failing to take off in England and Ayoze Perez only scoring a handful of goals, when Cisse wasn’t around, Newcastle did struggle to score goals and break teams down. Scoring just over a quarter of Newcastle’s goals, the 30-year-old Senegalese forward really was vital to the magpies.
Most Improved Player – Jonas Gutierrez
Both sentimentally and because he scored the goal to keep them in the Premier League, Gutierrez’s season has been a remarkable one. The Argentine announced he had testicular cancer back in September and it looked like his football career would be over. At 31, Gutierrez made his return to the Newcastle line-up just 7 months later and came into the side regularly from then on through the end of the season.
This isn’t the only reason he was my most improved Newcastle United player, for he also played a vital role in actually surviving the drop, most notably picking up a goal and an assist on the final day of the season to make sure they wouldn’t be going down. Soon after, Newcastle made the decision to release him following the end of his contract by getting Ryan Taylor, also released, to pass the message on to him. Think this just about sums up the leadership at the club right now.
Fans’ View – Thomas Bore (Head Editor of the GallowgateGroup and Writer for the Metro UK)
As the full-time whistle blew on the final day of the season, everyone on Tyneside let out a huge sigh of relief. Premier League status was assured and the fans were looking forward to a summer revamp with a new manager at the helm.
The season was filled with mainly anger and disappointment. Even the long awaited departure of Alan Pardew was met with a feeling of despair when his right-hand man, John Carver, was announced as the man to guide us for the rest of the season.
There were some highs, however. The emergence of Ayoze Perez and Rolando Aarons being the main positives to take away from last season, and the fact that we shouldn’t ever have to witness Newcastle under John Carver’s management again. With some investment, Steve McClaren should progress on our substandard 15th placed finish.