I’ve always been a fan of Olivier Bernard. The way he used to link up with Laurent Robert brings back memories of left wing wizardry that I know will not be repeated in the near future. On top of that, not only does Bernard conduct himself well as a pundit and ambassador for the club, but he also joins a long list of former players who count themselves as a Newcastle United fan.
With that in mind, I really do not want to criticise Olivier, but I feel that I must do just that given his recent comments to the press about his predictions for where he thinks Newcastle United might finish this season. He said,
‘I wouldn’t be surprised to see Newcastle finish in the top seven.‘They have kept their key players, and the French players who signed in January now have a pre-season under their belt.
‘A lot depends on if the players can stay fit. If they can, then Newcastle can definitely have a good season’.
I agree that it can only be a good thing that our January signings now have a full pre-season under their belt. I also agree that key to our season is keeping all of our best players fit. But what Olivier doesn’t seem to consider is the fact that we have only made one signing this summer; the loan signing of Loic Remy. In fact, our squad, which finished 16th last season, is numerically weaker with the departures of squad players James Perch and Danny Simpson. One other thing that Bernard should have considered when predicting Newcastle United’s fortunes this season is how much the other teams around us have strengthened. The likes of Swansea, Norwich and Southampton have made some very clever signings on top of having more progressively minded managers. With all this in mind, I would chalk off Bernard’s 7th place prediction as a nigh on impossible task.
I am all for looking at our prospects this season in a positive light, but let’s be realistic. Anything higher than 11th would be a great achievement with the tactically inept manager we have in charge, and this woefully unambitious owner at the helm. In the days of Sir Bobby Robson, I would say that he could finish top 4 with this squad without batting an eye-lid, even though top 6 would be more likely. But we don’t have Sir Bobby Robson in charge, we have Alan Pardew. Not quite the same is it?
What do you think? Do you agree with Olivier’s predictions? What are your predictions for the season ahead?