Every Newcastle United fan knows how long it has been since we last won a trophy (1969 when we won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in case you didn’t) and it has been even longer since we last won a domestic trophy (1955 FA Cup win over Manchester City) so it is an understatement to say that us Newcastle United supporters are due a cup win.
However, we haven’t exactly given the cups a decent crack in a while, and our last appearance in a domestic cup final was when we were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the FA Cup final in 1999. That is ambitious compared to how long it has been since we were last in a League Cup final, though, as it has been nearly 40 years since we last contested this domestic trophy (1976 to be exact).
Under Alan Pardew, we have been nothing short of terrible in the cup competitions, having failed to make any sort of impact in either of the domestic competitions in his 3 years in charge of the club. Why have Newcastle United been so shocking in the cups when teams like Swansea, Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic have lifted some silverware in recent seasons?
Well, firstly, you would do well to look at what division two of the three teams mentioned are currently playing in and perhaps you will get an impression as to why we do not attack the cups. Both Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic, who won the League Cup and FA Cup respectively, suffered relegation from the Premier League. the same season. It would appear that the rigours of a cup run do indeed take its toll on a small squad to such an extent that Premier League form can drastically suffer.
Given the fact that Newcastle United do have a very small squad in terms of depth, and how we, ourselves, suffered drastic dip in form trying to balance a Europa League campaign, perhaps an executive decision has been made to sacrifice our place in the cup competitions in order to preserve of Premier League status. After all, it is where all the big money is (!)
This is a frankly disgraceful approach however. A team like Newcastle United should have a deep enough squad to cope with a competitive cup run as well as remaining comfortable in the Premier League. Are we to compare ourselves to the likes of Wigan Athletic and Birmingham? And let’s not forget that Swansea won the League Cup last season and still managed to finish 9th. Are we to believe that Swansea have a more resources than Newcastle United?
It comes down to ambition. Are we ambitious enough to provide a squad capable of winning a cup? Are we ambitious enough to do something that hasn’t been done in nearly 35 years? Or are we simply willing to bow down in the cups to the likes of Brighton, Blackburn and Stevenage as we have done in recent years?
I am a young man, and hopefully I will get to see my beloved football club win something in my lifetime, but the immediate signs are not good. Given that Ashley more than likely sees the cups as a distraction, do not be surprised if Leeds come up to St James’ Park and walk away with a win.
What do you think? Do we have a strong enough squad to win a cup? Would you see Premier League form suffer if it meant winning some silverware? Or is it right that we preserve our league position by sacrificing our place in the cup competitions? I’d love to hear your views.