The Newcastle View
The next challenge for this Premier League campaign is the visit of Newcastle United so TEB had a chat with Jacob Jackman about their season so far.
Q. What did you make of our encounter earlier in the season which Newcastle managed to edge with a late winner?
I think we played Palace at a good time. There were signs of improvement from the Frank de Boer days, with Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha causing problems as a front two. However, you were clearly lacking in confidence in the final third and that allowed us to nick it late on. We probably did not deserve the three points on that day, but looking back, it was crucial that we did as we went on a horrendous one shortly after. Incredibly that was our last win at home, which is a concerning statistic.
Q. How has the season been for Newcastle since that game?
Like I alluded to above, it has not been great. We went on a bad run of form, taking only one point from a possible twenty-seven and that has seen us fall into relegation trouble. An injury to Jamaal Lascelles was responsible for that. When he is in the team, we are well organised and tough to break down. Without him, we look a Championship team. Recently, it has got better and we have picked up two good away wins against West Ham United and Stoke City. However, three home draws against Brighton, Swansea City and Burnley see us remain in trouble. We should have taken more points from those matches and if we had won two of them, we would be in a much better position. It could be something we regret come the end of the season. Unlike the majority of promoted clubs, it seems we are relying on our away form to save us.
Q. Is the fact that the club is up for sale hindering your chances of staying in the Premier League?
That is a tough question to answer. Rafa Benitez claims that he and the players are not paying any attention to it, but it is clear that the club is in a state of flux as we await the next move. I do think we are heading into the end game for Mike Ashley. His refusal to spend money in January was an indication of that as he has been willing to delve into his pockets in the past when we have been faced with relegation. If he had given Rafa another £20-30million in the summer, we’d probably be in no danger of going down. So in that sense, Ashley’s position has hindered our chance of staying in the Premier League.
Q. Have the fans lost faith with Mike Ashley or do the majority understand the position he is in and has had the best interests of the club at heart?
Mike Ashley is a terrible owner of a football club. I think those that contest that are not informed of what he has done since buying Newcastle. At the time he bought the club, we were in a similar position to Tottenham and the directions of the two clubs since could not have been more different. We have suffered two relegations and could be set for a third. He has asset stripped the club of land around St James’ Park and we have only a skeleton staff to run operations, both on and off the pitch. He has tried to run the club on the cheap and he has set the club back a lot. It’s easy to laugh at Newcastle fans for being deluded and expecting Champions League football, but that isn’t the case. We just want to see the club competing as high as we possibly can and for our owners to have a little ambition. We have not broken our transfer record since buying Michael Owen in 2005. If you think about the direction of finances in football, that is ludicrous. Cheers Mike…
Q. Did you expect much business in the January transfer window and are you happy with the dealings that your club did carry out?
We have finished the window in a stronger position than we started it. Kenedy looks to be a really good signing, at least by his performance against Burnley. He was looking to run at the opposition defence and has the trickery to make things happen. We’ve lacked that this season. Islam Slimani could be an excellent signing if he finds the form he showed at Sporting. Leicester’s style never suited him, but we play with a target man and he is a huge upgrade on Joselu. It is incredible that we didn’t spend any money considering our position, but Mike Ashley can’t see the bigger picture. A £30million spend would have given an injection of momentum to the club and go a long way to maintaining our Premier League status. Instead, he has taken a £100million gamble. It’s another example of his lack of ambition.
Q. Explain in no more than 140 characters how the last ten years have been for the football the club.
Alan Pardew, Joe Kinnear and the Sports Direct Arena. Yeah, not great.
Q. What do you make of Palace so far this season?
I think Palace are one of the best teams outside of the top six and their resurgence under Roy Hodgson has been great to watch. De Boer was always going to be a huge risk, but Hodgson is a safe pair of hands and he has brought an identity back to Selhurst Park. I think a top half finish is likely.
Q. Name one player from EACH side that you think the opposition should consider a real threat.
For Palace, Zaha. The guy is incredibly talented and now has the intelligence to combine with his skill. He scares defenders when he runs at them and there aren’t a lot of players that can claim to do that in the modern game. It is easy to criticise him for diving and there is some truth to that, but considering the speed that he runs at defenders, it is only logical that the smallest amount of contact will make him fall.
For Newcastle, Kenedy. He was excellent on his debut and looks to be a cut above the rest of the squad in terms of talent alone. We have a lot of hard-working players, but we’ve lacked that little bit of quality to unlock defences. Kenedy could be the guy to provide that. His delivery was impressive and he didn’t cower away after making a mistake. I’m excited to see him develop.
Q. Your prediction?
1-1, we seem to keep drawing and Palace don’t look as formidable as they did a few weeks ago.
Q. And finally, please tell us more about the sites that you work with and any projects you may have in the pipeline.
The two sites I contribute to are EPL Index and The Boot Room. For the former, I do frequent pieces on the Premier League and play a prominent role in the EPL Round Table podcast. I’m often a guest on the Premier League pod, while I produce the Championship podcast.
On The Boot Room, we have changed our style in recent months, moving away from ‘clickbait’ pieces and focusing on feature length articles. Over the past season, I’ve written interviews with Bobby Reid, Massimo Luongo and Conor Hourihane, which are all worth checking out. I’ve recently spoken to Shrewsbury Town captain Abu Ogogo and that piece should be on the site soon.