This past week might go down as one of the biggest so far in the Rafa Benitez’s era at Newcastle. After being embarrassingly knocked out of the 4th round of the FA cup by Burton, it was evident that the squad depth we apparently had clearly isn’t good enough, and it was clear to see that we did need players in before the deadline. I, like so many Newcastle fans, was checking my phone all day on deadline day, to see if we had managed to get just one player over the line.
Deadline day came and went and we had failed to get our main target over the line. We had to try and forget about it, as we had a big game against QPR the next day. This was a QPR side we had beaten 6-0 earlier in the season, a side who had struggled all season and on paper should have been no match for us. And like many home games, it seemed not to be the case.
Despite the good start through Shelvey’s early goal, we never really got going, giving away possession and making stupid errors. Very few times have we been so bad in games, but the growing issue is that we seem to be doing it more often recently. Even after the break, we failed again to push on, and at no time in the match did I feel that we had enough to win it. The game, like the last seven days, ended in disappointment as we picked up only our second draw of the season.
Rafa’s mood after the game matched that of the fans. He was disappointed at the lack of transfer activity and the way we played on the night. For a man who was apparently handed the reigns in terms of transfers in the summer, he looked as annoyed as anyone that the club’s hierarchy had failed to fetch anyone in. Some fans are reading into this reaction as the beginning of the end of Benitez here on Tyneside, and that Ashley is ruining our chance of a new start before it has even gathered pace.
However, I feel it is just down to the matter of the window. January is always a hard month to get players in, as no club performing well wants to sell the players who have got them so much success. Look at Fulham, who said we had to pay £20m to sign Tom Cairney. No player in this division is worth that amount. That shows just how hard it is to get players over the line in the January window.
The main thing is that we need to stick together. We need to stick together and get behind the lads. As much as we need Rafa, he needs us just as much and it’s time for us to deliver.