Saudi Arabia PIF, Hopes, Expectations, Worst Fears and…Garlic Bread – Newcastle United moving into 2022/23

    The Newcastle United pre-season is all but gone.

    We are asking various regular / irregular Mag writers a number of questions ahead of this 2022/23 Premier League season,

    The idea to get a wide range of views ahead of this Newcastle United campaign.

    A snapshot of what various fans are thinking about, what might lie ahead of us all…as well as reflecting on various other NUFC issues.

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    Next up we have Jamie Smith answering a few…

    For Newcastle United and the 2022/23 season, what are your hopes?

    High. The Newcastle team that played the second half of last season and the third best record over those 19 games, basically Champions League form. This was largely without Wilson and Trippier, with Botman and Pope now also added. With a full pre-season under Howe, you might hope this form continues in the new season, improves even.

    More pertinently, I wrote a detailed piece earlier in the summer about how the punishing European schedule and the international involvement of star players will surely impact the top teams and, if United can find some consistency, they can really take advantage in the autumn when the entire European group stage takes place within 8 weeks. If all of this comes together, Champions League qualification is not a ridiculous concept.

    For Newcastle United and the 2022/23 season, what are your expectations?

    A slightly more muted version of the above. I think people saying “top half” are woefully underselling it, given we were two points off the top half last year, having not turned up for half a season. Top seven should be the target, with serious effort put into the cups from the off. You can’t have any expectations for cup progress, as the luck of the draw is a major factor and Man City away in the early rounds can put paid to that plan, but I’d expect there to be no more Cambridges.

    The World Cup and the fixture situation above may even see some big clubs disregard the cups and open a door.

    Overall, I think exactly how close the expectations come to the hopes can be reassessed depending on who we add before the window closes. I expect a couple of attacking reinforcements, but the nature of the window could mean, they don’t arrive for another few weeks yet.

    For Newcastle United and the 2022/23 season, what are your worst fears?

    I honestly think there’s no rational relegation fears for the first time in many years.

    Beyond that, if I was disasterising I would suggest injuries to key players such as Wilson, Bruno and ASM could see relative underperformance, and failure to move forward this season could lead to the likes of Bruno becoming unsettled next summer if we’re some distance from European qualification. Again, those extra signings would mitigate this hugely.

    If somebody asks you whether you are concerned about having Saudi Arabia PIF ownership, what is your reply?

    “Garlic Bread?” Because like the old Peter Kay joke it’s getting so repetitive it’s utterly boring.

    I’ll say it again in print. The uber-capitalism of this world means the disgustingly rich and unscrupulous own part of everything around us. It’s not whataboutery, it’s a fact, and it’s becoming depressing how often we’re taken to task about the evils of KSA when it’s just one strand in the malpractice of a broken world.

    It would be tremendous if the world could unite, rise up against the greedy elites, but it’s not exclusively on us to be the moral arbiters of this. To paraphrase Mr Pink from Reservoir Dogs, show me a piece of paper that says that shouldn’t happen and I’ll sign it, put it to the vote I’ll vote for it, but what I won’t do is play ball with the concept that the little bit of positivity that has blown back on our club and neglected region as part of this ugly world mantra should be something I have to constantly feel guilty about.

    What do you think Newcastle’s first choice eleven will be next season (put ‘new signing’ if you think Eddie Howe will sign a first choice player for that position in remainder of window)?

    Pope; Trippier, Targett, Botman, Burn; Bruno, Joelinton, Willock, New Signing, ASM, Wilson.

    Should also point out that with five subs I think there’ll be more game time and therefore more squad rotation, so a first choice XI may be a thing of the past.

    What is the minimum capacity Newcastle United need moving forward and what is the ideal capacity for the future?

    I’d say if you could get it up to 65k that would be minimum, enough to strike the right balance between satisfying season ticket demand and not having obvious empty spots for the unglamorous games.

    Ideal capacity would have to be future proofed. If we’re talking brand new ground (and I’m sorry but we are for these numbers) I’d either go 80k with capability for future expansion retained, or 90k if it’s a one time option and take the hit of being under capacity at times. We’re talking long-term big thinking here.

    If you had to put your mortgage/energy bill on it, where would you predict Newcastle United to finish in each of the next five seasons?

    Well, 6th next year and I haven’t thought past that…(thinks)

    OK, so after 6th, let’s go 5th/6th again, then three top four finishes. Don’t know about winning it…

    What is your prediction for the final 2022/23 Premier League table, which positions all 20 clubs will end the season?

    City have lost three stalwarts in Fernandinho, Jesus and Sterling and a lot relies on Haaland settling quick and being a hit. I think they might slip up enough for Liverpool to win this one.

    NUFC to nick a Europa place at the expense of the basket case formerly known as Man Utd and Brentford to suffer second season syndrome and go down with a couple of promotees, despite the fact that the Ev have spent several months in the bottom three but managed to weasel out of it in late April.

    Man City
    Man Utd
    West Ham
    Crystal Palace

    You can follow the author on Twitter @Mr_Dolf

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