Newcastle: The Biggest Club In The Championship

A self proclaimed big club, Newcastle have often nodded ambitiously towards the path of success in their history, but have rarely walked down that road.

After Sundays limp and lifeless defeat at the hands of a Villa side who have been struggling to score this year condemned them to relegation from the Premier League, their hopes of maintaining the mantle of a big club has surely gone down with them, after a 16 year stay in the top flight.

Having not won a major trophy since they lifted the Fairs Cup in 1969, can the Toon Army really claim that a big club has been relegated?

Twice Premier League Runners-up in 1995/96 and 1996/97 and FA Cup Final losers in 98 and 99 shows that they have had potential in recent years, but have failed to show that clinical and decisive edge typical of the success of trophy winning teams.

Sides of considerably less stature have added silverware to their trophy cabinet since Newcastle last tasted success, including Coventry City’s FA Cup win in 1987, with the Toon repeatedly falling at the last hurdle.

Newcastle’s thirst for success has arguably contributed to their downfall. The club has witnessed eight full-time mangers walk through the doors of St James’ Park in the past ten years, not including temporary managers such as Nigel Pearson and Chris Hughton. The many owners of the club clearly had eyes bigger than their trophy cabinet in their attempts to bring silverware back to the north-east.

Controversial chairman Mike Ashley has certainly not helped the Magpies cause with his subtle as a bulldozer-through-Grandad’s-greenhouse approach to delicate decisions at the club. His only consolation can now be that he’ll be free to sink a pint in piece, away from the glare of the cameras, as all attention will surely now turn to the players and record goal scorer and the latest messiah of Newcastle, Alan Shearer and whether he can steer them back to the top flight.

Whilst relegation is something that no one ever wants to see their club got through, the humbling business of everybody at the club taking account for their actions and beginning to re-build could ultimately be a blessing in a very large disguise. For years the team has been carried by the talent of a few individuals, most recently the boss himself and a pre-goal scoring drought Michael Owen, with large sums of money paid out for players to help temporarily seal the cracks in a fragile team.

If Shearer is to successfully trim the wage bill and the overblown squad, a lot will be asked and expected of the team that remains to battle together as a unit and return to the Premier League.

It is the fans though who could play a greater role than most clubs, as the always passionate Toon Army will demand success instantly and expect nothing less than a swift return to the top flight. Admittedly fans of all clubs harbour aspirations and dreams above and beyond what is feasible for the club to achieve, but the Toon Army appear to unequivocally believe that all their dreams are possible, despite Newcastle being a comparatively unsuccessful club in terms of honours.

Patience and most importantly and a realisation is needed that they will no longer be a big club playing in the nations finest stadiums every week. They are destined for the second tier of English football, lining up against the likes of Doncaster and Blackpool.

Newcastle’s fans will now join the like of Nottingham Forest and Leeds reminiscing about successes in the past, whilst bpotentially languishing in the doldrums. Newcastle’s faithful though can only dream of what might have been. All that is left now is hope for the future.

Tags: Alan Shearer, Newcastle United

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