I went shopping today.... in deepest darkest Salford. In the typical August pouring rain I trudged from shop to shop getting provisions (Bear with me this does have a point - and I'll eventually get to it) I ended up at the local butchers - one of those traditional butchers shops with the striped awning outside and the butchers wear starched white coats, and they sell all types of indescribable offal.
Needless to say the usual banter ensued, after they had called me a vegetarian (only in a butchers could that be an insult, because I shuddered at being offered black pudding); they then started in on another of my weak spots... Newcastle United... As ever there was the bitterness that Shearer didn't sign for Manure - which manifests itself as "How many medals did he win with your lot then?" and then some typical gloating - "So how many times has your lot won the double then?" And then the killer question - "So how are Newcastle going to do this season then?" Oddly enough without a second thought, my witless retort was "Relegated: Championship here we come"
It could be gallows humor, it could be false bravado - but actually it just feels like realism. Newcastle flirted with the lower reaches of the table last season and I really don't see what has altered to make it different for the coming season. Allardyce has been run out of Toon, Emre has moved back to Turkey - but other than that little else has altered. We still are paying the injury prone EMO a small fortune every week, Viduka is still on the books and unlikely to play more than 10 games all season, Damien Duff hasn't joined the Irish invasion of sunderland and worst of all, they've let Joey 'bloody' Barton out of prison.
Still only a week to wait until it all starts again. Can't wait...
By the way - I'm I the only one to notice the resemblance between our proposed new central defender; Fabricio Coloccini, and Michael Bolton??