Europe and Bust?
European nights under the lights at St James' Park are a highlight for any player never mind the everyday fan but would next season be a step too far for now?
Analyzing the fortunes of our squad and in a nutshell it can be described as a slow improvement. The owners here made a great deal of mention to a 5 year plan. It was a plan that was hard for the fans to stomach but recently we've grown into the expectation level of where this plan would like us to fit in.
In my opinion, the squad has been strengthen by quality but not quantity. Our league position has gradually improved to a position which may be false but accepted nonetheless, however it isn't strong enough to withstand the rigours of a league/cup season, never mind a European assault as well.
We're a couple of players short already this year and would probably need a further 5 next year if qualification arose. Not to mention the squad players being released that need to be replaced. I feel a player shift of 12 new ones (after the likes of Smith, Ranger, Lovenkrands, Forster, Xisco and maybe Leon Best are shipped out) would be the minimum needed. It ain't gonna happen, so why go through the heartache of an inevitable struggle next season?
It's best we strengthen what we have and go all out next time. Extra league funds (as long as they are reinvested) will make us a stronger force and one that could withstand an extra 10 games or so with the right additions but in another year i feel.
I love these games but the league is our bread and butter.