Breaking Away

Posted: 02.02.09 in Blogging

Newcastle United, you feel, just tries to break your heart sometimes. We didn’t break down Sunderland as we hoped (not that we expected a win) and we lose Shay Given. I don’t think anyone expected, come the season start, that Shay Given would be leaving us at some point this season, but as this transfer window draws to a close it looked more and more inevitable.

If you ask any Newcastle supporter they are admirably pragmatic — on the one they would have loved Given to stay, but on the other hand they realise that being a goalkeeper for Newcastle is a desperately unenviable task at the moment, and much of the team I suspect would rather be somewhere else. They warned us we were going to turn in Leeds United; our team will fall apart, we get relegated, and languish in the lower leagues as a defeated giant rather than a sleeping one.

I imagine that many players will be looking for their first opportunity to escape. Michael Owen will be almost certain to leave at the end of the season (for free, of course) and all the players of household names will be able to engineer their exits as we seek to raise funds for… whatever it is we are meant to be raising funds for.

But there is one word ringing around the North East at the moment, and that is "Championship". The ripples on the Tyne, Tees and Wear are growing ever choppier but I’d wager that Sunderland and Middlesbrough are far better prepared for relegation than we are…

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