The Magpies finished 12th in the Premier League last season, but that doesn’t begin to tell the full story. After a bright enough start under Sam Allardyce, the performances started to become insipid, with the natives becoming increasingly restless at what they saw as a betrayal of the club’s playing style. Never mind that Newcastle were still mid-table during the Christmas break, United soon got shot of Big Sam, brought in King Kev and a relegation battle of sorts ensued.
In the end, the team finished well clear of the drop zone, although last season has still been described as a failure by Nicky Butt, who wants to see some massive improvements next term. The Times reports that the former Man United midfielder doesn’t want to have another season anything like it, due to the shame it caused for players and fans alike.
Recent memories are bitter. “Last season was embarrassing for us and it wasn’t nice,” Butt, the former England international, said. “Last year was a failure. We didn’t perform well and we finished right down the bottom of the table. This year we have to improve and get back up the table where we should be. Going off last year’s finish, it is not something to be proud of.
“Finishing down there hurts. It hurt me and the rest of the lads, they feel that as much as I do. Last year we had to turn it around and eventually we put a run together.
It will be another tough year because every club is improving, everyone is throwing money at it and getting better, buying better players. We have to keep up with that. If you stand still you can go backwards.”
Newcastle have been relatively quiet in the transfer market this summer, although there is still the best part of a month to acquire the players Keegan requires. There are also other clubs such as Everton and Aston Villa who are seemingly either keeping their powder dry or not managing to land their targets, so United are not the only ones with a squad which largely resembles that of last season.