As Newcastle United head into yet another irrelevant fixture (for NUFC at least) I find myself posing a question that has been on my mind and lips ever since our grossly premature cup exit at the hands of Cardiff in early January - what is the point?
What is the point of the pre-match build up? What is the point of debating tactics and substitutions? What is the point postulating where we will finish this season? What is the point of wondering whether we have a chance of qualifying for Europe or finishing ahead of Manchester United? (we'll do neither in case you were wondering) What is the point of celebrating when we win, and what is the point of getting annoyed if we lose? Newcastle United succeeded in meeting their pre-season goal the moment they mathematically secured another season in the Premier League - anything extra is irrelevant (or a bonus, depending on your stance in the matter).
Never, in the 20 odd years I have been alive have I felt such a strong sense of apathy towards Newcastle United's results. Never in any other time have I willed a season to be over simply because I have been bored with it (believe me I willed last season to be over for very different reasons) and never have I experienced such dulling emotions - win, lose or draw - as I have done this season. With the exceptions of the derby defeats, I have not been overly bothered with any losses we've experienced, nor have I been elated with any victories we've managed - including our historic victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford (but everyone is doing that these days)
You may be reading this and be foaming at the mouth at such disloyalty towards the Toon and you are welcome to feel like that but I fear you are missing the bigger picture. I am a red-blooded Irish man, and a passionate Newcastle United supporter. Do not mistake my apathy as a lack of love for our club, in fact it is exactly the opposite. It is because I love this club that I am taking a step back from our results. I refuse to be blinded by the score line when it comes to assessing who is at fault for our now chronic lack of ambition and forward planning at Newcastle United.
Anyone with half a brain cell could have told you that Newcastle United had a pretty small squad going into this season. Anyone with half a brain cell could have told you that we needed to sign a number of players to remedy that fact. Anyone with half a brain cell could have told you that you shouldn't sell Yohan Cabaye without replacing him first, (or after!) And anyone with half a brain cell could tell you that going into this summer, unless a drastic recruitment drive gets under way, we will be starting next season with a desperately depleted squad incapable of maintaining our Premier League status.
With the likes of Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi certain to leave the club and others such as Fabricio Colocinni, Davide Santon, Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse and Sylvain Marveaux very likely to be in the shop window, you should then see why this fan is somewhat worried going forward.
Add to this fact that the likes of Gabriel Obertan, Dan Gosling and Romain Amalfitano are simply not good enough to be first team players for this club, there is just cause to be asking seriously hard hitting questions of our custodian and what exactly his 'plans' are for Newcastle United other than making money - though I fear I may have just answered my own question.
As it stands Newcastle United is the Titanic, sailing boldly across the Atlantic looking towards a brighter tomorrow. Some of our fans are the arrogant first class passengers who think nothing can go wrong and that we are privileged to be on board such a vessel. The rest of us are below decks, trying to enjoy the journey but it's uncomfortable and we know we're worth more than this but we too want to see that brighter tomorrow.
However, what unites is all is the impending doom that we all face unless we change course and change course soon.
To say I have no faith in Mike Ashley to make the requisite signings to make us a force in the Premier League is doing the term 'understatement' an injustice. To say I have no faith in him to make the signings we need to have a competitive squad is also in that same bracket. But at the very least I used to think he would make the signings we need in order to keep us in the Premier League thus allowing him to exploit the vast riches that come along with that status, now I am not so sure.
I live in perpetual hope that he will leave - what if he is already planning on doing so - but before he does, he wishes to inflict one final parting shot? Perhaps I am being paranoid, and overly cynical but I do not think that level of thinking is beyond him, in fact I think it is becoming of him.
Things will get worse before it gets better. Just make sure you have a life jacket on when the ship begins to sink. Oh and if you see some red-head hogging a giant door, tell her to budge over, there's plenty of room!