Crisis? What crisis?
That seemed to be the message from relegation-threatened Newcastle United’s hierarchy this week when asked if it was “in a crisis” by a Fans Forum member attended by managing director Lee Charnley.
The club, however, admitted that its Premier League position was “very disappointing”.
That’s an under-statement.
Steve McClaren’s side are 18th in the division with 12 games to go.
Newcastle, let’s be clear, are in very real danger of relegation just months before the league’s new multi-billion pound TV deal kicks in.
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
With the club not in action until Wednesday night – when McClaren’s side take on Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium – things could get worse before they get better.
United this week published the minutes of this week’s Fans Forum meeting.
Asked if it was “in a crisis”, the club said: “The club disagreed, but understands its current league position and acknowledged it was very disappointing.
“The club explained that the squad’s recent training camp in La Manga, Spain, was designed to help find solutions on the pitch in the final 12 games of the season. The camp was wholly focused on training and recovery, as well as a game.
“The club appreciates the work required to move up the table and remains confident that it will remain in the Premier League at the end of the season.”
Asked to expand on that answer, United added: “The club believes the quality in the squad and some of the team’s performances this season are positive indicators, but acknowledged that performances had not been consistent.”
Newcastle ‘s representatives also answered questions on transfers, and in particular the failure to sign a defender in last month’s transfer window.
The club said: “A willingness to invest in players was not the issue but that the right options had to be in place for that to happen.
“While the club looked at a number of targets in January, the right options that would improve the squad were simply not available at that time.”
The club, which also said it was taking a more “flexible” approach to transfer targets, pledged to invest more in the summer, with “several targets” already under consideration.
But the summer transfer window is a long way off.
There was also an update on stalled plans for a new training complex.
The Fans Forum is an important initiative. Charnley – who never speaks to the media – takes questions from supporters on a range of issues, including ticketing.
Supporters, however, will have been surprised by some of the club’s answers detailed in the minutes of Monday’s meeting.
Crisis is defined as “a time of intense difficulty or danger”. It’s hard to argue that Newcastle are not in crisis on that basis.