Is there really a long-term plan in place at Newcastle?

Since bouncing back to the Premier League in 2010, the club has preached patience with its vision but are not delivering on their promises.

Years of mismanagement and poor spending ultimately led to Newcastle United’s relegation from England’s elite in May 2009. Under the excellent management of Chris Hughton, The Magpies’ returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking, with owner Mike Ashley vowing never again to repeat the same mistakes originally made.

This weekend, Newcastle welcome Norwich City to St. James’ Park, sitting bottom of the table having spent £50 million this summer on new recruits. Déjà vu, thy name is Newcastle United.

In the five years between Premier League promotion and the present day, the ongoing plea from the club hierarchy has been for fans to remain patient while the acorns they have buried grow to become mighty oaks.

These seeds are namely the club's signings, primarily 25 or under, bought at low costs with the hope that their potential will be fulfilled before they are sold for a princely sum at a later date.

Yet this strict transfer policy, a tight budget keeping The Toon in the black, and deals with sponsors seem to be all that the last five years’ work has to show for billionaire Ashley.

Fans could be forgiven for rolling their eyes when new boss Steve McClaren talked this week of the need for changes to come at Newcastle United.

Speaking at Friday’s press conference, the 54-year-old told The Chronicle: “There’s no feeling that everything in the garden is rosy … even if we win a few games, there needs to be changes.”

What changes he meant were not specified, but the Fulford man did point to January being an “extremely important” transfer window for Newcastle.

After only eight league games, despite not winning any, the blame cannot be placed at McClaren’s door. That burden falls to Managing Director Lee Charnley, and of course Ashley, for their ineffectiveness in pushing The Magpies to exist as little more than a financially sound investment.

Despite evidence pointing towards the contrary, both still speak of a vision for Newcastle United; one that see’s the club competing for trophies and Champions League qualification.

In an open letter to fans in September, as per The Mirror, Charnley attempted to placate supporters, reaffirming that the North-East club is on the right track.

“Whilst you may be tired of hearing this, I believe, as we have said from the start, all of this rebuilding and reshaping isn't something that can happen overnight; it will take time to see the benefit of the changes we made during the summer."

Unfortunately for Charnley, fans are not fickle. It’s understandable that success is not built overnight. But in the past five years, nothing has really changed. Who’s to bet that in another five years, we may be saying the same thing?

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