Those Who Do Not Heed History... Changes In Toon Preseason Plans Again?

Valerio Pennicino

Fresh on the heels of last season's (cough) successful (cough) preparation for the most anticipated Newcastle United season nearly 10 years, some of the same events seem to be occurring prior to the 2013-14 campaign.

You may recall that Newcastle United were slated to spend a good portion of their preseason preparation touring South Africa including participation in the so-called Vodacom Challenge. As Wikipedia can tell you, the Vodacom Challenge was cancelled and Newcastle launched on a somewhat ill-fated tour of Germany and Austria which culminated in a preseason ending tournament in Portugal. On top of that, there was significant ill will sowed between the club and its support in the lack of information provided to the fan base who are rabid to support the club in any form they can and any match the club plays (competitive or no). Short notice was the order of the day with regard to the scramble-scheduled "pre-season preparation" that the club attempted to piece together in the aftermath of the Vodacom Challenge Collapse.

It could (and will) easily be argued that the resultant poor prep for the club in the 2012-13 preseason and the hard feelings and compounded distrust consequent to the poor communication to the support both manifested themselves in the most harmful ways possible during Newcastle's abject 2012-13 Premier League/Europa League campaign... which is why it is frustrating to read the following report:

Newcastle United had been scheduled to tour Cape Town to play Ajax Cape Town and fellow Premier League side Everton.

It appears that Newcastle no longer plan to travel to South Africa while Everton will tour America instead.

According to The Journal, Newcastle will look for a European option and more accessible friendlies to prepare for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

--from Sky Sports Tyne and Wear

So... let me check this all off:

  • Original Plan: Tour South Africa
  • Result: Cancelled tour of South Africa
  • Backup Plan: Scramble to schedule "European option"

So far so good. Now we just need to add on:

  • Give extensive playing time to players you don't intend to allow anywhere near the first team
  • Manage first team players in such a manner that vital first team players (a la Yohan Cabaye) start the season significantly below 100%
  • Complete lack of communication to the supporters about preseason scheduling

and we've got the recipe to face exactly the same challenges that we faced last season... except for in exponential form.

Those who do not heed history are doomed to repeat it. (But hey - the preseason *is* the club's only chance for European competition this coming year... so there's that!)

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