And so Newcastle United get their pre-season underway tonight in their first match since Joe Kinnear announced he was the undisputed king, lord and doyen of the world, sorry, became director of football at St James’ Park, and it marks the start of a vital period for manager Alan Pardew.
Having ‘JFK’ thrust upon you (there’s an image I can do without) is bad enough, but on the back of a woefully inadequate season Pardew will know that the vultures are circling – and nobody will be circling with more intent than Kinnear.
Kinnear blatantly wants his old job back – who wouldn’t want to manage Yohan Kebab? – and it makes for an uncomfortable situation for Pardew, who will know if he doesn’t hit the ground running come August the bookies who make him favourite for the sack race could be proved right.
So pre-season is perhaps more important for Pardew than most other Premier League bosses and his first task of the summer is a decent workout up at Motherwell.
The Toon are odds-on at 53/100, with the draw at 29/10 and the home side an 18/5 chance, but I like the look of goals at Fir Park and reckon the 33/20 there are at least four is a decent shout here.
Stuart McCall’s side proved to be the best of the rest in the SPL last term, finishing second behind inevitable champions Celtic and goals tended to follow them around – Motherwell’s matches averaged 3.11 goals per game.
Newcastle couldn’t defend last year – only three teams conceded more goals on the road – and with no notable reinforcements and rustiness apparent, I can see goals at both ends here.
The Magpies’ games away from Tyneside averaged 3.05 goals and at this early point in the campaign it isn’t difficult to see more goals here, and at the price is it is worth a punt on the 33/20 there are at least four.