Newcastle haven’t lifted the FA Cup since 1955. During Mike Ashley’s ownership, the club haven’t got past the Fourth Round.
Those two stats show Newcastle’s attitude towards the cup in recent history. Fans have pined for a cup run in years gone by, especially in seasons where we’ve had nothing else to play for under Alan Pardew.
With Rafa Benitez at the helm, we have a man capable of winning major trophies. However, he’s been put in a position where he simply can’t afford to prioritise the domestic cups.
FA Cup has to play second fiddle for Benitez
As things stand, Newcastle are just two points clear of the bottom three. This gap could be severely reduced over the next month, with the Magpies facing tough games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham.
Once again, we are in a relegation battle. While last season we ended up finishing 10th, that won’t happen this time, as the gap between us and the top half is just too big. At this point in time, finishing 17th would be deemed a success.
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Benitez’s squad is thin. A lack of options is clear for all to see, with Ki Sung-yueng and Yoshinori Muto now away on international duty. Meanwhile, Mo Diame picked up an injury against Manchester United.
We’ve seen what happens when Paul Dummett is out, and it’s not even worth considering what would happen if we lost Salomon Rondon again.
With such little options, Benitez sadly can’t risk his big hitters against Blackburn. They need to be fit and firing for every Premier League game. While Benitez would no doubt love to go on a cup run and bring the trophy back to St James’ Park, he knows it’s just not possible.
Another sad indictment of Newcastle United under Ashley.