Ian Hart: Missing out on title could turn into a positive

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First and foremost congratulations to Deborah Vent, Dave Thorns, Jonathan Miburn, Jez Coates and any other local Newcastle United fans on winning an exciting Championship Race. (I will gloss over the fact you ‘nicked’ six points off us and you spent £75million in the process) but as the legendary Micky Adams once said the league tables don’t lie and at the end of 46 matches the Magpies were top of the pile, so the Toon Army can celebrate.

Hungover at Norwich?

Overconfident at home to Bristol City?

Just plain unlucky at Villa?

I have to admit Jack Grealish’s 88th minute equaliser for Villa, gave me a true gut-wrenching feeling, but on reflection could the last day disappointment be a blessing in disguise in the long run?

Had the Albion returned from the Midlands as Champions, conservative estimates reckoned there would have been crowds in excess of 100,000 on the streets of Brighton and Hove for the victory parade this coming Sunday.

A wave of euphoria and, whilst there is no room for sentiment in professional football, potentially a real headache this summer for Chris Hughton. How many of the 11 who started at Villa are good enough to play regularly in the Premier League?

Head rather than heart, I would say no more than five, possibly six, therefore drastic squad rebuilding is required in the coming weeks and months, and as a result of that well-loved players will be shipped out.

With the Championship trophy in the cabinet at the Amex that would have created some discord, the heroic failure from Sunday plays right into Hughton’s hands. Yes promotion was achieved, but at the optimum moments, and with three seperate matches to do it, the Albion still fell short.

If the squad collectively can’t clinch the League whilst in the box seat do they have the mental nous and footballing ability to cut it in arguably one of the hardest Leagues in the world?

Whilst I, and the rest of the Albion support, will never forget what’s happened this year, I fear the answer is a resounding no. So this Summer will almost certainly see at least one maybe two ‘marquee signings’ but also another 5/6 quality acquisitions. Jermaine Defoe is a name that has been bandied around already, an even taking into account his reported wages of £80,000 a week, I think the Albion have to set their sights high.

It’s £100million to go up, and then even more for every season you stay up, therefore if Defoe gels with the rest of the team, and scores the majority of the goals to keep Albion up, that’s an extremely good return on the initial outlay.

Gareth Barry is another name being spoken about, again probably decent wages, but gives the team that extra bit of quality and experience they will need.

Tammy Abraham on a season long loan from Chelsea is another option already being talked about, and that’s all part of the fun and only just the beginning, we’ve got a summer of speculation and arrivals, and if the right ones comes along Sunday’s disappointment will soon be a dim and distant memory. And it didn’t take long to start, Dale Stephens signing a new four year contract, caught a few fans on the hop, but is a real positive to kick the summer of signings off.

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