The close season is a time for managers to assess their squads and decide among the powers that be at their respective clubs as to what would be the best way forward in terms of signings in order to improve their squads. On paper that seems like a fairly simple process, and if things are done right, it is a simple process; look at the squad, find out where it is weakest, improve upon those weaknesses, manager is happy, fans are happy, squad is stronger. But we as Newcastle United fans know that the course of true love never runs smooth, and this love has never been more severely tested for Newcastle fans than it has been in the past number of weeks.

As we draw nearer to the end of the first month of the transfer window, Newcastle United have yet to announce their first senior signing, while the rest of the Premier League have made moves to significantly improve their squads, it seems that Newcastle United are being left behind. The likes of Norwich (6 signings), Aston Villa (6 signings), Sunderland (9 signings), Swansea (7 signings) have shown that you really don’t get anywhere in this league by standing still, but that is exactly what Newcastle United have done, thus far.

The off field disruption caused by the arrival of Joe Kinnear, in which he declared himself the empirical ruler of all things transfer related at the club, followed by his decision to go on holiday during what was essentially the only time of the year in which he needed to do his job, has seen a rather slow start to Newcastle’s squad building, in fact we are now 3 players lighter with the departures of James Perch (Wigan) Steve Harper (Hull) and Danny Simpson (QPR). Given that Pardew had aired his views that our squad was not big enough last season, I am somewhat perturbed that the squad is lighter, not heavier than it was last season.

Like I’ve mentioned before, Newcastle United fans are football savvy for the most part and can pinpoint our weaknesses with ease. We did not have enough strength in depth across the board last season, so when injuries to key players started to mount, we were spread too thin in all departments. The only area of the team that I feel we have adequate cover for is centre half, and even I think this is an area we can still improve upon. Also, given Cisse’s troubles up front last season it is abundantly clear that not only do we need another striker to support Cisse, but also to challenge his place in the team (or ultimately replace him if the Wonga rumours are true), but we also need to sign an attack minded midfield player who can run down the wings and also link up play from midfield in order to close the chasm that existed between our midfield and Cisse at times last season.

Now here begs the question. If we, as fans, can so readily pinpoint the problems in our squad, why can’t the men in charge of rectifying these problems do it? Let’s take a look at the hierarchy that now exists in Newcastle United, in doing so, we may get a better idea. Graham Carr is the man charged with finding continental gems on the cheap, and has done so with aplomb since being drafted into the club in 2010, bringing in the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote, to name a few. So we know Carr can find players, which is the first part of the recruitment stage.

So it is fair to say that Carr has done, and is continuing to do his job. Following the resignation of Derek Lambeezy (Llambias) it is now the remit of a certain Joe Kinnear to thrash out the details of any deal that is to be done, as far as I can gather anyway, he also, quite worryingly, has said he will have some input into scouting. Over the years I had become very critical of Llambias, I always thought him to be too prudent when it came to the negotiating table, and the quibbling over a few million last summer for the transfer of Debuchy still rankles a little, but in comparison to JFK, Lambeezy comes out smelling of roses. Kinnear boasts a vast reputation in world football, claiming he can contact any manager in any league, at any time for a little chat about who is available. Let’s be honest, given how long Kinnear has been out of the game I probably have more contacts in world football than he does. This man is so outrageously delusional, arrogant and stubborn that asking him to even pronounce the names of some foreign players, let alone finalise the details of any transfer, seems like a walk into some sort of dark dystopian horror show that has become reality at Newcastle United. Finally, we have the rotund ringleader, Mike Ashley, watching his minions do his bidding, while the once care free souls of Newcastle United fans worldwide are now exasperated, frustrated, and for this Newcastle fan anyway, not looking forward to a Premier league season for the first time in living memory.

I’m not suggesting that Newcastle United won’t make any signings, but leaving any signing as late as the tail end of July simply means that we are playing a constant game of catch-up to our rivals, who are blending in their new signings as we speak. They are gelling as a squad, getting familiar with the team’s tactics and planning on improving upon their respective league positions Given that we finished a meagre 16th, surely this is something we should be primarily focused on? With the procrastination at Newcastle United, we are simply affording Pardew yet another excuse to worm his way out of his inevitable failings “I didn’t get a full pre-season with my signings”, and I for one am sick of it. I am sick of the snail paced operations of our off field officials, I am sick of the detached resentment we are treated with by our owner, and I am sick of Newcastle United becoming the laughing stock of English football.

If only we the fans were in charge of the club…we’d have won the Champions League by now (!)