Can Newcastle win a cup?

After a dismal 2014-15 season, Newcastle United fans should be optimistic about their chances ahead of the upcoming campaign. Club owner Mike Ashley has insisted that the club will spend wisely in the transfer window, while they have moved swiftly to appoint former England manager Steve McClaren as head coach. The Magpies narrowly avoided relegation last season as they secured their Premier League status on the very last day of the campaign, earning a 2-0 victory over West Ham United. We take a look at Newcastle’s chances of competing for silverware this season and, although it is unlikely many punters will be betting on the Magpies to win the Premier League, but you never know, a fair few may think that this is their year to succeed in one of the cup competitions.

Newcastle have failed to win a major title since the FA Cup in 1955, despite featuring in four cup finals since their last success. At the end of the 1990s, the Magpies reached back-to-back FA Cup finals but were defeated by Arsenal and Manchester United respectively. Since then, they have failed to reach the latter stages of England’s greatest cup competition while their record in the Football League Cup – now known as the Capital One Cup – has been abysmal. The club have tended to select fringe players in the cup competitions as they have adopted a ‘survival first’ policy during Ashley’s tenure at St. James’ Park. However, they are expected to adopt a different strategy under McClaren this season.

With a summer move for Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin looking more likely by the day, the Magpies will sign one of the best forwards in the Premier League. The 25-year-old scored 18 league goals last season – more than each of Newcastle’s first team strikers. The forward would bring some energy and enthusiasm to a team lacking not only confidence, but speed and directness. Austin’s natural ability is clear to see and he will only improve whilst playing alongside the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Remy Cabella and Ayoze Perez.

If the Magpies select their strongest squad in the cup competitions this year, they will stand an excellent chance of reaching the latter stages of both tournaments. Newcastle’s strongest side is capable of competing with the best teams in the top flight and will be much improved under McClaren’s guidance. With a bit of luck and consistently good performances, the Magpies could earn their first major trophy in 60 years.

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