Premier League 2020/21: Newcastle United at the halfway stage…

At the halfway stage of the Premier League season. I aimed to do a half-term report of sorts on how I felt it has gone for Steve Bruce’s [feature image above from Sky Sports] Newcastle United. With fans not being allowed in stadiums meaning all games have been televised, it means I’ve been able to watch most games but given what I’ve seen, I wish I hadn’t.

After 19 games played, Newcastle are 16th in the table on 19 points. If that tally was replicated over the next 19 games, then Newcastle would finish on 38 points which is not always a safe points tally. They are out of both Cup competitions after losing to Championship side Brentford in the Carabao Cup Quarter Final and at Arsenal in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It is abundantly clear at this stage of the season, Newcastle’s season is basically about surviving and staying in the top flight. read more

Newcastle United: Rafa’s departure and my disillusionment.

Since the news broke that Rafa Benitez would not be staying at Newcastle United beyond the length of his three-year deal this summer, a few people have been asking for my thoughts through a blog post. In completely unrelated and personal ways, the past couple of months have been challenging for me and that in a way has delayed this post. However, a few weeks after his departure and the announcement of Steve Bruce as the successor by which time this had been drafted, I will provide some thoughts…

It was the moment a lot of Newcastle United fans were dreading and it came in the form of a short statement from the club. The statement said, ‘It is with disappointment that we announce manager Rafael Benítez will leave Newcastle United upon the expiry of his contract on 30th June 2019. We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however, it has not been – and will not be – possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives…We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved.’ That was it. The best manager Newcastle United have had since the Sir Bobby Robson days was leaving.

The inquest is still ongoing in some areas of the press and has prompted much debate. Meanwhile, the supporters have reacted as you may well expect. The inquest I refer to relates around how Newcastle United got into the situation of being 28 days away from the start of the next Premier League season with no manager having apparently been caught unawares. As for the supports, it was another episode under the ownership of Mike Ashley that has polarised the relationship between the clans with a substantial part of its fanbase. For some, it is the final straw. read more

January Transfer Window 2017: NUFC

The January Transfer Window. It comes and goes every year, Jim White get his yellow tie out and while some managers love and loath it, it is an opportunity to strengthen their squads. Newcastle United did not get that memo.

It is thought Rafa Benitez desired to bring in a central midfielder and a winger to strengthen his side for the Championship run-in. Neither came and the manager in charge of ‘all footballing matters’ does not know what happened. Newcastle recruited no new faces in an underwhelming January window but then that does not come as a surprise. However, six faces left the club on loan. read more

NUFC English Championship 2016/17 season preview

Football is back and so will this man on to our TV screens! [image from http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/10193888/watch-best-of-soccer-saturday]

Well, it’s that time of year again folks! It’s August and the football season will be back soon meaning the delights of live matches every weekend; Jeff Stelling and the boys on Gillette Soccer Saturday; Gary Lineker hosting Match of the Day (get your Y-fronts ready Gary!) and Chris Kamara with his odd expressions like ‘fighting like beavers’ and will he miss a red card again? There is also the much anticipated reuniting of the Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola rivalry at Manchester United and Manchester City respectively while Leicester City come into the season as defending champions! Who would have thought that 12 months ago? But, alas Newcastle United will be starting their season one week earlier; the Friday night kick-off at Craven Cottage to face Fulham in the Sky Bet Championship.

sky-bet-championship-logo-8x6549-3148790_613x460 read more

NUFC 2015-16: What went wrong?

Mike Ashley during his interview 24th May 2015
Mike Ashley during his interview 24th May 2015

On Sunday 24th May 2015, Mike Ashley surprised Newcastle United fans when he gave his first ever interview to Sky Sports. That day, Newcastle were fighting for Premier League survival and secured it with a 2-0 win over West Ham. Ashley spoke of not anticipating Newcastle being in the situation were in; a horse and cart scenario where the horse needed bolting on; aiming to win something and creating our own luck. However, one year on and after failing to create their own luck, Newcastle are staring at a season in the Championship. For some, this past season has been a difficult pill to swallow however for others, the anticipation of much closer away days in the Championship such as Leeds United (I’m looking forward to this one in particular for family reasons) is relatively pleasant. But, what went wrong? How did it come to this?

This can be analysed in two categories. The first is the organisational structure and management of the club at board level including player and manager recruitment. The second main category coincides with Ashley’s rhetoric of creating own luck and that is what actually happens on the pitch. read more