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Archive for category: Thoughts and reflections.

Why Newcastle United’s last two games will be important

April 27th, 2017 | 20 Comments |

Rafa Benitez.
Benitez: Still needs to restore a bit of pride?
Before last Monday evening, a run of one point from three games had seen Newcastle fall seven points behind Brighton. A convincing and confidence boosting 4-1 victory against Preston steadied nerves, assuring automatic promotion, but as a team feted as one of the best (or most expensive) ever to find themselves in the Championship, it is hard to escape the feeling that the Magpies still have something to prove before they take the step up to the Premier League once more. That’s without the possible ramifications of the looming tax scandal of course, but that’s a whole different story!

While Chris Hughton’s Seagulls wrapped up their promotion bid early, The Magpies seemed intent on putting their fans through as much anguish as possible (a familiar feeling some Geordies might say). However, Rafa Benitez’s men can be thankful for the equally dreadful form of Huddersfield making their automatic promotion bid much easier than it could have been. Of course, that poor run was stopped against Preston last Monday evening, and Newcastle now have a chance to continue making a statement of intent in their final two games. (more…)


Why Gayle can be more than just a Championship wonder

January 19th, 2017 | 39 Comments |

Dwight Gayle
Gayle: Can he be as prolific in the Premier League?
If you took a straw poll of Toon fans, I’m pretty sure that most would agree that Dwight Gayle has been Newcastle United’s player of the season so far, and by some distance for 20 obvious reasons. Signed for around £10 million from Crystal Palace, it might have seemed like quite alot for a player with a bit of an injury record who made alot of his appearences off the bench. To get to the point, I was inspired to bring it up after Crystal Palace and ex-Magpie manager Sam Allardyce was asked by the Croydon Advertiser if he would have got rid of the Championship’s top hitman had he been manager last summer. He replied:

“Goals in the Championship doesn’t relate to goals in the Premier League for some players. I saw Abel Hernandez score 20-odd goals to get Hull up last year and he’s struggled badly this term. (more…)


Burton Albion vs Newcastle United: A David vs Goliath struggle

December 16th, 2016 | 57 Comments |

Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium.
Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.
As Newcastle United travel to the 6900 capacity Pirelli Stadium to face Burton Albion, one of the smallest teams in the Championship, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at how the spectrum of teams in the Championship is as wide, and maybe even wider as it is in the Premiership with the gap between teams like Manchester United and Burnley.

To explain and give some kind of perpective, football transfer website, Transfermarkt estimates that Toon players such as Aleksandar Mitrovic (est value £10.2 million), Jonjo Shelvey (£9.35 million) or even Chancel Mbemba (£8.5 million) are worth more individually than the whole Burton Albion squad, which is valued at an estimated £7.57m in total. Whilst the average Newcastle United first team squad member is estimated to be worth £4.01 million, at Burton it is only £303,000. (more…)


Newcastle United Art Forum – The Shearer Statue

September 14th, 2016 | 150 Comments |

Alan Shearer statue
Looks like something out of a cereal packet
It isn’t very often that I venture off the highway of football to enter the arena of art criticism here on NUFC Blog, but this is one of those occaisions and I am actually more qualified. Having been a figurative artist, a designer and also an art dealer in a very modest sense, I hope I can give a reasonably informed opinion without getting too carried away.

As you might have guessed from the photo accompanying thus piece, my current musing has been inspired by the recent unveiling of the Alan Shearer sculpture. Named ‘Local Hero,’ it is the second by local self-taught sculptor, Tom Maley for Newcastle United. It follows Maley’s Bobby Robson tribute of 2012, though it was actually commissioned by former NUFC Chairman, Freddie Shepherd before that in 2007 at an alleged cost of around £250,000. There is almost certainly some kind of club politics behind the nine year delay in its unveiling but that is not what this story is about. (more…)


Benitez and the ironic change of emphasis at topsy-turvy Toon

September 11th, 2016 | 8 Comments |

Rafa Benitez and Matt Ritchie
Benitez with Scottish signing, Matt Ritchie.
Like the NHS and the British education system, Newcastle United under Mike Ashley has undoubtedly been the victim of too many top down reorganisations inflicted by those who didn’t have a clue what they were doing. Yet, despite living with the consequences for a second time under Mike Ashley in the form of relegation, we fans have seldom been more sanguine, all because of confidence in Rafa Benitez and his diligent, systematic, trophy winning ways. Now we do have a manager of Benitez’s calibre, Newcastle United are strong favourites for the Championship title and automatic promotion. If you were thinking of having a bet and would like to claim a bet365 bonus code where you could receive a bonus of up to £200, you will find instructions in the following link (more…)