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Archive for category: Thoughts and reflections.

Will Benitez provide the Yang to Newcastle United’s Yin?

May 29th, 2016 | No Comments |

Rafa Benítez and Vicente del Bosque
Benítez showing his own coaching app to Vicente del Bosque
Presuming you are Newcastle United fan, or a football fan of some sort at least as you are reading this football blog, you’ll know the usual clichés about Newcastle United – passionate, impulsive, living in the moment and pretty much the exact opposite of new(ish) manager, Rafael Benitez. Words like ‘analytical,’ ‘calculating’ and ‘strategic’ cling to the systematic Spaniard like barnacles to a dredger.

I say all that having been an admirer since I used to visit friends in Valencia when he was manager there. I took in several games at the Mestalla, where he broke the stranglehold of the Spanish big two. In three years there between 2001-4, he won two La Ligas and a UEFA Cup. In those days before he was snapped up by Liverpool, I fancied him as a worthy successor to Bobby Robson when he retired. Thanks largely to Robson we were big club in the Champion’s League and getting a manager of Benítez’s calibre as a successor was not a unreasonable expectation in those days. However, I certainly couldn’t have predicted him coming twelve years later under the current circumstances. An obsessive analyst since his days as a young footballer, when he meticulously analysed his own play, he is so scrupulous and methodical, if he hadn’t had so much success as a manager, he might well have been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (more…)


Is it springtime for Rafa and Newcastle?

March 14th, 2016 | 165 Comments |

Rafa joins the Tyneside madness!
Rafa joins the Tyneside madness!
As relegation struggling Newcastle United face Leicester City at this evening at the King Power stadium, all eyes will be on new manager, Rafael Benitez, and what he can do to turn things around.

Although starting against the League leaders riding a wave is tough, Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City are themselves a testament of what can be achieved against the odds, both at the bottom and the top of the Premier League. Benitez probably won’t need any reminders after what he achieved with Valencia in La Liga, and Liverpool in the Champions League. Though many have commented that Benitez’s record with subsequent clubs hasn’t been quite as good, he still managed to win five big trophies with Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli, including a Europa League and World Club Cup. As for Real Madrid, he never got a chance. Hence, one could hardly describe Rafa’s post Liverpool period as wilderness years anyway. (more…)


Newcastle United, Mike Ashley and eternal recurrence

July 1st, 2015 | 335 Comments |

Steve McClaren
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Let us think this thought in its most terrible form: existence as it is, without meaning or aim, and yet recurring inevitably, without any finale in nothingness: “eternal recurrence.”

Friedrich Nietzsche – The Will to Power

I quoted the great proto-existentialist philosopher there because it seems such a perfect summary of all that Mike Ashley has to offer Newcastle United fans, in the past, the present and in the future; existence as it is, without meaning or aim, and yet recurring inevitably This includes the humiliation of being lied to and treated as fools on a regular basis, and paying hundreds of pounds for the privilege in many cases. Mike Ashley’s latest alleged overhaul is just as superficial and dishonest as the previous ones, which is why everything coming out of the club must be so strictly controlled. In his hubris, Ashley still hasn’t learned that a Premier League club the size of Newcastle United has to be like Rolls Royce, not Sports Direct. The faces might be different, but the thinking which has taken Newcastle United nowhere is still the same, recurring inevitably. (more…)


The truth of the Patrick Vieira and Steve McClaren to Newcastle stories

June 5th, 2015 | 23 Comments |

Steve McClaren and John Carver
NUFC: Still no decision on a head coach.
I couldn’t help feeling there was something odd about the story of Patrick Vieira coming to Newcastle, as there is about most unsubstantiated football stories.

Some fans seemed to believe it though, even embroidering it further to their own tastes as it gathered a momentum of its own in a few short days. My curiosity piqued, I looked but I couldn’t find any real evidence that Newcastle United made an approach for Patrick Viera to be the next ‘head coach’ at St James’ Park. Even the guff I’ve read about Steve McClaren coming to Newcastle (and I’ve read alot) seems to be based on the same kind of unsubstantiated “it is understood / sources say” style drivel we see so much of nowadays in the media. Concentrating on the Vieira story first though, I traced the threads of it back to the beginning as I usually do, and in this case it was ‘broken’ by North East Sky Sports reporter, Keith Downie with two tweets below on 30th May, though it seems like longer: (more…)


Newcastle United 2014 full accounts statement

May 31st, 2015 | 22 Comments |

Newcastle United's treasure chest
NUFC’s coffers are overflowing, but the debt to Ashley remains
Before I begin, my apologies for not posting these earlier, as I usually do shortly after the accounts are made public. Better late than never though as I still can’t find any other copies of the statement itself elsewhere, though there is a very extensive analysis of the latest accounts on the very good Swiss Ramble site if you haven’t seen it already. The link to a PDF of the full statement submitted to Companies House is below, along with a few personal reflections from myself.

Some personal notes on the accounts

Turnover

The overall turnover figure of £129.7 million is the highest in the club’s history. This was also true of many other Premier League clubs though due to the commencement of the new blockbuster broadcasting deal. On the £129.7 million turnover, the club made a profit after tax of £18.7 million, and an operating profit of £4.7 million. However, Ashley is yet to pay any tax at Newcastle United as losses from previous years have been deferred once again. (more…)