-*/-*/
4
5
1
7
2
3
6
LATEST NEWS
12th April 2016 - Foundations Of Failure
Brian Standen - The Mag: Mike Ashley has used Newcastle United Football Club as a tool to promote his tat empire. Mike Ashley has built foundations of failure with his absurd frugalness and a succession of ridiculous appointments at both boardroom and management level. Season after season we've been subjected to utter shite on and off the pitch as Ashley has taken the piss out of the good folk who follow the team. Newcastle United Football Club is being left behind. We are destined for years of mediocrity. I hate you Mike Ashley.
9th April 2016 - Daryl Janmaat
True Faith: Collectively, the Newcastle squad have been so atrocious this season its pointless singling players out, but I’ll make an exception for Daryl Janmaat. Having been turned inside out by a cross field pass which he tried in vain to intercept, he simply walked off the pitch feigning injury after Pelle had punished his haplessness. The Newcastle players went through the motions yesterday, Janmaat didn’t even have the human decency to do that.
nufc.com: Janmaat's slip was described by some as unfortunate. Not us. And as to whether his injury required him to leave the field is open to debate. He seemed only too keen to get out of the firing line and a less professional manager may have come out and said just that publicly afterwards.
An Andros Townsend strike cuts the deficit
9th April 2016 - Southampton 3 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton - 3.00pm
Team: Darlow, Anita, Janmaat (De Jong 40), Mbemba, Taylor (Lascelles 46), Townsend, Shelvey, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Perez (Cisse 70), Mitrovic - Subs not used: Woodman, Dummett, Tiote, Obertan.
Scorer: Townsend (65) - Attendance: 31,542
Rafa Benitez: "You have a game plan, how to attack and how to defend and after three minutes you concede. I was upset, telling them that that performance was not acceptable. Playing this way and with this mentality it was obvious that we couldn't win. We had to change players. Half-time could be the angriest I've been so far. We don’t need to be the best team in the Premier League but we have to be the best team in the bottom four. The confidence must improve, three points can change everything. We have six games to play and each one is important. We have four games at home and that is the key if we want to stay in the Premier League. Character, passion, and positive play is what is expected for 90 minutes every game. It is clear that was very much lacking. We need players we can count on and who can give what we expect."
On Steven Taylor: "We had to change him and that's it."
Jamaal Lascelles: "It's not acceptable. We need to play with more heart and more desire. We need bigger characters on the pitch. We need players who care. If you don't have that fight, hunger and desire, it doesn't matter."
nufc.com: A typically clueless and gutless performance. The game was lost thanks to some pitiful defending. United's ninth straight away loss. Their worst run of form on the road since 1961. This sorry shower defy football logic and fail to respond to any motivational or organisational trick in the book. It seems inconceivable that these players can muster the effort that could result in any victories, let alone the requisite number to avoid relegation.
True Faith: What unravelled at Southampton didn’t really surprise me. We were abject. Again! Their first goal came from the woeful defending of supposed professional footballer Steven Taylor. Shortly after that a pathetic pass by Taylor again, nearly put Southampton in. Seven minutes before half time, Janmaat slipped, (allegedly) injuring himself in the process, yet again pathetic defending let the ball fall to Pelle who put a neat finish in. Following half-time I was glad to see Taylor had been taken off. The third goal came from yet another poorly defended corner. Yet again we’re left deriding an embarrassing defensive performance. Janmaat, who two years ago was part of a Dutch side that came 3rd in the world cup, now looks like garbage. Taylor, well, he is worse than that.
Alan Shearer: "It is staggering that a center half was not signed in January. They have struggled defensively all season, conceding 61 goals in 32 league matches. Last summer, only DR Congo star Chancel Mbemba came in and he has also looked out of sorts in recent games. Recruitment has been a big problem at the club. Nobody can dispute that. It says it all that Steven Taylor, who was hooked at half-time at Southampton and Fabricio Coloccini, who was playing every week before his injury, were two of the centre halves I had as manager when we were relegated in 2009. That alone tells you that centre half is a position that has not been properly addressed in seven years. Sir Alex was saying how sad it is for him to see Newcastle down at the bottom but he also admitted he is not surprised. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen it coming."
newcastle.vitalfootball.co.uk: A joyous occasion for Mike Ashley and his cohorts with the announcement that club profits have risen to over £32 million. That figure could be much larger were the club to receive income from the Sports Direct advertising which is plastered all over what was once a fine looking stadium. Ashley continues, as has been the case since he took control at St. James' Park, to showcase his other business interests totally free of charge, effectively closing off what should be a major revenue stream for the club.
Additionally, both match day and commercial income are down. It is no secret that a vast amount of the clubs commercial income is diverted towards Ashley's sports company and the knock on effect of this awareness is that many fans refuse to line his pockets further by spending in the club shop and so on. Much the same scenario has been created by Ashley at Glasgow Rangers. Effectively, any chances of our club advancing under his control are very limited indeed. It would be fair to say that without television income the club would find itself in serious financial difficulty.
Mike Ashley hasn't done anything for the fans (in the style of Blackburn’s Jack Walker), the £129 million which he officially loaned the club a few years back is still outstanding but unofficially he's been paid back ten fold with profits received via his sports business. Let us never forget that Mike Ashley is running this club for his gain and his gain alone. Relegation will be a fitting reward.
Club Profits - More To Come
Norwich away - image to follow
2nd April 2016 - Norwich City 3 Newcastle United 2
Premier League - Carrow Road, Norwich - 3.00pm
Team: Darlow, Janmaat, Anita (Mitrovic 62), Mbemba, Taylor, Tiote (Perez 46), Shelvey, Townsend, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Cisse - Subs not used: Woodman, Sterry, Lascelles, De Jong, Riviere.
Scorer: Mitrovic (71, 86 pen) - Attendance: 27,137
Rafa Benitez: "Today was a pity. We worked hard but it is not enough to win games. What upsets you is the way that we concede in the last minute of each half. It is really painful. It’s really disappointing but you can’t change what has happened. Now it is more difficult, we have to concentrate on the next game as much as we can. The only thing we can take as a positive is the reaction of the team. If we start winning games we still have time. We have seven games to go and we have to keep pushing."
nufc.com: An awful first half display gave no hint that our appalling away form was set to alter. It looked like a tense 45 minutes would end goalless but some buffoonery on and off the field gifted the home side the lead. It started when some of the away following failed to return the ball for the second time in the half, presumably too bladdered to realise that this was a match we could actually do with winning. Although that delay gave our defence time to prepare for a free-kick, they instead switched off totally and Klose accepted the gift of a free header. The gap to safety looks to be almost insurmountable, Newcastle losing their eighth successive away game. The reality is that we're just incapable of raising ourselves to the required level and simply aren't worthy of a place in the top flight. This massive game between two thoroughly mediocre sides went the way of City, who had heroes all over the field and players showing entrprise, industry and fight. Sadly the visitors had a clutch of non-performers who contributed little.
True Faith: No hard luck story here. The Championship is calling and the sound is getting louder. It’d be utterly deserved as well. The first half was as bad as anything served up under McClaren. Playing without shape or direction United were a shambles. You can’t concede three goals and expect to take anything from games. There’s a glimmer of hope. Maybe 4 wins will do. It could happen. It can happen. It probably won’t.
Our fans: They decided to keep the match ball for over a minute to the extent an alternative ball had to be sourced, to cheers from the away end. I wish I lived a life where a £250 plus trip to East Anglia was worth keeping the ball from the game I was playing to watch, disrupting it as much as I could. You can’t even say sections of our away support are embarrassing. It’s a majority. I hate them. If you go to away games to be aggressive to locals, throw beer around and enjoy disrupting the actual game you should be banned from attending.
Alan Shearer: "Defending like they did is why they are staring at the Championship."
TEXT AND IMAGES BELOW TO BE ADDED / REPLACED
 
 
 
 
"He's a very good player with real potential. It's a nice start."
13th February 2016 - Chelsea 5 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Stamford Bridge, London - 5.30pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Aarons, Taylor, Coloccini, Shelvey, Tiote (Lascelles 67), Sissoko, Wijnaldum (Colback 46), Townsend, Mitrovic (Doumbia 70) - Subs not used: Darlow, Saivet, Perez, Riviere.
Scorer: Townsend (90) - Attendance: 41,622
Steve McLaren: "I’m not particularly upbeat about this performance. The goals were our own fault, problems caused by giving the ball away cheaply. We’ve been over exposed recently. Having to use Rolando Aarons, a winger, at left back and Steven Taylor playing only his second game in six months. We can’t let this derail us. Anger, disappointment and frustration has already been expelled. We have 12 games to go. We need a reaction that has to last for 12 games. It’s time to stay calm and stable. Winning at home, then losing away is not good enough. We need to start collecting points away from home. It might mean a different way of playing. The break now is a good thing."
nufc.com: Repeat watching of this dross does eventually break your spirit. The lack of rage directed at McClaren is a sign of fans becoming resigned to their fate, mirroring the indifference of many players. Genuine anger at our plight isn't to be found in the stands, with tickets taken by stoics, pisspots and lunatics. Ranting malcontents have stood aside, to be replaced by increasing numbers of young lads, daft enough to turn out at this time for those prices.
Biffa: Newcastle plunged back into the bottom three of the Premier League after a capitulation at Stamford Bridge. The indifference to our plight shown here by the likes of Tiote, Sissoko and Coloccini mirrors that of imposters pursuing their own agenda like Michael Owen in 2009. A team so clearly not playing for their manager, our lack of conviction is as criminal as the insincere apologies and empty promises to put it right. Our fifth successive away loss in the league.
Guus Hiddink: "We tried to press from the first minute to surprise them. I think we did. The first 20 minutes were decisive. The two goals made them very unstable. When we conceded the goal, we were sloppy, losing possession, we didn’t defend well. I was happy to see the players were not happy."
"He's a very good player with real potential. It's a nice start."
6th February 2016 - Newcastle United 1 West Bromwich Albion 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Aarons, Taylor, Coloccini, Townsend (Perez 88), Shelvey (Saivet 90), Tiote, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic - Subs not used: Darlow, Gibson, Williams, Barlaser, Doumbia.
Scorer: Mitrovic (32) - Attendance: 50,152
Steve McLaren: "It was just what we needed, a great reaction from the team. We were relentless in attack. We should have scored more. It shouldn't have been close in the last 10 minutes. We kept our nerve and held on and I think we deserved the three points. We've shown what this team is capable of doing and it's all about doing that consistently. We have to improve our away form and show character. I hope we'll get better and stronger as the season concludes. We had a number of heroes today."
nufc.com: A nervy but priceless home win. Under pressure to provide both a display and result following Wednesday's capitulation at Everton, United dominated from start to finish but just couldn't make safe. In truth, any line up would have been untroubled by an abysmal Albion display similar to our own toothless showing at Goodison. An anxious six minutes was added in part due to the continued time wasting of Elliot. For the first time since December 2014 United recorded back to back home victories. This wasn't a complete performance, just an improved one aided by the bloody awful opposition. Hanging on for a win in the 96th minute shouldn't be cause for celebration. The win took United to 17th, swapping places with a Norwich side who lost their fifth successive league game.
True Faith: A vital win against a truly awful West Brom side who were limited to howking long balls up to Anichebe. Their general lack of shape was startling. We were worth the three points and with other results going our way we clawed ourselves out of the relegation zone. Great to have three points but a long way to go yet.
Tony Pulis: "I’ve been at the club for just over a year now and that’s most probably the most disappointing away performance we’ve had."
5th February 2016 - No Place Left To Hide
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: Steve McClaren is in trouble, squeezed to breaking point by poor results and the team’s position in the bottom three and the fact only Manchester City have spent more money on new players this season. He was “delighted” with the signings, even though they failed to bring in a defender to improve a weak defence, and said there was no way Newcastle would be relegated. Steve McClaren’s side could be relegated. By his own admission there can be no more excuses and he did not really try to offer any after his side were destroyed by an Everton side which had not won in the league since beating Newcastle at St James’ Park on Boxing Day. Instead, he blamed the players. They were poor and he has got a reaction from them before with a more confrontational approach. He didn’t really have any alternative this time, though. No matter how he tries to shift the blame, divert attention or cling to positives, McClaren is damned by the fact Newcastle finished a dreadful season last year fifth from bottom. They are currently two places below that, with 14 games left to play despite the heavy investment in new players. Newcastle appointed McLaren as head coach to improve them, they talked boastfully about top eight finishes and long cup runs and have spent a vast amount of money to give him the tools to realise those new ambitions. As things stand, he has made them worse. If things do not improve on the pitch, if they remain in relegation danger with ten games to go, the only thing left to change is the man who decides the tactics, trains and picks the team. They know all too well the cost of relegation, which is why they have thrown so much money at trying to make sure it does not happen. McLaren has much to prove and much to be worried about.
3rd February 2016 - Judge Ridicules Ashley's Game Playing
irishnews.com: A High Court judge has described action brought against Rangers by a sportswear firm run by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley as "ridiculous". Sports Direct has halted the litigation after claiming a breach of confidentiality in relation to a commercial deal. Mr Justice Peter Smith approved the discontinuation of the claim at a High Court hearing in London on Wednesday. He told lawyers that the case had been a "ridiculous piece of litigation". The litigation had been running for nine months and a trial was scheduled for next week. Mr Justice Smith had already cleared Rangers' chairman Dave King of committing contempt of court, following allegations made by Mr Ashley. He had also torn a strip off Sports Direct at a preliminary hearing last month complaining that bosses had abused court processes. Lawyers for Sports Direct say the firm will cover all lawyers' bills run up during the dispute. The judge was told that total legal costs were estimated to be around £400,000. Ryan Mowat, a partner at law firm Kingsley Napley, said the claim had been "spurious" and added: "Fortunately, the judge has been alive to the game playing of Sports Direct which has helped expose the case for what it was."
SME Business Magazine: Rangers are looking to bring their tumultuous relationship with Sports Direct to a close by formally giving notice to the Mike Ashley company to end their commercial partnership. The club makes just 4p from every £1 spent on merchandise. However, the contract Rangers hold with Sports Direct is believed to include a seven year notice period lasting until 2023.
Rangers chairman Dave King: "For the first time a Board of this Club has stood up to the threats of Sports Direct and has achieved resounding success in court proceedings including the substantial recovery of legal costs. Sport’s Directs motives were severely exposed when a High Court Judge ruled that Sports Direct abused court processes in its attempt to bully the club and me. We will continue to put Rangers first and ensure that we get redress and compensation for the poor commercial and business practices that the Club has been forced to endure.”
4th February 2016 - A Total Shambles Under Mike Ashley
Newcastle United is a total shambles under Mike Ashley. So many decisions being taken by all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. It must be obvious by now to any rational person that Ashley and his minions spend most of the time trying to make it appear that Newcastle United is a properly run club rather than just getting on and doing exactly that. The club put all their public relations out through the Daily Mirror and Sky Sports, their media partners. Other media aren’t given access. Seydou Doumbia arrives and 48 hours later is on the bench. Doumbia hasn't played a match for around 9 weeks and according to Steve McClaren pre match, hasn’t trained for the last couple of weeks. There was never the slightest intention of bringing Doumbia on, once again it was just done for show. The whole club is rotten and rather than getting in the best people to run it, we are instead left with puppets such as Charnley and McClaren to do Mike Ashley’s bidding. No wonder the club finds itself in such trouble.
4th February 2015 - Embarrassing Newcastle
Miles Starforth - Shields Gazzette: Newcastle United are fast running out of time and Steve McClaren has run out of excuses. Last night’s 3-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park was embarrassing. On this evidence the club will be playing Championship football next season. No ifs, no buts. Third bottom Newcastle are deservedly in the Premier League relegation zone. If things don’t change quickly, they will stay there for the rest of the season. January signings Jonjo Shelvey, Henri Saivet and Andros Townsend all started but it was the same old United. Newcastle were second best in every area of the pitch at Goodison. Had it not been for goalkeeper Rob Elliot, the scoreline would have been much worse. Before the game, McClaren had conceded that there could be no excuses in the second half of the season after the club’s January spend. There was no excuse for his team’s disjointed performance on Merseyside.
"He's a very good player with real potential. It's a nice start."
3rd February 2016 - Everton 3 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 7.45pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett (Aarons 46), Mbemba, Coloccini (Lascelles 44), Saivet (Mitrovic 55), Shelvey, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Townsend, Perez - Subs not used: Darlow, Taylor, Doumbia, Gouffran.
Attendance: 36,061 - Red card: Lascelles (93)
Steve McLaren: "We have to do better than that. We weren't aggressive enough. Too many players were below par. We need a reaction on Saturday."
nufc.com: Steve McClaren looked a forlorn figure as his side were beaten once again and looked totally inadequate in every department. Andros Townsend made his debut and must wonder what he has let himself in for as United were completely outclassed and only some excellent saves from Rob Elliot prevented further embarrassment. To take any positives from this game would be seriously clutching at straws.
Alan Shearer: Awful again tonight. Rob Eliott Man Of The Match again.
Shields Gazette: The club remains 18th in the Premier League and two points adrift of safety. The result and performance heaped more pressure on McClaren given the team’s woeful record this season.
The Independent: For Newcastle, the new signings did not make a spot of difference. Jonjo Shelvey plodded about as if the game had inconvenienced an evening stroll. Townsend ran up and down the wing trying to keep warm.
True Faith: One win in eight games. The club is hurtling towards the second tier fast and deservedly so. Newcastle United put in a signature Steve McClaren performance. They don’t do anything. Rob Elliot tipped three attempts onto the frame of the goal. He was Man of the Match by some distance. Everton dominated from the first minute. First half United didn’t manage a single shot. Perez’s performance was a disgrace in the first half. Not good enough. Georginho Winjladum put in one of the worst performances I’ve seen. He’s been mostly anonymous away from home. Rolando Aarons came on at left back. Poor kid. His performance was a joke defensively. Funny that, him being an attacking midfielder. The second half continued as the first did, Mitrovic coming on, he should have scored, his finishing isn’t good enough. He’s 21, he’s the best we’ve got. It shouldn’t be like this. Sissoko by the way was abysmal. If ever a player didn’t fancy a freezing cold wet night. A waste of a shirt.
The Mag: Everton last night was too ridiculous for words.
2nd February 2015 - Differing Opinions
Steve McClaren: "I’m lifted by the signings. It started in the summer, it’s continued. The squad is progressing, it’s really just the beginning. Our shortcomings have been addressed. I’m delighted with what we brought in. We needed to improve our squad and our team in terms of quality and character. We’re getting there. We need to start winning and moving up the league. I hope and expect that we’ll be a better team once the players have gelled. We needed to change the make up of things and I think we’ve done that. We needed a striker who can score goals, play on the shoulder and stretch defences. In Doumbia we’ve got that. Shelvey can pass. We needed that passer in midfield. I wanted speed on the wing and with Andros we’ve got that. Berahino would have been a bonus. The board was making an ambitious statement but it didn’t come off so we go with what we’ve got. It’s enough to see us through and and we’re delighted with it. The squad is a lot stronger than it was at the start of the month. We want to take this club forward and we will only progress through investment."
Newcastle Online: We honestly get what we deserve at times. I'm stunned at how easy our fans have lapped up some cash being spent. We haven't fixed our core issues. The fact we haven't addressed the glaring centre back problem is completely mad and again relying on unproven strikers is terrifying. We have improved in midfield though it would appear these players have arrived due to having had issues at their previous clubs. Gambling again.
1st February 2016 - Building For The Future?
Upon leaving Newcastle acrimoniously in 2011 for Liverpool, Jose Enrique had the following to say: "They don’t want to spend bring quality players. This club will never fight again to be among the top six with this policy."
Daily Mirror: Liverpool full back Jose Enrique was in talks with former club Newcastle leading to speculation he could finally leave Anfield. When fans heard that Enrique might move back to St. James' Park, the support breathed a collective sigh of relief. Enrique has been warming the bench for what seems like an eternity. Signed by Kenny Dalglish before being rapidly frozen out by Brendan Rodgers, the Spanish full back hasn't been a regular fixture in the first team for several years. He couldn't agree personal terms with The Magpies and returned to Merseyside as a result. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Liverpool supporters are now despairing at the prospect of ever getting rid of their dead wood defender. Will Jose Enrique ever leave? It doesn't look like it. The Reds simply cannot seem to get rid of him, even when they're willing to pay him to leave.
The Chronicle: Liverpool wanted Enrique off their wage bill. United wanted back up to see them through until the summer. Nothing came to fruition. Newcastle fans will not see the player pull on the black and white shirt again. Given some of his recent performances during his rare opportunities for Liverpool in recent months, that may not necessarily be a terrible thing.
Dan Price - empireofthekop.com: According to the Liverpool Echo, the Spaniard was unhappy that Newcastle failed to match his £65,000 per week Liverpool wage and was also unimpressed with the length of the deal being offered. Despite being told he has no future under Klopp, the 30 year old will now stay with us until the end of the season when his contract expires.
1st February 2016 - Striker Signings
Seydou Doumbia: Newcastle have confirmed that the striker has arrived on loan from AS Roma subject to a successful work permit application. Doumbia signed on at Roma in 2015 from Russian side CSKA Moscow for a fee of £11 million. Last summer the 28 year old Ivory Coast international had a loan spell back at CSKA which ended in December before he returned to the Italian club.
Ayoze Perez: Confirmation from St. James' Park of a new contract for Ayoze Perez. The 22 year-old Spanish forward signed a deal of undisclosed duration when arriving from Tenerife in June 2014 but has now agreed terms until 2021.
31st January 2016 - Heading Home
Florian Thauvin, who arrived at St. James' Park in August last year on a five year contract, for a fee in the region of £13 million has rejoined former club Marseille on loan for the remainder of this season. The 23 year old Frenchman has made just three starts and ten substitute appearances in black and white colours this season. French Newspaper Le Parisien claim that the player has taken a 50% pay cut in order to rejoin Marseille and are reporting that Newcastle are making no contribution to his salary whilst he is out on loan. The official club website reports that there is no option for purchase within the deal, so Thauvin will return to Tyneside at the end of the loan.
"He's a very good player with real potential. It's a nice start."
29th January 2016 - Mike Williamson
Mike Williamson has completed a permanent move to Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers. The switch follows a loan spell with the Midlands club where he played a handful of games before being recalled to provide cover for the injured Jamaal Lascelles. The big defender has agreed an eighteen month deal with the Molineux club. Since signing on at St. James' Park at the start of 2010, Mike made a total of 171 appearances, scoring twice.
27th January 2016 - Have Newcastle Finally Got It Right?
Chris Waugh - The Chronicle: Newcastle United have a proud history as far as wingers go. Well, they did have. In recent years the Magpies have failed miserably.
United spent eight figures on Remy Cabella during the summer of 2014 after an inspirational season for Montpellier in which he scored 14 times and provided five assists. 18 months on, Cabella is back in Ligue 1 and starting to find his form again for Marseille with his loan deal understood to have already become a permament move. What worked against Cabella was the fact Alan Pardew never really rated him. Very much signed on Graham Carr’s recommendation, Pardew was not keen on the Frenchman. Reluctant to play Cabella in his favoured role as a No 10, Pardew shifted him out to the wing and his impact was minimal. Steve McClaren promised to give Cabella an opportunity this term, but he was farmed out as part of the deal to bring Thauvin to Tyneside.
Florian Thauvin arrived on Tyneside last summer. Six months on, having started just three Premier League matches, he looks set to hop back across The Channel, at the very least on loan. Thauvin, a player the Magpies had tracked for a long time, could have signed for Newcastle on three previous occasions. They eventually got him for £13 million in the summer. Seeing as Thauvin was voted in Ligue 1’s' worst team of the year’ for the 2014-15 campaign, alarm bells should have been ringing in the corridors of power at St. James’ Park but Carr wanted, and eventually got, his man. Like Pardew with Cabella, there has been a sense that McClaren never wanted Thauvin. Despite a goal and three assists during a dream full debut against Northampton Town, Thauvin soon rediscovered the woeful form that had dogged him during his time at Marseille. Dropped in September, he has failed to start a Premier League game since and has made just 16 appearances in all competitions. His time on Tyneside has been an unmitigated disaster so far.
So, can Townsend fare any better? Have the Magpies finally found the man to bring the creative flair they need or will he follow Cabella and Thauvin out of Tyneside with his tail between his legs? McClaren will hope the Magpies have finally got a creative talent they can nurture and who can thrive. Townsend will have to hit the ground running and prove the doubters at Tottenham Hotspur wrong. He has made 62 appearances in the Premier League, as well as plenty more in the lower leagues so adapting to a new style of play and new country is not something that needs to be brought into consideration. A lack of first team football in recent months, he has played just 64 minutes all season and last completed a full match a year ago, may hamper his progress at first. However, the fact Townsend was an acquisition backed by McClaren ensures he will have the full confidence of his head coach. That should ensure he is played in his correct position, on either flank, unlike Cabella, who was deployed as a winger when he is nominally a ‘playmaker’ or a ‘No 10’. There has been a shift in the Magpies’ transfer policy this month. Have Newcastle finally got it right?
21st January 2016 - Two More Fixtures Rescheduled
Our forthcoming Premier League fixtures away to Leicester City and at home to Sunderland have been chosen for live transmission on Sky TV. Our trip to the King Power Stadium originally scheduled for Saturday 12th March has been moved to Monday 14th March with an 8.00pm start. Our home derby clash with Sunderland has been moved from Saturday 19th March to Sunday 20th March with a 1.30pm kick-off.
"He's a very good player with real potential. It's a nice start."
27th January 2016 - Andros Townsend Signing Confirmed
Andros Townsend has become Newcastle's third signing of the January transfer window. The 24 year old arrives from Tottenham Hotspur on a five and a half year contract after an increased bid of £12 million was accepted by the London club. Andros will take the vacant number 25 shirt.
Andros Townsend: "Newcastle is a massive club. I’m delighted I am finally here. It’s a great stadium, great fans, great tradition, great players as well. It will be great to run out at St. James’ Park in a Newcastle shirt. The manager knows what I can bring to the team. It is important for me to have a manager that believes in my abilities. I’ve had a few chats with Steve. He’s told me what he wants from a winger in and out of possession. He's told me how much the fans love a winger. He says get the ball and be direct. Everything is clear. I know what the manager wants from me and he knows what he will get."
Steve McLaren: "Bringing Andros to the club is great. He is a good talent. He has a good attitude. He can play on the right or the left. Andros feels he has a lot to prove. He isn't fulfilling his potential at the moment and that's why we have brought him here. We are giving him a tremendous platform to do that. He is fit and will have a week's training with us, so there's no problems about him being ready. He will play straight away."
25th January 2016 - It’s Miserable Being A Mag
True Faith: Sometime being a Newcastle United fan is easy. It’s fun. You watch a team you connect with wearing a shirt you adore. You watch players who strike a chord with you and share emotions with others who bleed black and white blood just like you. You travel the country with like minded souls and optimism flows through your veins. You drink the night away to a sound track of majestic football sharing stories of daring do and stupidity of the highest order. Then there is following Newcastle United at the moment and none of this exists. I travelled to Watford and we had a great weekend which was quite simply spoilt by the football. The 2016 version of Newcastle United is one that I don’t think I share any true connection with anymore. I go to games not because of desire and passion but more as a sense of duty. We are deep in a relegation dogfight that we don’t look equipped to get out of it. I feel distanced from the players, I feel complete antipathy towards the head coach and the management stirs hostility in me which I never thought I would feel towards the club that I love. In summary, it’s miserable being a Mag.
"He's a very good player with real potential. It's a nice start."
23rd January 2016 - Watford 2 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Vicarage Road, Watford, London - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Lascelles, Coloccini (Riviere 88), Mbemba, Sissoko, Saivet (Perez 59), Shelvey, Aarons (Gouffran 59), Wijnaldum, Mitrovic - Subs not used: Darlow, Taylor, Marveaux, Thauvin.
Scorer: Lascelles (71) - Attendance: 20,611
Steve McClaren: "It is disappointing and frustrating because we are not getting the results we deserve. We won't have a problem if we keep performing like that every week. I thought we did everything today but win the game. It is all about goals and if you don't score you don't win. At the moment that is letting us down and putting us in the position we are in. You can't fault the team, the football, the organisation. They are working hard, they are fighting, they are giving everything."
nufc.com: United got what they deserved as yet more points were tossed away against distinctly average opponents. Beaten by a workmanlike Watford side for the third time this season amid questionable team selections, baffling tactics and woeful finishing. Thankfully our disastrous result was not compounded by events elsewhere and a damaging defeat for Norwich and draws for relegation rivals left us in the bottom three but not cut adrift. However, Swansea's 2-1 win at Everton on Sunday was a disaster for us.
True Faith: The setup of the side completely nullified the effect of our best player from the West Ham game. Shelvey was not influential in the game and the formation of the team was completely to blame. Watford aren’t a great side by the way but their application and effort is admirable. Top that off with a couple of decent forwards and a good coach and you’ve got yourself a side that can challenge in the top flight. I heard McClaren’s interview on Match of the Day and he is either talking shite because he thinks he needs to tell the world lies to make us feel better or he is completely deluded. We didn’t play well and we weren’t squandering clear cut chance after clear cut chance. I’ve seen this smug bastard use this line before and it’s starting to get on my tits. The team isn’t unlucky Steve, it’s poor. It’s not unlucky that we are where we are. Our performances are weak and pathetic. We need a striker who can finish or we are down. We have done for ages but it seems what is glaringly obvious to the fans is not being seen by the people in charge of our club.
"He's a very good player with real potential. It's a nice start."
16th January 2016 - Newcastle United 2 West Ham United 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett (Saivet 57), Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Shelvey, Colback, Wijnaldum, Perez (Gouffran 80), Mitrovic (Lascelles 95) - Subs not used: Darlow, Aarons, Toney, Riviere.
Scorers: Perez (6), Wijnaldum (15) - Attendance: 50,031
Steve McClaren: "A good performance. We had a great first half, 2-0 up after 25 minutes, it could have been more. We said at half-time, we need a third to settle it down and see the game through. Second half, we gifted them a goal. We didn't get nervous. We kept playing, we had chances that we didn't take but defended well and saw the game through. It shouldn't have been close."
On Jonjo Shelvey: "Will he blend in and fit into the team? The first goal, he gave us that forward pass, then that cross field pass. The speed of it gives you two seconds extra and the defence can’t recover. That’s the difference between top quality midfield players and average ones. He’s got a long way to go but he's a very good player with real potential. It will suit him playing in a team of footballers. It's a nice start."
Georginio Wijnaldum: "You see in the first goal, other players were really close but he still found me between the lines. I just popped of the ball for Ayoze to shoot. The second, his pass to Daryl was magnificent. That is something that we need. We can use a player like him. We are all happy he is here because he can bring more football to the team.”
nufc.com: A fine victory over an in form Hammers side. United got off to an unbelievable start with Perez firing his side into a sixth minute lead and it was 2-0 after only 15 minutes when Wijnaldum crashed in another, both goals inspired by Shelvey with pinpoint passes. A stunning first half display blew the visitors away and should have brought more than two goals. Things were closer after the break, with a West Ham side looking to make it ten games unbeaten in all competitions. McClaren's men held out for a fabulous victory that took them out of the relegation zone and brought them deserved applause from a buoyant 50,000 crowd.
True Faith: An explosive first half hour saw us blow West Ham away and then hang on for a precious victory to lift us out of the bottom three. Shelvey came in for China bound Tiote and we were out of the blocks like a shot, pressing high up the pitch and taking the initiative from the off. We’ve been crying out for a midfielder capable of passing the ball since Cabaye left. Shelvey had an instant impact, his influence was a major positive and he had a great debut. There were some impressive performances all over the pitch but by some considerable distance, the man of the match was Wijnaldum. His fitness is way above what we have been used to for a long, long time and aside from never stopping all afternoon, his touch, vision and footballing brain was second to none. A good week for us at long last but we are still a long, long way from safety.
14th January 2016 - The Erratic Shelvey
Matt Stead - football365.com: Newcastle and Jonjo Shelvey could be a perfect match. It could also be an imminent disaster. There is no inbetween. It’s a deal that makes perfect sense for all parties. Swansea sell an unsettled asset for considerable profit, Shelvey is afforded a fresh start at a new club and Newcastle purchase a player looking to prove a point. Thank you very much. Pleasure doing business.
With Shelvey, there exists only black or white, no grey. The 23 year old is capable of completing an inch perfect 50 yard pass to a team mate before being sent off for a mindless tackle, all within the same minute. Many players are capable of both the ridiculous and the sublime, but Shelvey has mastered the seamless transition from one extreme to the other. It is therefore difficult to envisage a destination more fitting than Newcastle. The addition of the erratic Shelvey is just as likely to rejuvenate the club as see it implode. There will be no middle ground.
There is a general consensus that this is Shelvey’s final chance. The midfielder failed to make the grade as a trainee at Arsenal and West Ham, could not establish himself at Liverpool, and has now been sold by Swansea amid questions over his attitude. Newcastle, a club who themselves are running out of lives, provides Shelvey with one more opportunity. This is it.
12th January 2016 - Similarly Depressing Twelve Months On
Ian Ladyman - Daily Mail: It was at this time last year that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley began to seriously worry that his club may get relegated from the Premier League. His response was to try and tempt Steve McClaren from Derby County to become his next manager. McClaren refused to come until the summer and under the uncertain stewardship of John Carver, Newcastle almost went down. Twelve months on and a similarly depressing fate stalks the Newcastle boardroom once again. This time round things are even worse and the stakes even higher. Next year’s gigantic increase in TV money for those clubs part of the elite top flight cartel means that relegation represents an even greater disaster than ever before. Match days on Tyneside are certainly peculiar affairs these days. They no longer come to this great cathedral on the hill with any kind of optimism. They turn up with some vague hope that if they keep coming then something may eventually change. From that point of view, the supporters are not terribly dissimilar to the players.
A Paul Dummett strike rescues a point
12th January 2016 - Newcastle United 3 Manchester United 3
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 7.45pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Colback (Gouffran 81), Tiote (Toney 85), Wijnaldum, Perez, (De Jong 92), Mitrovic - Subs not used: Darlow, Sterry, Lascelles, Marveaux.
Scorers: Wijnaldum (42), Mitrovic (67 pen), Dummett (90) - Attendance: 49,673
Steve McClaren: "We have shown everything there. We played football, we created chances, we came back. A monumental effort. Performances have been good for a few weeks. We needed some reward. It was important not to lose. It must have been a great game for the neutral."
nufc.com: Persistence, dogged determination and some belated good fortune combined to bring about a heartening result. An excellent contest neither side deserved to lose and a priceless point from a thoroughly entertaining game. Had we been better equipped last August and not now trying to play catch up there's the realisation that two points against tonight's mediocre opponents this season could have been six. Performances of varying quality were on show, with Sissoko, Tiote and Colback all struggling in a first half during which we continually lost the ball. However they all played their part in the revival and if this is the final bow for Tiote, his 143rd appearance contained at least some hints of former glories in addition to reminders of why his time here is up. Avoiding a fifth straight defeat and ending both a goal drought and spot kick famine means we're not left bemoaning bad luck again.
True Faith: A well deserved point. Our most entertaining game of the season as we shared six goals with a bedraggled Manchester United side. After the torment of recent weeks, it was nice to walk away from the ground with a smile on our faces. Fair result, great effort and a good deal of character.
Big Coll: Such an unusual game. We were miserable and sublime all rolled into one. Manchester United were dire.
"I want to assure the fans I will give 100% every week."
12th January 2016 - Jonjo Arrives
Newcastle have completed their second signing of the January transfer window with the signing of Jonjo Shelvey from Swansea City. The 23 year old midfielder has agreed a five and a half year contract at St. James' Park. Former club Liverpool will receive 30% of the undisclosed transfer fee which is reported to be around the £12 million mark.
Steve McClaren: "He is a player we have admired for some time and we're very pleased that we've now been able to bring him here."
Jonjo Shelvey: “I am excited to be here. Walking around the stadium gives you goosebumps. It is an immense feeling. I can’t wait to get started. As soon as there was interest from Newcastle and they expressed how much they wanted me I felt it was the right time for a new challenge. I want to assure the fans I will give 100% every week. I won’t shirk a tackle, I will be giving it my all. It's been a manic 24 hours but it's all been worth it to come here and play for this great club. I'm so glad that it's finally done."
Ian Ladyman - Daily Mail: Shelvey is no marquee signing. He is, on the face of it, a player rejected by Swansea because he is deemed to have lost his way. The former Liverpool midfielder is, however, a more than capable footballer when properly motivated, the kind of player who could inject a little forward thrust and momentum into a team that has spent all of this season devoid of any.
Former Swansea City and Wales winger Leighton James: "He's a one in five, one in six player. A bit like his passing. For me he hits one great 40 yard pass and then the next four or five times gives the ball away. He's not the kind of player I'd want to see battling in a relegation fight."
Alan Shearer: "He has ability. He’s an England international. Why would Swansea let an England international go to one of their relegation rivals? That is the big question I would ask. Swansea are in a desperate position in the Premier League as are Newcastle. There has to be something wrong with his attitude. You get a chance in football and you have to take it. He’s had two or three and it hasn’t worked out. Eventually the penny has to drop. He has to understand that he will not get a bigger opportunity than he has now at Newcastle. If Steve McClaren can get the best out of him and it’s always an if, then he will be a good buy but I think the jury has to remain out on him."
"I am very happy to be here. I can't wait to get out there."
11th January 2016 - Henri Saivet Signs On
Newcastle have signed Senegalese international Henri Saivet from French side Bordeaux for a fee said to be in the region of £5 million. The 25 year old midfielder has signed a five and a half year deal.
Henri Saivet: "I am very happy to be here, proud to be able to play for this club, and excited at the challenge that lies ahead. In France there is nothing that compares to this, St. James' Park is a special stadium and really impressive. I can't wait to get out there."
Steve McLaren: "I'm delighted. The club has been following Henri for a while. It gives us an opportunity to add to our midfield where we currently have injuries. He has got to be ready to impact the team straight away and I'm looking forward to working with him. He is someone who has developed into an excellent player at Bordeaux. He's got a very good mentality, he is a winner and a tough player, which is what you need to be in the Premier League. Henri is a player who can make an impact now and will have a very good future at this Club. He has progressed from being a wide player and a number ten to dropping down into a defensive midfield role, which he has done very well. He can play in a range of positions across the field and that versatility and flexibility is important to any squad.
Cheick Tiote in a race to win possession
9th January 2016 - Watford 1 Newcastle United 0
FA Cup 3rd Round - Vicarage Road, Watford, London - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini (Lascelles 46), Mbabu (Thauvin 52), Sissoko, Tiote (De Jong 82), Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic - Subs not used: Darlow, Sterry, Gouffran, Toney.
Attendance: 18,259
Steve McClaren: "You have seen the quality we have got and the way we play football. The effort and the attitude is there. Those players have given everything they possibly could. We’re creating, we’re going forward, we’re attacking, we’re controlling the game. We went for the win. We had chances to win and haven’t. We had a new formation, we controlled the game against a top team with a strong home record and we really only gave them one opportunity. Everyone is frustrated. We are angry, the same as the fans. The players are disappointed. Apart from put the ball in the net we could do no more than we did. The team is not far away from doing something."
nufc.com: Four consecutive 0-1 defeats and no goals scored in the last 412 minutes gives those currently in charge of Newcastle United the clearest possible message that we need a striker now. Another limp exit from the FA Cup wasn't a massive shock but for McClaren to field his strongest side at Vicarage Road and lose again to Premier League opposition says it all. This team isn't good enough and talk of bad luck is as tedious as it is inaccurate. Isolated shouts of "we want our money back" and other insults were followed by a more concerted chorus of "you're not fit to wear the shirt" in the closing stages. The level of patience and forbearance shown by anybody who bought an away end ticket for this game is exceptional. In opting to field his strongest available team here McClaren succeeded in laying bare the inadequacies of his best XI beyond all doubt to anyone watching, including the owner. If today finally jolted the powers that be to the reality of our plight then it's been a good result. To pitch up here again in two weeks with the same discredited, failing side will expose our alleged financial prudence as wilful negligence.
An acrobatic attempt from Aleksandar Mitrovic
2nd January 2016 - Arsenal 1 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Tiote (De Jong 87), Colback (Thauvin 79), Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic - Subs not used: Darlow, Mbabu, Lascelles, Gouffran, Toney.
Attendance: 59,257
Steve McClaren: "You can’t fault their spirit and motivation. The performances have been there. The attitude, work, energy, organisation. We keep getting knock backs, especially in the last three games but we have to keep performing, keep believing. First eight games and three points, people were questioning the team. Since then we’ve had 11 games and in the last five or six they’ve been excellent. We’ve seen they’ve got the quality. There’s 18 to go. We’ve got to start doing it."
nufc.com: A depressing start to 2016. Newcastle lost their third successive game as Arsenal inflicted their usual Emirates defeat. Goalless and pointless, the festive period came to a familiar end. United's inability to convert chances into goals cost them dearly again as Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and Mbemba should all have scored. Steve McClaren's side certainly deserved at least a point for a decent display that more than matched the league leaders.
True Faith: Newcastle United ended another miserable Christmas period with one point from a possible 12 after an unfortunate away defeat to the title favourites. Many of us are now so beaten down by Ashley’s strangulation of our club that we see a 1-0 at the Emirates as not bad. No real surprise that we conceded a goal after Coloccini didn’t win the aerial challenge. We could and should have done better at Arsenal. Then we got a bewildered McClaren scratching his head and trotting out another hard luck story. Our club is sinking like a stone. Newcastle United will not be relegated because we lost 1-0 at Arsenal. We could be relegated because we couldn’t beat Aston Villa, lost heavily to the Mackems, lost to West Brom, lost to Swansea and lost at home to Everton and couldn’t beat Stoke. Years of neglect is catching up with us. This is the first week of the transfer window, McClaren said the team would be reshaped over three windows. There has to be action. Hopefully it will have an impact.
Aleksandar Mitrovic in action at The Hawthorns
28th December 2015 - West Bromwich Albion 1 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - The Hawthorns, Birmingham - 3.00pm
Team: Darlow, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Anita (Tiote 27), Colback (Thauvin 86), Wijnaldum, Perez (De Jong 72), Mitrovic - Subs not used: Elliot, Mbabu, Lascelles, Gouffran.
Attendance: 26,313
Steve McClaren: "A game we never deserved to lose. I am disappointed for the players because they are showing attitude and endeavour. Sometimes you don't get what you deserve in football and the last two games we haven't. I know it will turn around. The defender grabbed Mitrovic around the waist and put him off his shot. It is a blatant penalty. When the referee sees it again he will realise he has made the wrong decision. We have been unlucky."
nufc.com: 22 goal attempts and 18 corners from the home side underlined that we fought a rearguard action for the most part. Three games on from the apparent upturn of the Liverpool and Spurs wins, we've managed one point and one goal against inferior opponents, reverting to our unthreatening and introverted default position. We are consistently poor and destined to go down. There was little to suggest we're equipped for the second half of a survival battle. Salvation via the imminent transfer window seems the only game in town, with fear of falling off the Premier League TV gravy train seeing the sports shop owner splash the cash. That's the widespread assumption, but even if the money is there and the recruitment restrictions removed, it's by no means certain that anyone with any credibility will pitch up here next month.
Jackie with Chancel Mbemba
26th December 2015 - Saying Thank You
Charitable defender, Chancel Mbemba sends a percentage of his wages back to his native DR Congo to help the sick and needy. This Christmas, the big centre back wanted to say a special thanks to Newcastle fans. Chancel bought a bag full of shirts sporting his name and squad number. He then autographed the shirts before presenting them to lucky fans after the final whistle today. Scottish Mag Jackie Cochrane was a delighted recipient of one of Chancel's shirts.
Chancel Mbemba: "Because it's Christmas, I wanted to give the fans who support us every single match a little present to say thank you. I thought the best way to do that was to give them a signed shirt."
Vurnon Anita outnumbered in midfield
26th December 2015 - Newcastle United 0 Everton 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 5.30pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Coloccini, Mbemba, Anita, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Colback, Mitrovic, Perez (Thauvin 87) - Subs not used: Darlow, Mbabu, Tiote, Gouffran, Toney, De Jong.
Attendance: 51,682
Steve McClaren: "Never have I felt so upset and disappointed for a set of players. In the second half they were magnificent. They gave everything. We didn't deserve to lose, a draw was a fair result but that kind of performance bodes well for the future. This game is cruel and we have to move on. They have got to recover tonight, come in tomorrow and get prepared for West Brom on Monday."
nufc.com: A week on from the mild booing that greeted the final whistle of a home draw with Aston Villa, St. James' Park rose to applaud a single goal defeat that left United in the relegation places. Senseless though that gesture may have seemed, it was deserved in the context of a team that strained every sinew in their attempts to get something from this match. The visitors had dominated possession but United created and missed the best chances. Again, that failure to find the net proved crucial as United were punished when a last minute corner was cleared as far as Cleverley who nodded the ball into the unguarded goal. McClaren rightly looked as gutted as his players, but kept to his ritual of walking on to the field and applauding the home fans. His side lacked nothing in effort but came up short in accuracy and talent. Having restored heart to the side, it's doubtful whether he can get anything more from this squad as it stands.
21st December 2015 - Ashley Out
True Faith: Generally speaking it’s been a bloody awful year to be following the club. The best way to deal with Ashley? How will it all end? Despite TV deals sending United’s income ever upwards few on the staff have had any kind of pay rise in recent memory. The corporate facilities at St. James' Park are scruffy and unkempt. The promised investment in the academy and training facilities has for all intents and purposes been shelved. The lack of hospitality for press and media embarrasses us all. This is a club that made its photographer redundant. This is a club run on a shoe string. The club can’t survive more of the same in the longer term.
Opening the scoring at a rain soaked St. James' Park
20th December 2015 - Newcastle United 1 Aston Villa 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 5.30pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Colback, Anita (Thauvin 71), Wijnaldum, De Jong (Perez 59), Cisse (Mitrovic 33) - Subs not used: Darlow, Mbabu, Tiote, Gouffran.
Scorer: Coloccini (38) - Attendance: 48,234
Steve McLaren: "We have a strategy and plan in each game. We are growing and developing. We are not there yet but as long as we keep battling, picking up points and being competitive, we'll be fine. From where we were to where we are finishing at Christmas, it's a lot healthier. The key thing is the attitude of the players. They are staying in the game, they are finishing games strong. They did last week and won the game and they nearly did it this week. We had a bad fifteen minutes but I thought we recovered well from that, overcame it, finished strong and really went for the game at the end. That pleased me because 10 games ago we would have lost that game. We'll take seven from nine and move on."
nufc.com: Aston Villa, the Premier League's basement side, winless in fifteen games, came from behind to salvage a point. A result that most of Tyneside feared could have been even more damaging had the visitors taken advantage of their superiority at 1-1. Some mild booing at the end was a measure of the frustration felt by many fans. Wins for Chelsea, Norwich and Bournemouth saw United drop to eventeenth but Swansea's draw with West Ham meant we avoided falling into the bottom three for Christmas.
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: Newcastle United are like a baby learning to walk, unsteady, unstable and in constant danger of a nasty fall. This was yet another reality check after unexpected wins over Tottenham and Liverpool. Newcastle failed to beat Aston Villa, the Premier League’s bottom team, at home, and they remain in relegation trouble. They were poor for much of the game. The club’s hierarchy promised a new sense of ambition in the summer. They claimed, not for the first time, to be targeting top eight finishes and silverware. Bold words, but as we approach the halfway mark, Newcastle are a bottom half of mid table team, exactly the same as they have been ever since Mike Ashley became owner eight years ago.
True Faith: A disappointing afternoon saw us take a point from whipping boys Villa and fail to capitalise on the positivity of the past couple of weeks. McLaren stuck with the same starting line up that was shite for the first half at White Hart Lane and the opening period was a slog. Villa just looked piss poor and you’d be hard pushed to see a more faceless team in the league. When a team is cut adrift at the bottom of the league and you’re on the back of two good wins you should be taking charge. A point was definitely the right result though and taken over the last two weeks, seven points is a great return but given the results today and the fact we were playing relegation certainties at home, it was a setback. We’re not out of the woods yet. The January transfer window is going to open soon and I desperately hope what McClaren was talking about in the summer about reshaping the team over three windows holds true and he’s not another in the Alan Pardew mould.
A wholly unexpected victory
13th December 2015 - Tottenham Hotspur 1 Newcastle United 2
Premier League - White Hart Lane, London - 4.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Anita (Gouffran 90+1), Colback, Wijnaldum, De Jong (Perez 63), Cisse (Mitrovic 72) - Subs not used: Darlow, Sterry, Mbabu, Thauvin.
Scorers: Mitrovic (74), Perez (93) - Attendance: 35,768
Steve McLaren: "A great result. It was a great performance in the second half. I thought the players were fantastic. It's answered the critics. We asked for consistency. They provided that and it has brought everyone closer together. We haven't had back to back wins for over a year."
nufc.com: United's win took them out of the bottom three after six unlikely points from the last two games. Quite where this latest triumph came from, after a miserable first 45 minutes is something of a mystery, Steve McClaren's side defying expectations to deliver three more precious points. In a disappointing first period they created very little and looked vulnerable at the back. Half-time instructions seemed to have an effect and McClaren's side emerged to show a spirit and endeavour that had been noticeably lacking. Substitutes, Mitrovic and Perez, gave Newcastle a spectacular victory. The three points took United up to 15th with 16 points from 16 games.
True Faith: After finally bothering their arses to show footballing basics against Liverpool (namely running, pressing, tackling and graft) could they put in at least the same performance against Spurs? For me, failure to show this level of effort, would be the end of McClaren and a telling sign that things really haven’t improved one jot since the dreadful days of Pardew and Carver. The first half saw United apply effort but coupled with gaping holes of quality. Elliot doesn’t look out of place in the Premier League, he was outstanding today. Due to it only being a one goal deficit at half time, hope remained. United came out unchanged and started the half positively. The games direction really did change following McClaren's first two substitutions. Perez for De Jong and Mitrovic for Cisse. It was all United from that point with wave after wave of attack. We were rewarded for our attacking prowess. A wholly unexpected victory.
Mauricio Pochettino: "It was a bad night for us. We lost concentration and made easy mistakes. The chances that we conceded were easy for Newcastle."
7th December 2015 - FA Cup 3rd Round Draw
Newcastle have drawn Premier League opposition in the third round of the FA Cup. They will face Watford at Vicarage Road over the weekend of 9th January 2016. Two weeks later, 29th January, United return to Vicarage Road on Premier League duty.
A second half Georginio Wijnaldum double secures the points
6th December 2015 - Newcastle United 2 Liverpool 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 4.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Colback (Gouffran 77), Anita, Wijnaldum, De Jong (Perez 68), Cisse (Thauvin 82) - Subs not used: Darlow, Sterry, Mbabu, Mitrovic.
Scorer: Wijnaldum (69, 90) - Attendance: 51,273
Steve McLaren: "It was a deserved win. We'll enjoy this for 24 hours, get back to work and get ready for next week. We are not getting carried away, we have a lot of work to do. You know what they can do, it's just confidence and belief. We grew into the game and we showed what we are capable of doing. The harder you work the luckier you get. If you out work a team like Liverpool, you have got a chance of winning. A case of people outrunning opponents. Being competitive. This team has talent and ability and when they show belief and confidence, they show they are good players. Today started with hard work."
nufc.com:
All three of United's Premier League wins this season have come in front of a live TV audience. This one was undoubtedly the least expected following the debacle at Crystal Palace and Liverpool's 6-1 midweek success. A much improved performance as McClaren's men outfought and outplayed the surprisingly out of form visitors. An unlikely but welcome victory inspired by Gini Wijnaldum. Paul Dummett had one of his best games. The win wasn't enough to take us out of the bottom three. Our eighth home Premier League game of the season and we have taken 9 points from a possible 24 (3 losses, 3 draws, 2 victories). Extend that to the whole of the calendar year and we have endured eight defeats, six draws and just four wins. Just 18 points from a possible 54.
True Faith: We looked solid at the back and well organised. Elements of graft, courage, endeavour and discipline were on display. The headlines will go to Wijnaldum but this was a result which is less attributable to individuals and more to collective effort and a change in attitude. Took time for us to see a team playing in a manner worthy of Newcastle United. It was progress, given the history and fame of the club from Anfield. Many of us at St. James’ Park are of a generation which was often in awe of Liverpool Football Club before Graeme Souness took an axe to everything that was great about that football institution and from which it has never fully recovered.
live4liverpool.com: Lazy in their approach, disjointed as an attacking threat, midfield pressing poor, Liverpool didn’t turn up against Newcastle. Set up to defend deep and play on the counter, Newcastle frustrated Liverpool. There was no space for the Reds to attack and again Liverpool struggled to break down a defensive minded team.
Jurgen Klopp: "This was obviously not a good football game and that was 50 per cent because of Newcastle and 50 per cent because of Liverpool. I think we deserved a point maybe but not more because we didn't play well enough. We were not creative enough. We had no chances. It was an open game with no rhythm from our side. Watching this game it wasn't the biggest fun."
4th December 2015 - No Reassurances
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: Although managing director Lee Charnley is supposedly in charge of all football decisions, Telegraph Sport understands it is Ashley who makes the final call on everything and he is understandably alarmed by Newcastle’s league position, particularly McClaren’s apparent inability to get to grips with the problems in the dressing room. McClaren is understood to have accused several, including captain Fabricio Coloccini, of not being able to handle the pressure on Tyneside, but he did not get a positive reaction to his more confrontational approach at Selhurst Park.
Steve McLaren: "Will we be given time? We need to get results. It’s game to game. I’m still here, doing a job and that’s it. We know the situation, we’re fighting for the next result. We’ve got a game on Sunday and we know what needs doing. You go into every job knowing the impatience of football and you need results."
3rd December 2015 - A Club Mired In Its Own Mistakes
skysports.com: Newcastle has become seen as a place where there are poor players fortunate to be in the Premier League and better players appearing demotivated by the experience. There's a coach unable to alter the club's trajectory and question marks over why he was given the opportunity to try. There's an executive struggling to justify his appointments and an owner unwilling to take charge of the situation in a positive way. It all adds up to a club mired in its own mistakes.
3rd December 2015 - Rid Newcastle Of Mike Ashley
Anthony Bell - The Mag: Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United? He has stripped away all leaders of men, any subordinates that may challenge his ethos and replaced it all with nothing but an acceptance of failure and mediocrity. No desire or aspiration but to stay on the gravy train that is the Premier league, just plodding along in purgatory for the guaranteed share of that huge TV deal. The ground is like a morgue, the players don’t care. Newcastle United is a shadow of its former self, a parody of a football club and I see no way of it improving for a very long time.
Steve McClaren’s fault? No. He is just another symptom of the cause, a nothing coach that cannot manage a football club, a yes man that was pretty much in his last chance saloon and grateful for a job at a so called big club. Newcastle United is no longer a big club, Newcastle United is a marketing tool for a sporting goods store, Ashley's cheap, jumble sale style tat emporium.
If you want Newcastle United to get back to being exciting to watch, feel those hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you walk into that ground and the team takes to the centre circle, then do something about it. The only way that can happen is for our club to be rid of Mike Ashley. Make Newcastle 'United' again and to do that you must stop going. Make a stand. Stop putting money in his pocket. Don’t go.
29th November 2015 - Exposed As A Mirage
True Faith: There is no prospect of this club going anywhere except backwards under Mike Ashley. The guarded hope that we had made progress in the summer has been exposed as a mirage. From every single conceivable angle, everything associated with Newcastle United is wrong. I don’t imagine for one second Ashley will do the right thing and find a good owner who he can sell the club to on favourable terms. Ashley will soak every penny out of United before he eventually sells up, but only after he has bled the club dry and left the kind of deals in place that Llambias sorted for him at Rangers. I have a mental image of Ashley taking the light bulbs out at St. James' Park on the last day of his ownership and I expect rotten fish under the floorboards for whoever follows him.
29th November 2015 - Next Up
True Faith: We have Liverpool this weekend, a club that has a buzz about it again because of the drive and enthusiasm of Klopp, a man who is fizzing with energy, ideas and expertise. Something of the Keegan about him. No one’s fool, a strong willed, determined man of action. I bet the people in the boardroom at Anfield know what he wants to take the great club forward again. Not a yes man of the type who have stunk United out for years.
29th November 2015 - Utter Shite
Jamie Swan - The Mag: Enough is enough. The utter shite we have to endure is above and beyond the call of all fans. This result, Palace’s greatest ever Premier League result by the way, was no surprise. You reap what you sow. Mike Ashley deserves it all. We don’t.
29th November 2015 - Their Time Has To Be Up
Michael Martin - True Faith: Mike Ashley needs to start paying the football club he owns some serious attention. Otherwise his asset, Newcastle United, a billboard for his business interests is going to be relegated.
Ashley has to recruit an experienced and competent Chief Executive to run the club, a proper football person who understands how football works, not a crony, a mate or someone from his business world. Someone who has a vision for the club, can communicate and who can repair the damage that has been done and is continuing to be done under the woefully inadequate people he has appointed to key positions. Someone who has his own ideas and isn’t a flunky as per Charnley et al.
Ashley and his new Chief Executive Officer have to recruit a new first team manager. Not a coach or any of that nonsense but a manager who will build a proper football team, strengthen the positions that need to be strengthened and have a strategy to take the football club forward to fulfil its enormous potential. That of course will necessitate the removal of Steve McClaren, Lee Charnley and Graeme Carr who have all failed and will continue to fail the club with the current model which is simply dysfunctional.
No one can expect Charnley or Carr to make the right calls on managers or players. That is painfully clear. Tiote, Cisse, Coloccini and Sissoko have to be packed off and quickly. They are providing absolutely no value for money, leadership or anything approaching it. They are priorities for the door. Others can follow in the summer. New lads need to be brought in who have some professional pride.
We don’t have to discuss if McClaren isn’t up to it, he patently isn’t, but the people around him on that so called football board make life impossible for any manager and their time has to be up. It has to be. Not enough was done in the summer, as people like us were at pains to point out but what was done wasn’t good enough and the question wasn’t just one of money on this occasion, it was of straightforward football knowledge. Money has been squandered and not for the first time.
If Ashley does not intervene this week and instead imagines keeping faith in Charnley, McClaren and Carr is some kind of article of faith in how he thinks a club should be run then he will be guilty of one of the biggest acts of folly in the history of Newcastle United Football Club. Ashley has to act. If he doesn’t or worse if he allows more of Carr’s targets to be recruited and have deals agreed by Charnley then a woefully inadequate McClaren will take United into the Championship where I don’t see a quick return.
A tough job that is getting tougher
28th November 2015 - Crystal Palace 5 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Selhurst Park, London - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Colback (Gouffran 70), Anita, Sissoko, Wijnaldum (De Jong 70), Perez (Lascelles 46), Cisse - Subs not used: Darlow, Sterry, Thauvin, Mitrovic.
Scorer: Cisse (10) - Attendance: 24,833

Steve McClaren: "We knew this was a tough job but this is getting tougher by the week. I'm hurting, as much for the fans as ourselves. We're as angry and disappointed as them. They showed their frustration, disappointment and anger, rightly so. I can understand that. We need to sort it. Starting tomorrow morning. We hadn't planned the extra session but these players have got to come through this. There's no one more determined than myself to do that. We're in a relegation battle. We've got 24 games left. We’re not panicking and I think that’s where experience tells. If there were six or seven, eight games to go, down there, then people would be."
nufc.com: In a campaign that has already had some catastrophic lows, Steve McClaren's side spectacularly imploded once again. This apology for a football team were outclassed and out fought and again United fell into their role of victim only too readily. By half time Palace had a 3-1 lead. Lascelles replaced Perez, an apparent damage limiting 3-5-2 formation introduced, within two minutes Palace had a fourth goal. At that point a defeat of epic proportions looked likely. Rather than any revival it was some wayward Palace shooting that delayed the fifth until added time. Chants of 'you're not fit to wear the shirt' and 'we're shit and we're sick of it' from the away section were accurate. Palace's largest ever Premier League win and their most emphatic victory over Newcastle in 38 league and cup meetings stretching back over a century. United tumble to second bottom with only Aston Villa beneath us. Dark days indeed.
True Faith: No points for anyone when this pile of shite is served up. The men at the top? There aren’t words to describe how bad they are at their respective jobs as the club hurtles towards the lower leagues. Totally inept manager. Spineless senior players. Our captain preceded to showcase his fading capabilities as a professional footballer. Janmaat? Missing once again.

Alan Shearer:
"It’s very difficult to sum up Newcastle’s plight in 30 seconds but I am going to try. You cannot coach players who don’t want to be coached, who are not good enough. They have got too many Monday to Friday players, good in training but don’t want to perform on a Saturday. From the manager’s point of view, I don’t see a plan. I didn’t see a plan 3 weeks ago at Bournemouth I didn’t see a plan last week against Leicester and I certainly did not see a plan today to stop the opposition. Recruitment? The guys in charge of recruiting players have got away with it for such a long time now at Newcastle because the players they have signed are just not good enough, simple."
26th November 2015 - A View On Steve McLaren
Kevin Keegan on Steve McLaren: "He is a good coach. I don’t think he realised how poor the squad was when he took over. It has been a big shock to him. I think he thought that with the right sort of training they would start their season running. I think he read the stuff coming out of Newcastle United, their own publicity, that they have got all these top players, mostly French, some from Holland. You can be the best coach in the world but if you haven’t got the players you can’t turn them in to world beaters. It’s all about players. I hope it is a long drive going home because he’s got a lot of thinking to do. This club is going nowhere. It is very sad."
24th November 2015 - Systematically Destroying Newcastle United
Brian Standen - The Mag: Mike Ashley, I suggest you, your underlings and jobsworths take a good hard look in the mirror. You idiots in charge are sickening the fan base, systematically destroying all that was good about Newcastle United.
24th November 2015 - The Mike Ashley Puppet Show
Dean Wilkins - The Mag: Years of struggle. We are where we are. Nobody capable of rousing the troops. The Mike Ashley puppet show has left no room for backbone on or off the pitch. Go back to the infamous players committee who went up against Ashley as he tried to impose a new bonus system on them. The likes of Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, Alan Smith and Steve Harper were all big characters who would stand up for what they thought should happen. Ashley made it his business to clear them out of the club and go with a different kind of dressing room leadership. Fabricio Coloccini?
Chris Hughton had led Newcastle to promotion with zero fuss and established the team in mid table, Mike Ashley got rid of Hughton who had reportedly refused to accept the selling of star players. A very grateful Alan Pardew was given the job, having been sacked by Southampton who were in the third tier of English football. That set the trend for everything that has followed, grateful puppets as managers. Pardew, Carver, and McClaren with a captain in Coloccini who doesn’t possess a single quality for the job.
The manager has to be willing to have no say on transfers, say all the right things in interviews and be happy to have emails sent out in their name by the Newcastle United / Sports Direct PR department. Into the mix you can add Lee Charnley, the club figurehead, somebody else who is clearly very grateful for a job that must have been the equivalent of getting six numbers up on the lottery. Clearly he has no real say on anything major at the club. Those people who are nominally in charge of running the club are in jobs that in normal circumstances wouldn’t have come their way.
The Newcastle owner has yes men throughout the club. Mike Ashley pulls all their strings. The Mike Ashley model is securely in place. Puppets in charge means when things get tough you don’t have strong characters to lead the way out. In the summer, instead of adding strong experienced characters, including a captain, Mike Ashley simply added more young foreign players to the mix, thrown straight into the team, new to the club, the country, the language and the Premier League. What could possibly go wrong?
22nd November 2015 - A New Low
Michael Martin: The worst ever? I’m struggling to think of a time in the 40 odd years I’ve been trudging to matches when I’ve seen our support so utterly dejected and completely defeated as Saturday. The last 15 minutes with vast expanses of empty seats and fans streaming for the exits struck me as a new low. A club that is completely dysfunctional and at which I don’t think anyone will ever really be successful so long as Ashley suffocates the life from us.
Toon Stew - toonarmyblog.co.uk: The worst performance of the season? We reached new levels of ineptness. Understandably a lot of flack is starting to turn towards the manager. Whilst I don't agree with all the manager's tactical decisions I think the problems run deeper. What is going on at the club?
22nd November 2015 - Debilitating Ownership
Michael Martin: How did Steve McClaren get the Newcastle United job? What is Steve McClaren doing to prove that he should keep that job? The players are not motivated and have no desire. Alan Shearer is openly accusing Newcastle United players of not trying, not putting the effort in, not caring. Alan Shearer is spot on. McClaren has been at United since May. A full pre season and now coming up to half a season. Whatever progress he claims to be making isn’t making the journey to games. The team is utterly bereft of leadership. Coloccini is completely ineffectual as captain. All over the pitch players are hiding, no senior players rallying the troops. No one wants to know. McClaren has spoken about three transfer windows to get things right. The policy? Look for players from inferior European leagues with a sell on value. If any decent offer is made for any of our players they will be sold. That model for recruitment is a tried and tested failure. Our league position this season and last and before that amply demonstrates that. I see no path to even modest success under the debilitating ownership of Mike Ashley.
21st November 2015 - Five Letters Starts With S Ends With E
Alan Shearer: "Their performance? One word, a five letter word. I can't use it here for obvious reasons. Words that I can use? Woeful, embarrassing, hopeless, inept. There was just a lack of effort, passion and commitment. You can put in a poor performance but you cannot accept a lack of effort. Second half, they were walking around. No commitment. It is just not acceptable."
An assortment of misfits
21st November 2015 - Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 3
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Coloccini, Mbemba, Sissoko, Anita, Tiote (Thauvin 20), Wijnaldum, Perez (De Jong 81), Mitrovic (Cisse 62) - Subs not used: Woodman, Sterry, Lascelles, Gouffran.
Attendance: 50,151
Steve McLaren: "Very disappointing. I think that’s our worst performance of the season. We've had a big setback today, that was nowhere near good enough. We’ve got enough ability and talent but we didn’t show it. We know we’re going to have bad days and this was certainly one of them. We have to recover from that now. We need to create consistency. You need to know what level of performance you are going to get and at the moment we do not know that. We looked fragile out there."
nufc.com: Newcastle followed up their awful performance at Bournemouth with another woeful display but this time the luck deserted them. Leicester left Tyneside with a thoroughly deserved 3-0 victory. Steve McClaren's assortment of misfits, however, managed to under perform consistently. Leading the ineptitude was Aleksandar Mitrovic who was his usual mixture of misplaced aggression, laziness and playacting and was rightly replaced after 62 minutes. Florian Thauvin's flouncing reached new heights. Daryl Janmaat was guilty of dereliction of defensive duties. Same shit, different day.
Stephen B: Depressingly predictable.
True Faith: Our owner is a nightmare, our chief executive is a joke, our manager wouldn’t be in his position in normal circumstances, our coaching staff are abysmal, our youth set up is alarmingly amateurish and our players are garbage. We are institutionally rotten. We are where we belong, in every sense of the word except for our supporters.
13th November 2015 - Fixture Rescheduled
Our home Premier League clash with Manchester United originally scheduled for Wednesday 13th January 2016 has been brought forward 24 hours for live TV showing on BT Sport. The game will now go ahead on Tuesday 12th January with a 7.45pm kick-off.
We stole three points thanks to Ayoze Perez
7th November 2015 - Bournemouth 0 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Tiote, Anita (Mbabu 90), Wijnaldum, Mitrovic (Cisse 63), Perez (Thauvin 77) - Subs not used: Woodman, Lascelles, De Jong, Gouffran.
Scorer: Perez (27) - Attendance: 11,155
Steve McClaren: "The most pleasing thing for me is sending 1,300 fans back home with a smile on their faces after what must have been a long journey through the night and a long day going back. In terms of performance and football we’ve been playing well recently but we’ve not got the rewards for it. Today we didn’t get the performance, we got character, endeavour, organisation and perseverance. Our goalkeeper was outstanding. We’ll take the three points. We’re making progress but the turnaround is slow."
nufc.com: Goalkeeper Rob Elliot was in inspirational form. Our first away victory in thirteen attempts. United's second win of the season arrived thanks to one of their worst performances. Continual surrendering of possession, frail defending, inferior in every statistic barring goals scored. The win took United above Bournemouth. The bottom of the table now makes for slightly less painful reading.
True Faith: Elliott deserves the praise coming his way, putting in the best performance of his time at United. On a different day we’d be raking over another embarrassing defeat. For once we got the bounce of the ball and returned North with the points. No one should kid themselves that if we play as poorly as that against more refined opposition we’ll be taken to the cleaners. After the break we welcome Leicester City to St. James' Park, then it’s Crystal Palace away. It says something about the decline in the competitiveness of our club under Mike Ashley that we’ve been overtaken by these clubs, and others, despite being more powerful economically and having a greater stage for players to perform on. Bad management and bad intentions. Something does have to change at the club in terms of its general direction otherwise January will see yet more season ticket direct debits cancelled and those grey plastic patches growing around St. James' Park.
Shields Gazette: Newcastle United were given a footballing lesson on the south coast.
3rd November 2015 - Sleepwalking Into Danger
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: Newcastle are in a relegation battle and they need to stop thinking otherwise. If you listen to head coach Steve McClaren and his players, Newcastle United are not in a relegation battle. They are “dominating” games, playing some excellent football. The table does not lie now and it will not lie when the final positions are decided in May. Newcastle are where they deserve to be, third from bottom, yet once again complacency seems to be creeping in at St. James’ Park. This sort of inflated opinion of their own ability has got Newcastle into trouble before and McClaren is straying into dangerous territory if he chooses to ignore the warning signs. It is why Newcastle, 12 months after finishing fifth, were almost relegated in 2013. It is why they lost 15 out of their remaining 21 games the following season and it is why, having sat ninth in the table at the start of 2015, they only preserved their top flight status last term on the final weekend, winning just three of their final 20 matches.
Newcastle have a nasty habit of sleepwalking into danger. While McClaren may have claimed his team dominated the games against Sunderland and Stoke, the harsh reality is Newcastle lost 3-0 to a woeful Sunderland team and failed to beat a Stoke side, at home, who are sitting just above them in the table. For all of the positive spin coming out of St James’ Park, Newcastle have won a solitary league game under McClaren. They have won just four league games in 2015 and have one away win, in all competitions, in the last 12 months. Newcastle spent more than £50 million on four new players in the summer and are currently sat one place below where they finished last season. It has not been good enough. Newcastle need to improve, they need to strengthen the squad in January. They cannot afford to take comfort from a handful of decent performances that have not brought many points.
Newcastle have looked a much better side in the last few games. They look less vulnerable in defence and have found an attacking threat by playing two strikers, Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic, who complement each other well. Two of the new signings Georgino Wijnaldum and Chancel Mbemba look excellent players, while Mitrovic will never be accused of not caring enough. There are encouraging signs, but that is all they are. There have been very few encouraging results and that will always be the ultimate judgement.
It is important to put things into context. McClaren inherited a dressing room of dubious motivation and players so fragile in confidence they have not come from a goal behind to claim any points since December last year. He has had little, if any say, in who was signed by managing director Lee Charnley, who has to satisfy the curious demands of owner Mike Ashley, not the head coach.
3rd November 2015 - Think Before Spending
Keith Jackson - Daily Record: The Daily Record understands Newcastle chief Mike Ashley has gone to court accusing Rangers chairman Dave King of breaching a gagging order placed on the Ibrox board by his firm Sports Direct. Furious to discover a seven year notice period in the commercial tie up agreed between Sports Direct and former Ibrox chief executive Charles Green, King planned to expose details of those secret deals in June at a Rangers general meeting. This enraged Ashley, who had forced the previous board, led by former chairman David Somers, to sign a confidentiality agreement with his firm. Ashley reacted by going straight to the High Court’s chancery division to take out an interim injunction preventing King from spilling the beans. On the same day, in Edinburgh’s Court of Session, Rangers lawyers agreed to abide by the High Court decision.
The Newcastle United owners lawyers insist King breached the injunction in July when he filmed a TV interview at his home in South Africa and believe that should lead to King’s arrest and trial on a contempt of court charge. Ashley’s lawyers have also asked London’s High Court to fine Rangers for allowing King to go in front of the cameras. During that interview King spoke about his desire to restructure the club’s commercial contracts with Ashley’s firm and warned of a mood of mounting unrest among the club’s fans.
Rangers Chairman Dave King: "They are very concerned that, by buying Rangers replica kit or other memorabilia, they are supporting Sports Direct more than they are supporting Rangers. Can we go along to Sports Direct and say the terms of the contract are such that, for whatever reason, it’s not working for Rangers and we believe it’s not working for Sports Direct."
Ashley’s lawyers believe his comments represent such a significant breach of the gagging orders conditions that King should be imprisoned. The interim injunction is still in place and will remain so until the court decides on another legal move by Sports Direct to have King’s regime gagged on a permanent basis. Ashley’s legal team have also demanded Rangers cover all the costs of his court action.
Craig Houston - Sons of Struth: "I have always wanted Rangers fans to know what is going on in our club. It was exposed in the last set of accounts that our club receives 75p for every £10 spent on club merchandise. Our directors have been stating for some time that they are trying to obtain a better deal from Sports Direct. The more fans spend in the shop, the less likely he is to renegotiate the contract. Purchasing a stadium brick or a couple of match day programmes would see more money going to our club than buying a jersey. I would urge all fans to think before spending any money on merchandise. Our cash. He wants it. I would urge all Rangers fans to keep it from him."
Georginio Wijnaldum battles hard in midfield
31st October 2015 - Newcastle United 0 Stoke City 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat (Lascelles 83), Dummett, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Tiote (De Jong 71), Anita, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic, Perez - Subs not used: Woodman, Haidara, Gouffran, Thauvin, Cisse.
Attendance: 47,139
Steve McClaren: "Anybody can see we are on the right lines. We are playing good football and dominating opponents. The key thing is, we look capable of winning games now. The first four, we didn't create any chances, now we are. You need a top class goalkeeper to get you points. Stoke have got one. Jack Butland."
nufc.com: England goalkeeper, Jack Butland made a series of decent stops to deny United's front line. The Potters seldom looked like scoring and were second best to United but to the frustration of Steve McClaren his side failed to breakthrough for the second game in succession. It's certainly evident that the black and whites have improved their general play and are putting in more coherent performances with less long balls. Sloppy passes, cheaply surrendering possession and providing wildly variable crosses on the rare occasions we got down the flanks remain. Though, those who turned out to watch their team appreciated the efforts to turn one point into three and the full time whistle brought applause rather than abuse from home followers. Our maiden top flight visit to Bournemouth on Saturday remains an absolute must win.
True Faith: Another poor result for us. Our lack of firepower remains a major concern. We are improving but we simply have to put sides around us away when we have the chance. There are signs of encouragement. Siem de Jong, bone idle and deeply unimpressive, might as well not even bother coming on, such is his totally nondescript contribution to the cause. At Bournemouth we might have the chance to pull ourselves out of the bottom three for the first time this season.
29th October 2015 - Loan Deal For Mike Williamson
BBC Sport: Wolves have signed centre back Mike Williamson on a one month loan deal from Premier League side Newcastle. Williamson has been with the Magpies since January 2010, and has made 150 league appearances. He has not played in the Premier League this season with his only action coming in Capital One Cup ties against Northampton Town in August and Sheffield Wednesday in late September.
27th October 2015 - Coloccini Cleared
FA.com: Fabricio Coloccini will not serve a one match suspension after his wrongful dismissal claim was successful. An Independent Regulatory Commission found that the match referee had made an obvious error in dismissing the Newcastle United defender for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity during the game against Sunderland on Sunday 25 October 2015. Newcastle United have been charged for failing to control their players in relation to their reaction to the match referee’s decision. The club have until 6.00pm on 30 October 2015 to respond to the charge.
Club can't even get the basics right
26th October 2015 - Shirt Shambles
Who Ate All The Pies: While getting spanked 3-0 by Sunderland, Chancel Mbemba also suffered the ignominy of playing the entire miserable match in a misspelled shirt. The Congolese international played the entire name with ‘Mbmemba’ emblazoned across his shoulders.
26th October 2015 - Appeal Lodged
Club Statement: Newcastle United have lodged an appeal with the Football Association for the wrongful dismissal of Fabricio Coloccini during Sunday's Tyne Wear derby match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Coloccini was given a straight red card by referee Robert Madley in first half injury time following an incident involving Steven Fletcher, which resulted in the awarding of a penalty kick. The appeal will be heard by a Regulatory Commission on Tuesday afternoon and the Club will be notified of the result shortly afterwards. Should the dismissal stand, United's captain will miss Saturday's Barclays Premier League fixture with Stoke City at St. James' Park.
No need for Coloccini to make the challenge
25th October 2015 - Sunderland 3 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Stadium of Light, Sunderland Newcastle - 12.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett (Thauvin 78), Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko, Tiote (Lascelles 46), Colback (Anita 49), Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic - Subs not used: Woodman, Haidara, De Jong, Cisse.
Red Card: Coloccini (45) - Attendance: 47,653
Steve McClaren: "It just wasn't our day. Two decisions have cost us a game in which we were dominant. We talk about defining moments. Just before the penalty Wijnaldum turned Cattermole and he dragged him back. I thought that was a penalty, then straight up the other end I think Colo just leaned into him. It was not a scoring opportunity. You don't win games with 10 men. It went from control to catastrophe. I was so positive about the performance of the players and the way we played. Even with 10 men we passed the ball, controlled the game, created chances. There is a massive feeling of injustice in the dressing room."
Micky Quinn: "No need for Coloccini to make the challenge."
Graeme Souness: "It is a red card. Coloccini has cost his team. I don’t know what he is thinking."
Gary Neville: "It was clumsy, something Coloccini could have dealt with a lot better. He thrust his shoulder in. He didn’t make it look like a coming together. The ball wasn’t there to play, it wasn’t within his radius of control, he could have been more clever."
Shields Gazette: Newcastle’s players were applauded at the final whistle by the club’s 2,800 strong travelling support. Maybe United’s fans had seen enough to give them heart ahead of what promises to be a long few months for a team which is just two points above basement club Aston Villa.
Michael Martin - True Faith: First half we were completely dominant. We passed the ball well, our movement and shape was far superior. Then the sky fell in. Humiliation comes with a sixth successive defeat to a team as poor as Sunderland. The lift we got after the Norwich game last week has gone now. We need to get a win on the board. We must beat Stoke City on Saturday. Anything less and we are again looking down the barrel of relegation. We need 20 points before the end of the calendar year and we had better start collecting them now. We are in the shit and it is rising.
Gareth Harrison - True Faith: Sunderland are dreadful, they’re there for the taking, we contrive to fluff our lines, somehow contriving to end up well beaten in yet another hideous derby and the whole sorry episode is a cycle of unmitigated misery and frustration. Heard it before? I’m not really that arsed about hard luck stories, six in a row against these is unforgivable and we’re second bottom with one win after ten games. Seven red cards in our last 20 games. It’s all well and good showing promise but if it doesn’t turn into results sharpish then we’re knackered. Six successive defeats is the worst run by either side in the history of this fixture. It's now eight derby games without a victory for the Magpies. Our worst ever run of form. Grim.
Wijnaldum had a great afternoon
18th October 2015 - Newcastle United 6 Norwich City 2
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 4.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Dummett (Haidara 65), Tiote (Anita 46), Coloccini, Mbemba, Sissoko, Colback, Mitrovic (Cisse 88), Wijnaldum, Perez - Subs not used: Woodman, Lascelles, De Jong, Thauvin.
Scorers: Wijnaldum (14, 26, 66, 85), Perez (33), Mitrovic (64) - Attendance: 47,006
Steve McLaren: "We played some really good football. I am relieved. The supporters and players have endured a lot."
nufc.com: A memorable afternoon, in no way a flawless display, there were times when some of our bad habits looked to be resurfacing but enough commitment, confidence and competence was on show to gladden the heart of the most despondent fan.
True Faith: A performance which was strong and disciplined. There were plenty of positives. Perez was again, excellent. Wijnaldum had a great afternoon. Sissoko had a good game in general but he is going to have to work on the defensive side of his game and be prepared to stick his head in every now and again. Defensively at times we were shocking. The important thing about our first win of the season is not to get carried away.
18th October 2015 - Same Old Problems
How does Steve McClaren, now a member of the board not hold enough sway to make sure an established centre back is brought in to replace our current captain who has been below par for the last few seasons?
Chris Waugh - The Chronicle: "When McLaren took over in June, he made it known that Coloccini was not in his plans and that he wanted a vocal centre back who could be his new captain. It was soon made clear to McClaren that such a player would be costly and would not be signed over the summer, so instead Coloccini was offered a new deal and retained the captaincy. Paul Simpson is also understood to be exasperated by the limitations placed upon the coaching team due to restrictions under Mike Ashley."
The club’s continued policy of refusing to sign players over the age of 25 completely undermines and will continue to undermine any of the club’s transfer activity. Steve McClaren as a board member is unable to change this policy. The result is a squad completely devoid of leaders, with no one to rally the team during tough periods and show vital in game experience. When something goes wrong no one speaks, no one encourages, no one gets angry. It’s an apathetic acceptance with little self pride on display. This policy demonstrates that players are simply bought as assets, with potential re-sale value and confirms once again that the club will never go anywhere under Mike Ashley.
16th October 2015 - When You're Ready Lads
Daily Mail: Steve McClaren has stunned fans of bottom club Newcastle after writing off their worst start in 117 years as ‘an extended pre-season’. Newcastle are without a win from the first eight games and are already five points adrift of safety at the foot of the Barclays Premier League. Rather than front up to the severity of their plight, McClaren appears oblivious to the situation, admitting he does not look at the league table. Upon his arrival, the former England boss asked to be judged after 10 games, but has now backtracked
Steve McLaren: "It’s a long season. I’ve said before, the first half of the season, I don’t look at the Premier League table and definitely not the first ten games. We said after the Etihad that our season begins now. It’s been a kind of extended pre season and now we have to start playing. We've got to make sure we do the right things and go through the right process. That's what John Carver and Alan Pardew demonstrated. They knew that John was doing the best he possibly could, the same with Alan. That's what you call loyalty. I have the belief that that is exactly the same with me as long as we continue making progress. I believe we are and they believe we are. We keep going. There's no feeling that everything in the garden is rosy and even if we win a few games, there needs to be changes. This club, behind the scenes, is planning for the future." nufcblog.com: This kind of stance is difficult to justify. 8 games, 3 points, a stat we last had in the 1898-1899 season.
nufc.com: 107 days after pre-season training began, 67 days since the first ball was kicked in anger, Steve McClaren has revealed that this season begins this Sunday. When you're ready lads.
Jim Robertson - The Mag: Newcastle United are the worst team in the Premier League and ten weeks into the season they haven’t won a single match. Anywhere else McLaren would almost certainly have been sacked by now. At Newcastle we just get on with supporting the team, there have been no significant calls from fans for McClaren to be sacked because there is little belief in Mike Ashley being willing to bring in anybody better. Under Ashley it is always hard to know what is for the best as the club lurches from one disaster to another.
Rantin' Robert: A Pardewesque classic from McLaren. It is now mid October and in his world our extended pre season is over and from Sunday things get underway for real. This could be our shortest campaign ever given our season is usually over by January. In reality our season started at the same time as everyone else and we're attempting to cover up another pathetic start with more diabolical excuses. Maybe it's 4 years of Pardew, I don't know but I have no sympathy for McLaren. He knew what he was getting into, he knew what our regime were like.
14th October 2015 - We're Bottom Of The League
Ben Dirs - BBC Sport: Since Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United in 2007, life as a Newcastle fan has mainly been about sadness, disillusionment and despair. The club has lost its identity. Fans in the shadow of St. James' Park believe that the club was primarily a business acquisition for Ashley and had little to do with any grand sporting ambition.
Don (75 years old): "I chucked my season ticket this season. Last season was the final straw. It used to be my son, my brother and myself but we all hoyed our tickets in."
Adrian (70 years old): "The club is going further and further downhill. It's very sad to see the state they're in now. It's the young fans I feel sorry for."
Norman: "It breaks my heart to see how the club's being run. We're bottom of the league. If Ashley doesn't get his act together, we're going to go down."
11th October 2015 - Krul Ruled Out For Season
Club Statement: Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul has been ruled out for the rest of the 2015/16 Premier League season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Dutch international had to be withdrawn after 81 minutes of the Netherlands’ European Championships qualification match at Kazakhstan’s Astana Arena on Saturday evening and scans have since determined the severity of the injury. Krul will now return to Tyneside for further treatment and rehabilitation and everyone at the club wishes him a speedy recovery. Following Krul’s injury, Freddie Woodman has been recalled from his loan spell at Crawley Town.
Tim Krul: "I have torn my knee cruciate. The scan has confirmed my biggest fear. The hard work starts now. I am devastated I cannot help the team turn the season around. The club can and should be up with the top teams."
Steve McLaren: "He's a vital player, you're talking about one of the best players in our team. It's a massive blow. He'd get us 18 or 20 points a season."
nufc.com: Does that mean we'll finish with minus points this season?
Polarboy: 20 points? An overstatement if you ask me given Krul's form before he got injured.
8th October 2015 - The Chemistry Is All Wrong
Mark Douglas: The Chronicle: Mike Ashley manages the impressive feat of being completely divorced from day to day operations at Newcastle United while also being the single most influential figure at the club. He didn’t understand why or how the situation was allowed to develop into a boycott last April. He was bemused and ticked off. He made promises of investment and getting better back in May. United have three points from 24, are bottom and five points adrift. The club’s Premier League status looks in serious jeopardy.
Newcastle have an image of being a club that backs and not sacks. That was true with Alan Pardew but Pardew came very, very close on a couple of occasions. Once he was summoned to London, the situation so serious that Academy staff believed they would be taking the team on Saturday. Pardew survived, just. He wanted out long before he walked to Palace, too. He knew the Selhurst Park job was his when Neil Warnock first got it but was waiting for a pay off. It was almost a stubbornness on Newcastle’s part. What developed was a damaging stand off that did neither manager nor club any good whatsoever.
As long as Ashley hangs Sports Direct signs from the rafters, allows the club to drift and allows the consolidation of mistrust between Newcastle and the council, selected fan’s groups and the media it will be very difficult to create an inclusive, community club. The chemistry is all wrong at Newcastle and now, more than ever, the club needs it’s public.
5th October 2015 - Newcastle United Deserves More
Michael Martin - True Faith: It is eight long years since John Hall sold us out to Mike Ashley. Our support is now at a point where our defiance is almost as limp as the team we support. It’s hardly surprising. I don’t think any group of supporters anywhere in the world could retain any sense of optimism or enthusiasm given the diet of thin gruel we’ve been fed for so long. There have been very few ups. A brief but enjoyable tour of the Championship, tanning Sunderland 5-1 and a few decent trips to Europe. Let us never ever forget that Newcastle United deserves more than what Mike Ashley and the people he has appointed to keep it ticking over are providing.
The unremitting gloom of the Ashley era has tested many beyond breaking point. This is the worst calendar year in the history of Newcastle United Football Club. As things stand it is the worst start we have had in the Premier League era. McClaren’s request to judge him after ten games now stretches to twelve. The formations change, the tactics are amended but the same rotten results continue. How does the sack at Derby County in the Championship prepare you for Newcastle United in the Premier League? The season is starting to develop a feeling of desperation. Mike Ashley has set the budget, he has plotted the course and he signs the cheques. I don’t think he gives a fuck really.
Peter: It is depressing to see fans tearing themselves apart over this appalling shambles without stopping to work out how to deal with the real problem. Ashley. Understand once and for all that Ashley is a businessman and thinks in pound signs. Forget the “I’m a fan until I die” mantra. Stop going to games; stop buying the merchandise; stop renewing season tickets. Understand the enemy. Kick him where it hurts.
Aleksander Mitrovic opened the scoring
3rd October 2015 - Manchester City 6 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Etihad Stadium, Manchester - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Mbabu (Lascelles 53), Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko (Tiote 66), Anita, Gouffran (Thauvin 66), Wijnaldum, Mitrovic, Perez - Subs not used: Elliot, Williamson, De Jong, Cisse.
Scorer: Mitrovic (18) - Attendance: 53,850
Michael Martin - True Faith: How do you explain that? First half Newcastle looked the better side. For 42 minutes they were superb. The second half display was as bad as I’ve seen from a United team and I’ve seen some shite. United managed to concede 5 goals in 15 minutes. After the 6th I walked out, can't stomach the likes of Sissoko taking the piss out of my beloved football club.
nufc.com: Despite a positive first half, Newcastle capitulated in spectacular and distressing fashion. After Sergio Aguero equalised four minutes before the break, the proverbial floodgates opened. Steve McClaren's side disintegrated. The defending that contributed to the surrender was alarming. Yoan Gouffran in midfield was predictably pedestrian but to single out the Frenchman would be to ignore the rest of the dishevelled disaster currently masquerading as a Premier League football club. With Sunderland taking a point from their home game against West Ham, our goal difference was dented sufficiently for them to dump us to the bottom of the league with both sides on just three points.
29th September 2015 - Bloody Awful
Leazes Park Ender - The Mag: Post Carver, McClaren at the helm and £50 million spent on new players. Whatever it was supposed to be like, it sure as hell wasn’t this. The Chelsea game was a much needed morale booster but we remain in the bottom three. We specialise in the shambolic and the pre Chelsea farces, Watford and Sheffield Wednesday, top the lot. The main architect of this is the Managing Director, Lee Charnley. The summer spending spree smacked of a bloke going food shopping for the wife without asking what brands she wanted. Charnley waltzed through the checkout without any careful thought about the areas of the team he had to strengthen. We are already in a relegation battle. Bloody awful.
A Premier League debut for Kevin Mbabu
26th September 2015 - Newcastle United 2 Chelsea 2
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 5.30pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Mbabu, Mbemba, Coloccini, Sissoko (De Jong 90), Anita, Colback (Obertan 54), Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic (Toney 85) - Subs not used: Elliot, Williamson, Lascelles, Thauvin.
Scorers: Perez (42), Wijnaldum (60) - Attendance: 48,682
Steve McLaren: "The supporters responded from the first whistle and that's what's unique about this football club. The players responded and gave a performance which was more like what we want. What you got was a collective togetherness. We played some good football. Attitude, character, courage, organised and disciplined. That's the benchmark now. That's the standard. We could have won it, we could have lost it. With five or six minutes to go, the momentum had swung and we have to hang in there. It was a good display. The way we want to play we need a damn good centre forward. Today, Mitrovic was a constant thorn in Chelsea’s side. We can build a team around him. He’s going to be a good player."
Jose Mourinho: "In the first half from 0-10, we were minus one. It was that bad. In the second half we played very well. Ramires and Willian moved the game. They brought more intensity. Newcastle could not cope with it. I have to try to understand why they can play so bad in one half and so well in the other. We were bad in every aspect of the game. Poor individual performances and it was impossible to be a competitive team. I think they deserved a point the way they fought. You have to fight, you have to kick, you have to tackle, you have to run, so they were exactly that. Newcastle choose matches to sweat blood and in other matches they don't. An attitude typical of a team that wins nothing."
Steve McLaren: "Jose is right. We did it at Old Trafford, against Arsenal and now Chelsea but you have to do it every week."
Michael Martin - True Faith: Chelsea’s celebrated coach stopped us in our tracks. Performing one of his trade mark media distraction techniques from a sub standard performance is one thing but let’s be honest, Jose is right.
nufc.com: Unrecognisable from the Capital One Cup catastrophe. A massively improved performance that almost ended in victory. Kevin Mbabu marked his Premier League bow with an inspired showing. Aleksandar Mitrovic made a return to provide a physical presence up front. Thankfully he combined that with some self control to remain on the pitch. Perez capped another promising performance with a well taken goal. Below par Chelsea angered their manager into making changes after the break. They proved to be crucial as Falcao, Willian and then Ramires' introduction turned the game after a Wijnaldum header had given United a two goal lead. Ramires hit an unstoppable strike into the top corner and Willian curled over a free kick that was missed by everyone, including Krul. The two late goals made this draw feel like a defeat. A nightmarish capitulation almost ensued but Krul pulled off a fine save to deny Ramires and secure United's third point of the season. If McClaren's side build on this performance then the awful start to the season can be put behind us. This result meant that Newcastle have taken just 11 points from a possible 42 at St. James' Park in 2015.
Alex Hurst - True Faith: It should have been our first win. It felt like defeat but it wasn’t. Nor was it the insipid, pathetic version of Newcastle United in 2015 we’ve seen so much of. Mitrovic put in more effort than the entire team did on Wednesday. Kevin Mbabu take a bow. He’s big and fast and tackles hard. What we’ve been missing from the side for years. I was impressed with our intent. It looked like we’d gone out to win. We almost looked like a proper football team. Much better.
28th September 2015 - It's Dull Being This Shit, This Often
Michael Martin - True Faith: Following our League Cup exit at the hands of an under strength Sheffield Wednesday all of those complaints we have had for so long about Ashley’s Newcastle United were back out in the open. Graeme Carr’s fast fading reputation as a genius talent spotter? Lee Charnley’s limitations in the deal making sphere? McClaren’s patchy CV? What pitching the club to the unproven talents of the Dutch, Belgian and French leagues does to the collective culture and meaning of a sporting institution? By Saturday night the mood had improved. But only a little.
Against Chelsea we looked like we were playing with purpose. The players were quicker to the ball, we pressed harder and faster, we seemed to play a different way. We played a standard 4-4-2 formation with Mitrovich and Perez as a front two and Wijnaldum further up the pitch in what was an undeniably more attacking formation. We were more convincing. Mitrovich completely transformed our game plan. Our new centre forward was brave, tough and intelligent. His ability to hold up play, challenge for headers and provide a physical challenge provided the team with a focus it has not had in a long while.
There has been a lot of discussion in recent months about leadership and the lack of it in the United ranks. Coloccini has been savaged but there are others. Namely, the perennially missing in action Moussa Sissoko. A senior professional who should be showing the way. On Saturday the real courage came from Perez, Mitrovich and Mbabu.
For McClaren the honeymoon period of hope and best wishes is over. That League Cup exit was straight out the book marked Brighton x 2, Stevenage, Leicester et al. A lot of us are going to be scarred by that League Cup exit for quite some time and the spirited display on Saturday isn’t enough to make amends. Personally, I believe McLaren has been let down by the so called football board but I think we’ll be having this discussion until Ashley sells up. Only Lee Charnley’s spreadsheet can explain?
Looking forward to another e-mail from Charnley? It’s a curious way to communicate with supporters. This is Newcastle United in 2015. It's dull being this shit, this often. Everyone at United, yet again, is still in our debt.
25th September 2015 - Horrendous
Mark Douglas - The Chronicle: With Newcastle United currently suffering the worst calendar year in its entire history the full scale of the clubs steep decline since January can be revealed. Research shows United have never had fewer wins at this stage of the year. With a 16% win ratio for 2015, a full 8% worse than the nearest comparable year, the club require five wins from the last thirteen to prevent this from being officially the worst 12 months the club have ever had. It’s a depressing conclusion and puts the club’s horrendous current form in proper context. We knew it was bad but the fact that it has been allowed to continue from a terrible January is a damning indictment of the management. The real message of this data is how consistently bad Newcastle have been. This year really has been dreadful. This summer they were supposedly putting things right but the problems of the last two weeks have shown how little has changed since Janaury. Bad buys, a lack of character and poor management have clung to the club all year and now we’re just three months from confirming what we suspected. This is as bad as it gets.
25th September 2015 - An Institutional Problem
Russell Hughes - Mail Online: This was the season that everything was meant to change, that everything was meant to get better. Instead, the glue that held all those promises together has started to disintegrate faster than the exodus from St. James' Park on Wednesday night. What do you do when your club have invested £50 million, are managed by a former England boss but are no better than they were under a hopeless caretaker manager with almost no experience of the top job? This is no longer a managerial issue, this is an institutional problem - deep rooted at a club where apathy has reigned supreme for so long that nobody knows how to be ambitious anymore. McClaren may well be punished for the sins of those who went before him and suffer the rage of fans who have been tested to beyond breaking point by Alan Pardew et al.
24th September 2015 - Ashley Out
Newcastle Online: NUFC is dying. What's happening at the moment has been on the radar for years. The club is now beyond ridiculous.
Notts Toon - The Mag: Summer cosmetics were never going to fix the previous eight seasons of decline. Sad as it is to admit, we are not just a bad football team, we are a bad football club. Bad for football in general. A mismanaged club where excuses and lies are the stock and trade of those in power. A club who wilfully and blatantly takes advantage of its own supporters loyalty. A club who openly manipulates the media with bans and exclusive deals. We are a club devoid of passion and respect. The time has come for change. That time is long overdue.
An extended show of loyalty
24th September 2015 - Newcastle Sinking Under Mismanagement
Greg Lea - thenational.ae: Television deals, corporate partnerships and other alternative sources of income have helped reduce the significance of ticket sales on match days. Nevertheless, the number of people regularly attending a side’s home games is a reasonable pointer as to what the club should be achieving. After a hugely disappointing campaign in 2014/15, Newcastle were ranked 12th in average attendances among European clubs, ahead of the likes of Chelsea, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Liverpool. Considering Newcastle were embroiled in a relegation battle rather than fighting for honours or competing in the Champions League, the figures are remarkable.
As impressive as is support in such numbers, the fans’ extended show of loyalty has done nothing to prevent the club being plagued by mismanagement in recent years. A fifth place finish in 2012 notwithstanding, the six time FA Cup winners have underachieved in the top flight for almost a decade. Owner Mike Ashley remains as unpopular as ever with Newcastle followers, who are understandably irritated at a perceived prioritisation of profit over trophies. The likes of Swansea City and Southampton have a defined identity, a style of play and way of doing things, but Newcastle simply lurch from one crisis to the next. Newcastle are hamstrung by the glaring absence of coherence and continuity behind the scenes. It is a recipe for disaster. It is incredible that St. James’ Park continue to host such large crowds. Unfortunately, healthy attendances are no guarantee of success. Newcastle are propping up the Premier League table, one spot ahead of their bottom placed rivals Sunderland by virtue of having a narrowly superior goal difference.
24th September 2015 - Things Promising To Get Worse
Jason Mellor - The Telegraph: There is a fine line between blind faith and stupidity. Less than three months into his tenure, Steve McClaren is not so much asking as pleading with Newcastle supporters for the former, but backing without question a side lacking in every conceivable department is clearly now in danger of verging on the latter. Sheffield Wednesday took advantage of a side with little discernible gameplan, negligible motivation and a seemingly broken spirit. Newcastle were ponderous in thought and deed as they deservedly exited the competition to a cacophony of boos from those home supporters among a 33,000 crowd who bothered to remain until the bitter end. Sheffield Wednesday were into the fourth round for the first time in 14 seasons. Newcastle have four victories in 2015. Chelsea visit St. James' Park on Saturday, followed by McClaren's side visiting Manchester City. Things promise to get worse before they have a chance to improve.
24th September 2015 - A Crisis Awaits
Jim Robertson - The Mag: In the lead up to Wednesday night’s match, Steve McClaren dismissed the idea that there was a crisis at St James Park. After he and his team descended several more levels against a Sheffield Wednesday reserve team, the Head Coach was forced to admit that they are getting very close to it. With the Champions and the Champions elect to come in the next two matches, I think we can safely say that crisis is waiting to knock on our door very soon. The Head Coach has talked of needing fighters at the football club, well maybe they should have recruited a few in the summer. Any supporter could have told you that there was little or no fight in the squad in recent years. The Captain personifies it.
23rd September 2015 - Bored Following Shit
Michael Martin - True Faith: With United meekly exiting the League Cup in front of a more than decent crowd no one can blame supporters for feeling mightily disappointed by this abysmal performance against a Championship side. McClaren’s team was booed off by frustrated supporters at half time but by full time that frustration had turned to anger with loud choruses of “we’re shit and we’re sick of it” cascading down from sections of the Gallowgate and East Stands. The lack of leadership on the pitch or meaningful direction from the touchline was evident throughout the game. Wednesday weren’t great but they were organised and resolute. United were utterly bereft in every department. There was no width, no pace, no invention. The whole balance of the team hinted at a complete lack of adventure. We did not have a shot on target worthy of the description for the whole game. At this rate we are in for a hard, depressing season with little to provide any enjoyment to a support that is now punch drunk with one blow of disappointment after another. Where United go following this is anyone’s guess. Chelsea on Saturday? Nothing expected. The manager will be able to indulge his default setting for attempting not to lose too heavily. Our fans are bored with following shit.
Newcastle were dysfunctional and chaotic
23rd September 2015 - Newcastle United 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Capital One Cup 3rd Round - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 7.45pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat (Mbabu 46), Mbemba, Lascelles, Williamson, Anita, Wijnaldum, Thauvin (Perez 46), Sissoko, Obertan (Toney 70), De Jong - Subs not used: Elliot, Coloccini, Gouffran, Barlaser.
Attendance: 33,986
Steve McLaren: "No excuses. We deserve to be criticised. I'm angry and disappointed. People say it is a crisis and it is getting very close to it. Is the job harder than I thought? Absolutely. The booing? Deserved. That is what happens when you lose games you should win and don’t score goals. Confidence is draining and we can’t have that. We need results. The players can't feel sorry for themselves. We have to be fighters. The only people who can do anything about it are in that dressing room. There is trepidation but it’s a great game for us on Saturday.”
Simon Bird - The Mirror: Absolutely abysmal Newcastle. No redeeming features. No pattern, no passion, nothing.
Mirror Sport: Newcastle mustered their first shot on target after 86 minutes. Little wonder boss McClaren and his players were greeted with raucous jeers when they tried to applaud their supporters at the final whistle.
Oliver Holt - The Mail: Feel sorry for Steve McClaren. Decent manager, the victim of a rancid regime.
nufc.com: It's a clear case of the blind leading the blind. Fans who had shown the loyalty and blind faith called for by Steve McClaren in his pre-match platitudes were shown utter contempt by the club. The visitors had put out a second choice Championship XI while McClaren used many of his Premier League first team squad in a bemusing 4-6-0 line up. It resulted in just one powder puff shot on target from Wijnaldum with five minutes remaining, Wednesday having already scored their winner ten minutes earlier. If the Watford result was one of our worst in the Premier League then this has to be one of the most shocking in the League Cup and for them to be just four days apart is a diabolical double whammy. A turnout of 33,986? Magnificent and totally undeserved.
Paul Hayward - The Telegraph: Presumably it doesn’t matter any more. Newcastle players know it’s a Sports Direct warehouse. Not really a football club anymore.
owlsalive.com: Newcastle were dysfunctional and chaotic. We dominated this game and we deserved the win.
22nd September 2015 - Pre Sheffield Wednesday
Steve McLaren: "We know what we have to do, we know the solutions, we just have to go out there and do it. We don't need to be told, we know. A little bit of blind faith is needed. Belief that eventually we will get it right, turn it around and start performing and winning games. We will eventually do that."
True Faith: With fixtures coming against Chelsea (home) and Manchester City (away) this is a game which we just have to win if any kind of morale and hope for the season is to be kept alive.
22nd September 2015 - Smile A Little
John Richardson - Sky Sunday Supplement: "The dressing room? Basically I know there’s a few bad eggs in there, there’s a lot of poison. Steve McClaren knows who they are, he wants to get them out, but it’s hard to do because they’re on bloated wages. One of them is Cheick Tiote, supposedly unfit all season. Newcastle keep sending him for checks and scans. Nothing ever comes up. He’s obviously not bothered, he doesn’t want to play. There’s other players there of the same ilk and until something happens the club is not going to move on."
Steve McClaren: "Cheicky couldn’t cause trouble anywhere. He is frustrated that he’s injured and he’s not playing. He’s definitely not happy about it. He just wants to get fit. I have heard the stories. It doesn’t make me laugh but it makes me smile a little."
The cheap option
22nd September 2015 - Our Captain Versus Watford
The Northern Echo: The decision to not only retain the Argentinian, but also to offer him a contract extension and allow him to retain the captain’s armband, looks increasingly misguided.
True Faith:
Coloccini was disgraceful this afternoon.
Dai Rees - The Mag: Our captain has been terrible this season, lazy and gutless. His defending against Watford was laughable.
Brian Standen - The Mag: Coloccini was inept, a coward, his worst game ever in black and white.
Exiled Geordie: Coloccini should be dropped. McClaren has backed himself into a corner by appointing him captain. Should have been replaced with proven quality but the cheap option was to hand him an extension and hope for the best.
21st September 2015 - A Sorry Mess
Jamie Smith - The Mag: The kind of result we’ve become all too familiar with in recent years, saw early season optimism completely extinguished and the McClaren honeymoon period crash to an emphatic end. Watford were organised, committed and made the most of their chances, all qualities absent in the United ranks. The whole thing was a sorry mess and an incredulous crowd made their feelings known at half time. The second half brought a slight improvement. The match ended to a chorus of mass disapproval. New management and new blood has not eradicated the problems of the past two seasons. The noises coming out of McLaren would indicate he isn’t even sure what he can do with this situation. It seems we will once again be reliant on the incompetence of others to retain our Premier League status. With this must win game miserably lost, there is a hell of a job on. The road ahead looks worryingly familiar.
Michael Martin - True Faith: Two successive defeats at West Ham and at home to Watford have shattered the summer optimism that real change was underway. There’s no doubt the atmosphere is returning to what we had last season.
21st September 2015 - Three League Wins In 2015
John Gibson - The Chronicle: Yet another must win match lost. Further confirmation that Newcastle haven’t bought well enough often enough. No victories in six this season, three in 25 Premier League matches the whole of 2015. Newcomers Watford were, before a ball was kicked, firm favourites to return from whence they came. McClaren never misses an opportunity to tell us new players take time to bed in. Really? Watford hired a fleet of vehicles to bring 15 to their port, but have lost only once in six matches.
Mind numbingly awful
19th September 2015 - Newcastle United 1 Watford 2
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara (Aarons 80), Coloccini, Mbemba, Colback, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Thauvin (Obertan 88), Perez, Cisse (De Jong 46) - Subs not used: Elliot, Lascelles, Williamson, Anita.
Scorer: Janmaat (62) - Attendance: 47,806
Steve McClaren: "I'm under no illusion this is a hard job but we have the experience in the backroom to turn this around. We are not hiding, there are things wrong and things we need to work on. We are changing a lot of things. I’ve seen good, bad and indifferent in the short time I’ve been here. We have too much experience to panic. We must stick together."
nufc.com: What has McClaren actually brought to this side? There was a total lack of intensity, belief, and organisation. Mind numbingly awful.
Daily Mail: The scoreline flattered the woeful hosts.
The Chronicle: Today was dreadful. Newcastle slumped to a third successive Premier League defeat. Chelsea and Manchester City must be licking their lips in anticpation, excited to dissect this Newcastle team just as Watford did on numerous occasions.
Alan Shearer: NUFC awful again.
Rodney Marsh: This season they’ve been nothing short of diabolical.
True Faith: It was an absolute shocker. An abject display. All over the pitch we were shocking. Ridding this club of Ashley is the only way out of this mess. Whatever pain we go through whilst we get rid of him is nothing compared to the joylessness that Newcastle currently is. Keegan was correct seven long years ago. We will never get anywhere under Mike Ashley.
16th September 2015 - Unrest In The Ranks?
Craig Hope - Daily Mail: Steve McClaren arranged one on one meetings with all of his Newcastle players who remained at the club headquarters during the recent international break. Papiss Cisse, failed to show up. It was later rearranged with great difficulty. His commitment and time keeping has been called into question. Having been dropped for the trip to Manchester United, Cisse phoned on the day of the Capital One Cup tie against Northampton to say he was ill. It did not go down well with the coaching team. Forced to turn to Cisse to lead his forward line on Monday night at West Ham, McClaren chose to talk up that player over the weekend in an attempt to trigger a positive reaction. It did not work.
Cisse is not the only player causing concern. Close friend Cheick Tiote is another who wanted to quit this summer. Tiote is said to be unhappy with his lot in the north east and there are questions about his commitment. The midfielder was missing from the squad at West Ham. Moussa Sissoko missed the goalless draw at Old Trafford last month because of a slight groin strain picked up the previous weekend. Newcastle staff felt the France midfielder was fit to play but suspected he wanted to safeguard against injury ahead of the internationals. These issues threaten to undermine the progress McClaren is trying to make. Newcastle have only two points from five matches and are without a goal in nearly seven hours. The road ahead appears hazardous.
15th September 2015 - Back On Familiar Ground
Michael Martin - True Faith: The statistics from the first five games of the season don’t make for great reading. Neither does our place in the Premier League table. It is far too early to make any judgements but we can draw some conclusions.
We lack a strategy to attack teams and we may lack the personnel to do so too. The tempo we are playing at? It’s just far too ponderous. We need to get the ball forward quicker. We have to raise the pace if we want to take the game to teams of the standard of West Ham. That is something we should be able to do. Cisse as our lone striker was completely cut off from the play and I wonder why De Jong, who would have been ideal in front of our midfield and just behind Cisse hasn’t been selected. Still not fit? There are those who have wondered why Perez isn’t on the pitch? We are playing far too many safe backward balls. Anita or Colback pick the ball up off Krul and then proceed to play a 10 yard pass to a full back. Combined, they aren’t doing the job of one good player at present. Sissoko was again missing in action, utterly anonymous and providing none of the leadership he should be as one of the team’s established senior players.
All round we look as bad as we did for much of that traumatised period we had under John Carver. We’ve only scored in one of our five league games this season. When a team isn’t scoring goals it’s not unreasonable to assess the attacking talent at the manager’s disposal and it’s obvious the powers that be have left McClaren short. Cisse looks like he’d rather be anywhere other than at Newcastle United and Mitrovic at 20 is raw. Charnley had all summer to remedy it. McClaren needs a win, the team needs a win and we need a win with a convincing, half decent performance. With frustration in the stands once more bubbling under the surface, Watford will provide obstinate opponents. Fail to beat them and the following two games at home to Chelsea and away to Manchester City give our season a desperate look. We are back on familiar ground and it’s not great.
Andy Cole: "I was at Newcastle with a good manager Kevin Keegan and a good chairman Sir John Hall. They knew the area and understood it, they got Tyneside buzzing. Steve McClaren shares this trait. His boss Mike Ashley has been a disappointment who has antagonized fans with penny pinching and a lack of ambition. He’s a successful businessman but he’s not a successful club owner. Steve will set his teams up with a system which will work but while I have faith in his talents, I fear that Newcastle are in for a long, tough season. Now bottom of the table without a win in five and with only two goals, Newcastle are struggling. They look little different from last season."
"There is a new manager but it's still the same."
14th September 2015 - West Ham United 2 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Boleyn Ground, London - 8.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Mbemba, Coloccini, Anita (De Jong 60), Colback, Sissoko, Wijnaldum (Aarons 79), Thauvin (Perez 60), Cisse - Subs not used: Darlow, Lascelles, Obertan, Gouffran.
Attendance: 34,907
Steve McLaren: "These games are painful but you have to go through them to learn about individuals and your team. We have to learn and move on and make sure we give a big reaction on Saturday. We’ve got talented players out there but we didn’t do the basics well enough. The players have been told it’s disappointing. All you can do is put this game and result to bed, dust yourself down and look forward."
Alan Shearer: "Very poor. Only one team wanted to win this game and they did. I looked at Cisse and thought Newcastle would have been better with 10 men. It’s not just Cisse, Thauvin showed nothing. There was not enough hunger from Newcastle. At no point did I ever think they would win."
Jamie Carragher: "There is a new manager but it's still the same. Mistakes at the back, getting counter attacked, no threat up front. Newcastle are buying players from abroad and they are not actually doing anything. Newcastle cannot be happy with their recruitment, just continually wasting money."
nufc.com: Newcastle slumped to the foot of the table with a sloppy performance. There were few visiting players that enhanced their reputations. Colback's poor start to the season continued. Sissoko had another night to forget. His infuriating habit of holding up counter attacks and losing possession frustrated fans and colleagues alike. Papiss Cisse having one of those nights where his mind seemed elsewhere. There were too many indifferent performances from players who looked disorganised and disinterested and there were alarming echoes of last year's struggles despite the new signings. Saturday's game against Watford now becomes vital. A massive test of McClaren's managerial abilities. Anything less than three points will mean that the subsequent games against Chelsea and Manchester City could leave us rooted in the relegation zone.
Ian Orrick - True Faith: Just like watching any of our away games last season and the fact that we’ve only had a couple of shots on target in the last three games suggests it’s going to be a long, hard slog of a season and we’re likely going to be involved in the relegation mix again.
Micky Miller - True Faith: Cisse is the most clueless, brainless footballer I’ve seen for a long long time. His first touch and reading of the line is embarrassing and to watch him smiling and gurning after every fuck up is exasperating. Lets hope the mad Serb calms down and offers something different because it all reeks of different season same old shit.
Michael Martin - True Faith: A bit of a wakeup call and a reminder of the limitations of the squad and of the manager. The midfield 5 had a lamentable game. Wijnaldum was a real disappointment. Thauvin was invisible. Cisse has the look of a man who knows his United career is coming to a close. Abject and disinterested are two adjectives you could use. West Ham deserved their win by some distance. No one should be thinking in terms of a crisis but McLaren has to look at his more attacking options before this lack of points becomes a genuine concern.
Micky Quinn - The Chronicle: The players did not look like they had any idea what they should be doing. Steve McClaren set them up to try and nick a point and they were turned over. It was conservatism gone mad. You’ve got to at least offer some sort of a threat. Newcastle were just coasting along with the handbrake on. The performance was not acceptable.
Rob Lee: "There has to be changes to the starting line up after that West Ham performance. Newcastle need to gain some momentum. They haven’t had any so far this season. They have been constantly on the back foot, waiting to see what the other team can do. The Magpies don’t even look like scoring right now. It’s time to take the initiative and be more proactive. You’ve got to give yourself as many opportunities to score as you can and put the ball into the right places as often as you can."
10th September 2015 - Progress Report
Simon Tovey - worldsoccertalk.com: A gruelling 2014-15 season very nearly saw Newcastle United fall ignominiously through the Premier League trapdoor. Wafer thin expectations, dull and uninspiring fayre served up by what seemed to be an, at times, simply disinterested squad played out to a background of chronic underspending, fan protest and deafening silence from any of the boardroom bigwigs. Patience with the hierarchy finally snapped. On the final day of the season Mike Ashley made the decision to finally face the media and promise more investment in the playing squad and a renewed interest in bringing European soccer to Tyneside. So far, one would struggle to see how things have massively improved. The flair that many expected from a squad that includes new signings Gigi Wijnaldum, Florian Thauvin and Aleksandar Mitrovic simply hasn’t materialised. Newcastle are already seriously struggling to get on the scoresheet as a record of no goals since the opening day starkly shows. There is still a lot of deadwood at the club and when injuries take their toll, they could struggle badly. Newcastle lie in 19th with a toothless attack and the season already potentially has the faint whiff of failure and underachievement about it.
3rd September 2015 - Sunderland Keep Newcastle Off The Bottom
Jim Robertson - The Mag: Newcastle haven’t had the easiest of starts and that has been exasperated by the stupidity and indiscipline of the players. The sending offs have been a hinderance but both Swansea and Arsenal were in total control of both games before the red cards and the fact remains that in these last three Premier League matches, Newcastle have had only two shots on target with none at all against Manchester United and Arsenal. With two points out of twelve and only Sunderland keeping Newcastle off the bottom of the table I can see very few ‘easy’ matches on the horizon. The next four league matches include West Ham United away, Watford and Chelsea home, Manchester City away. Newcastle will only be favourites to take the points at home to Watford.
3rd September 2015 - A Wise Move But Not Enough
hitc.com: Whilst not bringing in the high number of players like many of their rivals did, Newcastle completed wise transfer business this summer. Charnley was focused upon bringing in ‘high-calibre players’ who could make an immediate impact. A wise move to ensure Newcastle retain their Premier League status. The aim of the club in future transfer windows is to bring in the best young players.
eplindex.com: Though Steve McClaren has made improvements at Newcastle United, it’s not enough to propel the Magpies to a position where they can challenge the very best, as owner Mike Ashley claims to want. Nonetheless, some clever signings for not very much money, allied to McClaren’s canny motivational skills, have made a real difference year-on-year with what we saw last season.
The Mag: We believe the new direction is largely opportunistic in the face of fan protests last season, rather than a fundamental change of attitude.
People can't be blamed for thinking they are liars
2nd September 2015 - That Email
timeEd32: If this were a new owner and a new board with no prior history with us, this transfer window and that email would indicate a very good start towards a new era. Given what's transpired over the last eight years people can't be blamed for thinking they are just a bunch of liars. I'd like to think it is a new start, mainly because I don't have the energy to feel miserable about us anymore, but only time will tell.
lovejoy: Talk is cheap, let's see what the next 18 months or so brings. They're talking, which is a nice change. Happy with how things are going to be honest, but still cautious, because with this lot, you simply have to be.
Michael Martin - True Faith: The spin from the club and its partners in the media is that United may invest £100 million over the next three windows though no-one from the club is substantiating any of that. We now know what we have until January at the earliest but United seldom spend serious money in January as a rule so its likely it for the season. There is a lot of talk about having made investments in quality rather than quantity and so on and so forth. Is there enough quality and quantity at Newcastle United to make a significant improvement on last season’s dire showing?
True Faith: Ashley hasn’t invested, just spent the money in the bank. Last season was so fucked they’d need a magic wand to put it right in one summer. Another defender and striker would have made it a lot better. Getting rid of the fringe players would have been a plus. It seems we are trying to get good money for players we should really be giving away. Was the summer spend an indicator of a new strategy or a one time response to last season’s woes? I still think we buy what we think can be turned into a profit rather than what we actually need. We are bottom 3, our new striker is out for 3 games, we are collecting yellows at a rate of knots. Everyone, apart from Sunderland are stronger than last year and the newly promoted teams can play a bit of football and get results. Lucky to finish above relegation.
2nd September 2015 - A Few Key Messages
An email communication to Newcastle supporters from Managing Director Lee Charnley has updated fans on the latest club activity and future intentions. The following is a brief summary of the content.
Spending: Our wage bill for the year to 30th June 2016 will increase by a minimum of just under £9 million as a result of our activity during this transfer window. The net amount spent this summer is £52.6 million, with £51.5 million cash paid out.
Financial strength: The decisions we’ve made over the past few years have given us the financial strength to net spend significantly this summer, as well as retaining those key players who were in demand from other clubs. We’ll continue to spend on the squad moving forward and have no need or desire to sell our best players.
Strategy: Quality over quantity. We want the best young players available to us. We have brought in high calibre players that will make an immediate impact.
New board structure: The Board have worked very closely together during this summer window. We want a squad that is strong defensively, combined with plenty of creativity, attacking intent and flair. We are all of one mind when it comes to our vision for the squad.
Long term strategy: This is the start not the end. It will take time and number of windows to get where we want to be. We always knew that it would take more than one window to reshape and restructure.
Finances: We are in a very strong financial position. To allow us to continue in this vein, we need to ensure that the club’s finances remain just as healthy over the coming years. We ask that you trust us in this process. We want our club to progress and be the best it can possibly be.
On Steve McLaren: We have set Steve a target of a top eight finish and to win a trophy. Everyone at the club is driving hard towards that goal. I have complete faith that what he and his team are implementing will give us the best possible chance of success.
A new chapter: I know that some of you feel a divide has opened up between the club and the supporters. We accept responsibility for the things we have done, or not done, to contribute to this. Often our mistake has been that we’ve not communicated well enough with you and I assure you going forward, this is something we will do better.
A red card on Saturday for the brainless Mitrovic
29th August 2015 - The Inevitable
nufc.com:
Aleksandar Mitrovic continued his brainless start to his Toon career with a sixteenth minute dismissal that has looked inevitable since he first appeared in a black and white shirt and instantly took out an opponent.
Stuart Traynor - The Chronicle: It was the Serbian’s third reckless tackle in four Premier League games. All were punished. Saturday’s stamp into Coquelin’s shins was the worst of the lot. It was a dangerous tackle. It was a red card. It cost Newcastle the game.
Ian Wright: Marriner got the decision to send off Aleksandar Mitrovic absolutely spot on. He went in over the top on Coquelin with his studs showing. It didn't matter whether that happened after 16 minutes or 86. It was an automatic red card. For Newcastle fans to accuse Marriner of spoiling the game is crazy. Blame Mitrovic for that.
Florian Thauvin looking to create
29th August 2015 - Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 12.45pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Mbemba, Coloccini, Anita (Perez 72), Colback, Sissoko (Cisse 78), Wijnaldum, Thauvin (De Jong 87), Mitrovic - Subs not used: Darlow, Taylor, Tiote, Obertan.
Red card: Mitrovic (16) - Attendance: 50,388
Steve McClaren: "They were magnificent. You can’t win with 10 men. All we could do is show spirit and fight, they showed that in abundance. I couldn’t fault the team. It was not a dirty game and we've not kicked them off the park. We have to be hard to play against. We have to build that reputation. People have to know it will not be an easy game against Newcastle. That means being hard to beat, solid, strong and organised. It was a harsh red card. It was clumsy, he stood on his foot. We are not looking at the Premier League table until after 10 games. We now have a breather and we will come back after the internationals, hope everybody is fit and we will go again.”
Arsene Wenger: "Newcastle decided to make the game quite physical. We had to keep our nerve and not become aggressive as well. I thought we did that well. Newcastle maybe wanted to stop us from moving the ball quickly. They tried that from the start. Mitrovic went a bit overboard. It was a red card. He didn't play the ball at all. They defended well. They showed why they didn't concede at Manchester United. In the end we are happy to win 1-0 and to have the three points."
nufc.com: An ill disciplined start by Steve McClaren's side saw Sissoko booked inside the first three minutes for leaving his foot in on Monreal. Minutes later Mitrovic scraped his studs down the shin of Coquelin and Marriner reached for his back pocket to show the striker a straight red card. Bookings for Mbemba and Thauvin swiftly followed. The ten men made it to the break on level terms but having managed only one off target shot from Sissoko. Vurnon Anita was next into the book after receiving a series of warnings before the break and Marriner also showed Wijnaldum a card, presumably for passing comment. United defended resolutely for the remainder of the half and despite bringing on Siem de Jong, Papiss Cisse and Ayoze Perez, failed to register a single shot on target for the second successive game. There was no lack of spirit and commitment from the team. Keeping 11 men on the park though is becoming a major concern for Steve McClaren, whose side currently have the worst red card record in the division and are also collecting yellow cards at a rate of knots.
Michael Martin - True Faith: Arsenal’s play was excellent. They are a million miles better than us. They are a team who are really good to watch and on the balance of play, I have no complaint, them picking up three points. Arsenal should have had a penalty in the first half as they attacked the Leazes End. Mitrovic’s sending off? You cannot separate it from the yellow card Marriner gave to Sissoko only minutes earlier. Both were for the same offence but one is a yellow and the other a red. That’s a nonsense. No doubt both were fouls. The majority of the United faithful stayed to the final whistle and applauded the team off. Many felt we had been the victims of unjust and incompetent refereeing but had failed to crumble and fall on the end of a good hiding as we unquestionably would have done had Pardew and especially Carver been in the dug out. I believe the home support recognised McClaren’s progress with this team. As was demonstrated at Old Trafford last week our team looks more defensively organised this season than it has for a number of years. Remember in successive weeks Manchester United and Arsenal have failed to score against us. We will spend the international break in the bottom three and we know goals could be in more plentiful supply as could creativity. This is a team that is showing positive signs. There is reason to believe things are getting better. McClaren is earning our confidence.
28th August 2015 - A New Chapter?
Leazes Park Ender - The Mag: It has not even been three months but the John Carver era already feels light years away. I shudder to think what may have happened had Carver been hired full time. One word: chaos. Already we're seeing much better levels of professionalism. The noises coming from the squad during pre-season hinted they were all much happier with a new coaching team. There are some decent players in that dressing room and they all have a clean slate. I saw Carver’s recent appearance on Sky’s Goals on Sunday show. He was still unable or unwilling to grasp his own tactical shortcomings that cost us so dearly. I’m not suggesting the appointment of McClaren was a masterstroke but as things stand the signs are good.
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: Newcastle had to do something bold this summer and had the money to do so after years of under investing as there was little or no appetite for trying to be anything more than secure in mid table. There has been a refreshing boldness in recruitment and a freshness under a new head coach after the toxic end to Alan Pardew’s reign and the embarrassment of John Carver’s caretaker spell.
27th August 2015 - Sheffield Wednesday Cup Tie Update
Our third round Capital One Cup tie at home to Sheffield Wednesday has now been confirmed for Wednesday 23rd September 2015 with a 7.45pm kick-off.
25th August 2015 - Capital One Cup Third Round Draw
Newcastle have been drawn at home in the third round of the Capital One Cup. We will face Sheffield Wednesday with the tie to be played the week commencing 21st September 2015.
Mike Williamson heads home the fourth
25th August 2015 - Newcastle United 4 Northampton Town 1
Capital One Cup 2nd Round - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 7.45pm
Team: Darlow, Janmaat, Haidara (Toney 78), Lascelles, Williamson, Tiote, Gouffran, Aarons, De Jong, Thauvin (Mitrovic 65), Perez (Colback 72) - Subs not used: Dummett, Wijnaldum, Mbemba, Elliot.
Scorers: Thauvin (3), De Jong (8), Janmaat (56), Williamson (63) - Attendance: 26,923
Steve McClaren: "This was always going to be a difficult game. We started well and should have had three or four before half-time. Overall it was a professional job. People got minutes, people showed what they could do. A great workout for us. The squad is coming together very nicely. The movement of the front four was great. Attacking wise we looked more of a threat than we have done in previous games. The crowd have probably gone away pleased. To get almost 27,000 was great."
On Florian Thauvin: "I thought he was very good. He has been terrific in training and he showed his quality on the night. There were some great deliveries. He can score and assist and that is going to be a big asset for us."
nufc.com: Comfortable progress into the third round. An inspirational display from Florian Thauvin handed Steve McClaren his first victory as Magpies boss. The French winger marked his home debut by scoring the opening goal, had another disallowed and supplied assists for the other three goals, an excellent night's work. The main objectives of the evening were achieved. Progression to the next round in 90 minutes with no injuries and pitch time to help sharpen fitness.
Leazes Park Ender: For the first time since 2010 we witnessed a cup tie where we were able to boss a team from a lower division with relative comfort. Unheard of under Alan Pardew.
"The defending and discipline was superb."
22nd August 2015 - Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Old Trafford, Manchester - 12.45pm
Team: Krul, Mbemba, Haidara, Coloccini, Taylor, Colback, Anita, Wijnaldum, Obertan (Thauvin 69), Perez (Tiote 78), Mitrovic (Cisse 88) - Subs not used: Darlow, Williamson, De Jong, Aarons.
Attendance: 75,354
Steve McLaren: "We're disappointed. We really could have nicked it. We had the chances but didn't take them. We're far from where we want to be and there a lot of areas we need to improve on but we'll get better as the weeks go on. This Manchester United team could have been two or three up in the first 20 minutes. We survived that and it made the game a different story. The defending and discipline was superb."
nufc.com: Steve McClaren's side battled hard, rode their luck and took a point. The confidence and organisation sadly missing at the Liberty Stadium was evident here in all areas of the pitch. Aleksandar Mitrovic put in an excellent shift and provided a physical presence up front that has been lacking since Andy Carroll's departure. Newcastle's main focus was on containment. However Mitrovic did hit the crossbar with a fine header and Thauvin was just a stud away from connecting with a Papiss Cisse cross in added time.
True Faith: A bit more like it. A solid strong display. We rode our luck but we deserved a point against a very average Manchester United team.
"One of the best young players in Europe."
20th August 2015 - Florian Thauvin Signs On
Newcastle have signed Florian Thauvin from Marseille. The 22 year old French winger has committed to a five year contract. Florian, who was identified as a potential signing by chief scout, Graham Carr, more than two years ago, will wear the number 20 shirt. As part of the deal to bring Thauvin to St. James’ Park, Remy Cabella heads the other way on loan until the end of the 2015/16 campaign. Marseille have an obligation to buy the player at the end of the season subject to certain criteria being met.
Florian Thauvin: "I am delighted to be a Newcastle United player. I am very happy to be here. It is a big honour to know that Newcastle have been after me for such a long time and that they wanted me that much. I am looking forward to playing for the team."
Steve McLaren: "I am delighted we have been able to sign Florian. He is a player the club have been watching for a long time. He is an exciting, creative talent who can score goals and make assists, one of the best young players in Europe. A perfect signing for this club. We believe he will have a very bright future at Newcastle."
17th August 2015 - Northampton Town Cup Tie Update
Our second round Capital One Cup tie at home to Northampton Town has now been confirmed for Tuesday 25th August 2015 with a 7.45pm kick-off.
13th August 2015 - Capital One Cup Second Round Draw
Newcastle have been given a home tie in the second round of the Capital One Cup. Northampton Town will be our opponents with the tie to be played the week commencing 24th August 2015.
Janmaat is an idiot
15th August 2015 - Swansea City 2 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Liberty Stadium, Swansea - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Mbemba, Coloccini, Anita, Colback, Sissoko (Taylor 46), Wijnaldum, Obertan (Mitrovic 82), Cisse (Aarons 54) - Subs not used: Darlow, Williamson, Tiote, Perez.
Red Card: Janmaat (41) - Attendance: 20,678
Steve McClaren: "We need to keep 11 players on the field."
Garry Monk: "We showed maturity when they went to 10 men. We didn't force the game but took the openings when they came. You could see their tactics was basically try and kick Montero and full credit to the referee for spotting it straight away. Quite rightly the player was sent off in the end."
Steve McClaren response: "I would dispute that. Our team is a football team, not kickers. I thought the red card was harsh, it was a little tug. I thought the referee could have been lenient."
Daryl Janmaat: "The first yellow card was clear. The second one, I lost the ball, he ran past me and I pulled him back. It was stupid of me. Trying to win with ten men at Swansea is almost impossible. I have to apologise to my teammates and the supporters."
Twitter: The clubs official page carried the following during its live text commentary of the game - (77 minutes) Former NUFC winger Wayne Routledge is on for Swansea in place of Montero, who has led the Magpies a merry dance this afternoon.
True Faith: Janmaat is an idiot. When he picked up his first booking, he refused to walk over to referee Jones. Jones blew his whistle 3 or 4 times. Janmaat made a public display of being unhappy with the ref. Both bookings were collected in the opponents part of the pitch with our goal under no immediate threat. So stupid, pointless, needless and unprofessional. He knows when his ban is up he’ll be back in the side. Janmaat currently has absolutely no competition for his place. There’s absolutely no pressure on him at all. There isn’t another first team right back on the books of one of Europe’s wealthiest clubs (revenue wise). There is a major doubt over Janmaat’s professional attitude and character. Really poor. Not good enough. Plenty of questions for the new head coach to answer.
nufc.com: United lost their seventh successive away game as they were again found out by a Swansea side who almost sauntered to victory. It's easy to write off today given we were a man short for over half of the game but it's important to state we were woeful at full strength and just content to look on as Swansea retained possession. United were almost non existent as an attacking force. Janmaat's first foul was reckless and there were other apparent attempts made by the Dutchman to pick up another booking before his inevitable red card on 40 minutes. He looked determined to get himself sent off all afternoon. Steve McClaren had already instructed substitute Steven Taylor to warm up when our kamikaze right back gave the referee no alternative than to show a second yellow. A brainless dismissal. One point from the first two games leaves McClaren's side a miserable but familiar fifteenth in the table with any feelgood factory generated from the opening day point against Southampton eradicated and unwelcome reminders of last season very evident. There's still time to kick start the second part of our desperately needed transfer activity in this window. Seeing how we go and having another look at Christmas doesn't tally with the words of our glorious leader back in May.
Shields Gazette: It wasn’t good enough from Newcastle. There is much work still to be done and further recruits desperately needed. The red card didn’t change the outcome of the game or alter it in anyway. Newcastle were dominated by a strong Swansea side from the first minute.
"It’s great if you can score on your debut."
9th August 2015 - Newcastle United 2 Southampton 2
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 1.30pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Mbemba, Coloccini, Anita (Tiote 68), Colback, Sissoko, Wijnaldum (De Jong 81), Obertan, Cisse (Mitrovic 75) - Subs not used: Darlow, Taylor, Aarons, Perez.
Scorers: Cisse (42), Wijnaldum (48) - Attendance: 49,019
Steve McLaren: "Last season has gone. I am pleased because what I have seen is a great foundation we can build on. That’s what I said to the players. It would have been a travesty if we had lost. I thought for 75 minutes the team were excellent. I was absolutely delighted with what I saw. Wijnaldum was excellent and scored a great goal. Can we get better? Most definitely. There’s no letting up. If you don’t prepare or recover properly then you aren’t right for next week and we have another tough game against Swansea."
Gini Wijnaldum: "It is harder than the Dutch League but I like it. First I want to play good games. I want to score goals, make action and show the people how good I can play football. As a team we must win a lot of games to rank higher than we did last year. It’s great if you can score on your debut. I wanted to celebrate the goal with the fans. I read a lot of good stories about the fans and the atmosphere and today I see it with my own eyes. I enjoyed it very much today. It’s sad that we don’t win the game."
nufc.com: A mixed day that saw McClaren's Magpies come from behind to take the lead with goals either side of the break only to allow the Saints back in and almost gift them victory. The black and whites started brightly and played well at times but McClaren will have seen plenty of things to work on and areas to strengthen. The defence failed to deal with the sort of crosses that undid United last season. Wijnaldum had a fine debut, capped by a fabulous headed goal and Mbemba gave an athletic display in the centre of defence that promises much. A draw was probably a fair result.
True Faith: The McLaren era started with a decent point with a lot of positives and a few causes for alarm for good measure. We played well for large spells but defended poorly in crucial moments and realistically created little for ourselves other than the goals. We saw enough of the two starting debutants to have liked what we saw.
Michael Martin - True Faith: I had us as the better side overall, particularly in the first half. We tired towards the end and I felt both managers were content to share the points. I liked the look of Chancel Mbemba. He was strong, quick and aware. Hopefully he’ll offer a physicality we have lacked at the back. Georginio Wijnaldum looks a very handy player and it was great he got off the mark in front of The Gallowgate with a picture book goal, courtesy of an Obertan cross that was delivered to perfection. I was pleased to see us doing more pressing and winning more tackles. There seemed a bit more commitment and that’s obviously a massive difference given how many games we came away from last season questioning players’ integrity. There were some familiar weaknesses however. We still don’t seem to be able to take a corner very well and conceding two headers is likely to have been noted by every Premier League club analyst in the country. Expect our box to be peppered with crosses until we can sort this out. We’re also going to have to stop the delivery as well. That seemed a bit too easy today. At the end of last season the expectation was we’d bring six players in for the first team and so far we’ve achieved 50% of that target. This was a steady if unspectacular start. McClaren needs more players of a better standard to those that almost got the club relegated last season. More needs to be done in the transfer market.
7th August 2015 - Encouraging
Steve McLaren: "No excuses. We’re ready. We’ve got to take the game to Southampton and make sure we give the crowd something to cheer about and hopefully get the result."
7th August 2015 - Ashley's Bitch
Speaking in The Telegraph newspaper former manager Alan Pardew has spoken about his frustrations with the clubs transfer policy during his time at St. James' Park.
Alan Pardew: At Crystal Palace I have full control of transfers. That was important to me after Newcastle because there were players who went in there who were for the club’s purposes and not for my first XI purposes. That’s frustrating. When you have a way of playing and there’s a player you have to take who’s a better financial proposition than one who fits better then that’s tough. I didn’t have a problem with it at Newcastle. That was the agenda and it was explained to me when I went there.
Michael Martin - True Faith: Pardew confirmed what we have been saying for five years. The club brings in players to put them in the shop window and sell on at a profit and neglects to build a team that can improve and which can compete to the greatest of its ability. Pardew put up with that for five years, frequently told us that wasn’t happening, when clearly it was and he was complicit in a process that degenerated our football club. We all know if Pardew was chocolate he’d lick himself. Dedicating wins to Mike Ashley? Abrogating responsibility for defeats onto supporters for being too enthusiastic? Conniving in the banning of journalists? Failing to challenge Ashley on investment as any manager with a set of balls on him might have done? He’s not a bloke I have a lot of respect for as a man or a manager. He was Ashley’s bitch.
5th August 2015 - Doing The Minimum
Dan Richardson - The Mag:
We are just four days from our Premier League new season opener against Southampton. We’ve got a new manager and a completely new coaching team. We’ve signed three new players for a combined £36 million. Why do I feel so numb about the start of this season? Why don’t I have the excitement? It’s the slow draining impact of Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United vision. It’s the knowledge that the decisions made are not for on field success but for financial gain. Promises of investment in the playing staff, ambition to achieve the top 8 and a cup run, can’t inspire. Those are just words. We had the second worst defence in the Premier League last season, conceding a huge 63 goals. What have we done? We’ve signed a 20 year old from the Belgian league. We’ve signed two other players, the third and fourth most expensive signings in our history but you can’t ignore it’s more raiding of weaker European leagues. Nothing proven within the Premier League. Recent quotes from McClaren leave little hope for further additions. The addition of a new manager? McClaren is a reasonably safe but uninspiring appointment. Basically, this summer we’ve done the minimum to ensure we shouldn’t be at risk of relegation. The club still take the fans for mugs, we’re a country mile from top 8 or challenging for a trophy. It’s my gut feeling that the next disaster is just around the corner.
An Impossible task for Steve McLaren?
22nd July 2015 - A Shake Up Needed
Dean Wilkins - The Mag: Before flying to America, Steve McClaren expressed his displeasure at what had been arranged for pre season. McClaren said that the games in the States were ‘something we have to deal with’ and were all about ‘discipline and organisation, players knowing their jobs’. I’d love to know what he thinks of what he has been landed with now, in terms of a makeshift team against a Portland Timbers’ second team with the ‘discipline and organisation’ to let in four goals. In terms of ‘players knowing their jobs’? Right back Bigirimana, left back Aarons and centre half Ferguson?
Before McClaren’s appointment, in official statements the club made it clear that the new Head Coach would have very limited power and basically just have the job of coaching the players he was given. The lunatics had most definitely taken over the asylum. Let’s hope that this has been well and truly torn up now because there are clearly some clueless people who have made poor decisions about many things, including this pre season.
Steve McClaren needs to be given total power to do things his way and not accept any nonsense that is thrown at him as Pardew and Carver did before him. The club needs to ramp up the levels of professionalism by many notches if Steve McClaren isn’t going to face an impossible task. The whole club needs a shake up and hopefully the former England boss is the man to do it. Promising as the signings of Mitrovic and Wijnaldum appear, it is no good bringing players in with great potential who will then be wasted because the club is permanently in chaos.
Ayoze Perez bursts clear versus Portland Timbers
21st July 2015 - Portland Timbers (2nd XI) 4 Newcastle United 3
Friendly - Providence Park, Portland, Oregon - 7.30pm local time
Team: Darlow (Woodman 46), Bigirimana, Aarons, Satka, Ferguson, Aarons, Abeid (Anita 65), Wijnaldum (Janmaat 46), Sissoko (Obertan 46), Perez, Gouffran (de Jong 75), Cisse (Armstrong 46) - Subs not used: none.
Scorers: Wijnaldum (5), Aarons (75, 76) - Attendance: 20,000 approx
Steve McLaren: "The key thing was that everyone came through safely. We’ve more or less done that. We had no centre halves really. They couldn’t play on this surface and quite a few only played a small amount of time because of troubles they get. That was always going to be difficult."
Joe Dixon - The Mag: Sloppy defending and outplayed at times, Newcastle as ever looked weak in the air and conceded two goals from headers. To a large extent results don’t matter in friendlies but performances do and this was awful. Plenty for Steve McClaren and his coaches to think about. McClaren had earlier said he wasn’t impressed that he had been landed with a pre season trip to America saying he thought pre season in Europe provided better preparation. He must have been shaking his head at the choice of venues with worries about the artificial pitch.
nufc.com: A makeshift lineup was deservedly eclipsed by a Portland Timbers second XI. Portland exploited our lack of physicality to score three times in seventeen minutes. The collapse from a back four farcically featuring Shane Ferguson in central defence and a lack of urgency elsewhere on the field brought Steve McClaren down from the stand to the touchline before the interval. Concerns over the effect that the artificial surface may have had on our squad saw Mike Willamsion, Steven Taylor, Jamaal Lascelles, Massadio Haidara and Fabricio Coloccini left out in favour of a scratch back four in which rookie Lubo Satka was the only recognised defender. Maybe next time we embark on a tour, ensure we schedule games on a playing surface that we want to play on. Echoing 2011, this again looks like a poorly conceived tour itinerary.
"I am so happy to have signed for Newcastle."
21st July 2015 - Aleksandar Makes It Two
Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has become our second capture of the summer having signed on a five year deal from Anderlecht for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be in the region of £11.5 million. In his two seasons with the Belgian club the 20 year old Serbia striker has scored 44 goals in 90 games. The deal is subject to Aleksandar receiving the appropriate visa.
Aleksandar Mitrovic: "I am so happy to have signed for Newcastle. I visited the stadium yesterday and it's amazing. I have played in a lot of impressive stadiums in my career but St. James' Park is so big, I can't wait to play my first game here. I know how passionate the fans are. There will be pressure here, for sure, but I like pressure. This is a club with a very big history and the fans are a big part of that. Alan Shearer is a hero of mine. I hope I can play like him for this club. It will be an honour."
Steve McClaren: "A fantastic signing for us. We've fought off a lot of competition to secure a top talent. Aleksandar will help us get to where we want to go. As a board we have worked hard to make it happen."
Debut boy Georginio Wijnaldum versus Sacremento Republic
18th July 2015 - Sacramento Republic 0 Newcastle United 1
Friendly - Bonney Field, Sacremento, California - 8.00pm local time
Team: Krul (Woodman 46), Janmaat, Haidara, Lascelles (Taylor 46), Williamson, Colback, Sissoko, Anita, Cisse (Perez 69), De Jong (Wijnaldum 69), Obertan (Aarons 69) - Subs not used: Darlow, Abeid, Satka, Ferguson, Bigirimana, Gouffran.
Scorer: Kiffe (48 og) - Attendance: 11,442
Steve McClaren: "Sacramento were very good. They played good football. They had good ability. First half we were too deep and had no tempo. Second half we were decent on the ball and pressed a little better and got the goal. We had ten men after an unbelievable decision. There was no malice in the challenge, he wasn’t looking at the man he was looking at the ball. It was dissapointing."
nufc.com: Newcastle overcame lower league opposition but there was little to give cause for optimism. This stale display was poorer than the one in Milwaukee. Even allowing for the heat, we scratched about to no good purpose and looked to have little clue about how we were going to score. As Steve McClaren attempts to impose his own ideas and tactics on the squad, these games are a good exercise for him in discovering that he inherited an uninspiring collection of ordinary players lacking any spark.
"It is always nice to score."
14th July 2015 - Club Atlas 2 Newcastle United 1
Friendly - Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - 8.00pm local time
Team: Krul (Darlow 46), Janmaat (Bigirimana 72), Haidara (Ferguson 72), Williamson, Lascelles, Anita, Colback, Sissoko (Obertan 72), De Jong (Perez 72), Gouffran (Aarons 72), Cisse (Armstrong 72) - Sub not used: Woodman.
Scorer: Sissoko (45) - Attendance: 21,246
Steve McLaren: "Club Atlas are ahead of us in terms of preparation. I think you saw that at the beginning of the game but it was a fantastic test for us. That’s what we needed. We were brave, courageous and wanted to play. We played good football all the way through. The first half was disappointing. We weren’t a very good team without the ball. We improved that in the second half. It took the boys time to adjust but once we did we dominated and created chances without scoring. End product we need."
Moussa Sissoko: "It is always nice to score. It was a good game against a good team. Steve McClaren has brought new tactics. I think he is a good manager. I hope we can do a good season together."
nufc.com: The combative Mexicans put United under pressure when not in possession and four bookings underlined the fact that there was little friendly about this encounter. Steve McClaren's side trailed to an eleventh minute Bergessio spot kick, Jamaal Lascelles the villain of the piece with a crude tackle. Bergessio doubled the lead six minutes later, beating Tim Krul with a first time lob. Only the crossbar prevented the Argentinean from completing an 11 minute treble as Atlas threatened to run riot. On the stroke of half time United did reduce the arrears with Colback intercepting a pass in the centre circle and playing a quick pass to Sissoko. His first time ball found the advancing Cisse and he then accepted the return ball before slipping it home from ten yards. United dominated the second half but there was to be no equaliser.
"I’m very happy to be here. This is a great team for me."
11th July 2015 - Gini Is The Right One For Us
Georginio Wijnaldum has become the third most expensive signing in our history after completing his move from PSV Eindhoven. The 24 year old Dutch international signed for a fee understood to be in the region of £14.4 million after agreeing a five year deal. After completing his transfer the midfielder was filmed reacting to the sight of St. James' Park. He could only utter the words ‘wow’ and ‘It’s amazing, even bigger than Feyenoord’, the club where he started his career. When asked if he was looking forward to playing there, the new man simply answered ‘yes, that’s for sure’.
Georginio Wijnaldum: "I’m delighted to be a Newcastle United player. I felt the time was right for me to move and the club have shown they really want me, so I’m very happy to be here. This is a great team for me and I can learn a lot. I can feel the trust from the trainer and the people who work here. They love that I’ve come and that gives me more confidence. That is why I want to play for Newcastle. It makes me proud. I come from a team that has been Champions to a team that was close to relegation. We must show that last year was an exception. I want to bring Newcastle back to where they belong. We must come higher in the league. We must go for the Europa League. That must be the start. Of course it is difficult to become champions but I think you must dare to dream."
Steve McLaren: "He is a very good player. Someone I know very well from my time in Holland. Gini has developed into a regular for his country. I would describe him as an all round player who has the energy and ability to get up and down the pitch, creating and scoring goals. He has lots of energy and a great tempo to his game. I believe Gini is the right one for us."
A Papiss Cisse penalty proves to be the winner
10th July 2015 - Gateshead 0 Newcastle United 1
Friendly - The International Stadium, Gateshead - 8.00pm
Team: Darlow (Woodman 46), Janmaat (Bigirimana 46), Haidara (Ferguson 46), Lascelles (Satka 46), Williamson (Good 46), Anita Tiote (46), Colback (Armstrong 46), Gouffran (Aarons 46), Cisse (Perez 46), Sissoko (Riviere 46), De Jong (Obertan 46) - Sub not used: Vuckic.
Scorer: Cisse (6) - Attendance: 5,258
Steve McClaren: "Since I have been here I can’t fault the staff, they have been organised and the players have been great. Remy Cabella picked up a knock on his thigh. He is a doubt for America."
nufc.com: Steve McClaren may have enjoyed a winning start to his Magpies career but the display he witnessed from his new side will have given him a measure of the challenges ahead. For a top flight side not to score a goal from open play against an unimpressive Conference outfit is a mild concern. United fielded entirely different sides in both halves but familiar frustrations were never far from view. If the United head coach needed any evidence of the shortcomings of the squad he has inherited, then seeing Gabriel Obertan gallop forward with no end product, Yoan Gouffran wander around at half pace and Riviere confirm that his first instinct in front of goal is to close his eyes will have been most instructive. Try selling them.... This game is routinely contested between the Gateshead first team and Newcastle reserves who usually make a better fist of it than this lot did. Our last two senior visits here ended in 4-0 and 8-0 victories.
25th June 2015 - Getting It Right?
Craig Hope - dailymail.co.uk: Newcastle United is a football club fighting a never ending war. Be it a civil war with the Toon Army, internal battles with dissenting players or their own invasion of the independent press, making an ally of one publication and an enemy of the rest. It all makes for the perception that St. James’ Park is a toxic battleground best avoided and that is exactly what they could discover to their cost this summer.
Steve McClaren is more than two weeks into his Tyneside tenure. In that time he has invited several coaches to join his backroom team. Each, however, has rejected the offer. Already McClaren has been pitched into an unnecessary battle, fighting to overcome the negative light in which Mike Ashley’s club has long since cast itself. The failure to assemble the support staff must be a source of embarrassment. McClaren had spoken of Monday gone as an unofficial deadline.
McClaren had wanted QPR’s Charlie Austin to be the marquee signing which announced a bright new dawn at Gallowgate. Such was the club’s confidence in landing the striker, their preferred media partner ran with a back page story declaring that the deal would be done within a week. Austin, though, is said to have reservations, not to mention several other options. That could well become a familiar tale during a close season which was supposed to herald a new era of investment, ambition, openness and engagement. Instaed, it started with a door slammed shut in the face of fans when the club refused to allow their new manager to speak to them via the free press. Doors slamming shut is something which could become a recurring theme as the summer progresses.
Newcastle, a club on a sound financial footing with one of the best stadiums and fanbases in Europe, should have players and coaches queuing up to join them. Rather, it looks as if Newcastle are at the back of the queue right now. They are one of only four top flight clubs yet to make a signing. Early days, yes, but you’re soon playing catch up in this game and that is the fear of supporters. Sportsmail spoke to the agent of one reported target this week and he hinted that he would advise against a move to the North East should definite interest emerge. There is, of course, still six weeks until the new Premier League season kicks off and a further three until the transfer window closes. Judgement on the squad will be reserved until that point.
McClaren is said to be concerned at the negativity which needlessly accompanied his non unveiling. The former England boss said he was convinced that Newcastle was the club for him when he heard Ashley speak of a change in policy on Tyneside. Indeed, the owner’s interview the final day of the campaign was the sole piece of positive public relations in an otherwise shambolic season but talk of getting business done early has already been replaced by soundbites of 'patience' and 'getting it right.'
"Ashley shows no passion for the club."
23rd June 2015 - All Ashley Is Doing Is Taking
Shields Gazzette: Pool player and Newcastle United fan Brian ‘Buzzer’ Halcrow will compete in the World Eight Ball Championship in Blackpool. A former world number eight and USA circuit star, Halcrow had been out of the game for seven years until making a successful comeback to the UK Pool Tour this season. He used to be a season ticket holder at St. James’ Park along with his sons but they gave up their seats in the Sir John Hall Stand last summer in protest at the Ashley regime.
Brian Halcrow: "I made the right decision. Ashley shows no passion for the club. United have an average Premier League gate of over 50,000. We finished in the bottom six, 31 points off the Champions League places. This is the height of under achievement. I had been watching the games since I was 12 and I used to love going with my sons but we got sick of watching a dross side. We were only there to fork out for the tickets and the replica shirts. All me and people like me were doing was contributing to Mike Ashley’s money making machine. All Ashley is doing is taking and taking. He is giving us fans nothing, which is why everybody is turning on him. He needs to change his attitude and give us Newcastle United fans something to be proud of."
19th June 2015 - No Such Thing As Bad Publicity
Notts Toon: For millions of people there is really only one choice. Sports Direct. The reason is simple, it’s cheap. The aggressive pricing, huge range and almost total market domination has seen competitors driven out of business, others facing reduced profits, all of them defeated by the ‘stack em high, sell em cheap’ ethos of Mike Ashley.
The problem for Newcastle United? It is the absolute antithesis of what is required to be successful in football. There is a huge difference between footballing success and financial success. Mike Ashley is extremely successful in his running of the club, if his aim, as was suggested by Sir John Hall, is to use the club solely as an advertising vehicle for Sports Direct and every single fan, even those like me who do not give him a penny, are guilty of helping him by association.
There are degrees of complicity, and whilst I may not be actively involved in the handing over of my money, I am certainly guilty of making a noise (along with many others) and drawing attention to the plight of the club. So if the old saying of ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’ holds true, then even we dissenters are working for the Sports Direct advertising machine. What other choice do we have though?
Back to the running of the football club and it is plain to see that there was never any serious intention to bring in any genuine, proven quality to the squad. Players fitting this description cost serious money, in excess of £10m, and the club shows absolutely no intention of spending that sort of money and spending it the number of times required to make any meaningful improvement to the squad.
We have gambled for years now on loans, cheap imports, youngsters, other clubs reserves, lower league players and where has that taken us? Any time we have unearthed a good player they have been sold for profit, or left for pastures new, for a genuine chance of success and a pay packet more befitting of the industry. Years of this insane policy has left a squad bloated with players who simply are not good enough. Thanks to this policy we have squad places taken up by bodies who will never be Premier League footballers, and like Einstein’s theoretical definition of insanity, it looks as though the policy will continue unabated.
The time has arrived when only serious and real investment will see the club’s fortunes improve, but seemingly the club has no intention of doing this, and instead those who found hope in the owner’s scripted interview will find scant comfort in his hollow words, as the chickens come home to roost for this once great institution. I will not shed a tear for either Ashley or Newcastle United if next season goes the same as the last, or worse.
I keep mentioning and remembering the statement containing the cryptic statement about the owner not selling until “at least Summer 2016”, a statement which I believe did not receive the attention it deserved. I think that here we saw the true intentions for the club, to have one last suck on the Premier League teat before being discarded like an empty bottle. What should stick in the throat of every single Newcastle United supporter is that we have allowed this to happen. We are as easily swayed by cheap and long term season ticket deals as the customers of a pound shop reaching for a value four pack of baked beans.
18th June 2015 - Season Tickets
Ross Tweddell - whatculture.com: Any disgruntled Newcastle United fan, who cancelled their season ticket during the utter mess that was the campaign just past, myself included, would have received a letter from the club in the last week or so.
Steven Tickle - Ticket Operations Manager: "With the appointment of our new head coach, Steve McClaren, we are looking ahead to the 2015/16 campaign with genuine optimism and excitement. The club are targeting a top eight finish and will also be giving the domestic cups a real go in the hope we can bring a trophy back to Newcastle. We are already working hard to strengthen the team and are confident we can deliver the exciting and attacking football we all desire with the team challenging at the right end of the table."
With that claim the club announced that the deadline for renewals had been extended until Friday June 19th. A lot of fans have done what they were threatening to do and turn their backs on The Magpies. Even Mike Ashley was forced to come out and give an interview. The owner painted an even prettier picture than Tickle’s letter but almost a month after those claims, what have we seen to suggest anything has changed? We’ve seen players go and no one come in. It seems to be business as usual at St. James’ Park. Let’s hope this changes in the coming weeks or the stadium could be more under capacity than we’ve ever seen before.
TalkOfTheTyne.co.uk: It's obvious from the shite coming out of Ashley's PR machine they are genuinely worried. There must be a few thousand not renewing at least. I'd love it if it was ten thousand. Love it.
17th June 2015 - 2015/16 Fixtures Released
Fixtures for the forthcoming league campaign were released today. St. James' Park will host our opener against Southampton on 8th August. Next up is a trip to Wales to face Swansea City, followed by Manchester United at Old Trafford and Arsenal at home. The festive period sees us play Everton at home on Boxing Day and then trips to West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal before facing Manchester United at home in mid January. We face Sunderland away on 24th October with the return fixture scheduled for 19th March. Our final league match of the season sees us take on Tottenham Hotspur at St. James' Park.
Steve McLaren: "We have a home game first, against a top eight side and a very good team, so it is an exciting fixture for us. You have to go into every game to win it and believing you can get three points every time you set foot on the pitch. It's a cliche but we will take each match, one at a time."
16th June 2015 - One Step Forward Two Steps Back
Micky Quinn - The Chronicle: Steve McClaren cut an impressive figure after Newcastle United finally confirmed him last week. The club didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory over the whole thing. A classic example of the club taking one step forward and two steps back. Why didn’t they invite all the press boys in to speak to Steve? Locking out some just created more bad publicity. As if they needed that after the season just gone. When will they learn? I’m buoyed by having someone new at the helm. Now Ashley and Charnley have to make sure they don’t get left behind in the transfer market.
NUJ official statement: Newcastle United are at it again. Desperately over sensitive about what people are saying about them, their first reaction is to try to manage and manipulate press coverage instead of trying to give people some reason to say something more positive about them. Their problem, of course, is the football. If they were a bit better at playing football, their fans might have something more positive to say about them. But then, they have a lot of form for such childish behaviour. Who are they going to speak to next week and who are they going to blank? Who will they ask to be their new best friends and who will they turn their backs on? They should take care. To turn their backs on the sports reporters is to risk cutting themselves out of the conversation, driving themselves yet further towards irrelevance.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
30th May 2015 - Ashley Out
Jim Robertson - The Mag: Our club is rotten to the core, the need has never been greater to cleanse the club from top to bottom… which has to start at the very top
29 May 2015 - You've Had Six Months!
Lee Ryder - The Chronicle: Newcastle United are taking stock. Talks between Lee Charnley and what Mike Ashley called his “football board” are under way but with emotions running high from the end of a turbulent season the need to make the right decision has never been greater for Newcastle. A series of protests as the season faltered from new year onwards was a clear warning sign that supporters are tired of false dawns, too much caution with finances and in the eyes of some sections of fans, too many false promises. As news broke this week of Newcastle taking their time with their decision on the head coach the gut reaction of many was: “But you’ve had six months!”
It is believed that Carver and his backroom team left for their holidays this week knowing their futures are in the balance. They also departed without being told they haven’t got the nod. That situation is all ongoing. In the 20 games Carver took charge of there were three wins, four draws and 13 defeats including that horrific eight game run of successive defeats. Before he made the decision to keep Carver on until May Charnley said: “If I have to wait until the summer for what I believe is the right individual then I would rather wait than actually take someone now who I think isn’t the best fit.” Actions at St. James’ Park this summer must speak louder than words. Newcastle fans want to see change from the top. Write a few big cheques and start from afresh allowing the new manager to bring in his own staff.
28th May 2015 - Falling Sales?
Graham Porter - The Mag: Many supporters took Mike Ashley’s surprise televison appearance on Sunday as evidence of a desperate attempt to arrest a massive drop in season ticket renewals. An extended season ticket renewal deadline announced today suggests that the owner’s words haven’t caused a last minute stampede this week. Renewal packs were sent out back in March, surely if somebody was renewing then they would have done it by now. Unless of course they were waiting for a sign of major change at the club, rather than empty words. Ashley’s interview has been followed up with nothing in the way of action. Do you believe the club propaganda? Included in the club statement to season ticket holders: "Supporters are advised to return their forms quickly to avoid disappointment." Prepare to be disappointed one way or another.
25th May 2015 - Mike Ashley Please Listen This Time
Kevin Keegan: "I would put Michael Laudrup top of my list. What that would do is guarantee a certain type of football. What he did at Swansea is something the Newcastle fans want. They want to be entertained."
25 May 2015 - Fans Must Keep Speaking Out For Their Club
Mark Douglas - The Chronicle: Mike Ashley shifted the debate with his Sky interview but fans must keep the pressure on and Newcastle United must keep their promises. Having implored Mike Ashley to communicate for seven long years, it would be churlish to castigate him for doing just that at one of the most important points in Newcastle United’s Premier League era. But welcoming some long overdue acknowledgement of his role as custodian of the football club is a long way from being entirely satisfied with the inconsistent messages that was delivered in the mildest of interrogations. Ashley’s first interview must not be his last.
This was a quite extraordinary intervention that was cooked up in midweek in London. Ashley had spoken to close advisers and said that he felt that his attendance on Sunday would be a distraction to John Carver and the players. Those within the club who hold his attention suggested the opposite: his non-attendance had become an issue in a period where rebellion was gaining traction. So Ashley decided to come and went one step further on matchday by agreeing to a long standing request from Premier League paymasters Sky Sports to speak on camera.
David Craig, a client of Ashley’s PR adviser Keith Bishop, landed the interview. It was some scoop. The timing was lousy. Ashley chose to speak pre game, with Sky broadcasting the interview just 15 minutes before kick-off when virtually every United fan attending the match would have been inside the ground or around the perimeter. That he spoke to Sky, who help to make the club’s well defined financial model work, said a lot. He could have spoken at any time and to any number of official club outlets.
Why had he waited until now? There had been various points in the last year when this message has been needed. To mangle Ashley’s own analogy, this felt like closing the stable door after the horse had bolted. He said he took responsibility and then said the football board, basically Lee Charnley with some input from Graham Carr would be deciding on a head coach. He also said he wouldn’t leave until the club wins something, an incredible and incredulous statement. 60 years have passed since Newcastle did that.
But on his watch United have, for the first time, downgraded the Cups to the extent that Newcastle effectively have no chance of winning them. How does he marry those two things? If he is suggesting that has been the aim all along, is he disowning that statement? More likely it was a tacit admission that was wrong. It was only a few minutes but there were plenty of questions that were not posed. The recruitment blueprint? The free Sports Direct advertising? That Cup policy?
The club will begin next season on a more positive footing. Good players will be signed, a new head coach, most likely, will be appointed. That should not be the end of it. No one should be fooled into a quick judgement by what was said. It will be 12 months, at least, before we know whether the club will heed the warnings and invest in re-attaching their ties to the city and the people who have become tired of this regime’s recklessness.
Ashley’s biggest achievement here was changing the frame of the debate. Before yesterday people were asking how long it would be before Ashley would leave. Yesterday he shifted that slightly. Fans must not lose sight of the fact that they retain considerable power. It says a lot that Ashley’s first interview coincided with the eighth week of a campaign by fans calling for him to leave. Newcastle fans must keep speaking out for their club: it works.
25th May 2015 - Wilful Negligence
Michael Martin - True Faith: They did just enough to avoid catastrophe and remain a Premier League football club on the television gravy train. That’s all that matters isn’t it? For the second season in succession, Newcastle United has written off a full campaign. Written off the investment in tickets and season ticket cards through wilful negligence. Last season it was the bone headed decision to fail to act when the completely anticipated departure of Cabaye resulted in United declining to sign a replacement and rupturing the whole ethos of the team. This season it was entrusting the fortunes of the team to the woefully inadequate John Carver. This time the good ship Newcastle United sailed a bit too close to the Premier League relegation rocks than was close for comfort but managed to rouse itself and avoided an ignominious relegation to the Championship. Thank God that didn’t happen but it remains the third serious dalliance with relegation in the eight miserable years of Mike Ashley, not including the season spent outside of the top flight.
A million miles away from being united
24th May 2015 - Inspiring Confidence?
Martin Hardy - The Independent: The party lasted a mere 20 seconds. When referee Atkinson blew his whistle to signify the most miserable and inept of seasons had thankfully finished without the disaster of relegation, there had been celebration. Then the Gallowgate End, the heart of St. James’ Park, burst into song: “Get out of our club, get out of our club, you fat cockney bastard, get out of our club.” Banners were unfurled. “Same again next season,” read one. There was an attempted sit-in and many fans did stay but the relief that the misery was over propelled most to Tyneside’s watering holes. Reality looms. Newcastle United do not have the players, a manager or a board to inspire confidence that this situation will not be played out again in the future. It is a million miles away from being united.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley Ashley had issued a chilling warning to the Newcastle fans before a ball was kicked, promising, in a rare interview, to stay at the club until a trophy had been won. It is worth remembering two things. Firstly, a comment from former manager Alan Pardew, who ran from this mess as soon as he had the chance. “He sometimes can’t understand how it works and it confuses and upsets him and when he is upset he does things that aren’t brilliant for the football club.” Second, there are the findings of the Premier League arbitration panel back in 2008, after Kevin Keegan successfully sued the club for constructive dismissal. Officers of the club had made statements that Keegan had the final say on transfers that they later claimed were “simply untrue” and “nothing more than an exercise in public relations”, comments the panel found “profoundly unsatisfactory” and a reminder to take Newcastle statements with a pinch of salt.
Moussa Sissoko heads home the opener
24th May 2015 - Newcastle United 2 West Ham United 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Dummett, Coloccini, Williamson, Sissoko, Anita (Gouffran 88), Colback, Gutierrez, Riviere, Cisse - Subs not used: Woodman, R Taylor, Ameobi, Cabella, De Jong, Perez.
Scorers: Sissoko (54), Gutierrez (85) - Attendance: 52,094
John Carver: "I sit here now feeling like I have won the cup, that's what it feels like. I am not going anywhere unless they tell me I am going. I want this job. I have had assurances we are going to spend money this summer. We can't afford to get ourselves in this situation ever again. We all know we have made mistakes, everybody, and we have admitted those mistakes. I didn't know Mike did the interview beforehand. I didn't see it. I know Mike has come out and said he wants to win things and he is going nowhere. That good. As long as we get everybody together."
nufc.com: 85 days after they last managed to collect three points, United finally found a performance to repeat the feat and maintain their Premier League status for another season. A first win in eleven games. The response from those long suffering supporters was loud, proud and a timely reminder that a football club does still exist here. The breakthrough came from Sissoko, who of all the Newcastle players on show, owed this club something after below par efforts. With five minutes left, Carl Jenkinson unwittingly deflected a shot from Gutierrez past his own keeper at the Gallowgate End, six years to the day Damien Duff did exactly the same to send us down at Villa. Gutierrez peeled off his shirt and dashed to the halfway line and avoiding Carver's attempted high five, made an ear cupping gesture to the Directors Box and shouted something incomprehensible, possibly "wanker". Unbelievably this was the first time St. James' Park has witnessed a home win by more than one goal since May 2014. Yet another unrealistic demand from the supporters eh?
True Faith: Our support was magnificent. Barely without pause, the support was unremitting and solid. There was full on encouragement from every corner of St. James’ Park. I won’t say it was like the old days because that’s nonsense. When Newcastle United has truly needed support, it has always been there. It was there yesterday and I was proud to be amongst it. It was an indication of what our club can be about if those in the stands could believe in the direction the club was taking, if there was a belief the club, the city and the region was respected by those entrusted with the club’s stewardship. That the support holds Ashley and his minions in such open contempt was evident on the final whistle when with St. James' Park filled with its support, it broke into a spontaneous anti Ashley chant that came from the boots of most men, women and children in the ground. With the sense of relief sweeping over St. James’ Park it is perhaps understandable that the determined minority stayed behind to give vent to continuing unhappiness at Ashley’s running of United. It sent a message that there is a campaign group to continue to pursue change at Newcastle United and behind that there is one of the most clued up, respected and active Supporters Trusts in the country. Sadly, many of those who gave unremitting support to the Black & White cause yesterday will have been at St. James' Park for the last time as they have cancelled season ticket debits and vowed not to return until Ashley has gone. They, rightly will need to be convinced enough has changed for them to return. Only deeds will convince them of that.
24th May 2015 - Thoughts On The Ashley Interview
True Faith: Gratifying to hear Ashley give an interview and gratifying to hear Ashley take full responsibility for the club’s plight. But would the interview have happened but for the Ashley Out campaign and the attention drawn to how this man is running our club? It was less encouraging to hear Ashley apportion responsibility for making key appointments to Lee Charnley, a man as far out of his depth as John Carver. Promises of investment? I think we’ve all been here before. Back in 2007, only months after the takeover the man promised to invest £20 million on top of what the club generated. We heard Llambias quote a “five year plan” to be competing “for everything”. Then of course there was the small matter of being proven as liars in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. So, like many of you I’ll take some convincing.
Jamie Carragher:
"Let’s not get carried away. Why has it taken him so long? He’s said from now they are going to try and win a trophy, but why just now? Why not the day you first came in? He’s happy for the club to just float."
Alan Shearer: "Actions speak louder than words. Stop selling your best players, play your best teams in the cup competitions, give the fans a little bit of hope. He's got to learn how to run a football club properly and surround himself with people who know what it's all about. He's got to run it differently."
Kevin Keegan: "I think it's good news for Newcastle fans provided he keeps his word and invests in the club. He's put loads in but he's also taken money out. He certainly hasn't invested enough. I hope he delivers on his pre match interview because he's talked the talk and now he's got to walk the walk. Ashley has got the money. If someone could just explain to him that if you get this right, everything that's been against you, it will swing full circle. Anything can be done if everyone pulls the same way. This has been a club that's pulled itself apart this season. If Mike Ashley puts some investment in, in a year or two they could be clapping him into the stadium. He could be their hero. It's the mindset that's got to change. Maybe he can turn it around, yes. He had people between him and me that he didn't need. I told him that. That's why it didn't work. I know the guy he's got running the club - Lee Charnley - and he needs someone else with more experience."
nufc.com: Timing and content were questionable but underlined an awareness of the dire consequences of not doing so. It's hard to imagine Ashley breaking his silence had we been safely in mid table and fan discontent wasn't as clearly evident. For whatever reason and it may be as simple as the number of cancelled season tickets, he's spoken and in doing so answered one criticism of his regime. Whether what he said proves to be any more accurate than previous discredited utterances from this administration remains to be seen, but a sure fire way of undermining himself would be to leave John Carver in post, regardless of what Ashley may claim about having no part in the decision. For a new manager to accept the existing backroom staff would be to dilute the desired effect to the point of ridiculousness. That new broom in the dressing room doesn't just need to sweep away unwanted players who contribute nothing, there's plenty of other dead wood.
Biffa: Forgive us if we wait and see how this "new start" turns out before hanging out the bunting.
Why has it taken him so long?
24th May 2015 - The Ashley Interview
Pre match today, Mike Ashley gave Sky Sports reporter David Craig a staged interview. This break with tradition proves that Ashley has been severely affected by the ongoing protests against both his ownership and his running of our club.
Just how disappointed are you to arrive here today and find Newcastle in this situation?
I can't have really imagined it from Christmas, I probably didn’t anticipate we would be anywhere near this situation. Obviously after the last couple of weeks I’m still a little bit shocked by where we find ourselves today.
The fans want to know who's responsible. In your opinion is it collective responsibility or does it stop at your door?
My door.
What will you do if the worst happens to this football club today and it falls into the Championship?
If you're talking about investing in a club I will continue a policy of investing in the football club.
Will you invest enough to make sure it comes back at the first attempt to the Premier League?
Yes if there is such a thing, if you're able to guarantee that. I would like to say I could guarantee that, that investment but obviously the results is not something that I *****(indecipherable end to sentence).
If the best happens and you stay in the Premier League today, what's your plan for the club?
Well on the only positive I think, we've got the club on a very sound financial footing, so we are able to spend relatively and punch above our weight now with the current financial situation that the club finds itself in.
If you hadn't come in to this club when you did and cleared the debt, where do you think it would be?
Financially not as strong. But unfortunately, I'm going to add to that, that that really isn't good enough, so it's no good having the horse and cart scenario. And we may have the cart financially but we now need to bolt the horse on and we're going to.
What's your ambition for the club?
It's now going to be definitely to win something and by the way, I shan't be selling it until I do.
Can we just be clear on that, because there's been so much rumour whether you might, might not. The club is not for sale?
Not at any price. And by the way, when I say win something, if we ever get in a position that we get a Champions League place, that also qualifies as winning something.
What's your message to the fans today?
Today we don't need to be unlucky, not today, but but from this day forward, we will definitely be making our own luck.
There are obviously one or two things to be sorted out come the end of the season. Can we expect you and your advisors to be acting on that fairly imminently with regards to appointments with managers and such like?
On that basis it's Lee Charnley and the Football Board that make those decisions, as it was Derek Llambias who brought in Alan Pardew. So I will not be picking the next manager, it's not what I do. My job is make sure that they have a maximum amount of financial resources and it's their job to get the best pound for pound value out of those resources.
To be very clear, you're here to stay and you want to make this club successful?
To be categorically clear, I'm not going anywhere until we win something.
20 May 2015 - Why I Am Giving Up My Season Ticket
Graeme Whitfield - The Journal: From my seat at St. James’ Park, I can see 78 signs for Mike Ashley’s sporting goods empire SportsDirect.com. Every now and then, another 30 or so flash onto the electronic advertising boards, just in case I have missed the message that Newcastle United now exists essentially to flog low end leisurewear. Someone else will be on the receiving end of that message next season because, after 20 years, I’ve had enough. I will feel a little sad when I take my seat for the last time on Sunday but, more than anything else, what I mostly feel is relief.
Full disclosure is necessary here: my decision to cancel was motivated by a range of factors. I have young kids and a reasonably busy job and could no longer justify spending every other weekend getting frustrated and being charged £30 for the privilege. But the growing sense that giving Mike Ashley my money is something I really shouldn’t be doing was a factor too, a feeling which I’m sure is shared by many Newcastle fans. Events since my decision to quit haven’t exactly given me pause for thought. Eight straight defeats, a fifth derby loss to Sunderland and the genuine prospect of relegation have only confirmed that I don’t want to do this any more.
The atmosphere at St James’ Park has become poisonous. We don’t chant footballer’s names or how we’re going to Wem-ber-ley. Instead we sing songs about empty seats and how rubbish we are and fall out with fellow supporters about whether or not we should be boycotting the whole thing. Who’s to blame for this mess? Take your pick. A playing squad in which five senior members contrived to get suspended when they were needed most? A manager who turned on fans and then players as the pressure started to tell? Or a management and owner who left £30 million in the bank while injuries and suspensions left the club struggling to put out a full team?
I have been going to St. James’ Park, off and on, since 1980. My first game was an FA Cup defeat to Chester City, so I was pre conditioned to disappointment from the word go. But I have been going to the match for most of my adult life because, for the most part, it has been fun. There is still nothing like the roar of 50,000 people when the teams take to the pitch to get you excited. I still jump out of my seat with unbridled joy when we score and I still want to idolise the blokes in the black and white shirts.
I had a brief reminder of that giddy excitement earlier this year when a friend of mine asked if I could get tickets for her and her eight year old son. He came to the Aston Villa match and it was pretty awful but at least he got to see us win and we got him a scarf that he showed off with pride when he returned to school on Monday. Does Mike Ashley ever feel that excitement, I wonder. For the brief period when he signed up Kevin Keegan as manager and stood on the terraces in his replica shirt, perhaps. Now you suspect the appeal of owning St. James’ Park extends only to the profit it can bring and the exposure for his main business.
Let me be clear about this: I am not one of those people who believe Mr Ashley is the devil. I entirely agree that the club needed to change from the way it was run under its previous owners, and the fact that it makes a profit is a good thing. I also have a long enough memory that I know we’ve been here before. I spent much of the 1980s singing “sack the board” from the Gallowgate end so it’s not like he’s the first owner who hasn’t delivered our dreams.
But what perhaps makes this different is that no one can see things changing. A new manager and some decent players brought in over the summer and we might not be fighting relegation next season. What’s for certain, though, is that we won’t be trying to win any cups and we’ll be desperate not to get into the Europa League, so even the best case scenario is mid table obscurity. “Let’s finish ninth!” is hardly likely to become a terrace chant any time soon.
Ashley bought Newcastle United for around £134 million and has since loaned it £129 million. Factor in the fact that television deals have made the club much more valuable in the meantime and you would guess that it would take at least £300 million to wrest the club from Ashley’s mitts. A cursory examination of Mr Ashley’s Mash Holdings reveal how good he is at making money. In the last year revenues from Sports Direct, Newcastle United and the other sporting brands he owns saw its revenues rise from £2.2 billion to £2.8 billion, while profits after tax leapt from £200 million in 2013 to £520 million.
But for another view, instructive viewing came in seeing Sports Direct’s chairman Keith Hellawall before the Commons’ Scottish Affairs Select Committee in March. Two hours of questioning shone a light on the company’s widespread use of zero hours contracts, not to mention supply chain bullying and redundancies issued with almost no notice. Consider this too: Mike Ashley is clearly a very successful businessman yet he and his senior staff have managed to put Newcastle United at risk of relegation at the very point when a highly lucrative television deal has made the club more profitable than at any time in its history. On Sunday I will rock up to my seat in the Gallowgate for the last time, cheer on the team and hope we can stay up.
19th May 2015
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: Newcastle United fans will refuse to leave St. James’ Park after the final game of the season against West Ham on Sunday as they continue to call for owner Mike Ashley to sell the club. The organisers of the “Ashley Out” campaign will not co-ordinate any protests during the match, which Newcastle have to win to be certain of avoiding relegation. But while fans do not want to do anything to hurt the team, they are determined to maintain their opposition to Ashley, who is blamed for plunging the club into a third relegation battle in six years.
19th May 2015 - Ashley Out
Pre West Ham United (home): Many fans will continue their boycott, and avoid the West Ham United game. This is something we encourage and support as it will hit Mike Ashley where it hurts him the most. However due to the nature of the fixture on Sunday, and what is at stake for the club, we understand that many fans will find it very difficult to stay away. For those among us choosing to give up their season tickets, this will be our last game at St. James’ Park until Mike Ashley leaves. We therefore aim to make the most of this final opportunity to deliver our message inside the stadium in the strongest possible terms.
Whatever the result of the game and the outcome of the “battle” against relegation, during and following any lap of ‘honour’ that might or might not take place, we will continue to occupy the ground after the final whistle and we urge all Newcastle United supporters to join us in this form of protest, which has been cleared with Northumbria Police. Bring your flags, bring your banners and most importantly bring your voices. Together we will make it clear that enough is enough and demand - on the worldwide platform that is Sky Sports - that the man ultimately responsible for the club’s demise into mediocrity, Mike Ashley himself, puts the club up for sale with immediate effect to “a worthy custodian of such a fine football club”, which is how he said he judged potential takeover parties when he first took the club off the market in 2008.
We have no specific protests planned to take place during the game so as not to disrupt the outcome in any way, shape or form. However once again we encourage all fans to show their displeasure in any way they see fit. You need no permission or direction to protest, this is your club.
20th May 2015 - A Sinking Ship?
RexN - toontoon.co.uk: Captain Colo breaking his silence. The supporters get behind the team to urge them to their first point since February. The players reciprocate by doing just that, going behind at QPR. Carver’s response is to impose a media black out, with huge success. Immediately, we had Ryan Taylor’s insights into the feelings in the dressing room, the insights into the uncertainty over a new managerial appointment, how confidence in the camp was shot. What a week.
Monday came and peace broke out, the players having a day off to lick their wounds. The best coach in the world gets his chance to be the best golfer in the world at a charity event. Tuesday, Captain Colo, fresh from his sudden media exposure last week, was chosen to model the new shirt, you’ve seen it by now, the one that is black white and blue, yes blue, with the design of a flag of surrender on the back. The most professional and organised club, with the best coach in the world, somehow managed to get the wrong sponsor logo on the shirt. The loan sharks have rebranded themselves.
Later in the day, more news leaks out of St. James' Park. Finance Director John Irving is set to leave the club in the wake of the most spectacular accounts in the club’s history. Those in the know are aware that the man who would be expected to take up the reins from within is a certain Richard Gilroy. But wait, Gilroy has accepted an offer to pursue his career at Manchester City. The PR situation is confusing. Club PR guru is Wendy Taylor. At recent matches, Lee Charnley has been seen sitting in the Directors’ box with Keith Bishop, himself a notable PR adviser. Any outsider may put two and two together.
It appears that Ashley and Charnley have some recruitment to do, a new Finance Director, a new number 2 to them, a new manager, possibly a new head of PR, not to mention a host of players out of contract or bouncing on from the stepping stone that Newcastle United has become.
19th May 2015 - Even The Most Ardent Fans Have Had Enough
David Morton - The Chronicle: Pathetic, dismal, gutless, shambolic - just some of the more printable labels thrown at Newcastle’s flops since the weekend’s latest debacle. As Tyneside wallows in an ever thickening miasma of despair, this must surely be one of the most soul destroying periods in United’s long history. Chickens are coming home to roost at a club too long mired from top to bottom in profound apathy and lack of ambition. There have been bad times aplenty at St. James’ Park, but there was always hope of better times around the corner. That hope, from many, seems to have been all but eradicated. The deafening message, as seen of late in the press and across social media, is that many of even the most ardent fans have had enough of this unyielding and unlistening regime. It’s a crying shame that Newcastle United might also be losing out on a whole generation of young supporters who find the never ending negativity around the club deeply unappealing.
18th May 2015 - How?
Michael Martin - True Faith: Where do you summon up the words to describe the position that Newcastle United has walked into? How can anyone articulate the continuing sense of outrage, bitterness and frustration so continually? Newcastle United is a part of the fabric of families, communities and our proud city and region. How did the simple act of falling in love with Newcastle United become so fucked up? We are very close to the point where the anger that has pock-marked much of Mike Ashley’s eight years at United is no longer sustainable. Our emotions can no longer be stretched so far and so the energy required to retain that continuing indignation are fizzling out into resignation and apathy. I worry about a time post Ashley because I don’t believe it will be a clean break and as he’s done at Rangers he will pull us into the quicksand of his merchandising and image rights grasping.
How did we get here? Ashley, as has been repeated to the point of nausea has no wish to invest in the club, give it any clear direction (other than it not to cost him time or money), use it simply as a method to promote his awful business and pay down the debt he created. He has appointed the supine to positions of authority. What he says goes. God only knows the breadth of Charnley’s authority at United but this tea boy may have wanted to show off with his profit and surplus but is now threatening to sink the whole of the good ship Newcastle United because the man simply does not understand football. Then there is Carver. A man so pitifully out of his depth I almost feel sympathy for him but his oafish uselessness has numbed me to any empathy for him. He is set to become reviled within his own city, his own community - forever.
So, where are we? Being beseeched by Carver to support the team and create a big atmosphere to howl the team over the line. This team has nothing in it, there is no connection between the pitch and the stands. The ties are torn. Being told by Sir John Hall and Freddie Shepherd how we should support the team. These are men who grew fat and bloated on the wealth of Newcastle United and sold it to the first dupe who would upholster them further with wealth. I’d be surprised if either man has been near a United game, home or away since the day they flogged our club to a man who never had the right intentions.
18th May 2015 - Ashley Out
Post Queens Park Rangers away: As we reflect on yet another shambolic Newcastle United defeat, this time against already relegated Queens Park Rangers, we set our sights on next Sunday: Judgement Day. The club is in an even more desperate situation than recent weeks. One single point from 30 now, still no game plan to speak of to grind out the points so desperately needed and still not a shred of fight, let alone pride from the players. Newcastle United unbelievably still have their fate in their own hands: a win next Sunday against West Ham United will see the team “compete” at the highest level for another year at least. Sadly, even the most optimistic fan must now question this team’s ability to win a competitive football match under pressure, so it looks like everything hinges on whether Steve Bruce’s Hull City have it in them to beat Manchester United at home.
Whatever happens on Judgement Day there should be absolutely no doubt that this entire shambolic situation has been self inflicted due to severe neglect. It was neglectful to go into the season with a manager who had shown relegation form for the best part of two seasons. It was neglectful to not invest significantly in key positions where the squad was weak. It was neglectful to weaken the squad in January rather than to strengthen it. And finally, it was certainly neglectful to not replace Alan Pardew, who left for Crystal Palace on his own accord, with a proper manager and effectively write off half a season on the assumption that we were ‘safe’.
As much as the managing director, the “manager” and the players deserve criticism for our current plight, the buck stops with Mike Ashley. He is running “his” club as per his vision for it, and that has resulted in no less than three relegation struggles in six Premier League seasons. As the season draws to a close the club is well on course to set a fifth successive profit even if its owner does not pay a single penny for his commercial use of it as a global advertising vehicle for his sportswear shop. Quite what Newcastle United or its fans get out of this relationship is anyone’s guess.
At AshleyOut.com we are finalising our protest plans for the West Ham game, or Judgement Day as it will no doubt be known, even though the actual outcome of this one football game will not change anything to the long term prospect of Newcastle United - a club aiming only for Premier League survival will eventually fail. We expect to have a loud and clearly visible presence inside St. James’ Park and we call on every Newcastle United fan to either (continue to) boycott this game and / or join us in our protest regardless of the outcome of the game, regardless of whether we ultimately stay up or go down this time around and regardless of countless pleas for support that will undoubtedly follow this week from the gutless club representatives that have allowed the club to descend into this shambles through their own actions and decisions. Enough is Enough. This club is not our club.
A man with little respect for people
18th May 2015 - Sobering
RexN: Sobering to think that a man of Ashley’s wealth can cut so many corners and invest so little in building a club with such heritage, support and potential. He has effectively gambled on and neglected a £250 million plus asset. It is equally sobering to realise the hopes of a region can be tossed onto the wheel of fortune by a man with little respect for people, through zero hours contracts and making Tyneside’s youth, billboards for loan sharks.
18th May 2015 - United In Wanting Ashley Out
Nick Callow - irishexaminer.com: In the not too distant past, a big end of season match for Newcastle meant an FA Cup final, a Champions League qualifier, or even a title tilt. Now the Geordies face the possibility of having to beat West Ham in their last match to avoid relegation from the top flight for the second time in six years. This lily livered defeat at already relegated QPR summed up their plight. Did you know Riviere’s goal was Newcastle’s first away from home in over 450 minutes?
Newcastle were good enough to take a half time lead against a shell shocked London side that was booed off the pitch but crumbled once they were challenged after the break and went home with what they deserved. Nothing. Newcastle could lose against West Ham and stay up if Hull fail to beat Manchester United at home but it is going to be an important close season for the club whichever way they fall. The fans look as bewildered as the players, though united in wanting owner Mike Ashley out. If Newcastle avoid the drop there needs to be a change in direction.
Carver’s side was a shambolic mess
18th May 2015 - Newcastle Shambles
Clive Whittingham - fansnetwork.co.uk: On Saturday at Loftus Road, Newcastle made perfect guests for a QPR team that had failed to win at home in ten attempts, losing seven, prior to kick off. Rangers were persistently troubled by long punts down the centre of the field. Goalkeeper Rob Green was forced to punch the ball out for a corner after four minutes when one such aerial assault had been allowed to bounce in the area. John Carver’s side was a shambolic mess from the start of the second half. Half time chat from the self proclaimed best coach in the league working wonders there. The rabble only became more disorganised as Carver started to introduce players from the bench. What little shape Newcastle had about them before, dissolved entirely in the closing stages. They’re one of the few Premier League teams Rangers stand a chance of beating. The shambolic state they arrived in and the despicable second half performance they produced reassured the Loftus Road faithful that there are others out there in varying degrees of mess.
Newcastle United, a famous old institution, a community asset, reduced to an advertising vehicle for cheap trainers and pay day loans, will finish either fourth bottom or third bottom of the Premier League this season and for that they’ll be given the thick end of £70 million. That’s £70m for a team that has lost nine of its last ten games, won only three of its last 21 and won none of its first seven. Thanks for your contribution, here’s £70 million. Newcastle United, the club that openly admits it will take the money, mark a profit on its balance sheet, aim to finish in the middle of the league, miss Europe and get knocked out of the cups at the first possible opportunity.
Sissoko? On the rare occasions he wasn’t walking around here, he could be seen standing still with his hands on his hips while the game went on around him. When situations were slightly tight, or the options for a pass were minimal, he just gave up and whacked the ball out of play. Afterwards Carver said he couldn’t fault the effort of his players, and that it was a very hot day. Surely even Mike Ashley and his team of accountants must be slightly concerned about all of this. That’s assuming they were there to see it. If they do stay up, it’s thanks to the incompetence of others.
18th May 2015 - The Players Are Fine
RexN - toontoon.co.uk: A solitary point out of 30! Is this the worst team ever to pull on the famous black and white stripes? No, this isn’t the worst group of players. Not the fault of Carver, nothing ever is. There is something else amiss. It is down to an owner doing his bird impressions “cheap, cheap, cheap”. What he gets is migratory birds picking up crumbs on their way to better feeding grounds, sticking with a manager who will agree to sell rather than develop and with a Managing Director who seems like a cocaine addict without a budget to find a line to get over. It is hardly surprising that an owner without ambition provides no ambition for the players. Loyalty to the club is barely existent. It is hardly surprising that mediocre ambition, no cups, no Europe and mid table mediocrity will eventually spread disease and produce just that, mediocrity. No, the players are fine. They are just in an environment that does not engender performance.
An Emmanuel Riviere strike opened the scoring
16th May 2015 - Queens Park Rangers 2 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Loftus Road, London - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Gutierrez, Coloccini, Dummett, Colback, R Taylor (Aarons 64), Sissoko, Cabella (Ameobi 73), Perez, Riviere (Cisse 63) - Subs not used: Woodman, Anita, Abeid, Gouffran.
Scorer: Riviere (24) - Attendance: 17,608
John Carver: "First half we were in control, not under any threat, then shot ourselves in the foot. We had a ten minute mad spell after half time. I can't fault the lads for their effort again in a hot, warm climate. We didn't give up on it, we had a go. They were hot conditions and we kept going and going but it wasn't good enough."
On the final game: "This is now the biggest game this football club has had for a long time. One of the biggest in the club’s history. At least it’s still in the players hands and if they want it enough, they can do something about it. I’ll try and keep the players away from any press or television this week, keep it as low key as we can and focus on the game."
Daily Mail: 1,800 Geordies who made the journey to London made their discontent clear with a red card protest and songs against Mike Ashley.
nufc.com: Another dismal defeat leaves Newcastle in real danger of relegation. Quite how Carver's side, who appeared to be comfortably heading for victory, managed to throw away the points is something that only the players on the pitch can explain. Their meek acceptance of our fate is possibly the worst thing apart from the glaring lack of talent on show. A sixth successive away defeat that sets up a nervy final day of the season at St. James' Park next Sunday. Expecting this current side under the present leadership to get anything from our final game seems wildly optimistic.
Alan Shearer: "Everyone's down on poor John Carver but I've got a lot to thank him for. He's making me look like Bob Paisley."
Michael Martin - True faith: Newcastle United is a club on the brink. Yesterday was another disastrous day. Beaten again. Next week is the biggest game United has played since that dark day in 2009. I can’t see us winning but we, as a crowd, need to do all we can to get the 3 points. I know they don’t deserve it, I know that fat prick doesn’t, but as a club we need to be in this division. Let’s do our bit and pray and hope it’s enough.
"Put the money in and expand, the world is his oyster."
14th May 2015 - Coming In For The Right Reasons?
Newcastle United vice life president Malcolm Dix: "Mike got the financial side sorted out. I take my hat off to him. Sir John Hall always said Mike was coming in for the right reasons. He wanted to expand the brand name and expand the football club. If he wants to put the money in and expand, the world is his oyster. As a global name it could go right around the world. They could be up there with Manchester United and Barcelona. These days you need somebody who is interested in taking on more than just the football side of it. If somebody wanted to get Mike to sell it would have to be somebody with billions, not millions, or a consortium of multi millionaires. Unfortunately there aren’t that many around who are interested in football clubs."
13th May 2015 - What Is The Point Of Newcastle Under Ashley?
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: The most depressing thing that Mike Ashley has done as Newcastle United owner has been to turn a football club that almost every fan in the country had a soft spot for into one that most neutrals would like to be relegated. That is a tragedy for English football. Ashley has not only sucked the joy out of supporting the team, he has also drained it of its mass appeal. Newcastle are no longer a credit to the Premier League, they are an embarrassment to a competition that prides itself of being the most exciting, bold and unpredictable. Newcastle fans want Mike Ashley to sell the club. Newcastle are the antithesis of excitement. They have become a bland football club run by bean counters.
If people really do want Newcastle to be relegated, it is because they want Ashley to be punished for what he has done. Unfortunately, it will be the supporters who suffer the most. It will be the innocent minions who lose their job to cut costs in the Championship. Ashley will be hurt by relegation and he may well officially put the club up for sale again, but as a billionaire with other interests, he is largely immune. If he is forced to bankroll the club in the Championship, he will do so in the form of interest free loans, which remain on the club’s books indefinitely and will have to be repaid.
Protests against Ashley have become commonplace at St. James' Park. All the Magpies provoke now is boredom, weariness and, I suspect, some sadness too. I’ve even heard a Sunderland fan tell a Newcastle one after a fifth successive derby defeat that “it’s a disgrace what Ashley has done to your football club.” Of all the things I’ve read and heard about Newcastle’s decline, those 11 words echo in my mind the most. Even Newcastle’s bitterest rivals recognise the damage that has been done. Newcastle have never been a successful big club, but they have always been admired, not just because of the loyalty and passion of their large support, but for the way they went about things. It was a proper football club.
When Newcastle rolled into town, they always generated excitement, they fired up atmospheres inside normally bland arenas. They filled away sections with colour, noise and gallows humour and the locals responded to their noise with their own. When Newcastle fans travel now they are shorn of hope and are more concerned with protesting against Ashley than supporting the team. Divided and depressed. Newcastle used to earn respect because they had a go. They were fascinating. They were a team that other fans, albeit begrudgingly, liked to watch. They played football in a manner that suggested they would always much rather attack than defend.
What is the point of Newcastle under Ashley? That gripe has extended way beyond Tyneside. They bring little to the Premier League table. They are, at best, a solid mid table club that does not try in cup competitions. They are a club that exists for foreign players to use as a shop window. Newcastle are bringing nothing to the Premier league table right now. For the second season running, the team have spent the second half of the campaign looking like manikins for a dubious internet loan company playing in front of billboards for a scruffy high street sport shop. Newcastle don’t add anything special anymore. They do not help sell global television rights. They do not even make domestic ones appealing.
What is the point of a football club that exists merely to promote other business interests? Newcastle are a business where predictable outcomes ensure stable cash flows. Ashley has made that more important than sporting adventure. They have become tedious to watch and are in danger of becoming a toxic football brand, which could poison others. The point is, Newcastle have not tried and if you do not try you deserve to fail. It would be awful for proud supporters to suffer a second relegation in just six years, but even they do not like their football club at the moment because of the man who runs it.
Ashley knows he is sitting on a profit making machine
13th May 2015 - What Would It Take?
Lee Ryder - The Chronicle: Newcastle United are an important part of the Mike Ashley business empire with the platform of free advertising on the worldwide stage for Sports Direct plus huge amounts of television cash coming Ashley’s way. Mike Ashley knows he is sitting on a profit making machine. It is difficult to see him selling up. Unless there is a mystery oil rich tycoon out there willing to plough billions into the club it is unlikely that Ashley will be going anywhere anytime soon. The “price” of Newcastle will be whatever Ashley wants it to be, and it would easily be beyond the reach of any local businessmen.
Of course, relegation to the Championship may well change his outlook on life at St. James’ Park because it would bring an end to the piles of television cash set to come the club’s way in the next few years. Ashley hasn’t even attended the last two home games but will be watching from afar and weighing up the price of survival and the cost of relegation. If they went down Newcastle would still pick up parachute payments which were £60 million for relegated clubs last year but that is a drop in the ocean compared to what Newcastle and Ashley could miss out on by being relegated.
What Newcastle’s sale price would be at this moment in time is anybody’s guess. Only Ashley knows. The prospect, potential and value of clubs in the Premier League has swelled because of the television money. Ashley probably wouldn’t even entertain anything in the region of £210 million. You could probably double that and Newcastle still wouldn’t budge. Even if they did you would have to factor in the £130 million loan that has been in the background in recent years and pay Ashley and his board’s salaries up to the end of their terms at Newcastle. It would take a mammoth offer to even get him to consider selling up.
In the next fortnight, Newcastle will assess where they are as a club. At the moment the future has been placed on lockdown as United battle for survival. Staff at the club genuinely fear relegation as it would change so much at St James’ Park. Staying up means so much to Ashley and his board. This season alone clubs picked up £55 million each as a basic for television money, with the Premier League the only place to play at the moment. If Newcastle were to survive this season it would take an incredible offer for Ashley to sell up.
13th May 2015 - Rangers To Be Freed?
Chris McLaughlin - BBC Sport: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has called on the Glasgow Rangers board to hold an extraordinary meeting to pay back his £5 million loan. If paid back, the club will regain security over their branding, the Murray Park training ground and the club's retail rights. All are currently held by Ashley.
Newcastle Online: It's incredible how quickly they've ousted him. I guess they have seen what he's done here and were wise to it. The fact the Scottish FA made it obvious that he couldn't own them helped a bit too. Rangers will be free of him. Well played.
Rangers Supporters Trust spokesman: "For him to call a shareholder vote to call in a loan is all just smoke and mirrors and I suspect it is all part of him trying to bully people into position which is what he seems to like to do."
10th May 2015 - Staggering Along With Minimal Direction
Daily Mail: Relatively speaking, Newcastle United have had a good weekend. But that’s the problem with the club these days. Everything has to be placed in the context of just what a wretched mess they are in. Because they hadn’t lost for the first time since February and because Hull had taken nothing from their game with Burnley, the temptation was to talk everything up. It wasn’t an offer Carver needed to hear twice.
Ashy - True Faith: Despite what on the face of it was a poor result on the day, the sheer lowering of expectation saw the team being relatively well received by the fans on the final whistle. Hull’s terrible loss at home to Burnley coupled with this point gives us a slight edge going in to the final couple of games and we should be hoping to pick up at least something against an already relegated QPR and drifting West Ham. We’re staggering along with minimal direction.
An Ayoze Perez strike rescues a point versus West Brom
9th May 2015 - Newcastle United 1 West Bromwich Albion 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm

Team: Krul, Anita (Abeid 90), Gutierrez, Coloccini, Dummett, Sissoko, R Taylor, Colback, Perez (Ameobi 85), Riviere (Cisse 69), Cabella - Subs not used: Woodman, Satka, Aarons, Gouffran.
Scorer: Perez (41) - Attendance: 47,894

John Carver: "There's a bit of relief because we have stopped the run of defeats but the work is still to be done and it's still in our hands. A point might be huge but the more important thing for me is the performance. The performance showed that the players do care and they do want to stay in the Premier League. We went 1-0 down from another set piece but showed great character and determination to come back. They have done everything I have asked for and stuck to the game plan. We do need to create more chances though. The difference to last week is like chalk and cheese. Today I saw the fight and the desire to keep this club in the Premier League."
Ashy - True Faith: We nearly conceded early on, again failing miserably to deal with a set piece when Dawson headed off the post. West Brom took the lead shortly after with yet more abysmal defending from a free kick when Gardner’s cross was met by Anichebe at the back post to head home unchallenged. The goal was met with collective groans and results at the time left us in the bottom three and staring into the abyss but we were level again before the break through Ayoze Perez. I look at the kid and think how good he could be in a proper side with proper service, he’s lived off scraps with us and still had a great season and so it proved again when he lashed home an arrowed shot from the edge of the area after a clearance fell to him. A fine finish for a fine player.
nufc.com: Newcastle managed to halt their disastrous run of defeats at the ninth time of asking, earning a point thanks to a first half equaliser from Ayoze Perez. The Spanish youngster took a touch with his right foot and neatly teed himself up to find the far corner of the Leazes net with a low left footed drive from 12 yards. In truth that was as good as it got for a Newcastle side who lacked accuracy and inspiration. Our fate remains in our own hands, but the parallels with 2009 remain when we also sat in seventeenth with two games to play, only to lose them both by a single goal.
Daily Mail:
The final whistle was met with a smattering of applause. Not relief, not anger. Something closer to apathy or resignation. They don’t know whether to cheer or jeer here any more because, under the yoke of Mike Ashley, they do not know what their club stands for any more.
8th May 2015 - Pre West Bromwich Albion
Graham Porter - The Mag: All eyes will be on the directors box on Saturday afternoon. After boycotting the last few matches, supporters will be interested to see if Mike Ashley body swerves this one as well. Ashley has had minions Charnley, Carver and Coloccini all urging us to forget about boycotts and protests, telling us just to turn up and support the team, to protect Mike Ashley’s Premier League TV money and free advertising.
8th May 2015 - Ashley The Prospector
Kevin Garside - The Independent: Newcastle are the victims of football’s ruinous shift from community project to commercial proposition. Mike Ashley acquiring Newcastle from Sir John and Douglas Hall was, prima facie, onside for a while, one of the lads drinking a pint in the stands in his Newcastle shirt. That falsehood lies ruthlessly exposed today, his rudderless team as poorly led on the pitch as it is in the boardroom. Ashley is a prospector, nothing more, nothing less. Ashley’s numbers game is failing in the Premier League while showing a profit on the ledger. Galling for fans condemned to watch the appalling disintegration of a great footballing institution and the club they love not only fail but putrefy. The Sunday Times estimated Ashley’s fortune at almost £4 billion a year ago. With that in the bank, he must be past caring. Assuming he ever did.
Suited Ashley to have another's head fielding tomatoes
8th May 2015 - The Special One?
John Carver:
"I still think I’m the best coach in the Premier League."
Kevin Garside - The Independent: And so another dispiriting week in the history of Newcastle United descends into grotesque parody, with a claim by the man on an eight match losing streak that he is the best coach in the Premier League. Up in the counting house it suited the owner, Mike Ashley, to have another’s head fielding tomatoes in the stocks.
nufc.com: He hasn't lost his sense of humour although common sense and perspective seem in very short supply.
Ian W: John, we don't give a shit about any of this. Just win a football match.
Ross Tweddell - whatculture.com: It’s the most ridiculous thing that has come out of anyone’s mouth since, well ever. He is confident in his woefully inept abilities. No doubt in his mind. In reality however, he must know he is the worst Head Coach / Manager in the division. All he did was set Newcastle Untied and their loyal fans up for more ridicule at the expense of the rest of the country. He is representing the club and its people. Making them look nothing more than fools time and time again. Newcastle should have kept Pardew, shouldn’t they? No. But Carver is doing everything in his power to make it look that way. Everything he’s put Newcastle fans through since January has left his CV in tatters. Not that he had much of a CV to begin with, apart from the ‘I used to make Sir Bobby Robson’s cups of tea’ section. There isn’t one area of his tenure as the top man at St. James’ Park that justifies himself as a Premier League manager and yesterday has to have set a new professional low. Becoming all too commonplace for Geordie John.
6th May 2015 - Someone At The Top Had A Brainwave?
An open letter from the captain: I don't usually speak publicly too often, but today I feel the responsibility to talk to all of you for several reasons in which you are involved every bit as much as we are as players, staff, directors and every person that works for the club. Firstly, on behalf of the squad we would like to apologise for the moment we are going through, needless to say that this is not anything intentional. Neither players nor staff would like to be in the position that we are in at the moment. This is something that has happened for many reasons and right now there is no time to look back and correct those mistakes.
The time we have left to turn around this situation is short but after the end of the season we will try to learn from the mistakes we made so that we don't have to go through this again. This is as painful for us as it is for you, because when this team comes onto the pitch we do so with the intention of winning and to defend not just the colours of this club, not just our shirt, but also to represent thousands of fans, the whole city. We do so understanding that a victory at the weekend means a week of joy for this city that breathes, lives and loves football like no other city in England.
Today we are in a delicate situation, one that we have been through before, and it is one of the most uncomfortable situations in the world of football. Uncomfortable because this club doesn't deserve to be in this position, a position that puts its status at risk. And this is what I want to highlight, this is the most important reason for my letter. Players and staff have come together in order to leave all past problems aside and to focus one hundred percent on the three 'Cup Finals' that we have left. I would like to make a call to all fans today to also leave aside all differences, all different opinions, anything that divides us as people who love this club. On Saturday please come to St. James' Park, create a great atmosphere, support the team more than ever, because at the end of the day what matters the most here is Newcastle United football club.
Years will pass and so will players, directors, coaches and managers, but what is always going to be there is yourselves, your children, your grandchildren. I am also a fan and I understand how badly you are hurting, but I think that the best fans are those who are there for their club in the worst of situations. Today we need you more than ever. In these three games we need to be together, we need to be united, to be a family - a family that fights together against adversity, a family that strives to achieve the success that you and this club deserve. The players are committed to this and if you stay with us, if you join us, we are going to fight together for our black and white family. Thank you from my heart, your captain. Fabricio Coloccini.
A captain who hides in the dressing room
nufc.com: Where do you start with that? 534 words to be endlessly dissected, analysed and ultimately mostly disregarded. Lacking the energy to do that, we'll just repeat the age old proverb, actions speak louder than words.
Dean Wilkins - The Mag: A lecture on who are the ‘best fans’ from somebody who has tried to walk out on the club when we were last fighting relegation. A Captain who allows Mike Williamson to walk out in front of the cameras to apologise for the latest hammering, whilst his Captain hides in the dressing room. Where was the fight in the last eight matches and long before? Why was each goal at Leicester met with a shrug of the shoulders and not a single word of encouragement for the struggling players around you? It is all too little too late.
Rex N - The Mag: The hierarchy has not only let you down but as you seem to appreciate, has let us down too. Neither Ashley nor Charnley has been big enough to put their own names to an apology for what they have turned into an apology of a club. The club has gained a reputation for providing Ashley a platform for capital growth whilst disregarding the ambitions of players and supporters. Their policies have led us to this. Their apathy and negligence is despised. For Ashley, Charnley and Irving, the day you stop darkening our door will be one for celebration.
It is hardly surprising that players may not have been motivated. Despite the protestations of supporters and indeed, probably players, key positions were not reinforced with quality. With Pardew, tactics became dull, the clearance from Krul to beyond the half way line for a forward 6 or 7 inches smaller than the defenders who marked them. Wingers played on the wrong side denying width. Not enough strikers in the squad, nor central defenders, nor even at left back. The squad in key areas did not allow for injuries, let alone rotation. That is not a fault of the players, it is a management failure.
It is important to get behind the team but it remains important to simultaneously give a strong message to Ashley, Charnley and anyone else with any power at the club. Your regime is vile to the core, a vehicle for dismantling human pride as demonstrated by Channel 4’s Dispatches. The players and supporters are far better than you.
West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady: "Rarely is it thought necessary for a club captain, in this case centre back Fabricio Coloccini, to issue a letter apologising for the way the team have been playing and pleading with fans to unite behind them for the last three matches. Someone at the top, I think, must have had a brainwave and whistled up the club captain to do it, and probably wrote it for him."
4th May 2015 - Carry On Regardless
Club Statement: Following the result at Leicester City on Saturday, there has been two days of frank dialogue with John Carver and senior players. The outcome of those discussions is that the board, John Carver, his staff and players are absolutely focused on our current situation and the three hugely important fixtures that remain this season, two of which are at St. James' Park. All parties accept responsibility for the current situation but are determined, together, to ensure this Club, your Club, retains its Premier League status. That is the only focus at this time.
Judgement Men - Mini Mike and Mike
3rd May 2015 - You Don’t Know What Your Doing
Michael Martin - True Faith: I didn’t think the result or the performance would be quite so shockingly bad. Neither did I imagine John Carver would depart so dramatically from professional standards in his post match comments about his players, one in particular, as he did. Williamson is out for the next two games, he might be needed for the West Ham game but he now has a man who is completely finished as a Newcastle United player. To go on national television and slaughter Williamson in front of millions? I firmly believe that if Williamson can be accused of deliberately inviting a red card, then the exact same accusations can be levelled at Coloccini, Sissoko and indeed Janmaat.
This cynical partiality on behalf of Carver raises wider issues regarding his fitness to lead a professional sports club but also the judgement of the men who allowed that appointment to proceed, namely Charnley and Ashley. Why either Charnley or Ashley or possibly both would judge that John Carver could lead a Premier League side for half a season or even dress it up as some kind of trial period for a full time appointment only they can explain. Even the most cursory of glances at Carver’s previous career shows him to be utterly ill equipped to manage a football club in the most unforgiving league in the world. What have Charnley or Ashley seen in John Carver in the four years preceding his ascension to manager at United that they felt equipped him to be the manager of the club? Only they can and should explain their reasoning. They won’t of course.
Of course I’m being disingenuous. We all know what the qualifications are to occupy a senior position at Newcastle United entail. It is unquestioning obedience to Mike Ashley and compliance with his credo of low cost, balance sheet management and it is that which has blinded those who have been over promoted to behaving in the way they do. And it is that zeal to unquestionably bend the knee to Mike Ashley which have brought the inevitable catastrophe the club is now facing. I can’t be the only one to have heard the nickname Charnley is known by at St. James’ Park amongst club employees - Mini Mike, in recognition of his slavish kow-towing to Ashley.
Who is to blame? Well, ultimately it is Mike Ashley for presiding over such a toxic and destructive culture at the football club he bought. But it is also the responsibility of those in key positions at the club who have placed their own careers ahead of the greater good of Newcastle United. How is it resolved? It will never begin to be resolved whilst Ashley is in control of Newcastle United. The club is broken from top to toe. It is populated by lickspittles - Moncur, Carver, Charnley, Beardsley - none of them bring anything positive to the club other than subservience to their pay master.
The club needs to be fumigated. It needs to be loved by the people who own it and who work for it as well as the people who support it.
2nd May 2015 - A Strange Silence Around Mike Ashley
SebSB - thepremierleagueowl.com: Newcastle’s capitulation at the King Power was entirely predictable. John Carver’s side are the scrappiest, most feverishly motivated team in the division and all things considered, Newcastle were lucky to head home having only been beaten by three. Post game, Carver did an admirably effective job of creating yet more division on Tyneside, throwing almost all of his first team players under the bus in the press conference and accusing Mike Williamson of intentionally getting himself sent off.
Carver, as we all know, is a symptom rather than the illness. He is an unfortunate footnote in this never ending Mike Ashley saga but isn’t it interesting how little gets said about Ashley on television. Whenever Newcastle play and invariably lose on Sky or BT, their defeat is always met with the same set of banal platitudes. The players’ commitment and effort is always questioned, Carver’s credentials are always doubted, but nobody ever says anything about how the club is actually run.
It’s as if, to preserve the illusion of the Premier League, discussion of anything which hints at its impurity has been forbidden by a higher power. When Newcastle get beaten, the analysis shouldn’t be limited to listless set piece defending and self defeating coaching decisions, it should encompass the entire context within which this nonsense is happening. Honestly, if I don’t know better I’d think that this topic was being censored. There’s nothing. Any conversation heading in Mike Ashley’s direction is brought to an unnatural end and replaced with an awkward, inappropriate silence.
2nd May 2015 - Rotten To The Core Under Mike Ashley
Andy Dunn - The Mirror: Newcastle have now lost each of their last eight matches, have only won twice this year and look bereft of ideas and heart. They couldn’t even kick-off properly, for goodness sake. Apart from the realism that 35 points might yet be enough for survival, Newcastle supporters can only cling to the hope that the shame, the ridicule and the laughter can somehow galvanise this sorry bunch.
Mike Ashley? Ashley’s ownership of a football institution has been so insulting. Mock him and he mocks back with the smarmy smile of a billionaire. Ashley does not shame easily. If at all.
John Carver? Over promoted, over excitable, over as a manager before he has barely started. Players look at him as though he is still putting out cones and scooping up tracksuits. Carver's public slaughtering of Mike Williamson and the rest was the desperate diatribe of a doomed coach.
Fabricio Coloccini? Headed towards a knot of Newcastle supporters pop eyed with despair. That he got nowhere near his target was in bitter keeping with his and his team’s performance. Ordered away by the signs and spittle of broken loyalists.
Leicester were everything Newcastle were not. They cared. Newcastle did not. This was a shocking, collective abdication of responsibility. There is no other way of explaining the dismissals of Williamson and Janmaat or the offence committed by Riviere which gave Ulloa his second goal. The defending of set pieces reflected the absence of commitment.
Newcastle United? Comedy black and white.
Deflecting attention away from his own shortcomings
2nd May 2015 - Carver Was The Coward Not Mike Williamson
John Carver: "I thought he’d done that on purpose. The ball was off the pitch, he had no need to make the challenge. He will miss two games. Is it an easy way out? I thought he meant it. My first reaction was don’t do it. He did it. Vardy was off the pitch, Willo was off the pitch, the ball was off the pitch. There was no need to do it and I’m not accepting that. I told him that to his face. I don’t want to go into his reaction."
Mike Williamson: "I would like to apologize to the Newcastle supporters and my fellow teammates for getting sent off during yesterday’s game. There was absolutely no intent to hurt Jamie Vardy or get sent off but I recognize that I should have been more composed in my determination to win the ball. Unfortunately, it did the one thing I never wanted to do, and that was hurt the team. I will do whatever I can to help my teammates prepare for the next two games and fight to get back into the team when I am available. I’ve had the honor to play for Newcastle for five years now and I can genuinely say I feel privileged to play for this club. I would never do anything to intentionally hurt the team or its supporters.”
Geordie Ahmed: He was never going to directly criticise Carver but I do think him apologising to the fans and his team mates with no mention of Carver was quite telling.
Ross Tweddell - whatculture.com:
For all the failures on the pitch yesterday and those can’t be forgotten, singling out someone of Mike Williamson’s prestige is nothing short of scandalous and proves Carver isn’t fit to manage at the highest level of the game. You need to have more about you when trying to hold down such a privileged position. Wearing you heart on your sleeve and trying to relate to a fan base won’t wash when you’re proving that you’re so woefully short in so many other areas.
Carver needs to look closer to home before opening his mouth. He shouldn’t be in the job. Performances since January suggest he isn’t capable of running a bath. Carver isolated Williamson and tried to create a story where there wasn’t one, deflecting attention away from his own shortcomings. The Head Coach is the biggest coward in the dressing room and that is some achievement considering the fact we are currently witnessing the worst Newcastle side of the last 40 years and potentially the history of the club if they lose their remaining games.
His comments will have lost the dressing room. That’s if he hadn’t already, which could have been the case considering Daryl Janmaat’s refusal to acknowledge his gaffer after his own dismissal. Willo’s sending off was stupid, but to insinuate a professional footballer tried to get sent off on purpose is slanderous and way below the belt for a man in Carver’s position. Were was his criticism for international footballer Daryl Janmaat? His dismissal was just as brainless. Being backed into such a corner by his manager in public has resulted in an apology from Williamson. What else did you expect? There’s nothing else he could have done. Now Carver should do the same thing after hanging out his very own personal scapegoat to dry.
A united show of red cards for Ashley at Leicester
2nd May 2015 - Leicester City 3 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - King Power Stadium, Leicester - 3.00pm

Team:
Krul, Janmaat, Dummett, Williamson, Coloccini, Colback, Taylor (De Jong 58), Sissoko, Gutierrez, Perez (Armstrong 73), Riviere (Anita 63) - Subs not used: Woodman, Cabella, Abeid, Ameobi.
Attendance: 31,576 - Red cards: Janmaat, Williamson
John Carver: "On a scale of one to 10, it's a minus 10. I asked if everyone understood their roles and responsibilities. I can't go and mark men on the pitch myself. We can talk about systems and players but if we're not willing to compete, get your head onto the ball and risk getting an injury, you won't get anywhere. What I can’t do is give players desire to get their noses broken or a cut on their eye by trying to head the ball. We are a soft touch. There might have been players who didn’t try. Maybe they don’t think they’ll get a new contract or be here next year. But they’re getting paid and should try. We’ll have an open discussion on Monday. It’ll be interesting."
On the fans: "I know some of the players went over to them at the end and they said, in so many words, ‘go away, we don’t want to see you’. They want to see determination and desire. If I had been there I would have done the same thing. All they want is to see them work hard."
nufc.com: Apathetic, abysmal, appalling and that's just the A's. An eighth successive defeat that extends the worse run of defeats in the club's entire history was as predictable as it was unbearable. Our performances this season have increasingly shown an absence of motivation, professionalism, organisation and discipline and this was another prime example. An already appalling disciplinary record had two further shameful additions by the final whistle. Carver may "bleed black and white" but the sad fact is that like many others in the Ashley administration, he's been promoted above his competence and hung out to dry. The discontent of our fanbase is manifested in both silent dismay and vocal hostility.
1st May 2015 - Ashley Out
Pre Leicester City away : We feel it is important to continue with action on a game by game basis. The media rhetoric has changed and the local and national narrative is now firmly focused on the sad state of affairs that is Newcastle United under the ownership of Mike Ashley. We call on those travelling down to Leicester to continue to Stand Up To Ashley after 34 minutes of the game to symbolise our discontent. Our volunteers will be outside the ground to distribute materials and will be taking various banners to the game. There will also be some limited action against Sports Direct stores in the vicinity of Leicester. We are still in the early days of this campaign and we will further expand our protest activities in the coming weeks and months. This must continue.
28th April 2015 - Pitiful
Officials at St. James' Park have accused the makers of the Dispatches programme The Secrets Of Sports Direct of misleading supporters. The expose, which aired on Channel 4 on Monday evening looked at the relationship between our owners sportswear business and our club. Officials at the club saw fit to release an official statement this afternoon.
Club Statement: In reference to our statement last night (Monday 27th April) regarding the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme, The Secrets of Sports Direct, Newcastle United would like to clarify the facts for the benefit of supporters. Last night’s programme made a wholly inaccurate claim regarding the retail relationship between the Club and Sports Direct. In the Club’s view, the broadcaster deliberately misled Newcastle United supporters and provided yet another example of erroneous media reporting which only serves to further antagonise fans.
In January 2014, in the minutes of its Fans Forum which are published online, the Club confirmed how the retail relationship with Sports Direct works. For the purpose of clarity, we can reconfirm that 100 per cent of the income from goods bought in the Club’s official stores and on its website are received by the Club and not Sports Direct, as the ‘Dispatches’ programme claimed. The only money paid by the Club to Sports Direct is for the stock (at cost price), plus a handling fee. This represents far better value than the costs the Club historically incurred in relation to purchasing, storage and distribution. In fact, the change to our retail operating structure introduced in February 2013, which saw us partner with Sports Direct, increased the profit margin by over 50 per cent. This benefits the Club hugely. In simple terms, the Club receives more money as a result of this relationship.
Channel 4 failed to contact the Club in order to clarify any facts in relation to our retail operation. Given that this information was already in the public domain, and had been for over 15 months, we find it incredible that the makers of an investigative current affairs programme chose to air information which was so obviously factually incorrect.
Michael Martin - True Faith: The Fans Forum? The club selects which fans sit on it, questions are submitted in advance, no supplementary questions are allowed. The club decides who can report on what has gone on. It will ban anyone who provides their own account. It is pitiful.
Portraying a club that is deeply unhappy and divided
28 April 2015 - Toxic
MarkDouglas - The Chronicle: The snap of the weekend was undoubtedly the one that depicted Newcastle fan Allen O’Connell remonstrating with an animated John Carver midway through a seventh successive defeat for a team that is poorly organised and without hope or heart. It portrays pretty accurately a club that is deeply unhappy and divided at the moment. The supporters shouting at Carver are reacting to a club that doesn’t listen, doesn’t care and constantly contradicts itself. These fans have done the loyal, patient thing for years now. Who can blame them if the frustration and discontent is starting to reach boiling point? Newcastle need to stop patronising and antagonising the supporters and start listening but I don’t think Ashley wants that kind of club. The lack of accountability is what lies at the heart of the increasingly antagonistic relationship between Newcastle United and it’s public. Anyone who has shown the continuous contempt that United have in his era don’t appear to be capable of shifting direction.
Newcastle taken aback by the numbers who stayed away
28 April 2015 - A Mood Of Activism And Discontent
MarkDouglas - The Chronicle: I realised over the weekend that I have been blocked by a couple of Newcastle United players on Twitter. I don’t think I’d ever directly referenced them on social media before but it’s no biggie. One of the players in question has posted six updates in the last 87 days so I can probably live without his regular insights, but it did fit loosely into the fractious theme of the weekend, the increasingly fraught relationship between club and fans. That’s nothing new, of course. Mike Ashley’s name has been mud on Tyneside for most of his depressing eight year tenure but the mood has discernibly shifted away from the apathy of early March to a new, spiky mood of activism and discontent. Having privately suspected the noise being made on social media would not translate to action, it must have been a surprise to see blocks of seats usually reserved for season tickets so empty. Make no mistake, Newcastle were taken aback by the numbers who stayed away from the Spurs match.
27th April 2015 - Being Deceived And Lied To
Channel 4 programme Dispatches broadcast a 60 minute special on Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct this evening. The documentary exposed the disgraceful practices operated by Ashley’s company in relation to both its staff and customers. The programme, which had an undercover reporter secretly filming behind the scenes also made reference to the retail relationship that Ashley's company has with Newcastle United. Just over an hour after the end of the Sports Direct slaughtering a club statement had been rushed out via the official website.
Club Statement: "The Club has noted the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme aired tonight (Monday 27th April) and in particular the reference to the terms of the retail relationship between the Club and Sports Direct. The Club is extremely disappointed no one from Channel 4 contacted the Club for comment. The information broadcast is wholly inaccurate and the Club will provide further information and clarification tomorrow (Tuesday 28th April)."
Twitter summary: "Seems Ashley is not just scamming those who go to the match but also those who shop at Sports Direct. I sense panic. A statement within minutes of anything potentially negative surrounding Sports Direct. After that programme and seeing how people are being deceived and lied to, nobody is going to believe another word they say anyway."
The club is in freefall
27th April 2015 - Breathtaking Complacency
Miles Starforth: For years, Newcastle couldn’t get deals over the line. Now, the team can’t get over the Premier League finishing line. Is it any wonder? What good is £34 million in the bank when the club is in freefall and facing relegation? Newcastle, beaten for the seventh successive time on Saturday, didn’t sign a single player in January. The incomings and outgoings of last summer didn’t address the lack of depth to a squad which, for some time, has been ill equipped for the rigours of a full season.
The complacency of the club’s hierarchy in recent years has been breathtaking. Managing director Lee Charnley, speaking early this year, said it was hard to “get value” in the January transfer market. It’s harder still to get out of the Championship. Davide Santon left the club on loan on transfer deadline day along with five other players while fellow defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s move to AS Roma was made permanent. Weeks after Santon’s exit, Carver could barely name a back four.
United, according to its last set of accounts, is a club wealthy on paper, but impoverished on the pitch. When the final whistle confirmed Newcastle’s worst run of results for 38 years, even the boos were half hearted. The lifeblood has been sucked out of the stadium and the club’s long suffering fans over the past few years. St. James' Park used to be a cacophony. Now you can hear every cough. Sadly, the 3-2 defeat to Swansea City didn’t surprise anyone. The 46,884 crowd was the lowest of the season. Watching the club, it seems, has become a chore.
This season has been half hearted. There was once blood, sweat and tears at the iconic stadium. There was once pride and passion. There was once a sense of belonging. Not now. Pounds and pence seemingly mean more to Ashley than the passion and pride of the club’s support. As it is, the club has four games to get the three or four points that it will need to stay up, but anyone who has watched the team in recent weeks will struggle to see just where the next point is coming from. If United do crawl over the line, it won’t be a cause for celebration. Newcastle might be in the black financially, but the club is in debt to its supporters. They need to be repaid next season.
How can Ashley look himself in the mirror?
27th April 2015 - Mike Ashley Has Stripped Supporters Of All Hope
John Gibson - The Chronicle: No hope, no fire, no belief. Plenty of despair, tons of mediocrity, heaps of uncertainty. Repeating yourself becomes tedious. What new is there to say? Seven successive Premier League defeats have followed the same old sad countdown to humiliation. With 70 minutes gone, Swansea literally walked in their third goal past a statuesque defence and a proud people stood in stunned silence.
How can Mike Ashley get up in the morning and look himself in the mirror? He ought to have the decency to wear a highwayman’s mask while he robs those who care about what he obviously does not. He strips every proud black and white heart of all hope and without that, football fans have nothing.
Ashley was not born a Geordie, not born a Newcastle United fan, and won’t go from cradle to grave as a Magpie like those who suffer by his indifference. He took this club down once and because of his lack of foresight and basic passion, he is in grave danger of doing it again. The players are a spineless bunch who carry the white flag permanently in their back pocket and Carver has no idea how to instil pride and caring into their soulless beings.
What a sad state of affairs. This club has suffered some gawd awful days, but right now, it’s hard to think of any worse than this. Humiliation is our constant companion. Depression a way of footballing life. Could officialdom please tell us: who is to blame?
27th April 2015 - Swansea City: The Final Word
Micky Quinn: "The players are a disgrace at the moment. They are sleepwalking into the Championship with performances like this, and the worst part is they don’t seem to give two hoots. Pulling on the black and white jersey should be an honour, but this lot don’t seem to be bothered."
Keith Gillespie: "Players need to seriously look at themselves. Their play of late is a joke. The attitude is not good enough."
Nobby Solano: "It is crazy. The team could not even put three or four passes together. Swansea were doing it and building up their play. I can’t believe it."
Alan Shearer: "Watch Swansea’s third goal again, nobody made the slightest effort to stop it. Pathetic. The players look like they simply don’t care. I was in a similar position when I tried to keep the club up with eight games left of the 2008-09 season. There were a number in that squad who also lacked the drive needed to stay up and in the end we went down."
26th April 2015 - A Business Man With No Interest In Football
Alex Netherton - uk.eurosport.yahoo.com:
To lose seven games in a row is quite some achievement but Newcastle managed it with their defeat at home to Swansea City. Not many teams can look well beaten when they are a goal up but again they managed it. Swansea simply kept playing to a competent standard and found themselves with an easy three points. This was not a close match, even if there was only a goal separating the teams at full time. It wasn’t quite a rout, but only because Swansea are suffering from a few injuries and being seven points behind Southampton with a few games left means there is nothing to play for. Newcastle, on the other hand, do have something to play for, they just carry on as if they don’t.
Ashley has decided there is no point investing while Premier League survival is guaranteed. He is a businessman with no interest in football. Ashley is trying to get as much money out of the club while spending as little as possible. If Newcastle fans want some encouragement to continue their protest they should look to the North West. In a couple of weeks it will be the 10 year anniversary of the Glazer takeover of Manchester United. The Glazers leech the club of hundreds of millions of pounds. With the new TV deal, the same could become true of Mike Ashley at Newcastle.
26th April 2015 - Ashley Out (Swansea City Home)
Review: The Stand Up To Ashley protest gained extensive press coverage and again demonstrated to Mike Ashley and the watching world that we will not sit on our hands while he destroys our club. Tens of thousands of fans joined this protest to show their dissatisfaction in the 34th minute of the game by showing Ashley the red card, voicing their frustrations or by simply standing up in defiance. Our plans to distribute red cards were not advertised in advance to prevent the club from arranging the additional security that has been put in place at the stadium for previous protests. It is clear that those within Ashley’s regime will not tolerate any criticism, even from the fans who have supported the club long before their arrival and who will support it long after their departure. There were eyewitness accounts of stewards removing cards from fans in the ground and attempts to prevent fans from taking them into the stadium. This is despite the fact that the material was both factual and inoffensive and there being absolutely no legal basis to confiscate these protest materials. Notwithstanding the club’s totalitarian approach, the aim of further highlighting the club’s distinct lack of ambition was achieved. Even with £34 million in the bank, the club refused to invest in a competent manager and to strengthen a squad low on numbers and quality to make it fit for purpose. This adds even more weight to the argument that its sole objective is now to exist as a Sports Direct billboard.
Siem de Jong closes the deficit
25th April 2015 - Newcastle United 2 Swansea City 3
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat (Abeid 61), Anita, Williamson, Coloccini, Colback, R Taylor, Perez, Cabella (De Jong 74), Gutierrez, Riviere (Armstrong 74) - Subs not used: Woodman, Gouffran, Obertan, Ameobi.
Scorers: Perez (20), De Jong (87) - Attendance: 46,884
John Carver: "We started the game quite well and played some good football. We were in control and could have come in two up at half time. I can’t really fault my players’ effort. It’s a huge disappointment but we’ll keep fighting. We’ve got four massive games now. We are not ready to quit, to pack in, to throw in the towel. That applies to me and my staff."
nufc.com: Seven defeats in a row, our fourth successive home defeat, threat of a second relegation in just seven seasons now seems only too real. Fifteen games in 2015 have seen United register just nine points from a possible forty five. John Carver is desperately trying to rearrange the deckchairs, hamstrung by a set of players firmly in a losing habit, ruining their reputations with a series of disorderly and meek displays. Blame can rightly be directed at the owner, his staff and the coaches, but ultimately those on the field have to be accountable and are collectively failing in their duty. Echoes of 2009 are becoming more and more evident, Michael Owen's assertion that we won't win another point looks more realistic by the game and when it comes to recognising gutless quitters, there's few better qualified than Michael Owen.
Craig Hope - The Telegraph: Mike Ashley must now fear that his next appointment as Newcastle head coach will be starting out life in the Championship, but more still that his Premier League cash cow is set for the slaughter. Around 40,000 fans rose as one to chant ‘We want Ashley out’ as they staged a 34th minute protest in recognition of the unspent £34 million which is sitting in the club’s bank. How Ashley must be wishing he had invested a few quid back in January. Instead, he waited until the end of the window to confirm caretaker John Carver as boss until the end of the season and in 11 matches since, the billionaire has seen his side collect just 5 points.
Alan Shearer: "No doubt about it, Newcastle are now in real danger of going down. After that performance I can't actually say with any certainty that we will get another point this season. Why don't the Newcastle players start taking some responsibility? Right now they are an embarrassment."
Michael Martin - True Faith: Another miserable afternoon in an increasingly febrile atmosphere saw our rotten football club drift ever closer to the relegation places and fans’ patience at absolute zero. Despite no organised boycott this week, there were empty seats all over St. James' Park. I would put it at around 10,000 and miles off the official attendance. Even in the bad old days of the late 80’s, the whole experience was a million times better. It’s heartbreaking at the minute because everything I loved about Newcastle United Football Club has disappeared in front of my eyes. I hate the people representing us now. Going down? I fucking hope so. Is there an unhappier football club anywhere? There may be clubs in greater difficulties than United right now but for sheer, unremitting gloom, depression and stomach churning furstration, Newcastle United will take some beating.
Negative sentiment toward the club owner
20th April 2015 - A Preoccupation With Profit
cityam: Newcastle fans boycotted yesterday’s home match against Tottenham Hotspur in protest against owner Mike Ashley, calling on him to leave. Fans are frustrated with high profile businessman Ashley who is seen to have little ambition for on field success and a preoccupation with profit. Growing frustrations have seen such protests grow in popularity. Strong negative sentiment towards the club’s ownership was compounded when it was revealed that United had more then £34.1 million in cash reserves.
Boycotter: "Compared to a year ago when we did something similar I think there has been a massive swing in interest. I think the results the last couple of weeks have seen people who were on the fence jump across to our point of view. You can see it in the car parks and the town, it’s quiet for a match day. People who are boycotting simply haven’t travelled in."
Billy Williams: I am a lifelong Liverpool supporter and along with many other Liverpool fans have empathy with Newcastle fans fighting against Mike Ashley and Wonga. I can’t offer any solutions but I hope you win your battle and drive Ashley and Wonga out.
20th April 2015 - A Team And A Club Devoid Of Unity
thetottenhamway.com:
A victory against John Carver’s Newcastle means very little. Very little indeed. Sunderland beat Carver’s team 1-0 before being spanked 4-1 at home by Palace. Given the choice, every manager in the league would choose to play Newcastle next. They are a team and a club devoid of unity, passion, commitment, energy and quality. You can only beat what’s in front of you and Spurs played well but it’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions from a match against such demoralised opposition.
Newcastle United now has a major credibility problem
19th April 2015 - Let’s See This Through And Get Our Club Back
Michael Martin - True Faith: The Ashley Out campaign is unquestionably very much up and running. I’m delighted to see the campaign start with such a degree of energy and being amongst the protestors today gave me the biggest buzz I’ve had from Newcastle United for a long while. To knock 15,000 off the gate was astonishing. The vast majority of those taking part had already paid for their tickets. It says everything that people would do this to make a statement to the football world about how our club is being run. It needs to be used as the springboard to yet more sustained action which will inch by inch persuade Ashley to go. Newcastle United now has a major credibility problem and it’s not just with its own support. All of the national press carried detailed reports on the state of the club and the negative publicity generated for Ashley and Sports Direct will over time begin to weigh that company down.
I was staggered with the revelation there was £34 million in the United bank account sitting alongside the £18 million profit declared. “We’re rich but the team is shit” as those on Strawberry Place chanted pre match could not be more accurate. The Ashley flap was evident with the daily pitch of emails punting Spurs tickets, the Box Office’s refusal to let on how many tickets they had sold and the nonsense slipped into the media by United’s PR promising to try in the Cups next season. No one was being taken in. There is eight long years of cynicism that is going to take a lot to peel back. I’m prepared for a long war and I don’t think anyone should kid themselves this is going to be a quick win. The people behind AshleyOut.com will be taking a breath this week after a massive effort and then plot the way ahead.
Stevie Mac: Let’s see this through and get our club back.
Stewpot: The Wonga sponsorship is a smear on the black and white shirt and I’m disgusted that people persist in wearing this cheap, nasty tat. It completely undermines any message we are trying to convey when people are advertising this throughly toxic brand. On Sunday there was a banner at the Gallowgate protest saying “wonga out” and there were people stood next to it holding “ashleyout.com” signs whilst wearing shirts with that awful logo on the front. Beyond stupid. Are people prepared to further line his pockets by buying these terrible shirts and training tops. I don’t understand why more isn’t being made of this. There should be a policy of discouraging this behaviour. I can’t take these people seriously and I don’t want to stand with them in protest.
A celebratory message versus Tottenham
19th April 2015 - Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 4.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Anita (Armstrong 75), Williamson, Coloccini, Abeid (Obertan 46), R Taylor, Colback, Gouffran (Ameobi 46), Perez - Subs not used: Woodman, Sterry, Kemen, Riviere.
Scorer: Colback (46) - Attendance: 47,427
John Carver: "It’s another defeat and that’s not good enough. We have got to put some points on the board. I think there’s enough experience to deal with it.You have sides, I’ll use Leicester as an example, who are winning games. We aren’t. We conceded a really poor goal again so you’re fighting an uphill battle. There was a lot of huff and puff, and that’s about it. You could see the nerves and the tension amongst everybody on the pitch in black and white. It showed in that first half performance. We had a chat at half time. I went positive. I thought I’d bring on two guys that would get us up the pitch with a bit of pace and a bit of drive. We got off to a good start, scored a decent goal. It seemed to awaken Spurs. We conceded a free kick and conceded another stupid goal. All of a sudden the game changed again. This job is never easy and it's not getting any easier. It’s a huge kick in the teeth at home. There’s nobody going to land from Mars with a spaceship load of players. Hopefully I can find a solution. I have enough experience to deal with the situation."
nufc.com: John Carver joined his former boss, Alan Pardew, in presiding over six successive Premier League defeats almost a year after his predecessor set the unwanted record. Protests before and after the game outside the Gallowgate end were loud and well attended. The real villain of the piece, the object of most people's ire, owner Mike Ashley, stayed away. The season's lowest crowd, there were 10,000 unoccupied seats, was still the weekend's highest league attendance. The boycott gave the game a backdrop of discontent as Spurs became the latest team to leave Tyneside with all three points at a subdued and subversive St. James' Park. The visitors enjoyed a comfortable afternoon. The majority of the Magpies on display were short on confidence, ability and application. This squad of players is simply not good enough for this division. While most Premier League teams break at pace, this current crop move forward at a snail's pace while defending like statues. Another dispiriting display that still leaves United searching for the points to secure Premier League status.
Graham Porter - The Mag: Your heart tells you surely John Carver can’t get the job but with Mike Ashley running Newcastle United it is more than likely.
18th April 2015 - Sunday Boycott
ashleyout.com:
The decision to organise a boycott is not a knee jerk reaction to another woeful season, it is not a sudden flash of anger caused by five successive defeats, do not make that mistake. This is the culmination of eight years of frustration, alienation, resentment and that horrible, sickening feeling something you love is being harmed. One man is responsible for driving us to this point - Mike Ashley.
We do not know how many supporters will join the boycott, but this is not a futile act. There will be some fans who, regardless of the way they feel towards Ashley and no matter how bad the team is, still cannot abandon them on a match day. That is their decision, but some of us have had enough. It is time to take a stand, it is time to make it clear we will not suffer in silence. Apathy is no longer an option. This is our football club and our city.
We have tolerated Ashley for long enough. There has been a begrudging acceptance he has put the club on firm ground as a business, but we can no longer allow him to use that as an excuse to crush our dreams, our identity and our spirit. We will not persuade Ashley to sell with a one game boycott, but we can show him and the rest of English football that we want him to go. We can show him that selling up is the right and decent thing to do.
Watching our team play used to ignite pride and passion, now it is a chore. A bond has been broken and we believe there is only one way to fix it. We want Ashley to sell up and end the purgatory. Newcastle United is not a football club that exists for the pleasure of its supporters. It exists for the benefit of an owner who seems to relish ignoring us. An owner who has never listened to those that love the club he controls.
Newcastle United has ceased to be a football club. At least in the traditional sense. The club no longer exists to seek glory, to win trophies, to realise dreams. It no longer even wishes to compete. Since 2007, Mike Ashley has overseen, and orchestrated, the crude and painful transition from football club to business. The club has been consumed by his Sports Direct empire and now bears the unwelcome hallmarks of this brand. The soul of the club has been ripped out to create advertising space.
Ashley has ignored our complaints for eight years, his stubbornness strengthened by the sight of 50,000 fans at St. James’ Park. This is a message to him and the club’s sponsors that the relationship is toxic.
Our unconditional loyalty to Newcastle United remains. Only this is not Newcastle United.
United's stand in captain? A moron.
13th April 2015 - Liverpool 2 Newcastle 0
Premier League - Anfield, Liverpool - 8.00pm
Team: Krul, R Taylor, Janmaat, Williamson, Anita, Colback, Abeid (Armstrong 75), Sissoko, Cabella, Obertan (Gutierrez 67), Perez (Gouffran 86) - Subs not used: Elliot, Sterry, Ameobi, Riviere.
Attendance: 44,611
John Carver: "There are lot of positives to take. A lot of people expected us to get a hiding. We held our own for the majority of the game. I thought the first nine minutes we were very tentative, after that we grew, one or two rolled their sleeves up, we got a response. We didn't get a result but I saw enough. We came here for three points and got none. That’s disappointing but I cannot fault the effort we gave tonight. We’ve had a go. We’ve restored some pride. Anything would have been better than that dreadful performance against Sunderland."
On the penalty claim: "It was a huge decision that changed the game when Perez went down under Lovren's challenge. It was a stone wall penalty."
nufc.com: Yet another defeat and blank return in front of goal. Liverpool played within themselves. Brendan Rodgers couldn't have asked for less taxing opposition. Sissko ran around with the appearance of someone on the verge of losing control. Blasting a ball that was already out of play into the lower section of the main stand from point blank range. In the book for an altercation with Glen Johnson, a few minutes later, studs on Lucas' ankle and walking. United's stand in captain? A moron. Five defeats in a row leave United stuck on 35 points and what appeared to be an unassailable gap above the bottom three is now nine points with six games to play.
6th April 2015 - Ashley Out Dot Com
Statement: It’s been nearly eight years since Mike Ashley became the owner of Newcastle United with much fanfare and promise. Since then our club has been the subject of an organised tumble into mediocrity for the benefit of one person, and one person only, Michael James Wallace Ashley.
There have been embarrassing appointments at director and managerial level, our club and ground have been associated with tacky brands, club legends have been humiliated, club debt has risen, matchday and commercial revenue have dropped significantly and, most importantly, our league and cup records have deteriorated. Today the club is an empty shell, a shadow of its grand former self.
There is no ambition beyond staying in the Premier League to pick up “our” share of the enormous TV revenues the league generates. In the early parts of his reign Mike Ashley very publicly “put the club up for sale”, but in the end he got away with public posturing and asking for patience whilst the “takeover process” ran its course. The reality is he was never actually inclined to sell up. We urge Mike Ashley to put Newcastle United up for sale as soon as possible, in earnest this time, and in an open and transparent manner.
We will not lie down until the objective to see him removed as owner of our beloved club has been achieved. We call upon all Newcastle United fans to support our campaign aimed at ending Mike Ashley’s tenure. We are all being lied to and deceived in a cold and calculated fashion by Ashley and his people. Their aim of keeping our fanbase pacified and sitting in their seats for the TV cameras cannot be allowed to succeed.
This website documents Mike Ashley’s many ploys, lies and failures, and alongside our social media presence, will be the background of organised protests at Newcastle United games and away from them.
Mr Logic - Newcastle Online: Ashley is a petty man, used to getting his own way and vindictive if anything thwarts him. When it comes to football he is also a stupid man. Eight years he's been here and he hasn't learnt a thing. All he had to do was employ a manager that gelled with the recruitment policy and favoured attacking football. The majority in the stadium would have been content with that. He could have sat in the background if the football was good. Hope this campaign ultimately has some positive effect.
Michael Martin - True faith: Is anyone at all in any doubt whatsoever about Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United? A pale shadow of a sporting institution, a sham of a sporting outfit pitched to foreign players as a stepping stone to proper and more ambitious clubs. With that kind of club ethos no wonder there is no pride in pulling on the shirt, no camaraderie or team spirit. The whole club is little more than an empty shell, run by lickspittles for the sole purposes of Mike Ashley.
What can be done? Most of our support is drowning in apathy. They don’t believe anything can be done. If you want to fight Ashley then you and me need to do far more than we’ve ever done before. It will mean getting off your arses and getting on the streets and acting. You’ll be with your fellow Mags and you’ll be putting up a fight with no guarantee of success. You’ll be doing it because you know it’s the right thing to do. It will mean giving up your spare time and not leaving it to others. If we can get a good few thousand active on match days then it might just spread and it might just persuade Ashley to finally get out of our club. Of course, it might not, there are no guarantees and there is no promise whoever comes out of the woodwork will be the right person. Nothing is guaranteed. You’ll be fighting for the sake of it.
We are in for a long war of attrition with Ashley. After all, he holds the cards. Unlike at Rangers, we have no option of buying shares in United and indeed we have no power at all. But what we can do is make a racket, draw attention to the damage Ashley is doing to one of English football’s most iconic of football clubs and indeed to the sport itself. He needs to be away from Newcastle United and so do the rest of the inadequates on the payroll.
6th April 2015 - Club Zero
Michael Walker - The Independent: Mike Ashley’s Newcastle are a bottom line outfit. The businessman of zero hours contracts ignominy has created club zero. Zero ambition, zero ammunition, the famous Newcastle United of the black and white stripes turned up in Sunderland wearing grey. It was a declaration of beige intent and on that front the assembly of cheap Dutchmen, Frenchmen and local boys delivered. It was 72 minutes before the Sunderland keeper made a save of note. Newcastle’s fans, housed high in the away end, have now witnessed five straight derby defeats. They are a mix of the apoplectic and apathetic.
toonarmyblog.co.uk: Sunday represented a chance to salvage pride from this disasterous season. With that now gone the end of the season can't come quick enough and we just have to pray that somehow we manage to stay in this league which if we do is likely to be down to other teams failings rather than anything positive we go out and do which just about sums things up with the club at the moment. Rudderless. Absolutely rudderless.
"Embarrassed? Absolutely. We were dreadful."
5th April 2015 - Sunderland 1 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Stadium Of Light, Sunderland - 4.00pm
Team: Krul, Colback, R Taylor, Janmaat, Williamson, Sissoko, Gutierrez, Gouffran (Riviere 58), Ameobi (Armstrong 87), Cabella, Perez - Subs not used: Elliot, Abeid, Anita, Abeid, Kemen, Obertan.
Attendance: 47,563
John Carver: "Do you think I'm embarrassed? Absolutely. I am a part of it and I have to deal with it. First half, we were dreadful. I said before the game that no side of mine would be criticised for not closing people down, not working hard enough. I was wrong. If we'd have got to half time at 0-0, I would have been doing somersaults in the dressing room. I would have been delighted because we were second best in every department. That's how poor we were. We came back in the second half, we huffed and puffed, but it still wasn't good enough."
nufc.com: Another pathetic derby performance where the entire management and playing staff looked completely clueless, gutless and feckless. Things are seriously wrong with the club at every level and with Alan Pardew no longer in the firing line, the club hierarchy need to bite the bullet. Quality is lacking all over the pitch, in the dugout and in the boardroom and nothing can hide that. To take the field against the league's out of form side with such a depressing approach defied belief. No other team can have pitched up here attempting to execute such a negative game plan. They had just been thumped at home by Aston Villa for heaven's sake. United rolled up with a line up that included too many passengers who are simply not good enough and players who are playing out of position. It's simply not acceptable and a healthy looking balance sheet only makes it harder to stomach. The bare facts of the game showed that the better side won. More possession, more corners, more shots on goal and of course one more goal. Chants of "You don't know what you're doing" were sung towards the end of the game and the players were booed as they went towards the away followers, leaving the field to a rendition of "You're not fit to wear the shirt". Absolutely tragic.
Rochford Mag: How can you visit a team that was comprehensively thumped by a useless Aston Villa and not go for it? Totally pathetic. Carver learned more from Pardew then he ever did from Sir Bobby Robson.
Michael Martin - True Faith: A shell of a football club. Newcastle United no longer exists. An existence played out by zombie players and managed by a man whose Geordie rhetoric is a tired old cliche and an owner who long gave up the ghost of tangible investment and a sense of belonging. We carry too many passengers on the pitch like uber coward Sissoko and circus act Sammy, who in clubbing the ball out of play under no pressure encapsulated his day, his career and this football club. We cling to the Premier League table ever more perilously feeding from the crumbs that the big boys scatter on the carpet and survive in a never ending sequence of mediocrity being outfought and outthought in what seems to be our only two meaningful games of the season.
2nd April 2015 - Leicester Live
Our away Premier League meeting with Leicester City has been chosen for live television coverage on BT Sport. The match has now been confirmed as a 12.45pm kick-off at the King Power Stadium on Saturday 2nd May 2015.
1st April 2015 - Ashley's Legacy At Rangers
uk.businessinsider.com: Ashley owns 9% of Rangers (4% personally and 5% through his MASH holdings company), making him the second largest shareholder. He was stopped from increasing his stake to 30% in December last year. The Scottish Football Association citing a conflict of interest. His loans to the club, however, still gave him control over Rangers. Out of £10 million he loaned the club in January this year, £5 million was used to pay back his own companies from an earlier £3 million loan. He installed several trusted business partners to the board: Derek Llambias, Paul Murray, John Gilligan and Barry Leach, the Easdale brothers and Derek Somners. That crew was ousted last month by David King who has the largest stake in Rangers at 14.5%. Ashley controlled merchandising and allegedly received advantageous deals. He managed to buy the naming rights to Rangers' Ibrox Stadium for only £1.
Lianna Brinded: Ashley may have lost his power over the board at Rangers but that won't stop his companies from getting a sizable chunk of cash if the troubled football club gets promoted. Ashley will receive around half a million pounds regardless of the financial health of the football club. "Should the Club gain promotion in season 2014/15, either directly or via the play off method, the Club will be liable to pay a total of £500,000 to Newcastle United Football Company Limited" said Rangers in a regulatory statement.
Neil Cameron - The Chronicle: The prize for Rangers if they do go up is £425,000. All will go to Ashley. The previous board, led by Derek Llambias and Barry Leach, close associates of Mike Ashley, sanctioned this deal. £500,000 for a fringe striker, a guy with a mystery illness, two crocks and a 20 year old who isn’t ready. Quite good business for Newcastle.
31st March 2015 - Ruined By Greed
Neil Cameron - The Chronicle: August 2011 is a long time to wait for a derby win, especially when you take into account just how bad many of the performances have been since that day.
Jim McMeachin - Coming Home Newcastle: Newcastle United were purchased by a very successful businessman. Now they are run like a business. As we are starting off derby week, which we have lost four times in a row and haven't won since 2011, we are sitting pretty financially even if we are crap on the field. Perhaps we can just show them our books and they'll concede the match this time around?
vitalfootball.co.uk: Five days from the local derby and our eyes are on the accounts and the profit that is, was or should be. What should be a period of reflection, nerves and excitement, stories of past glory, tales of honour, ruined by greed. We didn't use to go through everything. Considering the way we are run or insinuated to be, there's no choice. Fans bled dry of passion, hope and ambition. It has to change.
30th March 2015 - Record Profits Raise More Questions
worldsoccertalk.com: Newcastle have not released the full annual report, only selected highlights with no detailed explanation as to how £28.5 million of extra costs have been incurred.
Mark Jensen - The Mag: "This has just provoked more questions than answers. There is £28.5 million of costs for which there is no explanation. The wages to sales ratio is also not included. We had anticipated a profit of around £50 million, especially with Cabaye being sold. The way that most fans look at it is that Newcastle didn't buy a single player in the whole season and sold Cabaye. Everyone knows how much these clubs are getting from television so Newcastle fans would like to think more profit would mean more team strengthening but that has not been the case. There seems to be both a lack of transparency and ambition."
30th March 2015 - United Announce Accounts
Club Statement: Newcastle United Football Company Limited has today confirmed continued financial progress as it filed its annual accounts for the year ending June 2014. The Club has recorded strong results, with the growth in commercial revenue playing a greater role in delivering a record £18.7 million profit after tax, up from £9.9 million in 2013. The results signal the fourth consecutive year of recorded profit for the football club. Operational losses of £0.6 million in 2013 have been turned into an operating profit of £4.7million as the Club continues to out perform UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations. The Club's turnover rose to £129.7 million, up from £95.9 million the previous year.
Matchday revenue, which includes ticket sales and hospitality, dropped slightly to £25.9million, down from £27.8million in 2013, when the Club hosted seven additional home games as a result of its participation in the UEFA Europa League. Season ticket renewal figures held steady, as did average Premier League attendances, which were 50,395 compared to 50,517 the previous season. Media rights revenues accounted for £78.3 million of turnover, a 53.3 per cent increase on the previous year. This reflected the new Barclays Premier League broadcasting rights deal as well as the Club's improved league position of tenth in 2013/14, compared to 16th the season before. Most significantly, the Club reported strong commercial revenue growth delivering £25.6 million in 2014, up from £17.1 million in 2013. This 49.7 per cent increase was largely the result of two lucrative new deals with the Club's principal sponsors, Wonga and Puma.
The Club's debt continues to remain static at £129 million in the form of an interest free loan from owner Mike Ashley. None of the debt has been repaid to Mr Ashley nor has the owner taken any other monies from the Club.
Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley: "I am pleased to report a positive set of results which confirms the healthy financial position the Club now finds itself in and is a reflection of the prudent and measured manner in which we operate. The Club benefits from a supportive owner and is financially stable. This gives us a strong platform from which to grow, both on and off the pitch, a result of which means, as we move forward, we are able to net spend on the playing squad and invest in other areas of the business. The most pleasing aspect in this set of accounts has been the growth in our commercial revenue and it has been our strongest year yet in that respect. With our commitment to keeping ticket prices affordable for our supporters growing our commercial income has been crucial. The deals we struck with our two main sponsors, Wonga and Puma, together with a stronger focus on our commercial operations, have helped us achieve this growth. We believe financial stability will deliver positive on field results for the club."
Miles Starforth - Shields Gazzette: Years of under investment at St. James’ Park in a league awash with money have taken a toll on the team and its long suffering fans and left the club with a squad ill equipped to last the distance of a Premier League campaign. Many supporters, disillusioned with the way the club is run, have already drifted away. What’s the point of supporting a club, at great expense, which does not seem to want to win a cup? Mid table mediocrity isn’t good enough for a club which attracts 50,000 to St. James’ Park every other week. Fans live and breathe football on Tyneside and the least they deserve is some ambition from a club in which they make a huge emotional and financial investment over their lifetime.
30th March 2015 - International Call For Davide Santon
Paul Mannion - The Metro: Davide Santon’s Italy call up is symbolic of Newcastle United’s mismanagement, a player inexplicably released, enjoying football again and playing at the highest level whilst United are struggling to pick a starting 11 for Sunday’s derby with Sunderland. Deemed surplus to requirements on Tyneside, Santon was loaned out to his former side Inter Milan in January for the remainder of the season and an agreed fee with the Italians if the player made enough starts. Santon’s partner took to Twitter to claim the defender was being forced out of the club and said the couple were disgusted at the defender’s treatment, claims which were refuted as being a misunderstanding by the club.
Fast forward a few weeks and the full back has become a first team regular, appearing in Europe and in Serie A, whilst making the ten performances which triggered the clause to make the deal permanent. Back on Tyneside, interim head coach John Carver has been forced to play midfielder Jack Colback at left back and Daryl Janmaat at centre back, then added insult to injury when he stupidly claimed the club could look to the free player market in their desperation for players. Ahead of the defeat to Arsenal, the club hierarchy came out to apologise to Carver for leaving him short of players and claimed they will be spending big this summer with a squad overhaul.
Decisions like this are what make Newcastle United a Premier League laughing stock and only adds to the doom and gloom hanging over St. James’ Park. I’m not sure even multi billionaire Mike Ashley has the money needed to transform this Toon side from relegation battlers to the entertaining and exciting club they once were.
He is calculating and cold. There is no emotion.
26 March 2015 - Paralysed By Mediocrity
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: Mike Ashley could, and should, be a progressive and ambitious owner, rather than an unpopular and mistrusted absentee landlord. He could be a beneficial ruler who wants to make things better, rather than a self interested dictator, getting rich off the natural resources he controls and rewarding those who do his bidding without questioning the decision making. The suspicion is Ashley chooses not to be a good owner because Newcastle supporters rejected him when he fell out with two people they loved, Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer. He once drank among the Geordies, on the terraces and in the bars and clubs of one of Britain’s renowned party cities. He wanted to have some fun, now he just wants to milk a cash cow.
In Ashley’s eyes, he has been successful at Newcastle. After all, profits in Sports Direct have soared since he attached himself to a Premier League football club and benefited from all the free advertising at St. James’ Park. He even had the audacity to rename the ground the Sports Direct Arena for a while. He has turned the loss making business he bought in 2007 into a hugely profitable one. He has turned a club that he played a large part in relegating in 2009, there were four different managers, including Joe Kinnear, in a season that began with Keegan’s resignation in protest at boardroom control of transfer policy, into a solid and stable Premier League operation that, unless they were really unlucky, will not have to worry about dropping into the Championship again.
For a man who is apparently solely motivated by a desire for his retail empire to grow, buying Newcastle United in 2007 was a great decision. For those who love it with their all heart and soul, Ashley has plunged them into purgatory. It is paralysed by mediocrity. It is death by boredom. To attend a game at St. James’ Park these days is a strange experience. There are more than 50,000 people watching almost every week, but there is no passion, no noise and no sense it is an enjoyable experience. It is debatable whether Ashley even cares what Newcastle’s supporters want. Certainly the continued refusal to see cup competitions and European football as anything more than a dangerous distraction to the modest Premier League ambition of a top 10 finish, suggests he does not. He is calculating and cold. There is no emotion, no passion and no desire to turn Newcastle United into anything more than a vehicle for his own good.
He has been good for Newcastle on a balance sheet, but the end product on the pitch has been underwhelming and, at times, nothing but a chore to watch. The cry from his boardroom representatives, like managing director Lee Charnley, is Newcastle cannot compete with the top six financially, yet their profit margins scream otherwise. Ashley is a brilliant businessman, a sharp operator and a ruthless negotiator who, as a self made member of the super rich club, does not feel as though he needs to take advice from anyone. Because he has been brilliant in his chosen field Ashley has made the mistake of assuming he would also be a wonderful owner of a football club. He has not been.
Ashley could change. He could order the board to reverse the “cup competitions are not a priority” policy. He could refuse to sell the team’s best players this summer, unless the money really is too good to turn down. He could reinvest the vast profit the business is set to announce in the next few days in top quality international players and he could increase the wage bill to attract more of them to the club. He could increase the size of the squad so that there is genuine competition for places and cover for injuries and suspensions, rather than just have enough to get by. These are all things Ashley has the power and, given the superb financial results, also the means to do. They are in excellent shape to challenge for a top six rather than a top ten finish. They could even try to win a cup competition rather than field weakened teams in every round.
Newcastle could be better than they are, but is Ashley even willing to entertain the idea? Is he really stubborn enough to keep them travelling down the same unambitious and dreary path he forced them down on their return to the Premier League five years ago? The sad answer is, probably.
lochinvar: Only way to break the mould is the appointment of a high flying manager who attracts the calibre of player we need to move on up. Ashley trades in broken brands and cheap deals. We’ve been here with Pardew.
25th March 2015 - Character Needed
Peter Lovenkrands: It’s time for Mike Ashley to step up. When Newcastle buy they aren’t bringing in what has gone out. They need investment. Over the years Mike has earned well with the players he has sold on. Still try and get young players but more importantly some experienced players. Instead of selling big players, keep them and add around them. Newcastle is a big enough club to be up there. They need the investment to get back up there and it is important that Ashley invests in some big players. They need to get the fans back on board.
Micky Quinn: It’s a huge frustration to watch a club that is lacking investment and which won’t strengthen. At the minute, there’s so much negativity around the football club, the fans are absolutely numb. Some of the players look like they want to get away. Has John Carver done enough in the games to say he should be in charge? I’d say no. I was pleased he got his opportunity to manage the club but he has to show he’s more than just a cheap option for Mike Ashley. What it requires is a manager who is a character, who is strong and will grab the club by the throat and get the fans back onside. I don’t think Mike Ashley wants a manager who is a character.
A problem at Newcastle
24th March 2015 - Financial Mismanagement Uncovered
Keith Jackson - Daily Record: New Rangers chairman Paul Murray has accused those who used to run the show at Ibrox of striking deals that have run Rangers into the ground, then insisted the new regime don’t need more of Mike Ashley’s money.
Paul Murray: "It is actually difficult to look closely at the club’s finances and understand the rationale behind some of the decisions taken. Let me give just two examples of the recklessness displayed by those who were removed from office just more than two weeks ago. One is the amount, in the region of £300,000, spent on a needless General Meeting and the other is the signing of five Newcastle loan players without medicals. It is appalling.”
The Rangers chairman savaged the likes of Derek Llambias for actions which have sparked turmoil and insisted a small fortune has been recklessly thrown away. Murray admitted to being appalled at the extent of the financial mismanagement he has uncovered. Mike Ashley had a £10 million cash package accepted by the old board in January, the first £5 million of which has already been handed over. In their last act before being routed, axed CEO Llambias and former financial director Barry Leach had started the process of accessing the second tranche of cash.
Rangers Chairman Paul Murray: "People should be ashamed of themselves for the parts they played in dragging this great institution towards near financial ruin. We have made it clear we are happy to engage with Sports Direct but the board has decided against drawing down the second £5 million tranche. We are in the process of reviewing all the contractual relationships Sports Direct has with the club and hope to conclude this review shortly."
Jackie Smithfield - The Mag: Paul Murray has revealed shocking details of the deals that took five Newcastle loan players to Ibrox. Murray says none of the five took medicals before Rangers committed to the loans, organised when Derek Llambias was pulling the strings at Rangers.
WG - footballeconomy.com: The new directors at Rangers have made loans of £1.5 million to the club to keep it afloat while they seek longer term finance. This means that they will not have to take the second tranche of a loan of £10 million from Mike Ashley which would enable him to appoint directors to the board. Over at Newcastle, fans see the problem not as a lack of revenue coming into the club, but the willingness of Mike Ashley to spend it so that it is able to compete more effectively in the Premier League.
21st March 2015 - Negative Tactics
John Carver:
"It’s amazing, once we got on the front foot, the stadium comes alive, all of a sudden the team came alive. Nice to see."
Sam Hepworth - The Chronicle: John Carver’s refers to what happens in matches as though it is something that he has no influence over. Yesterday, the Newcastle Head Coach praised his team for their second half transformation. Whilst we can all agree that United did play much better in the second half, unlike Carver the rest of us are asking why he doesn’t send his players out on the ‘front foot’ from the first minute? It was the same under Alan Pardew, negative tactics see the team sitting deep and invite the opposition to dictate play, which just as it did yesterday leads to goals. In 28 Premier League matches out of 30 this season, Newcastle haven’t scored in the opening half hour. No wonder Newcastle struggle when they hand the initiative to the opposition time after time. Like every other manager, John Carver often talks about how crucial the first goal of a match is. Maybe it is time he set his team out to try and achieve that.
23rd March 2015 - Who Knows?
John Carver: "We are going to invest in the summer. It’s major work that has to be done. It’s not one or two people. We know that. I’ve seen some of the players they are talking about and I’m quite excited about them. With the additions and what we have here I think we can put out a group of players who could be competitive. Not just competitive in the top ten. I know the type of players the fans like and they’re the ones on the list. If we invest in the right way then who knows what we can do?"
"We scored an Arsenal type goal."
21st March 2015 - Newcastle United 1 Arsenal 2
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, R Taylor, Janmaat, Williamson, Colback, Anita (Gutierrez 72), Sissoko, Gouffran, Cabella, Ameobi (Armstrong 89), Perez - Subs not used: Elliot, Satka, Kemen, Obertan, Riviere, Satka, Kemen.
Scorer: Sissoko (48) - Attendance: 50,544
John Carver: "What a fantastic performance by the eleven boys, plus Jonas Gutierrez coming on and giving a performance like that. Every single one of them gave everything for this football club. We scored an Arsenal type goal, great build up play down the right hand side, a cut back and what a finish by Moussa Sissoko. We conceded two goals from set plays, they haven't opened us up. That is disappointing and a little bit frustrating. I thought we started the game quite well. We had a nice shape to the team. There wasn't much in it. Second half, we took the game to them, we were on the front foot and we had more energy. I can take a lot from today"
On Remy Cabella: "He’s a huge talent. He showed flashes in the first half in particular. He tired a bit towards the end but you’d expect that with the medial ligament injury he was coming back from."
nufc.com: Carver chose to make three changes. Out went the suspended Coloccini with Obertan and Riviere dropped in favour of Cabella and Perez. Ryan Taylor filled in at right back, Colback appeared on the opposite flank and Williamson was partnered by makeshift centre half Janmaat. The destination of the points were decided in a five minute spell of the opening half hour. Some slipshod defending let Arsenal striker Giroud twice latch on to set pieces and beat Tim Krul. The same starting eleven appeared after the break and began to show much overdue signs of warming to their task. A 48th minute shot from captain Moussa Sissoko roused Gallowgate from its slumbers and prompted a massively improved second half showing from the Magpies. Regaining a measure of local pride from our next game isn't totally beyond us. There were noteworthy displays from the lively Cabella, the assured Janmaat and the industrious Perez. Depressingly, those performances will have been noted by ambitious clubs. Beaten but not disgraced, the defeat saw Newcastle slip down to 12th.
17th March 2015 - Red Card Appeal Rejected
Thefa.com: An Independent Regulatory Commission has today rejected a wrongful dismissal claim in relation to Newcastle United’s Fabricio Coloccini. The player was dismissed for serious foul play during the game against Everton on 15 March 2015. Therefore, his standard punishment of a three match suspension remains and will commence with immediate effect.
16th March 2015 - No Finisher, No Central Defender, No Leadership
John Gibson - The Chronicle: Everton found it easy to expose woeful Newcastle United. What did we learn from yet another sad and sorry display? Nothing new I’m afraid. Confirmation of what we already knew. They have absolutely no leadership. Skipper Fabricio Coloccini must now sit out three tough games against Arsenal, Sunderland and Liverpool after stupidly being sent off. A shockingly out of form Everton cruised home by three clear goals. The defence is nowhere near solid or reliable enough. Here was the clean sheet we all expected. With Papiss Cisse suspended there is not a single player capable of scoring regularly. Everton went into battle on a shoddy set of figures, one win in their last dozen Premier League fixtures, only three victories at home all season and none this year, their worst points tally since 1926-27. It ought to have given real hope to black and white hearts but instead the Toffees were gifted three points. What Krul was doing on James McCarthy’s opener I’ll never know, nor what possessed Gouffran to give away the ball then chop down Lennon on the second. Game over. Coloccini must now sit next to Cisse in the stands. There is a lack of discipline in the team that is proving costly. United now have no finisher and no central defender. It beggars belief. The bottom line is that Newcastle lost yet again, shipped as many as three goals against a poor side, and were never in danger of scoring themselves. In Gouffran, Riviere, Obertan and Ameobi they have pea shooters not cannon fire. Thank goodness enough points were harvested in the first half of the season to act as a buffer against permanent doom.
Newcastle are desperately in need of a new captain
16th March 2015 - Coloccini Is Just Not Good Enough
Jane Clark - The Mag: Players look to the captain for leadership. Fabricio Coloccini is Newcastle’s most experienced player, he is the best paid by some distance, he is the captain. Newcastle were all over the place against Everton with a desperate lack of organisation, the team a shambles. Coloccini put in a terrible display and not for the first time. Then to cap it all, in a non threatening area, he puts in a nasty, unprofessional challenge on Lennon. If Newcastle were a goal up in the final seconds and Coloccini sacrificed himself with a professional foul and sending off to win the game it would be slightly different. United were already two down and well beaten. To be banned for the next three games is unforgivable. Just like the team’s perfromance, Fabricio Coloccini is just not good enough, letting his team and the fans down. He is part of the problem at Newcastle, not part of the solution. Newcastle are desperately in need of a new captain, somebody who leads by example and inspires those around them.
16th March 2015 - On The Road To Nowhere
Lee Ryder - The Chronicle: Newcastle United are drifting behind the also rans in the Premier League. You don’t have to be an expert to see it. Newcastle are a million miles away from competing with the top six. True, John Carver is working with a depleted squad. However, there can be few excuses for the way Newcastle went about their business on Sunday. Newcastle did not have a game plan to deal with simple Everton tactics, a series of long balls. It was all desperate stuff from United. It was game over long before the end and while Newcastle did have decent chances they are hardly playing like a team that look like converting. Once again the efforts of wingers Sammy Ameobi and Gabriel Obertan failed to carve open the home side. Everton’s task was made even easier as Coloccini lost his head and took Lennon out with a wild challenge. You have to wonder why he set such a poor example by getting sent off at a key stage. Lacking direction, shape, numbers and confidence, the scary thing is this season has plenty of scope to get even worse as Newcastle stagger into the last nine games with harder tests to come and a derby against Sunderland. United’s poor derby record makes Sunderland favourites again. Newcastle won’t get relegated but are on the road to nowhere fast on this evidence.
A cowardly and dangerous challenge
15th March 2015 - Everton 3 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Goodison Park, Liverpool - 4.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Taylor, Coloccini, Williamson, Sissoko, Colback, Obertan (Perez 46), Riviere (Gutierrez 62), Ameobi (Cabella 58), Gouffran - Subs not used: Elliot, Anita, Satka, Armstrong.
Red card: Coloccini (59) - Attendance: 38,806
John Carver: "I thought we started the game well. The goalkeeper made a great save and there was a shout for a penalty for us. We conceded two poor goals. The first goal, Tim possibly could have done better. The second, the penalty, was poor. When we went 2-0 down we had our best opportunities. It wasn’t a group who had given in. We still wanted to get back into the game. You think you’re getting somewhere, Jack Colback back from suspension, Remy Cabella in the group again and Robbie Elliot coming back. Then all of a sudden you could lose your captain for three games, a defender, we’re not blessed with many as we all know."
On the Coloccini dismissal: "From the reaction of the Everton players when it happened, I thought that must be a red. When I came in and looked at it, it was very difficult to decide. I have looked at it from four or five angles and it is not conclusive. I will look at it again. If it was worthy of a red card, he deserves a three match ban. If not I will appeal."
The Chronicle: Newcastle United served up a shambolic display. There were no leaders on the field and Carver could not conjure up a game plan to deliver a result. An inept performance. The club’s need to up their search for fresh leadership on and off the field seems crystal clear. Everton had not won a Premier League game at Goodison since mid December. An alarming lack of quality in the final third and some crazy tackling at the other end made this an easy win for the Toffees. Fabricio Coloccini lunged in to earn a ridiculous red card and an equally stupid challenge from Yoan Gouffran led to a penalty. Everton were handed a gift wrapped three points.
Ed Harrison: Newcastle looked a very poor side today. After we had gone 2-0 down Coloccini managed to get himself a straight red card for a stupid sliding tackle. Carver needs to get a grip of his players. The lack of discipline in the side is there for all to see. We are a pale shadow of the club we once were.
nufc.com: Everton wiped the floor with John Carver's side of misfits. Fabricio Coloccini's senseless red card summed up the performance as the captain showed his team mates a terrible example by launching a cowardly and dangerous challenge. United were already trailing to goals that were gifted by blunders from Tim Krul and Yoan Gouffran. The first goal: McCarthy approached the box unopposed and scuffed a low shot that beat Krul who had inexplicably dived to his right. Television pictures dispelled any notion of Krul being unsighted or deceived by a deflection so only he knows how he was beaten by a weak shot from distance. The second goal: Gouffran allowed Lennon to take the ball off him in our box before needlessly bringing him down just inside the area. Lukaku sent Krul the wrong way from the spot. The home side were apparently in crisis before the game as they tumbled towards the bottom three but by the end of the contest it was the shambles in black and white that looked to be the team in trouble. A side once again drifting aimlessly towards the summer. Rudderless and rotten.
7th March 2015 - Mistakes Made At Ibrox Are Familiar At Newcastle
Mark Douglas - The Chronicle: Why would a club in desperate need of a steady hand at the tiller work so desperately to extricate a billionaire with a reputation for turning humongous profits from their board? The answer to that question might help Mike Ashley improve things at Newcastle if he’s prepared to live and learn. Ashley and his close ally Derek Llambias should wonder quite how they managed to alienate so many people in such a short space of time. In Glasgow what unfolded was a lesson in how not to make friends or influence people.
Ashley’s business acumen and ruthlessness was what was able to turn a minority stake into a position of advantage but when he got into a position of power it was frittered quickly. The mistakes they made were glaring and peculiar given they had experience of crisis management at Newcastle. Rangers having to issue a clarification to the stock exchange about Llambias’ career felt particularly amateurish. It suggests for all the time Ashley’s been in football he still doesn’t understand a basic rule: try not to alienate the people who support your club. At Newcastle he got away with it because he was answerable to no one but himself.
Mike Ashley should consider why he lost control of Rangers and learn the lessons to apply to his ownership of Newcastle United. The revolution at Rangers has limited relevance to Newcastle, where the best we can hope for is Ashley has something up his sleeve in the summer to turn the club into more than just an exercise in existing.
7th March 2015 - Papiss Cisse Suspended
The FA.Com: Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse and Manchester United’s Jonny Evans will serve suspensions of seven matches and six matches respectively with immediate effect. This follows the Premier League game on Wednesday 4 March 2015. Both players were charged in relation to an alleged breach of FA Rule E1(a) in that in or around the 38th minute of the fixture they spat at each other.
Mr Cisse accepted the charge and his suspension consists of six matches, which is the standard penalty for this offence, with an additional one match as he has previously accepted a violent conduct charge this season.
Mr Evans denied the charge but it was found proven following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Friday (6 March), resulting in a six match suspension.
The incidents were not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
Newcastle United look a classless outfit with Ashley at the helm
6th March 2015 - The Arrogance Of Super Rich Ashley
Sean Farrell - The Guardian: Mike Ashley's advisers have spent more than a month blocking repeated attempts by Scottish MPs to call him to face questions about job losses at a retailer owned by his Sports Direct chain and his firm’s use of controversial zero hours contracts. 200 staff lost their jobs when administrators were called in to West Coast Capital (USC), the Sports Direct controlled entity that owned 28 USC stores. The stores were immediately bought out of administration by another part of Sports Direct, but the warehouse was closed down. Ashley is too busy for the entire month of March to appear before them. It is highly unusual for business leaders to refuse a request to appear before a select committee. After a series of communications and the involvement of Ashley’s lawyers, RPC, and another PR firm, Keith Bishop Associates, RPC said Ashley was unavailable according to newly released correspondence.
Committee Chairman, Ian Davidson: "The Scottish affairs committee still wants to meet with Mike Ashley, whom we see as the driving force behind Sports Direct, to clarify his views on how the closure of USC’s warehouse was handled and on major issues of employment policy and related issues."
Michael Martin - True Faith: Ashley in the news again for his refusal to attend a House of Commons Select Committee to answer questions regarding the zero hours contracts of his employees and his disgraceful treatment of employees at his former USC warehouse in Scotland. If ever there was an example of the arrogance and lack of accountability of the super rich then this is it. This comes from a man who has brusquely waved away the invitation of Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah’s invitation to meet him at the House of Commons for a civilised discussion about our club, his running of it and the legitimate concerns of the club’s supporters and other stakeholders. On a personal level, it is rude and boorish. I doubt he is bothered about his own image but it tarnishes the name of Newcastle United by association. We look a tawdry, classless outfit with him at the helm.
Newcastle United has a hated owner
6th March 2015 - Another Club Plagued By Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley’s regime was swept from power at today's extraordinary general meeting at Ibrox. Dave King’s victory was confirmed in a Stock Exchange announcement from Rangers this afternoon. Dave King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan have been voted on to the Rangers board with the shareholders voting overwhelmingly to remove existing board members Derek Llambias and Barry Leach.
On Rangers' judgement day there was the possibility that Mike Ashley or his lieutenants would come up with a last ploy to derail the EGM summoned by Dave King for the purposes of dispensing with them. Ashley and his cohorts could not find a last stand against King. Around two thirds of Rangers shareholders voted and those who did were of virtually one mind, casting 85% of the ballots in King's favour.
On the day of reckoning at Ibrox, the only surprise was that the figures were so brutally mustered against the tattered regime imposed on Rangers by Mike Ashley. Two plc directors, James Easdale and chairman David Somers foresaw their obliteration and resigned to avoid inevitable humiliation. Not so Mike Ashley’s long standing allies Derek Llambias and Barr Leach. They tried to bargain voluntary departure from their directorships in return for lucrative exits from their executive positions. King and his cohorts decided that was an offer they could refuse and when the EGM convened, neither Llambias nor Leach was present. After 13 minutes of formalities, King could walk by right, anywhere within Ibrox.
"A man who tried to trade his directorship for personal gain."
Dave King on Derek Llambias: "It’s difficult to take much of what he says seriously. It’s just noise. Here is a man who tried to do a trade off with me by suggesting that he would cancel the general meeting and would resign because he felt the game was up but said he would only do so if he got a year’s compensation. He tried to suggest to me that the saving in general meeting costs would be almost the same as his compensation. So this is a man in an official position who’s trying to trade his directorship against the club’s interests for personal gain."
Mike Ashley, though, will remain a crucial figure in Rangers’ fortunes. He used his period of influence within the boardroom to tighten his grip on the club’s cash flow by virtue of his loans and merchandising contracts, all of which are buttressed by securities over such vital assets as Rangers’ trademark, club crest and properties including the clubs training ground. Ashley has security over just about every club asset except Ibrox itself and something of a grip on Rangers’ finances through the Newcastle United owner’s web of loans and contracts which tie the club’s merchandising sales to his Sports Direct retail chain.
Dave King: "Last November when I was over here an offer was made to the club of £16 million. That was known to the public and the board haven’t denied it. Very unfairly and to the detriment of the company they took an alternative and inferior offer from Mike Ashley. The money we were willing to put into the club is still available. The fans aren’t spending on the kit because they think a disproportionate amount is going to Mike Ashley. He knows what we’re going to find. If he’s confident there’s nothing untoward then it’s better for him, for us to go to the fans and say ‘Listen, we’ve seen the contracts, we can live with them’. We’ll tell the fans to buy the kit again because enough of the money is coming back to the club.”
Clarification needed: Rangers shares were suspended on Wednesday after WH Ireland quit as the football club’s nominated stock market adviser. No company can have its shares traded without Stock Exchange Nominated Advisers. WH Ireland say they have quit, but it may not mean that they actually have, if judged on recent announcements made to the Stock Exchange. For example, the “clarification” that James Easdale had been paid as a director, when it had been stated previously that he had not taken a penny for his boardroom duties. Then the record, again posted in a Stock Exchange announcement, of Derek Llambias and his achievements as managing director of Newcastle United, followed by more “clarifications”. WH Ireland said he joined Newcastle in 2007, he in fact pitched up in 2008. After his first year at St. James’ Park turnover was £85 million, not £123 million as they had stated originally.
Callum Hamilton: The club’s board allied themselves with Mike Ashley, the billionaire owner of Newcastle, who swooped in to plunder as much of the club’s resources as he could. Loans were given to finance an unstable operation with security granted against anything of worth. A retail division was established so one sided that the club gets barely a pound for every shirt sold. And then, finally, Ashley attempted to secure a loan against Ibrox itself. The final straw for the fans. Ashley found himself suddenly opposed by a bizarre coalition, one of Algerian wingers, former referees, brewery bosses, South African businessmen, Gordon Ramsay and thousands of ordinary fans who pledged their own money to remove him. It has been a resounding success. The growing power of the fans offers hope and security. It will also offer hope to another club plagued by Mike Ashley. Newcastle United has a hated owner who appears unmoveable.
Jackie Smithfield - The Mag: Rangers have a long way to go before they are out of the woods but it is hard not to feel parallels with our position as Newcastle fans, as well as envy that even if their club is still in a mess, at least they feel everybody is pulling together now and there is some trust with those running the club. The biggest disgrace when it comes to Newcastle United under Mike Ashley is the fact that it is all so unnecessary the way the club is sliding towards oblivion. The massive television money should be ensuring a healthy, progressive, ambitious club and yet we see clubs such as Swansea, Southampton and others ran with ambition, while those we should be trying to compete with such as Spurs, Liverpool and others, disappearing into the distance in an ever more distant trail of dust. In the meantime, minimal commercial deals being brought in and the rest of Ashley’s empire benefiting from using Newcastle United to give them free worldwide advertising. We would all love to find out what has happened and is still happening at Newcastle United, but with Mike Ashley owning our club in its entirety, we aren’t in the fortunate position Rangers fans were, with a club that could still be prised from the grasp of the Newcastle owner.
Michael Martin - True Faith: On the manouverings of one Mike Ashley and his minions in the Ibrox boardroom, I’m in no position to comment upon what might come next at Rangers but it wasn’t what Ashley expected and I’ll take some pleasure at the man not getting what he wants at a club that is central to the lives of thousands of its followers.
"I would like to make it clear that I did not spit at Papiss Cisse."
5th March 2015 - Papiss Apology
Paul Fraser - Northern Echo: Newcastle are set to be without Papiss Cisse for seven matches after the striker last night effectively admitted his part in the St. James’ Park spitting row. Cisse has apologised for Wednesday’s alleged incident with Manchester United defender Jonny Evans who has denied claims he spat at the Magpies forward. If found guilty by the FA both players face a lengthy ban of up to six matches. Cisse could be handed an extended game because he was sent off for elbowing Everton’s Seamus Coleman in December. Interim boss John Carver may have to deal with being without a player boasting the best goals per minutes on the pitch ratio in the country this season until May.
Papiss Cisse: "I have apologies to make to a lot of people today. Firstly to my teammates and to our supporters, secondly to Jonny Evans and thirdly to every football fan who saw the incident between myself and Jonny. I reacted to something I found very unpleasant. Sometimes it is hard not to react, particularly in the heat of the moment. I have always tried hard to be a positive role model, especially for our young fans, and yesterday I let you down. I hope children out there playing football for their clubs and schools this weekend will know better than to retaliate when they are angry. Perhaps when they see the problem it now causes me and my team they will be able to learn from my mistake, not copy it."
The incident took place in the 38th minute. Television replays suggested the players spat at one another after Cisse had appealed for a free kick following a tackle. Evans has strenuously denied the allegations.
Jonny Evans: "I would like to make it clear that I did not spit at Papiss Cisse. I was totally unaware of any spitting incident. I was totally surprised by any suggestion of spitting. It is not in my character or in my nature to spit at anybody nor is it something I have ever done or would ever do. It is certainly not something that I did last night."
Managing Director Lee Charnley: Both ourselves and Papiss agree that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable. In life, when you do something wrong you have to front up, admit your mistakes and accept the punishment. Papiss was proactive this morning in making a full and heartfelt apology, which he did in advance of any notification from the FA regarding this charge. This was something he felt strongly about and we fully support him in quickly accepting the charge. Papiss is known to many of our region’s schools, community groups and junior football teams for his involvement in the work of the Newcastle United Foundation. He has this evening expressed to us his strong desire to engage in additional community activities during the period of his ban. He is particularly keen to use his position as a role model to encourage young and influential fans to engage in sport and learn lessons about the importance of fair play and personal conduct.
The control and horribly fluffed clearance by Krul was bad
4th March 2015 - Newcastle United 0 Manchester United 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 7.45pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, R Taylor (Gutierrez 65), WIlliamson, Coloccini, Obertan, Abeid, Sissoko, Ameobi (Gouffran 81), Cisse, Riviere (Perez 59) - Subs not used: Woodman, Satka, Anita, Armstrong.
Attendance: 49,801.
John Carver: "For 89 minutes we were fantastic. Every player gave 100 per cent for the shirt. We were set up to frustrate them and we did that. To concede the goal as we did is hard to take. I will put no blame on Krul. He was fantastic all night. It was a 100 mph back pass. Mehdi Abeid should have dealt with it better. We created three excellent chances on the night and didn’t convert them which is unusual for us."
Manchester Evening News: Facing a home team devoid of purpose, energy and intelligence, United really should have taken hold of this game and won it comfortably.
Daily Mail: Fitting that a game so distinctly lacking in quality should be decided by an error.
The Mag: Manchester United had only won three of their thirteen Premier League away matches. Newcastle should have showed more ambition against what looked a poor side.
Michael Martin - True Faith: We’ve heard a lot about how poor Manchester United are this season, they looked nothing special at all. A game destined for a draw ended in farce with a shocking late goal. Gouffran attempted to shepherd Rooney out of play, Abeid nipped in to play a suicidal ball across the face of his own goal. The control and horribly fluffed clearance by Krul was bad, presenting Young with a tap in to an empty net. A shambolic goal to concede. The one thing that struck me in the immediate aftermath was that no one went over to get a hold of Abeid, still a young lad and try and pick him up for the final few moments of the game. Coloccini actually strolled to the restart right by his side and shuffled along looking at his feet. It was the same at Spurs when young Alnwick had his shocker for the first goal. No leadership and no senior player doing the right thing. Shite.
nufc.com: A last minute winner for Manchester United as Mehdi Abeid and Tim Krul got in a mess. It was a disappointing end to a game that the Magpies could have won had Riviere and Cisse finished good chances. Krul made three outstanding saves before the late heartbreak. Newcastle remain 11th with 35 points from 28 games.
Newcastle Online: We were terrible for most of the 90. Carver thought we looked fantastic for 89 minutes. A new all time low. Everyone sat in silence for 90 minutes. We chased the ball loads and created little against a painfully average Manchester United side. It was appropriate that we conceded a goal like that given how much of a non entity our entire game plan and effort levels were. There were numerous individuals who had poor games but the most worrying aspect was how unlike an organised unit anything was. It's almost as if we practiced standing in our final third of the pitch without actually doing anything all week. I can't believe how poor we were at keeping the ball. It wasn't even League Two standard. Woeful overall. Anyone that thinks a new manager is coming in at the end of the season is deluded. We promote a Prefect to Headmaster. That's what we do.
4th March 2015 - Grovelling
Shields Gazette: John Carver has been given a lift ahead of tonight’s game against Manchester United thanks to a positive meeting with Mike Ashley. Ashley congratulated Carver in person after the home win over Aston Villa.
John Carver: "I did speak to him. It was a nice conversation, a private conversation. We had a discussion. He’s delighted with the way things are going. He was pleased. He came down with Lee. Their message to me is get on with the team and do as best you can. He is kicking every ball. Like everybody else he feels we needed to win that game. He understood what it meant. There was pressure. He felt the pressure himself. We all did. When you get involved in football and you like football, then you have this drive and enthusiasm. When he came to the football club I saw that. He’s still got all that. We’re winners. We want to win.That’s the type of people we are."
Sam Hepworth - The Mag: Carver revealed that Ashley is delighted with the job he’s doing and claimed Charnley and Ashley are winners. It is becoming painful to see the lengths Carver will go to as he tries to get the job long term. Grovelling to the person who is making mugs of us all and especially Carver at the minute. Carver talks about what Ashley was like when he arrived in 2007. Carver left Newcastle in 2004 and didn’t return until 2011.
3rd March 2015 - One Day We'll Have A Football Club Again
Emmett Gill - The Mag: I’m sick of supporting a private money making machine. I want to care again. I want to support a football club. This might be a controversial comment but I actually don’t fear relegation anymore. At least we’d have something to care about. Relegation is the only situation where Ashley would show ambition. A season or seasons in the Championship would be like supporting a real football club again. He’d have to break with character and try. I want the passion back, where we aim for footballing success. At the moment we’re just existing. Where’s the passion in existing? When we beat Villa the other day I was pleased when the final whistle went but what does it matter? We’re battling for 10th position and that’s all we’ll ever have to look forward to until Ashley leaves. We’re never going to threaten the top and we’re unlikely to get relegated. One hope to cling to is that Mike Ashley won’t be around forever. One day we’ll have a football club again and we’ll again get to experience ambition and excitement and all of those other things that used to make being a football supporter brilliant.
"There are a lot of people thinking about giving up season tickets."
2nd March 2015 - Where We Are Now
Alan Shearer: "Newcastle fans at the minute are showing why they are some of the best around. They've been told the cups aren't a priority, finishing 10th in the Premier League is more important. That's where we are now with Newcastle. It takes its toll, even on the most loyal fans in the country. They can't dream. There is no excitement, no anticipation. Newcastle can't win the Premier League. Fans dream of a trip to Wembley, of playing in Europe. I think they are going at the moment because that's what they always do. It's what their parents did, it's what they want to do with their kids. It's the way they've always spent their weekends. They save their money up all week so they can go to the match at the weekend. It's a cultural thing. They want to go and they want to be entertained, but they aren't at the moment. "I think there are a lot of people thinking about giving up their season tickets. We've played a weakened team in every cup game since 2007. Unless the club are going to bring in a load of exciting players in the summer, which is highly unlikely when you look at the way it's been run, I think people might look at giving up. I can only talk about my own experience. I've got friends who have paid for a box at St. James' Park for years and they are talking about giving it up because of the lack of hope at the minute."
John Carver: "Alan is entitled to his opinion. Sometimes you have to win in a scruffy manner and that’s probably why Alan is talking about there being no excitement. We are mid table and we aren’t going to let the season fizzle out. I am going to drive them forward every time they go on to that pitch to make sure we get as many points as we can and give the fans excitement. We’re trying to get as high up that table as we can. It’s very difficult when you’re not on the inside to understand the plans and preparations we’ve got going on. I see what we’re trying to do and what we are trying to achieve. Until I came in and realised what we are trying to do I was in a similar frame of mind."
Jim Robertson - The Mag: "Carver talks as though there is something mystical happening behind the scenes at St. James’ Park, presenting a scenario where they are suddenly going to pull back the curtains and Shearer and the rest of us will be dumbstruck and accept just how wrong we’ve all been. Carver claims Shearer talking about the lack of excitement is probably to do with winning the Villa match in a scruffy manner. He misses the point. Shearer was talking about the lack of ambition and the repeated playing of weakened teams in the Cups. Carver had his chance to disprove this. Seven changes for the dismal defeat at Leicester? Remarkably, for the next Premier League match, all the ‘injured’ players available?"
Last word to Alan Shearer: "It’s been 11 years since the Magpies last played in the Champions League, 16 since they reached a cup final, a decade has passed since they managed a semi-final appearance. Eight of those years have come with Ashley in control."
A Papiss Cisse strike secures three points
28th February 2015 - Newcastle United 1 Aston Villa 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara (R Taylor 61), Coloccini, Williamson, Obertan (Gouffran 78), Sissoko, Abeid, Ameobi, Riviere (Perez 73), Cisse - Subs not used: Woodman, Anita, Gutierrez, Armstrong.
Scorer: Cisse (37) - Attendance: 51,573
John Carver: "Let's not hide the fact that today has not been a classic. What you saw was a battling performance. It wasn't scintillating football. I'm not bothered if it's an ugly win. People doubted us after last week, today is proof that we've got a group who are honest and hard working and even when they're not playing well they'll still give their all. We did show professionalism that we didn't show against Stoke City when we conceded the late goal."
Michael Martin - True Faith: A welcome victory all but sealed our Premier League status for another season. The first half followed recent trends at home in that it was absolutely terrible. A game that mainly featured Williamson lumping aimless balls forward. Towards the end of the half we struck with the game’s only goal. Lovely finish from the game’s outstanding performer. I have Cisse down as directly winning us ten points this season. The difference between relegation form and mid table comfort. The second half was an improvement on what had gone before. Obertan blazed over from a tight angle and then lived up to his maddening reputation by idling on the ball when put clear through. I don’t know whether it is just confidence or the lack of a footballing brain. The game won’t live long in the memory but the result was a satisfying and important one. There’s still huge question marks over the quality of the squad though and I thank God that Cisse wasn’t peddled over Christmas.
nufc.com: Papiss Cisse's strike secured the points on an afternoon where neither side excelled but both created and wasted numerous good chances. The lowest scorers in the division, Villa's inability to convert in front of goal was evident when their first half superiority failed to see them net. Against the run of play, a Janmaat cross from the right reached an unmarked Cisse and after trapping the ball on his thigh, beat Brad Guzan from eight yards at the Leazes End to break the deadlock on 37 minutes. The win pushed United firmly into mid table and further away from relegation trouble as Premier League security was all but achieved. United left back Massadio Haidara was stretchered off on the hour with what looked like a bad knee injury. Yet another defensive headache following the loss of Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett to injury and the banishing of Davide Santon and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to Italy. Fit again Ryan Taylor appeared in his place amid warm applause, but once again the ground was eerily silent for significant parts of the game. Far from being the hoped for statement of intent and resounding success against a side hopelessly out of form, this was a gritty but grim struggle when isolated pieces of skill were almost instantly followed by avoidable lapses.
25th February 2015 - Misused
Lewis Doe - hereisthecity.com: Luuk de Jong failed to hit the back of the net in 12 appearances for Newcastle. So far this season, playing as a central striker at PSV, he’s got 14 goals and six assists in the Eredivisie. Luuk clearly feels he was misused by former Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and has defended his unsuccessful loan spell at the club.
Luuk de Jong: “Offensive midfielder is not my natural position. I'm a striker. My qualities are fit for that position. Of course, I still worked very hard and always gave 100% for the team."
24th February 2014 - Newcastle United: A Football Club?
Dean Wilkins - The Mag: The city centre location of St. James’ Park is something that makes our club very special. All of those pubs, clubs, coffee shops and restaurants, only a few minutes walk away. We love our football, we love a laugh and meeting up with friends and family. It is ironic that that sense of community and friendship that makes Newcastle fans extra special, is also the very thing that has kept the leech that is Mike Ashley so deeply attached to our club, sucking the very lifeblood out of it. It is the season ticket that binds and this is what Mike Ashley has ruthlessly exploited.
The mood both inside and outside of St. James’ Park is poisonous. I couldn’t believe how many fans I have spoken to over the last 18 months or so, who have said that they and their circle of match going friends have had proper conversations as to whether they should or shouldn’t keep going. Thousands have walked away already. A majority have kept going. Those who have are quite happy to admit that while they talked of meeting up and watching the games on foreign satellite in the pub instead, they know deep down that that would be the beginning of the end for them.
Meeting up with your mates is the central reason for still going to matches. Well what else is there? Partners would be asking why they still had to do this every match now they no longer had a season ticket and especially when all they do is moan about how crap the football is. Everybody though has their own personal breaking point. We were talking the other day about the soulless experience of supporting Newcastle United these days. The vast majority of us aren’t really there for the football any more. For far too many ‘Time’ will be called in the near future, potentially never to return. Newcastle United is now a social club, it isn’t a football club.
Fans spent hundreds of pounds on travel and tickets
24th February 2015 - Newcastle United: What Have We Become?
Jake Jackman - The Mag: Even by our standards, this season really has been appalling. Last month we had the opportunity to bring in a new head coach to breathe fresh impetus into our season. We could have brought in one or two new players. We have seen absolutely no ambition from the board. The club have opted to write off the rest of the season for the second year in a row. The fans aren’t respected at all by those on the club board. The two thousand plus fans who travelled to Manchester City spent hundreds of pounds on travel and tickets, to be put through one of the worst performances in recent history.
In principle, football is a basic game, but the increasing revenue streams and the importance of being a Premier League club has turned many into businesses who see a 17th place finish in the league as a bigger success than reaching an FA Cup final. Money is king and fans are exploited rather than being treated as the centre of the institution. Newcastle fans know all about this. As a club we should be trying to win every single football match we take part in. At the moment, nobody can say that Newcastle do that. There is no plan in place for progression.
Newcastle fans are amongst the most loyal and passionate fans in football but increasing apathy will lead to them abandoning the club for the foreseeable future, some already have. Total inaction makes it impossible to support the club off the pitch. Meanwhile the lack of application and effort from the players make it impossible for us to support them on it either. Against Manchester City, players pulled out of tackles, jogged back slowly when City were attacking and stood still when they got through on goal. Everybody who was involved yesterday needs to look at their professional integrity. Their credibility has to be in question.
Going forward, I can’t see much progression on or off the pitch, a huge worry. The reality of the mood within the fanbase at the moment is If the club don’t make significant changes in the near future, it won’t be protests this time, fans just won’t go. The board must appoint a whole new coaching staff, give the squad a complete overhaul and release a properly formulated progression plan. We should be achieving a lot more than we are. We have a brilliant ground, an incredible fan base and good facilities. After the disgraceful performance against Manchester City, it is impossible to defend the club right now. The apathy amongst the fans is understandable. Nobody appears to care on the pitch or off it.
22nd February 2015 - Management Asleep At The Wheel
Stuart Rayner - The Chronicle: Better teams than the Magpies lose 5-0 at Eastlands. Sadly, the scale of the defeat was nothing to get excited about. The manner was. The Magpies are standing still. Newcastle are bobbing around the middle of the Premier League and that will do. Rather than strengthen their squad in the winter window, the only team Newcastle’s owners seem prepared to improve is Rangers. When Alan Pardew walked out as manager, they asked the current staff to mind the shop, supposedly while they wait for better candidates to become available. Taken at face value, biding their time and giving a chance to an English coach might be laudable, but in the context of the transfer window and the drift in the second half of last season, it shows a management asleep at the wheel.
Poor coaches will take what they can get but good ones want to join vibrant, ambitious clubs. On the evidence of Newcastle’s performance, they are not one of them. John Carver? He had many a lengthy technical area discussion with assistant Steve Stone to try and make sense of what was happening, but what was said to the players had little or no effect. As far as we know his remit includes picking the right team, motivating them and making sure they are switched on from the moment the referee blows his whistle for the first time. On all three counts he fell short. If this was a bad advertisement to potential coaches, it was an even worse job application from Carver. In the rush to give Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley a good kicking, or to write off Carver as a stick to beat them with, the role of the players must not be forgotten. Newcastle meander to the next payday.
"A team devoid of personality or purpose."
21st February 2015 - Manchester City 5 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Etihad Stadium, Manchester - 5.30pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat (R Taylor 70), Haidara, Coloccini, Williamson, Sissoko, Anita (Abeid 46), Colback, Perez, Cisse, Gouffran (Obertan 86) - Subs not used: Woodman, Ameobi, Armstrong, Riviere.
Attendance: 45,602
John Carver: "First of all, an apology. We weren't great. To concede a penalty within the first minute is annoying and frustrating. You are on a hiding to nothing. On Monday we will talk about today's performance and take that forward into the game against Aston Villa. We have a fantastic following, they were behind the team, they kept behind us and kept singing."
Alan Shearer: "It was embarrassing, from the first minute to the last. Newcastle just didn’t get near them. It was pathetic."
Shields Gazette: "Shambolic Newcastle United were humiliated this evening. The scoreline could have been worse."
The Telegraph: "The best hope for a fed up Toon Army is to send owner Mike Ashley on a one way trip to Mars."
The Express: "A stylish demolition of a Newcastle United team devoid of personality or purpose."
Ed Harrison: "Hammered. 3-0 down after 21 minutes. An alarmingly poor and woeful performance. An embarrassment."
Catchy: "Support the lads. My father and grandfather supported this club till their dying day. That’s my destiny too. The regime cannot last forever."
Andrew Thompson: "The match was awful. Anyone who travelled down there and paid £44 a ticket for a televised match knowing full well we’d get turned over deserves a medal."
Whippet: "We do not have a captain on the field. Colo never utters a word to the defenders around him, or indeed anyone else on the team. Colo has been shite for 18 months. An utter disgrace."
Jack McLane: "Who gives a penalty away 30 seconds in? Beyond a joke. From that moment you knew it was going to be a long night. The procession started shortly after. Nasri scoring a ridiculously easy goal with Coloccini turning his back on the ball like a three year old girl. His performances are beyond a joke now. Our clubs just a laughing stock."
Michael Martin - True Faith: "Just another day in my long painful divorce with Newcastle United. As I’ve said on so many occasions this just isn’t fun any more. The season is dying on its arse, just like the same time last year. I stuck around until half-time and for the first time ever in my 40 odd years following this club, I breathed out and left the stadium. When I boarded the tram back into Manchester city centre, I wasn’t alone. There was a good couple of dozen who had done the same thing. In the bus park outside the away end, there were random groups of Mags, having chucked it. I’m not particularly proud of having left the game early or ashamed either. Maybe I’m a lightweight or maybe some of us are very close to a tipping point. I watched the first half at the Etihad and caught the highlights the following morning on Match of the Day. We were pathetic. That isn’t a team, Newcastle United isn’t anything really, other than a revenue stream."
13th February 2015 - Where Is The Excitement?
Rob Lee - The Chronicle: We need change. Carver spoke about bringing us entertaining football. I haven’t seen any. Did I miss it? I just can’t see it happening. It doesn’t matter how much more money is about to flood into English football, the head coach of our club won’t get to spend it, not when Mike Ashley is about. Last season mid table, same this time around and it will be the same a year from now. Where is the excitement? We all want to see attacking football, lots of goals, charges for Europe, making semi finals at the very least. That is what my time at the club was all about. It’s been a while since I have been positive. The sad truth is nothing is happening at Newcastle United.
12th February 2015 - Four Plus Three Equals Seven
John Carver: "I’ve now had three games since getting the head coach job and it’s three unbeaten. I’ll take it."
Ed Harrison - nufcblog.com: Carver was appointed caretaker manager after the Everton home game. He's had seven games in charge, won one, drawn three and lost three. Not a good record for somebody trying to impress. The first four games, he had three defeats and one draw. The draw was against Burnley when we went ahead three times and couldn’t hold out for the win. Basically what’s happened in the last two games.
The Mag: Pardew gained one win in seven matches before he headed off to join Palace. Carver has one win from seven since being put in charge. If you put Pardew’s name instead of Carver’s on the pre and post match quotes, you wouldn’t blink. Nothing has changed on or off the pitch.
12th February 2015 - A Defensive Mentality
John Verrall - hereisthecity.com: John Carver is doing nothing to endear himself to the fans. He has failed to increase excitement levels at the club. Pardew had frustrated supporters with his lack of attacking instincts while in charge, but Carver has made the team even more defensive since he left. Carver was happy to settle for 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace as he brought on two defensive substitutes to protect a point. Newcastle had just one shot on target at Selhurst Park. He has missed a big opportunity to impress.
A Papiss Cisse header puts Newcastle ahead
11th February 2015 - Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Selhurst Park, London - 8.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Coloccini, Williamson, Colback, Sissoko, Cabella (Dummett 85), Perez (Riviere 91), Gouffran, Cisse (Abeid 77) - Subs not used: Woodman, R Taylor, Anita, Obertan.
Scorer: Cisse (42) - Attendance: 25,118
John Carver: "I’ll take a point. Every point in the Premier League is crucial. We knew it was going to be a bit of a battle. We were up against a big physical side and the pitch was lively. It's another game unbeaten. That's one win, three draws and two defeats. Not bad in this league. I was brave sticking two strikers in the team. If Papiss keeps scoring, he has to be in the team."
nufc.com: United began with a more positive formation than Sunday. Cisse joined Perez up front and headed his tenth goal of the season to give his side the lead. That proved to be a rare moment of action for the away contingent to cheer. The home side levelled and then went in search of a winner with Newcastle content to soak up pressure. Momentum in the closing stages was firmly with the home side. Carver's side managed to create even fewer scoring opportunities than in the 1-1 draw with Stoke. Possession was again surrendered cheaply and a simple cross into the box was turned home by an unmarked opponent. A positive from tonight? Denying Pardew a chance to strut and crow. Defensive substitutions from Carver prompted a burst of "Are you Pardew in disguise?" The answer to that, of course, is yes. Ten points clear of the relegation zone, on 32 points, 11th in the table, five points and three places worse off than at the same point last season.
Sam Hepworth - The Mag: The vitriol and sarcasm initially aimed at Alan Pardew turned towards John Carver in the final stages. A game that was even worse on the eye than Sunday’s encounter with Stoke. The cherry on top, Carver’s response to Palace levelling in the 71st minute. Replace our centre forward (Cisse) with a defensive midfielder (Abeid). Take off the most creative player (Cabella) and put on a centre back (Dummett). Then a pointless one to waste time in the dying seconds, taking off Perez and putting on Riviere. The match was bad enough without these cowardly and soul destroying substitutions. Are you Pardew in disguise?
Paul Mannion - The Metro: Negative Newcastle United threw in the towel in a match where they managed just one shot on target. Their season is all but over in February. John Carver almost tried to hand the game to his former manager thanks to a woeful performance and some dreadful substitutions. Poor defending, misplaced passes and wayward shooting was the story of the night. Toothless Toon were never in control and invited the home side to attack. With the game in the balance, master tactician John Carver then showed his complete lack of attacking intent by throwing on defensive midfielder Mehdi Abeid in place of goal scorer Papiss Cisse after 77 minutes. Then took off winger Remy Cabella for left back Paul Dummett with minutes left on the clock. His final throw of the dice was to bring on Emmanuel Riviere, without a goal for five months, with seconds left to play. Carver claimed the club would do everything they could to improve on last season’s finish and were targeting a top 10 position. As ever at Newcastle United, actions speak louder than words.
How much cash does the obese one need?
11th February 2015 - Sell Up Obese One
Mark Wray - The Mag: Sunday was atmospherically flat. Our long suffering supporters looked thoroughly downtrodden. Absolutely flattened. Mike Ashley’s tenure has been a calamity. I believe Ashley to be milking the club for all that its worth and it shows. I wish Mike Ashley would sell up.
newcastle.vitalfootball.co.uk: We all know that the Mike Ashley tenureship has been an absolute disaster. The transformation of the club from being one that eminated our hopes, dreams and emotions being replaced by a place lacking anything. It's an embarassment at times. How much cash does the obese one need?
Jack Colback opens the scoring versus Stoke City
8th February 2015 - Newcastle United 1 Stoke City 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 2.05pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Anita (Cisse 65), Coloccini, Williamson, Sissoko, Colback, Perez, Cabella (Obertan 69), Ameobi (Abeid 86) - Subs not used: Woodman, Dummett, Gouffran, Riviere.
Scorer: Colback (74) - Attendance: 47,763
John Carver: "It wasn’t a classic. We defended very well. We need to be more ambitious going forward. I couldn't see where they were going to get a goal from. We do concede late goals and it’s not good enough. There’s no reason for it other than switching off and losing concentration. It’s a mental thing and we need to address it. Two minutes left, we had possession in the final third, we played four or five backward passes towards the keeper, we’re out of shape, the goalkeeper kicks it, they pick up the ball and break, put the ball in the box and it’s in the net. It was our stupidity. We are in good physical condition. There’s not a problem with the condition of the guys."
nufc.com: Newcastle created the better chances during a tedious first half that was played in near silence. Despite going ahead, John Carver's call to make Gallowgate a fortress fell on deaf ears as his side stuttered to a point, lacking both organisation and belief in their ability to see the game out. It's now just one win in five home games for United and the fifth time in 12 home league games this season that we've conceded a goal after the 85th minute with the consequence that we've tossed away seven points. Too often United struggled to stamp their authority in the final third of the field, wafting aimless balls towards Perez that were easily dealt with. The result was painfully predictable. Emotion free and meaningless then, with unpleasant echoes of our average and uninvolved displays that characterized the closing months of last season. For those who didn't bother going today, you missed nowt. Full time brought little reaction from the stands. Realisation that this ordinary display hardly warranted victory?
Martin Hardy - The Independent: The deep cross from the right came over, Peter Crouch, who had been on the field for eight minutes, looped his header over Tim Krul. Despite the desperate efforts of Fabricio Coloccini, Stoke City had an equaliser. Then, thankfully, this game finished. A mind numbingly dull game. You can never sniff at a crowd of 47,000, but the burning desire above everything at Newcastle to finish 10th does not sit well with the people of the region. A 5,000 drop in attendance is significant, no matter what the extenuating circumstances, most of which lie at the feet of the club. No ambition in January to sign players and no new manager.
Newcastle Online on Tim Krul: How bad was his positioning for the goal? He started to come and hesitated, something he does quite often. He seems to misjudge a lot of crosses. He never got back into position and seemed to be in no man's land, allowing Crouch to loop it over him. Pathetic keeping and poor decision making. He should have done a lot better. His kicking in the second half was shocking. Once he just kicked it straight down the middle of the pitch to their player. His development has stalled.
6th February 2015 - For The Record
Mark Douglas - The Chronicle: It feels like an age since Alan Pardew was here. It sounds quaint now, the manager of Newcastle directing transfer operations. He said of his transfer window hopes on December 23: "I think we are still a striker light. Even when Siem de Jong returns I think we’ll need another one. That’s something we need to look at."
No one signed and there was absolutely no investment. In the end Pardew’s new team, Crystal Palace, actually signed four strikers. Yaya Sanogo, Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Mutch and Shola Ameobi. Even the most ardent Ashley critic probably wouldn’t have cried too many tears that none of that quartet are picking up a wage from their club.
Just over a month later Mike Ashley has influence at two major clubs either side of the border and neither head coach even flinches at the fact that they have nothing to do with recruitment. Are Newcastle and Rangers now partner clubs? They share so many links now that is impossible to maintain the line that they are completely separate. For the record, Lee Charnley was pretty adamant that all the talk of Ashley selling Newcastle and buying Rangers was nonsense. Next week you’ll probably see the reason why that is probably correct. This afternoon Richard Scudamore will begin the first round of bidding on the new Premeir League TV deal which will far outstrip the deal that was signed just under three years ago.
5th February 2015 - Ashley The Leech
Wiz - The Mag: I am no longer prepared to take Newcastle United on the terms insisted upon by Mike Ashley. The only deal he has ever offered any of us is our unconditional support in return for our club wiping its own nose and ticking over. I will not detain you with a familiar litany of dreadfulnesses we are continuing to live through. You are highly versed in them all. I would simply draw your attention to what I am realising is the single most objectionable feature of Mike Ashley’s tenure. It is the way he leeches off everyone else. It is his modus operandi. And he leeches off us, the fans, his customers, more than anyone else.
When he invests in a business, he lends it money which gives him a tax break. The business is lumbered with the loan for as long as he remains interested, so that everyone else’s interests are subordinate to his. He’s not just done it at Newcastle, of course. He’s done it at Rangers, where it is a proxy shareholding. The SFA has not allowed him to take a larger shareholding, so he is achieving the same ends by means of a loan. He advances the loan to keep the club going, and extracts merchandising, retailing, branding, and director nominating rights in return. The deal never gives more than it takes. It is the behaviour of a leech. Gradually the Rangers fans will realise that the money he’s lent is the thin end of a not terribly impressive wedge. In due course they will see the focus of the club shift from winning trophies to improved balance sheets. Rangers will become more remote and Sports Direct will become more immediate.
The biggest leeching, the biggest exploitation of fans, whose only interest, a winning side, is routinely ignored, is of our affection. Like a conman who has wormed his way into the affections of a vulnerable and well provided for widow, he exploits our human weakness with the remorselessness of a psychopath. He eyes the bottom line with a gimlet eye, but only to see if the tipping point of his awfulness has been reached. He thinks he has a good way to go yet. But disappointing transfer window after disastrous transfer window, no managerial appointment at all after an unambitious and poorly supported (yet eight year contracted) managerial appointment, we’re not one of the big clubs but we shall try to be the best we can be on the cheap, we should be pleased with tenth position because we’re not going to win a cup... all this has been for a long time, for seven years actually.
Then I realised. He’s pushing me out to see if I will push back, to see if I go on swallowing it. Actually, Mike, I’m not pushing back and I’m not swallowing it any more either. Pushing back and swallowing it are two sides of the same coin. I’m stepping back and stepping out. At the moment I don’t really care. I’m going. I’m taking a sabbatical from Newcastle United.
4th February 2015 - Sod All To Look Forward To
Simon: How low can you go? At this stage it seems impossible to underestimate the ambition of the people in charge of Newcastle United. There is no point in raking over the transfer window, it was all too predictable and nothing unexpected transpired apart from the nakedly cynical loaning of Newcastle players to Rangers in order to advance the interest of the Sports Direct empire. The sole and dubious credit the club hierarchy emerges with is that they don’t even bother to hide the fact that supporters can expect absolutely sod all to look forward to for the foreseeable future. It is starkly clear that Mike Ashley will suit his own agenda with no concessions regardless of how the fans feel. I despair.
Ian Summers: The obvious intention of the club is to control costs wherever possible. We must have one of the lowest wage bills in the Premier League. We certainly have the weakest squad. Well I’ve controlled my own costs and cancelled two direct debits for me and my son. You can only bang your head against a wall for so long.
3rd February 2015 - Geordies The Difference?
The Chronicle newspaper asked Peter Beardsley if Geordies being put in charge of the club could make the difference at Newcastle.
Peter Beardsley: "Certainly under Lee Charnley I think the club are very much looking at that. He knows what the club means to me, to Graham and obviously to John Carver. It is my life and I absolutely love it. I have the perfect job. We all have to go but if somebody said to me I would be involved at this club for the next 10 years, I wouldn’t want to do anything else. It’s a brilliant club. I went away to play for Liverpool and Everton but there is no club like home."
3rd February 2015 - Newcastle Again Stood Still
Miles Starforth - Shields Gazette: Not a single player arrived in the January transfer window. Not one. Davide Santon departed for Inter Milan, another defender, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa saw his loan to AS Roma become permanent and Gael Bigirimina, Shane Ferguson, Kevin Mbbau, Remie Streete and Haris Vuckic headed of to join Rangers on loan. Oh, and the club also banked upwards of £3 million for its manager. Good for the club’s bottom line.
It brought me back to Alan Pardew’s post match Press conference after the Boxing Day defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Pardew stressed the need for the club to sign a striker in last month’s transfer window. Two days later, he walked out of St. James’ Park for the last time as manager. Whatever his faults, like the club’s fans, he had ambition. There wasn’t even a hint that United attempted to sign a striker or a defender for that matter before last night’s deadline.
Why? Presumably because Newcastle are all but safe in the Premier League for another season. They didn’t absolutely have to strengthen up front, so they just didn’t. The bottom line. Again. And this when the club is banking more than ever from the league’s hugely lucrative multi billion pound television deal. No wonder supporters are disillusioned and disheartened. Newcastle again stood still. If the club is to achieve between now and the end of the campaign, it will have to over achieve. That’s not easy.
3rd February 2015 - Knockdown Deals
Paul Hayward - The Telegraph: As the window closed in England, five Newcastle players were dispatched from Tyneside to Glasgow like a Sports Direct consignment of workers not good enough for a Premier League first XI but capable of improving a team in Scotland’s second tier. Interestingly the mass market move came after Rangers failed to register a shot on target in their defeat in the Scottish League Cup semi-final. Rangers were desperate. They turned to Ashley. Are Rangers paying the Newcastle loanees from the money Ashley has lent them? Has he turned a wage cost at Newcastle into part of Rangers’ debt to him?
In a recent Radio 5 interview, former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd theorised that Ashley was now lending money to Rangers to become their owner by positioning himself as the club’s banker. A tactic that would prevent him running into difficulty with UEFA’s ban on owning two clubs in the same competition. His recent £10 million loan to the blue half of Glasgow, bought him control of the training ground, registered trademarks and "other properties" (though not Ibrox). The loans also entitled Ashley to nominate Derek Llambias and Barry Leach of Sports Direct to the Ibrox board.
A Scottish Football Association judicial panel are examining Ashley’s stakes in Newcastle and Rangers after Scotland’s governing body stopped him increasing his Rangers stake to just under 30 per cent. What are his intentions for both clubs? Would it be right for him to control Rangers while acting as their banker and at the same time use Newcastle as a glorified Sports Direct branch? Ashley knows the rules and he knows how to make them work to his advantage.
"Disgusted with how Davide has been treated."
2nd February 2015 - Transfer Window Closed
No new signings for Newcastle in the January transfer window. Nothing was spent on players but the club find themselves an estimated £10 million better off through a combination of some big earners being moved on, transfer fees being received and a compensation payment incoming.
The departure of both Hatem Ben Arfa and Alan Pardew reduced the wage bill with the club also receiving compensation from Crystal Palace for the departing manager. Mapou Yanga-Mbwia moved out to Roma on a permanent deal for a fee in the region of £5 million and yesterday saw Davide Santon further reduce the wage bill when he joined Inter Milan.
Davide's Geordie girlfriend and mother of his child, Chloe Sanderson, has accused Mike Ashley of sacrificing players for profit.
Chloe Sanderson: "Just to put it out there, Davide was pushed out by Newcastle United. Disgusted with how Davide has been treated. Fully fit for a while now with no chance to play. A club whose only intentions are to make pounds. This is not just a loan, it’s a loan with obligation to buy. Newcastle as good as told him if he stayed he didn’t have a place in the team. They tried to deny it this morning, so other teams wouldn’t put in an offer for just a loan. Davide would have preferred to stay in the Premier League but Newcastle would have lost the guaranteed money."
There are big parallels with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, another player who came here with a great pedigree but who ended up in no man’s land under the former manager, then removed from the wage bill while players with lesser ability are retained. There was an overall feeling that Alan Pardew failed to get the best out of Davide Santon's undoubted ability.
Finally, five players moved from Mike Ashley's Newcastle to Mike Ashley's Rangers as Gael Bigirimana, Shane Ferguson, Kevin Mbabu, Remie Streete and Haris Vuckic headed for Glasgow on loan until the end of the season.
Remy Cabella celebrates his first Newcastle goal
31st January 2015 - Hull City 0 Newcastle United 3
Premier League - KC Stadium, Hull - 5.30pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Coloccini, Williamson, Anita, Colback, Cabella (Gouffran 72), Sissoko, Ameobi (Abeid 92), Perez (Cisse 82) - Subs not used: Alnwick, Santon, Obertan, Riviere.
Scorers: Cabella (40), Ameobi (50), Gouffran (78) - Attendance: 23,925
John Carver: "Tim Krul made a great save and that gave us platform. After the first goal we grew in confidence and starting keeping the ball. Remy Cabella produced a wonderful strike. He had the composure in the right area. He is now starting to produce. I’m so pleased for him. His all round performance was excellent. I want the players to express themselves and I think they did that today. I thought it was an excellent game from our point of view. We had a good game plan. I’m now the head coach. Everyone knows I want this job. We have refocused the guys’ season. It’s now a 15 game season for us."
On Sammy Ameobi: "I always said to Shola, ‘your brother has more ability than you’. Sammy has to start believing in himself and producing on a regular basis."
Remy Cabella: “I want to say thank you to John Carver. He has given me so much confidence. I think we played very, very well and everyone is happy with the result. I am so proud to score my first goal for Newcastle. Every day in training, Davide Santon tells me to shoot and keep shooting. I shot with my left foot, I scored and I am happy. I will continue to work hard and hopefully I can score more."
Don Hutchison: "Cabella caught the eye when he got on the ball. He’s been much better under John Carver. His goal was excellent and his all round play was better. Maybe he wasn’t playing in the right position or maybe Alan Pardew didn’t trust him."
nufc.com: John Carver celebrated his appointment as head coach until the end of the season with his first win. United cruised to a comfortable victory. It was The Magpies' first clean sheet in the Premier League since the home win over Queens Park Rangers back in November.
Comedy duo performing together again
29th January 2015 - Spouting Drivel
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has confirmed the signing of free agent Shola Ameobi with the forward having signed a short term deal with the London club until the end of the season. The striker had been searching for a club since the cancellation of his contract with Turkish side Gaziantep.
Alan Pardew: "Shola scored some fabulous goals for me in big games at Newcastle. Shola is not a player who plays every game but when big games come around he has an ability to raise his level. I could name a number of games when Shola delivered. At the back end of last season when we were playing poorly and were desperate for a win, he scored a fantastic goal against Cardiff. That is what he can do."
Shola Ameobi: "The big factor in my decision was my relationship with Alan. I enjoy working with him. He instils confidence in players and he always seems to get the best out of them, certainly he did that at Newcastle."
Rantin' Robert: Pardew has signed his obligatory big guy to lump the ball to. As was the case at St. James' Park the duo still appear to be living in a fantasy world as they continue to spout drivel in praise of each other. What a relief that we no longer have to suffer the incompetency of Alan Pardew and the rank laziness of Shola Ameobi.
27th January 2015 - The Spin
John Carver: "If you look at my title it is not ‘Interim Head Coach’, it is ‘Head Coach’. I would like to think the players want me. We have 16 games to go."
Alan Shearer: "I hope he does really well. He knows the club inside out, he’s a good lad and a very good coach. For him to be in charge of Newcastle is great. I think if he was going to be given the job he would have been given it permanently now. Unless he has a tremendous run between now and the end of the season they might just give it to someone else."
True Faith:
So, Newcastle United decided to appoint John Carver as temporary trainer. The spin coming out of St. James’ Park is that Lee Charnley will make a measured, long term decision on the future of the trainer position at the end of the season when it is considered the field of interested candidates will have greater quality.
26th January 2015 - Carver Takes Reins Until Summer
Club Statement: Newcastle United can confirm that John Carver will take the role of head coach until the end of the 2014/15 season.
Managing Director Lee Charnley: "At the beginning of this process it was my desire and intention to appoint an individual to the position of head coach who would be available to start immediately. Having now explored at some length the options available to us at this time, the decision has been taken to defer the appointment of a permanent head coach until the end of the season. The head coach will be a long term appointment that will play a major role in shaping the future on field progression of Newcastle United and it is vitally important that we get the right individual. John has a long history with the Club and has the full support of the board. Our goal for the season of a minimum top ten finish remains unchanged and we are confident that John, supported by the backroom staff, will be able to deliver this."
John Carver: "This is a proud day for me. I have worked with, and learnt from, the best manager that this football club has had in Sir Bobby Robson. I know what this Club means to this city and its people. I believe in my players and the staff I have around me. I am confident that we can deliver exciting successful football and look forward with relish to my role as head coach of this great football club."
nufc.com: Seeing United draw 3-3 in his first game, Carver then presided over a 0-1 defeat at Leicester in the FA Cup, a 2-0 reverse at Chelsea and most recently the 2-1 home loss to Southampton. His appointment until late May is seen as further evidence that the club's preferred candidate for the role on a permanent basis is unavailable at present. Or there's no desire to make any appointment and Carver is merely seeing out the season. Could John Carver make sufficient impact to convince United that he's their long term man. He remains under contract until September 2020 and therefore in line to keep a post within the club or receive a considerable payoff.
25th January 2015 - Coincidence?
Dean Wilkins - The Mag: Having the main local newspaper group denied official access to the club, manager and players was surely doing nobody any good. The NCJ Media journalists returned for the Chelsea home match at the beginning of December. With no publicity from either side, clearly the agreement was to have no fanfare announcing the move. The coverage by the Chronicle, Journal and Sunday Sun was always going to change after the ban was lifted, though most of us have been surprised by how far the other way the coverage has gone, with ‘positive spin’ the order of the day.
Coincidence that the Chronicle and the other titles were allowed back in only three weeks before Alan Pardew walked? Only weeks before this ridiculous period where United are in chaos without a manager for a month? Only weeks before a January transfer window opens where there is clearly no intention to buy anybody? Only a month or two before the club is expected to announce profits of potentially £50 million to £60 million for last season, when not a single player was bought. Now we are told by the Chronicle amongst others that what is happening is sensible.
The local press is important for many reasons and no doubt PR guru Keith Bishop will have made sure Ashley was very much up to speed on this. As well as the obvious local coverage going out to local people, much of the national coverage of our club comes from the nationals picking up on the stories that are running in the local press. Having a more sympathetic local press available to help manage the shambles at the football club is a no brainer, no wonder they lifted the ban.
The original impetus for the ban wasn’t so much what was reported locally in terms of the protests and the imagery, more the fact that it then got a big shout nationally and embarrassed Mike Ashley, with the potential damage it could cause to his business empire. The Newcastle United owner keeps his cards close to his chest and obviously rewards those in his inner circle that he relies on, as well as making sure there is no chance of kiss and tell afterwards. So all we can do is rely on what we see with our own eyes and make our own judgements.
It is clear that certain themes have been ‘encouraged’ by Newcastle United and inspired by Keith Bishop, then repeated until many people are taken in by the spin. The recent Lee Charnley interview with the Chronicle was laughable in terms of the message put out by the club, yet any criticism of it since has been minimal in the local press. It is obvious that the underlying feel is far more positive than it should be. No manager, no signings, a club on the slide and massive profits, I wonder what the Chronicle would have said if still banned?
23rd January 2015 - No Longer About Winning
Colin Murray - Metro: Newcastle United remain the Premier League’s Sleeping Beauty, awaiting a kiss from someone as interested in success on the pitch as they are off it. Rarely does the Magpies’ money ranking match their league position. Only once, in recent times. Newcastle United are making profit, with 40 per cent of their revenue split evenly through matchday and commercial, with a whopping 60 per cent coming from the goggle box. Squad wise, the club seems to centre around keeping the wage bill down, selling their best players for profit, relying on shrewd scouting to continue that trend, while appearing to want to pay bottom dollar for a manager.
So, why does owner Mike Ashley bother? It doesn’t seem to be to bring joy to the Geordies. He is not doing it for the dividends. The main benefit of owning Newcastle United is to market Sports Direct to the masses and all the riches that come with it. I can’t see, under this business model, anything other than underachievement. I’m not saying he should sign his bank accounts over to Alan Shearer but it’s a shame a club with such a fantastic fanbase and potential should be focused so heavily on the bottom line rather than the white ones.
As long as the figures add up never mind enjoyment or credibility
22nd January 2015 - The Mistake Was Putting His Faith In Pardew
Deloitte have published their latest Money League report and Newcastle have returned to the Top 20 Football Rich List. Reporting on Newcastle's last financial year, 1st July 2013 to 30th June 2015, Deloitte said: Newcastle United return to the Money League in 19th place after increasing revenues by 35% to £129.7 million. On the pitch the Magpies endured a frustrating season, exiting both cup competitions in the early rounds, and suffering home and away defeats to arch rivals Sunderland before finally finishing in 10th place in the Premier League.
Newcastle’s broadcast revenue, much like the other English clubs, increased significantly by £27.2 million (53%) to £78.2 million thanks to the new Premier League broadcast deals. This offset the loss of UEFA distributions (5.3 million euros) as a result of Newcastle’s run to the quarter final stages of the UEFA Europa League the previous season. Newcastle’s lack of European football in 2013/2014 resulted in four fewer home matches being played at St. James’ Park, which decreased match day revenue by 7% to £25.9 million. The St, James’ Park average attendance of 50,688 for the Premier League season was the third highest in the division.
Commercially, revenue increased by an impressive 50% to £25.6 million in 2013/2014. This was the first year of the controversial shirt sponsorship agreement with Wonga, as well as the continuation of long term partnerships with Puma and Thomas Cook, and the addition of online gaming brand 138.com. With Wonga and Thomas Cook already signed up to long term agreements and Puma recently announcing a long term contract extension at the start of the 2014/2015 season, Newcastle United are commercially in the strongest position in their history.
After being an ever present in the Money League until 2007/2008, the new Premier League broadcast deal has helped propel Newcastle United back into the Money League top 20 this year. Given the strong commercial performance of the club coupled with the Toon Army’s continuing support in their impressive numbers, Newcastle should be capable of an extended stay in the Money League in future editions.
nufc.com: As long as the figures add up never mind enjoyment or credibility, never mind winning or trying to win things, never mind that commercially weaker clubs like Swansea, Stoke, Southampton and West Ham are above us in the Premier League. There's no reason for Ashley to sell up given these figures. Were he to have a change of heart, the price tag would factoring in losing those revenues, taking it into the stratosphere.
70TWO: Ashley has transformed this club’s financial health for the better. He may be a detached, arrogant, so and so but he and Graham Carr have assembled one of the best squads of players we’ve ever had and put our finances in order. The mistake was putting his faith in Pardew.
21st January 2015 - Waffle Devoid Of Any Ambition
Micky Quinn: "The Lee Charnley interview seems like the final insult. Looks like no coach till next season, no new players coming in but some going out. No wonder some fans are not renewing season tickets. Grim reality for Newcastle fans is Ashley’s ambition only stretches as far as making money out of football for Ashley. End of."
Dean Wilkins - The Mag: Feel better now with Lee Charnley emerging from underneath the kitchen table to at last speak on behalf of Mike Ashley and the football club? In the interview Charnley claims that in Alan Pardew’s four years at St. James’ Park the club ‘... moved on significantly... on and off the field’. Tells us everything.
We say speak, speaking on television or in any public forum would have been a step far too far, instead it was an interview with their friends reunited, The Chronicle. In the interview, there are a lot of words but they don’t really say much. As an overview, the tone was asking Newcastle fans to trust Mike Ashley and by association Lee Charnley and others at the club. How can you trust a club, an owner and his employees who have repeatedly lied to and misled supporters?
The only thing I definitely believe them on is that we won’t be buying any players this month. We didn’t need to be told that as they clearly think Premier League safety is already in the bag. Believing that not bringing in a manager / head coach is somehow sensible is just crazy as is the idea they are somehow going to attract some brilliant candidate with a job description that gives the new man next to no power at a club that has no ambition. Having any trust in their system of running the club is surely the true definition of blind faith.
Award winning former sports writer Brian McNally: "At Ashley’s depressed Newcastle United Football Club base where football and comedy are long gone, mouthpiece Charnley spouts waffle devoid of any ambition."
Simon Bird - The Mirror: "No January signings, no manager until the summer and Ashley going nowhere. First rule of giving interviews: have a positive offer for the fans."
20th January 2015 - Working Within The Structure
Managing Director Lee Charnley has finally broken his silence and spoken on key issues affecting the club in a question and answer session with the The Chronicle newspaper.
Why Is It Taking Time To Make A Decision?
Some people won’t believe this but the approach for Alan from Crystal Palace came as a surprise to us. We didn’t expect it. People have asked us whether, because of the way the second part of last season went and the way we started this season, we had a contingency plan in the background. We didn’t. I didn’t have a number of candidates / options in the background, which some clubs do have when a Manager has a difficult period. There was no deal already in place for someone we could bring in. His leaving at this time was unexpected.
During the difficult periods our focus was on supporting Alan. I hope people are starting to realise now that when we feel we have the right person in that position, indeed any position, our focus is on supporting them in order that together we can ride through the rough periods that, inevitably, come. Everything is not always going to be great or perfect but we think that as an organisation, one of our strengths is how we react and the support we give people when things aren’t going particularly well. The majority of which is private and behind the scenes which in my opinion is the way it should be.
People may well say that the position we now find ourselves in isn’t ideal and I accept that to a point, but as I have stated Alan’s departure came as a surprise. I must stress and repeat that we parted with Alan on very good terms and I would reiterate the quote I issued at the time of his departure in that we moved on significantly as a club during his four years, on and off the field, and Alan played a big part in that and I thank him.
Has There Been Interest In The Role?
We’ve had about 80 applications of people interested in the role. That’s people within football. Clearly a number of those can be easily discounted but what has been left is a good number of individuals who have different qualities, experience and strengths. Some of those are willing and available to come now, others not until the summer. The important thing to stress here is that there is a process I have been working through the same as I would if I were looking for any other senior member of staff.
It’s not a case of someone getting the job because he’s a friend of a friend or he knows someone. It is a proper structured process which I believe will in the end give us the best individual for the job. When we put the statement out when Alan left we chose our words very carefully in terms of what we would be looking for as a replacement. We are looking for a head coach. That will be his role. We’re moving away from the traditional manager, in terms of title and perception.
Can you explain what you mean by a head coach?
Our overall strategy and structure won’t change. We’re looking for someone who will work within our parameters and will buy into and work with us in terms of what we do and how we operate. The traditional English manager who would want full control is not what I’m looking for. They don’t fit within our structure or strategy.
This isn’t something new but it’s a refinement of the role Alan had. It’s a greater clarity for whoever gets the job, in terms of what they do, what their role is and what they can speak to the media about.
That way everyone - players, supporters, media - are clearer. He’s the head coach, not a traditional manager. He doesn’t have the final say on transfers and doesn’t get involved in every aspect of the business. His job is to coach the players and implement and oversee a philosophy that goes through the first team, the reserves and down through the Academy to improve the players and to ensure we get the best out of them.
Will they have a say on transfers?
The new head coach will have to set out to us what his playing style is, what his philosophy is and what he looks for in his team because that then impacts on what we look for in terms of recruitment. It all works together. The head coach picks the team. We don’t interfere in that. If the relationship works in the right way and everyone is going in the same direction and believes in our strategy and policy then there is no point in us buying a player that the head coach doesn’t want because he doesn’t play him and we don’t get the best out of our investment. When someone says: ‘Does he have any say (in transfers)?’ Yes. Does he have the final say? No he doesn’t. There’s a difference there. We hope it’s a happy marriage.
We want someone who sees the bigger picture because my thinking will always be medium to long term. When people talk about what we’re going to do in this transfer window, I am looking at the next transfer window and the window after and what impact it will have on that. Are there better opportunities if we wait three or four months rather than committing now? It’s trying to find that balance but also an individual in a head coach that trusts us. If we say ‘You aren’t going to get that now but you will in the summer’, it’s someone who is prepared to say ‘OK’ and trusts us to do that. It’s also someone that for example, if we were to get an offer for a player that is at a value that we want to take, isn’t nervous about getting a replacement. There has to be a trust.
We want to make things better and improve things but sometimes our timelines might not meet. His requirements might be short term but our view on some occasions may well be we’d rather wait because we can get better options and better value. Between me and the head coach and Graham, it’s a relationship that will have to develop. He will have to trust and believe in what we do.
Is This Another Long Term Manager?
We see this as a long term decision. We’ve got a number of options. Clearly my preference is to try and find someone to bring in now. However, because it will be a long term commitment, if I have to wait until the summer for what I believe is the right individual then I would rather wait than actually take someone now who I think isn’t the best fit.
I’m not going to take someone who is free and available now if we have a better option and options by waiting until the end of the season. I know that won’t be an entirely popular point of view but for me that is the most sensible thing to do. It is about the medium to long term and ensuring we get the ‘right one’.
How Close Are You To Making A Decision?
I hope that by the end of this week I will have a better indication of where we sit. I’ll know the really, really credible individuals who would be of real interest to us and from there, whether a decision can be made now or whether that decision can wait until the summer.
There’s a wide range of options. There are some people who genuinely can’t move now, whether that be for personal reasons, contractual or a whole host - they can’t come now. There are some that can, whether they are tied to other clubs but have a compensation element involved or are out of work.
What I have done so far is go through them, with Graham’s input and really refine the candidates. I needed to make sure those individuals understand what the role is, understand what is expected of them here, understand the pressures that come with this role and understand what their philosophy is and the culture they would create and develop here.
Are You Going To End Up With A Yes Man?
I’m confident at the end of this process the individual will be best suited for what we’re looking for and can work within the structure we have. I don’t think anything works and you’re never going to move forward if you have ‘yes’ people in key positions.
I know people label me as someone who says yes all the time but believe me, if I said yes to everything suggested I wouldn’t last very long. It doesn’t work that way. They have to challenge me, I have to challenge Mike over things - that is how management works. That’s what I expect from all of my heads of department. But do I want someone in who will continually try to change our strategy or put obstacles in our way? Clearly not. They will have to aligned with what we are doing.
What Kind Of Candidates Are Newcastle Looking At?
I know that the individual who comes in will be credible and best suited for this role. First and foremost, they have to be a good coach and with a track record of developing players and giving young players a chance is important. For me, style of play is important. How they conduct themselves is also important as the head coach will play a key part in how the club is perceived through his conduct on and off the field.
What Is Going To Happen In The January Transfer Window?
I saw the stuff Gary Lineker tweeted saying we’re hanging back from appointing a head coach so we don’t have to sign anyone which isn’t correct. Are we delaying to get through the January window? Absolutely not. In all honesty, the January window is not one we ever envisaged being particularly active in. That’s partly because of the amount of business we did in the summer but also because January is a difficult market to operate in. There are very few options whereby a club can achieve the quality required and also get value. There is often a reason as to why a player might be available in January.
We were forced to bring players in a couple of years ago in January because of where we were in the league and some of those transactions we brought forward from the following summer at significant cost. As a general principle, January’s not an attractive window. Another important thing to note and something often not mentioned is Premier League teams are only allowed to name 25 players. We’re currently at 25.
Will You Sell Anyone?
I would never, ever rule out selling anyone because the worst thing I could do is over promise and under deliver. You will never, ever get me saying never but I would say we’re very difficult sellers. We make it very difficult for people to get our players. We put them on long term contracts. We are not easy sellers, despite that perception. As we sit here today I can’t envisage any player we want to retain leaving.
On Changing The Way The Club Communicates: I think we do communicate but we need to find a better way to communicate. Our view was that Alan was the one who was front and centre and will take all of the questions on all areas of the club. Alan was then left, sometimes, in a difficult position answering questions that he probably wasn’t best suited to answer.
This is an opportunity for us with a new head coach coming in - there’s more clarity about his role and what he does. His role is coaching and that’s what he can talk about. If that’s the case it’s only right that I then support him in terms of the messaging going out. If I’m saying ‘Only talk about team selection and the games’ there needs to be another voice.
I think the information has been out there, through the fan’s forum and through the statements, but it’s how we get it out there that needs to improve.
Will You Be Taking A More Prominent Role Personally?
I’m not someone who courts the media or has relationships with journalists giving them on or off the record information about players or any other elements of club business. I want to go about our or my business quietly and professionally. That’s where I want to be.
I do however accept we need to look at how we communicate and I think if we do that it will certainly help on lots of different levels. Contrary to popular belief we don’t disregard people’s views - however our intention and focus and what we always aim to do is make decisions that we feel are in the best interests for the football club. They won’t always be popular and won’t always be liked but we make them for what we believe are the right reasons.
Has Graham Carr's Role Changed?
On the football side we look at it as a triangle. That’s me, the head coach and Graham. Graham’s role won’t change. In terms of this process he will be heavily involved and will support me with his knowledge, his feedback and his contacts to get some background information on the people we’re speaking to. This will support other research and feedback we have sought and will seek on our preferred candidates. It’s a joined-up process we’re in. Clearly he will continue to be an important part of what we do in order to move forward on the field and his relationship with the head coach is something that needs to be strong.
Is Mike Ashley Going To Sell Up And Buy Rangers?
There is nothing to say on this other than to repeat what we said in the statement in September - I’d refer everyone to that.
nufc.com: Three weeks into the search for a new manager / coach / scapegoat, club Managing Director Lee Charnley has broken his silence. Fourteen questions and fourteen answers later, with nothing of consequence regarding the vacant position, it's a struggle to find anything new to chew over. Until this point, Charnley followed a similar path to owner Mike Ashley, with club published minutes from fans forums the sole output from anyone in an executive role at St. James' Park, since Derek Llambias quit in June 2013. The Managing Director will be judged on the quality of his appointment and whether the managerial structure that he advocates succeeds in the eyes of supporters. Everything else is window dressing. A vow to look at how the club communicates is in reality no different to comments from his predecessor in February 2009 minus the apology then for failing to keep supporters informed. Paranoia over saying anything that can be used against him makes this 2015 attempt mostly meaningless. Speaking but not speaking. Anyone looking to be reinvigorated for the remainder of this season or for a reason not to post off that direct debit cancellation will be disappointed.
"Let me tell you it's no jolly up."
19th January 2015 - A Mid Season Break
The Newcastle players and staff arrived in Dubai in the early hours of this morning for a warm weather training camp.
John Carver: "People will be putting two and two together and thinking it's a jolly, but let me tell you it's no jolly up. There will be curfews and I will treat the players with respect but if anyone oversteps the mark or breaks the curfew then they will be fined. We'd still have gone away even if we'd had an FA Cup game this week. It's just like a normal week. Tuesday will be a full day session, morning will be good tactical work with a gym session in the afternoon. Wednesday they will be off, they'll have a free day, some will play golf so it will be like a normal week and we come back on the Thursday. We'll train Friday, then Saturday and off Sunday and then we're into the week of the Hull game. It's been arranged from when Alan was manager. For the last three or four years we've had a mid season break. We've got bad weather in Newcastle to deal with and it's difficult to do good quality training. We've had to work indoors because it's just unbearable. It's a chance to go away and to get some proper work done."
18th January 2014 - A Little Bit Frustrated
Louise Taylor - The Guardian: It has become virtually taboo for Newcastle United managers to criticise Mike Ashley’s administration in public but John Carver is far too brave and honest to be cowed by convention.
John Carver: "I think we have to have appointed a manager by the next game. This Monday it will be three weeks since Alan was allowed to speak to Crystal Palace. By the following week, it will be a month. That’s a long time. I think that’s enough time to do what you need to do. It’s in the best interests of the club, me, the fans, the players, the staff, everybody. We cannot drift. The club have to do something. You can lead and guide these lads for so long but it’s no good saying we’re going to be okay when we go up against Hull, Palace and Stoke. The pressure is on us because we haven’t won for a while. As you can tell I’m getting a little bit frustrated. I’ve given everything I can.”
17th January 2015 - In Limbo For Three Weeks
www.utd111.co.uk: We see ourselves as fans of one of the biggest football clubs in the country and feel that our passionate support is somehow valued and appreciated by the people who own and manage the club. In reality, however, this is clearly not the case. Newcastle United fans have been in limbo for three weeks now. Acting head coach John Carver is clearly not being told anything either and has been reduced to making an appeal to his immediate bosses for information and some action.
John Carver: "They said there would be conversation coming up pretty quickly. I have to be honest. We have not even discussed it. I’m telling you, I’ve not had conversation about it. I think I'll have to speak to Lee for my peace of mind and to see where we are. We leave at 11.30am on Sunday for Dubai so that doesn’t give us a lot of time.”
A deflection off Yoan Gouffran draws us level
17th January 2015 - Newcastle United 1 Southampton 2
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 5.30pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Coloccini, Dummett (Williamson 80), Sissoko, Anita (Riviere 68), Colback, Cabella, Perez, Gouffran (Ameobi 69) - Subs not used: Woodman, Santon, Abeid, Armstrong.
Scorer: Gouffran (29) - Attendance: 49,307
John Carver: "I don't think we deserved to win the game but we certainly deserved to get something from it. We started quite well, but conceded two bad goals, caught out twice in a similar fashion. Southampton do play some good football but it was the long ball up to the front man that created the goals for them. All week we'd looked at dealing with runs behind and being aware. We don't have that cutting edge in the final third. We don't have the experience or enough leaders to take on the responsibility to but the ball in the back of the net. We created something like 15 shots but we only got three on target. That's why we only scored one goal. They've had three shots on target and scored two goals. They had no corners, we had nine. It's the final third that counts. You win football matches by putting the ball in the back of the net more times than the opposition."
On the penalty claim: "It’s a penalty. Maybe it's ball to hand if the ball hits his hand and he’s in a natural position, not when you have an L shape and it smacks straight on the palm of your hand. We are the guys who suffer because jobs are decided on decisions like that."
On the managerial vacancy: "Since we spoke on Thursday I have had no conversation about it. They have to do something. The crowd are waiting on a decision and the club have to make that soon. We don't deserve to drift away. I love what I do but sometimes it’s out of your hands."
Louise Taylor - The Guardian: John Carver was let down by shocking performances from the normally impressive Holland right back Daryl Janmaat and the increasingly unreliable centre half and captain Fabricio Coloccini. His team were all out of luck against Southampton in a game they never deserved to win but might have drawn had a stoppage time penalty been awarded for handball.
nufc.com: A winless 2015 continued as Newcastle again failed to muster a victory at a decidedly downbeat St. James' Park. A draw would have been a fair outcome for a match which saw both sides enjoy good spells without creating many clear cut chances. Elia scored his first goals for Southampton, both will disappoint Carver and his defenders as simple through balls unlocked the Magpies' defence with alarming ease. A handball in the area could have presented United with a late equaliser only for referee Robert Madley to dismiss strong claims when Riviere's goalbound shot struck the Saints man's hand. The managerless Magpies sit eleventh in the table on 27 points, nine points and three places behind where they were at the same point last year. The loss dropped United into the bottom half of the table. It's now just one win in nine league and cup fixtures.
13th January 2015 - Deliberate Delaying Tactics?
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has taken a dig at Newcastle’s failure to appoint a new head coach. The BBC pundit has accused the board of deliberately postponing the appointment of Alan Pardew’s replacement. On his Twitter feed he seemed to suggest it was not simply a case of time being taken in order to make the right decision.
Gary Linekar - Twitter: “Brilliant tactics from Newcastle board to delay appointing their new manager so they don’t have to buy any players in the transfer window.”
12th January 2015 - Playing With The Handbrake On?
Paul Dixon - Evening Chronicle: The hunt for a new head coach drags on. This being Mike Ashley’s Newcastle literally anybody could walk through the door. The pressure is on Lee Charnley to get it right. The first half at Chelsea proved that we have the players who can entertain and also be more offensive. The performance strengthened my belief that Alan Pardew had the team playing with the handbrake on.
Losing out at Stamford Bridge
10th January 2015 - Chelsea 2 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Stamford Bridge, London - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Coloccini, Dummett, Williamson, Sissoko (Riviere 84), Anita, Colback, Cabella, Perez, Gouffran (Ameobi 63) - Subs not used: Woodman, Santon, Haidara, Vuckic, Armstrong.
Attendance: 41,612
John Carver: "We had a game plan and the guys executed that well. Just before half time, we switched off, just like we did last week against Leicester. It was very frustrating. When you are playing against top sides they will punish you, top players seem to think a bit quicker. It was clever from their point of view."
nufc.com: Going in behind at the interval was tough on United who had caused Chelsea problems. The black and whites took the game to Jose Mourinho's side as the frustrated manager berated his team from the touchline. Cabella and Sissoko both went close to giving United the lead but a fine first period ended in disappointment. Coloccini made a mess of a clearance and gifted a corner that Willian took quickly. Colo and colleagues were caught napping and Oscar was on hand at the far post to sidefoot home. Mourinho managed to reorganise and rejuvenate his side for the second half and they dominated the remainder of the match. A second goal came in the 59th minute. It was a poor goal to concede. Costa was allowed to run across the edge of the area and fire back across Krul. Two defensive errors cost Newcastle dear. The loss left United in tenth spot. A fifth successive away defeat in all competitions.
Michael Martin - True Faith: We didn’t get the widely predicted pasting at Stamford Bridge but we did lose convincingly. We received praise for our first half performance but frankly that is what we are about isn’t it? Underdogs attempting to pull off the odd surprising victory over the big boys. I have too much love and respect for Newcastle United Football Club to meekly accept this role. I’ll never be happy supporting Newcastle United as an also ran. I will always believe in the potential and power of Newcastle United. As decent as we were in the first half, bar the aberrations from Capitano Colo we were unable to cope with an increased intensity from Chelsea in the second half and it was always unlikely we were going to get back into the game once we’d conceded the first. There were flashes from Cabella to hint at why we invested in him and that is a positive to take from the game. However, defeat means we have won one game in the last eight. Be grateful for that if you like.
9th January 2015 - Appalling
Alan Devon - The Mag: It’s high time the club started communicating. Mike Ashley has not spoken to us for 8 years now. This isn’t Newcastle United. There is nothing united about us. What is going on? It has been a week since Pardew headed off to Crystal Palace. Other than a short statement by Newcastle to confirm, there has been nothing. Why?
The whole scenario is awash with confusion. After what can only be described as an appalling run of results that stretched back to February 2014, Ashley point blank refused to sack Pardew. Just weeks ago, the team started winning a few games again, Pardew thanked Ashley for sticking with him. Strange that Pardew would thank him for that unwavering support by walking. So why did he walk away? Pardew will point to the fact that he was hated by the majority of Newcastle fans. Alan Shearer reckons Pardew may have been ‘given the nod’ that Ashley was about to sell up.
8th January 2015 - Struggling Shola
John Martin - The Mag: Whether there is an ounce of truth in it or not, it was a story that was always going to be written. Shola Ameobi is back on Tyneside as Turkish second tier club Gaziantep BB cut short his one year contract. 'Shola Back To Newcastle' newspaper stories claim John Carver is a big fan of Shola. Carver is doing quite enough to damage any hope he had of a permanent head coach role without admitting to anything like that.
Shola struggled in a desperate Turkish second tier, scoring only four goals in half a season. The standard looked English non league at best. Newcastle struggling desperately for goals, look a shambles again. The answer? Recruit a 33 year old who managed five Premier League goals in his final 36 months at St. James’ Park. Shola on some kind of short term contract would prove to the few remaining doubters just how bad things have got under Mike Ashley.
It was shameful. Someone at the club needs to explain
6th January 2015 - We Didn't Even Try To Win
Micky Quinn - Evening Chronicle: I did take heart when John Carver insisted he would put out his strongest team a little more than 24 hours before the match. He did nothing of the kind. 4,200 people travelled a long way to watch two shots on target over 90 minutes. They gave up a lot and were given nothing from their club. It was shameful.
We are 13 points ahead of Leicester City and we didn’t even try to win. If I am wrong, then someone at the club needs to explain why there are always so many tweaks and pulls in the first week of January. There is no ambition at Newcastle and that clearly isn’t going to change until Mike Ashley leaves.
Winning breeds winning. Always has done, always will do. A good cup run would transfer to the league campaign. Now that’s gone. Again. But don’t say there is nothing to play for. Oh no. There are the bonuses for finishing tenth. That will be thrilling to watch.
6th January 2015 - Accepting The Ordinary
Darren Henderson - The Mag: After his honest summing up post Burnley, then his assertion that a team would be fielded at the King Power Stadium to win the game, the feeling of once more being sold down the Tyne hit home as John Carver’s team selection filtered through on Saturday. His teamsheet for a very winnable game I found unbelievable. There has been only one thing going through my mind since the final whistle blew at Leicester. Is this finally the end? Standing in an away support that made up nearly quarter of the attendance, a vociferous vocal outpouring of anger greeted ‘Judas’ Carver as he showed unbelievable naivety in approaching the travelling fans. His and the players’ applause was as condescending as their inept display was embarrassing. Their absolute mediocrity is constantly shown up. We as fans have had our collective expectations lowered to such an extent that the average continental shines at this ridiculously run club.
Newcastle United is a football club in name only, a club whose heritage is fast paling into a forgotten time, its modern facade portraying all the egotistical traits of the here and now owner. Carver’s team selection and subsequent protestations about injuries to Sissoko et al, only confirmed what his loyalty to Pardew had suggested, puppet strings attached all the way to the boardroom and a lack of coaching ability on the sidelines. Let’s be honest, Carver is in good company, boyhood idols like Moncur and Beardsley already defend the regime in their status as club employees.
There have been many egotistical chairmen over the years but none have flatlined the club like the present incumbent. So as this club spirals into an abyss of negligence, an abyss that is frustratingly ignored by a blinkered media, we continue to be lied to. I’m afraid no amount of badge kissing or heart thumping can disguise the attitudes of players or coaches who prepare for and play a football match with the intention of losing it. Keegan walked away when he realised the club we knew and love was heading for the end under Ashley, unfortunately the majority of us are not that brave.
An afternoon of frustration
3rd January 2015 - Leicester City 1 Newcastle United 0
FA Cup 3rd Round - King Power Stadium, Leicester - 3.00pm
Team: Alnwick, Santon (Satka 59), Haidara, Williamson, Dummett, Anita, Tiote, Vuckic (Roberts 79), Cabella, Armstrong, Riviere - Subs not used: Woodman, Bigirimana, Gouffran, Campbell, Gilliead.
Attendance: 23,212
John Carver: "We brought a fantastic following. We went out with a whimper. It’s not good enough."
On the disallowed goal: "I thought at the time it was a good goal. There was a delay with the linesman making the decision. Then disappointment with the flag going up. Nigel Pearson said it was a good goal but that’s no comfort."
On the fans booing the team: "They are entitled to do that. They have paid their money. We deserved it. It’s hugely embarrassing. I certainly won’t shirk my responsibility and it’s important that the players don’t either."
nufc.com: Abject misery as Newcastle meekly surrendered. With no Alan Pardew, the 4,000 travelling fans vented their spleens on the players, coaches and owner as an afternoon of frustration spilled over into anger at the final whistle. A justifiable response to a feckless showing from the black and whites. By the end of the game the weakness of the eleven players left standing was depressing.
Michael Martin - True Faith: Given Carver’s patter on New Years Day I expected a half decent side. On reading the team at 2.00pm I could see that Carver’s patter was utter shite. The performance was pitiful. It was like we were purposely trying to get knocked out. The day was summed up when in the 90th minute Mike Williamson hit a free kick on the halfway line back to Jak Alnwick. A spineless performance was no surprise to the 4,400 loyal supporters who turned up to cheer on United against the top flights bottom side. Our support yesterday was sensational. Newcastle United went out at the 3rd round stage for the 6th time in the Mike Ashley era. At the end Carver and the players came over and were rightly greeted with boos. Chants of ‘We’re shit and we’re sick of it’ and ‘We want Ashley Out’ followed. The hates turning up a notch.
£2.5 million in compensation. What a deal.
3rd January 2015 - Classless Ownership
Paul Hayward - The Telegraph: Standing up to a ruthless owner who is worth £3.75 billion might sound like the definition of futility, but it happens to be the only option for the next man in at Newcastle United, where the nonsense is piled as high as the gear in Mike Ashley’s retail empire.
Ashley is one of those moguls who has come to feel he has the globe on a string. Zero hours contracts at Sports Direct? Wonga shirt sponsorship? What has it got to do with you? Wealth is the only show in town.
Instead of having to go through the tedious business of sacking Alan Pardew, Ashley simply waited for Crystal Palace to come along and offer him £2.5 million in compensation to take ‘Pards’ away. What a deal.
Pardew’s successor will either have to lay out his terms at the first negotiation stage or step into Ashley’s empire as a departmental head, while the real business goes on elsewhere.
3rd January 2015 - Pardew Released From United Contract
Club Statement: Newcastle United can confirm that Alan Pardew has been released from his contract in order to be installed as the new manager of Crystal Palace. Pardew said: "It has been a privilege to manage Newcastle United and I want to thank my captain Fabricio Coloccini and all the players, John Carver, Steve Stone, Andy Woodman and all the staff, all of who have been outstanding servants to Newcastle United. A special thanks also goes to the fans for all their support over the last four years. I must also thank Mike Ashley and the board for their unwavering support during my tenure at the Club."
Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley said: "I would like to thank Alan for his service to the Club. Despite public perceptions, fuelled by the media, Mike Ashley had never met nor spoken to Alan before his appointment. However, what developed over the last four years was a very strong and positive relationship between all parties. It is these relationships that, four years later, means the Club is in a far better position, both on and off the field, and Alan has had a big part to play in that. During his time with us, Alan achieved two top ten Premier League finishes, including a fifth place finish in 2012, as well as taking us to the quarter final of the Europa League. He goes with our best wishes and thanks."
John Carver and Steve Stone will be in the dugout for at least today's (Saturday 3rd January) fixture - the Club's FA Cup third round tie at Leicester City. The search for a head coach has begun and an announcement will follow in due course.
Newcastle Online: This has been coming for almost a week but man what a great feeling.
Paul Hayward - The Telegraph: Pardew stopped being a yes man in the end. He accepted defeat, and fled.
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: Pardew pleaded with Ashley to be allowed to move back to London. He knew he could never win back the fans.
ToonBano: A few home truths about Alan Pardew. Outrageous behavior, baffling player selections, baffling substitutions, laughable excuses, a horrendous cup record and a humiliating derby record. A disgrace to our football club.
2nd January 2015 - A Small Victory
Michael Martin - True Faith: Pardew’s management was a symptom of the larger problem within the club. Indifference masked as stability. Maybe we will get a manager who can beat Sunderland. Or one who will play players in their correct positions. Or one whose teams are hard to break down defensively. Hell, we may even get a manager who can do all of the above but that won’t change the lack of ambition above his head. Our biggest problem is not the managerial vacancy, but still the same one it has been the last six or so years. The owner. This is a small victory, let’s enjoy it. It has been celebrated over the festive season as one of the best Christmas gifts possible.
Honesty Is What We Always Used To Get
2nd January 2015 - A Welcome Change
Jackie Smithfield - The Mag: The result might not have been ideal but John Carver’s honesty after the final whistle against Burnley was a welcome change. There is little doubt that if we’d had to listen to Alan Pardew then as usual it would have been a tale of bad luck with a very tenuous link to the truth. One of the first things supporters want is honesty and that is what we always used to get with Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson. We’re not stupid, we can see when the team have played good football or not, the cast majority will acknowledge the times when you play well but don’t necessarily get the result. What supporters can’t accept is when the manager thinks he can con them, which was all too often what happened with Alan Pardew’s often outrageous assessment of matches.
A delighted Steven Taylor celebrates the opener
1st January 2015 - Newcastle United 3 Burnley 3
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Alnwick, Janmaat, Dummett, S Taylor (Williamson 60), Coloccini, Colback, Tiote, Sissoko, Perez, Gouffran (Haidara 71), Riviere (Armstrong 57) - Subs not used: Woodman, Santon, Anita, Cabella.
Scorers: S Taylor (15), Colback (26), Sissoko (78) - Attendance: 51,761
John Carver: "I’m disappointed because we were so good in the first half but so poor in the second. We got away with a point. We didn’t deserve that. They caused us lots of problems. Burnley should have won the game. I’ve got two positives. The first half and the fact that we haven’t lost."
On the Paul Dummett own goal: "We gifted them a goal. An individual error. He knows he’s made a mistake. I will never have a go at him. He’s a local lad. He’s come from nowhere. At left back and centre back he’s been fantastic. He has been outstanding for us this season."
nufc.com: The twenty seven points already garnered leave United sitting in tenth position, ten points clear of the relegation zone. With owner Mike Ashley possibly thinking his side are safe for another season this could prove to be an interesting January transfer window. With players leaving for the African Cup of Nations, Taylor likely to be missing for the rest of the season and a number of existing injuries, the managerless Magpies will have their squad tested to the full.
31st December 2014 - The Newcastle Job?
Kevin Garside - The Independent: The club that Sir Bobby Robson knew, that Alan Shearer chose ahead of Manchester United, that Kevin Keegan revived, no longer exists. Mike Ashley’s £134 million purchase was completed six years ago. Ashley has not so much stripped the assets out of Newcastle United as its heart. It was as much a part of the city’s identity as coal mining and ship building once were and like them was forced to come to terms with a new reality, one that destroyed the spiritual connection with the community via a process of commodification.
Ashley’s investment is estimated to have taken his outlay upwards of £300 million, mostly in loans. He would argue he saved the club from financial ruin. He might be right but in doing so he killed the club’s most valuable asset, its unique identity, forged through the relationship with the supporters. What remains is a football trading floor. Players come and go, hopefully for a profit. Managers pick from a pool of players given to them and do what they can to foster a collective spirit from itinerants primed for the next big deal.
Wor Jackie must be turning in his grave. Ashley would sell in a heartbeat to the right bidder. While Newcastle survive in this quasi comatose state on breathing apparatus supplied by Ashley, the man takes incremental chunks of another fading nugget that one day might yield a bumper dividend. Alan Pardew could not get out of St. James’ Park quickly enough. Former number two John Carver steps into the breach full of the same galloping enthusiasm that Pardew brought to the job, and probably earning half the dosh. He and new assistant Steve Stone will give it all they have before the life is sucked out of them and they join the rest of Newcastle’s undead.
29th December 2014 - On His Way Out
Matt - True Faith:
Pardew is a poor manager with a soul sapping philosophy who has presided over four years of tedious mediocrity. He inherited a solid foundation from Chris Hughton and turned it into a crapshoot where winning and losing had very little to do with anything the manager did. I’m glad he’s on his way out. However, it’s Pardew the man I’ll be most glad to see the back of. No manager in the history of Newcastle United has talked as much unadulterated and patronising crap. It’s been a never ending torrent of smug delusional bullshit.
29th December 2014 - Alan Pardew
Club Statement: Newcastle United can confirm that Crystal Palace have made a formal approach requesting permission to speak to Alan Pardew in relation to their vacant managerial position. Crystal Palace have offered compensation at a level whereby Alan has now been permitted to speak to them. As a result of this development today (Monday) Alan will not be at training on Tuesday. Training will be the responsibility of assistant manager John Carver. The club will make a further announcement in due course.
Jack Colback slots home the winner
28th December 2014 - Newcastle United 3 Everton 2
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 4.15pm
Team: Alnwick, Janmaat, Dummett, Coloccini, Williamson, Perez, Sissoko, Tiote, Colback, Gouffran (Cabella 90), Cisse (Riviere 72) - Subs not used: Woodman, Santon, S Taylor, Anita, Armstrong.
Scorer: Cisse (34), Perez (51), Colback (68) - Attendance: 52,313
John Carver: "We have had a difficult period. It's nice to get a result after a tricky few games where we have not won. We got off to a bad start but looked a different team after the first five minutes. It has probably been one of our best performances in recent times. We took the game to Everton and got a deserved win. It's a fantastic result for us."
16th December 2014 - Leicester Cup Tie Confirmed
Our FA Cup Third Round visit to Leicester City has now been confirmed as a 3.00pm kick-off on Saturday 3rd January 2015. The match has not been chosen for live television coverage.
Ayoze Perez outnumbered at The Emirates
13th December 2014 - Arsenal 4 Newcastle United 1
Premier League - Emirates Stadium, London - 5.30pm
Team: Alnwick, Janmaat, Dummett, Williamson, Coloccini, Tiote, Colback, Gouffran, Perez (Armstrong 82), Ameobi (Cabella 56), Cisse (Riviere 56) - Subs not used: Woodman, Haidara, Anita, Vuckic.
Scorer: Perez (63) - Attendance: 59,949
Alan Pardew: "Arsenal came out flying, they were quick, they didn't give us a lot of time and we were hanging on. We weren't as efficient with the ball as we have been. Even at 3-1, I still felt that the game was in the balance. Maybe we took too many risks trying to get something out of the game and therefore you are going to expose your defenders and your goalie. As a unit we’ve not really defended as well as in previous games. Jak was pretty sound. He kicked it well and looked assured. I can’t lay any blame at his door for this result and he goes to the next game. Fingers crossed he does well.”
8th December 2014 - FA Cup Third Round Draw
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup was made earlier tonight. Newcastle face a trip to Leicester City with the tie due to be played over the weekend of 3rd January 2015.
Two goal hero Papiss Cisse in celebration mode
6th December 2014 - Newcastle United 2 Chelsea 1
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 12.45pm
Team: Elliot (Alnwick 46), Janmaat, Dummett, S Taylor, Coloccini, Dummett, Tiote, Colback, Sissoko, Cabella (Cisse 53), Ameobi (Williamson 83), Perez - Subs not used: Haidara, Anita, Gouffran, Riviere.
Scorer: Cisse (57, 78) - Attendance: 52,019 - Sent Off: S Taylor (83)
Alan Pardew: "An unbelievable performance. If someone had told me we were going to be down to 10 men, have six minutes of added time and beat Chelsea, I wouldn't have believed them. That was about character and discipline against probably the best team in Europe at the moment."
On Jak Alnwick: "Jak came to see me before Tim got injured. He said he was disappointed in my management of him, that the club had let him down because we hadn't loaned him out. We couldn't, he was our third choice, we couldn't put ourselves at risk. He felt he hadn't been given an opportunity. Fair play to him, you have to admire him, he has been proven right."
Goalscorer Moussa Sissoko is congratulated by Paul Dummett
22nd November 2014 - Newcastle United 1 Queens Park Rangers 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Williamson, Dummett, R Taylor (Gouffran 34), Sissoko, Colback, Cabella (Cisse 68), Perez (Armstrong 89), Ameobi - Subs not used: Elliot, Streete, Anita, Ferreyra.
Scorer: Sissoko (78) - Attendance: 51,915
Alan Pardew: "On the training ground you think okay, this could be something. Then you have a run of disappointments but we felt that there was something here and suddenly we just hit the ground and got a win and got another one and just built on that. The spirit in the group is just fantastic. We had Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs and we sailed through that, so don't look at the fixtures and think that there's anything that we can't deal with. It's a tough December, there's no doubt about that but the team is in a good place. Anybody who recognises Premier League football and watches it on a regular basis would see that as a really powerful performance from a young team. I felt we played very well. The attitude of the players was first class. We have got a real depth in the squad, which bodes well for the League Cup and the Premier League."
7th November 2014 - All Too Often
Marc Duffy - espnfc.co.uk: Just as he deserved the criticism levelled at him, Alan Pardew deserves credit for the wins that have seen Newcastle pull away from the relegation zone slightly. In last weekend's game, though Liverpool dominated possession, Newcastle were worthy of their 1-0 win and always looked the more likely to score with their quick attacking game that had been hidden away for too long.
In the Pardew era it all too often goes as follows - An awful run of results. Absolutely no attempt to change tactics or lineup - Changes through injuries and suspensions - Dramatic improvement in performances and results - Reverts back to old habits - Another awful run.
This cycle is not unusual. A perfect example came last season when consecutive wins against Chelsea, Tottenham, Norwich and Sunday's opponents West Brom came to a screeching halt at Swansea when Pardew completely altered a successful approach to games by introducing an ultra defensive, respectful approach. Newcastle were trounced 3-0.
4th November 2014 - Now They've Got To Keep It Going
Kevin Keegan: I'm really pleased for Alan. As an ex-manager of Newcastle, you don't like to see managers just leaving the club every three to six months like some clubs. He's been under pressure for a long time. Four games ago there was despair around Newcastle. They've persevered with him for whatever reason and that's worked out to their advantage.
Sometimes you have to give people who've done it before a little bit more patience and just respect the fact that actually they've done better than this. Sometimes you're going to hit brick walls in football, you're going to lose key players, you're going to sell players you shouldn't sell. Newcastle did that with Cabaye in particular.
Alan's got a lot of character. I think the board there have got the rewards for sticking by him and now they've got to keep it going. They are halfway up the table, not that far off the top six now strangely enough. They can certainly harness this now to kick on and build again. The one thing that's obvious is that the team's behind him. You don't go to places like Tottenham and Manchester City and win, or Liverpool at home when they desperately needed a result, without having great team spirit.
2nd November 2014 - The Week That Was
Michael Martin - True Faith: Three completely unexpected wins at Tottenham, Manchester City and at home to Liverpool has lifted the mood on the black and white planet. A week like this doesn’t come along very often. Savour it while it’s here because as we know only too well, enjoyment and happiness on the good ship Newcastle United is often fleeting.
I have to say some of the comments from the national press about apologies due to Pardew and the manager turning the corner and all the rest of it makes you wonder at the intelligence of some of the people who write about football. Most of us didn’t reach the point of calling for Pardew’s head as a knee jerk reaction to a short run of poor results. We reached the limit with Pardew on the back of a calendar year of lamentable results, piss poor performances, rank decisions, unbecoming conduct and risible patter which has left us wondering what the hell is going on at our club.
The stats against Pardew in the Premier League and the Cup competitions are absolutely damning and it’s difficult to see him surviving at any other club. The last four results however have taken a massive weight off Pardew’s shoulders and give him and his team some breathing space. It is a platform for recovery rather than a recovery in itself.
Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool were all expected to beat us and whilst we caught all three sides out of form, our game plan has been all about an underdog mentality which saw us grafting our bollocks off, playing large parts of games without possession and spending lots of those matches, pressing, closing down, tracking back, doubling up, defending for long periods, being disciplined, resolute and doing all of the dirty jobs required to get a result against more exulted opposition.
Fair play. Pardew got the game plan right and the team committed to the manager’s instructions and we have got our rewards. The team and the manager deserve praise. The acid test is how they deliver consistently. It’s also about how they bounce back when the inevitable defeat comes along. The manager and his team have it all to do to demonstrate consistency and resilience.
Ayoze Perez celebrates his 73rd minute winner
1st November 2014 - Newcastle United 1 Liverpool 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Dummett, S Taylor, Coloccini, Sissoko, Abeid, Colback, Obertan (Aarons 27), Cisse (Perez 46), Ameobi (Cabella 66) - Subs not used: Elliot, Haidara, R Taylor, Gouffran.
Scorer: Perez (73) - Attendance: 52,166
Alan Pardew: "Liverpool are always a big target. It was a great day for us. We have good spirit and good talent. I always knew and I kept saying it. This city breathes and loves football. When it does not go well, they let you know, and when it is going well, they let you know. You take the good with the bad. I would like to think I am coming out of this a better manager. This football club tests you on a number of levels. It has been interesting and educational. The only sour note of the day was Obertan’s injury. He has done something to his thigh muscle. It is a bad one. We just hope it is not too bad. He has been a big part of the success in these last few weeks. We are all sad for Gabby."
nufc.com: Despite getting off the mark with a nervous victory over Leicester City here last month the future looked anything but positive with a daunting trio of fixtures lined up. At the conclusion of an amazing seven days though, The Magpies celebrated their fourth successive win. There had been very little from either side to excite the crowd before the goal, both teams looking lethargic, cautious and creating very little. The visitors contributed to their own downfall with an incredibly inept display. The Reds misfired badly but that takes nothing away from the battling performance of the Magpies who kept their third clean sheet in four games and worked tirelessly in midfield and defence. The turnaround in our fortunes has been nothing less than miraculous and rightly brought the ground to its feet in appreciation. Four fantastic team performances have turned things around for Pardew and the manager must also take credit for some substitutions and tactical switches that have been an integral part of our resurgence. The win lifted United into the top half of the table.
27th October 2014 - Capital One Cup Quarter Final Draw
The draw for the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup sees Newcastle travel to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham Hotspur. The tie will be played on Tuesday 16th or Wednesday 17th December 2014.
"A beacon of light in professional football."
29th October 2014 - Manchester City 0 Newcastle United 2
Capital One Cup Fourth Round - Etihad Stadium, Manchester - 7.45pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat (Sissoko 65), Dummett, Coloccini, Haidara, R Taylor, Abeid, Colback, Obertan, Armstrong (Riviere 65), Aarons (Ameobi 46) - Subs not used: Krul, Cabella, Gouffran, Perez.
Scorers: Aarons (6), Sissoko (75) - Attendance: 40,752
Alan Pardew: "A marvellous performance. We defended well, we obviously conceded possession but we always carried a threat. I do know what I'm doing. Except maybe Arsenal, I think I've had most of the scalps as Newcastle manager. We had a game plan. The players needed to execute it. I couldn't ask for more than they gave me. It's important that we keep this momentum going. We've got real confidence and belief. It's very important in football."
On Ryan Taylor: "He was outstanding. He has only had one and a half reserve games and to play like he did was absolutely outstanding and a credit to himself. You are talking about a guy who for two years has been injured and conducted himself in the best possible manner. Our staff have been very impressed. He is a beacon of light in professional football."
nufc.com: A remarkable and famous victory at the Etihad Stadium as a young side knocked out the Capital One Cup holders. After an absence of over two years due to injury Ryan Taylor completed the full game and helped set up the opening goal as well as making a fantastic goalline clearance shortly after Sissoko had scored the second.
26th October 2014 - Pardew Post Tottenham
Alan Pardew: "At the moment the Geordie nation doesn’t really think I’m good enough so hopefully that has ticked one box. I’ve been here for 701 games now. I do know what I’m doing so it’s pleasing for me and my team. They’re fighting for the shirt and that’s what our fans want to see."
Congratulating goalscorer Sammy Ameobi
26th October 2014 - Tottenham Hotspur 0 Newcastle United 2
Premier League - White Hart Lane, London - 1.30pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Dummett, S Taylor, Coloccini, Anita (Cabella 46), Colback, Obertan (Ameobi 46), Sissoko, Gouffran, Perez (Haidara 79) - Subs not used: Elliot, R Taylor, Ferreyra, Armstrong.
Scorers: Ameobi (46), Perez 58 - Attendance: 35,650
Alan Pardew: "We were fortunate to come in at 1-0. We never made a tackle and we were giving too much possession to Spurs. There were a few strong words to shake people up. Second half the players were magnificent. Our attitude went up a level and that was the difference. We needed to offer a threat. We’re Newcastle United, we’re a big club and we were playing like a small club. The back end of last year we struggled and the start of this year, with our new players not quite settling, we struggled again. We still have a lot to do in this Premier League season but today I am going to enjoy this victory because it’s a big win for us. We find ourselves out of the relegation zone tonight and that is a massive relief."
On Ayoze Perez: It was a tough afternoon to come in at the last minute. He is a really great individual talent. He hasn’t quite got the strength and power that you associate with the Premier League but that will come.
nufc.com: Ayoze Perez marked his first league start with a first goal for Newcastle, completing a memorable comeback for Alan Pardew's side. A timid looking United had been second best in the opening 45 minutes and only some profligacy in front of goal by the home side restricted their lead to one. Having been derided for his tactics and substitutions on previous occasions, the Magpies boss opted to make a double switch at the interval. Ameobi and Cabella replaced Obertan and Anita. That was to have an immediate and devastating effect on the contest. Ameobi had the ball in the net just eight seconds after the resumption. Spurs became increasingly sloppy as the half wore on. In the 58th minute Cabella turned infield to clip a right footed cross into the area, Perez found himself between Vertonghen and Rose to nod past Lloris from seven yards. There seemed to be little prospect of United holding on for over half an hour but Mauricio Pochettino's side showed few signs of responding and made a trio of ineffective replacements that only muddled matters. The win raised United to the dizzy heights of fourteenth.
An Obertan strike secures the points
18th October 2014 - Newcastle United 1 Leicester City 0
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 4.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Dummett (Haidara 72), S Taylor, Coloccini, Anita (Perez 59), Colback, Obertan, Sissoko, Gouffran (Cabella 90, Cisse - Subs not used: Elliot, Abeid, Armstrong, Ferryra.
Scorer: Obertan (71) - Attendance: 51,866
Alan Pardew: "It was an important win. We were desperate today. We showed great character and resolve. It will help us this week in our work and instill some confidence in some players who I know can be better than they are showing. When you’ve not won for a while you lack confidence. Beating Leicester isn't going to be the be all and end all for us. We have been playing under huge pressure. We need to improve. We need to beat some top teams. We can move on from this. We got a win and that helps. I'll hopefully have a smoother run now in terms of being able to manage the football club without all the additional pressures that defeats bring."
Luke Edwards - The Telegraph: That it has taken Newcastle eight games and the arrival of a newly promoted team to St. James’ Park to secure a win highlights wider issues. There were enough aimless attacking moves and enough shaky defending to suggest better teams than Leicester will take points off them.
Kevin Doocey - tynetime.com: Mike Ashley visited the home dressing room after victory over Leicester City to congratulate the players on securing their first Premier League win of the season. It just proved something we already knew, Ashley has no understanding of the game. The performance wasn’t very good. It was almost an embarrassing victory. Leicester City failed to take their chances. Saturday was all about the result. Turning Point? Not even close. A number of Newcastle players made a dart for the corner flag with five minutes of normal time remaining. 1-0 up at home against a newly promoted side with 85 minutes gone and we head to the corner flag to waste time. There are no words. If Ashley actually thinks this is the end of the threat of relegation, then he is sorely mistaken. Saturday’s result was much needed, but tough fixtures lie ahead and I have no doubt that this club will suffer more depressing defeats under the managerial reign of Alan Pardew. This is far from over, and come November and December when we face superior opposition, Ashley will be a worried man and Pardew will once again be under increasing pressure. I hate writing about this great club in such a depressing tone but I don’t get much joy out of Newcastle United anymore. As long as Alan Pardew is manager, this club is going nowhere fast.
12th October 2014 - The Harsh Reality
Alan Shearer: "It’s been poor since January this year. It hasn’t been pleasant watching to be honest. I don’t hold too much hope. I think it could be a long hard season for us. You can make whatever excuses you want. The simple fact is we haven’t been good enough. We haven’t been unlucky. We havent been ravaged by injuries. We haven’t been done by dodgy decisions. It’s simple. We just haven’t been good enough. That’s the harsh reality of it. Things have to improve and they have to improve pretty quickly or we could find ourselves in a hole."
6th October 2014 - Far From A Normal Situation
Michael Martin - True Faith: So this long slow motion disaster of a season stumbles on, with Alan Pardew’s seemingly untenable position actually turning out to be very tenable, if only in the mind of one person. Unfortunately that person owns the club and in the hugely elitist, highly undemocratic Premier League bubble that is all that matters. We are all only too well aware that, as humorously and excellently displayed on the banner at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, since the beginning of 2014 Pardew’s record up to 3 o’clock on Saturday had been truly abysmal. Played 28, won 6, drawn 4 and lost 18. It is also clear that tactically he has nothing to offer, which can remotely keep up with the innovations, which seem to come so thick and fast these days. As for Pardew’s motivational skills, a cursory examination of how successful Newcastle United have been in trying to overturn half-time defecits will tell you all you need to know. Yet still Pardew clings on to his job and perhaps more pertinently his chance of a massive pay off should he be sacked rather than resign.
At any major club in normal circumstances, Pardew would have gone by now, but of course the Ashley regime at St. James’ Park is far from a normal situation. Quite why Ashley has not put Pardew and the rest of us out of our misery is a matter of considerable speculation. It has been very reasonably pointed out that Pardew acts as a shield for Ashley, deflecting some of the criticism that Ashley’s deeply cynical regime deserves. Pardew has also acted as a yes man for Ashley, although the usefulness of this role must be almost completely diminished as few fans, if any, believe Pardew anymore. It may make very little difference to sack Pardew as it is hard to see which good self respecting manager would come in and do better. It is more likely that any successor to Pardew would be another one of Ashley’s cronies, prepared to sacrifice his self respect for a wage packet that the rest of us can only dream of. Pardew is a problem. Ashley is an even bigger one.
6th October 2014 - Premiership Fixture Updates
Five successive Newcastle fixtures have been chosen for live television coverage during December, three at home and two away. Sky will cover three of those matches with BT Sport taking two. Revisions are as follows:
06/12/2014 - Chelsea (home) Sataurday 12.45pm BT
13/12/2014 - Arsenal (away) Saturday 5.30pm Sky
21/12/2014 - Sunderland (home) Sunday 1.30pm Sky
26/12/2014 - Manchester United (away) Friday 3pm BT
28/12/2014 - Everton (home) Sunday 4.15pm Sky
Without a win in the Premier League this season
4th October 2014 - Swansea City 2 Newcastle United 2
Premier League - Liberty Stadium, Swansea - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Dummett, Coloccini, Williamson, Colback (Riviere 69), Tiote, Sissoko, Obertan, Cisse (Perez 85), Gouffran (Ameobi 58) - Subs not used: Elliot, Haidara, Anita, Cabella.
Scorer: Cisse (43, 75) - Attendance: 20,622
Alan Pardew: "We're a better team than we're showing at the moment. We showed so much character and were determined to try to win. We wanted to push for the win and had the chance to do that at 2-2. I don’t think our worst critic could argue they didn’t give me everything. It’s obvious we’re not playing the way that I would like. For now we have to grind ourselves a win and then the confidence will come back. We know that the tension in the stands is not going to go away in the short term but I think we've got a bit to lean on from this game. We can take the positives in to the next game, where a win would settle everyone down."
nufc.com: Alan Pardew's side left South Wales after extending their winless Premier League run since the beginning of the season to seven games. Another two goals from Papiss Cisse spared United from defeat. The point took Newcastle into 18th spot. Ourselves and Burnley are the only two teams without a win in the Premier League this season. Attention and pressure now shifts to Gallowgate in two weeks time.
Garry Monk: "One point is better than nothing but it's two points dropped. We should have won. We were dominant but possession almost became too easy. It was so easy to keep the ball that the concentration lapsed a little. We were in control and had enough chances to put the game to bed. The two chances they had were the two times we didn’t concentrate. We were punished for it. I talked to the players about managing the game. We have to do it properly. Their keeper made some great saves. We should have won that game by at least a couple of goals."
4th October 2014 - A Difficult Character
Joey Barton has given us an insight into Mike Ashley’s character whilst speaking on BBC Radio Five Live.

Joey Barton:
"When I was there, there was this famous thing of, he released the kit and the fans boycotted buying it from Sports Direct because they didn’t like him. So he put it on sale at the stadium for £55 and in Sports Direct for £40 and said, we’ll see if you’ll go in there or not. He’s the sort of owner who’s like 'I'll show you' and I think he does stuff just to annoy them."
Lift the burden. Just go...
3rd October 2014 - Just Go...
Alan Pardew: "I can turn around this situation. I’ve got some CV and experience that says I can do that. Three years ago I was manager of the year and that was nice. I will go home and shine my manager of the year trophy to give myself a bit of confidence. My family and friends worry me. It’s started going past football media at times. That’s not nice but that makes me more determined. I’ve been out and about and had a few fans telling me their opinions. I don’t shy away from it and I’m not going to hide. I’m not holding any grievance against the media, our more militant fans or the guys who printed the posters. I spoke to Mike Ashley and the chief executive and the message is very much 'How can we support you?' I would not expect any different. They have been very solid and I appreciate that."
Elma: The saddest thing for me is that my dad packed up going in the summer. He'd been going for 65 years, seen some absolute dross, but last year broke him. He said he just wasn't enjoying it anymore and couldn't justify the cost of renewing his season ticket of 31 years. He's a knowledgeable bloke, played at a reasonable standard and his son, my brother, represented NUFC at all levels below first team in the late eighties. Yes, he blamed Ashley for a lack of investment, but most of his ire was at Pardew for serving up 'turgid, cowardly football' (his words). I get that Pardew hasn't actually said his family are threatened, just that the press he is receiving is affecting them. Well, I tell you what Alan... my family is affected too. It breaks my heart seeing my dad wondering what to do with his Saturday afternoons. It's absolutely killing me and I know for a fact, if you were to go, then he would be back there in a shot with renewed hope. If you are worried about your family, then you can easily stop this and simultaneously lift the burden from thousands of other familys across the north east. Just go...
Our owner is a massive problem
3rd October 2014 - Mediocrity Is The Only Gameplan
Peter Fanning - Newcastle United Supporters Trust:
"Mike Ashley is not bothered what happens with the club as long as they stay in the Premier League and he’s got the worldwide coverage he needs. Look at the trajectory of Newcastle United and compare that with Sports Direct. They are going in two opposite directions. One of his main strategies seems to be buying well known brands to stick on your shelf as though it’s the quality brand. He seems to have applied that to Newcastle, thinking ‘I could buy that club, use the brand.’ Mid table mediocrity is the only gameplan. His heart is in what it brings to Sports Direct rather than what it brings the club."
30th September 2014 - A Sorry Farce
Michael Martin - True Faith: I don’t think anyone can now seriously make a case for Alan Pardew remaining. It has passed the point of no return. You know it, I know it, Mike Ashley knows it and Alan Pardew knows it.
All that is keeping Pardew in the job must be the terms of the ridiculous eight year contract given to him not so long ago by the man who now has the responsibility of bringing the whole sorry farce to a conclusion.
I can understand Ashley’s reticence to pay a manager off who has failed miserably but if he doesn’t do it quickly then a lot more money will be lost because this team will be relegated under Pardew.
A professional football manager?
29th September 2014 - Stoke City 1 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - Britannia Stadium, Stoke - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Dummett, Williamson, Coloccini, Tiote, Colback, Sissoko, Cabella (Ameobi 74), Gouffran (Obertan 68), Riviere (Cisse 46) - Subs not used: Elliot, S Taylor, Anita, Armstrong.
Attendance: 26,332
Alan Pardew: "Another defeat for us. It’s a tough place to come. It leaves us in the bottom three. I’m a professional football manager. It’s important that I show the team that I'm here to lead. That’s what I’ll continue to do. You can’t keep getting beat so we’re going to have to address that. I think we're going to need to make a couple of changes to the starting 11 to give ourselves a bit more thrust."
nufc.com: A watching Mike Ashley looked less than impressed. His pre-match quotes were as damning as the poor performance on the pitch, as Pardew's future remains in severe doubt. It's now six league games without a win and only the thinnest of margins keeps Alan Pardew's side off the bottom of the Premier League.
True Faith: Yet another miserable display left us second bottom due to Burnley’s missed penalty at Crystal Palace and with a support base now so frustrated, angry and disillusioned that even loss after loss is beginning to make no difference and relegation is simply a waiting game. The most hated manager in my lifetime was meandering around the away technical area, making indeterminate shouts to no one in particular. Predictable, obvious and avoidable, three words that sum up Pardew’s tactics. Full time brought a huge mass of boos. The sooner Pardew and Ashley are removed from this football club the better. Utter dross on and off the pitch.
"There’s only so much I can take."
27th September 2014 - Finished?
On a night out in London on Thursday night, walking past the Golden Lion in Soho, Vivek Chaudhary, journalist for the Independent newspaper spotted Mike Ashley having a drink outside the pub. He went over, introduced himself and said: "Can I ask you about Alan Pardew’s future?" Though unhappy at Chaudhary attempting to record what he was saying Ashley had no objection to the journalist writing down his reponse.
Mike Ashley: "He’s got one more game. If we lose against Stoke on Monday night then he’s gone. I have had enough. Dead. Finished. Over. One more game, then that’s it. What would you do? I have spent a lot of money on that club, it has cost me a lot. I won’t put up with it any more. Honestly, answer me, what would you do? One more loss and he’s gone, he’s over, finished. That’s all I’m prepared to say about it and now that I’ve said it, it’s out there. You can do what you want with it. There’s only so much I can take."
Mike Ashley’s lawyer: "Mr Ashley responded, tongue in cheek. To put this into perspective, over the past few weeks certain reporters have stated that they believe that Mr Pardew has two more games before being sacked. Mr Ashley was therefore ‘humouring’ your reporter."
Alan Pardew: "I have been made aware of his comments. Sometimes things are taken out of context and if it was a sit down interview, done in a serious manner, I would be a lot more concerned."
Loathed by the club's support
26th September 2014 - A Message
From the supporters behind the Sack Pardew campaign: We feel that this is not the club we love or the club we once knew, but that more and more this is a branch of Sports Direct run by a charlatan, acting as a puppet for his master. These people must not be allowed to continue unopposed. We will not stop until they are both gone. Alan Pardew is just the start.
26th September 2014 - Targeting Mediocrity
utd111.co.uk: Five games gone and Newcastle United are bottom of the English Premier League without a win. That’s a fact. Those five games, apart from Manchester City, were supposed to be an ideal start to the season. An easier run of fixtures against the likes of Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Hull City. Indeed, Alan Pardew was in bullish mode and openly hinting at Champions League qualification as recently as July. This forecast then became 48 points followed by a statement that the top six are beyond us. Disgraceful for a club the size of Newcastle United. The win in extra time against Crystal Palace’s reserve team in the League Cup changes nothing. This poor run of form didn’t start five games ago, it started last December. Embarrassing results since would have seen any manager at any other club shown the door long ago. I suppose Pardew still has a chance to achieve the heady heights of mid table mediocrity. Apparently the only target demanded by the owner.
26th September 2014 - Sitting Bottom
Alan Pardew: "The pressure is not going to go away from us. We are sitting at the bottom of the Premier League. We haven’t won a league game. There are a lot of games to go. It’s all to play for. We’re here for the long haul."
Lee Ryder - Evening Chronicle:
The victory at Crystal Palace was much needed for Pardew. Given a vote of confidence by owner Mike Ashley, Pardew admits he's still under pressure but has insisted he is here for the long haul. The win at his old club was his 63rd as boss on Tyneside with 39 draws and 67 defeats in all competitions, meaning he has a win ratio of 37%.
Ed Harrison - nufcblog.com: The win at Crystal Palace was a tonic for the players. It was a small step forward. Defeat at Stoke City on Monday night would not be good with Newcastle bottom of the league with just three points from our first five games.
Jackie Smithfield - The Mag: Mike Ashley took the unusual step of getting Sky’s David Craig to announce before the Hull game that the owner had confirmed Alan Pardew wouldn’t be sacked, whatever the result. Reinforcing Mike Ashley’s pre Hull message, Alan Pardew has stated that he is not leaving. With two hard away matches coming up at Stoke and Swansea the Newcastle boss will be desperate to be anywhere but the bottom of the league when Leicester visit in the next home match.
25th September 2014 - Manchester City Cup Tie On TV
Our Fourth Round Capital One Cup tie against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium will be played on Wednesday 29th October with a 7.45pm kick-off. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports.
24th September 2014 - Capital One Cup Fourth Round Draw
The draw for the fourth round of the Capital One Cup sees Newcastle travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City. The tie will be played the week commencing 27th October 2014.
Alan Pardew: "It’s a tough game. City’s third team is pretty strong. It’s not a happy hunting ground for us but it’s the League Cup and in cup games anything can happen."
The unlikely hero
24th September 2014 - Crystal Palace 2 Newcastle United 3 (aet)
Capital One Cup Third Round - Selhurst Park, London - 8.00pm
Team: Elliot, Janmaat (Haidara 46), Dummett, Coloccini, S Taylor, Abeid, Colback, Obertan, Armstrong, Ameobi (Sissoko 66), Riviere (Perez 80) - Subs not used: Alnwick, Anita, Cabella, Ferreyra.
Scorers: Riviere (36, 48 pen), Dummett (112) - Attendance: 13,773 - Sent Off: Abeid (100)
Alan Pardew: "The desire and character were tremendous. The flag was carried by Fabricio Coloccini, by far and away the best player on the pitch. The two goals on Saturday and two tonight is a big lift for the club. Manu deserves those goals. He's worked tirelessly this season. Anyone who has seen us play this year will know the top of the pitch has been an issue for us. We've just not had that cutting edge."
On Paul Dummett: "Paul's a local lad. It's hard for players to come through the academy these days. Paul does what it says on the tin. He's a tough tackler, good in the air, getting better going forward."
nufc.com: Paul Dummett was the unlikely hero as ten man Newcastle beat Crystal Palace in extra time. United did it the hard way, conceding a last minute equaliser to take the tie into extra time and then losing Mehdi Abeid after a second yellow card in the 100th minute.
The Mag: Pardew made six changes from the team that got that late draw with Hull. Warnock didn’t pick a single player who started at Everton at the weekend.
True Faith: This was actually half decent. There were positives but nobody’s getting carried away. Being Newcastle United we had to make far more heavy weather of it than we needed to. Fundamental problems with the side remain, not least the Doylem who manages them. This was an under strength Palace side in a match hardly crucial to them. We are in a genuine relegation scrap and where we go from here is anyone’s guess.
Neil Warnock: "I know I changed a complete team and I could get criticised but I felt it was appropriate. I have never seen a team put in so much effort as I did at Everton on Sunday. The same players couldn’t do that again against Newcastle. Now we have another tough game against Leicester."
22nd September 2014 - Much To Contemplate
John Gibson - Evening Chronicle: Two strikes by comeback king Papiss Cisse, snatching a draw from the doors of defeat and a glorious relief. This felt fleetingly like glorious victory such has been the dark depression enveloping Tyneside, yet the Magpies are still without victory in five Premier League attempts. A huge swathe of Tyneside might want the manager out and elsewhere he would have gone long ago but Mike Ashley is a different animal and Pardew was apparently always safe in the short term.
Really? Yes, for two reasons. First United had doled out a one match ban to a couple of newspapers for saying before the thrashing at Southampton that Pardew had only two matches to save his job. Had United lost to Hull, they were 2-0 down remember and had Ashley’s trigger finger twitched what would have been his reaction to the paper bans? Not only that but the private message relayed by Ashley from the boardroom before the kick off at St. James’ Park was that for him the name of the game was patience. That meant no knee jerk reaction come what may. He was staying with what he had.
United have won only once in their last 13 Premier League games. United have got to climb the table with large steps not small ones which will be difficult given that six of the next nine league fixtures are away. Pardew and Ashley have much to contemplate.
21st September 2014 - Dignity?
Alan Pardew has criticised pundit Robbie Savage for writing in his BBC Sport column that the Newcastle manager sounded like a "broken man."
Robbie Savage: "It is hard to see Newcastle manager Alan Pardew surviving in his job for much longer. His side were torn apart by Southampton last weekend and he sounded like a broken man in interviews after that game."
Alan Pardew: "I'll pick out Robbie Savage because he said I was a broken man and I was far from that. I've tried to carry the job with dignity."
Comment: Would that be the same dignified Alan Pardew that called Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini a fucking old cunt in January and then went on to head butt Hull City player David Meyler in March?
A weakness in the protest plan was leaving Ashley out
21st September 2014 - Tactics
Jackie Smithfield - The Mag: Last weekend at Southampton you had John Carver kicking off on the spot because he was caught unawares by an anti Pardew banner. Pardew was all over the place in his post match interviews and even refused to face the written press. Goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman then got into a Twitter argument and abused a supporter. Again caught unprepared and reacting to something he hadn’t seen coming.
With protests it comes down to tactics. Ashley and Pardew knew exactly what the fan group was planning. Ashley began showing his cards one by one. Pardew had been carefully drilled for his pre match press conferences. Apologies had been issued on behalf of Carver and Woodman after their embarrassing and unprofessional behaviour. Then via Sky Sports pre match we had Ashley saying categorically that he would not sack Pardew.
Fans then turned up at the turnstiles having been led to believe by the club that non abusive protest banners and cards would be allowed in, only for the stewards to be waiting to confiscate anything they could see. By making this a protest group versus Pardew thing it made it far too easy for Mike Ashley to manipulate the situation. A weakness in the protest plan was leaving Ashley himself out of this one. A bad move considering he is the start and end of Newcastle United’s present day problems.
Michael Martin - True Faith: I saw supporters in football shirts, the ones with Wonga on them, holding aloft Pardew Out banners and screaming for Ashley to get out of our club. If you didn’t laugh at this juxtaposition of rebellion and wearing the ultimate symbol of de-facto corporate supplication to Project Mike you would really have to cry! This is where we are now. This is Newcastle United in 2014.
A Papiss Cisse salvage job saves the day again
20th September 2014 - Newcastle United 2 Hull City 2
Premier League - St. James' Park, Newcastle - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Dummett, Williamson, Coloccini, Tiote (Ameobi 85), Colback, Cabella, Sissoko, Gouffran (Perez 90), Riviere (Cisse 70) - Subs not used: Elliot, S Taylor, Haidara, Anita.
Scorer: Cisse (74, 87) - Attendance: 49,199
Alan Pardew: "I am not going to jump up and down here for a 2-2 draw at home to Hull. We need to win every game that we can at the moment to release some pressure."
nufc.com: United concluded their fifth league game without a win with that rarest of sights, a striker playing up front. With 22 minutes left on the clock and his side two goals adrift an increasingly beleaguered Alan Pardew brought on Papiss Demba Cisse for Riviere. Within four minutes our number 9 marked his first outing since April by firing home. Then came Cisse's late leveller to capture what could yet be a priceless point. A comparatively bright opening had undermined the attempt to focus abuse on the manager and as has become the norm United began to lose momentum and the pace of their game dropped to an alarming level, as energy and ideas visibly ebbed away. A managerial stay of execution may well have been earned by Cisse but it's fair to say that the jury remains out on Pardew. A failure to gain points from tricky fixtures at Stoke and Swansea will leave him deservedly back in the dock when Leicester visit.
The Metro: Don't let a Papiss Cisse salvage job get in the way of the facts. Newcastle and Alan Pardew are still in big trouble. An emotional day saw a fired up Toon claw back a draw against Hull City to grant a relieved Pardew some breathing space. But let’s face facts. The Toon were rock bottom and firmly in trouble by the end of the weekend, it’s still just six points from the last 39 and even if Hull had taken all the spoils at St. James’ Park, Pardew was always unlikely to face the sack. Some are claiming the mass protest which failed to materialise shows Pardew still has support. There were reports that many of the banners and posters given out were confiscated by staff at the turnstiles. Arrogant Pardew is likely to perceive the lack of a united front from the Magpies as a show of support, he needn’t. Most fans are behind the team and want them to win in spite of the regime. A pre match message from captain Fabricio Coloccini urging the Toon fans to get behind their team only acted to antagonise and disrespect the fans and reeked of desperation from the club. To the football itself, the Magpies continued to struggle in defensive areas and failed to convert chances up front. Story of the season so far. Following the match Pardew even boasted of how he ignored experts’ advice not to play Papiss Cisse because he could see it in his eye he was ready. Is it any surprise the Toon have so many injury problems?
True Faith: The day was notable for strong support of the team and a late comeback which came nowhere near papering over the cracks that left us in the bottom three. We had the better of the opening period against a surprisingly poor Hull side. The first half saw us enjoying a decent chunk of possession at home with absolutely no attacking threat. Frustrations in the crowd spilled over into outright derision when Riviere was hooked off for the returning Cisse. Make no mistake about it, Riviere is limited but why play the poor bugger up front by himself for five games and then take him off the second he has the chance to play up front with another striker, when two nil down at home? Almost solely thanks to Cisse the game swung back in our direction. He lashed a finish past McGregor at the near post and then went on to save the managers arse for another week when he converted the equaliser. Cisse made a point of going to Pardew after his finish to offer solidarity. Certainly more solidarity than his manager has shown him when playing him out of position, slurring him over the Wonga row or parking him up front with no service for 18 months but there you go. With the end result, the manager will no doubt fancy himself as a tactical genius. In reality, it was another worrying display of poor man management and shit tactics. The watching Ashley might take the lack of concerted abuse directed towards Pardew and a point as a green light to give the manager more time. In reality, we desperately need a change now.
Michael Martin: We are still waiting for Ashley to take a deep breath and sack Pardew. We have a relegation fight on our hands. We need a new set of ideas to keep the club in the Premier League. It will not get that from Alan Pardew. On Ashley’s head be it.
20th September 2014 - A Woeful 2014
Lee Ryder - Evening Chronicle: Newcastle United have been the talk of the football world this week and for all the wrong reasons. The Magpies have dominated talk on Match of the Day, Talksport and Monday Night Football in the last seven days. For all Pardew’s complaints of heavy coverage locally he must realise that everybody can see what is going on.
If Pardew really needs to know why fans are against him he need only look at the stats. Pardew’s Newcastle have yielded just 18 points from the last 23 games, that’s 18 from a possible 69. Won five games, drawn three and lost 15. Netted just 17 times and conceded 44. Failed to score in a whopping 16 games out of 24 matches. Been beaten by 3-0 or more in 42% of games since February.
Players having to be dragged over to away fans to simply applaud, managers refusing to turn up to Press conferences and coaches getting into spats with fans aren’t healthy signs from any football club. Somehow, Pardew is still hanging in there.
They can’t complain about any criticism
16th September 2014 - Newcastle United Are A Shambles
Micky Quinn - Evening Chronicle: Alan Pardew, Mike Ashley, John Carver and the players have been a disgrace. They can’t complain about any criticism. They have earned every word, banner and slagging off in the media. They deserve absolutely everything they get. There is no hiding place for anyone at Newcastle United right now. This isn’t good enough. Not by a long shot.
Before Saturday I felt that they would take something from the Southampton game. What I saw was a shambles. An utter disgrace. Players are not playing for the manager who seems himself to have given up. Why else would the most animated guy in the Premier League sit in his dugout for most of the afternoon? The body language on the pitch and the sidelines told you everything. It did not make for pleasant viewing.
We are four games into the season. Saturday felt like a match in May at the end of a really disappointing campaign. That is inexcusable. Pardew has to go. There is no way back for him even if he can somehow conjure up a win against Hull City. We are rock bottom of the Premier League with a team that aren’t even trying. I actually can’t get over the weekend’s performance. I can’t recall a time when the players and manager were so far apart. Pardew has lost the dressing room and the trust of the fans. He can’t go on. Sorry.
17th September 2014 - The Malaise That Is Ruining Newcastle United
Vitor Sobral - theworldgame.sbs.com.au: Based in the major city of England's North East with a 52,000 seat stadium that's usually filled to capacity and a fanatical supporter base, Newcastle should be competing for at least a UEFA Europa League place every season. With the financial backing of owner Mike Ashley its arguable it could even be capable of more. The major problem for Newcastle and its passionate supporters is that Ashley does not seem to care. In fact there is a feeling among fans that the owner does not even want the club to reach its potential. The 50 year old billionaire is more concerned with using the club to market his company Sports Direct. Five years ago Mike Ashley admitted to The Times that he was unhappy with his purchase: "Of course I regret it. I never said I was an expert in football clubs. I tried my best. But I accept my best was woefully short."
Alan Pardew appears on the verge of the sack with his team rock bottom after a disastrous start. Considering his side's performances and results in the last two campaigns, as well as the squad and resources at his disposal, few could argue that Pardew does not deserve to be shown the door. His defenders say that the manager has been constrained because he has little say in who the club signs. Yet Pardew was aware of that arrangement when he signed an eight year contract. The Magpies boss has little to lose considering the security of his ludicrously long contract. That long term contract was another example of how football logic rarely dictates club policy at Newcastle. Not even the very best in the world are signed up to such contracts. While it may seem such a deal ensures stability, what it actually does is facilitate staleness. What motivation is there for the manager and coaching staff to put in the incredibly hard work that is required to be in charge at the top level when they are set for the next decade?
If run well Newcastle has the potential to be a strong club, entertaining its fans and making a profit for its owner, owners or shareholders. Newcastle could be even more successful. It will however take resources and patience - investing in the youth academy, recruiting cleverly (there is already some evidence of this) and bringing in high quality football knowledge from around the world.
This is a club run by a proven liar
15th September 2014 - Newcastle United Is An Embarrassment
True Faith - Michael Martin: This coming Saturday, Hull City visit. If things go badly, the mood inside St. James’ Park will go beyond toxic and the target for the torrent of poisonous invective will be Alan Pardew. This is a man who should be well aware he has been promoted beyond his abilities. This is a man who trots out the party line about being delighted with his squad, who praises Ashley’s investment in new players and basically spends his time as a haddock eyed mouth piece for the man. Pardew has become the lightening conductor for the stomach churning dissatisfaction at how Mike Ashley runs Newcastle United.
Pardew has also put his name to programme notes which are a straightforward dissembling of Ashley propaganda and an insult to our intelligence. Speaking of the programme, just observe how many adverts are for companies owned by Ashley companies. I’ve had conversations with several people who have attempted to buy space in the programme, it’s made as difficult as it would be buying perimeter advertising. The club is little more than a billboard for Ashley’s businesses. Every space that can be used for Ashley’s companies is used by Ashley’s companies. That is his priority, not Newcastle United.
There is much to detail in Pardew’s management as failings. The most damning for supporters, we just cannot believe a word he ever says. Whether he himself is being similarly deceived by those above him or stringing us along with promises of jam tomorrow, I really don’t know but I do know this - nothing Alan Pardew ever says, ever happens. The manager has exhorted the support to understand that United must live within its means. But this is no admirable awakening to good financial husbandry at United.
There are big questions to ask of what is happening with the club’s existing finances and those it fails to exploit.
Firstly, where will the money from the new TV deal go? Will Ashley pull this money out of the club to lower the debt owed to him? Will that happen with the money received this summer and in future summers as players are spun in and out of United as the only way of generating income to reinvest, in order merely to tread water in the Premier League.
Secondly, as was highlighted through excellent questioning by George Caulkin (The Times) and Simon Bird (The Mirror) at the Sports Direct AGM last week, all of the advertising around St. James’ Park and Darsley Park and on some United kit is worth a significant amount to Sports Direct. Those are Mike Ashley’s words, that isn’t me saying that.
Thirdly, who benefits from sales of Newcastle United merchandise? There is enough concern now to pose the question. Is it Sports Direct? Or is it Newcastle United? I ask because the club’s online merchandising operation is run completely by Sports Direct and the latest I hear is that club employees in the United shop receive pay statements from Sports Direct. Who do the people running United’s merchandise work for? Sports Direct or Newcastle United? Who profits from the sales of Newcastle United merchandise?
Mike Ashley is responsible for the current Newcastle United malaise. At pivotal times during Pardew’s time at United, the owner has acted in a manner which has capsized any progress, failed to build upon achievements and provided the biggest impediment to re-establishing Newcastle United as a prominent football force in the land. It was Ashley’s decision making which got the club relegated and lost the club millions.
Another appointment, Lee Charnley to the big chair on Barrack Road, simply defies belief. Promoted beyond his ability and one whose cramping lack of qualification for his job and subsequent gratitude for it will lead him to prostrate himself at his master’s feet, complying with every whim without complaint. To stay on salary, obedience and a complete lack of challenge are the prerequisites.
In responding to reports of an Ashley sale the club responded in its usual cack handed fashion. The statement did open the door to the intention Ashley has of moving out of United and suggests a timetable when that might happen. Obviously, you can’t rely on anything coming out of United as believable or honest. This is a club run by a proven liar. In the short term, the dummy he has reduced to a figure of ridicule and hatred will have to face the fury of our seething support as the despicable Ashley and Charnley hide behind him. On and off the park, in the boardroom and in the dug out, Newcastle United is an embarrassment.
Pardew’s departure will provide a brief sense of victory
15th September 2014 - A Robbery Of The Soul
The Premier League Owl: Alan Pardew loves him some Alan Pardew, but everyone else can do without.
Pardew is loathed by the club’s support and understandably so. During his four years at Newcastle, he’s managed to combine being a perceived apologist for Ashley with structurally naive football, smugness and head butting. He’s a natural hate figure. You suspect that even if Newcastle had flourished under his stewardship he would just be tolerated rather than loved by the crowd. His personality is a blend of self regard and faux aggression. He’s a prancing peacock on the touchline, celebrating goals as if he’s scored them himself and pointing to the director’s box or back at the crowd whenever there’s a defeat to explain away. The disaffection with his long term performance is so visible and audible that he has almost certainly past the point of no return with the club’s supporters.
The forty point mark represents everything. Cup games are thrown and players are bought because of their likelihood to appreciate rather than solve tactical issues. Periodically, claims are made about the future and reassurances are given that this financial focus is really in aid of a brighter tomorrow, but only the most naive supporter will believe that. Newcastle exist to collect cash, that they have to send out a football team every week is just an inconvenience. Realistically, should Newcastle win on Saturday, Pardew will be buying himself time rather than security. When Ashley inevitably dismisses him, be it this weekend or in the future, it will be a popular decision. But that will be a short term joy. Alan Pardew will be replaced at Newcastle by… another Alan Pardew.
As everyone knows, Pardew is the least of Newcastle’s worries. What has happened in the North East in recent years amounts to a robbery of the soul and Pardew is just the lookout outside the building. While Ashley and his various henchmen have had their hands in the vault, he’s been leaning up against the side of St. James’ Park, whistling tunelessly and pretending that everything is normal. Mike Ashley is the Monopoly player who doesn’t buy any houses, hotels or train stations. He’s content to just to keep going around the board and collecting his £200 for passing Go.
Newcastle are associated with flair and passion and a dozen other healthy but true cliches. They are nominally a football club. It’s been terribly sad to see them become what they are though. They are the Formula One car which exists only to survive the race. They have no ambition to win, only to display their sponsors’ logos to the television audience. They are really just a marketing platform. It’s one of the great tragedies of English football.
Pardew’s departure will provide a brief sense of victory, but only until his replacement is announced. Ashley’s running of the club has made it virtually impossible to attract a credible alternative to the job and the calibre of appellant candidates will be far lower than anybody seems to anticipate. A different version of Alan Pardew will replace Alan Pardew. Another manager? No, another yes man with no real claim to a Premier League job will just be asked to whistle outside the building and distract the crowds while Ashley and Lee Charnley get on with whatever it is that they’re doing inside. This sad, sad chapter doesn’t end with managerial change at Newcastle, postpone the party until the club is sold.
Supporters voiced their disdain at Pardew
15th September 2014 - Another Thrashing
Steph Clark - The Northern Echo: For the second time in six months the Magpies shipped four goals at Southampton in an utterly shambolic performance. The general consensus prior to Saturday’s game was that it couldn’t get any worse than their last visit to St Mary’s. It could and it did. For the ninth time this calendar year, Newcastle shipped three or more goals in a game.
Their leader was nowhere to be seen, leaving assistant John Carver to give instructions. The Magpies boss chose to remain seated for almost the entire 90 minutes. His decision to shirk post match press duties is almost unforgiveable. Pardew has talked of the wealth of creative options and goals in his side but the harsh reality is Newcastle have failed to find the net in eight of their last ten games.
Throughout proceedings Newcastle supporters voiced their disdain at Pardew and owner Mike Ashley. One fan even ran onto the pitch and tried to confront Pardew but he disappeared down the tunnel at rapid pace leaving Carver to see the team off the field. At other clubs this would almost certainly mean the end for a manager under so much pressure and facing so much anger from fans. Things work differently at Newcastle though and it’s hard to fathom just what Ashley is thinking after this latest humiliation in a long line.
It is clear the animosity between supporters and club has reached boiling point. There is a genuine feeling the club is imploding at a significant rate. The entire team looked lost at St Mary’s. They don’t look like improving anytime soon. They lacked leadership on and off the field, guts and togetherness. It was telling that captain Fabricio Coloccini disappeared down the tunnel while new signing Daryl Janmaat attempted to usher whoever remained on the field towards the away end to show some appreciation.
Seeing this type of display has almost come to be expected at Newcastle. It’s not like it can be brushed aside as a one off. Another thrashing always seems to be just around the corner. Disturbingly weak at the back and worryingly blunt up front. Coloccini and Mike Williamson looked as if they’d never played together. Their performances raise uncomfortable questions about team morale under Pardew. They are not bad players. Coloccini is club captain and Williamson has been mentioned in the same breath as England for his performances in the past. So it begs the question whether the discontent with the board and Pardew has filtered down to the dressing room. The signs from Saturday point towards a camp that is no longer playing for their manager.
"A recipe for relegation in anyone's book."
13th September 2014 - Southampton 4 Newcastle United 0
Premier League - St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton - 3.00pm
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Haidara, Coloccini, Williamson, Colback, Anita (Tiote 46), Cabella (Perez 69), Sissoko (Ameobi 89), Gouffran, Riviere - Subs not used: Elliot, S Taylor, Obertan, Armstrong.
Attendance: 29,678
Alan Pardew: "From the start today the performance put us on the back foot. It was a typical performance when we come here. It’s a heavy defeat when we were looking for so much more. We're better than that and we have more quality than we've shown today. The best team won and with a bit to spare. They were stronger, faster and a bit more inventive than us today. We need to show real character now. We'll have a week on the training ground and get ourselves a shape and a formula that's going to get us a win."
Richie: "The quality of football is of no consequence to Ashley. Fourth bottom would do Ashley as long as his adverts are displayed for free."
Micky Quinn: "On that performance on Saturday, he has lost the dressing room. I think it is over for Pardew."
Alan Shearer: "Newcastle do not look like scoring and do not look like keeping clean sheets. That's a recipe for relegation in anyone's book. The display against Southampton was just terrible from start to finish."
Michael Martin - True Faith: The walls are caving in. From the first minute Newcastle looked terrified. The goalkeeper and back four were woeful. Nobody other than Colback came away with any respect. I’d give the lad the captaincy now. The look on the players’ faces told you everything you needed to know. Booed off the travelling contingent, our manager once again blamed the fans, many of whom had got up at 4.00am in the morning, for being negative. The bloke’s a coward and isn’t fit to manage our great club. You can say what you like about someone like Di Canio but at least when his sides were shite he apologised. Yesterday Alan, might be to do with us having no style of play, no idea of how to defend and the continuing hope that Mike Williamson will win a header at the far stick.
nufc.com: A Southampton side who underwent similar squad modifications after last season needed to demonstrate no more than competence to exploit the goalscoring opportunities served up for them. The Magpies buckled from the very first whistle on Saturday. The defeat put United rock bottom of the Premier League on goal difference. The 140th Premier league game of Alan Pardew's tenure as United manager, witnessed at first hand by owner Mike Ashley, further eroded his survival chances. A 57th defeat under Pardew confirmed Newcastle's worst start to a season since 2005 and means that they've now won just one of their last dozen league matches. During the second half the manager remained rooted to his seat. Carver and Steve Stone occupied the technical area. It seems obvious that a lack of motivation and belief on the terraces is echoed in the dressing room, such was our half hearted, hangdog demeanour today. It's hard to believe that anyone could achieve less with this squad than the current incumbent. It's now no longer a question of if, just when. The identity of the next poor sap through the door will only be of marginal importance. For Pardew read Hughton or whoever is prepared to work in this madhouse and bear the brunt of the inevitable backlash that comes with the post of chief apologist.
It could hardly be more self explanatory
12th September 2014 - Nowhere To Hide
Scott Wilson - The Northern Echo: If anyone was in any doubt as to the mood among Newcastle United supporters when it comes to the position of the club’s manager, they need only log on to a new website that has appeared in the last couple of weeks. Its name - sackpardew.com - could hardly be more self explanatory. Less than a month into the new season, and all the anger and frustration that was evident in the closing months of the previous campaign has reappeared with a vengeance. The key difference this time around, however, is that Newcastle’s embattled manager will find it much more difficult to deflect the criticism that will continue to come his way unless his side’s fortunes dramatically improve.
As Pardew himself admitted on the eve of the opening game, “I’ve got no cause to moan now”. Whereas in the past, Mike Ashley’s self imposed financial constraints and tendency to sell key players against his manager’s wishes could be cited as mitigating factors, Pardew’s current difficulties, with Newcastle still to win a league game this season and lacking depth at either end of the field, are largely of his own making. It is possible to quibble about this summer’s net spend at St. James’, with Ashley effectively having reinvested the money that was received from the sales of Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy, but a willingness to spend more than £35 million on nine players still stands in marked contrast to the frugality of previous windows.
Crucially, this summer has seen Pardew much more heavily involved in all facets of the recruitment process. There has been no overarching director of football driving things, instead Pardew, Lee Charnley and Graham Carr have formed a transfer team that has worked together closely to identify targets and negotiate deals. Pardew even went as far as congratulating all three on their joint efforts when he was reflecting on his summer business.
So with that in mind, the Newcastle boss can hardly complain when he has been left with a squad that is lacking a recognised goalscorer and boasts only three experienced centre halves. Pardew must have known the limitations of his budget from the start of the summer, so why didn’t he place a much greater emphasis on signing proven attacking firepower? The injury that could keep Siem de Jong on the sidelines until Christmas is a cruel twist of fate but Newcastle were always going to be susceptible to such a problem given their lack of attacking depth. Similarly, given Fabricio Coloccini’s injury record in recent seasons, the Magpies can hardly bemoan their luck if another setback to their Argentinian skipper leaves them scrambling around for defensive cover in the next two or three months.
Newcastle desperately needed to recruit a striker and a defender on the final day of the transfer window, but in the end the deadline arrived without them having signed either. Having congratulated himself on his successes in the early weeks of the window, Pardew can hardly absolve himself of blame now that the final squad looks dangerously unbalanced. Transfer deadline day was the catalyst for the latest outpouring of frustration of course, and again Pardew was at centre stage. In previous years, the decision to dispense with key players was taken solely by Ashley. Cabaye and Andy Carroll both departed because Ashley received an offer ‘he couldn’t turn down’. That was clearly not the case when it came to Hatem Ben Arfa and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who both left on deadline day without being replaced.
Pardew ultimately concluded that Ben Arfa was unmanageable. Yanga-Mbiwa’s attitude was never the problem. Pardew simply concluded that the Frenchman wasn’t good enough. The decision to loan him to Roma was always going to be a risk when Newcastle’s central defensive resources were stretched anyway. Perhaps Pardew will get away with it. If Newcastle get a positive result at Southampton tomorrow and then beat Hull in their next home game, they will be well positioned in the table and the mood in the stands will be becalmed. If things don’t go to plan, however, Pardew will find himself in the firing line. And unlike last season, he will have no one to hide behind if the mood turns sour.
             
."