SF0001_Shane_Ferguson_Newcastle_United_NUFCMany of us football fans are so passionate that we can easily identify with the famous Bill Shankly quotation: “football is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that”.  Sometimes, passion can lead us to trenchant criticism of our club’s players, particularly when as is the case with NUFC, the club is going through a rocky patch.

That means it is always refreshing when your club heroes step outside of the goldfish bowl of football, and are able to contribute to the other things that matter in life.  That is often easier to do once you are retired, as Robbie Elliott showed in his gargantuan European bike ride this year, raising money for the very worthy causes of cancer research and the Bobby Robson Foundation.

So it is all the more admirable when our active players are able to get directly involved in helping support the causes that are close to our own hearts, and which really are a matter of life-and-death.  The North East cricket community was therefore hugely grateful to first team squad player Shane Ferguson for his help with charity fundraising associated with the sudden illness of one of our dearest friends.

North Eastern cricketers were shocked last summer to discover that one of the long-standing stalwarts of the local midweek league, Jon Robinson, had been diagnosed with secondary cancer at the young age of 47.  When it was clear in early December that this would be terminal, both his clubs, Genetics and Mallards, together with South Northumberland Cricket Club, decided to organise a charity fundraising evening to mark his life.

This was held at the South North sports centre in Gosforth on 21st December this year, and involved an indoor cricket tournament by way of a last testimonial for Jon, including a charity raffle.  Unfortunately, a last minute deterioration in Jon’s condition meant that he could not be present, but he was kept up to date with regular texts and calls from the organisers.

pic 1We were delighted that Shane gave his full support to the evening.  He managed to arrange the full Newcastle United squad to autograph a NUFC shirt, that was raffled on that evening, as well as being present for the first three matches to provide his vocal encouragement.

Around 50 members of the north east cricket community were present, including a large number of NUFC season ticket holders. The fundraising evening raised a total of £1300, which, in accordance with Jon’s wishes, is being split between donations to Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie Hospices.

All involved were extremely grateful to the financial support provided by both SNCC and Genetics in arranging the evening, as well as to Shane for providing his valuable time and personal support for two very worthy causes and a very dear friend.

Jon passed away shortly after, on New Year’s Day after, spending his last days in hospice care.  He was delighted and greatly moved by the contributions from all concerned, and for the last testimonial that his sporting colleagues were able to provide.

We would like to record our own thanks to Shane for getting involved here with something that we have to admit, matters more to us than NUFC.

(Photo: the signed shirt arranged by Shane Ferguson – pic courtesy of Jez Greenwood)

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16 comments
keeganRescueUs
keeganRescueUs

Again, the usual conjecture regarding events with Newcastle. I prefer to have concrete evidence before making any decisions. Until the transfer window is closed nobody can say the buying is over, it may already be but we don't know. If it proves to be the case then come September 2, feel free to moan yourselves stupid

RaySte
RaySte

I can't see us signing anymore players. Have we done enough business? only time will tell. Can't say I'm too upset with the current squad, add another CB and I'd be content.

DownUnderMag
DownUnderMag

On one hand we are hear how Colocini should be sold on to make way for a better signing and then articles like this claim that the manager is being too positive??  The manager is doing one of two things: 

1) if Colocini is staying then he will have to play at least a part if not be a main member of the squad - bigging Colocini up to boost his obvious low confidence and maybe hoping to drag a few of the fans giving him so much stick back on side too so he stops getting abuse left right and centre...or...

2) if Colocini is to be sold then the last thing McClaren wants to do is claim the player is rubbish and ruin any interest in him which means he stays and if we don't get his confidence up (ala point 1) then we are already at a disadvantage...

I think our fans need to stop reading quite so much in to every  comment or rumour coming out of the club.  It just seems that no matter what the manager or some players say there are always those glass half empty folks who will ALWAYS take it negatively, even when there is an obvious positive there to be seen as well.

As for the transfer talk??  Who knows.  Maybe we are done.  We could equally be waiting our time to get the deals like Austin done without paying over the odds.  We could even be in talks with players without us hearing about it.  Or maybe we are waiting to see if we can offload any dead wood before investing more money.

Or we could be waiting for a big offer on a star to reimburse us what has already been spent...you just never know here.

I've said all along, wait until the window closes.  THEN make a judgement on Ashleys commitment as he will have nowhere to hide if he doesn't make good on his promise to improve things.  3 players of the calibre we have signed is a very good squad addition and while I think we still need further areas reinforcing, there is still time.  If we are late in getting them but still get them then while not ideal is still a good window.

KristoBisto
KristoBisto

i personally think he might be waiting for more interest in the dead wood we're trying to get rid of, we don't want an overburdened squad of players on comparatively high wages. Makes sense given Ashley's "careful" financial policy..

maddib
maddib

I am getting sick of saying the same thing to people time and time again, but that squad is nowhere near competitive enough for a full premiership season, 3 players in is nowhere near good enough.  Every one knows the positions that we need to strengthen so no point mentioning it again for the umpteenth time.  Look at Watford - 10 players in (they may not be of the quality that we should be bringing in, but they have identified the standard of player they need to try and survive and gone out and got them), Liverpool have brought 6 in, Villa have brought another 3 or 4 in.  So why is it that the club that had more work than any other club in the division have waited for far to long before getting bodies through the door.  The club need to address the scenario that you could have the likes of Colback and Janmaat played out of position again.


So yes, the 3 that are in, I am happy with, but it is still not good enough.

RaySte
RaySte

@maddib Villa have sold there best 2 players this year, Liverpool have sold their best two players over two years and wasted the money on average players. As for Watford... I remember the mackems making 15 signings under Di Canio. So what?

maddib
maddib

@RaySte @maddib  my point being that they have brought players in to the club, proves players are out there, so why haven't we been more proactive and recruited another centre half, a full back and a winger.

RaySte
RaySte

@maddib Fair point, but what I mean is there are probably 18 or 19 teams in the league who would want to sign more players. Those other gardens aren't as rosy as you paint them. Like I said, Villa have just sold Benteke and Delph and are reportedly bringing in Adebayor to replace the former. Not exactly great transfer dealings so far this Summer by them. I agree we should sign at least another CB and LB, but saying the squad isn't strong enough for the league is a stretch. With a decent coaching system in place the current squad will push for top half,  partly because there a lot of bad teams in the league though.

CMRowley
CMRowley

Try and bring in Jose Enrique (2 million?), Austin (15?)  and either Ryan Shawcross (12?) or Ashley Williams (12?).


If we got 3 of the four above I'd be expect a very good season.


If it remains as is with no new transfers, I'd like to see the following team start (if fit) against Borussia Monchengladbach and if all goes OK against Soton.  I'd love to play two up front but with our frailty in defense I think we need the extra man in midfield to cover.



                             Krul


Janmaat     Mbemba    Dummett    Haidara


                   Wjinaldum Colback      

Cabella                                             Aarons

                              De Jong

                               Mitrovic



Bench: Collo, Lascelles, Sissoko, Abied, Perez, Cisse, Darlow, 


Offload: Gouff, Williamson and Obertan for free to get them off the books.

RaySte
RaySte

@CMRowley I think Winj was promised the number 10 role before he signed.

ncncnc
ncncnc

keep them fit and stop them spitting or punching people and the squad isn't bad in my opinion.

i'd like to see austin come in and ideally an out and out winger but i'm happy with mitrovic and cisse as a front 2 to start with.

if we get tiote back to being a half reasonable player who wants to be here ( i know ifs and buts) and sissoko can be used in an effective position combined with perez and aarons the midfield looks good as well - decent options for changes and formations going forward.

the issue is and always has been the defence. unlike some i actually think haidara will be a good player if he can get a good run in the team and stay injury free. 

right back is sorted and we have to accept we aren't buying cover for those positions- dummett (who is a better centre half than full back) anita, taylor will have to be used.

centre half is the issue - again i'd like to see a big commanding centre half with premier league experience come in to partner mbemba but seeing as we already have - taylor, colo, lascelles, dummett and williamson i can't see it happening unless at least one and more than likely 2 of those leave.

managers talking up players is nothing new, papers making up stories is nothing new. 

i do think we are still trying to get a couple more in and it's good to see us bring in before we sell and give some of the younger players a chance but ive got the feeling new additions are dependent on certain players going - but so far it's been better than i expected it would be.


Hughie
Hughie

The awful defence should have been the priority!!

Nutisbak2
Nutisbak2


                 Krull


Jamnatt        Mbemba           ?          ?
                           

                        ?
             

           De Jong      Wjinaldum


?                                                        ?
                       Mitrovic

I took a look at this Newcastle team with open eyes examining where I thought there was true quality capable of playing in the Champions League and getting us there. The fact is at this moment my feeling is we have 6 players probably capable of that act.


If you had asked me a few seasons ago I would have probably placed Coloccini up there amongst those players but now I feel he is coming to a stage where he is past it, of course that said he is welcome to prove me wrong, after all quality tells and he does have undoubted pedigree. Still I think of those central defenders we have at the moment Colo is still the best bar this new guy we have bought in.


So I think we need another central defender or someone to step up and make that role their own. Or we could I suppose try playing with a back three the issue with that is who would be that third man as we seem to be too weak to field anyone good enough for it.


For my money this area is up there as being one of the most important areas we need to strengthen up on, with all those who will be out of contract next season now is the time to do it, however I have a funny feeling they won't and that we will have to play one of Colo, Taylor, Williamson or someone else here.


However playing devils advocate here Coloccini may well have one last big season in him and players are going to want to prove themselves this season, not only to a new manager but in order to potentially win a lucrative new contract (most likely at another club) since a great many of them have contracts ending at the end of the season. That in itself have a strange tendency to make players improve their act 10 fold.


At left back I could put Haidra but he hasn't really proven himself yet and I still have reservations it may be too soon for him, he is definitely not champions league quality yet but he's probably the best we have for that role currently. I think he needs a lot more 1st team experience this season, however the ideal would be to bring a quality left back in, then though Haidra would probably need loaning out. Still for me this is an area which I don't mark as a major priority to strengthen up in simply because to do so might well impact on Haidra coming through, there is enough competition for his place given all the others who can play there. So I would prioritise this as of low priority for now. Who knows maybe we can get a Central Defender who plays left back, actually Mbemba the new guy does. 


In defensive Midfield. I was tempted to run with Sissoku who on his day is unplayable and probably just below champions league quality, Sissoko did once say he wanted to play there likening himself to one of Arsenals greats Patric Viera so perhaps he could make the role his own? The trouble is he runs hot and cold and you never know which your going to get. On his day though with his attacking play at least going forward he is a game changer! 


Tiote is another possibility, the guys a tank, a defensive destroyer and like Sissoko on his day he is a game changer but the thing is he has not had "his day" in a long while. Collback would be another option but I think he is not Champions league quality, at least not yet and he may never be, he is of course very welcome to prove that wrong! Abied well he doesn't seem to have consistency.


Midfield is an area in which we have plenty of players who can play it, the thing is our best two are almost certainly De Jong and Wijnaldum. Sissoko is arguably just below that level so might step up but only time will tell.


On the left wing I would pump with Aaron's but once again he isn't proven and so you can't say he is champions league quality just yet. He has shown a lot of ability however still like Haidra he needs to be played this season! That said we could do with an addition in this role too the issue would be that would impact upon Aaron's appearances, however I think a bit more competition for places might just be the making of him. 


Right wing for me is somewhere that we have a issue, for my money we definitely have a weakness in the side here and need to get someone in to fill this role just as badly as we need another central defender! Yes Sissoku can play it but he never looks convincing, Perez could too but both are wasted out wide, neither is capable of pumping away and putting  decent quality crosses into the box for the strikers to have the ammunition they need. An option might be to play Wjinaldum there, he undoubtably has the ability to carry the role off admirably and this would allow for someone else to play in the middle of the park, be that Sisoku, Perez or another. The issue for me though is where do we need him most?


Perhaps once injury free Cabella will come good under McClarren and make this wide role his own or take the left wing and Aaron's move to take the right who knows? However I have always felt Cabella might be wasted on the wing. 


For my money I would like to see an addition here.


The rest of the roles I think we have currently at least one player capable of playing champions league football in. Plus we also have a healthy number of up and coming players who could well step up to the mark and prove themselves of that quality, for some they just need more consistency in there performances. For others they need to up their game. 


That said another Striker probably wouldn't do us any harm especially if they happen to be a right winger to boot!


The side has pottential to go on and do well this season and I think if we get the addition of a quality right winger and another centre back, or with some of the other players stepping up to the mark this season in terms of quality and consistency in their play then we might well be able to push ourselves into contention for something to happen this season. 


The fact is whilst another 3 players would be very nice, when you look at the side you already struggle (in a nice way) to try and work out where everyone can fit.


The side has a lot of players and needs a cull, it's just we need more quality, this season or next. Hopefully if they don't come this season there will be players stepping up to the mark and improving their game markedly on last season. I would actually bank on that happening anyway.

DarrenWilkinson
DarrenWilkinson

3 players in at a cost of 35 million,was that sat in a bank doing nothing.So if my maths r correct total spend zero.

fireflyuk
fireflyuk

@DarrenWilkinson and if Cisse and Sissoko go out the door we will be back to square one and the club will still be in profit, and we will still have a paper thin squad.