So now that the dust has settled how are Newcastle fans feeling about what went on yesterday at Ipswich?

While we’re all allowed to be disappointed we lost the game and that we won’t be going up as champions, indeed Brighton are the first to have their promotion confirmed, even so, I really do think there was too much negativity about Monday’s match..

“If we go to the play-offs we’ll never win it… we’ll never get to Wembley”

“We’ve blown it….”

“The players are bottlers”

 “We’ll never win another game”

And some of us are even losing their faith in Rafa and think they can do better than him.

I was as disappointed and nervous as anyone would be but when I was listening to the post-match BBC Newcastle phone-in, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone had died. Reality. Check. Please.

I mean, I’m not saying everything is right with the world when it comes to Newcastle United and yesterday I wasn’t happy. As I said, I was as worried as the next fan, but it is far too early to be saying things like “the players have bottled promotion.”

And if you’re saying things like we need to change the manager….have a word with yourself. We are a world away from any need to change the manager or questioning if he is the right one for us.

For all his faults, and all managers have their own, we will never, ever get a better manager in our current place in the football world. We are lucky to have him and I think some people have lost sight of that.

I don’t believe in absolutes when it comes to football.  I believe a team is only as good as their last game and when you go out onto the pitch, anything can happen.

Derby’s last minute draw against Huddersfield was a massive relief for us but even if they’d have won, it would not have been the end. We’re still in a position of great strength. It’s a time of the season where fine margins can make all the difference. We need four points I think.

We’d have needed six if Huddersfield had won but if you think positively, if you put aside negative thinking, you have to say we’re more than capable of getting those points.

I know we’re stumbling toward the end of the season and it’s not what we wanted but let’s be real about this and try to look at this objectively.

We’re in a much, much more difficult and competitive league than we were before. The world is a different place to 2009/10 and we’ve done well I think just to hold our own in the top two. To even get this far and still hold a strong position as runner-up in the league is to be commended in my opinion.

Performances haven’t been great but that doesn’t really matter to me. Rafa’s remit was to build a squad to get us out of the championship, and I think he’s doing it.

And if you’re thinking about the next manager after Rafa Benitez. Please, stop it! We’re coming to a crucial period in our season and perhaps our history. We will never have a better man to help us through it.

Going forward we have Preston next. We need to put in a similar performance as we did against Leeds.

If we can do that I believe we can win the game, and if we can win the game I believe we all but secure promotion…

If we all just remember our place and just calm down the negative rhetoric a bit.

Remember we’re Geordies and just get behind the lads during the last stretch.

You can follow the author on Twitter @jonniegrieve.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Berkshire Mag

    Spot on Jonnie. i think the players are feeling the pressure, they are only human after all, Brighton players have been there before and haven’t had the injuries, suspensions we’ve had. We are going up and with Rafa Benitez, who thought we ‘d say that a year or so ago?

    • Leazes Ender

      Newcastle United getting injuries and suspensions now there’s something that was totally unseen…..

      • Berkshire Mag

        Fair point, but Brighton haven’t had those issues, nor really have Reading and Huddersfield. Can’t disagree we should have bought in January…

  • Jezza

    “Rafa’s remit was to build a squad to get us out of the championship”

    …..while also making substantial transfer profits for the club’s owner.

    • TheNutJob

      nearly there on both, Nearly

  • Leazes Ender

    The seeds of this ‘collapse’ were sown in January when Lee Charnley secured his annual bonus by not strengthening the squad for the final push…. Rafa knew what he needed…. this is down to Charnley and his deep pocketed master…

    • Andy Mac

      Interesting you should mention that Leazes because despite what many believe, including me, we’ve actually lost fewer matches since the turn of the year than we did before New Years Eve.

      2016 W 16, D1, L6, Points 49
      2017 W 10, D6, L4 Points 36

      So we’ve drawn five games more in 2017 thus “losing” a potential 10 points along the way. So I’m wondering if it’s got more to do with teams working us out in the first half of the season so when we play them again they have a cunning plan ?

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        They do have a cunning plan, the problem is we have no plan B

        • S.G.M.

          It was Plan B yesterday

      • MadMag83

        I was thinking about this earlier, have we been figured out. We are really missing Gayle because his pace and finishing worries the opposition. Shelvey is great on the ball but I see him as a weak link in a defensive capacity.

        It’s hard to tell if teams have figured us out or whether its down to little factors such as injuries to key players, opposition teams having nothing to lose, the pressure of it all, and some bad luck. I think we must have conceded 4 goals from only 4 shots on target in the last two matches.

    • bobbi fleckman

      Hmmm, who was this mystery 25 goal a season player who was available, wanting to come and just waiting for Gayle to get injured for his chance.

      Or do you mean Townsend?

      • GToon

        Townsend I would think. And he would have made a world of difference to us.

        • bobbi fleckman

          yep, despite Townsend not being as good as Richie, he’d have made a huge difference.

  • Alan

    Don’t really want to be negative , however your maths is shocking!
    Huddersfield have 78 pts with 4 games top play…max 90.
    You say we need 4 but that only gives us 89.
    If Huddersfield had won they would then have max 92.
    You say we would need 6 but that only gives us 91….third place again.

    • Lofty

      To land somewhere in the middle Alan, if Huddersfield don’t win on Saturday they can only get to 88 points. Reading can only get 88 points. We could then be promoted with a win against Preston given that neither Reading nor Huddersfield could overturn a 30+ goal difference round in the remaining games. That’s the only maths we’ll need!

  • TheNutJob

    the leagues shyte & so are most of our players

  • Andy Mac

    “If we all just remember our place and just calm down the negative rhetoric a bit” Admirable comment but surely you have to ask yourself why we’re capitulating at this late stage in the season ?

    Lack of confidence is an obvious one. Lack of character too. Monk praised his team for fighting to the very last kick on Friday night yet we very rarely seem to be able to do that ? Norwich, at home was the classic example but how many times have we managed it since ? (Brighton away, Bristol at home for a draw ?) So does that point to a lack of spirit within the dressing room ? Are the players playing for one another ? Has Rafa’s gameplan of one striker and Shelvey sitting deep been well and truly found out ?

    Whatever the reasons for our recent slump the bottom line is we need to start winning again and preferably stop shipping goals too ? Clark coming back will undoubtedly help that cause as will a start for Elliot in goal. As for winning we need Gayle to recover strongly and Rafa to mix it up a little so PNE are on the back foot from the start

  • Leicester Mag

    There’s a need for realism both sides of the debate. A lot of sense in the article but I don’t fully support the view the world is a different place and the league is more competitive. I’d contend that it’s competitive simply because of uniform mediocrity. People are rightly concerned because it’s difficult not to feel some of this is self inflicted, strange tactics combined with the usual hubris during the January window.

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    Part of the reality check is admitting Newcastle are a poor side in a poor league, who yet have too high an opinion of themselves to play to their strengths, and I include the manager in that criticism.
    Some of us got carried away by the number of wins, in spite of the frequently lacklustre performances.
    We are nowhere near fitted to be promoted.

    • GToon

      You are right. Fill a league full of 24 poor teams and somebody has to be top, somebody has to be second come the end of the season. It doesn’t make them a good team and quite frankly we aren’t.

    • Damon Horner

      What basis do you have to say they have a too high opinion of themselves?

      This team has radically changed, culture in the dressing rom, tactic and personnel on a big scale. Promotion with ease was never happening. Just need to go up, see what gets fixed in the summer.

      • Hughie_Gallacher

        Rafa doesn’t have sufficient respect for the opposition and too great an esteem for his own players, shown by his unwillingness to pick his best team.

        The players think they are better than they are, because after all Newcastle are a big club, paying better wages, getting higher attendances, more media attention etc. Therefore they also have a certain arrogance towards opposing teams. This attitude is now coming back to bite them.

  • Burt Humperdink

    Not sure what some people on here are talking about when they say we’re not about to be promoted.

    Another reality check is that Huddersfield themselves are on the exact same form we are. In our last 5 games we’ve won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2 so have Huddersfield.

    It’s true that technically they can catch us but based on both our forms they are no more likely to perform any better than us in their last 4 games. They were lucky against Preston and it basically boils down to if they draw with Fulham (very likely based on both teams form) and we beat Preston (we haven’t lost in countless home games) then we are up as we would go 9 points clear of them and although we could lose our remaining home games and they win their last 3 our goal difference is so great that they’d never catch us.

    We literally have to win one game until the end of the season as there isn’t a cat in Hell’s chance of Huddersfield winning all 4 games till the end of the season. they’ll be lucky to come away with anything from Fulham.

    • Damon Horner

      Spoken by a rational thinker. Still, the manner of promotion will get the clubs “supporters” crowing.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I`m not worried in the least about promotion. it`s what comes after that`s the problem. Namely Fat Mike

    • Vodkamagpie

      Haha, fat Mike, you are hilarious. He is the same guy that hired one of the best football managers in the world. Ask yourself why rafa came here, simple answer is the club is well run financially, for Rafa to spend money on players to build a winning team. Now you will be all be jumping and say but we didn’t buy anyone in January, but the reason we didn’t buy players is that the players wanted by Rafa, would be a financial risk on Newcastle. January transfer prices are ridiculous, the amount of players in the squad/loaned up is to large to authorise further transfers. Fans talk about a 30Mil transfer profit, are you forgetting sissokos is 30Mil, over a 5 year period. We need promotion, we need to sell players that won’t be used, only then, ashley will spend money, fans should think more about the financial side of football.

      • GToon

        Fans should think more about the financial side of football?!!! Are you joking! It’s all we have thought of since his greediness arrived however many years and relegations it was ago. I don’t see the likes of Spurs thinking about the fianancial side of football. It was doing exactly that that cost us Deli Ali if you remember – fee agreed, player wants a decent wage, Cashley says no, Spurs step in and the rest is history.

        • bobbi fleckman

          slight re-writing of the facts.

          Football should be about the sport, of course, but if any club spends beyond their means, in time, it will end in tears.

          • Hughie_Gallacher

            Ah, the battle cry of Ashleyites everywhere since Fat Boy came here: if we spend we’ll do a Leeds or a Portsmouth. You know what a load of rubbish that is.

            If Ashley misses his place on the PL gravy train this season through his greed (not financial prudence), I for one will be laughing at him.

        • Jezza

          Yes supposedly the Deli Ali deal fell through for he sake of 300 grand. Not only did we the fans miss out on a fantastic player who could have taken the club forward (till Ashley cashed in on him) but the bitter irony is that it was also a disastrously bad financial decision. Ashley’s reluctance to put up a pitifully small amount of money (in Premiership football terms) caused him to miss out on at least £60 million profit a couple of years down the line.

      • Jezza

        “fans should think more about the financial side of football.”

        Fair enough. I’m going to stop going to matches and am going to spend my Saturday afternoons in front of the financial pages on teletext, watching the fluctuating share prices and chanting “Come on you MASH holdings PLC”.

  • heretickle

    Comrade Chris for England Manger.
    Comrade Chris for Arsenal