Summer report: a pre-season of positives and negatives for Newcastle United.

It feels nice to start with something positive, just for a change. It might only be three new players but that’s an outlay of over £30m.

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They are all very welcome additions to a club badly in need of fresh blood ahead of another bruising roller coaster of a season.

Hell, if they get a few more players, I might even consider putting some money through the till.

I’d say the regime is flirting with credibility as things stand. Cynicism will always linger, given the damage that’s been done in the past, but summer 2015 should go down as one of the more productive transfer windows of the Mike Ashley era.

It’s not rocket science. Solid recruitment can ease so much pressure. It doesn’t need to be crazy spending like Man City, just shrewd strengthening in key areas, with well scouted players who are the right age. New faces coming in helps to get the fans (customers) back onside, and it helps blue chip players who were a bit unsettled feel more like sticking around, until next summer at the very least.

I’ve been critical of Lee Charnley in the past, so credit where it’s due in this instance.

It may have been a slow start to the transfer window but he has now produced some of the players that were so badly needed. Clearly Ashley has sanctioned the expenditure, with the extra TV cash also a factor in the loosening of purse strings.

However, the fear remains we won’t build the team over a long enough period as assets will be cashed in once they prove a success but for now things look a bit healthier. Charnley has gone from D minus to B plus.

The other issue with our strategic approach is the unwillingness to look at players who are late 20s or very early 30s. Some experienced heads are always nice. While I wouldn’t want to build up some of the dead wood the mackems accumulate, on silly wages, there does need to be a blend.

Tyne and Wear Mitro

The signing of Aleksander Mitrovic gives me real hope that we’ll see a few more goals next season. We’ve been starved, so I really hope our new Serbian goal getter can find the net as quickly as possible. I am convinced he can hit double figures, if he stays fit. His record shows he will score goals in the Premier League.

newcastle united

Gini in a bottle

Movie star good looks and a Rolls Royce engine. Wijnaldum has the lot. If this lad doesn’t set the Premier League alight then I’ll be amazed. A Dutch international, box to box midfield player, and he’s opted for Newcastle Utd. I’d suggest enjoying this fella ply his trade in black and white for as long as it lasts. He’ll turn Ashley a profit come 2017.

Chancel be a fine thing

It sickens to me to say that Mbemba is the first centre-half we have bought since 2013. Scary. He arrives on Tyneside with plaudits to his name but a question mark over his age, but anyone who keep Mike Williamson away from the starting eleven is alright by me!

Pre-season head scratching for Mac?

It’s very much the twilight zone just now and allowances have to be made in that pre-season period. It’s all about fitness, right?

Some of the displays over in the US were disjointed and the final game was a farce on a plastic pitch. I’d like to think Mac will be getting a lot more from the players as the big kick off looms on August 9th.

Boycott the Sun and the Daily Star

I’m sure many Newcastle fans don’t read these two rags anyway, but some of their recent coverage has been lamentable, and I’m not really one to criticise the media.

The Sun’s article on Cisse’s alleged bigamy was truly terrible. Was there really any truth in this tale? As for the Star, I was annoyed to see them run a piece on the day that we signed Mitrovic saying that Chelsea want the player. Give us a break eh…trying to unsettle him while the ink isn’t even dry on the contract. Chip wrapper.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton



  • Tradge

    I would be perfectly happy to be rid of the Sun and Star, trashy publications, stretching the term “news” to the very limit!

  • 1957

    Brave piece considering it doesn’t include some anti Ashley sentiment. It is though indicative of the cautious optimism that most supporters are feeling at the moment.
    The previous regime has gone and been replaced by coaches who want to change the style of football we play, McClaren was written off by some on this site as a failure and a “…joke…” (he isn’t or Steve Black wouldn’t be working with him) but he has injected a welcome calm realism into the club’s statements after the chaos of scattergun Carver.
    Players have begun to arrive but the difference this year is their apparent quality and that they appear to be players McClaren wants and they have a place in the tactical style we are looking to adopt. Contrast that with the folly of bringing Cabella to a team which predominately played a long ball game.
    Only time will tell if those of us with optimism have been taken in by some new machiavellian plot by Ashley or its the doom mongers who have had their day and need to move forward.
    As regards the Star and the Sun it wouldn’t bother me if the club’s preferred media partner scheme meant they never reported on NUFC ever again. They never lets facts get in the way of a ‘scoop’ especially the Sun a newspaper, that football fans should never forget, cynically blamed Liverpool supporters for what happened at Hillsbrough.

  • v0ices

    1957 personally i think the  optimism is too early so far we still need 2 cb (possibly 1 after thursdays fa meeting) a lb and a winger. Until then we still have the bones of a relegation side with some money making additions for ashley. If charmley manages to get in 3 defenders he can have a b minus.

  • LeazesEnder

    I’ve translated his tattoo …. ‘ If you cant run…Walk…. if you cant walk… crawl…. just keep moving forward and never, never give up’….

    He must need reminding I guess.

  • WAYNEANDCATH1

    1957  very good well written piece yep i do hope the aptly described  doom mongers 
    fade with the mist 
    and yes i have not bought or read a newspaper for about ten years and would not give a red top any room at all  it is true that optimism by the fans permeates through to the players
    and knocks oppositions back…
    where as displaying child like comments on banners in the stadium for all the team to see
    during a game MUST be depressing  and a distraction for all the players  and other decent supporters …who pay to see a game not a banner [unless its supportive ]
    i must say if the barrage of negativity was to continue ..then i like many others would stop visiting this site ..ergo no one would be reading or commenting on the bile that is often spewed out

  • wor monga

    With another class CB (tried and tested at the highest
    level) alongside Mbemba we will have a team that should fit comfortably into
    the top 10, and hopefully with a degree of improvement (under MaClaren) from
    some of our other players…we could have the basis of a squad that will allow us
    to compete in the other competitions without resorting to totally untried
    junior players.

    …If however Cisse is sold that would mean we will need to replace
    him, and it now looks as though Austin is pricing himself away from a sale in
    this window…which would mean having to sign another as yet unnamed top quality
    striker…or finding some way of getting a much better return from Rivierre, and
    Arma.

    …If Charnley (&Co) can sort out these issues by the start
    of the season…then I’d go further and award him an A- for showing a definite
    promise in tackling the job!

  • magpiefifer

    My optimism is on hold – until the defensive weaknesses are sorted out.
    Progress is being made (from last season that shouldn’t be difficult!) but there is much ‘work-in-progress’ to be done!

  • wor monga

    WAYNEANDCATH1 1957           Nah…stay on here, man…don’t
    let the Mag’s very own internet banner waving anti-fans (Snotts Toon, Toxic
    Dave, Demented Nosehairs…and Pip-squeak v0ices)…get y’doon…if you like the Toon
    then that’s all that matters with me!!

  • v0ices

    wor monga I agree 100% what the team needs is a tried and tested CB unfortunatly this is exactly the type of player Ashley is unwilling to invest in we also need a ready to start left back Hadira has potential but is not ready now and Dummet is better suited to being a squad player who can cover lb and rb, we could also use more width options and a natural winger alongside aarons would give McClaren a lot more option to provide a supply line to our strikers lots more work needed im afraid.

  • wor monga

    v0ices       Dummett’s natural progression is into the centre of defence
    for me…he’s got the makings of it, but that’s a crucial area and he would need
    to gain a lot more experience playing alongside a very good CB, or else he’ll
    be set back…

    …another top quality CB brought in, and Dummett coming in as
    understudy is how I would like it to happen…

  • v0ices

    wor monga v0ices see we are in almost total agreement on one area. of course i see the need for more players but at least we can agree on the cb issue lets hope penfold can deliver.

  • wor monga

    v0ices        I think you’re coming back in from the dark side…just joking
    bonny lad…any friend of the Toon is a friend of mine…even if they aren’t aware
    of it yet!!

  • Jarmin Geordie

    I’m not trying to put a damper on this new found optimism among fans but McClaren said yesterday “I don’t know (if there’ll be more to come in)” and “I’m happy with the players we’ve got here” (a favourite Pardew phrase when no signings were imminent) and we’ve only spent the 34m that was already in the bank, coincidence? Have things really changed?

  • v0ices

    WAYNEANDCATH1 1957 a crying voice of the people hilarious.

  • TonnekToon

    I’d love to be optimistic , but this is Ashley’s Newcastle , I’m not holding my breath . But a different coaching set up and two good signings with another almost there ,has to be positive , but there’s still a need for player recruitment . One more decent defender after Mbemba and other areas strengthened and hopefully we’ll improve the squad enough to stop last seasons rot .

  • Mal44

    TonnekToon  The need for another CB is so obvious; we are leaving it late and will regret it if we don’t act quickly. This is the priority in my opinion. You’re so right about other areas. I think we are weak at LB, despite Haidara’s promise, and we need a natural winger to provide those crosses for our striker(s); again Aarons looks really good but he’s young and will have his ups and downs (assuming we get him signed up) and we can’t rely solely on him. We might still get Austin; the Brentford Gazette is reporting that he wants to come – so it must be true.

  • WAYNEANDCATH1

    A coupla things spring to mind 
    1] at one time not toooo long ago a certain nobby solano  made the right wing his own 
    his service to the box etc magic terrorised the opponents
    2] during our brief trip to the lower league  i remember commenting to my mate that  the back four worked like a machine all four moved forward and back in defence like a shoal of fish  together 
    a brick wall on legs …and in my opinion [for what its worth]
    it was the defence that won the games the opposition could hardly get a goal and we kept climbing
    and i recall saying to my mate .”i really hope they [the backs]play like that all the time from now on”
    of course the rest is history  lol