So after Newcastle United got that dramatic win at Brighton against our former manager, we are sitting in a nice place going into these next few matches.

If we win our next three (Huddersfield away, Reading away, Fulham home), I honestly think that’s it and we are promoted – I don’t care if Rafa plays Gayle in goal and starts playing up front himself.

So, our season so far has been odd, we have had a few stand out performances like away at QPR, some hard fought ones such as home to Norwich, and some shockers.

Thing is, we haven’t run away with the league yet….

Anyhow, so far our campaign has had a few standout players and ones who’s continued inclusion drives me mental (ginger midfielders!!)

Here is my list of Heroes and Villains, (one for each general area of play to keep it short)


Karl Darlow – Honestly, why we brought another keeper is mental.

Yes he is learning and prone to a few…moments –  but this guy has saved us more points than the rest of the team put together.

Ciaran Clark – How he isn’t our captain amazes me more and more each match.

With our captain playing a different game than football sometimes, Clarke’s presence in the back four makes for a soothing presence. What a signing!

Jonjo Shelvey – Without him we don’t tick.

It’s so simple and teams have figured that out (boo) but if they give him space and more importantly, team mates read his passes, he is our game changer. Able to turn defence and pressure into a goal.

Dwight Gayle – Not much needs to be said.

He is an out and out goal scorer, putting other more expensive options to shame. Hope he continues his form to the Premier League!

Villains (Only my opinion so feel free to disagree…)

Matz Sels – Don’t need to write too much about him as he hasn’t played for so long.

Fact he isn’t even getting on the bench now says it all.

Paul Dummett – Even at championship level is outplayed 9/10 times.

His range of passing is awful, his speed is more like erosion than a racing car and he doesn’t link up with the winger.

Mohamed Diame – He has got to be even more frustrating than Sissoko.

He can score amazing goals and flukes but most of the time he may as well be signing fans’ shirts as he is not contributing to the team.

If he gets more solid and doesn’t fall over and give the ball away each time the wind changes, he would be good. Otherwise sell him for a discount at the end of the season.

Mitro – I had trouble picking between him and Perez, neither will end up playing at a decent level.

I chose Mitro and whilst he clearly loves the toon and fans, for a big unit he never wins a header, can’t head at goal, can’t shoot at goal, and always looks like he wishes he was somewhere other than a football pitch.

Feel free to comment and say why I am completely wrong, a Mackem (I am not, I left Colback out!) and brain dead.

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

(Fans commenting on articles is a big part of The Mag but we have had to make an enforced change.

Moving into March, the Livefyre system we had been using is no longer available.

So we searched for the best choice around and have now moved to Disqus.

A great way to join the debate on all of The Mag articles, if you haven’t used Disqus before, sign up via social media or the simple email option in the comments section below.)

  • Paul Patterson

    ‘Heroes and villains’ is a bit of a daft label to put on players. I’d prefer the terms ‘pleased and disappointed’ when describing our players.
    Darlow, Clark, Shelvey, Gayle.
    Sels, Colback, Diame, Mitrovic

  • Wor Lass

    The usual blinkered view of Dummett that seems almost obligatory on the Mag. To say he`s outplayed 9/10 times is just blatantly untrue – fake news! Yes, he needs to be more prepared to play forward and link up with the winger better but to imply he can`t defend and has no pace makes me wonder if you`ve watched any games recently. I accept that football is about opinions and we all have different ones to some extent but you`ve taken poetic license a bit too far with that, Willy! Why was one of the best wingers in the Championship ( who we were all desperate to sign back in the summer) hooked the other night?

  • Big Al 1967

    Surprise surprise You have named Paul Dummett. Is this the same player who has had Helder Costa Tom Ince and Anthony Knockaert in his back pocket this past month. These are widely accepted as the best wide players in the League and yet Paul hasn’t given them a sniff.
    Give the lad a break he will do for me at this level

  • Scottpaige

    Totally disagree on Dummet. He may not be brillant going forward. But has stuck to his job this season and 9/10 He’s got it right. Hats off to the lad

  • Damon Horner

    Strange you’d do an article like this on a match day and an important one at that.

  • nufcslf

    Pleased to see Dummet being backed. Rafa must see something to keep him in the starting 11 when available. Was very steady again today, especially in that second half when the manager’s words at half time seem to be sit back and protect what you have got. Will always hate that approach and will never understand it for how often it doesn’t work. Why not keep up the pressure and win 4 bloody nil. Big 3 points today nevertheless and even a loss at Reading on Tuesday would be a great return on 3 very difficult away games that could have easily dragged us into not such a clever looking 3rd place. Credit to the boss and players.

  • thewildchimp

    What’s with censoring comments now?