As Newcastle United enter the final stretch of this (hopefully) promotion campaign, we have asked some of our contributors about the past, present and future…

Brian Standen gives his thoughts:

How has the season panned out compared to what you expected before a ball was kicked?

As soon as Rafa confirmed he was staying, things have been as I expected,

I hoped we would be home and hosed by now but that will come.

How confident on a scale of 0-100% are you that Newcastle will get automatic promotion?

I am 100% confident promotion will be achieved.

How important has Rafa Benitez been to Newcastle standing top of the table?

Without Rafa there would be very little hope and a lot of hostility reborn against Mike Ashley.

What did you make of no signings in January?

No signings in January was disappointing.

If it’s due to Ashley it’s particularly so.

A vital game tomorrow and everybody fit, which 11 current NUFC players would you select?

Darlow, Yedlin,  Dummett, Lascelles, Clark, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Atsu, Gayle, Murphy.

Some fans have concerns about the playing style under Rafa this season. Discuss.

I trust Rafa to pick and play how he wants.

His policy is working well, so no concerns.

How worried are you, if at all, that Rafa may have problems with Mike Ashley in the summer?

I’m very worried that Ashley will stop Rafa doing what he wants.

If he does, who could blame Rafa if he walks.

Which five Newcastle players would you keep to go into the Premier League?

Gayle, Shelvey, Ritchie, Lascelles, Krul – All are Premier League class.

Which five Newcastle first team squad players wouldn’t be able to hack it in the top tier?

Colback, Dummett, Gouffran, Anita, Murphy – This is their level.

If promoted, how many of the starting eleven next season would need to be new signings for you to be confident of no relegation worries?

At least six new players would be required to be good enough to slot straight in.

In order of importance, which positions would be needed to be strengthened if promoted?

Left-back, another creative midfield player, and two forwards.

Generally agreed that the atmosphere is usually poor at St James Park this season. What could be done to improve that – no limitation on how radical the proposals you’d suggest to fix it.

Simple, bring safe standing back to St James Park as per Celtic.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles to [email protected])

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  • Moxy toon

    People need to understand that anywhere that safe standing comes in is basically your seat folded up & standing in that position, no extra capacity at all & swaying about like the good old days so cant see how it would create a better atmosphere at a home match

    • It’s bobbi fleckman

      It depends who you listen to, the FSA claim an 80% increase (I don’t think you can post links here but google something “like FSA safe standing roadshow”). I have heard much lower estimates but celtic has shown an increase.

      Apart from the legalities of it, the biggest problem is that positions will be allocated much like a seat so if you are stood next to a non-singer, there is no moving about to join the more boisterous crowd as this was a major problem at Hillsborough where fans all aimed at the central pen when the other pens were not full.

      • 1957

        I’ve mentioned before the safe standing companies who presented seminars I attended claim nothing like 80%. One of the German models, with clear terracing and clip in seating points gives freedom to move around the standing areas but the companies didn’t think that was likely to happen in the UK, rail seats are the best chance. As you say with this you are allocated a numbered standing place.

  • nevfur

    Nice to see Brian so confident of promotion, however I do remember the time he said he would come to work in a dress if we lo

    • Brian Standen

      Christ that was a while ago. I still got the pics to prove it! Nothing wrong with wearing a dress ….. joking!

      • TerryC

        Aye but….a red & white one??? :)

        • Brian Standen

          I will tell all on this very website soon

          • TerryC

            I’ve seen one of the pics.

            My lips are sealed. ?

  • goggsy

    Utter tosh.the stadium has been all seater since the mid 90. In that period we’ve had a tremendous atmosphere at matches,would any of that of been enhanced with a standing area,don’t think know so. Granted it’s far more fun standing at away games, but that can’t be recreated at home however much we want it to.We all want things we no longer have,that’s life.

    • Wor Monga

      I agree the teams out on the field will make the atmosphere, and we’ve had some great atmospheres when that happens…but it’s now a family entertainment, and fully seated, not the crowds like we had in those ‘good old’ days jammed in, herded like cattle, and all open to the weather…it’s moved on and that’s life!!!

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Going to a game year after year with one idiot or another managing the team & the knowledge that Fat Mike wants out of the cup competitions Asap & he`s happy as a Pig in Shyte with 10th in the league
    that`s what`s killed the atmosphere

  • Wor Monga

    Sensible enough stuff…until the question about which 5 players would you take into the PL…that’s just kid’s stuff, but this is a team game, and some will always get the brownie points and some will just have to do what the manager asks of them…week in week out without getting any…

    …when we go back up Rafa won’t be in any hurry to dump any of the players who he’s relied on over the 46 games…certainly players will go, and some better ones come in, but it won’t be because of any low popularity ratings of his players from sites like this one!!!

    • Carlo Ancelotti

      he should be in a hurry to dump them as we`ll come straight back down if he doesn`t