Rafa Benitez announced at his press conference that six players wouldn’t be involved on Friday night at Cardiff, with the likes of Dwight Gayle, Jesus Gamez, Matt Ritchie, Vurnon Anita, Jamaal Lascelles and Grant Hanley all missing.

The Manager indicating that they were all injured and/or in need of a rest.

However, it turns out that one of them couldn’t have played anyway, as he is now banned until next season.

George Caulkin of The Times summed it up as a ‘minor exclusive’ as he made the Matt Ritchie suspension public, shortly before the club made an official announcement.

The winger fined £5,000 and banned for two matches after abusing one of the match officials against Leeds.

Caulkin says that Matt Ritchie needs to rest an injury anyway but no doubt he would have been pressed into service if necessary in these final two matches, if there was no ban and points were needed.

It appears more than likely that Newcastle have ensured Ritchie was available for Preston on Monday before accepting the suspension now that there is only the title to play for…

George Caulkin:

“A minor exclusive: Matt Ritchie is actually suspended for last 2 Newcastle games this season after abusing 4th official after defeat at Ipswich.

“Incident happened in players’ tunnel after game.

“Delay in announcement partially due to (HNRC investigation) events yesterday, but Newcastle decided not to appeal.

“Confirmation from FA will come imminently.

“Doesn’t matter hugely as Ritchie has a knock which needs rest anyway.

(George adding later….) “Minor and only partially accurate – was after the Leeds game.”

Official Newcastle United Statement:

‘Matt Ritchie will serve a two-match suspension with immediate effect after he admitted an FA misconduct charge.

It was alleged the Newcastle United player used abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official in or around the tunnel area following the conclusion of the game against Leeds United on 14th April 2017.

Following the Independent Regulatory Commission hearing he was also fined £5,000.’

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Bringing Yedlin & Mbemba in may actually strengthen the team, shame about Matt though

  • Jezza

    Back in the 80’s I had a season ticket in the paddock and stood down the front. Throughout the match you would hear players, managers and coaches hurling obscenities at referees and linesmen and nothing ever happened. It was just accepted as being part and parcel of the game back then. At least they have imposed Ritchie’s ban at a time when nothing is at stake.

    • Viru leckworth

      The fans hurl abuse too. My favourite memory was back in the sixties (I think) I was in the centre paddock and Tommy Docherty (who had just been found out having an affair with the wife of one of the Mab U staff) took a seat in the stands. A supporter beside me noticed him take his seat and in a voice definitely loud enough to be heard, said”hallo Tommy, ha ya brought ya floozie with yi?

      • Jezza

        I remember the Tommy Docherty episode very well. It was in 1977 just after Manchester had won the FA Cup. They sacked him over his affair with the wife of the club physio Laurie Brown.

        • Viru leckworth

          Thanks for that. jezza, when you get to my age 1960 seems like acouple of years ago.

  • Scottpaige

    Shame the chronicle ain’t as good as George Caulkin.

    Bet Lee Ryder has it up as an exclusive and breaking news story !!!!

  • East Durham Mag

    I wonder what the F.A. would have done about it if it was Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea or Spuds?

  • SH.ER

    The last 3 days after promotion have been really really strange
    like what the hell is going on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Well it`s been a funny old season, roll on May the 7th and let`s enjoy the real World for a couple of months

  • Mrkgw

    Any excuse and they will hit the club. Is is the Ashley factor or, the fact that we are north of London?

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Fat Sam & Arry will be in stitches, those 2 make Penfold & Carr look like amateurs

    • Jezza

      Bit of both probably.