Newcastle 2 Hellas Verona 0 – Sunday 6 August 3pm

With a ridiculous hangover, tickets for a match bought instead of attending a Christening (huge bad books) and my two sons likely dragging me to the bogs ten times,meant I wasn’t sure how this one was going to go on a personal level against Hellas Verona at SJP.

However, I enjoyed every minute of it, as did the boys.

The lads dressed in the lovely all black strip absolutely bossed the game and could (should) have won by a cricket score.

Cracking little crowd showed up for a game which hardly screamed ‘high profile’ and we looked sharper than the Italians of Serie A.

The team started with what I think is 95% of that which will take on Spurs next Sunday.

Elliott, Manquillo, Clark, Lejeune, Dummett, Atsu, Hayden, Shelvey, Perez, Mitro and last, and certainly by no means least, Ritchie.

After not having the ball for a couple of minutes and with Verona looking like they’d had three Weetabix, it looked like it would be a decent test, but then Perez scored after some neat interplay on the right and the ball being fizzed across to Ayoze from Manquillo.

Sitting in the Gallowgate and having eyes like Mr Magoo – didn’t help me see the finish, but a good move nonetheless.

After that, it was all Newcastle. When I say that, I mean ALL Newcastle.

From back to front we worked the ball well but one man in particular was a gleaming bald head and shoulders above the rest.

Aye, Jonjo Shelvey – take a bow. The lad was absolutely magnificent. He looks lean, he looks like he means business. On this form I’m really excited to see what the season brings for him – but he’ll not get the space afforded to him against Spurs that he got today.

Let Jonjo have space and he will kill you. Verona didn’t get anywhere near him!

He then pinged a ball towards Mitro who went to control it and as he was in his slippers, went down like a lady wrestler on a jellied tarpaulin, and the ball dropped to Atsu who absolutely rifled it in for two nowt.

The little man Atsu was having an absolute field day. His full-back will be having nightmares about him. If he plays like this then he is a definite starter this coming season.

After that it was a case of how many we would rack up against a team that resorted to hoying themselves to the ground for minutes on end, even if they felt someone coming within ten country miles of messing their hair up. Quite embarrassing really, to the point where their number nine was hauled to his feet by another star performer Magic Hat Matt.

Second-half brought a bit of noise from the corner and the advertising signage taking a bit of a pasting from many a fan’s hand. Verona had their own little mob of travelling fans and to be fair to them had a bit of a go back – good on them for making the trip. Enjoy the summer weather chaps!

Rafa changed eight players at once and at that point fresh legs in Aarons and Murphy kept up the good work of the first team. Tell you what, Aarons is rapid. Should have scored too but not the only one fluffing his lines.

Ritchie was now playing almost as a striker off De Jong, who is back from the dead with a shiny new head. Matt could easily have added a couple with a cracking effort on his left peg having brought it down quickly, then a free kick in perfect position right at the end coming back off the post.

If we had scored six or seven, they really couldn’t have complained.

More clinical finishing next week please and a new striker for Rafa, before he combusts.

Happy Sunday.

Marks for the starters XI –

Elliott (7) zilch to do

Manquillo (7) busy and tried to link with winger

Clark (8) too easy

Lejeune (8) strolled it

Dummett (7) had a couple of shots and worked well with Atsu

Atsu (9) pure whippet

Hayden (7) steady

Shelvey (9)* oozed class

Perez (8) decent game, worked hard

Mitro (6) bit of a stinker

Ritchie (9) excellent all game

Newcastle 2 Hellas Verona 0

Sunday 6 August 3pm


Newcastle: Perez 4, Atsu 12

Newcastle United:

Elliot (Darlow 64), Manquillo (Gamez 64), Lejeune (Mbemba 64), Clark (Lascelles 64), Dummett (Aarons 64), Ritchie, Shelvey (Merino 64), Hayden, Atsu (Murphy 64), Pérez (de Jong 72), Mitrović (Diame 64)

Crowd: 23,906 (Approx 250 Verona)

You can follow the author on Twitter @JamieSwan1

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

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    We need that Striker !!!

    • Leazes Ender

      Sorry……. Sir, we’re out of strikers….. You can have a teapot…… we’ve got loads of teapots and scarves.

      • Andy Mac

        Could we not exchange all the teapots and scarves for a striker ? 🤔

  • Leazes Ender

    What do you mean we looked sharper than the Italians from Serie A….. the starting line up was seven squad players.

  • Wor Lass

    The owner and his henchmen are a disgrace and the current state of the transfer market is just ridiculous but that`s the reality we`re faced with. We`re not far off having a half decent team (I reckon we need a striker, a no 10 and a left back) and there is still time to get the players we need (or at least “players” for the positions we need). At least Rafa has assembled a squad of players who seem to be mainly young, very professional, committed to the club, appreciative of the fans and solidly together – whether they`re making the starting line-up or not. It`s not quite the Brave New world we all looked for at the end of last season but it`s not Pinocchio, Geordie John or the Village idiot at the helm either. Personally, I can`t wait for next Sunday!

    • mentalman

      We’ve got 6 players for who can play at left back so i can’t see it being a priority, having said that i don’t see gk as a priority but it seems to be

      • Wor Lass

        I used to play at left back – which proves that playing there and BEING a left back are two different things. I like Dummy but we haven`t got a proper left back at the club.

        • Geordiegiants

          Dummett is a capable left back for this season. He isn’t a world beater, but is going to be our first choice left back wether we like it or not.

          • Wor Lass

            I`ve no great issue with that – he`s a good lad and always gives it 100% – but we need proper competition in that position. Dummy isn`t really a left back and none of the alternatives are either. Striker`s the top priority, though.

      • Little Pedro

        Watched both keepers warm up yesterday Elliot looked sharp and on it , Darlow looked bored and uninterested read into that what you will

  • Rich Lawson

    We looked good,even against limited opposition,the starting 11 were excellent for the 60 odd min’s they played,yes we should have scored more,but a good confidence builder for those playing against Spurs.Only downside was how we were outsung by the 200+ away supporters who were very noisy and wtf was that drum n bass version (with added crowd noises) of Blaydon Races they played about ?