Well how are we all, been a while since I penned anything about Newcastle United, I managed to make myself a guest of our magnificent NHS, but happily it was more painful than serious!

Anyway, the important matters, the football, where is the doom and gloom normally associated with this club?

Let me tell you where it is, it has gone into hibernation. Of course, as long as Mike Ashley exists, doom and gloom will never be far away, but the negative of Mike Ashley is more than compensated right now, by the positivity associated with one Rafa Benitez.

Despite the disappointment of the transfer window, there is no doubt that Rafa has a squad that is fully with him, the discipline and team spirit is there to see, in short – going it watch the match has become a pleasure again.

Rafa also has the crowd fully onside and Gallowgate Flags with the latest offering (magnificent by the way) are certainly doing their bit, the rest of the ground is slowly but surely also picking up the baton.

On the playing side, the squad may not have the numbers of many of our rivals, but there is competition for every shirt and that can only be good. It is churlish for players to get criticism – I read a lot about Perez not being up to it, however, if Rafa thinks he is, then that should be enough for us all.

We can now go into every game knowing we can win – under previous managers we went into games with a lot more wishful hope than expectation. The banner that appeared about three years ago said it all: ‘We don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries’, or words to that effect, well we certainly have that now.

To ice this cake it would be good if a takeover is in the offing, maybe it is, wouldn’t it be a perfect Christmas if this was to happen. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors in and around NE1 so maybe just maybe things are happening on that score.

A quick word on Freddie Shepherd and his sad passing. For sure he made a few quid out of NUFC, but ultimately he was a fan and he tried, his method may have left us financially unstable and rich pickings for Ashley, but like us he wanted on-field success, alas it wasn’t to be. Condolences to his family and friends.

I said before that for every negative there is a positive, for that read Black N White and Red N White, our friends from Sunderland keeping the Tyneside cheer at high levels by their own footballing brand of ineptitude. Each chaotic performance played out to an ever dwindling band of loyal followers, the mugs and t shirts emblazoned with 6 in a row now long since confined to the realms of history!

Seeing them party into the night when a toothless Everton side went through the motions at the Stadium of Light, as we were sent to the Championship just 17 months ago…

I have to finish by mentioning Sunday’s game.  Yes for all Liverpool huffed and puffed they did indeed look quite ordinary – is Jurgen Klopp that good a manager? Time will tell but Rafa gave a masterclass in comparison.

Happy days indeed.

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  • Leicester Mag

    Good article. One minor point I’d question is its doom and gloom with Ashley more like p1ss boiling anger. Anger that comes from frustration that it could be so different. Freddy Shepherd was no geordie Robin Hood but I venture he cared and wanted the best team possible. He should be remembered for daring to dream. For that we should all a raise glass in memory.

    • Jimblag23

      Here here 🍻

  • Paul Patterson

    Cracking stuff. It’s not all doom and gloom, we WON’T get relegated and Ashley will leave sooner than later. In the meantime we enjoy days like Sunday. In Rafa we trust!

  • Grahame Johnson

    Around 30 seconds before the hoss scored he put a cracking defensive tackle in about 20 odd feet in our half then was in a good forward position, that sums our squad up passion commitment and well coached,


    Believe me the D&G merchants will be back as soon as we lose a couple of games. The keyboard warriors fingers are itching waiting for that to happen. I dread to think what would happen if some M.E. Consortium bought the club – what would they have to moan about ….. “they only give Rafa 200 million to spend this window”.
    Hopefully we will keep on getting good results and then all Leazes Ender will have to complain about is the Ronny Gill.
    Spot on about Freddie, he was a big fan long before he got involved with the club and if the Halls had give him more time he may have raised the money to buy them out. I was not a massive fan of him but I would have taken him over Ashley.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Saw some of the usual suspects at the Tyne Bridge after the match just a shame George from the Times and Luke from the independent were not at the front hate them with a passion. Them two wind the fans up and should be banned for life.

    • Michael Lisle

      I am surprised at your dislike of George Caulkin. He is a fine writer,a Newcastle fan and writes with passion about the club.He is a rarity in the often poorly informed national press.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        The truth is I went to a meeting at the Irish Centre for a talk in which six members of the press were invited to discuss the transfer window and the state of the affairs of the club. Simon Bird from the mirror who I expected to be the worst of the six was truthful intelligent and above all fair as was Martin Hardy and Lee Ryder. George Caulkin
        and Luke Edwards were very dangerous people with a hidden agenda and when I spoke up in favour of some of the good things Ashley had done had me thrown out the meeting Hitler style not that they could throw me out so went on my own accord. No way to treat a fan who is in our top twenty supporters on the away fans league table.

  • Kneebotherm8

    If Freddie,or Sir John Hall,made any money out of this club then I say they were welcome and deserving of it. What John Hall ,and the Magpie group,wrested from the grasp of Mckeag and Westwood was a club/stadium in total decay and heading for the old third division and oblivion,god knows where we’d be now without that intervention. The transformation was fkn unbelievable and this club is in a thousand percent better position than where they were in those days. The football we saw in the following years is,and will probably be,unprecedented in our history.

  • Down Under Mag

    We all wished for more business to be done in the window…the manager included. However, I personally think we have the basis of a good first choice squad, the issue was always how they would fair against better opposition week in week out and how we would cope with injuries and suspensions due to a much maligned lack of strength in depth.

    We have actually started off the season well and have points on the board. We likely would have had more had we not had a player sent off for idiocy in the first two games. Rafa has the team set up well, we are fighting hard, difficult to break down and capable of getting a goal here and there despite some slightly wayward finishing.

    It’s nowhere near we WANT to be but it’s far from the shambles being displayed at Palace right now. There’s still time for things to go pear shaped, but so-far we are looking on course to have a shot at staying up and building from there…

  • steve pearce

    Our friends at Sunderland?

    Personally speaking I hate the Makem [email protected] and hope they end up in Division One at the end of the season!

    • Brian Standen

      I was trying to be politically correct as I have a couple of mates who follow them, quite frankly they can go bankrupt and disappear forever as far as I’m concerned! ( but dont tell anyone I said that )

  • Wor Lass

    It`s a game of opinion, Brian. “One man`s meat” and all that. The doom and gloom brigade haven`t gone away, though – they`re all busy slagging off Perez. And we`ve all got Ashley to moan about. At least this season, as you say, we can take some pride from the attitude and performances of the lads and the sheer class of our manager.

    • Oldgeordie

      It is not a case of slagging off Perez, it is a case of assessing the ability of the lad. He has had some reasonable games but on Sunday he was just not doing it. He hardly ever ran back to cover his mistakes but preferred to throw his arms in the air either in annoyance at his team mates or in appeal to the ref for some imagined foul. It has been suggested in previous blogs that he looks good in training. Believe me there is a hell of a difference between training and playing on match day. I have criticised Perez in the past but believe me I am not a member of the “Doom and gloom brigade”. I first went to St. James’ Park in 1945 and sat on the wall in the Gallowgate end before graduating to standing at the same end. Seen the highs and the lows and love my club to bits. Doom and gloom? Not a snowflakes chance in hell!

      • Wor Lass

        I`ve been critical of him this season and last, as well. He is inconsistent and hasn`t fulfilled the promise we all saw in him in his first season. I`m having a bit of a swipe at those people who seem to have a need for a whipping boy – someone who you don`t just criticise for the bad and praise for the good but slag off and ridicule come what may. Perez, for a fair few posters, has been elected to the Hall of Infamy alongside Gouff, Williamson, Shola, Saylor et al. Fair-minded criticism, like yours, is fine.

        • Oldgeordie

          Fair comment

        • Michael Lisle

          Living on Merseyside I dont go to many matches these days but was at Anfield last year. I was appalled at Perez’s lack of commitment especially in any physical confrontation.I spent much of the game “encouraging ” him to get stuck in. Sitting in my wife’s season ticket seat in the main stand I was surrounded by friendly locals. When my wife went to the next home game,the bloke next to her said “Your fella is a bit vocal isnt he ?” Many of us can accept a lack of ability but not a lack of effort. I dont like fans picking on scapegoats but I have watched this guy several times this season and not much has changed.

          • Wor Lass

            Effort isn`t generally what he lacks but he is windy, for sure, and I don`t understand why he`s always falling over. Someone needs to tell him about studs. Sunday`s performance by him was pretty poor and he deserves criticism but some people just have to make it seem personal. They seem to have a need to hate the player not just criticise them fairly and once they`re on that list that`s all they get. That`s who I`m on about.

          • Damon Horner

            Agreed. I think there is a culture when assessing performance of “if in doubt he played rubbish”.

            Fair and constructive opinion is easily welcome and he’d no doubt be hearing similar stuff from Rafa.

  • HarryHype59

    After seven games it is clear Rafa is over achieving with a fairly limited group of players! The lack of investment in an EPL quality striker will cost the team points this season!

    I think Bri needs to calm down a bit and wait until Christmas before he dismisses the Doom Merchants!

    • Damon Horner

      One opinion against the next.

      Investment in the summer would have been great but not as essential as some predictions made out.

      These guys have always been good enough for mid table.

      • HarryHype59

        It is far too early too assume this group of players will finish mid table. Rafa has got them playing above their selves at present! The problem is he can only do that for so long!

        If fatlad had all allowed Rafa to bring in an EPL quality forward I think are would have stayed up no problem!