Garth Crooks thought Riyad Mahrez was outstanding against Newcastle.

Crooks picking the Leicester winger in his Premier League team of the week.

The BBC Sport pundit pointing to Mahrez’ goal to equalise Joselu’s fourth minute opener, after an earlier chance that brought a very good save from Karl Darlow.

When Leicester City went 2-1 up, the winger’s long distance diagonal pass ‘cut Newcastle to ribbons’ according to Garth Crooks, Albrighton laid that pass off to Gray who finished via a deflection.

Claude Puel has been in charge less than seven weeks but Crooks thinks he has already had a massive impact on the form of Riyad Mahrez.

He points to previous success with star players who ‘have lost their shine’, nowhere more so than when Puel took on free transfer Hatem Ben Arfa and he scored 18 goals in 2015/16, taking Nice from nowhere to fourth in the table and European football.

It wasn’t great for Newcastle fans to hear that not only had they lost but that Leicester’s manager, players and fans, didn’t even think they had played particularly well, compared to their previous wins over Burnley and Tottenham.

In most circumstances such as the Newcastle face after one point from twenty one, the main topic would be how long before the manager gets the push if things don’t pick up.

However, everybody knows that the team’s struggles all flow back to one person and that is Mike Ashley.

Obviously, manager and players have to share some of the responsibility but the bottom line is that the refusal of Ashley to back Rafa in the summer with a realistic transfer budget, ensured that this season was always going to be a relegation struggle.

So Garth Crooks is instead asking the question: ‘How long will it be before Rafa loses patience and packs his bags?’.

Garth Crooks talking to BBC Sport:

“Since the arrival of manager Claude Puel, who has a reputation for getting star players who have lost their shine to glisten again, Riyad Mahrez has looked something like the player who won the PFA Footballer of the Year in 2015/16.

“His pass to Marc Albrighton for Demarai Gray’s goal cut Newcastle to ribbons.

“Mahrez then forced a great save from goalkeeper Karl Darlow before he stole the ball in midfield and set his side free on a raid that finished in the back of the Newcastle net.

“Puel was quick to state this victory over the Magpies was not one of his team’s best performances, but I saw elements of the same vigour and excitement that were evident when they won the Premier title.

“Will we ever see the like of that again?

“As for Newcastle’s third consecutive defeat, how long will it be before Rafa loses patience and packs his bags?”

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction after the defeat HERE)

(Phil Neville gives brutal overview of Newcastle team, read HERE)

(Alan Shearer explains to outsiders how Mike Ashley has respect for no one – read HERE)

(Very interesting comments from Leicester fans about Newcastle United, read HERE)



  • Peaky Magpie

    I know what you’re saying Garth but you had us winning the PL two weeks ago ???

  • Mrkgw

    Can see Rafas frustration, clearly. But, his team selections are baffling at the moment. Arguably, would another Manager make the same mistakes week in, week out. To leave Shelvey on the bench is criminal.

    • Paul Patterson

      Has it been reported that he’s fell out with him or something, because that decision defied belief.

      • Mrkgw

        This is part of the problem Paul for the club rely on our support but tell us nothing.

      • Peaky Magpie

        It’s bewildering,something must have happened or something said out of place.

      • Jezza

        Ther couldbe all sorts of things happening behind the scenes that we are not privy to.

  • mentalman

    he’s just passed up 3 premier league clubs so my response to this would be a while

  • Rich Lawson

    Speculation,Rafa does not seem to make spur of the moment,petulant decisions,he keeps his own council and considers. He will certainly be here at the end of the season and then we will see what will be.

  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    He is a “world class manager” in name only at the moment.. you are only as good as your last club and Rafa’s not shown anything like World class management here.. he failed to keep us up when there were plenty points left to play for .. we crept over the line to win an awful championship where we failed to build a playing style or create an effective team shape that was translatable for our arrival in the Premiership.. we are long into Rafa’s tenure as manager and his transfer dealings are highly questionable, his team selections erratic And his substitutions ineffective and pointless .. you have to prove your credentials every season to be labled “world class” and regardless of Ashley’s incompetence as an owner Rafa Is a long long way from showing top level management.

    • Kneebotherm8

      At least he’s got the balls to question the owner unlike the previous puppets,that’s a major improvement for me.
      As for you saying he should have kept us up last season,well sorry but that’s 99% down to McLaren,and the owner for not giving McLaren the boot earlier.
      “We crept over the line to win an awful championship”?
      Tell that to the mackems or Villa how easy it is to walk out of the championship.

    • Rev

      Spot on, would love to know what his WDL records is here. Does anyone honestly believe we are going to become the next Chelsea or Citeh and buy success here? Fat chance, keep Rafa and keep the same tactics but with a marginally better squad for ever? What happened to managers come and go but no one is bigger than the club. Yes he has probably been sold short, but it is what it is. There is no magic wand, the buck stops with the manager and this feels a lot like Ardiles time for anyone old enough to have been at the home games to Boro etc. You get paid a fortune to sort it out boss, sort it and you’ll have the freedom of the city, fail and you’ll deserve your cards like the rest.

    • Jezza

      fa has never had to manage a squad of Championship players in the Premiership before.

    • hetonmag

      Villa, Norwich, Mackem’s, Hull, look where they are with Shyte manager’s, in case you haven’t noticed this club has been in decline long before we got our World class manager, it would take Merlin the magician to right the wrongs of the Ashley era.

    • HarryHype59

      I think Rafa may be “World Class” with quality players! With the motley crew at his disposal at NUFC, he is struggling! His transfer dealings are also suspect!

      • Jezza

        Agreed but his transfer dealings are only suspect because he can only buy what he can afford.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Considering his signings are probably way down the list of his preferred options how can you blame him.
        El cheapo bargain basement signings a la Mike Ashley.
        Don’t believe for a minute that Hose a loo and Mannequin
        were Rafa’s preferred acquisitions.

        • HarryHype59

          Instead of buying Murphy, Manky and Drosselu, he could have one better player! Are any of the three mentioned above, better than what was already here?

          The bulk of the blame lies with the Fatman, however Rafa’s buys in the summer were poor Merino excepted!

          • Kneebotherm8

            He only acquired what he was allowed to acquire,by the Fatman,he had to spread the funds available to cover the squad.
            Bottom line is he’s been sold down the river by the Fatman,who’ll be laughing his socks off if he’s actually reading the likes of these comments blaming Rafa.
            Takes the heat off the fat lard @rsed twt.

          • HarryHype59

            The “cover the squad” argument isn’t valid when viewed objectively! Are the summer signings any better than those already here? The team is short of genuine quality EPL players and is overloaded with Championship triers who just not good enough!

            I would argue Fatman’s obsession with penny pinching is the main cause of the problems at this club. Rafa’s dubious buys compound the problem!

          • Damon Horner

            You’re likely to be right with the redistribution of the Murphy fee and it’s sad times when Man Utd can have a £30mil player in their reserves and they can both survive and not be judged and we’re here discussing whether £12mil transfer fee should be merged with £5mil to buy a striker with a bit more of a chance than Joselu at succeeding. The size of error when making bad transfer judgments here is much more obvious because of the lack of funds.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Absolutely correct,lack of funds for the manager is the problem,he wasn’t allowed to sign loan players left back Matt Targett or striker Tammy Abraham who who would’ve been much better acquisitions than Hose a loo or Mannequin.
            To say he’s been undermined by Ashley and co. is the understatement of the year.
            The Murphy deal was probably sanctioned by the powers that be as a young player with sell on potential.

        • Tomb

          I thought when rafa joined we were told he would not accept any cr*p from Ashley and would have full control of transfers?

          • Kneebotherm8

            Full control of transfers?????……….Who said that?……..Mike Ashley?……another,in a long list of lies by the man.

    • TheFatController

      Yes, even with our persistent minimal investment, I suspect guardiola or mourinho would have us easily about where we are now. Maybe even higher. 14th?

  • ghostrider

    How long before the fans lose patience and the club lose patience with Rafa, it should say.
    The trouble with people today is, most have lost any sense of normality where sports are concerned.
    When you go to work and believe you’re a skilled tradesman or even just a manual semi skilled worker, you know you would be sacked if you do worse than what is expected of you, regardless of the tools you use.

    A bad workman always tends to blame his tools but a good workman can always improvise and even make do until such a time where he/she can add a bit better quality.

    Rafa is always blaming the tools but he bought them himself.
    Rafa the builder came to Newcastle and tried to do some snagging on the existing building.
    The next season he started knocking most of it down and rebuilding with a very good standard of materials for the coming weather.

    This season is showing that the building would still be in decent condition but Rafa for some reason is knocking bricks out and patching up the holes with paper mache and then moaning about it not holding up well to being weathered.

    Time to bin him and get ion Bob, whoever and wherever he is.
    He can fix it….yes he can.

  • Tomb

    Just to point out our net spend this season puts us around the middle of the league as we have signed merino and atsu. Around 35 million more than Burnleys net spend. We have 4 players not playing who were deemed good enough last time in Shelvey Mbemba Mitrovich Colback with a combined value of at least 20 million. Rafa hasn’t been backed but has he had as bad a hand as people are suggesting? Our expenditure and wage bill in the championship was way above most sides.

  • Tomb

    World class manager previously but completely flopped in recent jobs at Madrid and Inter. He is the best we are likely to get and I believe will keep us up just not buying all of the excuses.