Despite our poor form, the news coming out of the media on Wednesday afternoon of an increased offer and impending takeover by Amanda Staveley and PCP, led to a wave optimism around the town before the game. It wasn’t quite like the return of King Kev (that night at home to Stoke in the cup) but the bars were filled with talk of hope, amazing for a club that hasn’t won in eight games! Although, perhaps all of us, have allowed the takeover to distract us from the real issues on the pitch at the moment.

The sad truth, despite my critical opinion on some of Rafa’s selections, is that no matter who he picks, it is going to be a poor 11. Even our so-called best player, Jonjo Shelvey, is proving somewhat of a liability right now. Then again, I would rather be in our situation, with a half decent manager, a potential takeover, and a bad squad, than ever have to return to the days in which a guy like Sam Allardyce is managing our football club.

If there are any Everton fans reading this, then I can only advise you not to get too excited about Allardyce. This is a guy who will play the worst football you’ll ever see and will suck the life out of your club.

I have actually never understood the hype around him to be honest. He has never won anything, never done anything, and in my opinion never even saved a club from relegation (at least not in the style Redknapp did with Portsmouth). On top of this, his short stint as England manager proved to everyone that he probably isn’t a nice guy either. Why anyone would want him at their club, especially a proud and historic club like Everton, is beyond me.

The team news came with Rafa reverting back to 4-2-3-1. Lascelles came in at the back and although we were playing an Everton side with no attacking threat, he looked strong and the back four in general looked a lot safer with him there. Christian Atsu is another one who came back in and looked like he would improve the side. The only selection that remains completely beyond me was the inclusion of Mo Diame, who does not even look like a footballer at the moment. We have seen some bad ones in recent years but Diame is up there with the very worst at the moment.

The Game

I think we all knew how the game was going to pan out, especially with Fat Sam in charge. So once again, Everton fans, you better get used to watching that rubbish every week. As for us, we just struggled to break them down. It felt like Newcastle could have been there playing attack vs defence all night and they still wouldn’t have scored. It is probably telling that the closest we came to scoring was hitting the post from two efforts outside the box.

Sitting in the top of the Gallowgate, I wasn’t sure if I was too harsh on Darlow for the first goal. Having watched the replay, it was actually worse than it looked from the Gallowgate…

Really really poor goalkeeping, that ultimately cost us the game. I know that Rafa was wanting to bring in an experienced goalkeeper in the summer, but even without doing so, he has still made a mess of the goalkeeping situation at Newcastle this season. Neither Darlow or Elliott have proved themselves to be good enough, and I still cant help but feel that Tim Krul is the strongest (and most experienced) of all our goalkeepers. Would you believe it that the other senior keeper on our books has been playing in the Champions League this season! If PCP does fund some money for us in January, you would expect an experienced goalkeeper to come in… I heard Ikea Casillas’ name mentioned in the week, thoughts?

Our most promising attacking threat came from Deandre Yedlin, who I thought had a great game. His defensive abilities can be questioned at times for sure, but I think, especially at home, he makes up for it with his adventures going forward. Merino and Ritchie would come closest by hitting the frame of the goal but, as I keep saying, we never really looked like scoring did we?

A word on Jonjo Shelvey – I actually think he is the best player in our team by a million miles. However, that probably shows just how poor we are right now. Although his form was poor before he was dropped by Rafa, I still maintained that he should always be in the squad for the class that he can bring in tight games. I take that back now. His second yellow card was an act of selfishness in which he didn’t put the team first. Going into a tough run over Christmas, and an even tougher end to the season where we will likely be fighting to stay in the league, do we want guys like that on the pitch? I am not so sure.

Rafa Benitez

Rumours of around 30 million is what people are saying Rafa will be given in January… will that be enough? I don’t think so, unless the club invest well in the loan market, but I just can’t see it. Even if PCP are providing the money, can we still trust Ashley’s cronies to do a deal and entice players to join the club? They haven’t been able to do it over the past 10 years so I don’t really see how they can do it now. Ive been taught not to get my hopes up supporting Newcastle United, and I wont be doing it now. I don’t anticipate much to happen in January, it is going to be a long hard slog til the end of the season for sure.

The Fans

There are a few around me, and others in the ground, who it feels like they almost want some players to fail. It’s crazy. A few people even booing at full-time. If you’re not turning up with the aim of getting behind the team and supporting them, then I’m not sure why you would be there to be honest.

I just don’t see how some fans think that getting on the players back, when they are more than ever under the cosh, is going to help. It is a natural reaction to groan and moan at a misplaced pass or a terrible shot but I do feel some are taking it too far.

Finally, if you have read any of my reports, you’ll know that I do not rate Mohamed Diame at all, I don’t think he’s very good, in fact, I think he’s rubbish. However, the sarcastic cheers when he was subbed off were beyond a joke. That is not Newcastle United in my opinion, as a fan base we are far better than that. I gave him a 0 in my ratings because he didn’t do one thing good, but c’mon, if people are going to do that in a stadium then you again have to question why you are there. Say what you want on social media and comments sections, but for 90 minutes, just get behind the lads.

On a positive, the guys in the singing section were absolutely fantastic. I don’t have a bad word to say about their unrelenting support for the team. You don’t all have to stand and sing for 90 minutes to get behind the team, don’t get me wrong, but we are all going to need a positive attitude to help stop us slipping down the league.

Last Bit

Wednesday night was one of the games that was especially worrying because you couldn’t look at something and see where we are obviously going wrong, Yes Darlow made the mistake, yes Rafa’s selection could include the likes of Mitro or Aarons, but when there’s 11 players out there who are clearly trying their best, and don’t look like they can do any better, then it’s hard to see where the improvement is going to come from.

Yes, we are struggling massively at the moment and I just can’t see where wins are going to come from. Unfortunately, we probably find ourselves in a situation where every team in the league, if you gave them the choice of who they wanted to play, would want to play Newcastle next game.

However, let’s not forget where we are, at least in the league table. I would have taken this position, at this stage in the season, at the beginning of August.

Only Newcastle United could be in a situation where relegation is inevitable when they aren’t even in the relegation zone.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Everton 1


Everton: Rooney 27

Possession was Everton 45% Newcastle 55%

Total shots were  Everton 7 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were Everton 4 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Everton 1 Newcastle 4

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie (Aarons 74), Shelvey (sent off 90+4), Merino (Perez 86), Atsu, Diame (Joselu 67), Gayle

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Clark, Hayden, Murphy

Crowd: 51,042

(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the game HERE)

(Read what Rafa Benitez said after the match HERE)

(Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy argue after Newcastle 0 Everton 1 – Read it HERE)

(Read what Sam Allardyce had to say HERE)

(Read what Wayne Rooney said after the match HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

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  • Soldier

    there was more than a few fans booing i can tell you that and the performance was dismal, you can forget Mitrovic he wont play again for Newcastle but when you leave out Clark and Mbemba in preference to Manquillo and Lejeune then something is the matter.

    • Andy Mac

      Why doesnt the man play some players who MIGHT just score rather than a player who wont score unless its an open goal on his tenth appearance (or however many it was ?)

      • Soldier

        i can`t figure that on out myself

      • Paul Patterson

        And when a player low on confidence and not playing well actually scores he gets dropped.

    • Peaky Magpie

      Mitro has a bad back ?? Six inch Spanish dagger between the shoulder blades I bet !

    • Phil Yare

      Manquillo and Lejeune wouldn’t look out of place in dundee reserves

  • Andy Mac

    “So once again, Everton fans, you better get used to watching that rubbish every week”

    Jonathan nothing personal but Allardyce has three points from that game however DULL it was ?

    We are heading towards the abyss, fans are claiming that its all Fatman’s fault and yet no one is asking the question “Why is a world class manager struggling to win in eight games”?

    • Peaky Magpie

      Why indeed ? Ranieri who is probably lesser thought of in the world game managed to win the PL with at the time a bunch of players no one had hardly heard of.

      • Dillon Tovak

        None of are players are destined to play for Chelsea or come 8th in the Balon D’or.
        None of our players will play for England.
        We don’t have Kasper Schmeichel.

    • grantham mag

      Simply because we have a very, very, weak squad of players who are not good enough for EPL.

  • pacoJones

    I’d rather play in the Prem under Fat Sam than back in the Championship with Rafa in charge. Didn’t Sam only sign a 18 month contract? If so, it obvious that Sam was only hired to steady the ship.

    • Soldier

      so would I

    • Guest 2

      Disgraceful he was allowed to sign for anyone after his latest shenanigans.

      • nufcslf


    • Danimal

      Who’s offering you that bizarre choice?

  • Andynufc

    I agree with this comment about Diame. I was at the Everton game and for the life of me, I don’t see what Rafa sees in him. He must be unreal in training. He just seems to plod around the pitch without a clue on what he’s doing! He played as a number 10 but his support for Gayle was poor. He’s so frustrating to watch. Having said all that, when he did eventually subbed off and the crowd sarcastically cheered, I thought it was in bad taste. I’d rather the crowd just did nothing but I think it’s a sign of how frustrated the supporters are with how thing are going in terms of performances and results. We just need to stick with the team and hopefully we can get ourselves out of this bad run of games.HWTL

    • Soldier

      i`ve read 100`s of books by managers, players etc. some of the best players ever are average in training but when it comes to match day and it`s the real thing they perform

      • Big Al 1967

        Been saying this for months mate.

        • Soldier

          i know

      • Danimal

        Great! We’ve got a whole squad who do it the other way round. Perhaps that’s a new book.

      • Phil Yare

        we should all go to the training and not bother with the matches. 52,000 just to watch diame destroy everyone in training

    • Andy Mac

      Performances are what gets managers sacked but players wandering around without a clue go towards the P60

    • Guest 2

      He’s nowt more than a heavier Sissoko

      • Phil Yare

        makes sissoko look like ronaldo

    • nufcslf

      No, he’s a very well paid professional footballer and should no that he hasn’t put a shift in from those that pay to watch it. But like everything these days, you musn’t hurt anybody’s feelings. Soft as shyte comes to mind.

  • Peaky Magpie

    In the majority of cases “world class managers” without “world class players” are just managers.

    • Danimal

      Comment of the month.

    • Martin

      Spot on Peaky.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Fair comment,ye cannit mekk a silk purse oot of a sows ear,as they say.

    • GToon

      Exactly mate. Right manager. Wrong time.

  • 1957

    I didn’t boo or cheer when SloMo left the pitch, I sat quietly disillusioned with the whole night. What Benitez sees in Diame is beyond me. The manager talks about how well he trains and the Chronicle (along with contributors to this site) talk about his pace, power, physical presence as being important.

    Clearly the captain doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the trains well theory since he came to blows with SloMo over his lack of effort and I’ve never seen any pace, power or physical presence during games. I maybe wrong but I think SloMo has either started or been on the bench for every PL game, its astounding that a ‘top’ manager thinks he is worthy of a place.

    I honestly believe even if we sign a new no.10, Benitez will find a way/excuse to keep Mo involved

    • Andy Mac

      Dear Sadly Disillusioned you have my sympathies. Either Rafa is playing hardball with the Fatman or he’s woefully out of his depth like a lot of ageing managers ? Wenger is another.

    • Dillon Tovak

      I often think Diame is kind of scapegoated.
      Yes he’s terrible, but so are all our players.
      Not one can pass, even Shelvey and Merino give simples balls away.
      No one makes intelligent runs into space.
      No one presents themselves, demanding the ball, bar Ritchie.
      No one can shoot.
      Our keepers are championship standard.
      Clarke and Lascelles are decent, but that’s about it.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        the bottom line is they`re just not good enough at this level.
        99% of them are cast offs what other clubs didn`t want.

        • Phil Yare

          i think ashley has always targeted that type of player. we seem to sign a canny few players who would fail medicals elsewhere.
          i think he just pulls up a list like you can do on fifa or pro evo and see who’s available for a knock down price whilst cashing in on any kind of asset

          • Kneebotherm8

            Pulls up a list and looks straight at the bottom of it.

      • Phil Yare

        absolutely. like you say hes dross but its not like the rest of them are completing passes or retaining the ball.

      • 1957

        The difference for me is I never thought SloMo wasn’t even good enough in the Championship other players were.

        Just like other clubs we’ve had our fair share of scapegoats, I raised the case of Tommy Gibb earlier in the week. Tommy wasn’t a technically gifted player, often made mistakes but you could see he was trying, Mo may be but it isn’t obvious.

  • Dixie

    EFC fan here. Allardyce is many things, but you cannot seriously say he has ‘never saved a club from relegation’. That’s utterly ludicrous.

    • Jimmy_toons

      Notts County 1997

      • Wor Lass

        What does that prove?

  • Wor Lass

    “… in my opinion never even saved a club from relegation …” That`s the bit where I knew who`d written this and, coincidentally, where I decided not to bother reading the rest.

  • Wor Lass

    Personally, I`ve never booed my own player, not even Moussa – but it was a close-run thing!

    • TheNutJob

      Rafa`s off his trolley so i`m watching the clicket

      • Wor Lass

        You`re a glutton for punishment!

        • TheNutJob


  • HappyToons

    We are playing with probably 8 ‘Diame’s’ at present and the fans haven’t been on their backs, you’ll wish you had booed if we start playing with 11 and end up like Sunderland. Isn’t that Diame in goal?

    Darlow needs to get his act together as you can’t get away with mistakes at this level. Diame just isn’t good enough. We need some steel and probably should have bought a couple of proven premiership players last summer, or probably at least 5 needed now.

  • Phil Yare

    totally agree about allardyce, the press holds him in far higher esteem than people like keegan which when you rightly say look at the achievement category is an absolute joke. he is basically lauded for doing nowt, he himself always refers back to his bolton wanderers days as if bolton won the champions league.

    I think yedlin can be outstanding as a attacking threat. rafa seems to have tried everything that doesn’t work and I’m wondering why he has tried yedlin and atsu as wingbacks to give us width – that way we could have our 3 strongest centrebacks in lascelles, clark and mbemba.
    it was good to see richie have a stint of the left but i wouldn’t be surprised if rafa goes back to what doesn’t work (eg keep bringing back diame, joselu and perez – probably the 3 worst players in the league)

  • GToon

    Why hasn’t Rafa tried 3-5-2 with arrons and yedlin on the flanks to pack the middle and lascheles Clarke mbemba at the back with Gayle n mitro up front.

    • S.G.M.

      F.F.sake you cant expect Rafa to play that! we might win or even worse Mitro might score.

  • S.G.M.

    Pulis will get the £30m to spend.