At the start of the season I, like many others, had Jonjo Shelvey down as the single most important player Newcastle would be relying upon this season.

With our overall lack of creativity and strike potency, his set-pieces and through balls were going to be pivotal in winning points.

Here we are in February and Jonjo Shelvey still doesn’t officially have an assist or a goal to his name.

He’s played a couple of key passes that have led to goals but whatever hope we had that Shelvey could pull the strings in an advanced role, seem like a distant championship memory. Very little has come off for him playing against the higher standard of Premier League defender and without a top level striker to put away what scant chances we do create.

This had been a big disappointment earlier in the season, without that facet on show, Shelvey seemed to be a bystander in many games. He was overshadowed by Merino (and Hayden?), his juniors in the middle of the park.

Recently Diame has come to the fore, he’s come on leaps and bounds and won many deserved plaudits.

Against Manchester United, Shelvey too got much praise for his excellent and much improved performance, but rather than a one off, that game seems to be a culmination of changes in Shelvey’s approach that have proved fruitful over the last month or so.

Whether Shelvey has been told to focus his efforts elsewhere, or something has clicked and he’s more successfully implementing instructions Rafa had been giving him all season, there has been an ongoing trend of significant improvement in his return defensively.

Shelvey’s eight interceptions in the last three games are as many as he had made in sixteen games prior.

His five clearances in the last five games are as many as he’s made in the previous ten games.

He’s made five successful tackles in five games. A number he only achieved across ten games before that.

Most strikingly though, the eight defensive dribbles Shelvey has made in his last five appearances are twice as many as the four he had made in all 15 games in the rest of the season.

Shelvey’s inconsistency is a concern that has followed him throughout his career. He’s always been capable of eyecatching performances but usually for his efforts in a more advanced role.

If this effort to be able to impact games continues, whether we’re on top or not, he may yet become the most important player to Newcastle that many of us hoped he could be.

You can follow the author on Twitter @bigchrisholt

To feature like Chris Holt submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • Rich Lawson

    i was most impressed by his hard but fair tackling against Man’ U’,he’s had a slagging for not getting back in the past but he was immense ,a complete player that day.don’t single him out now,let’s see if the whole team can replicate that performance on Saturday ?

    • Wor Lass

      In the absence of Clarko (presumably, he`s undergoing the final stages of achieving Godhood) I`ve got to say, Rich, that your punctuation needs some attention! I agree with your assessment of Shelvey, though. Mind, if he`d missed one of those tackles the red card would have been out quicker than you could say “penalty, ref”.

      • Rich Lawson

        Well timed,but potentially lethal,I liked them.But as you say, with his record !

    • Cockneytrev

      I agree with your assesment of his display against manure”but I’d say “complete Midfield player” It’s been his best performance n a black and White shirt, the timing of his tackling was perfect,,,,

  • DavyB

    Good article, backed up with stats to prove the point. Shelvey was superb against Man U. I always think it’s down to concentration with him (and a rush of blood when things aren’t going well). If he’s matured and can control his passion, we will have a class player on our hands. It’s still a big IF?

    • Leazes.

      I was just going to say the exact opposite, although it is well written as ever.

      A players contribution doesn’t necessarily show up in figures (they aren’t ‘stats’). Shelvey’s speed of thought with the free kick against Manure was a major contribution to the goal….. Shelvey has set up the assisters playing the ball wide and spreading play. … nothing to show in figures though!

      The problems here are lack of finishers. We seem to have a decent goalkeeper for the time being and have strengthened with Ashleys loanees.

      Accountants don’t understand the application of Stats they only understand figures especially totals, their minds are locked in columns.

      • DavyB

        I understand what you are saying. Is there no such thing as ‘key passes’ anymore? I think the description used to say something along the lines of ‘a pass which leads to a goal scoring opportunity’. In which case you could have a stat which would add to Shelveys performance. There are other such things which aren’t measurable such as leadership, vision etc so the writer has used the things that are. It’s not a science but it is an indicator.

        • Leazes.

          yup

  • Leazes.

    What happened to the debt’ Chris…. it seems to have been amalgamated into Ashleys asking price as I always said it would?

    I went through the clubs accounts but I didn’t manage to find where the debt had come from although everyone knew it was collateral assets (stadium rebuild) and player mortgage pay offs.

    Funny thing about the accounts is they get more and more complex as Ashleys years passed and the mention of football has totally disappeared since the last accounts of Shepherd.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Really Leazes, you have changed your tune.

      Are you saying the Debt to MA is the debt the club were in back in 2007 and an injection to cover the losses & working capital?

      You really must thank the person who explained that to you, countless times. You don’t need to thank me…errr that person countless times, just the once will do.

      • Geordiegiants

        Go on Bobbi bore him some more!

        • Leazes.

          Is that who it is….I just get ‘this user is blocked’ on my screen I blocked him months ago using the downward chevron button on the right of his post……was it interesting?

          £300m with no debt.

          Something else I found is that Ashley has converted about £4m worth of shares in United to transferable status…. I wonder where that is heading

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m genuinely interested in where you found this? How do you value it at £4m?

            Transferrable to what?

            It’s just he can change the share arrangements at any time.

            So tell us Leazes’, it’s just sometimes you make stuff up.

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Is Bobbi a girls name? Are you a girl?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Yes it is

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Your a Thatcherite too….

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            A bit too liberal for you

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Im 84 so how am I too young for you….

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Really,? Put your teeth in, you’ve pulled.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Any answer Leazes?

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          I think he purposely pretends not to understand to wind me up and tells fibs to mislead.

          • Ben Jones

            Are you an accountant? (Don’t worry not asking for services)

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Fraud so

          • Ben Jones

            What model would you adopt if you were the new owner (2 billion wealth) and you paid 330m for the club at the end of this season? (including what would you do regarding debt/convert) ,

            Sorry to trouble you

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’d keep the debt / equity the same and any new money would be debt (as Ashley did), ideally, structure it so the premium on the shares is also debt but we’ll leave that for now.

            It depends on the wealth of the new owner, PCP appear to have about £50m budgeted to add to the playing staff but that could be PR spin. So, PCP’s group would lend around £56m on top of the current £144m to be about £200m. I’d not be surprised if they charge interest!

            As the club should create around £40m surplus without player sales, that should allow decent additions.

            Perhaps they will do this later but they may want a quick return so could do a Glazier. They could start allowing external borrowing and repay their own debt. In 4-5 years we may find the £200m of debt being payable to External lenders.

            What I mean is PCP will initially take on the £144m to repay Mike and if they keep to their word put another £56m in so they are owed £200m. If we improve playing wise and the EPL graveyard train continues, Nufc could borrow in its own right. So, the NUFC can go to Barclays and a load of others and ask for a loan of £200m which repays £144m plus interest charged as well as the £56m of new money. PCP investors will then have £200m plus interest back in their bank accounts and still own the shares in the club.

            As an exit, they may start selling shares to fans. If the club are doing OK, they could sell their own shares in a share issue and maybe relinquish 25pc of their shares for say £186m, they then own 75% of NUFC but have £386m (the money they put up in the first place) back with interest.

            Just a guess of course!!!!

          • Ben Jones

            So in the above scenario would that mean that the club itself will only gain the initial 56m extra over and above what we would have gotten doing it the way that we are? (Meaning 56m extra funds full stop and not per year etc?)

            If they take interest as you said they could/probably would , this will then come out of our future yearly ‘profits’/net spend every year is this correct? And if so will that mean that we will in the future end up with less ‘profits’/net spend than we would doing it if we continued as we are?

            If the initial outlay is 386m as above what would be a reasonable percentage interest on that for someone looking for a reasonable return and how much per year does this equate too?

            Sorry again for questions it’s cool if you want to ‘tap out’ so to speak

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s all guess work and i’m just being a little cynical over PCB’s bid / plans.

            She’s used the phrase ‘make available’ £50m for players, that of course does not mean they are not going to throw money in but it could equally mean they will allow the club to borrow £50m.

            In my scenario, you are right, the £56m is gong to be the only ‘new’ money and the bet will be that will be enough to kick start the performance on the pitch. In a way, that’s what Ashley did but the extra money made available really just financed the losses as the wages were far too high. At least now, anyone coming in will be able to make a difference.

            If an investor charges interest, yes, it would make the profit less and it follows, less would be available to spend. The amount they charge (if anything) depends on what the investor’s goal is.

            I’m only speculating as to the intentions but the aims of PCP investors are likely to be growth or income. If it’s growth ( and this is most likely) then they may not charge interest but usually, they want more money than they put in and want it as quick as possible.

            They may well be huge Newcastle United fans who want the club to boom but given that the biggest name was a Chelsea fan, that seems unlikely.

          • Ben Jones

            I’ll be honest I’ve probably got about 30 questions I could post but it’ll be unfair to keep asking as it would feel to me like I’m pestering you .

            Incase you were unsure of my motives rest assured they were just questions to clear up questions i had in my head rather that trying to pigeonhole you into an opinion if that was how it seemed

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            There are many different types of investor and the strategy will be different to each.

            My guess with PCP is they want to grow the value of the club but will not want to tie up their money for any longer than necessary.

            It may well be good for us as fans as we may see a more ambitious next few seasons but they are unlikely to keep pouring money in.

            I suspect the initial investment will be designed to get us up the table but they will still want the club to be self sufficient after that initial push and they will want to start to see their money back.

            For all that, they may actually be super wealthy swimming in oil wealth and just on an ego trip where we are out-muscling City and Chelsea but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

  • Paul Patterson

    It’s obvious what has ‘happened’ to Shelvey, it’s the same as what happened to Diame- Kenedy happened.

    • Ben Jones

      Never thought of it like that

    • Down Under Mag

      Yup, Kenedy getting the defensive attention and dragging opposition out of the way and giving the likes of Diame and Shelvey more time on the ball. Hopefully when Slimani plays he will feed off those balls from Shelvey that the increased time and space will afford him.

  • nufcslf

    Statistics simply mean f**k all and get on my nerves. Results at the end of 90 mins are all that count and the majority of ours are plain shyte. This club has nothing to do with fans or football all because of the fat c**t that cares even less. One result that will be likely followed up by a none performance and loss in what looks like another crucial 6 pointer is all we will left with until fatty goes.

  • Leazes.

    The auditors Ernst and Young resigned from their contract with the club in Dec 2016…. that is a big thing, its unusual to free yourself from liability, they seem to have seen a necessity.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      I thought you’d blocked me, so why ask me?

      However, a few reasons. NuFC may not be impressed with the service / advice if they have HMRC at the door.

      Given the timing, I suspect the change of auditor may coincide with PCP’s interest and the DD they pursued.

      You can’t read this as you’ve blocked me, right :-)

  • Tomb

    Think he’s done well in recent weeks. As has been stated by other fans he completely outplayed pogba last match. A player on 80000 a week for a club that allegedly can’t compete on wages with anyone. Interesting that Bournemouth have stated that they couldn’t compete with wages Newcastle were offering Ritchie, again goes against the Mag view that we don’t compete with any PL teams on wages