With Newcastle United two weeks into an enforced three week break, we thought it an ideal time to ask some of the regular/irregular writers on The Mag, the important questions of the day.

Only seven weeks of the season remaining and so many talking points, including a very busy/interesting summer ahead.

Newcastle United, yet again, appear to be at a real crossroads…

Comments at the end always welcome.

First up is Jonathan Drape-Comyn:

If Newcastle beat Huddersfield do you think that is safety pretty much sorted? Alternatively, would defeat, or even a draw maybe, put Newcastle back in big trouble, considering it is quite a tough set of matches that remain?

No definitely not. It will be another big step towards safety, but it will only put us on 35 points which come the end of the season won’t be enough to stay up. Of course it is highly unlikely that we will lose 7 in a row after that but you just never know. This is a side who went 9 games (including 8 defeats) without winning earlier in the season.

A win would be massive, but I don’t think relegation survival will be sorted until it is actually sorted.

3 positive words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?

Solid. Form. Together.

3 negative words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?

I honestly can’t think of three. There isn’t much to be negative about at the moment. The squad is moving in the right direction, everyone is playing well, and there has been a big improvement in some of the players who I have been critical of this season such as Gayle, Perez and Lejeune.

We are in good form, the only teams we have lost to since the start of December are Chelsea, Man City (twice) and Liverpool… giving the context of this season, you can’t ask for much more from the team than what we have got in 2018 in my opinion.

Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey not in England squad – discuss.

Lascelles should be in the England squad for me. I am not going to argue with the inclusion of the Burnley players because they have done well this season, but how Alfie Mawson gets in there ahead of Lascelles is a very strange one for me. I include Joe Gomez in that too.

As for Shelvey, I am of the opposite opinion. I don’t think he has done anywhere near enough to be in the squad. Recently he has put in two brilliant performances against Man United and Southampton, but that is not enough to get you in the squad (or at least it shouldn’t be enough).

I know the likes of Livermore are in there ahead of Shelvey, so I see the argument as to why people think Shelvey should be in instead of him. However, based on his form over the past few seasons, his attitude, disciplinary record etc. he wouldn’t be in there if I was picking the team.

Aleksandar Mitrovic – What is his level and are there any circumstances where Rafa Benitez might be convinced by him?

Better than Championship that’s for sure!

It wouldn’t surprise me if he was playing Champions League football for a half decent team in a few years time. I just don’t think Rafa fancies him at all. It doesn’t make him a bad player, or not good enough for Newcastle.

He definitely is good enough, and for me, is a better centre forward than Gayle or Joselu. However, if the manager doesn’t fancy you, or you don’t fit into his plans, then what can you do?

Just a case of being at the right club at the wrong time for Mitro I think.

Alan Pardew, Sam Allardyce, John Carver and Steve McClaren…if you had to choose, in which order would you have them back as Newcastle Manager? (No opting out of this question!)

  1. John Carver.
  2. Steve McClaren
  3. Alan Pardew
  4. Sam Allardyce

The live TV games for April were announced at the end of February. Then suddenly on Thursday (22 March) the Everton game has been moved to a Monday night and fans are only entitled to their ticket money back if they can’t/won’t go now, with no offer to cover non-refundable money already paid for travel and accommodation. Sky get a live game and both Newcastle and Everton bank an extra £1.1m each. Is this situation acceptable?

Of course it isn’t acceptable but it doesn’t look like fans have any power to do anything about it.

Especially at Newcastle at the moment, fans are scrambling for as many away points as possible, it means that someone is always going to take your place.

I still haven’t worked out what I am going to do for the Everton game now, persuading someone to drive is probably going to be the only option.

Football fans are treated badly all over the UK, by the TV companies, the FA, the police, the government, and in some cases by their own club – things have to change, but from my own experiences, unlike the fans in Germany, and even at Celtic… English football fans just don’t have the appetite to fight the system.

Your choice of the three Premier League relegation strugglers, in order, that you’d like to see go down?

  1. West Ham
  2. West Brom
  3. Swansea

The Diame/Shelvey partnership has been a big plus in recent games, do you see this as simply a bonus for the remainder of this season, or one that could be more long-term as first choice?

Judging both players on their form in 2018, especially Diame, I don’t see why they can’t be starting the first game of next season (in the PL). On the other hand, we shouldn’t be setting Diame and Shelvey as the standard in centre midfield.

For me, those two players, plus Merino, should be the absolute minimum standard we should be hoping for in that position if we are to have a decent side.

Looking ahead to the summer, which three positions in the starting eleven are the priorities for improvement?

  1. Centre Forward.
  2. No.10.
  3. Two fullbacks (two back ups – or two players to provide proper competition to Yedlin and Dummett)

When the 2018/19 season kicks off what do you think is the most likely scenario, Ashley here but Rafa gone, Rafa here and Ashley having sold up, or both of them still at St James Park?

If we stay up then both of them here at St James Park.

If we go down, then there is no way Rafa will be here.

Either way, come September, I think Mike Ashley will still be here.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

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  • Paul Patterson

    B******s. You know nowt.
    Of the manager selections 1-4, you’ve rated the managers back to front on actual ability. Carver over Allardyce? Lunacy!
    Can’t take you seriously.

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      got no time for Allardyce or Pardew, irrespective of their ‘ability’ as you may suggest.

      McClaren was rubbish but a nice guy i think.

      Carver although as rubbish as the rest, I at least have some respect for. Actually think he gets a hard time from NUFC fans and i think that probably hurts him a lot.

      And, I do know something.

      • Paul Patterson

        Well enlighten me..

      • Mark Potter

        Respect for Carver? The guy who followed the Pardew school of violence. One of the thickest people in football. But his management record!? How can you have any respect for a man getting results:

        Newcastle 2005 100% wins, but one win out of one game in charge
        Leeds 2006 20% wins
        Toronto 2008-9 30%
        Sheffield Utd 2010 33%
        Newcastle 2015 15%
        Omonia in Cyprus 2016-17 57%

        Wasn’t his win rate for Newcastle in 2015 the worst in Newcastle history? 3 wins in 20 games, 13 defeats. It seemed he was determined to get us relegated.

        • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

          Absolutely terrible record as a manager – although Toronto and Omonia were his only proper jobs lets be honest (still no defence).

          But yes, i have respect for him. I don’t think he is one of the thickest people in football, he has worked in the game for 30 years and was assistant under Bobby.

          I don’t base respect on results – not sure why you would to be honest? I think he was in a terrible position as a local guy, who loves the club. He had waited his whole life to be Newcastle manager, he wasn’t good enough by any stretch of the imagination, but you can’t fault his effort… if anything one of his problems was that he might have cared too much.

          Just to reiterate… I don’t base my respect for Newcastle managers on results.

          • Ram Kishore

            Yes, never base a respect to a person based on results..
            What happened during his tenure in 2015 was very similar to what happened at Birmingham when Gary Rowett was sacked.. I saw the similarity last season.
            Pardew had a phenomenal last three months at Newcastle which got him a chance at Crystal palace..
            The upswing we had that season when pardew was missed.. Yes criticism is fair for Carver because of the results..

      • GeordieJoe

        Over the last 6 weeks Shelvey created a chance every 71 mins vs 245 for Henderson. That’s 5 chances for Shelvey vs 1 for Henderson. That included 2 assists for Shelvey and none for Henderson. Shelvey also has a better number of passes and percentage of completed passes in the final third. All of this with Shelvey in a worse team.

        Henderson made 5 successful forward passes against Holland. England are crying out for someone with the distrubution of Shelvey.

    • Dingus

      Allardyce signs/sells players based on the pay off he’ll receive from the agent. This was uncovered during the England fiasco and he should have been banned from the sport for life, but wasn’t because that’s how corrupt the sport has become. He’s a piece of s***. Pardew is a liar and used his position to humiliate fans of the club he managed. They, for me, have to be 3rd and 4th. Out of the other two, yes, absolutely inept. But John has the one positive of actually being a fan of the club. I would choose them in the exact same order as Jonathan, personally.

      • Ram Kishore

        I definitely dislike Big Sham.. especially after the England Fiasco which made me feel like that the presence of these kind of people anywhere in any sport could be bad thing

        • Peaky Magpie

          Hippo Heed is a crook…

      • mentalman

        whether he is a crook or not he’s the best manager out of the 4 of them

        • Dingus

          I agree. He seems to get a better response out of his players. But for some folk, that isn’t as important as not being a corrupt scumbag. Everything that is wrong with football (and many far more important things!) is down to money. Down to people like Sam Allardyce. He makes my skin crawl. I’d sooner have a monkey in charge. At least that’d be funny. Although it’d probably have to put an end to all those Peter Reid chants…

  • Rabid Dog

    I hate click bait titles like that. Absolutely nothing in the content related to the article’s title.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    You don`t select a player because of his form over past seasons, you pick a player on his current form.
    Don`t you.

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      Well, Shelvey has been good this year (2018) for sure.

      It depends what you mean by form, the past 7 or 8 games? If so then anyone could be in the England squad at anytime… think Jack Colback or Steven Taylor a few years back.

      It should be how you have done over the season so far, and i don’t think he has been that good. Only in the past 2 months has really shown up for us.

      • NUFCLX

        A lot of average players have been selected for England over the years on current form. What separates them from good/great players is consistency over a long period.
        I personally would have Shelvey in the squad but that is my biased opinion.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        you have a 23 man squad therefore you can afford to pick a player such as Shelvey because there isn`t another player in England with his range of passing

        • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

          I’d disagree. I would argue that you have your NUFC goggles on with that one because I reckon Jordan Henderson is as good if not a better passer of the ball than Shelvey. (waiting for the s*** that will come with that opinion haha)

          • David Craig

            I thought Shelvey was superb, when he played for Liverpool, was really surprised when they sold him, but wondered if he instigated the move, with Gerrard still the mainstay, or did they get rid because of his temper and attitude? I was over the moon, when he came to Newcastle, but have been disappointed with his inconsistencies and temperament, but on his day he’s superb. Henderson does a lot of hard work in the midfield, often passes safely to the side, but when he decides, or is allowed to roam forward, he can pick out a perfect pass. What makes Shelvey stand out is his ability to make the Hollywood passes, that most players wouldn’t even attempt. Granted, they don’t always come off, due to their difficulty, thereby lowering his pass completion percentage, but when they do come off Shelvey can prove to be a match winner. People prefer to see that type of players, as opposed to the safer option of the likes of Henderson, but, historically, leaving temperament out, England managers would pick a Henderson over a Shelvey, almost every time! I’ve seen some great passers of the ball, at Newcastle, with Terry Hibbitt, Terry McDermott, Tommy Cassidy, Chris Waddle, Gazza, Ginola and Robert, to name just a few and, for me, Shelvey is up there with them.

            I enjoyed reading your answers, by the way!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Shelvey is different to other English midfielders but I don’t think he fits in with how Southgate wants to play.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    If Rafa leaves for whatever reason expect the return of the Toxic Twins.
    The Silver Scumbag & Geordie John Carver

    • Dillon Tovak

      I think it would be great if Carver came back with the mighty Pards as his number two and McClaren as his director of football.
      Oh yeah, Kinnear as head of PR.
      Maybe get lawro in as defensive coach.

      • Keeganontherebound

        Fantastic. Allardici in charge of transfers and we’re sorted.

      • Peaky Magpie

        Not having that Dillon….you’ve left no place for the bong eyed midget….

  • Jezza

    3 negative words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?

    Fat Mike Ashley.

    • Mark Potter

      If we are fat-shaming, your picture suggests you have a few pounds you could lose. And people called “Mike” probably disagree that it’s a negative word.

      • Cuh


      • Dillon Tovak

        Alright a-hole that’s a bit uncalled for and most likely untrue.
        Back under your rock with you.

        • Mark Potter

          What’s untrue? The picture or the fat-shaming that goes on all the time, that passes as informed commentary in this forum?

          Ashley might be someone you disagree with, but his weight is not relevant. Especially when our manager could hardly be described as of slim build. And we know from population statistics that it’s likely that over 62% of the adults who support the club are overweight, with at least as many as 28% clinically obese. So, if the profile picture is him, then it appears he shares the same problem as Ashley and the majority of supporters. More exercise, less beer and take aways, more fruit and vegetables, all seem to be good advice for everyone, whether you are a billionaire or not.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You make a fair point, I wonder how many who call Ashley “fat” considerthemselves athletic.

          • Geordiegiants

            Not me!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Looking at recent photos of Mike, I’d say I’m a similar weight as him but I’d say i was not as fat as Jezza (if his picture is him) .

          • Mark Potter

            He seems to have lost a bit of weight in the last few years. Maybe he could do one of them “Lose weight with Mike” diet/exercise videos. They would make great Xmas presents ;)

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            All based on a Lonsdale food supplement plan available at Sports Direct. If they actually do that, Jezza / Leazes’ will be more convinced than ever that I’m some sort of stooge!!!

          • Mark Potter

            True. But it’s easier to spell fat, than “billionaire businessman” or “capitalist profiteer” (depending on your point of view).

          • Wor Lass

            When you consider “FCB”, the only bit that`s really controversial is the “cockney” bit. He IS fat and he IS a bar steward, at least in the more common usage of the term to describe someone who is a complete and utter n*b, but he was born in Buckinghamshire so can`t really be a cockney (unless he`s got exceptional hearing). It`s not nice to call someone names based on their physical flaws but it`s even nastier to take the p*ss out of the whole population of a city and region by embarrassing their club and dragging it`s name through the dirt.

          • mentalman

            there’s probably a large percentage of the city couldn’t care less what he was doing

          • Keeganontherebound

            You’re worried about people ‘fat shaming’ Ashley when he treats his SD employees in the way he does? He does a lot more to shame himself.

          • Mark Potter

            I’m not worried about it. Just find it amusing that someone who looks like they could lose a few pounds, can’t think of anything more imaginative than to call someone else fat. Jezza thinks he’s still at school.

          • Geordiegiants


      • Lord

        I don’t like the ‘Fat’ adjective either.

        How about “Michael James Ashley” instead.

  • Dillon Tovak

    Can’t be arsed to read such a dumb article but to answer the headline, Pards all day!

  • BroonSauce

    What caliber bullet is it?

  • Mike D

    1. Pardew
    2. Allardyce
    3. My Grandma
    4. Any semi-aquatic mammal
    But I’d be happy with none of the above.

  • robbersdog

    A gun to my head…Alan Pardew, Sam Allardyce, Steve McClaren or John Carver back as Newcastle Manager?

    I’d say…pull the f*cking trigger.

    • Geordiegiants

      Drop the bomb would be more appropriate.