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In an ideal world, Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and Mike Ashley in Durham sharing a cell with Charles Bronson

4 years ago

With Newcastle United just over 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 47 days until the season ends 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.

Next up is Jamie Swan:

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

I used to always say left back…but Dummett has really come on leaps and bounds and Rafa loves to rely on a six or seven out of ten player as he knows what he is getting.

I think we need two strikers and a creative player who can be attacking centrally or play either wing. Murphy was probably bought with that in mind and maybe he will come to the party instead.

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?

In an ideal world, Rafa Benitez here and Mike Ashley in Durham sharing a cell with Charles Bronson for crimes against humanity.

But the most likely will be Ashley here and if that’s the case, it could be that Rafa will go because of that. But Rafa is a fighter and he might just stick with it and keep pushing the fat man’s buttons for a bit longer. Who knows?!

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?

I think a win puts us in pole position to avoid the last three game barney at the bottom. I don’t see us getting beat, but I do see another tight game like against Brighton, as they are not scoring many at the minute.

Will plump for a dirty one nil and I expect us to stay up regardless, as our form is solid enough to scrape the points we need.

3 positive words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?

Solid, together, tough.

3 negative words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?

Ashley, Charnley, Ashley.

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

It never ever surprises me when Newcastle players get overlooked.

The most recent game Southgate watched us was against Liverpool, so apart from watching videos what’s he seen?

It looks to me like he wants to replicate his Under 21s and for me, although a lot of these are bang average and not as good as either Jamaal or Jonjo, we have done very well at International level at younger ages.

To be honest, I don’t foresee us doing anything in the Summer in Russia apart from upping Burberry’s summer sales figures and launching deckchairs around streets before being panned off the Ruskies. But as it’s worked for other countries, keeping continuity and blooding youngsters in, I’m not against it.

But quite frankly my love and  interest in England waned a long time ago. I’ll watch all the games and no doubt wonder why the hell I did after.

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

Aleksandar who? Look, he’s mister marmite and as it happens I actually like the lad and think he probably could offer something, but more critically (clearly) Rafa does not feel he fits into his team plan. So it’s game over for Mitro and we all need to move on, and so does the lad for the right price.

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!)

This is the most unbelievably difficult question to answer. If I had a gun to my head I’d let you shoot and let someone else make that decision. Fortunately for us we will never be darkened by these guys again. Until the next one that is.

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

To be honest, you could juggle all four, so don’t judge me. I am basing on it the fact that Hippo Heed and Hair Island McClaren managed to be chosen for England duty and have done well historically at other teams.

Pardew only slightly above Carver for head butting services.

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?

Is the situation acceptable? Probably not, but is it expected? Aye. Sky own our game, and we all know they don’t give a rat’s ass about the fans and the travelling arrangements. If we had a fixture against a Martian XI, Sky would have us do it on Christmas Eve.

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

Having a passionate dislike of most things not Newcastle United I can think of 19 teams that I would quite like to see go down. Unfortunately, some of the ones most hated don’t frequent the smelly end of the table.

However, West Brom are going and I’d like to see Stoke and Southampton go down, just for the craic of Hughes relegating two teams. Though West Ham imploding and going down would be amusing. I’d quite like to see all three promoted teams stay up if I’m honest, as it is an achievement.

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?

I think these lads have really upped their game compared to the start of the season.

Diame is without doubt our most improved player by a mile, but with sentiment aside lets look at facts and think whether he is going to be the mainstay of this team for years to come – the answer is no.

Jonjo is a bit more of a puzzle and if Rafa cracks it, I think he can be a part of the team – if he stops dropping onto the centre halves’ toes and taking his game 20 yards further forward.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JamieSwan1


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