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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  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    In a cell with Bronson.
    If i had my way the Fat Pig would be in a wood chipper & scattered all over
    Kielder Forest

    • Peaky Magpie

      Haven’t heard from the old wood chipper in a while….

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        It`s on standby Peaky all oiled up & ready to go

        • Peaky Magpie

          ….a bit like Penfold’s back passage after a week in Durham HMP then….

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            He`ll be the 1 with Bronson
            pick up the soap in the shower Lee

          • East Durham Mag

            “Lee if it makes easier shut your eyes and imagine i’m Mike”

          • Mark Potter

            And you’re advocating rape. What a sicko you are.

    • Mark Potter

      Sounds like you need to be the one in prison, advocating murdering a human being.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    See today that both West Brom and West Ham are struggling to pay the players wages and West Ham have had to go cap in hands to the banks to get an overdraft or they would go into administration. The people on here continue to have a pop at Ashley but he has us on sound financial footing and without him we would be in a sorry state a bit like our friends down the road. The quicker people on here realise that there is only so much money in our bank account to spend the better.
    Look forward to West Brom, West Ham and Sunderland being in big bother as they spent beyond their means unlike Newcastle.

    • East Durham Mag

      Gosh is’nt Mike wonderful….. i prefer the Moose’s wood chipper idea.

    • Wor Lass

      There is some sense to what you say but the big issue with many people isn`t the lack of money in total, it`s the lack of apparent backing for the manager and the treatment of fans with absolute disdain. The man has been proven to be a liar in court and he runs his businesses in a bullying and secretive manner. If there`s a corner to cut then he`ll cut it.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Perhaps Ashley could have put some more of his personal money into the club but no other chairman has only him.

  • Rich Lawson

    Interesting to see that West Ham who were raided by the tax people at the same time as us have now seen Sullivan hit by the court and ordered to pay £700k back.Our (Ashley/Charnley) judgement must be just around the corner as well then ?

    • Wor Lass

      That`s probably why Ashley won`t commit a budget figure until July (along with the fact that he doesn`t want to spend anything if he can avoid it).

      • Leazes.

        Nah its VAT on transfers….going awol.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          as ever, you are wrong. The accusation is not about VAT

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            please enlighten us then

          • Leazes.

            What did he say?

          • MichaelMaximusMoose


          • Mark Potter

            It’s about payment of income tax by players, on hidden payments they allegedly received via their agents.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The thick lying idiot has me on block so he’ll never learn.

            It doesn’t take a genius (& Leazes’ is certainly no a genius) to work out if it’s not VAT it must be….

            The accusation is that the clubs were deliberately paying agents knowing this money would be paid to players and therefore avoiding employment taxes.

    • Peaky Magpie

      I would be straight round to Penfold’s house and have his passport off him if I were the authorities…..he’ll be shytting himself as he’ll take all the brunt while Lardy walks…

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Be surprised if Newcastle have done anything illegal as the accountants and Finance Directors were whiter than white as is Charnley.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Course he is, that`s why HMRC raided his house at 5am in the morning & carted him away

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Be interesting to see who is right I for one believe the club are in the clear. Yes they might pick up some things but they do in all companies. Be some sad people on here if we receive no fine.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            Jail would be the best option, a fines nothing to the Pig

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Why jail someone who has stabilised the club and put in more money than any other Chairman in the history of the club. Seems unfair to me.

          • Mark Potter

            A fine/jail for who? Sorry to disappoint you, but you do realise that the ultimate owner of the club isn’t involved in the day to day running of the club? He is neither an employee, Director or Company Secretary. Since he has no legal status in the club, he can’t be liable for the actions of the club. Charnley is the only Director of the club, and you don’t need to appoint a Company Secretary these days.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You realise that the club will be penalised so Rafa’s transfer pot will be lower.

        • Mark Potter

          They were on a fishing expedition. He hasn’t been charged with any offence. And is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

          • Mike

            wots the crack with beardo?

      • Rich Lawson

        Oh come on ! Really ?

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          It is true.

          • Rich Lawson

            You can’t like him tho’ Bobbi ? Despite the stat’s which I know you can reel out,do you really think he has the club’s best interests at heart at the end of the day ?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            My view is that we needed Ashley to sort the club out, had he have sold up in 2014 saying I can’t take it forward I think he would have done well despite the relegation as that was almost inevitable.

            As for now, I’m not sure what more can be asked. More money? Well, I’d budget as if relegation was a possibility in the first season and the slowly build.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Penfold`s the fall guy

  • Leazes.

    …Question….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!)….

    Why ask the question Mr, Jensen?

    it looks like you are acclimatising fans for the inevitable tea cup throwing head coach when Rafa leaves! Why ask when its not going to happen…. you would have a half empty Stadium, and the fans aren’t going to put up with Scouse boy Ryder’s ‘95% are right behind you Pards stuff!

    To get Ashley out is going to need an empty stadium but its suddenly become harder as a lot of them boycotting the Stadium of Light will mosey on up here instead…yes they will! and that boycott has had an effect in Short genuinely putting up for sale!

    It sounds like you are teasing and tormenting people into accepting Rafa’s role as a puppet…so keeping this nonsense going….stand up man!

    • MichaelMaximusMoose


  • Alex

    Ashley in a cell with Charles Bronson????

    Seriously, what on Earth has Bronson ever done to deserve that??!!

  • Mark Potter

    Charles Bronson the US actor?

    Or Charles Salvador, formerly known as Charles Bronson, formerly known as Michael Peterson. The notorious violent criminal. Having changed his name to the US actor in 1988, he changed it again in 2014 to Charles Salvador, in tribute to his favourite artist Salvador Dali.

    He announced on his website, “The old me dried up… Bronson came alive in 1987. He died in 2014.” He also announced that he was renouncing violence and wished to distance himself from those who sought to associate themselves with him due to his past reputation, commenting that “It’s non-violent all the way. It’s a peaceful journey from here on… Coz my heart is at peace and my mind is set on art.” There are no reports of him committing violence since. He spends his time creating works of art described as “fantasy reality”.

    Salvador married a Coronation Street actress in 2017. She said at the time: “I’m madly in love with Charlie and he’s madly in love with me. But even I can’t believe I’m marrying Britain’s most notorious prisoner. We just want to be a normal couple”. You couldn’t make it up!
    He’s still in prison.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Why do they allow him a website, porridge? It’s more like bleeding caviar.

    • Rich Lawson

      You’d think he’d been punished enough without shareing a cell with Ashley ?