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‘Imagine it will be Mike Ashley and Rafa still here…Rafa scrapping around for loan buys, Ashley counting the TV money’

1 year ago
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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 48 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 GToon:

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?

If we beat Huddersfield I think we will be safe, as the momentum and confidence will carry us over the finishing line.

If we draw it won’t be the worst result in the world.

A defeat would put us in trouble, not just in terms of points dropped, but the swing in momentum would be huge, handing the initiative to the teams around us.

I don’t see our current team as being particularly good at winning the must win games.

I do see the likes of Swansea, Huddersfield and Palace being able to somehow put a run of three or four wins together.

Perhaps their fans think the same about us.

3 positive words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?

Resilient, organised, determined.

3 negative words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?

Toothless, nervous, beatable.

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

JL and JJS are not in the England squad because they play for the wrong team. It’s been that way since I can remember. The Home Counties select eleven doesn’t quite stretch to SJP.

On the same score my love of football struggles to go beyond the Tyne.

I hope our lads get a good rest in the summer and England lose every game. I’d also like to see those stupid England car flags made out of something biodegradable so that they disintegrate after the group stages in line with the team.

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

I think Mitro could play in the EPL but I just don’t think Rafa rates him.

I can’t understand why he won’t keep him as an impact sub, as he clearly has the physical presence that our other forwards haven’t.

I don’t think it’s a confidence issue either and regardless of how many goals Mitro bangs in, I think he will be sold this summer, unless Rafa isn’t around of course.

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!)

Allardyce, Pardew, McClaren and then Carver. The first three are managers of varying  degrees of ability. The last one is a lunatic.

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?

The Everton away game is an unfortunate situation where you have the greed of Sky Sports, matched by the greed of our owner.

Fans will always come last where those two are involved.

It isn’t acceptable but it certainly isn’t a surprise.

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

WBA, Stoke, Crystal Palace. Palace on the last day of the season would be nice too.

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?

Diame has turned his game around and is working really hard.

I don’t see it being the answer long-term as I think Rafa would like to improve the central midfield options we have. I also think Diame is getting on a bit and I’m not sure if he will be able to transfer his current form to next season.

Shelvey would always have a place in the team for me. I’d also try pushing him further forward at times too.

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

I think we need a creative midfielder, a goal scorer and a defensive midfielder. I think the players under threat are Gayle, Diame and Perez. That is assuming we manage to hold on to Kenedy and the keeper.

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?

I would imagine it will be Ashley and Rafa still here…Rafa scrapping around for loan buys, Ashley counting the TV money, and another season just like the one we are having now.
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