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.

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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  • Paul Patterson

    Good points. However, I can’t see Rafa putting up with more false promises and loan deals. Unless substantial funds (£60m+) is put up early in the window, he will be off as someone will pay up his contract and give him funds to build a side . .

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      To get £60m out of the Fat lad would be nothing short of a Biblical Miracle
      on a par with the parting of the Red Sea

      • Paul Patterson

        The money banked from staying the Prem (Plus Mitro, Diame, etc funds) should be enough for a decent rebuild of the side. I won’t hold my breath . .

        • Lord

          Don’t forget about the £30m+ for Lascelles.

        • Jezza

          The key word there is “banked” because that is exactly what will happen to all that money.

      • Jezza

        You can knock the nought off that figure and your comment will still be perfectly valid.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Stavely’s lot were only going to make £50m available so you think he’s off if she takes over?

      • Paul Patterson

        We don’t know what she WOULD have made available ..

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          I suspect we’ll be looking at a net spend of £20m if Mike Ashley owns the club. If Mitrovic goes for £12-£15m the spend will be around the £35m mark. I’m assuming there will be no shocks, i.e. silly money may come in for Lacelles and Shelvey and the spend will be higher even if the net spend will perhaps be lower – I have a feeling Shelvey will be the one to go as I’ve heard he wants to move south.

          • Paul Patterson

            So we may need a whole new central midfield . .

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We may need a whole team, transfer windows can come up with lots of problems most of which is unfounded rumour.

          • Ram Kishore

            Where did you hear that Shelvey wants to make move?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Just pub talk that he wanted to be off in January. He’s played well since then but that could confirm he’s playing for a move or show that he’s actually enjoying life here.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        in Dec they said they would make £50m available & that was for the Feb window, then a further £50m in the summer,
        that`s £100m more than the Fat Lad will spend

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          If the deal goes through, bare in mind the purchase price will be at least £50m for than it was in December, i would place my Desree and Harry Hype winnings on us not spending more than a net spend of £50m in the Summer. I’m also happy to bet those winnings on us spending more thna a net spend of £10m if Mike Ashley stays on.

        • Jezza

          I’m still waiting to see the £100 million that the troll Fleckman repeatedly insisted Ashley would make available last summer.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    That`s cheered me up no end, i have a horrible feeling the Pig will still be here when we kick off next season.
    As for the Huddersfield game it`s the 31st must win game of the season & barring a major disaster we will win it

    • CaptainCaveman

      I’ve no doubt he’ll still be here. Every season people convince themselves that there is going to be a buyout in the Summer and then it doesn’t happen, only for another season of scraping by to follow. I don’t believe he has any intention of selling unfortunately.

    • Jezza

      I haven’t got that same horrible feeling that the pig will still be here next season. In my case it’s just a weary resignation to that absolute certainty.

  • Rich Lawson

    Unless I am mistaken,when the summer comes their is no longer a penalty clause in Rafa’s last year of contract so he can walk with his head held high at no personal cost ? That put’s him in a very strong bargaining position in the summer,”Show me the money” !?

    • Jezza

      …..and a Rafa free to walk most certainly will be shown the money, lots of it, there is no doubt about, it just won’t be by Mike Ashley and Newcastle United.

  • Leazes.

    I see that Gtoon’s ‘positives’ actually cancel out the ‘negatives’….. very funny!

    • Wor Lass

      What we want is for someone to list 3 negatives then another three negatives. If my old maths teacher was right, the negatives will battle each other and leave only positives behind. I`m going to send that one in to SJP – Bishop`ll love it!

    • GToon

      That’s why we draw so many!

  • Wor Lass

    “The Home Counties select eleven doesn’t quite stretch to SJP.” The thing is, G, there were two Spuds players in the starting 11 and everyone else plays for Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City and Everton. The subs had 4 from London, 4 from the midlands, 2 from Burnley and 1 each from Manchester, Merseyside, Swansea and Bournemouth. There doesn`t actually seem to be a Southjern bias – just one towards the top 4 in the PL, which is what you would expect. The north of England is much more heavily represented than anywhere else. The thing with Jonjo is that he blotted his copybook big time with his ban for “racist language” and he had a go with England and didn`t clinch his place. He`s started to play well enough again but I think he`s got to prove himself over a longer period. Jamaal is definitely good enough, in my opinion, but again he needs to do it for a longer period. Also, I`m not sure his game on the ground is convincing enough yet. The way the England team passed the ball the other night was a real departure from past styles and I`m not sure Jamaal can play like that yet. Jonjo`s omission might be slightly tinged with “PC-ness” but I think Jamaal, rightly or wrongly, has been passed over for a footballing reason, at least.

    • GToon

      Ok, fair enough but I’ve always thought it was the case that our players had to do twice as much to get international recognition compared to their southern counterparts. Look at the recently retired Ryan Mason. While he was at Spurs he played for England. How? What use was he? But he played on the doorstep of the FA so he got in. Out of sight out of mind.
      Look at Andy Cole and his sudden recognition when he left us, same with Beardsley and Supermac too. Natrass overlooked. Once Waddle and Gazza left they became much more selectable.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Ashley will spend what the club has nothing more nothing less. The way the Mag goes on you would not think he is the first Chairman not to take a penny out of the club.

    • TheFatController

      I say this every time to you, but he’s promoting a huge retail operation and gets plenty of exposure in his dual role as the big man at that retailer and our club.

      How you can think he isn’t like other Chairmen we’ve had? he knows he gets huge returns on free advertising and associated PR, plus any profit on the sale.

      How many times do you need to be told that Ashley is making huge money indirectly, and will make more money on the sale of the club, before you stop extolling his virtues as a benefactor of the club or as a victim of our prejudice against him?

      You really don’t get it do you, how people make money outside of a basic wage or straight dipping nto a bank account of a club you own, in this world? That’s a stunning naivety you’re showing …

  • Wor Monga

    If we…(and I say that we will for sure) beat Huddersfield…then we are a long way down the road to harnessing the most powerful force in football…the home Toon support…For a long time a lot of negativity, fear and defeatism has circulated around the ground, during matches, and on these websites…fed mainly by the actions of the tight c*nt that runs the club, the succession of mediocre managers he’s hired, and the ‘stepping stone’ ideology of the players they brought in…

    …but right now, at the ground the atmosphere is 100% positive, the manager is getting his top level message across and players are playing with a lot of confidence for the shirt again…other clubs are coming here and starting to see a fortress rather than acres of silent blank, nervous, frightened faces, and the Black and White stripes are rising again…

    …So how come is it we see so much negativity from the writers and the comments on here…from quite a few who hate everything about the club, and yet get straight on their keyboards to tell us so every morning, without fail…yet they won’t go (and proudly proclaim they haven’t for years) to lend the lads any support, at all…

    …I often wonder why they don’t just sit at home watching re-run videos of those all too short glory days of yesteryear, and realise the simple truth that they are gone now, and that negativity and being negative (in football) for it’s own sake never ever leads to a positive result!!!

  • Jezza

    “Rafa scrapping around for loan buys, Ashley counting the TV money”

    Don’t forget the Lascelles and Mitrovic money, he’ll be counting that too while Rafa, sorry, Pardew, scrapes around for loan deals.

  • kingfisher

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. If anyone thinks Mike Ashley will spend enough for us to compete and not worry about relegation, then they should be on medication.
    The takeover was put on hold because lack of investment put us in a relegation fight, and Ashley STILL