The season closed for Newcastle United on Sunday 13 May.

So what does everybody think about the past, present, and future for NUFC?

We have asked some of our regular/irregular writers to give us some feedback on a number of questions about the club, as yet another vital close season confronts us.

Next up is contributor Jonathan Drape-Comyn:

How relaxed are you at the minute in terms of everything turning out OK this summer?

I am relaxed…but not because I think everything is going to turn out ok. I am relaxed because I am simply used to this now after 11 years of Mike Ashley.

We know what is going to happen; few signings, all relatively young, little money will be spent in comparison with smaller teams in the division, we will be linked with a load of players who we won’t get it and come deadline day, we will all be disappointed but go with the logic of ‘well this is what we have so lets get behind the lads until January’. Repeat.

Three words that describe your current mood regarding Newcastle United?

Need to improve!

What efforts should be made to keep last season’s loan players and what  likelihood do you think there is of Newcastle signing each of them this summer?

Martin Dubravka:

Every effort. First no-brainer of the summer. I am actually surprised it hasn’t been announced yet, despite foreign signings having a later registration date. Either way, I am not too worried about it. Pretty sure that he will be our no.1 next season.

Islam Slimani:

Taking into account how much Leicester will want for him, and the wages he would ask for, I wouldn’t waste our time at all.

Kenedy:

I am sure we would all love to have Kenedy back at Newcastle but I just can’t see it happening. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make the effort though!

I am sure Rafa knows right now whether or not he has a chance in bringing Kenedy back.

Seven players (in order) that Newcastle definitely need to keep for next season?

Lascelles

Dubravka

Shelvey

Ritchie

Lejeune

Merino

Perez

The 2016/17 Newcastle United Accounts have belatedly been made public, the club claimed a ‘£90m loss’ whilst various football finance experts agreed it was actually a ‘real loss’ of under £20m. Discuss.

I am not going to pretend to have much of a clue about how the finances of football clubs really work. Although, it sounds quite complicated and I am quite sure that the club would aim to make the accounts look as complicated as possible so few people can understand them.

At the absolute very minimum, and despite my poor knowledge on this subject, if we aren’t spending more than Brighton, Huddersfield, Wolves, Fulham and Cardiff then there is no justifiable excuse.

Does Mike Ashley really want Rafa Benitez to stay?

Yes, I am sure he does, but I think he also wants Rafa to know his place. That is, managing the football team.

Throw in the input of the likes of Barnes and Bishop and I would suggest that despite the fact that all three of them obviously want the best possible manager at the club, the main thing for them appears to be that he is kept on a short lead.

What do you think would be the minimum needed to convince Rafa to at least stay for the final year of his contract?

I am in the minority who thinks that if Ashley said to Rafa ‘you are getting nothing’ then he would still stay for this last year. I half wish that wasn’t true and that Rafa would stick it up to him. However, I think Rafa loves it. He loves being the main man at a club, he loves being adored by the fans, coming across as being ‘king of the castle’ type figure.

In the long-run, if he knows he is not going to be given the control of a club like Wenger or Ferguson, then he won’t stay, but for now i don’t think MA has to do much at all.

What do you think would be the minimum needed to convince Rafa to extend his contract this summer?

Full control over transfers and all football related manner from the training ground, to the academy… AND on top of that, probably a lot more money to spend than he is going to get.

Best pieces of skill from Newcastle players last season, what is your top three (in order)?

Kenedy away at Leicester.

Perez away at Leicester.

Kenedy first goal vs Southampton at home.

Where do you think Newcastle would have ended up in the Premier League if:

Hadn’t signed Dubravka and Kenedy in January?

Now that I look at the bottom 3 this season, and how much the ‘tight’ relegation battle was an anti-climax in the end, I still think we would have stayed up.

Had signed Dubravka but not Kenedy?

Stayed up. In the long-term I think Dubravka will be a bigger and better signing but I don’t think you can underestimate the immediate improvement and lift Kenedy gave to the squad.

Had signed Kenedy but not Dubravka?

Stayed up. See above.

As well as a decent transfer budget, Rafa Benitez has made clear that Newcastle have to also show ambition when it comes to the new training complex that was promised years ago, as well as investment in a fit for purpose Academy. How integral do you think these things are for both Rafa and the future of the club?

Over the course of next season, as mentioned, I don’t think it will be that important. Over the long-term and a possible new contract, then it will be huge. I can’t see it happening though, unless new owners come in (which again won’t happen).

What do you make of everything that has happened at Sunderland and how do you think they will get on next season?

Absolutely brilliant and to be honest, I don’t really care how they get on next season, especially while they are two leagues apart. They can go down to the Northern League for all I care, 75% of my friends in the North East are Sunderland fans and even most of them have admitted to me, that the past few seasons has really shown them for what they are, including the fans themselves (except for the obvious hard-core 20,000 which will still be a half decent number in League 1), and that’s a load of rubbish.

Of the current squad…

Definitely need to keep for next season?

Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Shelvey, Dummett, Yedlin, Murphy, Atsu, Merino, Clark, Joselu, Elliot, Manquillo and Hayden.

This lot can be split into four sections for me;

Keep because they are 100% good enough to play first team football at this level and we would find it hard to replace them; Lascelles, Lejeune, Shelvey, Ritchie.

Keep because they are half decent first team players who can do a decent job again next year (and also don’t really have any sort of sell-on fee potential like Perez/Mitro/Gayle; Yedlin, Dummett and Atsu.

Keep because they provide good, solid and cheap back up/squad depth at this level so why waste our time spending fees on similar players; Clark, Joselu, Elliot and Manquillo.

Potential for the future; Murphy, Merino and Hayden

Don’t mind if they stay but if decent offer comes in then sell?

Perez, Gayle, Diame and Mitrovic.

Perez is a strange one because he was one of our best players over the course of the season, but I feel that if a club from Spain wanted to give us £15-20 million for him then I think we could use that money to get someone an awful lot better than Perez in his position. It would have to be a great offer though.

The same argument applies to Mitrovic. I would keep both of them in an ideal world because they are half decent and you can’t be picky in 2018 because spending £20 million doesn’t guarantee you a £20 million player. Although, with Fulham coming up largely thanks to Mitro’s goals, plus a couple of goals at the World Cup this summer, we could get a great price for him.

Diame was undoubtedly our best player in 2018, I find it hard for anyone who went to most games to argue otherwise. However, I just can’t see him doing it again next season. I hope I am wrong, but he is at a decent age now and I think it would be unfair and unrealistic to expect to see the same Diame next season.

Gayle is another one I think we could get decent money for. For £10-15 million I think he is a no brainer for any club in the Championship with a bit of ambition. Did wonders in that league for us, and although he wasn’t great this year, he was still our best striker.

People might laugh and say ‘oh you would keep Joselu and not Gayle’ … Of course he is 100x better than Joselu but nobody is going to be offering us decent money for him are they? £20 mil for Mitro, £12 mil for Gayle… could we then spend £30/35/40m on a striker? I am getting into Championship Manager territory now but it’s just a thought.

Need to be moved on?

Henri Saivet, Matz Sels, Achraf Lazaar, Jack Colback, Rolando Aarons, Chancel Mbemba, Karl Darlow.

If Newcastle stuck with exact same squad of 2017/18 (not including the loan players), what would happen in 2018/19?

Relegation… and if the teams around us were to improve like you would expect, then I would say bottom of the league.

Player of the Season?

Jamaal Lascelles.

Goal of the Season?

Perez away to Leicester (regardless of the fact it was a beautiful goal, the celebrations in the away end were something to behold).

Game of the Season?

Man United at home.

Biggest moment?

Rob Elliot penalty save at West Ham (followed closely by Perez goal vs Stoke away).

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

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  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The second person to say we will get relegated next season with the same team. We finished tenth and should have had three more points off Bournemouth three off Everton and three more off Burnley. WE should have finished seventh so to say we will finish bottom is an insult not only to the players but the manager. Top seven next season even with the same team as they now have more experience.

    • GlasgowMag

      You very very funny guy!!!😂😂😂

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        He`s a crazy guy & beyond redemption

        • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

          Personally I admire his stance on things, the fact he ain’t afraid to pish ppl off to say what he believes. And to say he’s from Manchester is laughable.

          • Wor Lass

            That toe-rag Tommy Robinson`s got so many names you might end up freeing the wrong scuzzer! Stick to football.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            My post is to do with football or along the lines of the previous post I’m responding too, my name I post under has no relevance. Tommy is a man of the people weather you like it or not, now in future I suggest you keep your smart arss comments away from me.

          • Megatron1505

            A man of the people who’s actions have resulted in a child grooming gang be granted a re-trial rather than prison.

            He broke a court order of his bail conditions for exactly the same offence a year earlier and is directly responsible for these scum bags still being free.

            He’s not a man of the people, he’s a fncking idiot and so are you.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            There was a gag order placed on this case the media want to protect these paedophile Pakistani Muslim gangs. So saying there’s a retrial is a load of shyte. Why do the words tommy Robinson scare people so much because if you really sat down n thought about it he’s speaking the razor sharp truth which for some reason in today’s society is considered offensive. You carry on pretending to yourself and walking round with your eyes shut that this country hasn’t got a serious problem involvimg infiltration throughout the establishment in order to slowly erode British values. But I will tell you one thing people likes of me and a lot more than you imagine will never accept it whatever the consequences, it seems like a lot of the people on the mag are liberal lefties help to hand britain to all and sundry, more fool them, goodbye.

          • Megatron1505

            A gag order which your fuhrer violated. Have a guess as to why there was a gag order and what this total clampit breaking means?

            His vile and decisive hate speech simply gives red necks like you an excuse to blame the ills of society on somebody else.

            Are you one of these who constantly moans about Schrodingers immigrant, simultaneously taking our jobs whilst also lazing around claiming benefits?

            Take your false national pride and shove it pal.

          • paul mclaughlan

            Why can’t I block the racist prig?

          • Megatron1505

            Probably the fault of an immigrant or a Muslim.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            Never mentioned race so can’t be classed a racist but then again that’s you lot all over. Anyone who doesn’t agree with your views is a racist or a bigot 😂 but hey ho crack on.

          • paul mclaughlan

            “Pakistani” is definitely a race. Moron.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            Calling people for what they are paedophiles yes Pakistani yes Muslim yes does not mean your a racist it’s just the truth. Would you rather I called them ‘Asian’ as the media use as I’m sure I would offend the Chinese Japanese etc.

          • paul mclaughlan

            I used to troll racist/bigoted Facebook pages and got blocked from a number of them. Something that I’m proud of. One thing I can say for them is “truth” isn’t high on their agenda.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            You seemed to remove your post below about being a moron etc but refer to my post about calling people for what they are, facts. I’m British so sometimes we are referred to as brits and I would never class this term as racism. Someone from Pakistan is a pakistani, this is not racism and anyone with common sense would agree. I’m wasting my time trying to get points across to the likes of you plus I’ve said all I need to say in above posts, goodbye.

          • paul mclaughlan

            Referring to a particular race as paedophiles is definitely racist. Do you take as much offence at white paedophile rings? I’m guessing not.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            I referred to this particular gang as Pakistani ermmm…… I wonder why that is …… because they are, fact. Not racist but fact. You name to me the last time there was gangs of white British men going through towns and cities across the UK grooming young girls drugging them getting them drunk then taking advantage of them treating them like meat. Imagine if this was the other round they would be tearing the streets up. Tommy is a political prisoner and you need to pull your head out the sand n stop playing the standard race card. I never started this debate about the Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs it was your sidekick Mr Megatron or maybe it’s you with you confessing to trolling he seems to take offence st my name I post under n then he starts his mouth trying to sound all intelligent and liberal but failed miserably and ended up just sounding really thick. A bit like yourself now I’ve got work to do and you’ll have a lecture to go to or maybe them days are over, goodbye.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            Don’t have to justify myself to a numpty like yourself and the knacker below. Oh are for your information I’ve worked since the day I left school at 16 upto 21 in construction and from 21 to my now tender age of 28 as a car transporter driver working all over the UK staying away all week 60 plus hours a week earning a decent wage, so I see what’s going on around the cities and towns of the UK and the sh!thole it’s becoming and that’s not down to the hardworkers like myself. Now once a for all goodbye.

          • Megatron1505

            There’s a difference between don’t and can’t.

            Enjoy your scapegoat and hero worship of the druggie thug who also committed fraud.

            “Land of hope and glory……”

            Tool

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            I wondered when youd remember the fraud 😂😂😂 you [email protected], toodleoo.

          • Megatron1505

            Also what is it you admire about him so much? Is his convictions for drugs, ABH or contempt of court? Full of great British values that tool is.

          • Wor Lass

            If you talk schite I`ll be telling you – so you`d better be expecting some more comments in due course.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            Keyboard warrior. You crack on.

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      Newcastle went from 5th to 16th a few years ago because they didn’t improve the team so i have to disagree.

      If you can point out one team to me in PL history that made no signings and improved their league place then i’ll be impressed.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        You said we would finish bottom next season with the same time. Very unlikely as we finished tenth last season and if we had go the points we deserved should have been seventh.

        • Reggae86

          You’re talking as though no other sides will be looking to bolster before next season.

      • FatParosite

        For your own sanity block this Manc Bishop Bot…..

    • whitleylad

      Firstly, the question stated “the same squad (not including loan players)”. It was significant that our good run at the start of 2018 coincided with the loan signings of Dubravka and Kenedy. Without them the team would have been markedly weaker. Secondly, we were very fortunate with injuries last season, so if the same squad wasn’t as lucky next season and some key players were out for a considerable time we would certainly be in danger of being dragged into the relegation fight. Thirdly, it’s inconceivable that the other teams that finished in the bottom half of the table last season (plus the teams that have just come up) won’t strengthen their squads considerably over the summer. So I think most people would agree that the same squad would indeed be involved in a relegation struggle next season. As Rafa himself said, he can’t be expected to perform miracles every year.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        We played Chelsea off the park and showed what a great team we have. The mag does not rate our team but I do and it will get better and better.

        • Geordie-7676

          Chelsea had one eye fixed on the FA cup, and by half time had absolutely nothing to play for seeing as Liverpool were beating Brighton 2-0.

          It isn’t about not rating the team, it is about being realistic. without strengthening, as the question is posed, and not including the loan players, it is inconceivable to imagine that they could finish 7th next season, and saying that is absolutely ludicrous.

          Are they the Championship squad many pundits had us down as? no, but top 7……your having a laugh.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            If we got the points we deserved against Everton, Bournemouth and Burnley we would indeed have finished seventh not bad for a team in their first season back up. Chelsea played better in the second half and believe me they were trying alright. Just we were so good.

          • Geordie-7676

            I don’t get your reasoning….Burnley we conceded in the 85th minute to make it 1-1……Bournemouth we conceded 2 in the last 10 minutes, and Everton we got beat 1-0. In all those games we got exactly what we deserved.

            Just because you concede late doesn’t mean we deserved anything.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            If you were at the games you will know at Bournemouth we were two nil up and then missed two sitters Shelvey’s the miss of the season so should have been three points. The
            home game missed several chances and they scored in the last seconds. The Everton game we hit the woodwork three times once the inside of the post and gifted them the winner with a keeper error. Burnley should have been five up including a missed penalty and then the keeper scores an own goal. With another years experience this team would have finished seventh that is my reasoning and the four games mentioned were thrown away.

          • Geordie-7676

            Again, i don’t understand your reasoning. Its like saying that Bergkamp shouldn’t of scored the Wonder flick goal because because Dabizas had been standing a foot to his left half a second earlier.

            In every example you gave above, the shots werent good enough, the goal keeping wasnt good enough, the attempts didnt go in or we conceded. Like it or not, thats what happened, and no matter how much bleating you do it isnt going to change, nor is it going to convince anyone that a parallel universe exists where we finished 7th.

            The thing that i love the most about comments like yours, is that through your whole argument you talk about the what ifs in everything…..if this had gone in it would of been different etc etc, but you completely ignore the fact that there are 19 other teams in the league that at one point or another could say EXACTLY the same thing. Its pointless, irrelevant, and is not an argument, its a fantasy.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            What I look at is if Everton have one shot and we have say ten and hit the woodwork three times we were pretty hard done by. Cannot remember us getting many points when we did not deserve them perhaps Liverpool at home that is all. Perhaps you cannot tell which is the better team on the day and the score is all that tells you the answer very strange. Anyway we still finished tenth an excellent achievement and will do better next season. So if you think Everton deserved the three points up here you are the only person bar Big Sam

          • Geordie-7676

            Everything you are saying is absolutely irrelevant. We didnt score…..we didn’t win. Just because we had the chances doesn’t mean anything, we had chances but didn’t take them. it is that simple.

            By saying that we are good enough to finish 7th, you are saying that we are good enough to compete in Europe. We don’t have the depth never mind the quality at the minute.

            I do not disagree with you at all by the way when you say finishing tenth was an excellent achievement. It was an outstanding achievement, and i hope that we DO push for a 7th place finish in the coming season. To do it though, we need investment and a better squad.

    • Wor Lass

      In this league if you don`t improve then you go backwards.

    • panther

      Depends who Ashley sells

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    If the Great Obese One really wanted to keep Rafa he`d phone Chelsea & say
    i`ll give you £20m cash in suitcases delivered to Roman`s Yacht in Monaco for Kenedy.
    that would do the trick

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    O/T, I know he has no ties with this club but all the best to Neale Cooper and his family after he was critically injured in a fall connected to a communal stairwell near his home.
    I hope you pull through and my prayers are with you and your family, A proper football man and a great player in his day.