What would count as a good summer for Newcastle United?

With the season having drawn to a close, thoughts turn to the summer.

There was a time when the World Cup was a big thing for any football fan – the prospect of seeing South Americans with sumptuous skills and exotic names, used to be a thrill for any British football fan. But now we see them every week.

There are still plenty of patriotic souls who look forward with hope in their hearts to seeing England perform. I’m afraid I’m no longer one of them. Too many pathetic, petrified, constipated displays by players fantastic for their clubs and abysmal for England, have evaporated my enthusiasm.

So the World Cup doesn’t do it for me anymore. My footballing attention this close season will be focused on St James Park.

We’ve experienced some awful close seasons in recent years but at the end of what has been, on the whole, a positive season where most people’s reasonable expectations have been met, what would count as a good close season?

Trying to keep to the limits of what we can reasonably hope for, here’s my summer wish-list.

A new contract for Rafa

The key to everything really.

It seems like Rafa wants to stay, but he is a canny operator, who knows the ropes. With a year left on his contract he has probably the maximum amount of leverage he is going to get to get what he wants out of Mike Ashley. I’m sure Rafa will want to be well paid – why wouldn’t he – but I don’t think his personal terms are likely to be the issue. He will be looking to get assurances that the ownership is going to give him sufficient resources to make it worth his while committing to the job.

With the club on the market, everyone involved will realise that Rafa’s continued presence is going to make a big difference to the value and the saleability of the club – so it’s in everyone’s interest to get Rafa tied down and settled in as soon as possible. It is bound to be item one on everyone’s agenda.

So I’ll be looking to see agreement on a new contract early in the close season – ideally straight away. If that happens we can be hopeful – not just because the club will be keeping its biggest asset, but as a sign that Rafa has been given the assurances he needs to persuade him to stay. The longer we wait, the more cause there will be to worry.

For Mike Ashley to keep his word

It’s difficult for Newcastle fans to have a reasoned discussion about Mike Ashley.

He’s a bit like Brexit – lots of people have very entrenched views and they see things through the perspective of those. If something happens which doesn’t sit with their personal views, they’re more likely to change their view of reality than to change their views – it’s what they call ‘cognitive dissonance’.

We’ve probably all come across people who’ve been driven mad by Brexit or Ashley – and there’s not really any point in trying to engage with them. They’ve got so much invested in their view that they’re not going to change it.

My own view of Ashley is that he’s not a very good owner – but he’s far from the worst one out there. He hasn’t bankrupted the club. He hasn’t sold the ground and moved us into an athletics stadium. He’s made a lot of stupid, stupid mistakes. He’s not good – but he could be worse.

One thing he has been pretty clear about over the last few years are the financial ground rules by which he has said he will run the club. I’m sure he gets his bit out through advertising and commercial operations – it’s his business, not a charity, so I’ve got no problem with that. On the other hand he has been absolutely clear that he isn’t going to put cash in. More than that, he won’t let the club borrow – there won’t be any speculation with a view to accumulation.

But he has said in terms that Rafa can have every spare penny that the club generates. We can’t realistically hope for any more than that – but we can hope that Ashley will keep his word, and that after a year’s income under the new TV deal, there will be a decent amount of money made available for Rafa to spend.

How much? Not being on the inside, it’s impossible to say. But if Ashley is good to his word, you would expect Newcastle to have an overall budget for transfers and wages comparable to other teams outside the top six. My guess would be that Rafa will have about £50M plus sales to work with – it would be nice if it was more, but on the whole I’d be content with that.

Sign Dubravka quickly and offer £20m for Kenedy

No manager gets it right all the time, but if any proof were needed that Rafa knows what he’s doing with player recruitment, these two are the evidence.

I for one was a bit nonplussed about the ongoing stories last year about Rafa’s search for another keeper – I thought it was one of the areas we were better equipped in. However, after seeing the difference Dubravka has made, I’ve got to doff my cap to Rafa – he knows his stuff.

And we can all see why he was so keen for so long to bring Kenedy to the club. He wouldn’t come cheap, but if we could get him for £20m I reckon that would be good business. So I’m hoping a sensible offer will go in straight away.

A new forward line

I don’t think there’s much wrong with our defence. You would expect one or two of our keepers to leave in the summer with Dubravka to sign. You would expect us to be looking for some cover and competition at full-back, with Gamez and Haidara to leave. There might be need for another centre-back since Rafa clearly doesn’t like the cut of Mbemba’s jib – but I wouldn’t have thought there would be need for a great deal of net spend on that.

Again, in midfield I wouldn’t have thought there’s need for much net spend. There might be the odd player traded out for whatever reason (maybe Merino if he wants to leave, or Murphy if he’s not going to be good enough) and a replacement brought in, but no need for much more than that.

I’ll be looking for all our available money to get spent on someone to play wide on the left (hopefully Kenedy), competition with Perez at no 10, and two front-line strikers.

I’m assuming that Mitrovic will go. Regardless of his abilities, short of a complete character change and an intelligence-implant, he isn’t going to have any future in a Rafa team. Rafa’s forwards work like stink when they don’t have the ball and they  play a tightly disciplined role within the team. I like Mitrovic – but that’s not him, so he might as well go.

I can see Gayle leaving as well – though I’d be happy for him to stay. If I was manager of a team looking to get out of the Championship, Gayle would be right at the top of my wish-list – so I wouldn’t be surprised if an offer came in for him that was too good to refuse.

And I can see Adam Armstrong being sold this summer as well.

So for me a good summer’s business would be for Rafa to have about £50m plus say around say £35m from selling Mitrovic, Gayle and Armstrong. Hopefully spend £20m on Kenedy. That would leave about £60m+ to buy a number 10 and two centre-forwards.

I think Rafa could give us a decent upgrade for that amount of money.

Keep hold of Jamaal Lascelles

Our skipper is going to have his head turned by all sorts of talk this summer. I think he’s a sensible lad. I hope that he’s able to see that if Rafa stays then things are going in the right direction, and he has the chance to make himself a legend at Newcastle, better that than a sub at Chelsea.

That’s my wish-list for the summer. The one thing that’s not on there is a takeover.

The way I see it, if there is someone out there who has enough money to spend £350-400m on the club and then enough left over to invest in it, then they’re likely to just buy it without a great rigmarole beforehand through the press. If a potential buyer is arguing the toss with Mike Ashley about £50m on or off the price, do I want that person to buy the club? No I don’t. Do I want to see some consortium scrape together the money to buy the club by borrowing, and then have to service the interest on that? No I don’t.

So I would be content not to hear anything more of Amanda Staveley, or the like. If a takeover comes along, then it might be for the better, or it might be for the worse – but I’d rather be looking at summer headlines about player deals than corporate deals.

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  • Jezza

    To be truthfully blunt, I genuinely can’t see any of those five things happening, not even one.

    • Vodkamagpie

      You can’t see us signing dubravka?, you only see what you want to see

      • Lhc

        He does very one track minded.

        • FatParosite

          Happy clapper with poor grammar, be gone.

      • Guest 2

        Did you see the claim of a £112 million wage bill coming?

      • FatParosite

        So you don’t come on often yet you castigate 2 contributors like you know what you’re talking about. Get ready for a block.

  • Leazes.

    To be able to read a Newsnow Headline saying’ Ashley decapitated in horrific helicopter accident’ but I’d settle for ‘Club Sold’ with a third given to supporters with a place on the board and giving direction and purpose to the club.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Or maybe…….harpooned whilst swimming off the Florida keys…🐳🐳🐳

  • Cockneytrev

    I don’t think ashley can sell the ground, as we don’t own it,, if we did it would have sold years ago for student accommodation,,
    My thing would be sart running the club properly,,
    give the club the revenue it generates and not have it disappear into the mist of Ashley’s retail empire…
    set up a proper commercial revenue stream as it is not being done at the moment,,
    stop all the free advertising and start paying off this loan.
    Reorganise the whole academy and invest in it.
    Let the fans have a voice in the fans forum.
    Make the football team on the pitch a priority, not an afterthought.

    • Leazes.

      The club own the Stadium but pay rent for the Land that its on….. its Leasehold thank goodness, if he demolishes the stadiums he’ll still have to get approval from the council to build accomodation there and I can’t see him doing that for at least a couple of seasons.

      • Cockneytrev

        That means he can’t sell it as there isn’t no other use for it,,
        Even our council wouldn’t allow that surely,,,

        • Leazes.


          • Cockneytrev

            I mean what is the point in him selling the ground? It can’t be used for anything else, if it was pulled down I don’t think the council would give the go ahead on any building scheme, be it student accommodation a supermarket or whatever,,
            If the council did then there would be riots,,

          • Guest 2

            52,000 can’t riot despite the fat pig taking us for a ride year after year. Probably a lot of them would be quite happy at a supermarket, as that’s what they used to spend their Saturdays doing with the missus

          • Cockneytrev

            😂😂😂😂😂 ok fair comment

          • Guest 2


      • Guest 2

        God forbid the Council would do that…Wait a minute! Gallowgate land, Ashley, what???

        • Cockneytrev

          Gallogate land is different to an existing monument,

          • Guest 2

            By the by. The fat pig wouldn’t spend money to extend the ground, so no way is he ever going to close shop and build a whole new stadium.

          • Cockneytrev

            by the by,, I never said he would,, I was replying to the original article, I said he wouldn’t be able to sell,,, so what’s your argument with me?

          • Guest 2

            No argument. It must be noted that the City Council is capable of doing much we would never dream of though. SJP is hardly a monument. It’s a football stadium on leased land, and even H&S explored building a new one due to Council planning restrictions.

          • Cockneytrev

            Hall wanted SJP for the falcons, before it was a extended, the new stadium built on nuns moor and follow up his dream of a sporting city,,, Ashley would be using the land for development, totally different scenario,,,,, IMO and many more it is a monument,,,
            I’d also like to add, I have no love for either , Hall or Shepard, both lined their pockets..

  • Arty Hume

    Linked with ” Buy a telly ” but no price given, swap for Gayle??? LOL’s

  • Jezza

    A new contract for Rafa;

    Rafa would already appear to be on the brink after all the messing about and broken promises and I expect him to take up a far better offer sooner rather than later.

    Ashley to keep his word:

    Ashley is a court proven liar who has never once kept his word in eleven years at this club and nothing is going to change.

    Sign Dubravka and offer £20 million for Kenedy:

    I can see Dubravka being signed as a ploy to take the pressure off the Ashley regime, placate the fans and sell a few extra season tickets and also because at a price of £4 million there is a big short term future profit potential. As for an offer of £20 million for Kenedy, forget it. The club will spend weeks trying to negotiate another loan deal only for a club like Watford, Burnley, Cardiff or Southampton to put down the £20 million and buy the player.

    A new forward line:

    The only way that is going to happen is if returning loanees Adam Armstrong and Ivan Toney break into the Newcastle first team.

    Keep Jamall Lascelles:

    Throughout the summer we will hear repeated promises that our captain is not for sale but come the final afternoon of the transfer window he will be whisked off in Ashley’s helicopter to join Rafa Benitez at West Ham/Everton for a fee of around £35 million.

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      Rafa doesn’t need either the money or the status. But the club needs player and facilities investment for him to do his job properly. . Rafa knows he can take the Toon to that 5-7th place and regular European football with a sensible level of transfer investment. £50m on new players isn’t lost money, but the false premise that if you spend £5m on a player you can make a profit but if you spend £25m on a player that money is gone still seems to dominate Ashley’s thinking.

    • Danimal

      All seems highly likely. Sadly.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    A well written article and well balanced which will not suit the agenda of the group
    of militants on here led by Jezza who want an Ashley free state. Any positive views on Newcastle will be censored and the person blocked for life. In Jezza’ world this would also carry a long prison sentence although kind comments towards Sunderland football club are acceptable and actually preferred. Rafa will sign a new contract, we will sign new players including forwards but looks like Kenedy on loan again. Ashley will give every penny for transfers which the accounts have proved over the last two seasons. I hope Gayle stays as he will be better next season and can certainly get into double figures along with Perez. We finished tenth and the future is bright. However in Jezza’s and his cronies world it is better to be a Sunderland fan and Ellis Short was a good man Ashley a bad.

    • GlasgowMag

      your a funny guy 😂😂😂😂

      • Lhc

        Tells it how it is.

      • Jezza

        Don’t feed the troll, lads. Just block him. Don’t give him the attention and reaction he so desperately craves.

    • Cockneytrev


    • Peaco

      Sums you up really; cannot make a sensible comment without abusing someone. Very sad.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        No one gets as much abuse on here as me, Bobbi Fleckmam, Clarko and Ghost rider it’s relentless and we rarely give it back but that’s the difference we can take it but your little cult cannot.

        • Peaco

          Oh believe me, I can take it, but my arguments stand on their own merit without resorting to name calling. Perhaps you ought to try making a good argument or case for something. Basing it on reality would be a good starting point. Cheers.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Jezza and his cronies have called me a mackem, troll insulted my mum who is long dead, other members of family, been told to go to Aftghanistan the lot but these guys are pathetic individuals. I do not live in Manchester which Jezza tells everyone or have a season ticket for Man Utd. His daily insults are ok for you but once he gets a tenth of it back you cry wolf like all bullies.

          • Albert Stubbins

            I don’t agree with people insulting your dead mother. If that’s happened it’s plain wrong.

          • Jezza

            He’s lying again, marra. Nobody has ever done anything like that on this forum. My Disqus profile is public. Every comment I have ever made on this forum is there for all to see. Look through my comments and you will see for yourself that I have never done any such thing if that’s what he’s falsely accusing me of. The troll and his brother have been trying to discredit me ever since I outed them as Manchester supporters back in January. Just block both the nasty little trolls.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Believe me it did happen and although not from Jezza was one of his group. Only a couple of days ago happened to Ghost rider to just sad really. Not missed a home game since 1975 and go to all the away games and he tells every one I am Man Utd.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It wasn’t Jezza who did it but it happened within the last two weeks. Monkseaton Magpies just pointed out that his mother had long since gone, it was a response with far more grace than the original poster deserved.

            If folk discussed the issues rationally, even if we don’t agree then this would be a happier place.

            Jezza really could do himself a favour and stop making up issues and the idea that he’s got a special investigator on the case to find where others live is simply laughable. I’ve not lived in Newcastle for over 15 years but I don;t live in Manchester either. His silly calls for blocking folk just adds to the ignorance of his posts, if he can’t take on other viewpoints to challenge his prejudices, how can he be sure of his position?

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          That`s because you & your ilk are a bunch of A$$holes

        • Guest 2

          You and your alternative personalities – you’re all as barking mad as each other.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Just me a lone wolf who supports the club on my own but there seem to be five or six others who care about the club as well .

          • Guest 2

            PMSL! What would NUFC do with you.

            Lone Wolf is the perfect title for you – it’s most used to name psycho serial killers, US school shooters, and terrorists.

        • TheFatController

          There you go, priding yourself on never getting as angry as your critics.

          It’s ok to express anger if it’s in a respectful way. Then you wouldn’t troll online to make people angry so you could smugly tell them ‘ I don’t get as angry as you’.

          Remember when you were a kid and your mum and dad shamed you for ever getting angry?

    • Billmag

      Think you have just summed yourself up, your constant backing of a man that has brought nothing but doom and gloom to this city and its football club, that’s what gets people’s back’s up, it would be fantastic if we could see a light at the end of the tunnel but alas it isn’t going to happen so long as your hero owns our great club.

      • Guest 2

        Be better if we could see this inbred halfwit in a darkened tunnel for 2 mins…

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      Your mean minded side swipe does you no credit as, in any discussion, ‘ad hominem’ attacks invariably mean you have lost the argument.

    • GlasgowMag

      We seem to be obsessed with 5 things on our websites I thought I would give it a go:
      1. Are you a SD employee
      2.Are you payed under section miscellaneous in our new company accounts.
      3.Are you a Mackem.
      4.Are you Ashleys Flunky.
      5.All of the above.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Sorry none of the above just a supporter who goes home and away every game. Funny enough the Glasgow branch came down for the Chelsea game supporting us of course not Chelsea.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose


        • Guest 2

          You can’t possibly go to all those games, as Ashley hasn’t been to one this season and your tongue is firmly affixed to his hoop.
          Where his fat stinky [email protected] goes you are there right behind him in every sense.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            So he kept the club alive get over it and he even put more money in. Well done Ashley.

      • Jezza

        1 Yes he is, he works in a SD shop
        2 No he’s just a sad little troll who gets his kicks from winding up Newcastle fans
        3 No surprisingly not, he’s actually a Manchester supporter
        4 He certainly seems to have a very strong misplaced sense of loyalty to his employer

    • Guest 2

      £90 million ‘loss’ due to his idiotic second relegation. Keep being optimistic about the fat pig though, go on.

      Only F’n dimwits like you could keep on posting positive comments after those shambles of accounts came out yesterday.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        He props the club up and puts the money in. Every penny goes on players.

        • Guest 2

          What money? Of the £33 million loaned by SJH in Dec 2016, £18 million went to Ashley.
          No players were bought in the January window either.
          F’n dimwit..

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    5 things that would makes a good summer.
    1) the Pig leaves
    2) the Pig has a heart attack
    3) the Pig falls under a Bus
    4) A Great White eats Fatso off Barbados
    5) Penfold`s with him

    • Vodkamagpie

      I don’t come on here often, but you are one poster that certainly stands out the most. Don’t recall reading anything decent coming from you, just alot of name calling, generally poor manners. You should take a time out, reflect on your input

      • Guest 2

        And your input is what exactly? A personal critique. Maybe one voddie too many for you my lad.

      • East Durham Mag

        Jeez what an @rse.

        • Jezza

          Vodkamagpie is Fleckman you know. One of his many trolling ID’s. One he often used to use a few years ago in fact. Looks like he’s revived that one. Just block him.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          I didn’t know that I was Vodkamagpie, Jezza must be right though, he’s got such good form.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        I`d take time out & shove a Baseball Bat up your a $$ so far it`d knock your teeth out
        Now [email protected]@k off and Hug a tree you Pr1ck

        • Vodkamagpie

          Just like that, you proved my point hands down. Do you ever speak about football?, do you know anything about football?

  • Come&TakeIt1836

    One of the best crafted articles I’ve seen on NUFC and an appropriate wish list. Very philosophical. Thank you.

  • Mayor Vaughn

    Entirely agree with you about the World Cup, i’ll watch it but quickly get bored and England don’t feel like a team representing me at all, i spend most of my time laughing at how clueless they are.
    No way they are getting to the quarters, no chance.

  • Guest 2

    “I’m sure he gets his bit out through advertising and commercial operations…”

    No. The shareholders of SD benefit from it. The club gets nothing in return for providing a PLC with that benefit.

    “We’ve probably all come across people who’ve been driven mad by Brexit or Ashley – and there’s not really any point in trying to engage with them.”

    WTF you writing an article in The Mag for then?

  • grantham mag

    We only need one good thing to happen, a certain fat barsteward to give the club the chance to compete, or failing that a helicopter crash where only the fattest person goes to meet his maker.

  • FatParosite

    1) Ashley [email protected]@ks off
    2) Ashley [email protected]@ks off
    3) Ashley [email protected]@ks off
    4) Ashley [email protected]@ks off
    5) Ashley [email protected]@ks off then dies.

    • Lhc

      You ok hun?

  • 1ewis

    Why are we putting a price tag on Kenedy when we don’t have the budget for him? Can you guys collectively quote a lower price so at least Chelsea knows how much to price him?

    With Chalobah at a price of 5m, Kenedy could possibly be 10m? A good half season does not make him 18m or 20m.