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Home Newcastle United friendlies – Whatever happened to playing Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus?

12 months ago
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The summer Newcastle United friendlies have been announced late this last week (see below).

An attractive trip to Porto, plus a short hop to Ireland and St Patrick’s if you fancy that, plus an even shorter trip down to Hull.

As for home Newcastle United friendlies…once again I find it a bit underwhelming.

Yes, I know the whole point of pre-season is to get the squad ready for the Premier League, but a little excitement wouldn’t do any harm.

Not so long ago we were playing Juventus, Bayern Munich and Barcelona at St James Park in pre-season, these days it is the continental equivalent of Bournemouth, Stoke, or even worse…Sunderland.

Yes these teams give Newcastle a run out but as a spectacle for the NUFC fans, honestly, why would you go and pay and watch this apart from if you have kids?

Could you name a single Augsburg player, or any from Vitesse Arnhem, Borussia Monchengladbach, Real Sociedad, Braga…

The only vaguely interesting pre-season friendly at St James Park since Mike Ashley took control, was Juventus in summer 2007, though no doubt this was arranged before he took over the club only a month or two earlier.

With pre-season friendlies it appears clear that you either pay for a decent attractive opposition,, or settle for any random club that will accept basic travel and accommodation expenses.

You just know what Mike Ashley will choose.

He has no interest in speculating at Newcastle United, even when it comes down to the friendlies.

He would rather have an anonymous club such as Augsburg, rather than speculating on say Bayern Munich, with an extra 20,000 on the gate paying for the extra cost.

The home Newcastle United friendlies of the last 20 years:

2017 – Hellas Verona

2016 -Vitesse Arnhem

2015 – Borussia Monchengladbach

2014 – Real Sociedad

2013 – Braga

2012 – No home friendly

2011 – Fiorentina

2010 – PSV

2009 – Leeds

2008 – PSV and Valencia

2007 – Sampdoria, Celtic and Juventus

2006 – PSV, Villarreal

2005 – Yeading

2004 – Rangers and Sporting Lisbon

2003 – Bayern Munich

2002 – Barcelona

2001 – Athletic Bilbao (Rob Lee testimonial)

2000 – No home friendly

1999 – No home friendly

1998 – Juventus

The Mag – Friday 1 June 2018:

Newcastle United friendlies revealed.

Four games announced with another to come.

Kicking off with a friendly away at St Patrick’s Athletic, then four others to come in total.

An away trip to Porto will be popular…

Newcastle United official announcement:

Newcastle United have confirmed four pre-season fixtures ahead of the upcoming 2018/19 Premier League campaign.

Rafa Benítez’s players will report back for training in early July before heading to Carton House in Co. Kildare, Ireland, for a week-long training camp on Wednesday, 11th July.

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It will be third successive year that United have visited the complex, which boasts impressive training pitches allied with convenient gym facilities and on-site team-building activities and has been used by Real Madrid, AC Milan and the British & Irish Lions in recent years.

The Magpies will round off the week with a friendly against St. Patrick’s Athletic at their Richmond Park stadium on Tuesday, 17th July (kick-off 7.45pm BST).

United will then travel to Hull City’s KCOM Stadium on Tuesday, 24th July (kick-off 7.45pm BST). The Tigers – managed by Nigel Adkins – finished 18th in the Sky Bet Championship last season.

That will be followed by a friendly at FC Porto as part of the Portuguese giants’ 125th anniversary celebrations. Newcastle will play at the Estádio do Dragão on Saturday, 28th July (kick-off TBC).

The two sides have met twice competitively, with the Magpies winning 1-0 on aggregate in a two-legged Fairs Cup tie in 1969, while they are also linked by Sir Bobby Robson, who managed both clubs.

United will finish their pre-season campaign with a home friendly against German side FC Augsburg.

The Bavarian side will come to St. James’ Park for a 3pm (BST) kick-off on Saturday, 4th August. Das Fuggerstädter finished 12th in Bundesliga last term.

Newcastle are likely to announce one further pre-season friendly for Wednesday, 1st August.
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