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 Matthew Robson:

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

With Rafa staying we shouldn’t get relegated but everything else depends on Mike Ashley. So zero relaxation that we will progress properly.

Three words that describe your current mood regarding Newcastle United?

Live in hope.

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:

A no-brainer and now events have overtaken the question. 100%.

Islam Slimani:

Taking him on a free would be a risk, with his injury record recently. 0%

Kenedy:

Another 100%. Newcastle need to offer beyond their current transfer record and do it now.

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

Lascelles

Kenedy

Dubravka

Shelvey

Yedlin

Ritchie

Lejeune

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.

Smoke and mirrors as per normal.

No drive at the club to increase revenue streams. Ashley’s only plan is to bank the ticket money and Premier League TV money, plus whatever the shirt sponsor pays. The real loss was under £20m and a setback not a disaster as Ashley wants to portray it.

Plus of course down to him anyway why Newcastle were relegated again.

Does Mike Ashley really want Rafa Benitez to stay?

Yes and no.

He wants somebody with the ability to keep Newcastle in the Premier League on a minimum spend BUT not one who kicks up a fuss at being messed about and undermined.

A catch 22 really for the fat controller. He will just keep doing his thing and won’t really care either way, would bank £6m if Rafa chucked it.

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

I think he will bide his time no matter what happens, although if say a club like Tottenham lost Pochettino and came after Rafa, I’d be worried. Rafa hasn’t walked after being messed about for three transfer windows, so think he will stick it for another couple. Will get money to spend but no way Ashley will give what he wants/needs.

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

Full control over transfers and everything else at the club on the playing/training side. As well as a long-term commitment to new training ground and investment in the academy.

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

Kenedy first goal v Southampton.

Merino shot that hit post v Everton.

Kenedy slalom dribble away at Leicester.

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

Hadn’t signed Dubravka and Kenedy in January?

I would say 80% chance of relegation and would have needed a lot of luck to have survived.

Had signed Dubravka but not Kenedy?

Relegation contenders.

Had signed Kenedy but not Dubravka?

Relegation contenders.

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?

A joke really.

Mike Ashley and his minions have repeatedly said that developing young players is a way for Newcastle to compete and likewise they said the new training complex would allow that as well. It says it all about Ashley that he has zero interest in helping Newcastle to be ambitious now, and in the future.

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

Nice but of Karma.

Lovely to hear how they think the six derby wins in a row bothers us every waking hour, whilst they are sinking ever faster to oblivion.

Of the current squad…

Definitely need to keep for next season?

Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Shelvey, Dummett, Yedlin, Gayle, Merino, Clark.

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

Perez, Murphy, Atsu, Hayden.

Need to be moved on?

Henri Saivet, Matz Sels, Achraf Lazaar, Jack Colback, Rolando Aarons, Chancel Mbemba, Rob Elliot, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Joselu, Manquillo.

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

Definitely bottom five and probably relegation, signing of Dubravka is a great start.

Player of the Season?

Mohamed Diame since December but Jamaal Lascelles overall.

Goal of the Season?

Kenedy chest and finish v Southampton.

Game of the Season?

West Ham away, otherwise would have been in relegation zone on Christmas Day and might have stayed there.

Biggest moment of the season?

Ritchie scoring v Man Utd, turning a creditable draw into massive three points.

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  • mactoon

    “Driving forward, stalling, or heading in reverse”? Good question.

    In my opinion the blueprint Ashley has adopted in running the club means any chance of driving forward is almost impossible.

    The ambition Rafa holds for the club cannot be met by Ashley unless he has a major change in direction but a better question I would post is “Does Mike Ashley have any need to drive forward”?

    While the club pays for itself and his main company is getting saturation advertising for no financial outlay I would suspect not.

  • TheNutJob

    No hope as long as Fatty`s here
    Jabba, oot, sack the 1 man board
    🐖 🐖 🐖

    • Ram Kishore

      Lol..
      Same again

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Without Perez we would have been relegated so surprised to see him on your sell list very strange when his goals kept us up. The loss was not under £20m at all as you have to include amortisation of players which we have paid for in the past and £10m bonus payments. True loss was £54m.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      You`re a funny guy, demented but funny

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Be boring if we were all the same .

    • robbersdog

      How do you know the exact figure? Asking for a friend…

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Ninety million loss less the profit made on players sales . You have to include that depreciation, players bonuses, players amortisation, loss on foreign exchange and wages for players which are write offs as will not play for us again.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          I hope you haven;t given up on the Mag MM

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            In sunny spain quiet place called Benidorm.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Ahhha, lovely part of the world, you really must try the pie & chips whilst you are there!

  • grantham mag

    NUFC has been in reverse for the past eleven years, where there this no ambition to win something there is no hope. Ashley sees the club as his golden egg, money tree or what ever else you want to call it but certainly is not a football club that’s going forward, and won’t while he is in charge, it’s two steps forward and three great strides back every season.

  • Sickandtired

    So, what are the £54m of leases for which appeared in the accounts? Is it as Leazes fears – a charge back to the club (by Ashley) for the use of SJP, or that he has taken ownership of the trademarks and intellectual rights (as he did a RFC), or just a new accounting procedure relating to FRS 102?
    I’m still surprised there’s been no ‘official’ reporting on this in, or by, the media.

    • Clarko

      FRS 102.

    • mactoon

      Its for the total leasehold liability for the club which includes the ground upon which SJP is built. Quite simple really it’s for the lease of St James Park land

      • Sickandtired

        So why didn’t those numbers appear before? Went from around £600k to £54 million. Is it to do with FRS 102?

        • mactoon

          FRS 102 is the Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland, it’s the guidelines set out by the Financial Reporting Council. I’ve read someone on here state the club now needs to report leasehold commitments for now and future years and this may be a requirement of FRS 102.

          (very broadly speaking) the figure of £663,000 would appear to be one years rent of the land of ST James Park. Projected across 83 years this would be 55 million so the figures show the amount payable within 1 year, and payable over (but not limited to) 5 years. This just indicates to me that a break clause in the original 999 year lease has been activated and a new lease has been negotiated. Possibly a 99 year lease given the time he has been here (just guessing) and the rent is payable to the landowner, Newcastle City Council.

          Using the example of Swansea’s Liberty Stadium with a capacity of 21,000 they pay £300,000 p.a. so a figure of £663,000 for ours doesn’t seem to be too far fetched.

          • Sickandtired

            Yeah, guessing doesn’t help anyone though does it. Hopefully someone can get to the bottom of this, factually.

          • mactoon

            We have a football finance expert who questions the club’s leasehold comitments without referring to the club’s commitment to paying for the lease on the ground which has a historic 999 year lease which I assume is for getting an audience for his sensationalist article. I’m basing my comment on facts that he choses to leave out of his expert comments. I’m stating facts, the only thing I’m guessing is the length of the new lease.

          • Sickandtired

            Can you point out where (factually) a link to a 999 year lease can be found?
            My own guess is that FRS 102 has allowed for the leases to be quantified across the lease term in full as “Now, under FRS 102 it is required to disclose the total commitment.”
            I’d just like someone qualified to actually state this is the case, rather than us all on here trying to figure it out for ourselves.

          • mactoon

            Ashley hasn’t made the terms of the lease public as far as I know. Back when John Hall tried to get fans to buy shares he produced an option pack which included a copy of the lease. I got one of the packs and the lease was for 999 years (I think the ground rent was something like £125,000 pa but that may be wrong)

            Every lease contains ‘break clauses’ which can be exercised by either party to end the lease or renegotiate the tem or rent so the current lease will bear no resemblance to the original. You can obtain a copy from the Land Registry for £3

          • mactoon

            google ‘Land Registry’ and click on ‘Search for property’.

          • Sickandtired

            This is the only info available to purchase and download on the actual lease. Two other entries return ‘error’

            (07.09.1998) Short particulars of the lease(s) (or under-lease(s)) under which the land is held:
            Date : 16 July 1998
            Term : 99 years from 16 July 1998
            Rent : £150,000
            Parties : (1) The Council of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne
            (2) Newcastle United Football Company Limited
            (3) Stephen Thomas Alderson and others

          • mactoon

            Is the one you found above the land on which the ground is built? Given that a one year figure of £663,000 is quoted there must be more leases.

          • Sickandtired

            Of course it is.

            Other leases are the heart of what I asked. What are they for?

          • mactoon

            who knows, I thought the St James land was the only one and accounted for the majority of the £663,000 ground rent.

          • mactoon

            Ok there are 3 leases, the first one is for a custody suite leased to Northumbria Police so lets ignore that.

            The other two are:

            1. Title number TY344785 which is the land on which St James’ Park stadium is built. Leased from Newcastle City Council to NUFC Ltd. and Stephen Thomas Alderson & others for 99 years from 16/07/1998 for an annual rent of £150,000.

            2. Title number TY357930 which appears to be the exact same land as no. 1. Leased from NUFC Ltd. to St James’ Park, Newcastle, Ltd. for 99 years from 16/07/1998 for a rent “variable as therein mentioned”. So no details on how much the land is being leased between two Newcastle United companies.

            Discuss……

          • Sickandtired

            There’s no new leases on record for the ground, nor between the club and the current holding company (SJH).
            St James Park Ltd is a dormant company, since last accounts of June 2011.
            So, I would presume the original lease still stands (?). £55.46 million (leases in accounts) divided by a remaining 79 years = £702,025 per year.
            That’s a lot more than the Council rent of £150k. And who is that increase being paid to?

          • mactoon

            That’s my point. The two existing leases are, as I have stated above. The ground is leased from Newcastle City Council to NUFC Ltd. for £150,000 pa and a co-existing lease leases the same ground from NUFC Ltd. to St. James’ Park, Newcastle, Ltd for an unspecified ground rent. The only figure stated is £150,000 paid to the council but an unspecified amount is then paid between two NUFC related companies. By the very fact that St James’ Park, Newcastle, Ltd. is an active party in the second lease, ipso facto the company is not dormant. Where is the difference between the £150,000 and the stated £663,000 lease rental outlay going?

          • Sickandtired

            Of course it’s dormant – go look at Companies House.
            Anyhow, we are finally asking the same question/s.

          • mactoon

            Again, that’s my point mate. If it’s a dormant company it can’t be a party in an active lease which the Land Registry shows that it is.

          • mactoon

            To be honest, the conversation we are having will go viral once people pick up on the information I have picked up so let’s see where this goes. Good crack :)

          • mactoon

            Did you pay for the above details? if not what did you do to get them as when I entered the postcode of NE1 4ST it just comes up with generic details

          • Sickandtired

            I registered and paid the 3 quid.

          • mactoon

            can you copy and paste the details of the land leased please

          • Sickandtired

            Address of Property : Premises at St James Park, Strawberry Place, Newcastle upon Tyne

            1 (07.09.1998) The Leasehold land shown edged with red on the plan of the above Title filed at the Registry and being Premises at St James Park, Strawberry Place, Newcastle upon Tyne.
            NOTE: As to the part tinted blue on the filed plan the substrata forming part of the Tyneside Metro System is excluded from the title.

            And yes, I have downloaded the title plan also – and it confirms it is SJP, the ground. The note pertains to a small strip of road across the entrance, beside the stairs at the West end of the Gallowgate stand.

            Can’t you afford 3 quid yourself like?

          • mactoon

            yes I can, no need for the sarcasm. If you don’t want to help, just don’t. What’s the title number

          • Sickandtired

            TY344785 – Register and Plan.

  • Leicester Mag

    Three words “I live in hope”. While laudable it’s also optimistic in the extreme. 11 yrs and counting with Ashley. Hoping that he’ll change is like sticking your leg in a shark tank and hoping today is the day they are off their food. The only time we invested was when Pep McKnacka was in charge and even then it was likely the purchases were sanctioned by Carr than that hapless ballsac

  • 1957

    I’ve raised the Benitez to Spurs rumour a couple of times since the end of the season. A lot of people on here have dismissed it out of hand but my brother in law who works in the media in London told me Benitez ‘people’ had made it known he would be interested in Spurs if Pochettino went to Real. The question would be if Levy would be interested in Benitez, I’m led to believe he wouldn’t be at the top of their list.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      I think anyone associated with Nufc is on Levy`s schitt list after doing him up with Moussa
      😂😂

    • Clarko

      🐂💩

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    If there is any moving forward, Then it will be because of some almighty fluke or miracle Rafa manages to pull off, Provided that he is still here !
    There will be no long term planning or anything positive by Ashley but just more flying by the seat of our trousers, And see when the wind will take us.