It is hardly headline news that there is more money in football than there has ever been in the past.

Nowhere is this more so than in the Premier League – ever increasing revenue for clubs and ever increasing transfer fees and wages going out on new signings.

Well, at least that is the case at most Premier League clubs…

The World Cup is the showcase for everything that is best in global football, well apart from certain individuals who didn’t make it due to their national team not up to the job.

Gareth Bale scoring THAT goal in the Champions League and yet destined to never kick a ball at a World Cup finals.

Speaking of top talents and top moments, this 2018 World Cup might be delivering some shocks such as Argentina falling apart, but as for special players with star quality…are we really seeing that delivered?

As years go by we are now more and more used to teams tending to have wide midfielders rather than wingers.

However, it is also now increasingly difficult to spot many/any playmakers or number 10s.

If you can name 10 players with star quality at this 2018 World Cup then you will be doing very well.

It very much tends to be perspiration rather than inspiration in the games we are watching.

Keeping a good shape, working hard, discipline…all of these are the basics for teams rather than accentuating trying to create those special moments to take the other team apart.

I was really pleased to see Columbia get their deserved win on Sunday night, they have been the one team to really impress me in terms of their willingness to attack and take chances, I would say they have at least three of that small group of players who have shown star quality so far.

They conceded and had a man sent off after a few minutes of their opening game against Japan and yet were still the better team and the ones willing to try and attack, though they predictably tired and eventually lost. Last night though, they totally took Poland apart 3-0 and it could and should have been more.

Looking at Newcastle and what they need to add this summer, it is the players who can do something a little bit different.

The ones with a knack for creating chances and finishing them.

If you can’t see many of them at this 2018 World Cup then it will be some challenge for Rafa Benitez, even if Mike Ashley allows him to splash some cash.



  • SuperDesHamilton

    It’s a fact that buying players off of a good euro/World Cup is ridiculously risky

    • Leazes.

      Yes I think it was Winston Churchill who said it….. ‘never never buy players after a world cup’

      • Rich Lawson

        Yes,I believe he said it after watching the football at the 1936 Olympics,always ahead of his time.Had he not died in’65 he would have been our national manager over Ramsey for the ’66 competition with his stirring pre match and half time talks.

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    I’m not sure if Rafa wants a player that does something a bit different. Shaqiri is available at £13m, I think he’ll have lots of options but I doubt he’s Rafa’s cup of tea.

    I agree with the gist of your piece, I loved Beardsley, Gazza, Mirandinah and Ian Bogie but Rafa will always prefer a Rob Lee to a Paul Gascoigne.

    • Peter C

      I wasn’t totally overjoyed when Robert Lee decided that Newcastle was further south than Middlesbrough.

      Because one could possibly say, he was more of the workmanlike type of player, “A Water Carrier”, as Cantona put it, when he talked about (insulted) the ability of Didier Deschamps.

      But I soon found out that he had more ability, than I first thought. He wasn’t without a certain degree of skill, certainly not on the level of a Peter Beardsley or Gascoigne, but he could certainly play football, not just run about non stop for 90 minutes.

      The truth is, is that a team needs both kinds of players in it, the flair player and the workhorse, because a team can’t get by, one without the other.

      If David Ginola had had, the work ethic and tackling ability of a Rob Lee, or Rob Lee had had the dribbling ability and the natural talent of a David Ginola, well that combination of player, would’ve been ranked alongside the likes of a Pele or a Franz Beckenbauer.

      What I’m trying to say is, these sorts of players are like hens teeth, they’re exceedingly rare and hard to find, and don’t come along very often, probably once in 3 or 4 generations, if not more.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        I was hesitating to use Rob Lee as an example because you are right, he had a bit more to him than just a a straight line player. However, I see Lee being a perfect Rafa player where Rafa has been guilty of putting the likes of Hamsik in a straight jacket.

        I know, among fans, we want a number 10 in the style of Beardsley but I don’t think that’s Rafa’s style. His no. 10 at Liverpool was Gerrard even if he wore 8.

        • Peter C

          In a way Rob Lee is the perfect type of player for a manager, any manager.

          Because they know what they are going to get, week in week out, someone with some talent, who will graft and work his socks off consistently for the team, no matter what, and above their own personal glory.

          Not some gifted but lazy artisan, how may only perform when he is in a good mood, or on a promise with his girlfriend or wife. (By the way I’m not implying Beardsley, Ginola or Gascoigne come into this bracket)

          In an ideal world, every player would have the genius of a Leonardo de Vinci, coupled with the stamina and determination of a shire horse, but that’s not really reality is it.

          Believe it or not, I preferred to pay to watch someone, who could do something out of the ordinary, something which is exceptional, as opposed to the honest hard working player, who sweated blood for the cause, but there’s a place for both. The trick is, getting the balance right.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’d agree, just saying that Rafa is not really a fan of the flair player. He doesn’t seen to feel the need for a maverick in his side, he relies of organisation and effort.

          • Peter C

            As much as I would like to disagree with you, as I do in regards to alot of your posts, especially concerning our illustrious owner, I can’t on this occasion.

            I must confess I’m not to enamoured as to Rafa’s style of football. Over his tenure as manager, I can’t say that I’ve seen many memorable games, where there’s been much excitement or entertainment created, as there was in the way, when Kevin Keegan was manager.

            However saying this, you can only work with what you’ve got, as the saying goes, “You can’t make a silk purse, out of a sow’s ear.

            In my opinion, Kevin Keegan had far better players at his disposal, than Benitez, so Benitez has to make the best use of what he’s got, and in my opinion once again, I don’t think that he’s made to bad of a job of it, so far.

            Yes I would say that he’s made some mistakes, but we are all only human, and that’s to be expected.

            Organisation and effort, can make up for in sum part, for the deficiencies you may have, in a genuine lack of talent and flair.

            It never stopped Brian Clough, who achieved success at Derby and Notts Forest, on the principles of good organisation and plenty of effort, so this method is proven to work, although not that enjoyable to watch, by my way of thinking.

            How many times have you heard, by almost everyone, it’s a results based business. Which to be honest really annoys me, there must be room made, to include entertainment, excitement and enjoyment, or people will turn their back, and do something else with their free time and money, eventually.

            I would like to think that if Rafa had the talent, that Keegan had, he would adopt a more entertaining style of play, incorporating the organisation and effort, in with the some flair and style, but it will never happen under this regime, as flair and talent costs, he will never get enough money from Mike Ashley, to buy some genuine exciting talent, or chance to develop it through the academy, as this also costs.

            I think at heart Benitez is a pragmatist, and he’s just tried to do the best wherever he managed, with what he had, and he will do the same, well for at least for the next year anyway, at Newcastle.

            I’m not sure you would agree with my appraisal, but we all have our own thoughts, only history will decide, who was right, and who was wrong.

          • Peter C

            As much as I would like to disagree with you, as I do in regards to alot of your posts, especially concerning our illustrious owner, I can’t on this occasion.

            I must confess I’m not to enamoured as to Rafa’s style of football. Over his tenure as manager, I can’t say that I’ve seen many memorable games, where there’s been much excitement or entertainment created, as there was in the way, when Kevin Keegan was manager.

            However saying this, you can only work with what you’ve got, as the saying goes, “You can’t make a silk purse, out of a sow’s ear.

            In my opinion, Kevin Keegan had far better players at his disposal, than Benitez, so Benitez has to make the best use of what he’s got, and in my opinion once again, I don’t think that he’s made to bad of a job of it, so far.

            Yes I would say that he’s made some mistakes, but we are all only human, and that’s to be expected.

            Organisation and effort, can make up for in sum part, for the deficiencies you may have, in a genuine lack of talent and flair.

            It never stopped Brian Clough, who achieved success at Derby and Notts Forest, on the principles of good organisation and plenty of effort, so this method is proven to work, although not that enjoyable to watch, by my way of thinking.

            How many times have you heard, by almost everyone, it’s a results based business. Which to be honest really annoys me, there must be room made, to include entertainment, excitement and enjoyment, or people will turn their back, and do something else with their free time and money, eventually.

            I would like to think that if Rafa had the talent, that Keegan had, he would adopt a more entertaining style of play, incorporating the organisation and effort, in with the some flair and style, but it will never happen under this regime, as flair and talent costs, he will never get enough money from Mike Ashley, to buy some genuine exciting talent, or chance to develop it through the academy, as this also costs.

            I think at heart Benitez is a pragmatist, and he’s just tried to do the best wherever he managed, with what he had, and he will do the same, well for at least for the next year anyway, at Newcastle.

            I’m not sure you would agree with my appraisal, as we all have our own thoughts, only time will tell, who is right, and who is wrong.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Spot on, Brnitez is a pragmatist kk was a dreamer in a good way. I loved KK’s team but although the euphoria of buying Shearer was fun, a centre back of some quality would have made us winners.

            Rafa works with the tools he has, he got a lot out of the Liverpool side that was good but not European champions good but they were organised without flair. He had a strong spine and in Alonso he had a slightly better JJS but they didn’t have flair as such, even Gerrard was a grafting midfielder over a skillful genius.

            Were not at the stage of missing the cunning cleverness of a Beardsley, we still need to build the side that is difficult to beat

          • Peter C

            I’ve read many of your posts on this forum, as I have many others. And I have found myself disagreeing with most of yours on many occasions, not all, but a significant many.

            However, on this occasion once again, I find that I’m in agreement, with most of what you’ve said.

            But the point about Peter Beardsley, he’s exactly the sort of player we need now, every team needs a Peter Beardsley in it.

            Him and Mitrovic or Gayle would’ve thrived off one another, in fact any forward would’ve who played alongside him.

            I’m sure he would’ve created many goal scoring chances, and they would of scored many goals between them.

            Yes I agree, we need to build a team which is hard to beat, and get a ruthless stiker, who will put them away with regularity off few chances, but every other club is trying to do the same, many with more resources, financial and otherwise.

            The only way this will happen, is if Benitez or whoever, is given the tools to achieve this. ie the cash, and we both know Mike Ashley won’t fork out.

            The season after we finished 5th, we had the best opportunity we’ve had in years, to build on what we had achieved the previous season, and what happened, we bought one player Vurnon Anita.

            We effectively stood still, and if you stand still, you are effectively going backwards, as the next season proved, and we’ve struggled ever since. Two relegations proves this point, besides one other ,near miss.

            it’s a pity that you don’t always talk as much sense, as you have on this instance.

            Keep it up!

          • Peter C

            I’ve read many of your posts on this forum, as I have many others. And I have found myself disagreeing with most of yours on many occasions, not all, but a significant many.

            However, on this occasion once again, I find that I’m in agreement, with most of what you’ve said.

            But the point about Peter Beardsley, he’s exactly the sort of player we need now, every team needs a Peter Beardsley in it.

            Him and Mitrovic or Gayle would’ve thrived off one another, in fact, any forward would’ve who played alongside him.

            I’m sure he would’ve created many goal scoring chances, and they would of scored many goals between them.

            Yes I agree, we need to build a team which is hard to beat, and get a ruthless stiker, who will put them away with regularity off few chances, but every other club is trying to do the same, many with more resources, financial and otherwise.

            The only way this will happen, is if Benitez or whoever, is given the tools to achieve this. ie the cash, and we both know Mike Ashley won’t fork out.

            The season after we finished 5th, we had the best opportunity we’ve had in years, to build on what we had achieved the previous season, and what happened, we bought one player, Vurnon Anita.

            We effectively stood still, and if you stand still, you are effectively going backwards, as the next season proved, and we’ve struggled ever since. Two relegations proves this point, besides one other, near miss.

            It’s a pity that you don’t always talk as much sense, as you have on this occasion.

            Keep it up!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Every club will benefit from a Beardsley, however, there simply aren’t many or even any that are so complete, in hindsight, perhaps only Maradonna from my memory was better all round. Most beardsley types come with flaws, flaws Rafa would not (or very reluctantly) entertain. Hamsik was the obvious example where Rafa tweaked his role, ok Hamsik may have been more of a team player under Rafa but the player was very frustrated and perhaps lacked his natural flair.

            If I were the manager, I’d agree, the first think I’d do is get an exciting no. 10 type, give him a free role and let him fly. That said, im not the manager and there are reasons why I’m not paid £5m a year to get results.

            To try and think like Rafa, I think that’s the last thing he’ll do. For him it’s a solid spine and that awful phrase, defending from the front.

            In this case, I honestly think you could have an oil baron owner with the philanthropy ethic of Bainbridge (toward Nufc) and Rafa will still have his side set up as hard to beat.

          • Peter C

            Nothing wrong with hard to beat, as long as it’s coupled with a degree of style and skill.

            As I’ve mentioned, there needs to be the element of excitement and entertainment, or we all, might not as well bother, and invest our time and emotions in something else.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Yes, I agree with all that but I don’t think we’ll get that with Rafa.

            For me, there are limits as to where NUFC can be.

            Next season, it will take a lot of money to get to 7th and leap frog the dull and pragmatic Burnley, the dull and pragmatic Everton and the dull and pragmatic Leicester. At the same time, we need to hold off the dull and pragmatic Crystal Palace (OK Zaha is exciting), the dull and pragmatic but sometimes better Watford, the dull and pragmatic Brighton, the dull and pragmatic Southampton and even the quite exciting Huddersfield.

            So if 7th is the aim, I really can’t see NUFC being anything other than the dull and pragmatic.

            Personally, if we finish between 7th and 16th and can genuinely be considered one of the most exciting sides outside the top 4, I’d prefer that. However, if that risks being in the relegation scrap right until the last day of the season, I’m not so sure.

          • Peter C

            You’ve got to be joking, quite exciting Huddersfield !

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I thought they were good against us at theirs both this season and last

          • Peter C

            I genuinely thought that you were being a little bit sarcastic. Liverpool were quite exciting, and Man City were quite exciting last season.

            The phase “one swallow, does not make a summer, nor one fine day” not come to mind.

            I knew it couldn’t last, us having a shared point of view.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Man City were very exciting to watch, however they are out of sight financially and for that matter, so are Liverpool, Man yoo and Arsenal. Tottenham have done very well and built a good team but it’s not been overnight for them.

            I’m putting us in the group below the top 6 as to what can be achieved in the coming season or two. when you look about, these sides are nearly all dull and pragmatic. I’ll happily concede Huddersfield are usually dull and pragmatic but I’ve seen them live twice in the last two seasons and thought they were quite lively.

            I’d be quite happy if we were the exciting team in this pool of mainly dull teams even if that meant we finished mid-table. Rather like McFaul’s team before Gazza left, finished mid-table but we had some great moments but hey ho, the following season it all went wrong. I think we all hope for a fancy footballing side in the summer yet come February, getting the points on the board becomes far more important.

  • Paul Patterson

    Kind of irrelevant. Rafa will have known (and presented to the club) his targets long before a ball was kicked at the World Cup. The list it seems has been chucked in a bin at St James’ . .