This was always going to be a massive summer for Newcastle United.

With a far lower transfer budget than expected last summer, Rafa Benitez made a number of stop-gap signings to try and ensure the squad had enough to survive.

The likes of Joselu, Atsu and Manquillo, budget signings to fill out the squad.

With Rafa Benitez then blocked from buying anybody in January, he brought in three loan signings as relegation threatened.

Whilst Slimani was injured pretty much the whole time, Kenedy and Dubravka were arguably THE key players who made the difference and helped guide United to safety.

It was noticeable though, that of Rafa’s half dozen 2017 summer signings, only Florian Lejeune really figured in those final vital months of the season. Joselu, Merino, Murphy, Manquillo and Atsu, hardly got a game between them after January.

With it being more squad/filler players brought in last season, rather than automatic first teamers, it then automatically puts extra pressure on this summer transfer window.

After Premier League safety was assured in early April, there then followed an ever increasing number of media reports claiming that this early survival success meant that Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United would be able to get transfer window preparations going, far earlier than had been anticipated.

A lot of talk that especially with the far earlier transfer window finish and complications added by it being a World Cup year, Newcastle would be looking to get much/most of their transfer business done before the tournament kicked off.

It hasn’t exactly worked out that way.

Martin Dubravka’s signing had to be completed by the end of May or else Newcastle would have lost the option to buy him for only £4m.

Apart from that, there appears to be absolutely nothing happening at all.

No progress on Rafa agreeing a new contract and not even any serious transfer speculation, not incoming anyway. In fact there has been more about the likes of Lascelles, Lejeune and Perez potentially leaving, although I give those zero credibility as well. Rafa can’t afford to sell anybody of any use as it stands currently.

The Chronicle recently said that they understood Mike Ashley was refusing to give Rafa Benitez a transfer budget until he signed a contract extension.

Who knows whether that is true but what I do know, is that at this moment in time Newcastle are weaker than in those final months of the season.

Kenedy has gone back to Chelsea without seemingly any move from Newcastle to try and buy him, whilst squad players Gamez and Haidara have been released.

The World Cup kicks off in only three days time and managers such as Didier Deschamps have already said that any player looking to make a club transfer, should do it before they left for Russia, with obviously the focus needing to be only on the tournament. No manager wants to have a player leaving the squad to go and do a medical etc, once it is close to all getting going in Russia.

I wasn’t expecting to sign anybody from the French squad surprisingly enough but during past tournaments, we have regularly been told that pretty much any transfer is more difficult to conclude, due to not only players being away on international duty, but also agents, managers, and club officials/hierarchy in general.

Newcastle players report back for pre-season three weeks today and the NUFC squad flies off for the pre-season training camp in Ireland before the World Cup final takes place.

The opening games of the World Cup kick off this Thursday and it coincides with the release of the 2018/19 Premier League fixtures.

At that point there will be 56 days until the PL summer transfer window closes.

If what The Chronicle report is true, then we could be looking at a disaster if there really is a stand-off between Ashley and Rafa, with the owner not currently allowing the manager to get on with is transfer business.

To be honest, Rafa has always been keen to get on with transfer activity in every other window, so difficult to understand why this one would have been a different story.

We all hope that there is frantic activity going on behind the scenes but the image I have in my head is of Lee Charnley currently sweeping up after the Ed Sheeran concerts at St James Park this weekend. Our fellow promoted clubs from last summer have already made five signings between them, with Huddersfield bringing in three and once again breaking their club record, when paying a reported £17.6m plus bonuses for Terence Kongolo on Friday.

As always, I hope I am wrong about Mike Ashley, but history tells me this is rarely the case.

(Important dates this summer):

Thursday 17 May 2018

Premier League summer transfer window opened.

Friday 1 June 2018

Summer transfer window opened in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

Saturday 9 June 2018

International transfers can be processed as from this date (though transfers between two English clubs can already be processed). So for example, Newcastle could have announced the permanent signing of Martin Dubravka any time beforehand, but the paperwork would then be processed on this day (or after).

Thursday 14 June 2018

Premier League fixtures released at 9am.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Opening matches of World Cup take place in Russia.

Monday 18 June 2018

England v Tunisia (7pm)

Sunday 24 June 

England v Panama (1pm)

Thursday 28 June

England v Belgium (7pm)

Monday 2 July 2018

Newcastle players report back for pre-season training.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Approx date for first lot of Premier League fixture dates/times for live TV games in August & September (it was 10 July 2017 last summer) to be announced.

Sunday 15 July 2018

World Cup final takes place.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Friendly: St Patrick’s Athletic v Newcastle United – 7.45pm kick-off

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Friendly: Hull City v Newcastle United – 7.45pm kick-off

Saturday 28 July 2018

Friendly: Porto v Newcastle United – Kick-off time TBC

Wednesday 1 August

Friendly: Away from home but opposition still to be confirmed.

Saturday 4 August 2018

Friendly: Newcastle United v Augsburg – 3pm kick-off

Thursday 9 August 2018

Premier League summer transfer window closes at 5pm.

Saturday 11 August (weekend of) 2018

First set of Premier League matches kick-off.

Friday 31 August 2018

Summer transfer window closes in Germany, Spain, Italy, and France (so after 9 August, Premier League clubs can’t buy any players but those in other European countries, and elsewhere, could still buy Premier League players until their windows close).

Sunday 19 May 2019

Final Premier League matches (all 10 games kick-off at same time).

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City Hall Gifts -

  • Paul Patterson

    Yeah, that means Lascelles will be flogged for £50m before the World Cup . .

    • Ram Kishore

      I think few of our players whom are planning to leave won’t leave early..Will stay until they last week of August as the buying clubs won’t be thinking of paying the wages and so do the players won’t want miss few weeks of huge wages ..
      Similar situation like last season..

      • Big Hairy Man

        They will leave as late as possible so that it’s too late to replace them. I can already hear Fatty’s cash register.

      • Leazes.

        Similar to the last decade.

    • Leazes.

      If he’d been included in the National team his price would have rocketed.

  • mactoon

    I doubt any transfer activity will take place until after the world cup for fear of injury and in any case it is becoming clear the protracted contract discussions are being used as a reason to prevent any activity. After the world cup prices will be hiked up so much I doubt we will be able to compete with most of the other clubs so it will be interesting to see what type and standard of player (if any) we do go for.

    Oh and with regards to Joselu, Atsu and Manquillo, being budget signings to fill out the squad, they were actually the only players Charnley was able to get over the line. Hardly fillers.

    • Leazes.

      Well… there’s the whole of the sky money and other income going into the kitty….. SD are due to pay the club for some of the merchandise too, the money will be there but the ability to spend it wont, United’s cash is held in the MASH account for Ashley to play monopoly with… and he sanctions its use(sic).

      Selling players is much easier than buying. Ashley had said loan signings are the way, and Rafa repeated this over the Kenedy situation.

      • mactoon

        It doesn’t matter how much money is there, it depends on how much Ashley is willing to free up for transfers and I doubt that will be more than around £30 million and players will be sold near the end of the window so the money can’t be used

        • Leazes.

          That’s the amount you need to spend to stand still while your competitors overtake….. we’ve got the 14th most valuable squad at the moment …..if you still count Kenedy…. hang on make that 15th most valuable squad….

          As shearer said there has to be a mammoth investment and overhaul at the club…. they’ve released 22 youth and squad players, but strangely nothing much is happening and we wont see anything happen until Ryder starts presenting youth and squad players as ‘major signing coups’ in banner headlines…. he likes to spin.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            So, we need mammoth investment? Do we? because Shearer says so? I remember Shearer’s wish list when we got relegated, none of those players amounted to anything IIRC yet we got promoted back to the EPL in one season.

            If we can get Kenedy, I think the mammoth investment amounts to Kenedy and a striker and in an ideal world a full back.

          • Reggae86

            What do you mean, “because Shearer says so” ? Like you somehow have better insight. Also how is his transfer wish list in any way relevant to the level of investment we need right now? Plus he’s blatantly correct.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Shearer should know more about football than me but his waffle on MOTD may lead some to question that.

            The point of Shearer’s wish list in 2009 is that it illustrates how his idea of a complete overhaul is not necessarily correct.

            To me, the squad does not need a complete overhaul. IT has some very good players in goalkeeper, Left back, centre halfs, central midfielders. I think Ritchie is capable along with Perez. To me, that leaves a Kenedy replacement and a striker that are essential purchases with a full back as a nice to have.

          • Reggae86

            I’d say we’ve got a decent squad core, a spine, if you will, not to be confused with a decent squad. Two signings would certainly polish the starting XI without adding any real depth, leaving us two injuries away from square one. Is a new full back really a luxury while Manquillo is our third choice?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We are susceptible to injury to key players. Not so much in Midfield and I happen to think Clarke is a decent centre half.

            We know we are weak up front. We need a first choice striker and much as fans moan, Josulu and Gayle will be decent back up.

            If we were to get Kenedy either via loan or outright (I can’t see Chelsea doing the latter) then we have a decent choice in the wide areas.

            I’d not be upset to start with Yedlin but if we had a better full back, Yedlin could provide decent cover on both sides.

          • Reggae86

            Kenedy coming back would only bring us back to the situation at the end of last season, so you’re basically saying a good striker and a full back and I severely doubt that would be enough to progress. It’s not all about filling starting places either, adding competition can raise the game of existing players, as appeared to be the case with Gayle after Slimani arrived. All due respect to the man, but Joselu isn’t going to suddenly become decent back up.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            He will be for Rafa.

            Defending from the front, holding onto a cheeky win or point away from home and keeping a defence busy without being a threat.

            It’s not pretty but that will be the thinking.

          • Reggae86

            Only if he’s got the same squad at his disposal come next season. Don’t you see how the necessity to set up like that shows that you’re wrong about the current squad? If Rafa got his hands on a few of his targets, he’d set up accordingly. The man is one of the game’s finest tactical minds, not some one trick pony.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            He is a tactician but he was never expansive at Liverpool or Napoli. He’s always defended deep and picked teams off.

            That is not to say he’s a one trick guy but the problem with the current squad is the lack of a lethal finisher. We don’t have a Torres, nor are we likely to find one on our budget.

          • Reggae86

            Yes it’s a problem, probably the most urgent, but not THE problem. A striker alone isn’t going to enable him to significantly re-jig his approach to games is it?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            But a significant change will mean JJS will not be the play-maker and we start playing with a recognised no.10. Rafa has never really done that, he had Hamsik but even then, Hamsik complained about being stifled.

          • Reggae86

            Why does it mean that exactly?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We rely on a busy midfield feeding JJS. It’s slightly different when Merino plays but it you look at Rafa sides in the past, he used Alonso in that role with Gerrard doing the busy work.

            To change the way we play, it will mean taking away the current effective parts of the team.

          • Reggae86

            Why? Surely you’d look at the strengths and build around them? Like I said, there is a solid core of a squad, no need for a total rebuild as such.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I agree with that, which is why we just need to build on what we have. I thought you were looking for a different style which to me means a major change, risky imho.

            Im satisfied with the defence and midfield and think the weakness in the current set up is width and forward line.

          • Reggae86

            No, I’m talking about personnel. We’ve completed objective number one, now Benitez obviously needs to bring in his own choices in order to take the next step in his plan. Should that fail, only then will the talk from the sporadic Rafa skeptics be justified. If, or indeed, when we don’t bring four or five more in, we will be getting left behind.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Specifically, in what areas?

          • Reggae86

            I’d say there isn’t a position where we couldn’t add or upgrade. Like you say, the system is ultimately sound, but if we manage to upgrade and bring in players who make it work more effectively, that system and our tactical M.O and repertoire will evolve with it. It’s not like Rafa doesn’t want to play the possession game more and not rely on opportunities to counter, he’s just managing with what he has at his disposal, and hats off to the chap.

            Just a few thoughts if you want specific, I’d be looking for a target man firstly. Then a full back who could offer a little extra service from wide. Yedlin is great at getting forward but often lacks a final ball. A good mid. anchor would help free the full backs up in the first place and help break up possession, á la latter season Diame and then start attacks on the pivot.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’d agree but rather than a target man, I see a strong speedster being the solution upfront, who this is, I do not know (oh for a Supermac)

            It looks like they are looking for an anchor in midfield but I do get saddened that players like Hayden are pushed further back but wonder if Diame’s new found confidence could easily be lost.

            Personally, I think Yedlin has a lot to learn, both his final ball but moreover, his positioning is poor. It’s something he can learn but for a full back, this should come natural.

            I like Perez but I would like the classic no. 10 / a peter beardlsey or Gazza style no. 8 but these are not Rafa types.

            In an Ideal world, we’d a Kenedy type player for either flank with Atsu and Ritchie back up, a dynamic centre midfielder, a full back and the aforementioned Supermac.

      • Wezza147

        Spot on with NUFC cash being held in MASH Holdings! I wish more people knew that this is exactly the case!

        • mactoon

          To be accurate, NUFC Ltd. the company is held within MASH Holdings and the club’s cash is held within the NUFC Ltd. accounts which is a company in it’s own right as registered by Companies House.

          • Leazes.

            Doesn’t he like the implication of doing a Philip Green or Robert Maxwell…. shifting funds to use at will?

          • mactoon

            The only thing that worries me is we pay £663,000 a year on leases but St James’ Park only costs £150,000 p.a. what other land and property are we paying £513,000 a year for?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s all the stadium AFAIK, it doesn’t seem to have changed much over the years.

            In 2007 the lease payments were £1.15m , this included a lease payment to Bruce Shepherd for warehousing to run the merchandising. This payment was reduced to £850k in 2012 as the deal with Shepherd came to an end and reduced further as some of the leases for retail outlets came to an end and were not renewed.

            Lease payments have been:
            2005: 1.1m
            2006: 1.003m
            2007: £1.15m

            2014: £752k
            2015: £724k
            2016: £729k
            2017: £630k

          • mactoon

            I don’t follow how it’s all the stadium. We only lease the land upon which it’s built and that’s £150,000 p.a. I have copies of the title deeds and plans, there are 3 leases relating to St James Park. The first one is for a custody suite leased to Northumbria Police.

            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 for between two Newcastle United companies.

            It worries me that the same land is being leased between two related NUFC companies for undisclosed rent and there is a shortfall of half a million a year not accounted for in terms of rent.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You should be able to get a FOI from the council to confirm but I understood the figure to be over half a million per year.

            The figures in the accounts have fallen since Ashley took over but that is due to the retail units and warehousing having been cancelled. If there were payments to MASH companies within this, it would be noted in the related party note.

            It would make a decent article if you scanned these documents. I was discussing this with Chris Holt, Keiron Maguire and others who know their figures and the conclusion was that it was simple the stadium and a change to the FRS in the way the figures are reported.

          • mactoon

            The change in the FRS means they have to disclose their leasehold liabilities in the accounts which is why these figures were made public. The land is leased from Newcastle City Council for £150,000 p.a. then leased from NUFC Ltd. to St James’ Park, Newcastle, Ltd. for an undisclosed annual rent. Kieron Maguire did touch on the leasehold liability but was unable to state who the parties for the leases were, or the land involved. That’s the important part we are missing.

            The documents I have are easily available from the Land Registry search using St James’ Park postcode of NE1 4ST but there are obviously more leases going on that are set out in the accounts but not covered by the search… around half a million a years worth!

          • mactoon

            And I did ask the Land Registry how the same piece of land could have different title numbers and be re leased by the tenant to a company related to the tenant but haven’t had a reply. hmmm

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The land registry is not going to do that or comment, they simply keep the documents.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’ll look but the one thing for sure is these leases are not new. Our lease costs are the lowest they’ve been since 1997 which suggests that the leases are certainly not new and most likely related to the stadium land.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Maguire didn’t know the parties to that lease because he didn’t know the land was not owned by Nufc. He thought it was a new committment but on discussion, he realised it dated back to 1998 which also ties in with the documents you have.

          • Leazes.

            Thats interesting

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Ok, there would be a supporting document outlining the rent “variable as therein mentioned”. Looking at the pattern of payments in the accounts from 1998 on, this rent is going to be around £1/2 million per annum.

          • mactoon

            The supporting document is the actual lease but the ground rent payable to the city council is only £150,000 pa via the previous title deed so that doesn’t account for the £663,000 stated in the accounts
            There must be more property leased to account for the shortfall and it still doesn’t explain why the same land is re leased between two related nufc companies. I wasn’t even aware that could happen

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            No, the supporting document will be within the lease not the £150k. I was told the main lease was 1/2m a year which would make sense being consistent with the figures from 1998 on. The land must be split, gender more than one lease.the supporting appendix detailing the payments will not be the other £150k lease.

          • mactoon

            I also have the plan setting out the land covered by the £150,000 pa main lease. It is the ground St James Park is built on
            There is no further lease relating to the ground for 1/2 m a year registered at the land registry

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Your doc TY357930 refers to a schedule for payments, that’s the key part here.

          • mactoon

            Title number TY357930 doesn’t involve the council at all. It is between NUFC Ltd. and 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 for between two Newcastle United companies.

            The important thing here is the council lease the land to NUFC Ltd. for £150,000 p.a. who then lease it to St. James’ Park for an undisclosed rent.

            The land in both leases is identical.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            So it’s a sub-lease?

          • mactoon

            The Register document just sets out short particulars of the lease(s) (or under-lease(s)) under which the land is held so without looking at the actual lease you can’t tell. It just says NUFC Ltd. and St James’ Park, Newcastle, Ltd. are the parties. Why would NUFC rent the property to St. James. Park Ltd, a related company?

          • mactoon

            You can get copies of the leases from the Land Registry using form OC2

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            St. James. Park Ltd is listed as dormant, it sounds like some sort of separation agreement set up by Shepherd et al back in 1998. I feared that the shareholders were still Mssrs Shepherd and Hall but fortunately its part of the NUFC grouped companies (not MASH).

            If the lease was set up as non-cancellable and significant then I’d assume this needs to be reflected in the accounts. It’s possible that St. James. Park Ltd invoice NUFC 1/2m which is reflected as cost and income in the group accounts so the lease costs are £650k but £500k is actually income – it is unlikely as the accounts are dormant (although they could have requested dispensation as a group company)

            I can’t see the docs you have, I’d have to pay to get them and also be a legal party to the lease so it’s not quite as easy as accessing accounts.

            I know we shouldn’t be 2nd guessing but the £500k is almost certainly related to the lease on the land for the stadium. I’m no property expert but the fact the cost appears from 1998 points to being part of the renegotiation of the lease which (correctly) Shepherd arranged before he committed to building a rather big expensive stadium. I’d be amazed that the council / freemen would have fixed the rent for £150k a year for 100 years, it’s far more likely to increase over the years.

            The other leases in the accounts from 1998 seem to be the retail shops, warehousing and the casino land bought in 2006 & sold in 2010.

          • mactoon

            St. James. Park Ltd. is listed as active in Companies House but only has Charnley as the only active Director. It says the company has not traded for 2 financial years from 2017 and has received no income and incurred no expenditure so didn’t provide any accounts but they are listed as a party in the second lease paying rent.

            Again as you say we can’t second guess but some leases do have rent increase clauses in but the £150,000 stated is far less than the £663,000 stated in the accounts. There must be more leases somewhere. How about the training ground, is that leased or owned?

            In comparison:

            Ipswich pay £115,000 p.a.
            Bournemouth pay £300,000 p.a.
            (But in fairness, Man City paid £3.1 million in 14/15 !)

            Apart from the two leases I quoted, the only other one listed at Coys House is for a custody room leased to Northumbria police.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Active company but Dormant accounts. A lot of the group companies are now dormant as far as the accounts go, it appears Ashley did away with the complexities that Shep & Hall had.

            St James Park is a bit of a bigger plot that Ipswich and Bournemouth plus it’s a city centre location compared to those who are both on the edge of town in a residential area. City’s plot of land is massive and city lease the original stadium (but own the new bit).

            The £600k plus lease was being paid out from 1998. I’m pretty sure we only moved to Darsley Park in the early 2000’s, Bobby Robson was manager when we moved there. It appears to be a freehold.

            I think you can be fairly certain that there isn’t anything untoward, the lease payments go back to 1998 before Ashley’s time and we pay less out in lease expense than anytime since 1997 . it all points to being related to the stadium.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The other lease is this TY357930. It seems most likely that this is the £500k pa.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Well it would be worth getting angry about if it were true, but it isn’t. Over the course of Ashley’s ownership, the cash flow between him and the club has only ever gone way, and it isn’t out of the club.

  • Leazes.

    My guess is that they won’t want to mess the Accounts statements up by buying players before 1st August… Next accounts made up to 30 June 2018 and the Next statement date 31 July 2018 [due by 14 August 2018]

    Charnley doesn’t do ‘joined up’ or complex thinking and will not want to see figures he hasn’t planned for taken from the ‘financial year’ gone.

    Outgoing though…. Lascelles sale will detract from a few season ticket sales and set a mood of pessimism too early and as Rafa hasn’t signed up to sell Lascelles he’s not going to take the flak for it….. likewise the other assets Perez and Shelvey.

    So what is the likely outcome…. I don’t think Rafa will sign an extended contract…. he’s not going to be used like this and messed around, Lascelles will be sold late in the window, Ashley will instigate loan signings only as Rafa hasn’t signed, Charnley will be unavailable for comment and Ryder will have learned five new things whilst watching United take on Hull.

    As for ‘significant transfer business being done before World Cup kicks off’…

    ….Cant really see it myself…. This regime never does things quickly or in advance or with foresight. The Dubravka signing did go as predicted….. I think I’m getting quite good at this prediction non event malarkey.

    • mactoon

      Groundhog day

      • Leazes.

        You can say that again.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Charnley is never available for comment.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      That’s not the way player purchases will be recorded. We will likely to be paying in instalments with an initial payment so the cash impact is likely to be minimal. As far as profit is concerned, the cost is amortised over the period of the initial contract so not all the cost hits the Profit and loss in the year the asset is bought.

      I know you have blocked me but think on, you may be able to avoid making incorrect posts if you were prepared to read posts from people with a different opinion and better intellect than yourself.

      • Danimal

        You can dress it up however you like but the reality is we will fall behind Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Ham next season, to name just three. Under your hero’s “management” we will probably also fall behind Huddersfield, Brighton, Wolves and Fulham. Why are we such a special case that we can’t compete with any of the above over a period of time? Intellect? Try subservience.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Who said we couldn’t? We’ve generally been around the 7th top spenders in the division on transfers and wages.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          It’s not dressing things up, Leazes’ is just wrong. He is going on about how the club will not but players until the confirmation statement is filed, that’s just nonsense as is the idea that buying a player in the current financial year will make the figures look bad.

          The lad simply doesn’t know what he’s on about.

  • Kneebotherm8

    There’s a lot of good teams/players who aren’t even at the World Cup………Italy,Holland…..etc…etc….

  • Dillon Tovak

    It’s no lie because we have done all our transfer business before the World Cup.

    • TheNutJob

      nice 1 Dillon

  • HarryHype59

    “All business done”

    So Lascelles, Mitro and Perez will be sold before the WC starts then?

    Fatty will get around £70m for those players but will still be pleading poverty.

    • paul mclaughlan

      The poorest billionaire on the planet.

  • panther

    It’s the hope that kills you

  • East Durham Mag

    Business as usual then. Abandon all hope.

  • MadMag83

    And to top it off, Staveley has apparently walked away from any deal to buy the club.

    You can only hope the fat one has a heart attack unless diabetes gets there first.

  • Rich Lawson

    How does the misery of your post relate to the header above ?

    • mactoon

      The author of the article doesn’t provide the title of the article.

      • Rich Lawson

        Other than the usual expletives,that’s just wrong and should be agreed with the writer before ?

        • mactoon

          I always provided a title with mine so maybe they didn’t.

  • Weyhhadaway

    Well they only have three days to match the headline. Rafa did say weeks ago that he didn’t need to wait till after the world cup to sign his targets. That leaves it down to Charnley to get them over the line. Good luck on that one.

  • Atilla McNamee

    Significant business can also be outgoings – just saying

  • Jimmy_toons

    Which World Cup would that be then?

  • robbersdog

    I was in Sports Direct in Bayswater (London) on Saturday; a bleak, joyless, glorified market-stall staffed by people who have no interest in serving customers. It was full of brands that used to be upmarket, eg, Slazenger, but now they’re owned by Mike Ashley, they’ve become bywords for cheap tat.

    I couldn’t help thinking that it was all a metaphor for our club. NUFC could be a blue-chip brand in the right hands, but under the Ashley regime, it’s full of cheap imports that he hopes to flog for a bit of a profit.

    • Rich Lawson

      Lets hope his investment/asset stripping of House of Fraser has been a kick in the b###s with their recent closures ?

      • Paul Patterson

        Hasn’t he done something like that in the past, ran a brand into the ground, took all the stock/best bits, closed the company and opened it up as something else? Can anyone confirm?

    • Rich Lawson

      Don’t his staff appear to be people who got fired by Amazon for their slowness and disinterest in people trying to buy something ?

      • robbersdog

        Yes, and they have to wear gear from the shop, so they all look chavs who can’t afford a decent tracksuit.

        • TheNutJob

          with a bit of luck he`ll upset some eastern European gangbangers.


    • TheNutJob

      i think you`re spot on, i remember a post by leazes which was on the same lines, if he`s around he`ll confirm it

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      i don’t know how you allowed yersel’ to actually walk into the store. Moment of madness ?

      • robbersdog

        It was a moment of weakness – I was lured in by the cheap socks. I feel very ashamed.

  • Nut

    Rafa stated previously he didn’t need to wait until after the worldcup to sign his targets, this is suggestive that none of Rafa’s targets are actually at the world cup.

    That would suggest therefore that the transfer business can be concluded during the worldcup.

  • Dillon Tovak

    I’ve just seen the future, it regards the constant rumours surrounding Merino.
    Us convincing him to stay and a new role in the starting XI will be our “signing of the summer”.

  • Sumit Sengupta

    So basically – the manager won’t sign a contract unless the owner gives transfer fund AND the owner won’t give transfer fund unless the manager signs the contract. Right. Also, the club can’t sell players unless replacements arrive BUT the replacements can’t arrive unless club sells players. Wow. Would love to see how this puzzle is solved.

    • mactoon

      The club can sell players anytime they want. The problem is the stand off between Rafa and Ashley. Rafa won’t sign a new contract unless he gets assurances that Ashley has the same ambition that he does (which he doesn’t) and Ashley won’t release transfer funds unless Rafa signs a new deal and commits to staying. Hardly surprising to be honest, as a club owner why would you spend millions on players for a manager who could leave after one season leaving the club with players and wages that a new manager possibly wouldn’t want.

      • Danimal

        How about just be honest with the manager about what funds will be available if he signs? It’s not difficult.

    • Danimal

      It won’t be.

  • Philippines

    Surely all Ashley has to do is say “This is what money is available if you sign”? I hope we don’t go through another season of stress.