Newcastle fans saw their team overachieve last season.

With 44 points it was higher than anybody anticipated, with big wins over Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea in the last few months.

The 10th place was also far above what anybody could have confidently expected, though that top half finish was achieved with the lowest ever points in a Premier League season for 10th position.

Newcastle weren’t world beaters but neither were they a ‘Championship team’ as pundits repeatedly said, some still saying it even as they were beating that trio of top six sides in late season.

Hopefully most Newcastle fans are under no illusions as to how last season was on a knife edge, despite the final points total.

So many things fell right in that second half of the season that kept Newcastle up.

Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame had been really poor  and then suddenly came together and both played out of their skins.

Very lucky to have two loan players in Kenedy and Dubravka who could come into the team and instantly become our best players.

The Lascelles and Lejeune partnership really gelled in those final months, massively helped with having Dubravka behind them.

Newcastle were also very very lucky in having so few injuries to key players. We all saw what happened when Rafa tried to play squad players towards the end of the season, the drop in quality from his first choice team was striking.

This past week has seen another reminder that points towards last season seeing that group of players overachieving.

With all the World Cup squads announced, Newcastle have only the one player at this summer’s World Cup.

Ironically, Aleksandar Mitrovic didn’t even start a Premier League game last season.

Having players at international tournaments isn’t the be all and end all but when you take in all factors, it can be a major flag as to where you are at as a squad.

Back in 2014 at the tournament in Brazil, the following had played at Newcastle in the 2013/14 season: Tim Krul, Cheick Tiote, Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye, Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi.

That season, after beating Stoke 5-1 at St James Park on Boxing Day, Newcastle had 33 points from 18 games and were three points off sixth and six points away from the top. The season fell away when Mike Ashley sold Cabaye the following month and brought nobody in, eventually getting only another 16 points from the final 20 games and ending up 10th,

The fact remains though, that leaving Shola out of the equation, you had half Newcastle’s team out at the World Cup in Brazil.

Cabaye, Krul, Tiote, Debuchy, Remy, and yes even Sissoko, were all excellent that season, at least until Cabaye left and the season collapsed. Some great highlights in that opening half of the season, with the win at Old Trafford the pick, Newcastle easily the better team on the day.

Remy may have had no scruples about choosing when he played or not but 14 goals in 24 Premier League starts is a world away from the striking deficiencies at Newcastle this season.

In the form of that season, Cabaye, Tiote, Debuchy, Sissoko, Remy and Krul would all be easy choices to get into this current Newcastle team. Yes Dubravka has been excellent but after 12 games you can’t say that he is better than what Krul was at that point.

My intention isn’t to bring doom and gloom but as a warning that Rafa Benitez has to be properly backed this summer.

That 2013/14 Newcastle team could have been the basis of a very good side, if they had been kept together and Mike Ashley had shown ambition at that point.

Instead, the lack of ambition was like a poison and the following season, Newcastle only survived on the last day, beating West Ham 2-0 with Jonas Gutierrez starring.

We have already lost Kenedy who was so influential in that second half of the season just gone, Newcastle need strengthening in most areas of the pitch, not necessarily to replace people, but to at least provide competition.

As I said earlier, having in reality no (active) Newcastle players at the World Cup this month isn’t the be all and end all – but it shouldn’t be ignored (FYI both Huddersfield and Brighton have three each going to Russia, Southampton with four).

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  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    the squads double weak & was held together by a manager who used every trick he knew to survive & it worked,
    what if we had some injuries in the New Year to the likes of Shelvey, Diame, lascelles, Dummett & we didn`t get Dubravka and Kenedy
    even Rafa couldn`t have saved us. we need 4 to 5 players but that`s not going to happen under the Great Obese One

    • Fireman Sam

      We might get in a couple of last minute loan signings, loads of excuses via the clubs propoganda system, and when the accounts are release next year, £100m will have vanished into thin air

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        it`s happened before

      • Vodkamagpie

        Can you explain why the club spent 204mil in the last 4years??, are you blind, or don’t you want to see a obvious fact

  • Leazes.

    Jack or Jackie….. I think Simon Van der Velde is heavily influenced by Jackie MIlburn and the film Get Carter…… instead of Jane Clark you should have used…. ‘Jill Carter’ maybe!

    The names you put to your clickbait stuff are completely bonkers!

  • Paul Patterson

    I’d take the work rate of our current players and the competence of our current manager over those players and manager from 2014.

    • Leazes.

      That’s the problem….. so will 40k others!

      …..and that’s why this club never has had ambition, because with a bunch of ‘workmen players’ the fans and the local media have everything they desire in a team…..

      …. too ignorant to understand the game in all its complexity and simplicity.

      • Paul Patterson

        Kind of missed my point . .

        • Leazes.

          Nah….I didn’t miss an opportunity.

        • Come&TakeIt1836

          He does that a lot. But he has an agenda that he thinks should shout out other’s so your point is irrelevant to him and his ‘opportunity’. 🖖🏼

      • Ram Kishore

        Yeah and u r too smart to understand everything from Football to finance..
        You keep saying everyone’s ignorant.. Why so

    • Fireman Sam

      I would take Rafa being backed fully by the club owner, instead of constantly being undermined.

  • mentalman

    The biggest problem is we are selling our better squad players to try and release funds wages etc but we are still going to be left with a lot of players who aren’t up to standard or on the schitt list and won’t play.

    The squad is paper thin and in trouble if we have injuries and suspensions

    • ghostrider

      They are up to standard in the main.
      Unless you mean they’re not up to champions league standard.

      We finished 10th.
      We were a match of every team outside the top 6.
      Many of our players have it in them to get better, not worse.

      Just a few tweaks here and there and we are fine, as long as the tweaks are in the right areas and under a manager that’s committed.

      • mentalman

        No i mean premier league standard, manquillo lazaar hoss etc aren’t up to standard and the likes of colback, saivet etc who you could possibly say are will not play for the club again

        • TheFatController

          Don’t justify yourself to him, look what he just implied – that we are a match for Bournemouth, Watford, Burnley, Leicester, Brighton.

          Get the bunting out, it feels like VE Day. We’ve never had it so good…

        • ghostrider

          And it’s the likes of those players that require replacing, hence the tweaking.

        • Vodkamagpie

          Who bought those players???

          • mentalman

            Rafa mainly

      • magpie 1969

        The manager is committed it’s the owner who is not you fool

        • ghostrider

          If he was committed he would sign a new contract.
          He’s the employee that the owner wants to see ongoing commitment from before the owner commits funds to his transfer pot.
          Why would any owner hand millions to a manager who will not commit?

          • magpie 1969

            Then he should sack him but you and i know he wont

          • Viru leckworth

            He wouldn’t be handing money over to the manager, he would be investing it in improved potential, whomsoever was managing the team. And you know quite well if he backed Rafa, rafa would sign, being a more moral person than the owner. Your excuses for Ashley are incredible.

          • ghostrider

            My excuses for Ashley may be incredible to people who dislike him.
            I could argue that people’s excuses for Rafa are incredible at times.
            The man can do no wrong in some people’s eyes and that’s dangerous.

          • KRS1

            You are a sad lonely little troll with one very strong wrist.

          • ghostrider


          • TheFatController

            No, that’s a bizarre perception.

            RAfa won’t sign because he’s had no assurances that over any future windows he won’t be lied to as has been the case in the previous 3.

            Why then do you suggest the only thing Rafa expects is money this summer guaranteed?

            What you are in denial over is the fact that Ashley has a reputation for lying. He was found lying in court. He has misled Rafa repeatedly.

            Yet here you are suggesting it’s ok to lie to employees, they should commit if they want the promised money.

            Promises from a liar. Not worth man-ure are they?

            Get in the real world. Ashley lies. There’s a price to be paid for being a liar and that price is no one trusts you.

          • ghostrider

            I’m told Rafa is honest and has massive integrity, etc, etc, etc, etc.
            So tell me why he hasn’t walked for breach of his contract that he took an age to fine tune with a Lawyer?
            If Ashley’s lied then why isn’t he walking away?

            Please don;t use his patter about loving the city and adoring the fans who love him and that’s why….because if that was the case, he’d simply sign another contract for 5 million a year.

            This is what people seem to be missing.

          • TheFatController

            Possibly :-

            – waiting for a takeover ?
            – waiting for the right job to come along whilst improving reputation working for a notoriously cheap owner ?
            – waiting for a sign Ashley might become a civilized human being?

            You’re a great troll, but you’re not smart enough to outwit me or conjure rubbish about Rafa’s integrity without it being exposed as the rantings of the mentally unstable troll that it is…

          • ghostrider

            Let’s look at all your answers.
            So you think he might be waiting for the RIGHT job to come along, so basically using Newcastle UNited as a leap frog back up. Yep, that would be integrity and honesty and a love for the club, the city and the fans….right?….pfffft.

            Waiting for a sign that Ashley might become a civilised human being?
            He came to the club knowing what Ashley is and he still signed his big contract….so let’s put this one to bed.

            Ok, waiting for a takeover.
            I’ll go with this one. I’d accept this to be a valid one if that’s why he won’t sign on.
            But let’s get something straight. If Ashley is staying and Rafa simply sees out his contract, then Rafa has no integrity at all and no real honesty about him. It’s basically all about Rafa and greed, want and his own dictatorship.

            But….we’ll see how it pans out.

    • Clarko

      Who are these ‘better squad players’ that we are trying to sell?

      • mentalman

        Mbemba is going, mitro is going, gayle is likely to leave and it looks like merino is probably going to go to.
        You then have players like manquillo and hoss left in the squad.

        • Clarko

          Mbemba doesn’t play, Mitrovic doesn’t play, Gayle is too valuable to be a ‘squad player’ and Merino wants to leave because he doesn’t play.

          I don’t think the club are trying to sell Gayle or Merino, there was an article posted an hour go by the Chronicle stressing that Benitez would like Merino to stay, that’s not me saying that they won’t be sold, I just haven’t seen anything suggesting that the club are trying to offload those two players.

          I think the club are looking to offload Manquillo, Benitez is said to want a couple of full-backs, that doesn’t leave much room for Manquillo.

          As for Joselu, how much could you sell him for? £5m? If that. How much can you sell Mitrovic for? £20m right? And Gayle? £15m? Benitez likes Joselu and he is the least valuable asset of the three strikers, it makes sense him staying and the other two being sold.

  • Dillon Tovak

    Reality check for Newcastle fans regarding the squad?
    Are you joking? Thank you oh wise one 😂
    If you didn’t know we need better players then why are you on this site because you certainly don’t follow us.

  • Desree

    What is the point of this website?

    • Leazes.


    • Come&TakeIt1836

      I think it must secretively be a social experiment studying the mob mentality.

      (I’m being sarcastic if not obvious. There are so many conspiracy theories posted on here that I have to actually be explicit that I’m joking.)