Some people on The Mag often have a curious case of double standards where Newcastle United are concerned. Now whilst I’m not wholly convinced on the potential transfer myself, our prospective move for Salomon Rondon has highlighted a bit of hypocrisy from some.

If you take his goal scoring record, it’s certainly not great and I would certainly baulk at paying anything more than £15m-£20m, but if Rafa sees him as the clinical striker to finish off moves from the team he is building behind him, who are we to argue?

This is a striker that, last season alone, was managed by a combination of Tony Pulis (arguably regarded as the most negative manager in the game), followed by the comedy duo of Alan Pardew and John Carver, then finally by rookie Darren Moore, Moore actually getting a decent tune out of West Brom in the last few games and if there had been a few more matches, may have even stayed up.

My point being, that you can’t deride a striker for being poor/useless one minute, then criticise their managers the next and not expect a bit of confusion at the two states of affairs. Any striker would struggle to score a hatful of goals under Pulis and let’s not forget, it’s a running joke in the game (and on The Mag) that the second players are put under the management of our former boss, they instantly become ‘Pardewed‘. Which is it to be? A striker is only as effective as his manager and team around him.

Which brings me onto Dwight Gayle.

Since the start I have seen the love-in for Aleksandar Mitrovic and have applauded him while he was here. Nobody shouted ‘Mitro’s on fire’ louder than me whenever he scored and he certainly united sections of the fans to a new ‘cult hero’. But it often bemused me to not see anywhere near the same love for the little striker who scored the goals that played a key part in taking us to the Championship title two seasons ago.

In the Championship season, it was almost a case of when the Serbian scored there was mass delirium and ‘MITRO’S ON FIRE, YOUR DEFENCE IS TERRIFFIED’ ‘NA NA NA NA NA NA NA, NA NA NA NA NA NA’, yet when Gayle netted, there was a cheer, mild applause and everyone sits down. I never understood it. I’ve stated previously that Dwight Gayle is a decent striker who will get goals if chances are created for him, but until Kenedy arrived last season, chances were at a premium and when we shipped a goal or two, that was the game up.

Martin Dubravka played his part in shoring up the defence and it’s been vital getting him on board again this season. The captain’s influence explains itself and it’s vital Jamaal Lascelles is also retained and not sold off. Some people aren’t sold on Ayoze Perez, but like it or not his goals kept us up and I’d be happy to see him continue as No.10 next season, unless someone radically better comes along, which is doubtful.

Rafa Benitez has got a cracking spine to the side with Dubravka, Lascelles, Shelvey and Perez all weighing in with some top performances last year. Dwight Gayle isn’t a player that should be held in any lesser regard, simply because he misses chances or isn’t Mr Popular. A similar player way back when, was Craig Bellamy, who often didn’t get held in as high esteem as the obviously more popular Alan Shearer, but all strikers miss chances in their careers, the key is to make sure you’re there to miss them in the first place.

Be it a Shearer, a Bellamy, a Gayle or a Rondon. Whoever we have up front, if the chances are created in plentiful supply, they will all miss some of them. It’s clear Rafa is trying to sort out the flanks with the rumoured offers for Townsend and Kenedy most welcome from me. From 2001-04 saw Newcastle score a bucket load of goals thanks to Sir Bobby Robson getting the wings sorted with Laurent Robert supplementing Nobby Solano on the other side and boy did Shearer and Bellamy make best use of them.

Teams don’t play with two up top very often now and certainly Rafa will stick to a clinical striker system in the team. The key is the service and if he sees Salomon Rondon, Dwight Gayle, or whoever, as the men to share that burden, then so be it.

In Rafa we trust!

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  • Leazes.

    You’ve just highlighted the ‘bigging-up’ process which surrounds the club!

    When players are brought in the local media do a job on them, they are all ‘world beaters’…. but they’re not are they? Remember Obafemi Martins who was presented as the worlds fastest player by the Chronicle boys? It didn’t take more than a goal before the neanderthal elements had written him his own chant and proceed to sing it throughout his illegal occupation of the No 9 shirt.

    He was poor, my god he was poor…it didn’t stop them though, the boys at the chronicle had the Shearer replacement to big up, we had a chant, and I kept saying to myself ‘are they looking at the same thing?’……Hero worship is stupid, and attributing saintly status on Rafa equally stupid, in fact its as daft as journalists constantly looking for ‘positives’ where none really exist!

    Lie and lie again, and you wonder why the club is an absolute shambles with an accountant who builds the squad and a ‘trophy manager’ who doesn’t!

    ‘Viva la Rafalution’…. nice marketing phrase…. it never happened did it?

    • Tony English

      If Leazes can’t see the improvement in the team moral and work ethic under Rafa….maybe he’s blocked Rafa too?

      We all know that’s not really Rafa, It’s just Joe Kinnear pretending to be Rafa.

      Maybe when he watches the match he only see’s 7 players as he’s blocked the other four?

      • TheNutJob

        you nailed it there, we only have 7 players fit for purpose, if that

        • Tony English

          Arguably, but at least I can see the other players putting a shift in, which in my eyes is a marked improvement on the previous regimes.

      • Nah, he’s just a sour Sally. All negativity, but I bet if he was running the club would be even worse than Ashley if he saw the wage bill every year. The team evolved last year and every player played better and against better opposition too. We would have made loads of transfers if it wasn’t for all the players we can’t shift.

        • Tony English

          I would say look at the 5-1 disgusting lazy display away to Chelsea 13/2/16 under McClaren…

          and compare it to the same squad grafting and battering Spurs 5-1 at home 15/5/16 under Rafa…

          He is a proper, proper manager…and yes shifting players has always been difficult as we have to pay them wages way over the odds to get them to the North East.

        • Leazes.

          Daft lad

          • You are always negative, we had our dream-time in the late 90’s/ early 00’s but football is all about MEGA MONEY now and world-wide merchandise sales. Leicester and other teams have proven that a League Winning Team can be done without spending 50m+ on players and having every second squad member earn 70,000+ a week, but it takes a few years to build it.
            I still blame Ashley for getting us relegated and not sacking McClown earlier, as Rafa needed 2-3 games more to keep us safe.
            Imagine if we kept our star players then like Wijnaldum, Janmaat and Sissoko and added what we have now, would have probably finished 7-8th last term.
            We managed to get 10th place in a league where 8th place Everton spent 100m and came running to “No Football” Allardyce just to keep them up and got lucky, like Liecester to be ahead of us, as did Burnley.

        • Wezza

          Wage bill? We have one of the lowest wage bills, lowest net spends, lowest transfer records etc etc etc. In the premier league.
          Disagree with making loads of transfers because we couldn’t shift players. We didn’t make lots of transfers because the owner has lied, undermined and refused to back the manager. Every penny? Blatant lie.

          • We have around 30 senior players and we can’t get loan deals for the youngsters to develop them. There’s too many players deemed “replacable” or “must go”. We are not bloody Chelsea or Arsenal and this was out first season in the Prem and Brighton and Huddersfield have a much lower wage bill than us.
            I don’t like Mike, but why have 10 seniors players in a team which get paid 30,000+ a month if they’re never going to get a game?
            Rafa wants a competitive team, and right now we don’t have that as half of it is barely good enough for a top 6 Championship finish, so yeah, we have to move players and then get better ones.

        • Mark Andrews

          We can’t shift players because we’re asking silly money for players who couldn’t hack it in the championship while making pitiful bids for players who might be good enough for the premier league

      • Mark Andrews

        Well yeah team moral and work ethic gets you so far . Tenth with the lowest ever points total in the history of the PL and only the bottom six and Burnley scored fewer goals. If we had a finisher even half the class of salah we could’ve finished a lot higher

        • Tony English


          But team moral and work ethic are the starting point, otherwise you can have great players who don’t try because they don’t care about the team, and aren’t called out on their laziness, and are never dropped…and then you have the situation we had during the last two relegations all over again. Superstars staying on the sick bed because they don’t want to pick up a bigger injury and scupper their next move

          At least we have moral to build on now.

  • Leicester Mag

    The real picture probably sits somewhere between Happy clappy blind faith and doom and gloom. In some ways this makes it worse, the frustration that things could be so much better, that always being 2 or 3 players short, 2M short of the asking price yet spending 5M on a Spanish donkey just makes no sense. The overriding question with Ashley will always be why? Why buy? Why Wise/Kinnear? Why rename St James Park? The list is endless. Truth is we won’t know why today / tomorrow/ this summer/ this season, in fact why he is at Newcastle.

    • Leazes.

      I know why…. its malevolence…. he doesn’t have to take free advertising or marketing but he does it anyway, he wants the club and its managers to struggle…. of course he does.

      …..If he didn’t he’d be helping it compete at the right end of the table, which he could have done by letting it use its own income, or with a few bob of his own towards team building. As if that isn’t enough he’ll write off seasons by entering them totally unprepared.

      • Angelswithdirtyfaces

        I’d tend to go with the cockup theory rather than the conspiracy, though an enemy of the club would probably do much the same as Fatty. No doubt he’s been a destructive influence, regardless of the placemen who act as apologists. He didn’t do due diligence at the start and that showed him up as a chancer of dubious competence. Doesn’t GAF as long as the bottom line shows okay. His own wealth is actually mostly predicated on the bull market, and predatory capitalism.

        • Leazes.

          Eleven years were just simple mistakes right…… didn’t know what he was doing…. maybe this time…..nah.

          • Wezza

            But this time he may change… No, he never will.

  • Mxpx

    Or we could be honest with ourselves and say Dwight had a great run in the championship but nothing has ever suggested he’s premier league quality

  • TheFatController

    I think the reason Mitro gets the adulation Gayle doesn’t stems from mitro arriving with ‘potential’ whereas Gayle arrived as a good league player but yet to set the PL alight.

    Thus, given all we have is hope, supporters are desperate to see mitro transform into a world beater. Even getting goals like Gayle did in the championship has supporters hoping that this is the ‘potential’ being realised.

    The rest of football, less invested in seeing him realise his potential, would probably be just as happy with Gayle as Mitro. But as they are different strikers tactically, the choice would be on team play and not talent as to who would be preferred.

    • TheNutJob

      we don`t have 1 striker that can play at premiership level, the odd good game, the odd goal, but over a season none of them are fit for purpose

      • TheFatController

        Agreed. When you look at Fulham, they have wanted both Mitro and Gayle. If they stay up in the PL this year, by next summer i suspect they’d be setting their sights much higher in their striker search.

  • Rich Lawson

    Mitro’ gets the fans going cos he is more outgoing and plays to the crowd, whilst Gayle is quite reserved. That said,neither of them is the proven prem’ scorer we need today.

  • Foggy

    Perez was invisible for two thirds of last season. And you think he is part of a “cracking spine”?. I remain to be convinced as 10 is such an important position. If he disappears at the same time Diame takes of half a season, we’ll be in trouble.

    • He was allowed to play further forward (switch with the number 9 at times) for the end of the season and started banging goals.
      Next time, try watching games before saying Perez was invisible, I think he was playing in the 90% of the matches we won points in.

      • Foggy

        I suspect you are one of these people who watch a game but have no idea what you are seeing. Yes Perez played better towards the end of the season. Much better. But he was non existent before that. The question is which Perez will turn up next season? I hardly think his performances qualify him to be included in a “cracking spine”. Maybe he needs another 10 to push him.

        • “But he was non existent before that.”
          Sorry mate, but looks like you weren’t watching the game or we were watching different games :D

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    A sensible article on the Mag for once the best one I have read. With out Perez’s goals which were decisive goals meaning we got three points rather than one we would be relegated. For me I actually think Gayle will come good next season and between him and Perez will get twenty five goals between them. If we spend twenty million on a striker very little guarantee he will come good in a different team. Would rather spend the money on Kenedy, Townsend and an attacking midfield player.

    • TheFatController

      ‘If you spend £20m on a striker very little guarantee he will come good in a different team’

      I can point to lots of strikers who had big transfer fees who gave massively secure guarantees of coming good.

  • molend

    I think there’s a bit of confusion here between centre-forward and striker. In the old days, they were synonymous. And occasionally they are today. Alan Shearer, for example, and maybe Harry Kane. But not usually. Mitro’s a centre forward, he holds the ball up, gets flicks on, takes defenders away from the striker and occasionally bundles the ball into the net. Messi, Ronaldo, Bale, Beardsley, Owen are/ were strikers and they’re gold dust. Under Ashley, we can’t afford a striker. We’ve got a centre-forward (Mitro) who might get 10-15 goals a season and help make more, midfielders who might chip in with another 15-20 (!) and defenders who might get 5. Gayle’s a striker and, at Premiership level, he’s not very good. Any striker who’s possibly going to get 20+ is way out of our league. Last season, goals for 39. Not exciting, but a question of cutting your cloth, given the lack of funding.

    • Leazes.

      Newcastle will never shake loose of the outmoded center forward while we have John Gibson and the Chronicle serialising the exploits of Malcolm Macdonald and Jackie Milburn twice a year….. their heads are stuck in 1955.

      It has been used ever since as a shirt seller to make up for the lack of true ambition of the club….. a poor side with an international calibre centre forward is a club with a ‘trophy signing’…. United are famous for their centre forwards.

      Ryder realised what I was up to with that turn of phrase and opted for the American Football ‘Marquee Signing’ term…. where poor teams were allowed to break the wage structure to get a game changer…. the chronicle refuse to use ‘trophy signing’ but its more apt with this club made of sand.

      They have been in the business of ‘manufacturing hero No. 9s’ for a long time, so long they don’t know they’re even doing it….. in the absence of ambition the Centre forward is the focal point.

      In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king.

    • Tony English

      It’s a fair point to make, outlining the additional attributes of (a certain type) of centre forward, above and beyond goal scoring…

      …but it’s a little blinkered to then label Gayle as just a “striker” like the only role he has is goals.

      To be even handed you have to outline the necessary forward play that he does (or his type do) that the likes of Mitro can’t.

      The tireless work required when we don’t have the ball – chasing down defenders and keeper, harrying and hustling, making players release the ball early and make mistakes…and then we have the ball stretching defences with his pace and running, pulling defenders out of place to create space for others.

      You will NEVER see Mitro take on any of these chores, that’s why he’s not in the team. That’s the type of player our team is set up for, if only we had the funds released to buy one who can score more often.

      I think what you’re describing is not so much ‘a centre forward’ more ‘a target man’.

      • molend

        Fair enough

  • wheyayeman

    Can’t afford a centre forward – Nufc under Ashley summed up!

  • Desree

    Benitez will be leaving the Spain job isms guess.

    He has kept his mouth shut about lack of signings. Does this mean he has accepted the situation? Or could he be being nice so Mike will let him leave.

    What do you think fellow posters?

  • Stephen Paylor

    Dwight scored 6 in 1960 minutes, Lukaku scored 16 in almost 3000 minutes and playing for Manchester United who obviously create more chances than we do. Gayle got a goal ever 320 minutes or so, Lukaku every 186 mins or close to. If Lukaku played up front for us last season how many would he have scored in the same number of minutes? Im curious what everyone thinks of this?

    • Stephen Paylor

      Incidentaly Rondon scored 7 in almost as many minutes as Lukaku, are these numbers more down to the team they play for? Callum Wilson played a similar number of minutes to Gayle and scored i think 8. Does thatmake him worth twice Gayle?