With Newcastle fans waiting for news of incoming players, it was a bit of a surprise/shock when instead it was claimed Matt Ritchie is set to leave.

No player made more first team appearances last season for Newcastle United, the winger starting 32 and coming off the bench three times.

As surprising as the news of Ritchie potentially leaving, the possible destination(s) were equally unexpected.

It was John Percy (who is usually very reliable) at The Telegraph who first broke the story, stating that talks had already taken place between Newcastle and both Stoke & Middlesbrough.

Much talk has followed since that transfer exclusive and Matt Ritchie (maybe) leaving, has now been tied in with it potentially helping to fund deals for Andros Townsend and/or Kenedy.

Any departure happening for purely football reasons didn’t/doesn’t really ring true for either club or player. In a poll in May (see below) we asked Newcastle fans which players should Rafa definitely keep for next season, an overwhelming 94% wanted to retain Matt Ritchie, with only three players getting higher support.

However, news from the Stoke end of things has given a plausible reason as to why a move may be in the offing.

Not normally bothering with transfer gossip, the most popular Stoke Fans TV YouTube channel ‘The Bear Pit TV’, say that they have been told that Ritchie’s motivation for the move is because he wants to ‘move closer to family’ after two years at Newcastle.

The source telling them that ‘Matt Ritchie has agreed a contract with Stoke and Newcastle have accepted our offer’, with the transfer to be officially announced when the winger returns from holiday.

As explained above, this Stoke fans TV channel doesn’t usually go for transfer speculation and the same source told them Joselu was moving to Newcastle (and they published it), a couple of days before anything was reported in the newspapers.

Whatever the reasons, it does feel as though Matt Ritchie is set to move on with the media coverage growing.

A player who did very well for Newcastle United and who the club are set to make a (small) profit on, nothing negative about his time at St James Park or indeed his departure IF any replacement proves to produce more than the Scottish international in the Premier League.

The Bear Pit TV:


“We’ve been informed that Matt Ritchie has agreed a contract with Stoke and Newcastle have accepted our offer

“He was looking to move closer to family and will be announced once he returns from holiday in Dubai next week.”

The Mag – 20 May 2018:

We asked fans which Newcastle players should Rafa definitely keep for 2018/19 season?

All results were rounded up/down to the nearest whole percentage point (fans could vote for as many players as they wanted to):

99% Jonjo Shelvey

98% Jamaal Lascelles

95% Florian Lejeune

94% Matt Ritchie

92% Mohamed Diame

90% Paul Dummett

90% DeAndre Yedlin

86% Ayoze Perez

84% Mikel Merino

70% Jacob Murphy

61% Christian Atsu

54% Ciaran Clark

50%  Isaac Hayden

37% Karl Darlow

36% Aleksandar Mitrovic

25% Rob Elliot

23% Dwight Gayle

19% Rolando Aarons

12% Chancel Mbemba

9% Javier Manquillo

6% Joselu

5% Henri Saivet

3% Matz Sels

2% Achraf Lazaar

2% Jack Colback

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Since when is Gosport near Stoke, have they moved it or what.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      There are a few more flights from Manchester to Southampton than Newcastle but I doubt it’s exactly prohibitive from Newcastle.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        They also say he`s in Dubai on holiday,
        didn`t the squad report back for training yesterday morning

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Some players were allowed another week. I don’t think there were many there yesterday.

    • Rich Lawson

      I notice there is no comment from Peaky on this article,hasn’t he just sold a house in Stoke ?

      • Peaky

        Not quite in Stoke as such….25 miles away….but in Staffs…..I can however confirm it wasn’t the Ritchie family who bought it.

  • GlasgowMag

    You couldn’t make it up our most consistent player since he arrived. Great plan fat boy get rid of our best players and replace with free transfers how much lower can our club sink!!!

  • Geordiegiants

    A very decent player, very consistent and a true desire to play.
    Good luck Matt.
    I have 100% faith in Rafas judgment, and let’s hope it has a similar impact to The King selling Cole.

  • SH.ER

    Well, Townsend is better for Newcastle anyway & We wouldn’t have signed Ritchie if he stayed with us in the championship, We’re suffering from giving the ball away too much in counter attacks so we have to get better attackers & wingers
    Kenedy on loan with an option to buy & that would be perfect ..

    • Dillon Tovak

      Why would a loan be perfect?

  • Toonrobbybobson

    I think Rafa would have kept him however balancing positives and negatives there must be logic to this from Rafas POV.

    Personally think at Prem level you need more wing pace, goals and assists. Love Ritchie though top attitude but perhaps its just natural progress. If one in is higher quality than one out its squad improvement.

    These are all big ifs under Ashley regime.

    I doubt Rafa would have been able to justify Ritchies salary as backup if he wanted a better player and hes 29?

    Lets see who comes in but selling aint gonna help with season tickets…

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    In Dubai on holiday until next week ?
    Is he, the squad reported in for training yesterday morning.

    • I didn’t read anything about all the players being there. Usually, fringe/extra players report on the day and most regulars are given a few days off.

  • Alex

    Dubai…..in July?

  • Billmag

    If it’s true good luck Matt one of my favourite player’s who gave his all for the shirt and we would probably still be in the Championship without his goals and assists.

    • mentalman

      He did well for us in the championship and was key to our promotion but i think that’s probably his level now.

  • Wezza

    If it’s for family reasons then good luck to him. If we were a proper football club we’d buy Kenedy but we know it’s not happening.

  • Lostprofit DBC

    I’m pretty sure that one of Andros’s conditions to rejoin, is that Ritchie was moved on. The family thing may be true as well of course so why not Bournemouth?

    • robbersdog

      What an odd comment. Why do you think that Townsend has a problem with Ritchie?

      • Lostprofit DBC

        He hasn’t a personal problem, just that he wants to be assured of first team football.

  • HarryHype59

    I have no issues with him leaving IF we sign a better replacement. Wether that happens is another issue.

    • Peter C

      That is the 64,000 dollar question

  • I think something between 12-15m was agreed which is fine as long as we bring Kenedy and Townsend. Maybe the Rafalution is just getting started?

  • Mxpx

    Great let’s sell one of our only goal threats

  • Weyhhadaway

    Good luck to him, a real grafter and got us some great results.a replacement is worrying but this is the toon so lets just wait and see.

  • Mike

    aye its a long way from Newcastle to Stoke

  • Foggy

    Hard to believe. Surely you’d want to move family out of a shithole like Stoke rather than join then in that dump.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Or he had the option of going to Middlesbrough apparently………….not sure which is worse…………good luck to him anyway……………..he gave heart and soul for us,unlike some tssrs we’ve had in the past…

      • Foggy

        Aye but playing for Boro you can still live here.

        • Kneebotherm8


  • Stephen Paylor

    Selling one of our top 5 players must only mean Andros is coming back? If not then this makes zero sense to me at all.