BBC Sport main man, Phil McNulty, has been looking ahead to the new season for Newcastle United.

McNulty is the BBC Sport Chief Football writer and sums up many of our thoughts when he says:

‘The only thing you can predict about Newcastle United is that a crisis is always just around the corner – and this is why I fear the worst for them this season.’

As a Newcastle fan it is difficult to disagree with that statement, especially in these past 11 years of Mike Ashley.

His disastrous ownership has overseen two relegations, two very near misses (only reaching safety on final match day of 2014/15 and the second last one of 2012/13), two seasons in the Championship, and only one time have Newcastle finished top nine in the Premier League.

The 11 seasons before Mike Ashley took over, Champions League football, two FA Cup finals and twice finishing in the top four.

The BBC Sport man sees the strengths at Newcastle as being Rafa Benitez and his relationship with the fans, as well as the players.

Ashley of course the person who once again is the one holding Newcastle back with a refusal to allow a realistic level of investment in the transfer window.

Predicting the Premier League table this season, Phil McNulty sees Newcastle United going down.

bbc sport

Newcastle haven’t exactly been helped by the fixtures, with four of last season’s top six amongst the opponents in the first five matches.

History tells us that if Newcastle make a bad start then it can be very difficult to climb out of a downward spiral.

Much will depend on how quickly Rondon, Muto and Fernandez can fit in, all having had no pre-season with Newcastle, as Mike Ashley failed to back Rafa Benitez with his early targets.

Today is massive, as with Spurs missing players due to late returns after World Cup duty it has given Newcastle an enhanced chance of starting on a positive note.

Three points would be massive but a draw and a positive performance would go some way to suggesting disaster this season might be avoided.

Phil McNulty, BBC Chief football writer:

“Newcastle United: Last season – 10th, This season (Prediction) – 18th:

“The only thing you can predict about Newcastle United is that a crisis is always just around the corner – and this is why I fear the worst for them this season.

“Manager Rafael Benitez and owner Mike Ashley are at odds once more and the Spaniard, no stranger to the game’s political manoeuvrings, has made his discontent clear while retaining the support of the Toon Army.

“If Benitez stays and can be kept reasonably happy (a big if that one) then there is reason to suspect Newcastle can stay up – if he doesn’t then there may be serious consequences.

“Salomon Rondon is a decent signing as a striker but he is not prolific and will carry a huge weight of responsibility.

“As ever Newcastle’s vast following deserve better.”

  • Vincent Gigante

    He has predicted that we are unpredictable!

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    They have been helped with the fixtures as the top teams are weaker at the start of the season.

    • BanJones

      No WE have been helped.

    • BanJones

      Blocked – byee

      • Kenny

        He’s the forums pet vermin 🐀

        • drc74

          as well as ashleys sxunk bucket

  • ross richardson

    This bloke has Wolves finishing 7th???

    • TheFatController

      I thought that was odd, they have bought amazing quality and some on the cheap for various reasons, so I reckon they’re about £100m better off from the promoted team that was strong.

      But to finish above everton who have a good manager now and some real quality signings over the last 3 Windows?

      But he’s more accurate regarding us. Only because no one ever talks about how we cope with every day getting closer to rafa’s departure.

      Knowing your manager is leaving did man utd no favours with fergie, arsenal no favours with Wenger, and Chelsea no favours with Conte.

      So I presume the players and fans knowing Rafa is leaving is going to become a problem by about January

      • HarryHype59

        I have a hideous feeling Fat Sham will be manager of NUFC before then. He fits the Ashley profile perfectly and the owner has said he regrets not giving him more time at this club.

        • TheFatController

          Agreed. One thing’s for sure, if we think we’re miserable now, wait til Rafa’s replacement is in…

    • Leazes.

      It is odd…..I had them as relegation candidates.

  • Peaky

    “Club in crisis”= publicity = free advertising…… the old saying goes….”there’s no such thing as bad publicity”…..🐷🐷🐷 OUT OUT OUT……don’t put Penfold anymore as he is a total irrelevance and Arbuckles pawn…..

    • HarryHype59

      They will finish above NUFC as will Fulham.

  • Tweed Mag

    As usual the pundits are in a race to see who can get the most coverage. It is obvious who the strong teams are, who the weak teams are and who will fit somewhere in the middle. Did McNulty tip Leicester to win the PL? There are always a few surprises and all these predictions should be taken with a pinch of salt. Newcastle will do okay.

    • Leazes.

      Well there are two distinct divisions within the League now, and the one we are in could end up any way you like….

      ….any team in the second part is just one key injury away or decision away from disaster,

      Charnley said United’s squad wasn’t a Championship level, well Shearer thinks it is, a lot of fans can see the barrel scraping penny pinching antics of the regime, the first eleven are average players largely escaping the World Cup duties. Ashley is banking on Rafa’s bus again.

      Charnley is no footballing expert….. he has dithered and downsized the club for eleven years!

      We are about £180m away from Leicester City, a club who are going to spend huge on new training facilities…. and Ashley has United facing 180 degrees from ambition.

      Newcastle will not be okay…. because without a goal a club will struggle, and without keeping pace with competitors the club will sink. Two relegations and the policy hasn’t changed despite having the best manager since Robson!

      Yes there will be suprises, thats football…….. Leicester are planning for the future, we aren’t.

      • Tweed Mag

        Newcastle will do okay – in other words avoid going down. If any team sustains serious injuries they will struggle to reach their potential. That is the way it is. One or two others will play their socks off and provide some good entertainment. Ashley has gambled again and we will no doubt suffer another season of disappointments at the wrong end of the table.

        • Leazes.

          I’m sorry no you cant predict what will happen except United will be somewhere in the bottom places. We escaped injury, suspension and had a good run against some top sides last season. The gamble of how little you can spend and survive is russian roulette, and pretty stupid.

          • Tweed Mag

            Yes it is stupid and as I said earlier, have your pinch of salt ready in respect of predictions.

    • Carverlier football

      A decent club should plan for success, not hope for a surprise…

      • Tweed Mag

        We have a decent club and decent fans, it is the owner who lets us all down.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Success for Ashley is……..survival…….with the lowest possible outlay..

  • Martin Rooney

    Solomon Rondon is a decent signing as a striker.

    Said the BBC’s chief football writer about a team which didn’t have one last season and finished tenth.

    In the same breath he admits the team is led by a first rate manager.

    Then predicts they’ll get relegated.

    How did he get his job

    • Carverlier football

      A first rate manager that all the players will know is leaving at the end of the season. Because that worked out for Chelsea didn’t it? I think we’ll scrape survival but his prediction is perfectly reasonable

    • HarryHype59

      His prediction is perfectly valid considering the joke level of spending in the last window.

  • Kenny

    11am at the trolls masters dump
    be there if you can to get rid of the scummy owner & his vermin

    • Leazes.

      Its going to be an ongoing protest to reach out to the community and further afield, don’t expect this guy to do anything too soon.

      I saw one little old lady being interviewed by the BBC yesterday and she was remarkably well ‘genned up’ on Ashley’s antics…. absolutely indignant at the cheapskate loans and his hostile ownership…. She knew more than Mark Douglas at the Chronicle.

      Way to go….. old lady!

      • Kneebotherm8

        To quote Mugpie yesterday:-
        “Are the Magpie Group going to buy the club like last time or frighten old age pensioners on Northumberland Street.”
        Sounds to me like they could be the ringleaders in this demonstration.
        I think I’ll keep well clear of Northumberland Street this morning……..and out of the way of,what could be,one very intimidating group of old age pensioners…..

        • Leazes.

          Oh yes that was fleckmans mantra for the last 14 years…. I highly suspect he may have had something to do with the ill conceived and mis-timed original floatation…. he’s an accountant so he says…. I wonder if he was the one who bodged it and is blaming the fans for not ‘putting there money where the mouth was’…. is that the long standing gripe against United fans….hmmm!

          • Kneebotherm8

            To be fair it’s the older generation who are the ones that know the before and after scenario with Ashley …..the young’uns are oblivious to what he’s doing to the club….

  • Julian March

    4 years ago the team McNulty tipped to finish were 18th were Leicester …

    • Tweed Mag

      That says it all.

      • Leazes.

        If you hadn’t noticed the Mag has a posse of tipsters for ‘adformercials’…. none of them have made millions from predictions because that would be like magic….and there’s no such thing as magic!

        • Tweed Mag

          The TV money has disappeared – as if by magic. But then again, magic is just an illusion with a huge dollop of deception . . . .

          • Leazes.

            That not magic…. its criminal

    • Leazes.

      To be fair nobody tipped them they were 5000 – 1….. and catching the big four off foot wont happen again in 50 years…. its as rare as the alignment of the stars, I’m surprised nobody came in for Vardy.

      I don’t believe in predictions, I do believe in momentum, and trying to beat your competitors to the best players…. ambition hasn’t been seen here for over a decade now, and with Charnley’s statement of hostility yesterday we aren’t likely to see it in the future…. that was a statement of NON Intent!

      One thing you can ‘predict’ is that if you aim for tenth then you will be in trouble, aim for Europe and fail and you probably wont.

    • Kneebotherm8


  • Rob Brown

    “History tells us that if Newcastle make a bad start then it can be very difficult to climb out of a downward spiral.”

    A pretty generic statement that covers any team?

  • HarryHype59

    Looking objectively, the odds of another relegation are 50:50. Fatty will panic buy in the Jan window if/when the club is in the bottom three.

    • Leazes.

      Yes a measured frugal spend in January … there will be a purchase if we are in trouble….. totally ‘moneyball for the accounts’ not for the football.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Deja vu..

  • GlasgowMag

    One thing that all the pundits agree on is we are going to struggle this season, basically because of our lack of investment again in the transfer market!! You only have to look at where our main transfer activity was focussed towards, the fodder from last years relegated teams. These actions alone tell you exactly the ambitions of our workhouse owner avoid relegation only but not by investment like most other well run clubs but by the casino Cashley route as usual gambling with low stakes for big rewards!! So unlike other fans who will be excited about the new season all we have to look forward to is a relegation fight no chance of looking towards a European place or winning a cup just basically a struggle all because of one mans greed!! Sorry to be pessimistic but this is the reality good luck today with the protest but please don’t abuse the SD staff this is what he wants a poor me get out don’t fall into his trap Ashley out!!!

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Thing I don’t get though is the pundits say we’ll struggle via lack of investment (which is true) then on the other hand give us & Benítez pelters for asking for proper investment…we can’t win