Garth Crooks thinks that the ‘Writing is on the wall’ at Newcastle United.

The BBC Sport pundit claiming that ‘This could be the turning point for Rafael Benitez’ at Newcastle.

Crooks pointing to those Newcastle fans who left St James Park before the final whistle.

There are so many problems/issues at the club, it is difficult to know where to start.

However, one thing is for sure, the only thing that has held things together up to this point, is the ongoing presence of Rafa Benitez.

A ‘turning point’ which would equal him leaving Newcastle United any time soon, would simply seal this season’s fate beyond any doubt.

At normal clubs it would be the manager who would be the obvious casualty in trying to put things right but Newcastle fans know that Rafa Benitez has been continuously firefighting, rather than being able to get on and try to take the team/club forward.

Whilst every other club was trying their best to strengthen this summer, Mike Ashley was insisting on a £20m+ profit so that he could take a large amount of money out of NUFC once the transfer window closed.

Come in Houston, I think we may have spotted a reason for the mess the club is now in.

Garth Crooks has always been very supportive of Rafa Benitez and indeed brought much derision on himself when previously claiming that with the right backing, Rafa could be capable of winning the Premier League with Newcastle United.

Garth Crooks picked out Brighton’s Shane Duffy as one of his Premier League team of the week, the defender making 19 clearances, the most by any Premier League player this season in a game.

He will rarely have had such an easy match as this summed up Newcastle, who also put a massive 41 crosses into the Brighton box. Such a lack of quality from Newcastle as they proved yet again incapable of scoring against one of the lesser, but well disciplined PL teams.

Garth Crooks talking to BBC Sport:

“Shane Duffy: Talk about keeping the ball alive. That’s precisely what Shane Duffy did when he brilliantly headed the ball back across the box to help create Brighton’s winning goal against Newcastle.

“The central defender went on to provide a commanding display at the back in order to give manager Chris Hughton a special return to St James’ Park.

“This could be the turning point for Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez.

“When Newcastle fans start streaming out of the stadium before the end of the game, the writing is on the wall.

“Did you know? Irishman Duffy made a Premier League-best for this season of 19 clearances in Brighton’s 1-0 win at Newcastle.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Brighton 1


Brighton: Kayal 29

Possession was Brighton 32% Newcastle 68%

Total shots were  Brighton 8 Newcastle 27

Shots on target were Brighton 2 Newcastle 6

Corners were  Brighton 2 Newcastle 10

Referee: Andre Marriner

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy, Perez, Muto (Joselu 74)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Atsu, Murphy, Schar, Hayden, Manquillo

Crowd: 50,329 (Brighton approx 1,300)

(Can these statistics from Newcastle 0 Brighton 1 be misleading? Read HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the defeat HERE)

(Match ratings of all NUFC players v Brighton HERE)

(Lee Charnley “We’ll do better when we play the lesser teams” – Read HERE)

  • Wor Lass

    There`s nothing wrong with what Crooks is saying but I notice that the Rafa haters are coming out more and more into the light from under their rocks now. Never mind the 11 years of r*pe and pillage by the fat barsteward, forget the constant mismanagement and two-fingers-to-the-fans-type bizarre appointments, ignore the fact that Rafa worked wonders to get us promoted at the first attempt and followed it up with a tenth place finish, just let the constant lack of investment just slide on by. No, it`s not Mike`s fault we`re in this mess, that we can`t score goals because we`ve never replaced Demba Ba – no, it`s Rafa`s. The only man at the top end of the club who has any integrity. The one person who cares about the players, the fans and the city. The guy that actually knows something about football. Yeah, it`s all his fault and if he goes everything will mysteriously be OK. Jog on, you muppets!

    • Leazes.

      Short term reactionary solutions have always been the result! …. its expected….. but the club looks doomed with or without a change in tactics or ownership…. the Pizza House summit wen’t well didn’t it?

      • Rabid Dog

        The pizza summit has been shown to be exactly what it was; a PR exercise, and one that back fired monumentally when Ashley has a few shandys and decided to stick his fingers up at the fans.

        • Viru leckworth

          And the players are going to put in SO MUCH more effort because they have been promised a holiday if they keep us up. Ha ha ha. Cheaper than reinforcing the squad eh.
          Ashley is treating players like his warehouse staff, they would be glad of a free holiday… except they won’t get one. And I wouldn’t even trust Ashley to keep his promise to the players – even if they do keep us up. But wait a minute, a free pizza, he didn’t renege on that.

    • Billmag

      Well said mate 👍👍.

    • Mrkgw

      I don’t think that all critics of Rafa overlook the fact that we need rid of the main culprit in Ashley. Well, not me anyway.

      • Billmag

        But you did say in another post you wanted Rafa out, do you still stand by that or was it a heat of the moment thing, or have you never forgiven him for selling Mitro.

        • Mrkgw

          No Bill, I still say that change is needed managerially. As you well know, the Mitro sale is a factor in so much that, we are weaker as a team for it. Had MA re-invested the funds then it might have been a different story and perhaps, we wouldn’t have been having this conversation. I inferred above as to the fact that ultimately we need rid of Ashley but, Rafa isn’t off the hook yet. Not for me anyway.

          • Billmag

            Irrespective of which manager we get if Rafa is sacked he doesn’t stand a chance under this regime as has been proved over the last 11years, fatty hates anyone that stands up against him that’s why you will more than likely get your wish and Rafa will be just another statistic in the long line of Ashley’s foul ups.

          • Mrkgw

            Not sure that Ashley would dare to sack Rafa if I’m honest. He hates the support but to rid the majority of their manager this time around might well have the whole thing implode before him. What a mess eh.

          • Billmag

            For sure it’s an awful mess.

      • Wor Lass

        Nothing wrong with criticising Rafa – every manager has some differences of opinion with fans. I didn`t agree with sidelining Mitro but that doesn`t mean Rafas at fault for the shambles the club is in or that getting rid of him will somehow undo 11 years of gross mismanagement and under investment.

        • Mrkgw

          Absolutely – we so desperately need rid of the chief culprit in Mike Ashley. 100%.

    • JohnnyH

      Agree with every point you make..
      Stripping the club
      Lack of investment
      What Rafas managed to achieve despite Ashley, and his integrity.
      Not replacing our last recognised striker in five years.

    • Quiting is for quiters, Rafa and the players won’t quit! The hardest part is when you’re down. We were terribly unlucky this season and I feel we cold be in the top 10 if only our entire team was fit for most games! You “fans” forget that we haven’t had a game with all our best players in the squad, let alone on the pitch! If Lejeune hadn’t gotten injured and Rondon was fit from day one, and Lascelles and Shelvey didn’t miss those games, do you honestly believe we would be sitting bottom by losing 10 games by one goal?

      • Wor Lass

        Yes, quite! lol

  • Leazes.

    There were two local journalists who knew the identity of the person doing due diligence for Amanda Staveley….Miles Starfort and Mark Douglas.

    They have refused to name sources to their readers.

    But nevertheless put out the story that it was genuine enquiry.

    It leaked out yesterday that the person doing due diligence was Chris Mort…..

    …. thats right former Chairman, Ashley’s circle, Fellow director of law firm with Tony Jiminerz….. ‘and the nice little group’ from London.


    Mort was wheeled out again on Saturday to perpetuate the thought off a sale…. don’t forget Starforth and Ryder and Douglas know his supposed role… yet wrote….

    ….’Mort was there to take in a game’….

    Not he wasn’t….. he was there to bend your thinking that a bid is genuine and imminent…..

    ….. this is a PR game being played out to a backdrop of a club that is not going to survive this season!

    Selfish individuals the lot of them?

    Shame on all of them and the fans who sit on their hands.

    • kingfisher

      Excellent post Leazes. 👏👍👏👍

      • Leazes.

        They’re trying to pull a take over stunt in a week when the Man City owner is bumping off journalists…. poor timing for a middle east saviour to come in.

    • Billmag

      10/10 Apply for the editor’s job at the Chron you would do better than those Muppet’s. 👏👏

      • Tony English

        Billmag. You can tell him I agree with you that if true this is a quality post and shows the chronicle up once again for being sheet scared of Ashley.

        Leazes still thinks I’m someone else…he who shall not be mentioned.

        • Billmag

          He did the same with me Tony, it has taken time for not just him but other poster’s to convince them I’m a lifelong supporter but there you go as me old Dad used to say it takes all sorts to make a world.

    • JohnnyH

      The cesspit gets bigger.
      Probably why we get powder puff journalism. They’re all in Ashley’s nice little group.

    • robbersdog

      I always thought that Mort was a decent guy – just a lawyer doing a job for a high-paying client, ie, Mike Ashley. He was never a permanent chairman, and soon went back to his day job after being seconded to NUFC for a year.

      Who knows why he was at SJP, but maybe he was actually WAS just there to watch the game.

  • Coble’s Return

    There cannot be an alternative now to a mass protest and boycott. I have always held the view that those who attend have the right to do so, but it has to be acknowledged that filling the ground does not support the club, nor the team, nor the manager for anything more than the 90 minutes of the match.

    Rafa has been screaming out for investment and he has been shafted by an owner whose contempt for the club and the area is sickening. What the club needs is for fans to see the bigger picture, to get the fact that a boycott is painful, but that without it we are knowingly, or unwittingly complicit in Ashley’s on-going abuse.

    For the sake of the future of the club, there has to be a deafening statement of defiance against Ashley. Empty stands in front of the TV cameras, backed up by public protests and media statements will say that we will stand for this no more. Anyone who continues to turn up as they always have and expect anything other than we have got is absolutely deluded. Anyone who responds with “you have to have a willing buyer” misses the point. You have to start with a willing seller. Kicking and screaming, this f-ing abomination has to reach the point where he is desperate to sell.

    • Simonmartin Dodgson

      great peace and a boycott in front of the sky cameras would show the world

    • Boycott won’t solve anything. The players must be backed, Rafa must be backed. No point in walking out on the team. Yes, they lack quality, and badly, but they try and Rafa tries. They won’t quit on us, so why would the fans quit on them?

  • I’ve never seen our team dominate a game like Brighton and yet all the fault lies lies with the players. Rafa can’t go out there and score by himself! Ritchie, Perez, Shelvey, Diame and Kenedy all had chances to score and for another game they didn’t. I’m sorry but I can’t blame Rafa who set out our team on full throttle only to be let down yet again by all of the attacking players.
    Muto, Kenedy, Josely and Perez might bring us a goal here and there but Ritchie, Shelvey, Joselu, Diame and pretty much all else are just useless even trying to go for goal only to hit the corner flag or miss the goal with a free header from 10 yards.
    Nothing more to say, we need 3 decent atacking players (2 wingers and a forward) and an attacking left fullback. Looks to me like a 60m+ investment or we go down. And I know Ashley will spend 20-30 in January and yet again gamble which is the worst. Spend nothing or go all out! At least when we get nothing the pressure will be off and the club can look to re-structure for the Championship next term.

  • KennySamsung

    He could be right but any scenario could develop at Newcastle, even a miracle could happen and the players start winning games.