Things aren’t great at Newcastle United.

You might have noticed.

A club rotten from the top down, with only really the continuing presence (for the time being) of Rafa Benitez stopping the whole thing for imploding.

Difficult to know where to start with what Mike Ashley is, or isn’t doing, at Newcastle United.

A refusal to allow proper investment in the first team squad.

A refusal to allow proper investment in the state of the art training complex that was promised five years ago.

A refusal to allow proper investment in the Academy, Mike Ashley declaring (via the recent NUFC Fans Forum minutes) that he believes it is a waste of time because no guarantee it will produce first team players.

No proper professional team in place to try and grow the club off the pitch, particularly in terms of commercial revenue.

The thing is of course, if the first of these four things is done properly, then nobody really cares about the other three things.

The first team winning football matches is the be all and end all but when you are not doing that…

Which brings me to the Newcastle United question I heard/saw asked this week, which really brought home to me how bad things are now at the club.

The Chronicle were asking Newcastle fans the question: Who should be higher in the pecking order, Christian Atsu or Jacob Murphy?

This to me is the equivalent of being asked to choose whether you’d like to be hit in the face with a hammer or a brick.

No disrespect to either of the two players, or indeed a fair few of our squad, but I would be just as happy having an empty space on the bench.

The pair of them came on at Old Trafford and as usual did absolutely nothing, apart from weaken the team severely.

A bit like February to April this year when we watched that run of games taking NUFC to safety, Newcastle United have just about got a first team but absolutely no strength in depth. Only really at centre-back is there any decision to be made if everybody was fit – I would be happy with any two of Fernandez, Lejeune and Lascelles playing.

It is shocking the depths Mike Ashley has taken us to, when the local newspaper is desperately looking around for a story and feels compelled to ask you for a preference on Atsu or Murphy?

Yet because of such a serious failure to back Rafa Benitez, the manager is left with this level of players, Manquillo and Hayden included also, who end up getting in the team if there are any injuries.

It is a massive challenge for our first eleven to stay up this season but if there are four or five injuries in key positions then it will be a definite hopeless case, unless of course Mike Ashley finally backs Rafa Benitez in January…

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  • Billmag

    If we had strength in depth Rafa would have let Hayden go in the summer, people go on about Rafa making late substitutions but when you look at the bench is it any wonder.

  • HarryHype59

    Neither look good enough for the EPL! Did Rafa actually sign either, or did someone from the Ashley regime bring them in?

    The club paid around £16m for those two. I wonder what their combined sell on value is now? £10m at best I would say.

    • Leazes.

      I think the club are bringing payers in regardless of Rafa’s wishes….. he’s already gone to press saying £20m gets you a sub 10 goal striker….

      Big problem when you have a manager who is largely gagged, a regime who hide from questions and a press who don’t ask them!

  • DeadToiler

    It is disrespectful to Atsu and Murphy. Don’t slag the players off they are doing their best. It’s not their fault.

    • Mark Davies

      Exactly right. This is the sort of article we used to get about players like thauvan and then the same people say we should never have sold him etc.

      I think Murphy will grow into a fine player and Atsu is decent cover.

      This is just a horrible opinion piece and does noone any good.

      • panther

        im yet to see atsu break into a jog

      • HarryHype59

        What evidence do you think Murphy will grow into a fine player? I want him to succeed as much as the next person. Based on his appearances to date, he looks a poor buy for £10m.

  • mentalman

    Murphy is used badly as a substitute and his game and confidence is clearly being affected by it.

    Atsu is just a waste of space but is one of rafa’s golden boys so will continue to get game time

  • Leazes.

    Yes absolutely right….the Chronicle are something else aren’t they?

    They have the audacity to sit there and interview each other as if they are experts of judgement…. we have a squad placed at fifteenth for another bash at the relegation stakes and they are interested in tittle tattle.

    You have Ryder a boyhood Liverpool fan, Douglas a Bradford City Fan and Waugh who hadn’t attended a game until he embarked upon a journalism career, instead of asking questions of this regime are more interested in blowing up their own sense of worth.

    More impotent than important!

    ‘Inside the Rafalution’ by Mark Douglas, was based upon what exactly?…… A CONTINUED DOWNSIZING OPERATION!

    Ashley couldn’t have done it without Douglas and Starforth being sold spin as truth!

    A PR agent doesn’t target customers he targets the media, that’s why Bishop was brought in to target Douglas and those willing to be sold a pup!

    ….Boy have they sold us down the river!

    • Hughie_Gallacher

      Dead right. BBC Newcastle have a lot to answer for also, trying to make out that Newcastle have been trying to get along with a slightly awkward owner, but nothing out of the ordinary.

      • Leazes.

        Jeff Brown’s analysis is un-enquiring, distant and unchallenging, almost as if he’s apologetic for having to subject his listeners to another official line from the people in power there. Sort of like Carol Malia enthusiasm for football in general…..

        …..’Well jeff there been a bit of bother again’…..’you boys and your football tsk’.

    • FatParosite

      The whole thing is as mouldy as our current SJP toilets & stinks far worse. Accountability is the key watchword that has neither been recognised or acted upon either, paradoxically. The Comical are worse than Ashley. Ashley has been on course to suck dry our resources and has done it for his God, money. The comical has sold everything, absolutely everything, respect, integrity, trust and honour for very little. Only to survive and produce a media outlet that has very little difference to the pipes of raw effluent that jut out to the sea at Blyth. Shame on everyone that works there.

      • Leazes.

        The regime hide because they don’t want accountability, and the huge problem is that Ryder and Co don’t hold them to account via their outpourings or their communication with National journalists.

        They sold the ‘Club in debt’ story to the media, when it should have been ‘Cameron Hall in Debt’….. at the time when our borrowings had paid for a stadium build….we had the second largest stadium in the country the new build generating an extra £10m per annum…. far in excess of bank charges…..

        ….Douglas and Ryder are enemies of the club but friends of the regime!

  • Superdooperhooper

    The titanic has hit the iceberg but the orchestra from the chronicle carry on playing as if nothing has happened ! So no change there then ! Why don’t they do some proper journalism and try to find out exactly how much ashley has repaid himself from the so called loan?

  • magpiefifer

    You won’t find many media owners who have the [email protected] to challenge Ashley over his catastrophic,incompetent ownership of NUFC.
    Whether it’s down to fear of commercial damage,laziness or inability to analyse the situation we can only surmise,but we are being badly let down by the local press in Newcastle!

  • JohnnyH

    Agree wholeheartedly.
    The ethos of journalism is to seek the truth and get it out there.
    The Chronicle have abdicated their responsibility to the people of our region in turning a blind eye to what’s happening to the club.
    The banality of their reporting on matters at the club is staggering.

    Not fit for bog roll

    • Leazes.

      These are journalists who run polls to make their minds up on issues!

  • Viru leckworth

    Just heard Mark Lawrenson say Mike Ashley would put 30 or 40million if they are still in trouble by Jan. I’ll have a pint of what he is on.

    • Leazes.

      Based upon the need for survival….. we’ll top up when needed…. like running a car and putting in five litres at a time….. there you go still going.

      Problem with this strategy is we’ve done it before and he threw £80m at getting out of the clarts and it didn’t work.

      • Sickandtired

        The most he’s ever put in for a January window was 15/16 when we got Shelvey, Townsend, and the marvelous Saivet and Doumbia! Amounted to 38.7 mil Euro and we still went down.

        • Leazes.

          I stand corrected…. it still doesn’t work like that…..well done for looking it up though.

    • HarryHype59

      It could be too late by then. Anyway, 30 to 40 million isn’t enough!

  • Foggy

    What do you mean by no disrespect? They are 16 million pounds worth of wasted money. They are both contributing their fair share making this club rotten to the core, as you put it. Along with Perez who was plumbing new depths of ineptitude even for him today.