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Opinion

I made these five Newcastle United January predictions – Looking good so far…

9 months ago
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How often do you hear people talking about Newcastle United as such an unpredictable club?

Well, I think at the moment NUFC couldn’t be any more predictable.

On New Year’s Eve I was at a house party, had a canny time.

As often/usually happens at this type of thing, the women were doing  whatever they do, whilst half a dozen blokes ended up in the kitchen talking about football.

Well when I say football, it was really Newcastle United and everything that surrounds the mess/chaos Mike Ashley has visited on us, rather than the ‘beautiful game’, as I have seen fans of other clubs talk about.

There was a mixture of us within the half dozen: three of us who still have season tickets, a couple who still go fairly regularly on a match to match basis, plus one who stopped going last summer and says he won’t step foot inside St James Park ever again unless/until Mike Ashley leaves.

As midnight got close, I gave  them five predictions about what would happen with Newcastle United in January:

Mike Ashley won’t sell the club

Newcastle will be knocked out of the FA Cup

The team will win one Premier League match

We will see loads of PR stunts/nonsense from Mike Ashley and  his people to try and divert attention

Not one player will be signed

Taking them one by one…

Selling the club – Was never ever going to happen and only Mike Ashley (and some of his people) will know  exactly why he chose to go on TV and talk the rubbish he did on 3 December 2018.

No sale of the club is happening, certainly not mid-season in the middle of a relegation battle. Pure nonsense.

FA Cup – Well we nearly did it at the first attempt. Only six minutes from the end a fortunate penalty (should ave saved that for a PL match!) delivered a very much unwanted FA Cup reply. Would Rafa have preferred Matt Ritchie’s penalty to have gone the wrong  side of the post? Only he knows.

What is clear is that Rafa Benitez is in no position to send out a team to try and progress in the competition. Our first team is poor even when everybody is fit, never mind with injuries, international call-ups and Cardiff at home only four days away. If Blackburn don’t finish our below quality fringe players and kids off tonight, Watford’s reserves will definitely do it on 26 January.

Win a match – It didn’t take a genius to work out that there was no chance of beating Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City, so Cardiff it has to be. I do still think we will win, probably, I definitely know that NUFC have to win this one.

Of the five predictions, this is the only one where I’m not as confident as I wish I was.

Mike Ashley PR stunts – These past few days have seen these really get going.

Ashley’s people scraping the very bottom of the barrel as the likes of Richard Keys and Tim Sherwood have played a supporting cast to the embarrassing Rio Ferdinand.

If you think this has all been coincidence then you also no doubt believe the club when they claimed in the fans forum minutes, that they had tried to break the club’s  (now) 14 year old transfer record, with bids for any number of transfer targets in the summer.

Buying a player – No signings allowed at all in January 2017, only loan ones allowed in January 2018.

Summer 2018 saw Mike Ashley refuse to give Rafa Benitez any budget, instead insisting on a £20m+ profit on transfer deals.

Yet some of you out there honestly think that suddenly Ashley will let Rafa Benitez buy Miguel Almiron for £25m????

I’m sorry to be the bringer of doom but it isn’t as though you haven’t been warned.

The idea of positivity via selling the club, buying credible players, an FA Cup run…pure fantasy.

Our harsh world is instead full of the sure knowledge that we can look forward to just more mischief/nonsense from Mike Ashley and just hoping that Rafa Benitez and  his players can pull off this essential win against Cardiff.

If we don’t beat them then the whole season is doomed for sure, not just January.

Happy New Year!
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