Get your daily update and weekly newsletter by signing up today!


He simply said to me: “Newcastle United? Great club. You need a new owner and investment.”

1 year ago

The damaging summer months for Newcastle United are drawing to a close and apathy is on the agenda.

When we won at Spurs I was pleased, of course I was, it was a massive win, but there was a slight shrug of the shoulders there too.

The club has torn it up and put weaker floorboards in place.

Out goes the European Cup winner. In comes the journeyman manager who is up against it from the get go.

Out went the settled front three. In came an entire new forward line that will take time to gel.

It’s mind numbing stuff from Mike Ashley, and entirely true to form.

And yet the boycott never took off, as I expected. Somehow the club will have to try and move forward. Fans have to try and move forward.

One win, even if it was at Spurs, doesn’t make it all rosy in the garden again.

Fergie time

Steve Bruce, desperate for some inspiration, put a call in to his old gaffer, Sir Alex Ferguson, seeking a bit of advice about getting a good result.

I wonder if Fergie’s sagely words were pretty straight forward – set them up like Rafa did.

The 1-0 win was built on a stout defence, tight in midfield, and all with 20% possession of the ball. A classic Rafa Benitez strategy when working with inferior players.

Balancing the books

Crises at Bury and Bolton shows that while we detest the way our football club is being run, it could be so much worse. To see two historic sides close to liquidation is horrendous and proves the cash cow of the Premier League is starving the lower leagues.

Mike Ashley is famed for a prudent approach to running Newcastle. It’s deeply dull and seriously hard-headed. He would doubtless argue he’s protecting NUFC but I’m not so sure we can be compared with some of those other sides that are about to tragically fold.

We still want to know where the money has gone. It didn’t go unnoticed that a request from the Magpie Group to have independent financial scrutiny of club accounts has fallen on deaf ears.

Reasons to be cheerful

A bright spot amid the gloom is our new number nine.

Joelinton looks like he has the guile and the presence to make it as a Premier League player. He’s going to be pivotal and I pray we can keep him fit. Pundits rightly praised his performance against Tottenham. He was a beast and it was all capped off with a brilliantly calm finish for the goal.

We may well see Andy Carroll at some point but the £40m man from Hoffenheim is the one who will need to do the damage, especially as Carroll simply wont be able to stay fit.

Green with envy

The sporting arena that Spurs have created is magnificent. It is quite simply the best stadium in British football. A stunner of a ground. The facilities are out of this world and it puts the ageing sides of St James Park to shame.

Newcastle ought to invest more on the ground. It desperately needs modernisation and I don’t just mean a lick of black paint outside.

A tour of the Stadium of the Light

I was lucky enough over the summer to see Lisbon and while in the Portuguese capital I took the Benfica tour, the REAL Stadium of Light, Estádio da Luz. It was an eye-opener. It brought home how much better they do things over there and how far away Newcastle United are from getting it right.

The Portuguese tour guide fondly remembered our visit there in 2013 in the Europa League, and even from the outside looking in, he knew fine well what was going on.

He simply said to me: “Newcastle United? Great club. You need a new owner and investment.”

Give that man a cigar.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton


If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]

Have your say

© 2021 The Mag. All Rights Reserved. Design & Build by Mediaworks