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‘Five Newcastle United signings – One useless, One pointless and Three showing promise’

12 months ago

Mike Ashley is now in the 13th season of his Newcastle United reign.

Whilst Steve Bruce has been NUFC Head Coach these past four months.

So what is the state of play for Newcastle fans at St James Park?

With the (third of the season already!) international break giving us all time to reflect, we have asked some of our regular/irregular contributors a few questions…

Next up is Jonathan Drape-Comyn:

What were your expectations and what have you judged to be the reality of each of the summer signings? Were they the positions Newcastle needed to strengthen and were they the right individuals?

I think first things first, except for the goalkeeper and centre-backs every position needed to be strengthened…and that was before we sold Perez and failed to re-sign Rondon. The reality of it is that we are still one or two injuries away from having a really poor starting eleven.

Emil Krafth

I think he has been useless so far. He looks weak defensively and offers next to nothing going forward. To be honest, I am not sure what he has done in previous seasons for whoever scouted him to think that buying him was a good idea.

Bruce played him to keep face in his first few games ahead of Manquillo but now with Yedlin back in the side, I don’t see a way for Krafth ever getting back in the side, unless an injury crisis at right-back.


I know he hasn’t had a great start stats wise with only the one goal so far but I really think that Joelinton has done alright. Certainly hasn’t set the world on fire but if we just forget for one second that Newcastle spent 40 million on the fella – and treat him as what he is, then he really hasn’t done that bad.

He has held the ball up well, put himself about, done endless running, but he has not found that end product. I also feel at the moment that he has an excuse in that the players around him aren’t exactly world beaters. However, with ASM back in the side for the long run (hopefully) – I think a few more goals are around the corner and if he finishes the season with 10 then I would count that a success (relatively!).

Allan Saint-Maximin

Hard to judge so far but in the past few games he has injected a bit more life, energy and passion in the side. Especially on the counter-attack, ASM looks like a defender’s nightmare in one on one situations. However, can he stay fit? Can he maintain his good form? Looks like he will be a good signing but much like Thauvin and Cabella before him, I don’t think he has got it in him to carry this side and will need as much help as possible, but from who?

Andy Carroll

Waste of money to try and appease fans. What’s the point?

Jetro Willems

Another signing that initially seemed a strange one but he has done well so far. Gives us a good option from LWB in a back five and gets up and down the pitch well. Still not overly convinced but I am sure he will do Bruce for now as standards are so low.

Newcastle United have 15 points after 12 games, have Steve Bruce and his team deserved that number of points based on performances or have they deserved more or less?

I think they deserve to be where they are to be honest. It is a decent start, it’s just a shame that I don’t really care. I don’t have any time for Steve Bruce and this is a side that has had its expectations deliberately limited by the owner, managing director and manager.

I am sure the local media will make out that Bruce is doing a good job, and Rafa would have us in a similar position, but really, who cares?

With everybody fit what would be your first choice central midfield pair and do you think they are good enough, or does a better option need to be signed to replace one or both?

Longstaff and Hayden for me. Both of those players can be improved on for sure and I don’t think either of them are considerably better than Ki or Shelvey. However, I think that is the best central midfield pairing we have right now.

With Almiron and ASM in front of them, I think the four of them compliment a defensive team that relies on set pieces/counter-attack quite well.

Did Mike Ashley make any serious attempt to keep Rafa Benitez and was Steve Bruce his first choice replacement?

I don’t think Mike Ashley has made any serious attempt to do anything but weaken Newcastle United and extract as much money/benefit from as possible.

I find it hard to believe that Mike Ashley had anything to do with the choice of new manager which will probably be down to Charnley, Barnes and Bishop.

What are your feelings about Ashley selling off the land opposite the Gallowgate for a personal profit after buying it from the club, realistically ending any chance of ever expanding St James Park in the future?

It sums up his attitude towards Newcastle United doesn’t it?

He doesn’t care about the football club and doesn’t have any intention of using the football club for good. It is simply there to be used as a vehicle for his own personal benefit and also the benefit of marketing his main business, Sports Direct, to a wider audience.

Why fans continue to give him money every week is beyond me. The one off game at home, fair enough. A few away games fair enough. However, those fans that turn up in their droves every week and give him money so that he continue to systematically rip the heart and soul out of Newcastle United is beyond me.

Is there more chance of Mike Ashley selling if Newcastle are doing well, or badly, on the pitch?

I don’t think it matters either way. He clearly doesn’t want to sell or has any intention to sell.

The only thing that will persuade Mike Ashley to sell the club is if fans en masse stop going to football matches. That is the only thing.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn


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