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The Newcastle United 2024/25 season – A chance to dream…

3 weeks ago
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Dateline: Mid-January 2025

A review of the Newcastle United 2024/25 season so far.

Matchday 19 of 38 is approaching and NUFC are sitting comfortably at third in the Premier League table. Only six points and goal difference separate the top six. The Toon continue to be on top form, are injury free, and their tails are up!

Following last week’s Champions League game against Barcelona, the lampposts and streets have now been cleared of flags, bunting, and discarded sombreros. In a joint venture with Newcastle City Council, the Club rolled out the red carpet for the plucky Catalans and their supporters. Despite their defeat in the 6-5 thriller, the Spanish fans had a great weekend in The Toon and they all agreed that the Bigg Market was estupendo!

This weekend, the flags and bunting will be coloured red to welcome Rotherham United FC. A win against the champions Rotherham and the Toon will replace them at the top of the table. Once again the bars and clubs in the Toon will be packed and every hotel for miles around will be filled to capacity.

With two weeks left until the close of the transfer window, the Club are closing in on four key signings. The Club is confident that the deals will be concluded before this coming weekend.

In an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, Toon Manager Geordio Notatwat stated: “While I don’t have unlimited funds, I can confirm that I have ample resources to continue to strengthen and develop the squad.”

Notatwat’s development of the squad has been aided by the quality of players emerging from the purpose-built NUFC Training Ground and Academy at Kingston Park. The state-of-the-art complex, dubbed the NUFC Talent Hub, has proved to be a remarkable production line for local and national talent.

The ambition of having a squad comprising 50% home-grown players has come to fruition, and the quality of the squad has not been compromised by this commitment. The fact that the 2023 NUFC Accounts identified the Academy as a source of substantial profit, rather than as an overhead, tells the rest of this success story.

Meanwhile, with a five point lead at the top of the table, NUWFC continue to make the FA Women’s Super League their own. Manager Phil Neville is taking full advantage of the facilities in their new permanent home in the Talent Hub.

With the female wing of the Football Academy now operating at full capacity, it seems unlikely that Neville will ever have to look outside the region for players. The new 5,000 seater Chi Onwurah Stadium at the Talent Hub sells-out for every NUWFC match, and plans are being considered to increase capacity.

The Chi Onwurah Stadium also continues to fill for the men’s weekly Squad Training Day; a popular free event that is open to fans and to the press.

NUFC Director Of Community Outreach, Bill Corcoran, has been his usual indefatigable self. While the NUFC Foodbank remains the Club’s principal charity, Bill’s activities have raised funds for scores of charities across the North East. The NUFC Board have committed to continue to allocate 10% of pre-tax profit to charitable causes in the North East and beyond.

The Newcastle United Foundation goes from strength to strength and now touches every part of the North East community. Helping disadvantaged children, young people and families across the region, the future of the Foundation has been permanently secured by a £5m Legacy Fund provided by the Club. Foundation Ambassadors Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly continue to work tirelessly with the Foundation team and volunteers.

Following the Compulsory Purchase of the Strawberry Place Development by Newcastle City Council in 2022, construction of the NUFC Social Hub is nearly complete. With the Strawberry Pub at its heart, the sports-themed bars, restaurants, and shops in the Hub are already a magnet for locals and tourists. Likewise, the Saint-Maximin Community Centre is fully utilised 7 days a week.

Footfall continues to increase in the NUFC shops in Newcastle and elsewhere across the UK. The shirts and NUFC merchandise are still manufactured in the factories in Blaydon and Wallsend and their products are bought on-line by fans from all over the world.

With minimal changes to nearby infrastructure, the increased ground capacity of 78,000 has been easily absorbed by the City. Pedestrian-only roads on match day, increased capacity of St James Metro Station, and the extended Park and Ride facility, have all served their intended purpose.

Outside football, the extended St James Park has seen a busy schedule of Concerts, Boxing, International Rugby, and other major sporting events. Huge thanks must go to Groundsman Steve Bruce who toils endlessly to fill the divots and keeps the pitch in tip-top condition.

Membership of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) has now exceeded 50,000 with 10% of members living overseas. NUST will move into their new office and conference suite in the Social Hub in June, when they return from their AGM in the Maldives. The office move coincides with the NUST Chairman joining the main NUFC Board.

NUFC Club Ambassadors Lord Keegan and Sir Alan Shearer are currently in the USA having separate talks with both President Ivanka Trump and octogenarian President-elect Joe Biden. Their visit was personally requested by UN President Nigel Farage and is an attempt to broker peace in the on-going civil war.

In other news, in a rainy mid-week clash in League Two, Manchester United battered newly promoted Sunderland 8-0 at the gasworks leisure centre in Ryhope.

Time for my medication…

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