Under pressure

Not long now and those of us suffering withdrawal symptoms without our regular weekly football hit will feel a whole lot better. With the Fulham V Newcastle fixture kicking off the season on Friday 5th of August live on TV I can hardly wait.

As I said in my last article, I am feeling very optimistic about the coming season but the last week or so has had me experiencing a bit of unease. You see, it’s an alien experience for Newcastle to have such optimism and huge backing going into a season, albeit it’s not the Premier League.

Everywhere you look you’ll see the bookies and media and every pundit saying we are odds on to walk the league. I have to say that part of me doesn’t feel comfortable with this situation because it just piles on the pressure before we’ve even kicked off. If you look at Aston Villa, Norwich City, Derby and Brighton, they are all just as capable as us of going on a good run. In the case of the latter two they are old hands at the championship and in that respect have the upper hand. They also have decent managers too, not that I would swap them for Rafa mind. No, I think I preferred it last time we dropped and we had loads writing us off, especially after our dreadful pre-season. It made winning the league even more enjoyable.

There is virtually nothing being said about Villa, Norwich or the other contenders and this leaves all the pressure on Newcastle to do what everyone assumes they will. How will this pressure affect Rafa and the players and how will those other teams react to being practically written off before the season starts?

The other consideration is player recruitment and whilst I think we have made some very astute signings on the face of it, I am still concerned as to whether we have enough in our armory. Do we need a couple of real quality signings still? and do we have strength in depth? Losing Winaldum and Townsend is a massive blow talent wise, I know Winaldum was a fair weather player but both he and Townsend in particular would of torn up the Championship and it’s a real pity that neither of them felt able to help put right what went wrong. I aim that at Winaldum more than Townsend, who for the most part tried his best.



I do think Matt Richie will do very well for us and hopfully our other signings too but do we have a stand out player yet? A player or players who will drag us kicking and screaming to the title. Last time we had Nolan, Carroll and Barton, 3 strong characters who never gave up but also had talent too. Do we have that mix yet or do we need more and possibly better in? Thoughts?

Kimtoon

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73 thoughts on “Under pressure

  1. Cheers Kim, a good read. I have to disagree though. I think the exposure to years of under performance on and off the pitch has blinded some fans to our potential. Derby and Brighton might be capable of putting runs together but they have not shown they are capable of making that leap up. Villa are in a real mess, with holes all over their squad. Yes Norwich are in decent shape and I expect them to be in 2nd place or close.

    Our squad is shaping up nicely and we know Rafa is not finished yet. Ritchie spanked the Championship last time he was there and we have leadership all over defense with Gamez, Lascelles and Hanley. Perez looks like he is coming back into form, along with Aarons whilst Colback and Hayden should both have no problems at this level.

    This team went on a long unbeaten run at the end of last season, so we know they have it in them. They just had cack managers until Rafa came along. We will be fine.

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  2. Cheers Sham, hope you’re right mate. Ithink we’ll be ok but still need a bit more quality through the door.

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  3. Still think we need a 20 goal plus striker. Mitro is capable at this level but his discipline is a concern.
    We also need a creative midfielder. Abeid would of also shown a style at this level.
    Midfield of Aarons/ Hayden/ tiote/ Richie. OR
    Perez/ colback/ shevey/ Janmaat looks decent but we could still do with a magician to dictate play

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  4. Kim – I can understand your concern coz if you put yourself on a pedestal then its potential a fall from a greater height.
    However I’m with Sham on this one. Personally I don’t even think it’s being optimistic, I think automatic promotion is a realistic minimum.

    If you consider what Hughton achieved when the club was in a far poorer state. When you consider that Burnley & Hull have went down and jumped back up – both had good managers & decent squads, but in my opinion we have better.

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  5. Very nice Kimtoon mate. I could see us have a group of striker/wingers with somewhere around 70 goals. 23 from Mitro, 17 from Gayle, 13 from Perez, 8 from Armstrong and 10 from Ritchie sounds about right.

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  6. G2, I don’t see Mitro with that many or Gayle, but I do think we’ll get a lot of goals from various players through out the side which should be enough.

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  7. Well I don’t think we will ‘walk it’ to start with.
    But I do think we will have enough to bounce back even if it means the play offs.
    Some people are placing bets we will be undefeated all season. What kind of delusion is that ?
    The Fulham game wont be easy. Could even be a reality check for some.
    Howay the Lads
    In Rafa we trust

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  8. Kimtoon: I think you are letting all of the disappointments of the past cloud your judgement. If you wrote down all of the players in our squad with their stats, cost to acquire and current value and did not mention the name Newcastle United you would say that squad would walk the league. That, in fact, that squad before the changes were made was too good to go down and that with the additions and subtractions that it is probably a lower mid-table PL team. That the only reason they were relegated was bad morale carrying over from Ugly John’s time and Schteve’s total incompetence. As you mentioned in your article, we also have Rafa who has won 2 La Liga’s, 1 Champions League and 2 Europa League.

    Do you know that when Liverpool finished runners up to Man U they won 11 of their last 12 games and still couldn’t beat old purple nose’s team. This is the guy who managed Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter, Napoli and Real Madrid before us. We are the least successful team he has ever managed.

    Here is the forward line from Man U that year: Tevez, Ronaldo, Rooney.

    And Midfield: Scholes, Giggs, Beckham, Keane

    In defense: Vidic and Ferdinand

    Goalie: Van der Sar

    I voted that we will walk the league.

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  9. It is interesting to see where some of our managers and players have ended up and I would suggest they have found their level which quite a few people on here had pointed to well before NUFC acted:

    Pardew: finished 5th bottom of PL

    Ugly John: now Managing a team in Cyprus.

    Schteve: not invited to interview at several PL and Championship jobs since he was sacked

    Steven Taylor: rumoured to be going to Portland in MLS which is probably about League 1 standard. He is not going to one of the high profile teams like Gerrard and Lampard did in the twilight of their careers and to earn one last payday. Taylor is in the prime of his career and will be taking a substantial wage cut.

    Colo: opted out of his lucrative contract which I think was actually doing us a favour.

    In summary, they have all proved they were never good enough in recent seasons for NUFC and most of us knew it and said it.

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  10. Eric, I think we will too but I just get concerned about the expectation levels with both fans and players. With everyone tipping us to walk it there is always the possibility that the players could get complacent and think they have won it already. No one will give us anything in this league and most clubs will treat us as a cup final game, loving the fact they have beaten the Toon. Rafa will have to really work on the mentality of the squad and drum into them that every game is a potential banana skin. It’s good that we have a few lads already familiar with the championship who understand how hard it can be, that can only help and they do seem a talented bunch we’ve put together. All the same I wish we had a really potent forward and a really top quality cmf player. As I say I am optimistic but I am trying not to get ahead of myself here, they have a big job to do and it won’t be a walk in the park.

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  11. The window is not closed yet and we know further rebuilding if the squad will be done, so fear not Kim 😀. Although I believe we will walk it, I agree Fulham will be a tough game. We will not match Hoots’ points tally and we will lose the odd game – but we will still win the league.

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  12. always like your threads mate,well done,i think it will be a lot harder than some fans think,most clubs will want to beat “toon” and give that bit extra and i think Rafa has warned the players about that lets hope they take that in,at home some clubs will fold but others will excel,not going to be easy imo

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  13. Ice, that’s what I’m thinking too. Old habits die hard as a Newcastle fan, there have been too many false dawns I guess. I think we’ll get the measure of the new lads after 5 or 6 games in. It will also be interesting to see how they react in adversity if we go down to ten early or concede a couple of early first half goals. It was nice to see them get back level to draw 2.2 from being 2 down the other day.

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  14. KIM S/Wed are a dark horse along with one or two others,their pre season is going well they bet Benfica the other day a bit tougher than the teams we have played so nothing is sure in footy

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  15. By the way Kim, that was your 30th published article 😀 You are rolling now. Keep ’em coming 🎉

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  16. A concern I have is with Mitrovic. He’s a hot headed player & im not sure Rafa will put up with that nonsense. He’s not going to accept all the yellow/red cards and suspensions that come with Mitrovic. Rafa will want continuity this season I’d think, so he can get a settled team & know his strongest 11.
    I’m not sure Mitrovic will be a prolific goal scorer, I think Gayle will get more goals than him personally. But Rafa can live with that providing Mitrovic is playing to his game plan & doing his job for the team. If he’s squaring up to defenders & picking up silly yellow cards, then I think Rafa may quickly get bored with that.

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  17. Shamrock:
    By the way Kim, that was your 30th published article You are rolling now. Keep ’em coming

    </blockquote
    OMG Sham is it really!!!

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  18. Icedog:
    KIM S/Wed are a dark horse along with one or two others,their pre season is going well they bet Benfica the other day a bit tougher than the teams we have played so nothing is sure in footy

    Agree mate we can’t afford to take any fixture for granted

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  19. Nice thread Kim – and I see it’s absolutely full of the usual Toon angst. It’s just the way we are I’m afraid.
    The squad /team we have now was good enough to finish mid table PL under Rafa. Maybe higher.
    It’s already stronger in my mind.
    We’ve either lost or will lose three players who were directly responsible for our poor play under McClaren in Sissoko (apart from the last few games had a shockingly poor season) and Gini ( scored 11 but didn’t score in 31 games and resembled a hologram in most games) and the woeful Cisse. Those first two were supposed to be responsible for our attacking impetus and totally failed. Aarons alone will do better than those two. At the other end – need I say anything? They’ve both gone.
    We should absolutely tear up this league but I’ll still watch through my fingers.

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  20. Don’t we usually say “let’s give the lads 10 games before we decide they’re hopeless?” Well I think Rafa and the team certainly deserve that. I think they look like a good group who will fight hard and there’s plenty of talent in there as well.

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  21. I think Arsenal might be the one to go for Sissoko. I could see him galloping down the pitch with them (not scoring mind, just galloping down the pitch).

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  22. Don’t get the point in churning out loads of articles without comments. They just regurgitate stories and rumours that can be found on the likes of NewsNow. Want to be a new NewsNow for Newcastle United? Not for me…most of those articles are complete crap. When I ever do check there, I’ve already hidden most of the publications.

    To summarise
    1 – We’re being linked with virtually every young defender that has ever been tipped good enough for the PL
    2 – Sissoko hasn’t gone yet – why the hell should we shift our valuation??
    3 – Pretty much everyone says we’re favourite to win The Championship

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  23. Sissoko has all the talent in the world to be a top player. Is anyone surprised that he wasn’t exactly motivated under the previous managers? He’s obviously not the most strong willed of players in the world, but why are fans treating him differently to Ben Arfa? Because Ben Arfa kept talking about how much he loves the fans? He still didn’t bloody bother trying in most matches did he???

    Similarly frustrating players. But a top manager should be able to get more out of Sissoko. And if he doesn’t, hopefully he’ll sell him for a load of money.

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  24. Spot on Toon Darn Sarf. Completely sensible for us to value Sissoko highly and either keep him or get a huge wad of cash for him.

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  25. Interesting that Magath told Hangeland to put a block of cheese on his leg to heal a thigh injury! I don’t think we ever tried that, even under Johnny C. and JokeinEar…. 😆

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  26. Sharpy17:
    Transfers seem to have all gone quiet since Hanley like.

    Probably waiting on Sissoko leaving and a couple of others to free up cash Sharpy.

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  27. Well done Kim another good article to go with the other 29. I think I’m around 18.

    I don’t think we will walk the league, but I would be very disappointed if we are in it again next season.

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  28. Kimtoon: Probably waiting on Sissoko leaving and a couple of others to free up cash Sharpy.

    Kim – they’ve just got £25m for Gini. My thinking is they may be looking to clear some space in the squad before bringing more in.
    I’m happy enough with what we have so far like & we can turn a decent 11 out against Fulham.

    Congrats on the big 30 as well by the way – but I’ve always found your contribution (be it article or post) to be very good 😉

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  29. Thanks Icedog: I have BEin sports so will be able to watch the games that are switched for UK TV. The pub that I go to say they have the international feed for BEin and will be able to show all of our games. Therefore, somehow I will be able to see them. I am sure Ed will also post highlights.

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  30. Eric Sykes:
    Thanks Icedog: I have BEin sports so will be able to watch the games that are switched for UK TV. The pub that I go to say they have the international feed for BEin and will be able to show all of our games. Therefore, somehow I will be able to see them. I am sure Ed will also post highlights.

    Eric – you’ll be hoping we stay in the Championship then I bet 😆

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  31. Sharpy: NBC shows every PL game live and BEin shows La Liga so I can overdose on football if I want. None of this Soccer Saturday crap having to listen to Merse or Phil “Mr. Liverpool” describe the action.

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  32. I think we have done good business so far. We have gotten rid of most of the high paid sick notes and has beens and brought in some hungry, but still experienced players. I would rather not have sold Gini, but he wanted to go and we got a good price. I am a bit on the fence about Sissoko as I think there is a good player there if managed correctly, but for 25 mil or above we have to take the money.

    The question that remains is what will Rafa spend it on. I would much rather take a punt on a striker from Spain or Italy than spend 13 mil on a 30 year old McCormack. And if Sissoko leaves we need an attacking midfielder and then I think we are about done with arrivals.

    I read in the Chron that there are no takers for Janmaat at the price we want. I have no objection to him staying as I think he is a quality player. I have said before that maybe some of his struggles defensively were because he played alongside Taylor, Colo and Mbemba who struggled on occasion. Also, Sissoko gave him no cover because he can’t tackle to save his life.

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  33. Premandup:
    Well done Kim another good article to go with the other 29. I think I’m around 18.

    I don’t think we will walk the league, but I would be very disappointed if we are in it again next season.

    Prem you are on 28 mate. All quality stuff. The new guys have really high numbers already, albeit a lot of them are the click bait ones that are not comment enabled so it’s a bit of a mix and match there but a few good ones in there, particularly from SRF.

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  34. Does it mean that if Bein sports have coverage then we should be able to get streams? I’m desperate not to have to go back to radio days. Any one got any info on streams?

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  35. Georgio: I talked to the lad that sets up the supporters group here in Chicago and he seems to think that BEin will show all of our games as they have the international rights to The Championship. Last year they would show on their regular channel the Friday games and the noon Saturday games. We have a few 5.30 Saturday games in August and September and the Chicago supporters are meeting at a Pub to watch them so I am pretty sure you will be able to get a stream – legal or otherwise.

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  36. Everton to sign Arnautovic from Stoke then. Strange one, would of thought he would set his sights a bit higher or Stoke would offer him a better contract.

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  37. I still can’t fathom why this Pritchard “kid” is worth 8 million? He is 23, and what has he done?

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  38. Eric Sykes:
    I still can’t fathom why this Pritchard “kid” is worth 8 million? He is 23, and what has he done?

    only saw him a couple of times pulls no grass up for me,8mil no way even on todays prices,with todays silly prices i would say 2/3 tops

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  39. He did nothing except be injured last season until February and then achieving the square root of feck all during a 4 month loan at West Bromwich. Spurs can keep him if that’s the sort of price being banded about. Why we would want to risk such sums on an injury prone 23 year old who is unproven/untested at the highest level is beyond me. I could understand it if he had had a strong end to the season at West Bromwich – but he could not get into their side…He would be worth a punt at up to £5m if he did not have such a bad recent injury record but because he has, I’d say any deal should be heavily incentivised based on his individual contribution to the club, not based in the clubs success.

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  40. Typical Levy, money grabbing tightarse . He wouldn’t touch GinI or Sissoko cause of what we are asking yet wants £8m for a crock, yeah right o then.

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  41. Kim – I’m not sure I can blame Levy this time. Bmouth seem to be single handedly driving prices of average players up. If I were Levy looking at Ibe for £15m, Lewis for £10m and now Smith at £6m – then I can’t say £8m for Pritchard is so ridiculous to be fair.

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  42. I’m not even sure we are linked with Pritchard anyway to be honest – not properly anyway. Rafa has been pretty decisive in his purchasing so far & if he wanted Pritchard I reckon he’d be here already – whatever price.

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  43. Ibe has 1868 PL minutes behind him.

    Pritchard has 73.

    That shows the difference between them.

    I can’t work out the Smith deal at £6m though. He has only 312 minutes and very little game time elsewhere apart from the PL2.

    End of the day if Rafa brings Pritchard in then he must see something in him but I hope he can stay fit and make the step up next season.

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  44. Sterry is getting a lot of minutes at RB this pre season. Thatsays it will be Gamez and him covering g RB during the new season.

    Let’s assume Janmaat moves up as back up to Ritchie at RW. That leaves Anita scratching around for a position. Can he fill in at LB? Mbabu is not with the first team so I assume he will be loaned out. Has Dummett aged this pre-season and if so, in what position? Will he be a LB or CB? What about Heidara. Has he played? Is he going to be sold? Are we going to sign an established, proven LB?

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  45. Sharpy17:
    Kim – I’m not sure I can blame Levy this time.Bmouth seem to be single handedly driving prices of average players up.If I were Levy looking at Ibe for £15m, Lewis for £10m and now Smith at £6m – then I can’t say £8m for Pritchard is so ridiculous to be fair.

    Levy has always dug his heels in on incomings and outgoings prices, tough negotiator .

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  46. Sham, I liked Anita at RB, I don’t know if he’s at his best in MF, hasn’t really the build for it.

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  47. Shamrock:
    Ibe has 1868 PL minutes behind him.

    Pritchard has 73.

    That shows the difference between them.

    I can’t work out the Smith deal at £6m though. He has only 312 minutes and very little game time elsewhere apart from the PL2.

    End of the day if Rafa brings Pritchard in then he must see something in him but I hope he can stay fit and make the step up next season.

    Sham – the lad they paid £10m for from Leeds has ZERO premier league mins under his belt, so I’m not sure how that converts.
    I also don’t think 1800 mins is a valuable return for £15m to be honest.
    I’m not saying Pritchard is value for money at £8m – I’m just saying it’s not ridiculous when put alongside other fees being paid out at the moment.
    We want £35m for Sissoko FFS 😆

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  48. Shamrock:
    Sterry is getting a lot of minutes at RB this pre season. Thatsays it will be Gamez and him covering g RB during the new season.

    Let’s assume Janmaat moves up as back up to Ritchie at RW. That leaves Anita scratching around for a position. Can he fill in at LB? Mbabu is not with the first team so I assume he will be loaned out. Has Dummett aged this pre-season and if so, in what position? Will he be a LB or CB? What about Heidara. Has he played? Is he going to be sold? Are we going to sign an established, proven LB?

    Sham – I’m with you with this one. Our whole left side leaves me scratching my head – Dummett or Anita, Aarons or Thauvin – none really stand out or look as strong as the right side IMO.

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  49. So it’s Thanvin girlfriend cannot settle here that’s why he wants to leave,one thing I learned in life if your woman isn’t happy where your living move or face moods and sometimes her rath

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  50. Lee Ryder Verified account 
    ‏@lee_ryder
    Gouffran hits an effort that almost goes out of the ground and clips the top of the stand. #nufc 67 mins

    nowt changes then 😆

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  51. Lee Ryder ‏@lee_ryder · 54s54 seconds ago

    Saivet also coming on. Mitro for Perez, Saivet for Shelvey #nufc 74 mins

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  52. Gouffran weaved his way to the edge of the box and hit a low left footed shot into the bottom corner of the net 2-0 #nufc 77 mins

    Brilliant that bloke mind 😆

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