The calm before the storm – April set to be a defining month for the future of NUFC

As the timely International break nears its end, Newcastle United are about to embark on a monumental month in the club’s future, resuming Championship duties as Wigan arrive at St.James’ Park this Saturday.

With 8 games to go, promotion is in our hands, sitting top of the Championship and most importantly, 7 points ahead of automatic promotion chasers, Huddersfield Town.

While us fans don’t need reminding of the importance of an immediate return to the top flight, it must be said that the stakes have never been higher for our beloved football club – we are entering a month that could define the future of Newcastle United. Here’s how:

The stakes have never been higher – it’s win or bust

With Rafa Benitez at the helm and the feel good factor back at the club, promotion could mean the start of a bright future. Benitez has made us proud to support our club again, but his long term vision can only be fulfilled with Newcastle United in the Premier League.

Not only has the Spaniard’s know-how boosted the teams results on the pitch, seeing our away form improve considerably since his arrival, Benitez gives Newcastle considerably greater pulling power in the transfer market off the pitch. This could provide a huge boost to Newcastle’s recruitment this summer, with it being widely accepted that considerable quality must be added to the squad in order for The Magpies to compete in the Premier League.



If promoted, building Newcastle to be an established Premier League side will be Rafa’s biggest challenge yet, but with tougher opponents, a squad to be developed and a city full of hope, Benitez would relish the challenge at a club which remains full of potential.

So, that’s the plan, but fail to get promoted and things will almost certainly end very differently – highlighting the importance of the weeks to come.

Many Newcastle fans, including myself, would be resigned to losing Benitez, should we remain a Championship club next season. Losing the promotion race would be a disaster, with the thought of another year in the Championship hard to take for many Newcastle fans, but it is losing Benitez, however, that is our biggest fear of all. As previously highlighted, the future could be bright should Benitez lead Newcastle United into the Premier League and beyond, but a future without him could be equally as dim should Newcastle fail to gain promotion.

Ideally, we don’t get ahead of ourselves and concentrate on the here and now, but when the stakes are so high, it is easy to see why the nerves are kicking in amongst the Geordie faithful.

Newcastle have an action packed April, playing 7 games in all, over a period that could not only decide promotion, but define the future of our beloved football club.

(Fancy having your say? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

 

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan – he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

33 thoughts on “The calm before the storm – April set to be a defining month for the future of NUFC

  1. Good read Olly and it’s true, this is our most vital of months. We have two very winnable games in WIgan and Burton and should we get to 84 points after those two then I would think 2 more wins would send us up on 90. Just pray the injury list doesn’t get too alarming and the lads lose their nerves. The home fans need to be really cheering the lads on too, no boos aloud it’s counter productive.

  2. I agree Olly
    GOOD RALLYING CRY TO OUR HOME SUPPORTERS
    After next Wednesday’s match v Burton we should have almost lost our voices
    Why ?
    Because we have 2 vital home games coming up in the next week v Wigan and then Burton and we need to ALL be FULLY BEHIND THE PLAYERS for the full 90 mins
    Together we can do this as 50,000+ noisy passionate supportive fans will make the difference.
    SO IF YOU’RE GOING LEAVE YOUR BOOS AND CRITICISM AT HOME…..LET’S STAY UNITED & HWTL

  3. I’m anything but calm about these games Olly. Lowly teams true, but both fighting for their futures and Wigan have a very decent away record. On top of that our home form has been nothing to shout about. Fulham, Bristol City, QPR – I predicted easy wins for all three.

  4. I have just got back from an exhausting (on my liver anyway) stag trip to Las Vegas so I have missed everything NUFC. Thankfully it was international week so it wasn’t much missed.

    April was always the month Rafa has mentioned and I personally see Huddersfield hitting a bit of a wall. We have two perfect home games and if we take maximum points from them then I think we are virtually up.

  5. Would be nice Stuart and really we should win these two games. BUT – we are NUFC and just don’t do the correct thing. I do think you’re right about Huddersfield but it may be Brighton who falter the most. Recent failures must be playing on their minds.

  6. This league is a war of attrition but there is some good news. There are not as many international players so there are built in breaks for most of our players to get a rest or recover from injury. Shelvey, Gayle, Anita and Dummett will have benefitted especially.

    I know we have a few injuries but I bet other teams do as well. As I said, this is an attritional league and the other teams do not have as deep of squads. We follow all things NUFC so we know all about our injury situation. However, there is not much news on other teams’ injuries and you really have to search it out if you want to find out. It is not like the Premier league where there is blanket coverage on TV, in newspapers and numerous websites where the news comes to you.

  7. As if proof was needed that International Breaks kill football discussion, the Daily Mail had an article yesterday inspired by the fact that Jermain Defoe is a bit of a short-arse. They went on to detail who are England’s shortest and tallest EVER players. I didn’t read it but I bet it was riveting. They must have had some intern or junior journo that had nowt to do or they wanted to punish.

  8. Can anybody remind me please of the website where we can change our little icons next to our name, I cannot for the life of me, remember. 😳

  9. I do not want to see the headline on Saturday that Wigan make fools of NUFC on April 1. I predict an easy win for a change. I know they are fighting for survival and all that but we are due an easy win and that is all I am basing my prediction on. Pure science 🙂

  10. Eric Sykes:
    As if proof was needed that International Breaks kill football discussion, the Daily Mail had an article yesterday inspired by the fact that Jermain Defoe is a bit of a short-arse. They went on to detail who are England’s shortest and tallest EVER players. I didn’t read it but I bet it was riveting. They must have had some intern or junior journo that had nowt to do or they wanted to punish.

    The only injurys we have I think is Clark and Murphy we should be able to cover those,my hope is we have no sight of bloody Colback now the ex gunner is back in training

  11. Ice: Hayden is back in training but will Rafa start him? We also have Diame and Shelvey to play central midfield as long as Rafa will give Perez or Mitro a go as the second forward alongside Gayle. There is just no reason that Rafa should select Colback, especially as we have been very limited in terms of retaining possession and going forward in recent games, two of the things lacking in Colback’s game.

  12. Diame to central midfield makes perfect sense because that is where he has played most of his career and he has been a bit of a flop as a number 10. It is also the good ole addition by subtraction argument because it keeps Colback out.

    I think If Hayden is fit enough, then you have to drop BOTH Diame and Colback. We all know that we haven’t played well recently and have been overrun in midfield so something must change. As I said, we know Diame is not a number 10 so if he is not in midfield he should be on the bench.

  13. That said, if Dummett is fit (he was left out of the Wales squad), I think Rafa will go for this on Saturday:

    Darlow

    Anita Hanley Lascelles Dummett

    Ritchie Shelvey Diame Gouffy

    Perez

    Gayle

  14. Olly: Kath looks like she was born a Grandmother. The last tweet picture where she was handing Souness the tea in between Dyer and Bowyer must have been after that on pitch fight. Reminds me of Father Ted where the housekeeper would be fixing everything with a nice cup-o-tea.

  15. Eric Sykes:
    Ice: Hayden is back in training but will Rafa start him? We also have Diame and Shelvey to play central midfield as long as Rafa will give Perez or Mitro a go as the second forward alongside Gayle. There is just no reason that Rafa should select Colback, especially as we have been very limited in terms of retaining possession and going forward in recent games, two of the things lacking in Colback’s game.

    Everything is lacking in Colback mate,mind he’s top notch at giving away freekicks around the box area bloody doe-heed

  16. Gravatar.

    Dubai Toon:
    Can anybody remind me please of the website where we can change our little icons next to our name, I cannot for the life of me, remember. 😳

  17. ERIC I was just thinking back to the last couple of PL games at SJP my son came over from Malta with his Maltees wife to see the games,after about 20 min she turned to us and said is that ginger player a proper footballer why is he playing on the pitch with proper players,that’s coming from a woman that was watching a game for the first time,now if she could see why cannot Rafa??

  18. Well some will disagree but I thought it was a step forward last night in the Spain and France they used a video to decide on offside goals or not offside goal the ref can ask for a vid for a review,things like this can save some clubs millions through bad decision,he used it twice which added five min in total to the game but imo well worth it,the ref called one decision right and one wrong which was reversed

  19. The problem with that Ice is if there’s numerous incidents for review and games become truncated and start lasting an extra half hour or so. It’ll end up like American football where games last 3 hours or more.

  20. I think it’s fine to use for offside /onside goal decisions, don’t think you can use it for every contentious decision though. Things like wrongly allowed /disallowed goals are vital though as Ice said. It can and does cost clubs millions if say a game that they should of gotten a point or 3 from but didn’t are the 1 or 3 points that would ensure PL survival at seasons end. Goaline tech for over the line or not has been good why not video for on or offside goals. Sadly too much money in the top flight now to allow for human error imo.

  21. Georgeo: it is even worse than American football lasting 3 hours, the ball is only in play for 12 minutes. The networks use the stop-start nature of the game to fill it with ads and the technology only adds to this. In my opinion it is unwatchable unless you are in a bar and can talk about other stuff whilst the commercials are on. I don’t think I have watched a full game in about 10 years.

    I agree with Kimtoon that technology would only work in football if you limit what you can review. I would say red cards, offsides that lead to a goal and suspicion of a dive in the penalty area where the Ref gives a penalty.

  22. Kimtoon:
    I think it’s fine to use for offside /onside goal decisions, don’t think you can use it for every contentious decision though. Things like wrongly allowed /disallowed goals are vital though as Icesaid. It can and does cost clubs millions if say a game that they should of gotten a point or 3 from but didn’t are the 1 or 3 points that would ensure PL survival at seasons end. Goaline tech for over the line or not has been good why not video for on or offside goals. Sadly too much money in the top flight now to allow for human error imo.

    You got it dead right there mate it’s my view too

  23. Now I think about it, the limited reviews in cricket and rugby are OK on TV. They are short enough and there is enough evidence being shown that it actually adds to what you are watching. I am not sure how that would translate to a game you are watching live as that is a totally different experience where obviously you don’t have a commentator to begin with.

  24. georgio:
    The problem with that Ice is if there’s numerous incidents for review and games become truncated and start lasting an extra half hour or so. It’ll end up like American football where games last 3 hours or more.

    Ime not talking about every decision just iffy goal or no goal offside rule some of these linesmen are five yards behind play,the games to quick for some of them

  25. Now that I think about it even more I am in favour of reviewing certain situations. I was at a Real Madrid game recently where there were 4 contentious decisions – 2 offside goals, Bale sent off and a 90th minute penalty. They had one of those giant video screens that for some reason they could not show any of the game on – it played the pre-match song and some half time entertainment. However, I found myself looking up to the scoreboard after each contentious decision to see the review (which never came). I think in the interest of fairness, and because we are all used to watching reviews, that some sort of technology would add to the game, especially where there are those massive video screens in the grounds so the fans could follow along.

  26. Eric, I agree, it would add not detract from the entertainment. Of course it also means the rags and pundits would have nothing to be outraged about at half/full time so it’ll never happen.

  27. Kimtoon: Nice Pic Dubai🙂

    Thanks Kim, I took it on my last visit to SJP. It’s easier to see on my instagram account though… 😊

  28. Spot on!

    Les Bury:
    I agree Olly
    GOOD RALLYING CRY TO OUR HOME SUPPORTERS
    After next Wednesday’s match v Burton we should have almost lost our voices
    Why ?
    Because we have 2 vital home games coming up in the next week v Wigan and then Burton and we need to ALL be FULLY BEHIND THE PLAYERS for the full 90 mins
    Together we can do this as 50,000+ noisy passionate supportive fans will make the difference.
    SO IF YOU’RE GOING LEAVE YOUR BOOS AND CRITICISM AT HOME…..LET’S STAY UNITED & HWTL

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