Tottenham 1-0 Newcastle: Another reminder why Ashley must back Benitez this summer

A real tough one to take tonight, with Spurs coming away 1-0 winners despite us being the better side for the vast majority of the game.

The first half was a complete contrast to Saturday’s early capitulation at Vicarage Road. We looked up for it and were causing problems, putting ourselves about and creating chances. The only thing that remained was our clear lack of killer instinct in and around the box.

Diame and Shelvey were back to their brilliant best, combining brilliantly to bully and out-manoeuvre a Spurs midfield which included a certain Moussa Sissoko – however it was that cutting edge in the final third we were lacking.

We have the lowest scoring top scorer in the division (Perez with 6 Premier League goals) and you could tell. Gayle, who has just five all season, got himself into some good areas but just never looked likely.

Gayle aside, there was also Lascelles’ header, Shelvey’s free-kick off the post and Murphy’s big miss in the second half. It’s a positive that we out-created a Spurs side and a reminder of what Rafa’s tactics are capable of doing, but also another sign that a proper striker is badly needed this summer.



Shelvey was outstanding and deserves a quick mention. He struggled (as we did) against Everton and West Brom, but his range of passing tonight and consistent level of quality on the ball was second to none. A better striker would’ve absolutely thrived on his service into the final third tonight.

I hope Ashley was watching. If we had a £20m striker in that side tonight we’d have most probably won. I know he’s an idiot, but even he would’ve been able to see how differently that game could’ve gone if we just had a few more quality additions.

We lost tonight mainly due to an evident lack of quality in front of goal, but we didn’t have much luck either – as Benitez highlights above. I’m still not sure how we weren’t awarded a penalty when Ritchie was taken out after beating Lloris to the bounce of the ball in the box.

It’s a tough one to take and could be a big chance missed to secure our spot in the top 10, but, on a night where the three going down have been all but confirmed, I’m just glad we’ve been able to steer clear of danger.

The lads were up for it tonight and much much better. Let’s hope we can carry that into the final day against Chelsea and end the season on a high.

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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.

67 thoughts on “Tottenham 1-0 Newcastle: Another reminder why Ashley must back Benitez this summer

  1. Olly – if we had a 15 plus goal a season CF, we would not only have won last night, we’d be 7th and a real contender for a Europe spot.
    There has been many a game this season where we’ve created the chances and not converted them – many of those games end in a 1-0 defeat ironically.

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  2. You mention Shelvey and Diame mate and rightly so. I do wonder how much more consistent Shelvey would be with better forwards. Is it him or the fact that he has the ability to make the passes, he just doesn’t have the forward(s) making them?!.

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  3. Diame was solid last night as well.

    I know I’m going out on a huge limb here, but sod it.

    Watching Diame last night reminded me of Sissoko when he played through the middle for us. A lot of the time he was played right wing and looked awful. But I thought he was a beast for us when played centrally and it was those performances that got the big money move to Spurs.
    He has fell so far down the pecking order there, and if the likes of Winks was fit, I think he’d be further down.
    I know it might sound nuts, but at the right price, I’d take Sissoko back coz I think he’d strengthen our centre midfield squad wise. Shelvey and Merino (if he stays) as the play makers and Diame and Sissoko the enforcers.

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  4. Sharpy – you’re remembering a different Sissoko to me mate. Spurs bought him off the back of some good displays on the left wing (5-1?) and for France. He was never a beast for us in the middle. His passing is poor, he often looks disinterested, he’s not good in the air and he can’t tackle. All of which was on display last night. Diame is a much better player and I wouldn’t welcome the whinger back even as back up.

    It was a strong display last night and with a half decent striker we would have won.

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  5. georgio:
    Sharpy – you’re remembering a different Sissoko to me mate. Spurs bought him off the back of some good displays on the left wing (5-1?) and for France. He was never a beast for us in the middle. His passing is poor, he often looks disinterested, he’s not good in the air and he can’t tackle. All of which was on display last night. Diame is a much better player and I wouldn’t welcome the whinger back even as back up.

    It was a strong display last night and with a half decent striker we would have won.

    Georgio – there were defo games where he ran the show for us, not often I grant you, but the Hull game which is more remembered for Pardew & Meyler – Sissoko was class that game. There were others as well – but yeah, I agree his attitude often stunk like – he’d turn up when he wanted to, which isn’t good enough.
    At the same time though, look at Diame earlier this season. How many of us thought we’d be raving about his performances back then?!. Maybe under Rafa Sissoko would be improved – maybe not.

    My thinking was that Spurs probably still owe us instalments on Sissoko. But, yeah, maybe it would be daft to go back.

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  6. No way would I want sissoko back, lazy sod who hid when the going got tough. Diame a million times better imo.

    Should of won that game last night, and Olly you are right that was a pen, but it’s NUFC and we don’t get them, especially against top 6 sides.

    Fatty HAS to get a couple of quality forwards for Rafa and if he doesn’t fancy spending then he needs to sell to an owner who deserves the fan base.

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  7. Yeah I know. So just shoot me.

    Number of induced comas Alex Ferguson has been in for last 3 years = 1

    Number of penalty kick NUFC have had in last 3 years = 1

    Number if penalty kicks missed by Joselu = 1

    Number of opposition players sent off against NUFC = 0

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  8. Number of southern journalists having a wank now about Spurs making the Champions League =1024.

    Number of Southern Journalists having a wank this second about Sir Harrold of Kane = eight million billion.

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  9. kimtoon:
    No way would I want sissoko back, lazy sod who hid when the going got tough. Diame a million times better imo.

    Should of won that game last night, and Olly you are right that was a pen, but it’s NUFC and we don’t get them, especially against top 6 sides.

    Fatty HAS to get a couple of quality forwards for Rafa and if he doesn’t fancy spending then he needs to sell to an owner who deserves the fan base.

    Kim – I’m not so much saying I want Sissoko back, his attitude stinks. I just mean I’d like another Diame type midfielder and Sissoko through the middle for us was the closest we’ve had to it. I don’t think Hayden is good enough and I know Saivet and Colback aren’t.
    I think Merino can cover Shelvey if he’s injured or suspended, but Diame in that enforcer role has no cover in the current group I don’t think.

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  10. For our forwards – I’d sell Gayle and Mitrovic – we should get over £30m for them – I’d hope closer to £40m but reckon around £35m (£20m Mitro, £15m Gayle). I’d sell Joselu if someone would take him & take whatever someone was prepared to pay.
    I would get in Abel Hernandez from Hull on a free – I already think he’s a better finisher than the 3 we have.
    But that would leave the rest of Gayle/Mitro money on either 1 £35-40m forward, or 2 £15-20m forwards.

    If Rafa then also sells Mbemba (£10m), Colback (£4m), Saivet (£3-4m), Sels (£4m) and possibly Manquillo (£4m) – there would be other fringe players like Lazaar but they would bring maybe £1-2m so I’m not counting them.
    That’s maybe another £25m (ish) – that buys the keeper and Kenedy.

    So even if Rafa is handed say £30-40m this summer. I still think big improvements can be made to the squad (and here’s the key) providing he gets to spend all the money generated from sales of players.

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  11. Sharpy – I do agree we need another Diame type or a good holder like Fernandinho. I used to think Wanyama was that type but he was dreadful last night. Colback will be gone and I don’t Hayden’s good enough at either defending or attacking. So yeah we need one. Also don’t think Mbemba will fetch £10m. £7m maybe. Pity because he’s a good versatile player.
    As for strikers?
    Gameiro but he’s getting on. Rodrigues I’m not keen on.
    One thing is clear, the two we’ve got are rubbish. Arma would have been a better bet. No idea who Rafa fancies.

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  12. Sharpy – show many goals did Hernandez get in PL and Championship?

    We need someone better than him I reckon.

    As for Sissoko – are we talking about the same one?

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  13. Stuart79:
    Sharpy – show many goals did Hernandez get in PL and Championship?

    We need someone better than him I reckon.

    As for Sissoko – are we talking about the same one?

    Stu – he’s just come back from injury mate but got 8 goals and 2 assists in the last 10 games of the season.

    I don’t disagree we need someone better, that’s why I went on to say use the Mitro/Gayle money to buy 1 or 2 quality forwards. Hernandez would be a strength in depth addition – better than Joselu, but behind the 1 or 2 better forwards we’d sign.

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  14. Stu – from that if we got Hernandez on a free, that leaves £35-40m from Gayle and Mitrovic going. He could either spend all of that on Das Bost for example, or split it and get the lad from PSV or Feyenoord for £17m and another for a similar about.

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  15. Sharpy17:
    Stu – from that if we got Hernandez on a free, that leaves £35-40m from Gayle and Mitrovic going.He could either spend all of that on Das Bost for example, or split it and get the lad from PSV or Feyenoord for £17m and another for a similar about.

    I think Das Bost is a bit cheaper than Bas Dost so we might have even more money to spend/put in the Fat Man’s pocket.

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  16. So even Rafa said we deserved 2 penalties. Rafa doesn’t often criticize Refs. I am telling ye that there is a conspiracy and the fat [email protected] Refs support Man U and Spurs and have it in for us.

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  17. Stuart79:
    All assuming he’s still here…

    Well you talked me into him seeing out his final you, so that wasn’t an assumption that entered my mind.
    My assumption (which is even less likely) is that Ashley would sign off on spending any more than £12m on one player.

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  18. Eric Sykes: I think Das Bost is a bit cheaper than Bas Dost so we might have even more money to spend/put in the Fat Man’s pocket.

    Eric – that’s coz I usually refer to him as Das Boot, being as I keeping forgetting how his name is spelled 😂.

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  19. Sharpy17: Eric – that’s coz I usually refer to him as Das Boot, being as I keeping forgetting how his name is spelled .

    You know he is Dutch though, right?

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  20. Sharpy17: Eric – that’s coz I usually refer to him as Das Boot, being as I keeping forgetting how his name is spelled .

    So, refer to him as Das Boot and stop confusing me 🙂

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  21. There is something going on with the Refs. They don’t give us anything and Jon Moss is a fat turd. Clattenberg came out and said he had made up his mind how he was going to Ref that Chelsea/Spurs game 2 years ago and what happened on the field would not change what he would do. I am telling you there is a conspiracy against NUFC.

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  22. Sharpy17:
    Eric – I see your little scouse mate is heading your way – well DC United

    Sharpy: I don’t watch any MLS so I will be happy that he is in DC.

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  23. I was right about him Sharpy. He peaked at 22 and Mr. Roy let him run the England team when he was well past his best.

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  24. It makes me think that Fat Sam will still be at Everton next season though if Rooney is leaving

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  25. I have nothing against Fat Boy Scouse apart from the fact he is past it and his pundit pals like Keown keep telling us he is world class.

    When I have seen Rooney interviewed he comes across OK. Not quite Beatles-ey but not that screechy Barton, Carra or Steeevie G either.

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  26. Sharpy17: Well you talked me into him seeing out his final you, so that wasn’t an assumption that entered my mind.
    My assumption (which is even less likely) is that Ashley would sign off on spending any more than £12m on one player.

    You’re right, Sharpy. I’m still not convinced he will be here next season. I’m less convinced he will sign a new contract.

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  27. Stuart I think it’ll be both. My prediction is there’ll be photos of Ashley and Rafa shaking hands and smiling next week. What happens when Rafa calls in the promises is a different matter entirely.

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  28. If you think these pundits are not biased then let me tell you this – Lawro has not predicted a single Liverpool defeat since May 2016. Yes, that means Liverpool would have been invincible for the last 2 seasons. Move over Arsene’s Arsenal more than a decade ago and the current Barca team. Liverpool have you both beat according to The Tan Man.

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  29. Phil Neville predicted all 3 promoted teams would go down, and, of course, Man U would win the League.

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  30. Tony Adams keeps getting jobs on telly when his record at Granada was: played 7, lost 7.

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  31. And, of course, there is the mother of all bad predictions. Troy Stavers predicted England would win the 2016 Euros. Maybe he actually bettered himself though when he said Lee Clark should be NUFC manager about a month before Rafa was appointed.

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  32. And as for Merson. I checked out his predictions the other week and he got 9 out of 10 wrong. Not scores, which you could understand, no, results. A blind monkey throwing darts at win/lose/draw from a 100 yards away could have done better.

    (well, maybe not, but you get my point 🙂 ).

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  33. The last game of the season is notoriously difficult to predict but let’s see if I can beat Paul Merson’s Giant Balloon Heed’s record of 1 out of 10:

    Hudderfield v Arse = draw
    S’ton v City = City
    Palace v WBA = Palace
    Burnley v B’mth = Burnley
    Man U v Watford = Man U (even with the cup final)
    Liverpool v Brighton = Liverpool
    WHam v Everton = draw
    Spurs v Leicester = Spurs
    NUFC v Chelsea = draw

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  34. I missed Swansea against Stoke because I don’t give a shit about either of them. So you can have that one Merse.

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  35. Lots of speculation linking us with Shakiri – he apparently has a £12m release clause.
    If that’s true then I seriously hope we go after him. He’s still only 26 but has PL experience and bags of quality. I know he’s been relegated with Stoke, but to be fair, his stats are still very good considering.

    I think Kenedy is going to be a difficult one to get in with interest from bigger clubs by all accounts. But Shakiri wouldn’t be a bad alternative.

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  36. Sharpy17:
    Lots of speculation linking us with Shakiri – he apparently has a £12m release clause.
    If that’s true then I seriously hope we go after him.He’s still only 26 but has PL experience and bags of quality.I know he’s been relegated with Stoke, but to be fair, his stats are still very good considering.

    I think Kenedy is going to be a difficult one to get in with interest from bigger clubs by all accounts.But Shakiri wouldn’t be a bad alternative.

    With you 100% on that

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  37. Stem: I always found it funny that Troy Stavers had a record of getting everything wrong. Really, he was 100% accurate in being shyte.

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  38. Sharpy17:
    Lots of speculation linking us with Shakiri – he apparently has a £12m release clause.
    If that’s true then I seriously hope we go after him.He’s still only 26 but has PL experience and bags of quality.I know he’s been relegated with Stoke, but to be fair, his stats are still very good considering.

    I think Kenedy is going to be a difficult one to get in with interest from bigger clubs by all accounts.But Shakiri wouldn’t be a bad alternative.

    Don’t agree. The speculation is exactly that – speculation. You think FC Bayern want him to replace Ribery and Robben after 5 minutes in the Chelsea team and 5 games for NUFC?

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  39. Eric Sykes: Don’t agree. The speculation is exactly that – speculation. You think FC Bayern want him to replace Ribery and Robben after 5 minutes in the Chelsea team and 5 games for NUFC?

    Both Robben and Ribery are getting on mate, and I’m pretty sure the Bayern scouts will have radars that stretch beyond just first team games.
    It may just be speculation, but equally if he is on Bayern’s radar, it makes sense they go for him now when Chelsea are changing managers again (probably) and Kenedys value is still fairly low.

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  40. Sharpy17: Both Robben and Ribery are getting on mate, and I’m pretty sure the Bayern scouts will have radars that stretch beyond just first team games.
    It may just be speculation, but equally if he is on Bayern’s radar, it makes sense they go for him now when Chelsea are changing managers again (probably) and Kenedys value is still fairly low.

    Sharpy: I think they are both out of contract. Of course you could be correct, I just think that with two of their biggest earners leaving that Bayern would want a bigger name. I really don’t see what Kenedy has done to warrant a move to Bayern.

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  41. It looks like Rooney is about to find his new level. DC United finished bottom of their 11 team conference last year. They are moving into a new stadium and need to sell tickets and shirts. Their total payroll is about 5 million and that is probably what Rooney will get played. It would put my nose out of joint a bit to see a potato lumbering around the field and being paid as much as the rest of the team combined. I know it is about dollars and cents but it would still make me a bit jealous.

    What it does show is how stupid people like Keown were. He said Rooney would be a massive success at Everton and also that he should have been allowed to retire from England on his own terms AFTER the World Cup. He wasn’t the only one either. I know I bang on about how pundits kiss up to certain players but you could see this one coming a mile away so why should we ever listen to Keown when he is wrong all of the time. He is the Troy Stavers of The Daily HateMail.

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  42. I know this is blasphemy but if we lose 5 games in a row should Rafa still be immune to criticism? I know we were unlucky against Spurs but if it was Pardew I know I would have said something. Yes I know Rafa and Pardew shouldn’t even be in the same sentence I am just doing a bit of introspection.

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  43. And on the subject of Spurs, why do some teams seem to get away with murder by Refs? Man U used to swarm around the Ref at the drop of a hat and nobody was ever sent off. And there is a new tactic used by the high press teams like City and Spurs. They press but if the opposition breaks the press they just go ahead and foul whoever has the ball. It is a totally cynical tactic and yet the Refs hardly ever hand out a card until it happens 3 or 4 times. It is cheating.

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  44. Sharpy17:
    Lots of speculation linking us with Shakiri – he apparently has a £12m release clause.
    If that’s true then I seriously hope we go after him.He’s still only 26 but has PL experience and bags of quality.I know he’s been relegated with Stoke, but to be fair, his stats are still very good considering.

    I think Kenedy is going to be a difficult one to get in with interest from bigger clubs by all accounts.But Shakiri wouldn’t be a bad alternative.

    Keep up mate, I said that he had a clause a week ago. Knew we’d be linked within days of that little gem getting out.
    I wouldn’t mind him tbh, bit temperamental but good stats. Really hope we can get Kennedy as he seems to fit right and he likes it at Toon apparently. All we need now is an owner willing to spend.

    Eric Sykes:
    I know this is blasphemy but if we lose 5 games in a row should Rafa still be immune to criticism? I know we were unlucky against Spurs but if it was Pardew I know I would have said something. Yes I know Rafa and Pardew shouldn’t even be in the same sentence I am just doing a bit of introspection.

    Eric, I don’t lay the losses at Rafa’s door, the pressure is off the lads after safety and they’re on the beach, they were better at Spurs cause I suspect Rafa laid into them after Watford.

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  45. Stu, without new owners Rafa has a massive decision to make. He has done wonders with the club and got us a decent finish in our first season back. Does he walk away with his reputation intact and into a job where he is backed or risk working for a proven liar and possible further frustration in yet another transfer window?
    I am desperate to see him stay but would totally understand if he walks. We will end up with another loser/yes man, and honestly I will be tempted to just say sod it, what’s the point if that happened.
    Not feeling hopeful at all, our only hope is a sell of club if we are to ever progress.

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  46. Kim – If he left he would have my blessing as a fan. To be honest I doubt more than a handful of fans would hold a grudge against him. He won’t want another transfer window like the last three and what should he. The ball is in Ashley’s court now. Does he continue to do it all on the cheap and have no infrastructure improvements and continue to be a cheap skate in the transfer market and lose Rafa or doesn’t he allow Rafa to spend the money how he sees fit.

    It really is a show of how arrogant Jabba is when you consider he obviously thinks he knows how to run a football club better than Champions League winning manager Rafa Benitez.

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  47. Kim –

    Keep up mate, I said that he had a clause a week ago. Knew we’d be linked within days of that little gem getting out.
    I wouldn’t mind him tbh, bit temperamental but good stats. Really hope we can get Kennedy as he seems to fit right and he likes it at Toon apparently. All we need now is an owner willing to spend.

    That’s me told 😂. I know we exchanged comments about him last week, but I must have missed the clause was only £12m – I also didn’t realise he’s only 26.

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  48. Stuart: you have to think that Ashley is getting the message where he sees where his appointments have ended up. Is the Sheppard appointment BFS the only one left in Management? You can’t really count Rafa as he came to Charnley not the other way around. I don’t really count Hughton either because he was already at the club and got the job by default as Ashley was ignoring all things NUFC at the time and had the club relegated and up for sale. And of course after getting a totally unexpected promotion Fatty sacked him.

    Remember back then it seemed like we were in as bad a state as Sunderland were this season. Ashley sold just about anybody he could shift and I think we lost like 6-0 to Orient in preseason if I remember correctly. That promotion was a miracle.

    Are you going to trust Charnley to find the next Manager after he gave us Carver and McClaren?

    And then he can look down the road to see a billionaire lose 250 million because of bad appointments and recruitment at all levels. It really is something when the new owner is the failed chairman of Eastleigh.

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  49. The transfer window opens May 17 so Rafa and Ashley better get things sorted soon. Then the World Cup starts on June 15 so ideally you would want a couple signed before then because you have the pre-tournament training and then the players that progress usually want a rest.

    I am a bit more hopeful than Stuart of Rafa staying but you can also see it being a bit of a circus, so what’s new. Then there’s the complication of Kenedy because who knows who the Chelsea manager will be although Kenedy will not be at the WC which may help a bit.

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  50. Eric, he won’t learn though, he never does. His whole ethos is buy cheap and get what you can for it. He marks a high price on all his SD tat then reduces it by 30 or 50 % on the label, his whole operation is cheap and tasteless and he STILL thinks we should be run the same way.
    If you are lucky this keeps you stable , often not (see two relegations ) and ultimately you just go nowhere.
    The key point here is global advertising for SD, that’s all he has ever wanted, he told Freddie and sir John exactly that, whether the club progressed was likely way down his list . He re appointed KK, probably thinking he could bring him a successful club like previously, totally neglecting to understand that ANY manager needs quality players. The fact that Rafa has done what he’s done with so little backing and real quality up front is nowt short of a miracle, no wonder he wants him to stay.
    The guys a total cheapskate and not a very decent person, if I were Rafa I wouldn’t trust him at all .

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  51. Rafa’s an extremely clever man and experienced manager who’s dealt with all the game and owners have to offer at Chelsea, Napoli, Valencia etc. He knows what Ashley and Charnley are about. What makes these set of talks more difficult is probably him insisting his demands are agreed with. And this time on paper in his new contract.

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  52. Sharpy17:
    Kim –

    Keep up mate, I said that he had a clause a week ago. Knew we’d be linked within days of that little gem getting out.
    I wouldn’t mind him tbh, bit temperamental but good stats. Really hope we can get Kennedy as he seems to fit right and he likes it at Toon apparently. All we need now is an owner willing to spend.

    That’s me told .I know we exchanged comments about him last week, but I must have missed the clause was only £12m – I also didn’t realise he’s only 26.

    I was only teasing mate . 😀

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  53. How often do the 3rd place team in The Championship make it to the PL? Fulham have supposedly played the best football for the second half of the season but it seems a bit of a crap shoot. It might be nice to have another NE Club in the PL but do we really need to see Pulis-ball week in, week out?

    I honestly think I would prefer Bruce to Pulis and if Fulham do make it we could have 2 Mad Serbs there.

    What I don’t want is another misery guts to add to Jose, Moyes, Big Fat Sam, Hughes and Neil Warnock who can be entertaining but is a very grumpy old man when things go wrong which is very likely to happen.

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  54. Cabaye is a free agent. I think I would have him back on like a 2 year deal. He is still better than Hayden.

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