NUFC heading into the new season in better shape than most think?

By Brian Rolfe

One of my old mentors used to say “It’s not whether your glass is half full or half empty that matters, it’s what you do with the contents.” Which is roughly the situation facing Rafa this season.

Last season we were sailing along too close for comfort to the drop with 29 pts from 28 games. Then in January in came Dubravka and Kenedy and suddenly 15 pts from 10 games. The consolidation of that team in itself is a positive step froward from this time last year. Whilst it is unreasonable to expect 1.5 pts per game throughout the season (57pts) the 44pts we totalled should be easily achievable. Or is it?

Looking at our starting 11 We have swapped Gayle for Muto. Whilst similar statistically, Muto’s workrate is significant. Rondon has better stats than Joselu off the bench and they were accumulated playing under Tony Pulis. The only other change is enforced by LeJeune being injured. Schar is similar in style but has to settle in quick or we will be relying on Clark. So the team that finished strongly is much the same quality. Not significantly improved. To label them as our championship team is somewhat disrespectful to the players we have.

The squad has however significantly improved. We have shipped out non players like Colback, Mitrovic & Mbemba, as well as Merino, Sels, Haidara, Gamez, Good, Findley and Armstrong. In have come Muto, Schar and Ki, with the Rondon deal done and PSG left-back Stanley N’Soki seeming likely.



So 10 out – who were not in Rafa’s plans – whilst the five in who should all get minutes. The kid’s, particularly Sean Longstaff, have chipped in too, so overall we have more depth than before. We just have Saivet and Lazaar to get rid of and the club will be in a much better place.

What about everybody else after all they have spent fortunes and have shown ambition, apparently. The three clubs above us have done little. Ben Gibson to Burnley will not transform them. Richarlison and Lucas Digne to Everton will give them a bit more balance; whilst Leicester have swapped Mahrez for James Maddison, not an upgrade. So I would argue that we have done as well as those three.

There were seven clubs below us that stayed up and only two of them have made wholesale changes, which of course holds risks in itself.

West Ham have a new manager and lots of new players, whilst Brighton have club record signing Jahanbakhsh, who was on my shopping list. I doubt that they will be at risk this season.

As to the rest, well Palace have hopefully replaced Cabaye who was a key player for them last season, Bournemouth have stood still, Watford have consolidated and Huddersfield have not strengthened up front. Southampton still have Mark Hughes and they hope to improve on their awful showing last season, but it’s hard to see where there optimism is coming from.

Which leaves the promoted teams. Wolves and Fulham have spent big to guarantee survival, whereas Cardiff haven’t.

So where does that leave us. Last season everybody except the top 6 and Burnley flirted with the relegation zone, and I kind of expect much the same this season.

Time for predictions. The top six will occupy the firsts six places in whatever order, I don’t care. Relegation favourites are Cardiff and Huddersfield, with Southampton, Bournemouth, Watford and Palace trying to avoid the third spot. Above those I see Wolves, Fulham and Leicester doing OK.  So my top ten teams are Everton, Brighton, Ourselves and either West Ham or Burnley, in whatever order.

So are we relegation candidates? probably not. Top ten, again? No reason why not.

By Brian Rolfe

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

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

167 thoughts on “NUFC heading into the new season in better shape than most think?

  1. It makes sense now. The Fatman owned a lot of Shares in House of Fraser and must have known what was going on there. A company doesn’t go bust on Thursday and Ashley ride in on Friday morning with a bid that is immediately accepted. His mind has been on this, not NUFC.

    He will get some flack because there will be a lot of store closures but these were happening anyway. This is a property deal to wipe out long term leases and then develop downtown multipurpose buildings. Fatty gets the bonus of all of the HoF trucks and warehouses for Sports Direct. I have no inside knowledge it just seems obvious this is what he is doing.

    In 5 years I bet you that Sports Direct is as much a property company as sports goods retailer. I will make a prediction that Sports Direct will be a wholly owned subsidiary of a company with a new name. Whether Ashley still owns NUFC or not I think he will change the name of the parent company to Mike Ashley Group. Or, MAG. Now that would be pretty [email protected]

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  2. I hope there are no protests tomorrow. As I said before I think the team picks itself:

    Dubravka

    Yedlin Lascelles Clark Dummett

    Ritchie Shelvey Diame Kenedy

    Perez

    Rondon

    No idea what the Spurs team will look like.

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  3. Jabba has said his ambition is to make HoF “The Harrods of the high street” 😀 You couldn’t make this up! That is the complete and utter opposite of his business model.

    His MO is buying distressed assets and making them successful. Why has he done it the other way round at NUFC?

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  4. And since the transfer window is closed I will repeat that Arsenal’s Uruguayan Hobbit will be the best buy of the lot. That Chelsea keeper seems expensive and Richarlison is a massive gamble. He only cost 11 million a year ago and was pretty crap after Silva left.

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  5. Stuart79:
    Jabba has said his ambition is to make HoF “The Harrods of the high street” You couldn’t make this up! That is the complete and utter opposite of his business model.

    His MO is buying distressed assets and making them successful. Why has he done it the other way round at NUFC?

    We’ll see Stuart. He might have a few flagship stores but the play here is to get rid of the high rental agreements (which bankruptcy did) and change some other properties to multi-use. That plan was already started but they didn’t have the money at HoF and were saddled with sky-high rents.

    He’s a vulture capitalist. He’s getting the name, the warehouses, the trucks for next to nothing. He will redo the internet business along the lines of Sports Direct and have the strategic flagship stores to keep the brand going. Fatty is not an idiot, he knows where the money is now.

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  6. Three Stooges all predicting a draw so that won’t happen. They only ever agree on a loss for us so time for our luck to change against Spurs. Last year was a farce where Kane took out Lejeune but being the golden boy stayed on the pitch.

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  7. A would play schar or fernandez over clark eric, clark is garbage, fernandez has game time under his belt albeit only 1 game

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  8. Goin for a 2-1 win rondon to score, hopefully Pochettino sticks to his word and keeps his big names out of this game

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  9. The money used to buy House of Fraser is not the NUFC money.
    The NUFC money is still there somewhere – is it being used to reduce the debt so he can sell and focus his attentions on his new retail empire – £300 to £350m would go along way to growing HOF, Debenhams and Flannels.

    I know this may not be a popular comment, but that buy out of HoF today has potential saved 17,500 jobs. Some things are bigger than football and I know a few people who work at the one in the Metro Centre with young families who have been very worried.

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  10. Would agree this smacks of a phony pr bullshit message.

    Not sure fans anger without sustained non attendance of games and non purchase of their tat match shirts etc will make a single bit of difference to the approach of the hierarchy.

    On that note has anybody seen numbers of season tickets sold?

    Stuart79:
    https://www.nufc.co.uk/news/latest-news/a-message-to-fans?displaymode=googleamp&__twitter_impression=true

    Unbelievable! This is just an excuse for penny pinching. Embarassing. But it does show that the fans movement of anger is working.

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  11. That first bit sounds potentially hopeful if we want to see the back of him

    As for the security of the hof jobs you’re right ancbitx good your pals have their jobs still .. but I am supremely grateful I don’t have to rely on someone with his track record of staff reward for my pay cheque. I wonder if there was any provisision of protection to current staff contracts

    Sharpy17:
    The money used to buy House of Fraser is not the NUFC money.
    The NUFC money is still there somewhere – is it being used to reduce the debt so he can sell and focus his attentions on his new retail empire – £300 to £350m would go along way to growing HOF, Debenhams and Flannels.

    I know this may not be a popular comment, but that buy out of HoF today has potential saved 17,500 jobs.Some things are bigger than football and I know a few people who work at the one in the Metro Centre with young families who have been very worried.

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  12. GlosMag:
    That first bit sounds potentially hopeful if we want to see the back of him

    As for the security of the hof jobs you’re right ancbitx good your pals have their jobs still ..but I am supremely grateful I don’t have to rely on someone with his track record of staff reward for my pay cheque. I wonder if there was any provisision of protection to current staff contracts

    Glos – don’t think the finer details are known yet mate, but I’m sure there will still be some job losses. Even if it can save 15k from 17.5k jobs – that’s a great outcome for those who depend on that wage.

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