NUFC set for unbelievable run of fixtures between now & Christmas – This will decide our season

Two months into the season and and we sit second bottom, with just two points on the board after six defeats and two draws across our opening eight games.

It’s been a worrying start – with so few positives to take – however there were signs of life for the first time this season during Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Manchester United.

It was a devastating defeat in the end, but there were several positives to take – and this could be key heading into what is an incredibly generous run of fixtures; starting with Brighton at St James’ Park next Saturday.

After facing FIVE top six sides in our opening EIGHT games, we are due a ‘winnable’ run of fixtures and we’ve got exactly that from next week onwards – with us playing no top 6 team and just three sides in the current top half in our next 10 games between now and Christmas:



There’s no easy game in the Premier League when you’re struggling, but this is about as generous as fixtures are going to get.

Brighton at home a week on Saturday is followed by an away trip to fellow strugglers Southampton, with us then facing back to back home games against Watford and Bournemouth over the first two weekends of November.

Then it’s Burnley away (a team that look a shadow of the side that finished 7th last season), followed by a run of West Ham at home, Everton away and Wolves at home – with those three fixtures perhaps representing the toughest run we’ll have between now and Boxing day.

Finally, in the build up to Christmas we play bottom of the table Huddersfield and then host Fulham at St James’ Park on the 22nd December – a side that have conceded more goals than anyone else so far this season.

Our fate isn’t realistically decided by Christmas, but with 30 games left and around 10 wins (or more) needed to get to that 40 point mark, these next 10 games are going to be absolutely pivotal.

This point is emphasised when you see the fixtures we have from December 26th onwards. I don’t expect us to pick up a great deal of points given these are the fixtures after the Fulham game on December 22nd:

Aside from Cardiff at home, you can’t see us getting a great deal of points from these eight fixtures, emphasising the importance of us getting our season underway with a win against Brighton and kicking on while the fixtures are generous over these next few months.

Finally, here’s our fixtures for the final few months of the season after the away trip to Wolves on February 9th.

A generous run, with us only facing TWO of the league’s top six in our final 12 games, however the damage may be done by then if we can’t get points on the board in the next few months.

The Brighton game is massive next Saturday. Win and we’ll be heading into games with Southampton and Watford full of confidence, but lose and our fragile confidence levels would be in tatters.

If your average fan were to make any football tips today, they’d struggle to see past us going down given our start to the season, however things could change very quickly IF we finally click ahead of this winnable run of games – starting with Brighton next Saturday.

(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.

136 thoughts on “NUFC set for unbelievable run of fixtures between now & Christmas – This will decide our season

  1. Just you and me watching Stuart 🙂 Still a gloried friendly but they seem to take it seriously. I know why. Because it counts towards the FIFA rankings and therefore seedings at tournaments. Normally the top teams would set up some easier home friendlies to boost their rankings.

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  2. I hardly speak any Spanish but I got the gist of the last exchange by the commentator:

    Spanish, Spanish, Spanish… Inglaterra,,, Spanish, Spanish… Gary Lineker…. Spanish, Spanish, Spanish…. football’s coming home.

    They said football’s coming home in English then translated back to Spanish for their viewers 🙂

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  3. just put it on, totally forgot it was on but that’s what 2 hours sleep will do for you 🙄
    Week 7 and the lads STILL home ill and has kindly passed the cough to me I think.
    Anyway coughing all night from both of us not helped by my cat having a full on scrap with a random tabby on the upstairs landing at 3.30pm this morning 👿

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  4. I have to admit that whether this means anything in the scheme of things that is much better than yer usual friendly.

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  5. kimtoon:
    Typical I miss the first half action.

    You will have many chances to see it. I think Spain had not been beaten at home in like 14 years. Good performance. I am still not sure about Pickford but that is probably the only negative.

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  6. I thought England were brilliant that first half last night. Spain were always likely to come back in the 2nd half & Pickford seemed ready to give them a hand – to be fair, I think he’s usually very good for England and his quick pass out for the Rashford goal was excellent.
    I thought Rashford and Sterling finally turned up. They are always capable of that but finally repaid Southgates loyalty – have to do it more regularly now though.
    But I thought Barkley made a big difference from our recent performances. There were a lot of people doubting he should even be in the squad – but he was that #10 we’ve missed.

    Fair play to them. A really good performance and win that – consistency with such a young squad now will be the key.

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  7. So, now the Nations League is “cool” because England beat Spain. I still don’t understand why the top teams are taking it so seriously as most are shoo ins to reach tournaments anyway (that’s assuming Steve McClaren isn’t manager). Maybe Holland and Italy not reaching the WC was a shock to the system? Anyway, whatever the reason, I am liking it because usually these international breaks are punctuated with glorified kickabouts.

    I saw quite a few people remark that the best thing about the Croatia game was the absence of the T0ssers with Trumpets. No arrests in Spain but 60 sent to hospital by riot police. Is it really worth it to them to be able to sing about a war that ended almost 75 years ago?

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  8. I am wary to say this, but I think we have a better team than Brighton, especially if Gross is out. So far, I could only really say that about Cardiff. There can be no excuses this weekend.

    I know I have been hard on Rafa but his forte was supposed to be getting points when our backs were against the wall and against better teams and it just hasn’t happened this season.

    I think the team picks itself since Rondon will make the bench at best. Same team with Dummett for Manquillo.

    Is this Ayoze’s last chance before being rested? Rafa likes him but he has zero goals and 1 assist this year. The problem is with Rondon injured we have no alternative. Where are you Dwight?

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  9. Famous last words 🙂 Brighton’s starting 11 in their last game doesn’t exactly put the fear of God into you:

    Ryan
    Bruno (age 105)
    Duffy
    Dunk
    Bong
    Propper
    Kayal
    Knockhaert
    Johnakakhsh
    March
    Murray (age 104)

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  10. And we did OK against the top 6 last year. Better than most of the also rans:

    Man U = 3 points
    Liverpool = 1 point
    Arsenal = 3 points
    Chelsea = 3 points
    Man City = when was the last time we got anything from them?
    Spurs = zero points but very unlucky.

    That’s 10 points from 18 which was about our average against all teams. We should have been able to nick a point or 2 here and there whatever our start looked like on paper.

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  11. Erm… Wasn’t Sam Allardyce sacked in disgrace from the England job? Why is he allowed to opine on the England match on Talksport? It is like asking Jack the Ripper about surgery.

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  12. You might laugh at me but how about Loftus-Cheek for 20 million in January? I have seen him play quite a bit and he is a very good player, if a bit overhyped. Sarri doesn’t seem to fancy him and why would he when Hazard plays the same role and Barkley is pushing for a start as well.

    Sell him with a buy-back like they did with Ake. The alternative is to loan him to Palace and what good does that do anybody?

    I don’t care if RLC turns out to be not as good as advertised which from what I have seen he probably is. He is still a better bet as a number 10 than what we have and we are desperate.

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  13. I don’t really see the risk to Ashley either. Somebody must be able to convince him that he would get his money back if we were relegated. It happened with Gini. We got our money back on Townsend and could have with Shelvey if we wanted to sell when we were relegated.

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  14. I watched both of Germany’s games and this must be the worst German team I have seen ever. They do not have a goalscorer. They have caught the NUFC disease.

    As for the Nations League. I think I have figured it out and England are perfectly placed. You want to finish 2nd in the group. Win it and you are in that stupid tournament next summer and your players don’t get a rest again. Finish last and you are relegated and your FIFA ranking takes a hit with lower seeding in the tournaments that actually matter.

    I suppose it would be a trophy, but is it worth it?

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  15. A pretty good day really. Hoping that O’Neil and Keane get the boot. Shearer, Arter and John Walters will be laughing up there sleeves.

    It won’t stop Keane and O’Neil telling everybody else how to manage just like it didn’t stop Gary Neville. Still nice to see them humbled now and again. How many jobs have they been sacked from now? Of course they will always have Sunderland in common.

    I don’t even think Shearer was technically sacked. My recollection was that Fatman said he had the job but then never called him.

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  16. January is really starting to worry me. Sounds odd but I no longer trust Rafa in player recruitment. Tactics yes but why on earth did he let Mbemba and Mbabu leave. They’d both be ahead of Yedlin and Dummett for me. In fact Mbemba would be ahead of Diame too. Those two would cost £20m now. He also let Merino slip away and the Mitro situation is beyond belief.
    Then he lands us with Murphy after passing on Maddison. Joselu or Mitro?
    Joselu, Atsu, Murphy and Manquillo are not PL standard especially when you’ve let better players go.

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  17. georgio: that is the problem with these so-called easier games we have coming up. Rafa cannot afford to give the first team a rest or replace someone out of form because there is a big dropoff to the bench. We have already seen it with in-game management where Ritchie has gone off and Atsu or Murphy have had to replace him. Diame has run himself into the ground but we have nobody to replace him with.

    Atsu says he is still injured but we are still playing him. Hayden’s head isn’t in it and he’s not good enough. And Joselu is Joselu.

    I think it is part Rafa not fancying a player but I also think it is orders to reduce payroll from the top that has left us with a threadbare squad. I am not sure if we can fully blame Rafa for Mitro and we got a good fee – 22 million rising to 27 million. It’s that he was not allowed to reinvest the money leaving a gaping holein our squad.

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  18. Georgio: I was thinking what you were thinking last night but more in a big picture framing. I think we have gone back to the “purples” strategy where we have 15 or16 so called elite players and then fill in the gaps with young-uns and up-and-comers. Anybody that wasn’t in the immediate first team picture, and we could get a fee for, we were forced to sell to reduce wages. It didn’t matter that they added depth. The exception is Mitro who I am convinced Rafa fell out with (I have no evidence though).

    The problem is that they have restricted the budget so much that the first team squad is not good enough and players like Yedlin, Ayoze and Diame, who should be on the bench or backups, are the starters.

    I don’t agree with a lot of others that we will suddenly become mid-table after this so-called easier run. I have said before I think we will be at best bottom 5 by January and probably bottom 3.

    A couple of wins against Brighton and Southampton would cheer me up, but I fear we will draw both.

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  19. I think Diame gave us everything he had last year and there isn’t much left in those 32 year old legs. It shows in misplaced passes and later in games. I hope I am wrong because we have no-one else.

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  20. Since it is all doom and gloom at the moment I will p!ss on everybody’s chips a bit more. I wouldn’t be betting that Freddie Woodman will be the next big thing. I have seen he has dropped to number 3 in the U20s and I am not surprised. I watched a couple of games in that Toulon Tournament that England won and he was terrible. His positioning was terrible but mostly his distribution. He kicked it into touch a couple of times in each game.

    Maybe some time on loan would help but I wouldn’t be crying if we lost him.

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  21. Olly: I mentioned earlier on this thread that The Chronic had pictures of Rondon running on his own on Monday and there was no way he would start on Saturday. Your gym pic has him on his own as well. Guess he is working with the physios before joining the group and after today’s picture I doubt he will make the bench.

    Ayoze and Muto to start but I expect to still see Joselu.

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  22. and what has Hayden ever done to show he deserves a move to another PL club? If it wasn’t for Atsu and Joselu he would be the worst player on the pitch every time he plays 🙂

    Can Schar play defensive mid?

    I would send Hayden to the U23 squad. No matter what our needs are we don’t need his attitude, especially from a player who obviously values himself far above what he is actually worth.

    And if Atsu is not fit, then don’t play him. Murphy hasn’t been great but he has not been the liability Atsu has. So play Murphy.

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  23. Well I’m heading home to the Toon on Friday morning, but unfortunately I will miss the game. My nephew decided to get married on a match day… how inconsiderate of him… 😳😳😳😂. Oh well match of the day it is then… at least in Dubai I get to see every game.

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  24. Dubai Toon:
    Well I’m heading home to the Toon on Friday morning, but unfortunately I will miss the game. My nephew decided to get married on a match day… how inconsiderate of him… . Oh well match of the day it is then… at least in Dubai I get to see every game.

    Depending on the result you might be thanking him 🙂 I think we have the better team but there is so much riding on it and so much tension I think it will be a draw.

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  25. The international break has given me time to think. Conclusions:

    1. Our backup players are not good enough, even as subs. We need to limp to January with hopefully no more injuries. Get Lejeune back and have him or Fernandez play defensive midfield if we cannot buy one, BUT…

    2. No 3 centre backs, ever! It is not that the system doesn’t work it is that it doesn’t work for us. The theory is to have the 3 CBs and 2 wingbacks. But it ends up for us as 5 at the back all of the time with a bank of 4 in front and then Joselu isolated. At least with 4-2-3-1 we make the odd attempt to get forward.

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  26. Eric Sykes: Depending on the result you might be thanking him I think we have the better team but there is so much riding on it and so much tension I think it will be a draw.

    You could well be right Eric… 😳

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  27. Dubai Toon: You could well be right Eric…

    They are planning another protest outside SJP. Stuart disagrees with me but I think it is self-defeating when we need a win so badly. The bad feelings cannot help but filter into the ground itself, especially if Ashley turns up again.

    Protest on Northumberland Street. E-Mail Ashley. Buy Sports Direct Mechandise online and send it back. Just don’t spoil the mood by protesting for 45 f-ing minutes on matchday.

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  28. This is who we are dealing with. A nest of vipers. The article details some of what went on. Dennis Wise got 500k in damages from Tony Jiminez for a failed Golf Course investment. Ashley is now suing Jiminez for 3 million that was supposedly an investment but Ashley says he just trousered. Then, Wise’s best man at his wedding is suing him for 1 million for failed property deals. Of course, Keegan got 2 million from the same people for breach of contract.

    Remember a few weeks ago when Jimenez was trying to make Keegan look bad by saying he turned down all of these great players? I wonder who to believe?

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/30/mike-ashley-sues-former-business-partner-tony-jimenez-golf-course-scheme

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  29. I did a little experiment for myself. We all know what the starting 11 will be on Saturday, but who will be on the bench? I figured the total cost was 32 million and that none of these players would be a starter for any other premier league team on current form, even Cardiff and Huddersfield. Maybe Schar, but that might be because I haven’t seen much of him:

    Darlow
    Manquillo
    Schar
    Hayden
    Ki
    Longstaff
    Atsu
    Murphy
    Joselu

    Is Rafa partly to blame? Perhaps, but we needed bodies. ON THE CHEAP. I see some people complaining that we should have bought James Maddison from Norwich but that would have been virtually our whole backup budget.

    And I see people saying we have an easy run of fixtures – not if we have to play any of this lot. And we will have to because the starters are not going to go 90 minutes every game for 10 games. And that is without injuries and the fact that every team makes subs in every match so we WILL see these players.

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  30. Eric – Maddison wouldn’t have been anywhere near £20m when Rafa chose Murphy instead. Less than Murphy in fact.
    I’d also have Fernandez and Lejeune as first choice centre backs.
    I don’t mind Ki or Longstaff coming on but I never want to see the rest again. Well . . maybe Darlow if Dubravka gets a knock.

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  31. Eric – “Anybody that wasn’t in the immediate first team picture, and we could get a fee for, we were forced to sell to reduce wages. It didn’t matter that they added depth.”
    Did we get anything for Mbabu? He wouldn’t have been on high wages either. Bad judgement Rafa.
    Then there’s old Daryl Murphy. I think he’s still better than Slimani and Joselu. We’ll see with Rondon. Even Colback offered more than Hayden. Merino? I don’t understand at all.

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  32. georgio: 750k Euros for MBabu. Maybe his agent was pushing for a move but he was contracted so we could have kept him.

    We agree our bench is weak. Olly has a story that Rafa no longer trusts Hayden. I would have sold him immediately he came up with that stuff about wanting to move to be with family. Not that that is not valid sometimes but that it showed he had an inflated opinion of himself thinking he would be in so much demand.

    So now we are basically left with Ki as a backup central midfielder. Perhaps Longstaff? Convert Fernandez and change to a diamond? There are plenty of central midfielders out there that we could get as a stopgap in January but we have to get to January injury and exhaustion free first.

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  33. I ‘d definitely give Longstaff a go. He’s 20 now and looks a fine player already. He is inexperienced but how long are you going to wait? Same with Roberts. He can’t be worse than Atsu or Murphy. Hells bells, Carver played him over 3 years ago!

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  34. Simon is sharing an article by Ryder saying Rafa knows his January budget. Of course there is no mention of what it is or who our targets are so it is likely pure speculation from Wor Lee.

    With 12 games to go, wouldn’t this be our minimum budget? If we are still in touching distance the Fatman would be mad not to supply more funds to help us stay up. He has done it before and he could probably get most of his money back on any transfers if we did go down.

    And who knows who might be available? Teams dropping out of the Champions or Europa Leagues may be willing to part with players but we don’t know who these teams are yet.

    Still, I think that Ryder is right that we will be shopping in the bargain basement but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to work that one out as that is what we have done for Ashley’s 11 years here.

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  35. Can I have Ryder’s job? What does he do anymore? He writes 2 inane “articles” a week stating the bleeding obvious, goes to the game and writes his player ratings. That’s it. He doesn’t even interview anybody. He doesn’t do any analysis. The True Geordie gets more sitdowns with ex-players etc. than The Chronic’s Chief Sports Writer. What does he do all day?

    Mark Douglas: “Lee, you have to write some filler article today”.

    Lee: “I know I will say Rafa knows his budget and it will be not much. Nobody can actually check if I know anything because I am actually not saying anything. Barman, another pint over here, and, what the hell, a jello shot. I have achieved something today”.

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  36. I think I know why Ryder offers nothing. Back in the day he was Oliver’s and Gibson’s apprentice. They actually did have some connections at NUFC. Some in Management, some players and some backroom staff. As they cut back, Wor Lee took over their patch but gradually the old associations left or retired. He probably still had ins with the likes of Carr and Ugly John but then they left. Now it is all Ashley’s men who know better than to talk to Lee. He has nothing. Gibbo has nothing either and is left to reminiscing about the old days.

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  37. Thank God the international break is ending so I won’t have to resort to wondering why Ryder still has a job to find something to say 🙂

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  38. 5 Things I DIDN’T learn from Lee Ryder’s article today:

    1. Rafa has a limited budget and will be shopping for bargains.

    2. Rafa will be looking to loan players from abroad.

    3. We need a left back, attacking midfielder and striker. Minimum.

    4. Erm… that’s all Wor Lee said.

    5. Really, that’s all he said in his article.

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  39. Thank God Michael Owen predicted a draw against Brighton. 2 of the 3 stooges had predicted a win for us so I was getting worried. When they all go for the same result for us it never happens so I am more hopeful of a win now.

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  40. Absolute *******: Ryder writes a total non-story, total guesswork about Rafa having to shop in the bargain bin without naming names or amounts, sources, anything. And now it is repeated (for what it is worth because it had no detail anyway) on Ed’s, on here, in The Mirror.

    BIG NEWS – Rafa will have a limited budget in January. Like we didn’t know that anyway!!!!!! Origi will be out of our price range!!! Really. Liverpool will not SELL Solanke and will look for a loan, meaning NUFC are out of the picture. Again, REALLY. Like we didn’t know that. Total non-stories.

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  41. REALLY. This is the story! Rafa will have limited funds in January and will go back to places he has worked before who have massive squads with tons of players out on loan to see who is available! Great work guys. What’s the sports equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize?

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  42. Just for the h#ll of it and since it is non-story day, I looked at Origi’s stats. This is what 22 million gets you. A Liverpool reserve who hasn’t played a league minute this year and scored 6 in 31 for Wolfburg last year.

    Since he has been sidelined you know it would take Rafa 6 games to play him so he would only have about 10 games to make an impact. Judging by last year that will be 2 goals. I think I will take a pass.

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  43. georgio:
    I ‘d definitely give Longstaff a go. He’s 20 now and looks a fine player already. He is inexperienced but how long are you going to wait? Same with Roberts. He can’t be worse than Atsu or Murphy. Hells bells, Carver played him over 3 years ago!

    Georgio With you all the way on this. We waste money on players of doubtful value. We need to encourage all the reserves so that they can see they can progress if they work hard. I am not certain they can see that chance to progress. In the preseason games Roberts was played at left back. Why play him there? Roberts has shown he can score goals and is a better crosser of the ball than either Atsu or Murphy. Show some conjones Rafa and give Longstaff and Roberts a chance off the bench. I am not certain that they are even training with the first team still. Surely local lads will give their all to play for NUFC.

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  44. Still slow on here. Need a win.

    Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere has suffered a setback in his return from injury. Surprise. Remember West Ham also have Andy Carroll – can we finally put an end to calls for him to return to NUFC. He is always injured so what’s the point.

    Wayne’s pals are out in force again saying he is rejuvenated in the USA. More like he has found his level. My issue was never really with Rooney it was more his defenders trying to portray him like he was still 1 of the top players in the PL when he had lost it 5 years before. But Wayne is now rewriting history himself saying he would have scored 20 goals if Fat Sam had kept him as a striker. Erm… you wanted to play Midfield Wayne! And half your goals were from penalties.

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  45. Need them players to cheer me up with a win. into week 8 of illness in my house.
    I have an awful chest infection and the lads is still bad. Spent the morning at the hot resp clinic at the hospital yesterday. He is now on 2 types of antibiotic and mucolyte meds too in a bid to try and sort him out. My cough is worse than his as it’s constant so no sleep what so ever last few weeks and the wheeze is terrible.
    Cannot ever remember being so rough as this like and I have had pneumonia and flu that hasn’t been this bad. Awful illness.
    Anyway HWTL, get us a win ffs.

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  46. If we don’t get an early goal I can already feel the confidence drifting away. The crowd catch that and Brighton are in there.
    Not that I’m expecting 2-0 in the first ten minutes!

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