Blackburn (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line-ups

After a wretched run of results in the league and some pretty uninspiring home performances, this game could be a big chance for us to regain some much needed confidence at St James’ Park as much as anything.

The squad is looking thin, so expect to see a made up of fringe men, youngsters and one or two who need game time after coming back from injury – with potential starts for top youngster Sean Longstaff and star centre-back Florian Lejeune the two to watch for me.

Despite our generally awful form in the cups, we have won our last two FA Cup games at St James’ Park, beating Luton 3-1 this time last year and Birmingham by the same scoreline in January 2017.

It will be anything but a walk in the park, mind – not that I have to tell this to any Newcastle fan who’s been to home games recently. Blackburn may be a newly promoted Championship side, but they have some decent players – with star man Bradley Dack one to watch and ex-Mag Adam Armstrong no doubt returning with a real point to prove.

Predicted XI

With injuries and rotation in mind, here’s the side I see Rafa starting for this one:



Starting at the back, Woodman seems nailed on for this one. Dubravka will get a rare rest, Darlow is injured and Elliot is up for sale – so this will be the perfect chance for the England U-21 international to impress and potentially help himself secure a much needed loan move away.

At full-back, Yedlin took a bad knock against Man Utd in midweek so I doubt he’ll be risked, so U-23 regular Jamie Sterry could well come in at right-back. On the other side, we don’t exactly have natural Paul Dummett cover, so Javier Manquillo looks likely to fill in once again here.

In the middle of defence I can see Lascelles and Schar being rested, with Rafa also confirming that Fernandez won’t be risked. With Clark back from injury (has trained over the past few days) I can see him starting, whilst this also seems to be the perfect comeback game for a certain Florian Lejeune.

In the middle of the park we’re hardly blessed with options. Ki is at the Asian Cup and Diame won’t play after sustaining a hip injury on Wednesday night, leaving Hayden and Shelvey – with the latter in need of game time to regain some match fitness. Ahead of those two (or in a midfield two) will then almost certainly be Sean Longstaff – the top U-23 talent who’s been waiting for his big first-team chance ever since impressing over pre-season.

Out wide I’d expect Murphy to get a rare chance to impress Rafa at St James’ Park, with it also being an opportunity for Kenedy to put in a much needed confidence-boosting performance – allowing Ritchie and Atsu to be rested.

Up top it’s almost certainly going to be Joselu. Rondon will be rested for next Saturday’s trip to Chelsea, Muto is now away on international duty with Japan and Sorensen won’t be getting his big chance just yet, with him playing (and scoring) in the U-23’s win at Sunderland earlier today.

Predicted NUFC team – (4-2-3-1) Woodman – Sterry, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo – Hayden, Shelvey – Murphy, Longstaff, Kenedy – Joselu.

The Opposition

Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in this Blackburn side:

Bradley Dack – Their start man over the past two seasons, with 12 goals and 7 assists so far this season and 18 goals and 11 assists last season seeing him linked with a potential Premier League move. Here’s his emphatic finish in their impressive win over West Brom just a few day ago:

Adam Armstrong  – Finally let go permanently over the summer after countless loan moves away. He’s got bags of pace and was once described as one of the best finishers at Newcastle by Alan Pardew. He’s be out to impress back in his hometown..

Charlie Mulgrew – A centre-back with an impressive left-foot and incredible knack of scoring, with 22 goals in 18 months for Blackburn. He actually scored a free-kick agains us in Blackburn’s 1-0 win over us during our promotion season two years ago.

Match Prediction

I can’t say I’m convinced we’ll win this one – a common theme when it comes to home games after 8 defeats and 1 draw in 11 outings at St James’ Park this season.

I know we’re against a side 15th in the Championship, but they’ll fancy themselves in this one – especially when Rafa will be forced to field a squad made up of fringe players and the odd youngster.

I expect to see a few goals and hope to see a positive performance, but I fancy them to force a replay – a result that would not suit Rafa one bit.

Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Blackburn

Howay the lads!

(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.

67 thoughts on “Blackburn (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line-ups

  1. It’s a game I’d love to see Sorensen or Toure get time from, same with maybe Roberts and Fernandez if they are fit and available.
    I’m not saying full games necessarily, but get them involved.

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  2. Bloody hell, B’mth have spent £19m on Solanke – I’m sure Lpool got him on a free when he left Chelsea 😳.
    There has also been talk that Chelsea are interested in Callum Wilson – so this could be his replacement.

    But B’mth spend £25m on Lerma and £20m on Ake – and I’m sure around £15m on Jordan Ibe ….. this is a team who’s attendance at their last home game was little over 10k!!

    HE HAS TO SELL OUR BLOODY CLUB AND GIVE US A FIGHTING CHANCE!!!!!

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  3. Sharpy17:
    Bloody hell, B’mth have spent £19m on Solanke – I’m sure Lpool got him on a free when he left Chelsea .
    There has also been talk that Chelsea are interested in Callum Wilson – so this could be his replacement.

    But B’mth spend £25m on Lerma and £20m on Ake – and I’m sure around £15m on Jordan Ibe ….. this is a team who’s attendance at their last home game was little over 10k!!

    HE HAS TO SELL OUR BLOODY CLUB AND GIVE US A FIGHTING CHANCE!!!!!

    hes not going to sell his golden goose mate,would you sell it if it was making you 80/100 mil a yr for nowt 🙁

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  4. A sad state of affairs when we need to rest as many of our starting 11 as possible. This club should have the squad depth to have a real go at the cup, but we all know why that is not possible! Anything but a draw for me. Its a game we should win but what is the point, barring a miracle we have no real chance of lifting the trophy. Lose and we get crucified by the pundits/media. Sad state of affairs. Ashley out

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  5. It’s all getting a bit depressing with transfers. I am still against gameday protests (for now) but you know the American cop shows when there is a murder and the police get out that yellow tape that says “CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS”. Somebody should do a Banksy and buy a giant roll of it and put it front of all of the turnstiles at SJP.

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  6. icedog: hes not going to sell his golden goose mate,would you sell it if it was making you 80/100 mil a yr for nowt

    No mate, but then I’d like to think I’d take way better care of that golden goose.

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  7. PremAndUp:
    Shows what a small percentage of income is gate receipts.

    Prem – exactly mate, and it’s not like B’mth have generated a load of money from players sales coz to my knowledge they haven’t sold any – not for big fees anyway.
    So the money they are spending must be the TV and PL money.

    The difference between a well ran club and not 🙄

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  8. It really pi$$e$ me off that when I was reading this article from Olly – my first thought was – can we really afford a cup run?! 😡

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  9. I also don’t think I’ve posted yet, but I think our whole handling of the Almiron transfer has been a complete joke too.
    What a big song and dance was made of that – even flying people out to America to get the deal done.
    Only they must have known how much Atalanta wanted before boarding that flight – and therefore knew we would never pay that much.
    Set of Mickey Mouse, Del Boy [email protected]

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  10. Anyway wouldn’t he email or phone mike ???

    Funny it’s come out after
    Leazes flag publicity
    fans cancelling ST
    And open letter to mike from fans groups begging for transfers .

    Call me a cynic but it stinks the place out that letter.

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  11. Seems like Kenyon is asking for more time and then Bishop releases it as a PR stunt/excuse for them sitting on their hands during the transfer window. It’s still very strange, but what isn’t when Ashley gets involved?

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  12. kimtoon:
    Anyway wouldn’t he email or phone mike ???

    Funny it’s come out after
    Leazes flag publicity
    fans cancelling ST
    And open letter to mike from fans groups begging for transfers .

    Call me a cynic but it stinks the place out that letter.

    Kimtoon: that’s the thing about NUFC and Ashley. Why can’t Rafa just pick up the phone and call him instead of going through Charnley? If Mikey is on holiday in Florida you can still call him. I call my mother every week and it is free on WhatsApp and 1 cent per minute on google.

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  13. If we were going to boycott a game then this should be the one. Make a statement but don’t F up the PL. Magpie Group are too stupid to realise though.

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  14. Well that has cheered me up for the day. I’ve just read Peter Kenyons letter to Mike 😂.

    I now know how my teachers felt when I went in with a ‘note from my parents’ – which just so happened to be in the hand writing of my best mate.

    What an absolute crock of $hit and a new all time low from this bunch of morons.

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  15. Am I being naïve here? Why doesn’t Ashley sell two thirds of NUFC to Kenyon for 200 million. He has already shown he is not interested in the day to day running of the club because he gave that to Charnley and Carr a couple of years ago. He get someone in to run NUFC who has had past success and can grow NUFC. I wouldn’t even be bothered if Fatty kept his signs at a discount but not for nothing. There are many clubs with minority owners and if the club becomes a success then Kenyon can buy him out.

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  16. FA Cup not even being shown on TV here. I would have to sign up to a pay channel for $5 a month and even at that price it is not worth it. I have so little interest in it that I could not name any of the other games being played and I read a few of the British papers everyday. Maybe I have blocked it out because I know NUFC have no chance and depending on the draw we know the final will be between 2 of the big 6.

    If Spurs get there I might watch as it would probably be Poch’s last chance at a trophy before leaving for Madrid or Manchester. I have been to both and I know which one I would choose 🙂

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  17. Actually, scratch that. From a purely blood pressure point of view I would choose Manchester. I went to a Real Madrid game and they were booing Ronaldo. Can you believe that? I couldn’t.

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  18. Looked through the fixtures and the only one I am even a little bit interested in is Liverpool/Wolves and that includes ours. I will probably listen to the match anyway until Ando sends me looking for sleeping pills, horse tranquilisers and vodka.

    I agree with Olly that it will probably be a replay just to put the cherry on top of a January Sh!tcake.

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  19. So here we are at round 3 of the fa cup, usually one of my favourite three ‘days’ of the season along with fa cup final and promotion finals weekend .. ok the last is not a day exactly but you get my drift I hope.

    All are what i believe football should be about and why I used to follow it so avidly .. tension.. drama .. hopes .. disappointment.. beer😉 .. hyperbole ( and alcohol) can go on and on. Not always the Best footy but bloody good drama in the main.

    Sign of the times I guess but if the club I’ve supported all my life dont care about the cup or much of anything except their wallets .. and they dont .. then i long ago concluded why should i ?

    Here we are at one of the best days in the footballing calendar and the only duscussion around nufc is another stunt about the fakeover ( sorry to steal your term Kim, but its too good not to use😀)
    Sad days for footy in the north east

    I say this Not to be controversial or pass judgement but more to indicate my sadness at how dull football is. My interest spikes from what nufc are doing to get the better of other teams and if they’re merely existing then i cant remain interested in them never mind any other clubs. It’s just not worth my energy.

    I’ve been clinging on and hoping that something’ll change at nufc but it isn’t going to .. I’ve known it .. but .. well .. you know .. my heart and all that🙄

    Anyway NFL gamepass beckons for the weekend. I’ll be watching grown men in padding bounce each other around, coz at least they’re trying to win and not trying not to lose too badly.

    At some point I’ll check the nufc result .. but without hope or any real focus.

    HWTL

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  20. GlosMag:
    So here we are at round 3 of the fa cup, usually one of my favourite three ‘days’of the season along with fa cup final and promotion finals weekend .. ok the last is not a day exactly but you get my drift I hope.

    All are what i believe football should be about and why I used to follow it so avidly .. tension.. drama .. hopes .. disappointment.. beer .. hyperbole ( and alcohol) can go on and on. Not always the Best footy but bloody good drama in the main.

    Sign of the times I guess but if the clubI’ve supported all my life dont care about the cup or much of anything except their wallets .. and they dont ..then i long ago concluded why should i ?

    Here we are at one of the best days in the footballing calendar and the only duscussionaround nufc is another stunt about the fakeover ( sorry to steal your term Kim, but its too good not to use)
    Sad days forfooty in the north east

    I say this Not to be controversial or pass judgement but more to indicate my sadness at how dull football is. My interest spikes from what nufc are doing to get thebetter of other teams and if they’re merely existingthen i cant remain interested in them never mind any other clubs.It’s just not worth my energy.

    I’ve been clinging on and hoping that something’ll change at nufc but it isn’t going to .. I’ve known it .. but .. well .. you know .. my heart and all that

    Anyway NFL gamepass beckons for the weekend. I’ll be watching grown men in padding bounce each other around, coz at least they’re trying to win and not trying not to lose too badly.

    At some point I’ll check the nufc result .. but without hope or any real focus.

    HWTL

    Cheer on the Chicago Bears. They have been crap for 8 years and have finally made the playoffs. I am not the biggest American Football fan mainly because of all of the ads but I do support the team of the city I have lived in for 28 years.

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  21. Someone please tell me how Woodman does. I watched him twice in that Toulous tournament in the summer. I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. His positioning and distribution were terrible. He has since dropped to 3rd choice.

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  22. GlosMag:
    So here we are at round 3 of the fa cup, usually one of my favourite three ‘days’of the season along with fa cup final and promotion finals weekend .. ok the last is not a day exactly but you get my drift I hope.

    All are what i believe football should be about and why I used to follow it so avidly .. tension.. drama .. hopes .. disappointment.. beer .. hyperbole ( and alcohol) can go on and on. Not always the Best footy but bloody good drama in the main.

    Sign of the times I guess but if the clubI’ve supported all my life dont care about the cup or much of anything except their wallets .. and they dont ..then i long ago concluded why should i ?

    Here we are at one of the best days in the footballing calendar and the only duscussionaround nufc is another stunt about the fakeover ( sorry to steal your term Kim, but its too good not to use)
    Sad days forfooty in the north east

    I say this Not to be controversial or pass judgement but more to indicate my sadness at how dull football is. My interest spikes from what nufc are doing to get thebetter of other teams and if they’re merely existingthen i cant remain interested in them never mind any other clubs.It’s just not worth my energy.

    I’ve been clinging on and hoping that something’ll change at nufc but it isn’t going to .. I’ve known it .. but .. well .. you know .. my heart and all that

    Anyway NFL gamepass beckons for the weekend. I’ll be watching grown men in padding bounce each other around, coz at least they’re trying to win and not trying not to lose too badly.

    At some point I’ll check the nufc result .. but without hope or any real focus.

    Sign of the times mate, i’m really not arsed about this game, it’s a luxury the club can ill afford given our precarious position in the PL.
    Any sporting institutions aim at the start of any competition should be to set out to win something , be it a tennis player, dart player or football team. That we don’t even give ourselves the tools/kit to do that is beyond sad.
    What that man has done to me on a personal level is not only steal my enjoyment of watching NUFC, but he’s stolen my love of football full stop.
    What is the actual point of NUFC right now ? We don’t have ambition,we don’t compete, we don’t even own our number 9 ffs. A club synonymous with iconic number 9’s reduced to a loan, albeit i like Rondon, but he’s not ours .
    The club is a stagnant cesspit of negativity with most die hard fans giving up and a generation of kids disaffected with football and becoming increasingly more interested in other past times. Even Shearer’s own son is more pro rugby now.
    Once and if that greedy leach ever goes the good times might return, but it will take years to grow again and regain fan trust. That cancer has spread way beyond the club and into the wider community causing a massive depression if you read the thoughts of local fans. That one person can cause so much strife and upset is soul destroying and he is running out of time and out of excuses. He has relied on divide and conquer in so much as the fans are seemingly unable to unite or agree on his tenure and what he’s done or not done wrong in their eyes. Somehow this feels like an end game now, i think he’s gone too far if this is more PR ****e and lies, the tide may yet be turning, for footballs sake i hope it is.

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  23. Lee Ryder
    Lee Ryder
    @lee_ryder
    There is now a suggestion that two of the US-consortia are considering joining forces. The groups are led by Peter Kenyon and Garry Cook

    Well that’s a disaster waiting to happen if true. Too many cooks and all that, pardon the pun

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  24. We have about 2 weeks for this takeover to happen. If not, it will have to wait until after the season is over because nobody in their right mind would spend 300 million on a club with the specter of relegation hanging over it.

    The thing is that I don’t think it would take much to get us relatively sure of safety. Our defense is OK when Lejeune is back. Then a fit Shelvey and the return of Ki and Muto will make the squad a lot stronger.

    It is probably good that we are playing teams that we would probably lose to anyway whilst Ki and Muto are away. But the key is Cardiff.

    I may be being a c0ck eyed optimist but a upgrade on Hayden – sell him, he has an inflated opinion of himself – and the addition of Almiron would make me 90% certain of safety and 100% certain of an immediate return if the worst came to the worst.

    Then the hard work starts…

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  25. That letter is so sad and transparent MA could have written it himself. If he can write that is.
    You couple this ******* with the lack of transfer activity when we’re desperate and it’s plain to see the club getting weaker by the day. 😥

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  26. georgio: do you really think he is so devious as to set all of this up? Why would he want to be fcking about with Kenyon and Cook? If he is, and they go public with it then he will never find a buyer. I know Kimtoon and Icedog think he was never serious but I get the vibe that he is this time and it is about the price and payment structure.

    There is probably haggling about the cash in the bank as well with Fatty wanting some of it to pay off part of his loan.

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  27. Eric, the two linking up story from Ryder, no idea mate. Probs click bait again, him and the lads bored in the office came up with it most likely . Or more likely, more accidentally leaked pr BS from KBA at his masters request.

    IF true though, we should be worried as it has disaster written all over it.

    Also i can see jabba wanting to keep his ads and merch sales thereby starving us of any meaningful cash to improve.

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  28. I see the Andy Carroll stories are back in full swing… swap deal with Shelvey… 😂😂😂 Id send them Hayden though… and even take Carroll as a direct swap. 😂😂😂

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  29. When I see Bournemouth spending £19m on a player who has about 5 PL appearances to his name and then I remember the stick Rafa gets fro the players he has bought makes me chuckle. Rafa an’t even dream of spending that amount in total let alone on one player…

    As for the letter from Kenyon. Very contradictory in my opinion. Ashley says he will only sell to someone rich enough to take us forward. Can we assume then that the fact Jabba thinks Kenyon is the “best fit” for the club that stories saying Kenyon hasn’t got the money are false? Also why hasn’t Kenyon been granted exclusivity if Jabba thinks he’s the best of the lot?

    The letter has lots of platitudes but no detail. For this reason I believe the letter is just a PR exercise.

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  30. KIMTOON:
    Eric, the two linking up story from Ryder, no idea mate. Probs click bait again, him and the lads bored in the office came up with it most likely . Or more likely,more accidentally leaked pr BS from KBA at his masters request.

    IF true though, we should be worried as it has disaster written all over it.

    Also i can see jabba wanting to keep his ads and merch sales thereby starving us of any meaningful cash to improve.

    We have the cash, he is just not spending it. I think that payroll number was 54 million and we made 160 million last year. There is a built in profit of at least 50 million if we don’t spend money on transfers and new wages. I have a feeling that Fatty is trousering at least some of it and that is what is holding up negotiations. If it sits on the books then the tax man will cometh. The easiest way to avoid taxes is for Ashley to have NUFC pay back some of his loan.

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  31. It really makes no sense to dice with relegation. As Rafa says, even if he leaves he doesn’t take the players he bought with him. Then there are the idiots on blogs who think that the money disappears if we spend it on a player. NO IT DOESN’T. We spend the money but we have an asset on the books for that price. There might be depreciation OR appreciation depending on how well or badly the player does. Just look at Winaldum. We paid 15 million for him and a year later got 25 million. In this case we actually made money by spending money.

    The cash doesn’t just disappear down a black hole if you buy the right player.

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  32. The only issue I see is the wages for new players because Fatty is setting us up for worst case scenario of relegation.

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  33. Eric Sykes:
    It really makes no sense to dice with relegation. As Rafa says, even if he leaves he doesn’t take the players he bought with him. Then there are the idiots on blogs who think that the money disappears if we spend it on a player. NO IT DOESN’T. We spend the money but we have an asset on the books for that price. There might be depreciation OR appreciation depending on how well or badly the player does. Just look at Winaldum. We paid 15 million for him and a year later got 25 million. In this case we actually made money by spending money.

    The cash doesn’t just disappear down a black hole if you buy the right player.

    The key thing Eric, is spending on the right players… the players we spend on, I.e. Joselu, et al, this is indeed throwing it into a black hole…

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  34. Buying players now with money from the clubs coffers doesn’t alter the value of the club one iota. It just means the liquid asset has been converted into a tangible asset. Value = the same. Pretty much what Eric is saying.

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  35. Woodman, Sterry and Longstaff all start. Ritchie and Joeslu up front. Harker is our goalie on the bench! 😱.

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  36. Dubai Toon: The key thing Eric, is spending on the right players… the players we spend on, I.e. Joselu, et al, this is indeed throwing it into a black hole…

    Absolutely, DT. This is what makes Jabba’s policy bizarre. He wo t allow Rafa to spend decent money on one player, therefore forcing him to spread the cash thinly and in turn means the quality is lower and heightens the possibility of a) getting relegated and b) making no profit when you sell the player. It really makes no sense. He really doesn’t understand football and for a clever guy that’s odd.

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  37. Cardiff beaten by Gillingham! 😂😂😂😂😱😱😱😱 18th in League 1 beating a premiership team… ooops

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  38. Eric, there is a heavy dose of him just refusing to back Rafa until he signs an extension to his contract too i reckon.

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  39. And we know the money is there because the club disclosed how much we got from the TV pot – 123 million. And we know from the last accounts how much we got from tickets, merchandise and sponsorship. And we know we made a net profit of about 20 million in the summer because they told us how much we got for Mitro.

    There is easily 50-70 million from all of that above after the expenses and even more when all of this years TV money is paid. It just makes absolutely no sense why we would even think about risking relegation.

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  40. Couldn’t sign in to NUFCTV which is probably a good thing as Ando would have me slitting my wrists by now. I think it is better this way so I haven’t tried too hard to fix it.

    Has Joselu controlled a pass yet?

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  41. Well, that first half was shocking… passing atrocious and toothless up front. Kenedy is AWOL. Hayden doesn’t want to be there.

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  42. I have never rated Hayden and nobody has explained his “family issues”. I can understand if it is a sick kid or something but if it is just tell us! Otherwise he can f-off.

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  43. Has everyone just given up now 🙂 Looked at Ed’s and someone saying Woodman is flapping. That’s the way he was at that summer tournament. I am worried that they rate him above Elliot. I have to question their judgement.

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  44. Well, me and Olly went for a draw. In my case it was not any Mystic Meg foresight but because the way things are at the moment a replay was the last thing we wanted – so that’s what we got 🙂

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  45. Those players are f.ucking thieving a living from us and are not fit to wear the black and white… not one of them… woodman flapping at everything and FairPlay to him he did ok in the end but wasn’t really tested. All the rest including out “first teamers “ can all just do one and F.uck off. Kenedy needs to go back to Chelsea, he is stealing a loan place … Joselu … well even the scum wouldn’t want him.. he is just Bollo.cks… that performance was shockingly bad against a championship team …

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  46. Guessing Ando is on a ****tail of Prozac, Valium and Vodka which I would have been if I had listened to him.

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