Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal: A promising start ends poorly as NUFC totally run out of steam

A losing start for Steve Bruce at St James’ Park, with an avoidable second half goal from Aubameyang being the difference of two halves.

The high press worked well early on and we were in control of the game, but we ran out of steam as time went on and I’m still not sure what Bruce’s tactics were in the second half.

It’s only the first game, Arsenal are quality, and it isn’t season defining by any means but let’s be honest, even the most cynical of us quietly expected more than that in the second half.

Defensively we were solid enough other than the mistake for the goal, but there was an all to familiar huff and puff about our play in the final third. I liked bits of what I saw in the first half, but there was an element of throw on your best players and hope for the best in the second half.

That said, Almiron was very bright in the first half and caused havoc at times, but we struggled to get the ball into Joelinton in good areas.

I was impressed with our pressing early on – something that seemed to stifle Arsenal and totally limit their ability to play out from the back – but our second half showing suggested we had nothing left in the tank after a high-energy first half.

The likes of Hayden, Longstaff and Shelvey were struggling to get the ball into dangerous areas, meaning Almiron was dropping deep the whole game to get the ball out of frustration – which in turn left Joelinton isolated.

They didn’t look any great shakes, but Arsenal are simply a better team and showed it in the key moments today, although our sloppy second half and needless mistake (a mix up between Dummett and Willems) has cost us in the end. It’s a new formation with several new signings in attack, but I did hope we’d cause a weakened Arsenal side more problems.

Today also showed how important Lejeune is to the team. We cannot get him back quick enough. If this 3 at the back is going to work, then Schar and Lejeune are essential, as Dummett, while a good defender is so limited on the ball. We were so exposed down our left side all game, and to me Matt Ritchie didn’t look fit, looking as though he had to hold himself back a little when it came to bombing on and supporting attacks.

No overreaction is needed, though. Yes we didn’t look like scoring in the second half – which is a concern – but we generally contained Arsenal and looked promising in the first half. Don’t get me wrong though, our tactics, game management and goal-threat must improve, but it’s early days.

Onto Norwich, who looked brave and bold against Liverpool going forward and will not be easy.

It’s obviously not a must win at this stage, but Bruce needs a result – and I think we’ll get one.

Onwards and upwards.

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121 thoughts on “Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal: A promising start ends poorly as NUFC totally run out of steam

  1. Didn’t deserve to win didn’t deserve to lose. Arsenal I assume had most of the possession mainly because we were better at passing to a yellow shirt than a black and white one. We still cannot pass and move and we dwell on the ball too long in defence. Too many long balls bye passing the midfield which is perhaps why Longstaff and Shelvey didn’t perform. Schar’s passing was extremely poor. Hayden had a good game and Almirante terrified Arsenal in the first half. He dropped too deep in the second half to get the ball. Willem was poor – slow and lacking anticipation. Played a big part in the Arsenal goal. In mitigation of today’s performance some of the new players were brought in at the last minute and have not had time to gel.

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  2. back to us.
    Well, i’m hoping Joe isn’t another Mitro like signing where he misses when he shouldn’t. He looks big and strong, holds it up well but he needs to put them away, still early doors as they say.
    Almiron needs a goal really, runs around like a school kid, looks great but again end product ?
    The saint looks very good and Hayden was good, glad we never sold him.
    First half was ok, we held our own in terrible conditions it has to be said but second half was really poor, tactically and performance wise.
    In the end they have PEA and we don’t .

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  3. I think Longstaff needs to get match fit after his injury. That said, I am not sure the 3 central midfielders will ever work. Pick 2 and rotate them.

    I also think that we are going to need Gayle. BADLY.

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  4. We looked decent until the change. I remember a decent change just after half time.
    Bruce clearly trying something new with Willems on Shelvey off and Ritchie switched central – things like that will take time.
    Personally, I think it was the wrong switch. I would have brought Muto on coz I think we missed that player between midfield and forwards – and as a result, Joelinton and Miggy were having to drop deeper and were less effective.

    I don’t think it was all doom and gloom though.

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  5. Eric Sykes:
    I think Longstaff needs to get match fit after his injury. That said, I am not sure the 3 central midfielders will ever work. Pick 2 and rotate them.

    I also think that we are going to need Gayle. BADLY.

    Eric – I agree. Hayden and Longstaff had a good understanding, the 3 of them didn’t seem sure today.
    Maybe a good option to keep things compact against the top clubs, but I’d drop one for the Saint or Muto against the lesser teams – especially at home.

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  6. I am not sure what we can judge from today. Our 3 best passers of the ball were all way off, all on the same day. Shelvey, Schar and Longstaff couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo and neither could Dubravka. If you keep giving the ball back to the opposition, you will likely lose.

    This will change though. They are better at passing than they were today.

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  7. We looked exactly like I have been worried about. Didn’t look like scoring. Actually rather boring!

    Questions for the manager; How does he get Saint, Almiron and Joeliton in the same team as I think they will need to be. How does he make sure we don’t have the same kind of start as last season?

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  8. Bruce made mistakes today but the players are responsible for the goal. Dummett passed short, Willems still should have challenged for it and then Lascelles made the wrong choice. But putting Ritchie in the middle, what was that about? Plenty of blame to go around.

    Bruce has to make the right choices and be 100% correct, otherwise the crowd will turn on him. We need a couple of wins.

    After the Pope gave Rafa his Sainthood it gave a few fans selective amnesia. Remember some of his subs? He would bring on Donkeylu FFS when we were 1-0 down.

    We also lost the first 5 home games, had the worst start in over 100 years and got 3 points from the first 10 games.

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  9. This boycott does my head in. I think it caused a flat atmosphere and it becomes self defeating if we lose. It will not force Ashley out. It really will not cause him any financial losses either as evidenced by the attendance today. If the home gates are down a few thousand that is nothing in terms of total NUFC revenue.

    What may cause a drop in attendance is LOSING. Is that what we want? To be relegated? That will not force Ashley out either. He has set up the club finances for a possible relegation anyway. I really don’t understand people that want us to become Sunderland thinking that will get rid of Ashley. You want 3rd Division football and the chance of administration.

    That’s where Sunderland are heading with Chancer Stewart Donald at the helm.

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  10. This was not Arsenal’s 2nd eleven either. This is what they have. Emery often doesn’t play Lacazette and Aubayang together to the bemusement of their fans. Ozil doesn’t start every game either and Tierney is out for 6 weeks. Pepe played. The only “missing” player is Luiz and he was signed on deadline day.

    We saw pretty much what Arsenal have. It was only a slightly weakened team.

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  11. And what was Martin fckn Atkinson doing at the end there? There were 4 minutes added on and he saw them wasting a minute farting around taking a throw in and then called time at exactly 4 minutes. Did he have a date that he had the get ready for?

    At least we would have had one more attack, not that it was likely to have made any difference.

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  12. I am not making any excuses for Bruce who made a mess of the 2nd half but I want to put to bed the internet myth that that was the Arsenal 2nd 11. It wasn’t. It was what Emery does. Ozil wasn’t available but he frustrates the hell out of their fans anyway with his 1 good game in 3 and perceived lack of effort. Emery also often holds back Lacazette. Then the new signings. Most teams, including us, are not playing all of them that arrived last week. He did play their record signing – Pepe.

    I didn’t think Arsenal were that great, but this is their team from last year. It is not their 2nd 11 and they finished 5th and reached the Europa League final.

    The internet is a nightmare. Stuff gets repeated so often that a lot of people think it is true. Some idiot on Eds keeps repeating that Carroll is on 60k a week base. Then there is the Bruce was 11th choice BS. NOT TRUE but gets repeated so often it will probably be accepted as fact.

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  13. Olly: can I write an opinion piece giving a different view to the protesters? I will not be as strident as I have been on Eds where there are so many toxic voices that I just wanted to wind them up a bit.

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  14. I can’t figure out what Paul Pogba is. He strolls around the pitch doing nothing all game and then hits a perfect pass for a goal. He is a slacker, a showboater and also a youtube/Instagram highlight reel.

    Whatever it is that he is, he has parlayed it into fame and money. They Daily Mail probably wouldn’t exist now without Paul Pogba and the Kardashians.

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  15. That was a really strange game that got even stranger as it went on. I don’t like that formation and would definitely revert to 343. It does mean leaving Shelvey out but maybe it’s time to move on from the Shelvey/Ritchie era anyway.
    There were fitness too. Longstaff looked drained when he came off and Miggy was shot after 75 mins.
    The last half hour I couldn’t tell where anyone was playing or supposed to be playing. Before that the main failing for me was the huge gap between Miggy/Joe and the rest of the team. There was just no support at all. The full backs didn’t push up and the midfielders didn’t either.
    We also still carry (unlike Arsenal) too many players who just aren’t comfortable with the bloody ball like Lascelles, Ritchie, Dummett. We’ll need to do a lot better quickly or it could get ugly.

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  16. georgio: great analysis. It is obvious already that we cannot play 3 central midfielders all stepping into each others’ space. Longstaff isn’t fit so play him for 60 minutes with either/or Shelvey and Hayden. I think they can all compliment each other as a 2 in midfield and that also gives us options.

    Hopefully Bruce can see that. Start with 2 and sub one off at 60 minutes. See who is in form and keep him on and sub the other one. We all know that Shelvey blows hot and cold, so he shouldn’t be starting every game BUT he can be a game changer.

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  17. I would have benched Longstaff, not Shelvey. Shelvey was may more effective. I am not sure where the big wrap for Longstaff is coming from to be honest. Near on every pass from him went backward or sideways. I don’t think he should be a starter.. i was as disappointed as Shelvey when he was subbed.
    I think we will be ok this season tho..

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  18. Eric – the problem with Ritchie and Shelvey is that while they can be really good, the rarely are. They’re just not effective enough. I don’t do stats but I bet they’ll agree with me. Shelvey scored one last season, Ritchie 2. Not sure on assists but I don’t remember many.
    Look at the way that 20 year old Ganduizi totally ran the midfield. We need one like that.

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  19. Georgio from last season
    Shelvey 16app 944m 1goal1ass 0.94pts per match
    Ritchie 36app 2040m 2g 8a 1.22ppm
    Hayden 25app 1862m 1g 4a 1.52ppm
    Longstaff 9app 687m 1g 1a 1.44ppm
    Perez 37app 12g 2a 2929m 1.22ppm

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  20. georgio:
    That was a really strange game that got even stranger as it went on. I don’t like that formation and would definitely revert to 343. It does mean leaving Shelvey out but maybe it’s time to move on from the Shelvey/Ritchie era anyway.
    There were fitness too. Longstaff looked drained when he came off and Miggy was shot after 75 mins.
    The last half hour I couldn’t tell where anyone was playing or supposed to be playing. Before that the main failing for me was the huge gap between Miggy/Joe and the rest of the team. There was just no support at all. The full backs didn’t push up and the midfielders didn’t either.
    We also still carry (unlike Arsenal) too many players who just aren’t comfortable with the bloody ball like Lascelles, Ritchie, Dummett. We’ll need to do a lot better quickly or it could get ugly.

    Georgio – agreed. I was saying the same yesterday mate. We lacked that Perez player to link midfield with attack.

    The wingbacks offered nothing and Miggy worried me a bit coz he got the ball, put his head down and dribbled into opposing players – he wasn’t passing or linking up play.

    I think we need to drop a midfielder (Shelvey for me) and either switch to Gayle or Muto alongside Joelinton, with Almiron buzzing round behind them.

    Alternatively Almiron left and Saint right of Joelinton.

    I’d still have 3 CBs, Hayden and Longstaff midfield and 2 advancing WBs.

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  21. Aussie Mag:
    I would have benched Longstaff, not Shelvey. Shelvey was may more effective.I am not sure where the big wrap for Longstaff is coming from to be honest. Near on every pass from him went backward or sideways. I don’t think he should be a starter.. i was as disappointed as Shelvey when he was subbed.
    I think we will be ok this season tho..

    Aussie – I think the trouble yesterday was that we had 3 midfielders too similar – so the pass had to be sideways or back because there wasn’t a forward pass on with only Almiron and Joelinton ahead of them.

    Ritchie offered a bit of an outlet on the left but Manquillo offered no offensive threat at all really.

    Longstaff is a very good young player. But imo Hayden is the best midfielder we have – he was quality yesterday.

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  22. kimtoon:
    Prem, interesting, as i thought, Hayden and Longstaff a good partnership

    Kim – I think they are. I think the team can hinge around them. They perform a specific role in the team that protects the back 3, allows the wingbacks to push up, and the attackers to do their thing.

    Perez scored most of his goals in the 2nd half of last season when Longstaff and Hayden were our midfielders and Perez could focus more on attack.

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  23. I think our success came last season coz Rafa found that balance with the players at his disposal.

    I’m not criticising Bruce, but he’d be foolish to start messing round with a set up that worked.

    I know Perez was key to that set up, and Bruce doesn’t have him. But I’d be try Muto in that role before changing the formation.

    I know people will say what has Muto done?!. But he hasn’t really had a chance – and when he did against WH in pre season – I thought he did alright.

    On the flip side, Bruce has went with Shelvey, who has had a chance and as Prems stats show, he hasn’t really produced.

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  24. ASM is a much better bet than Muto. Muto runs around a lot but is totally non productive.
    A front three of Miggy, Joe and ASM looks exciting to me.

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  25. Bruce is considered one of the best defenders never to play for England. I would like to hear his thoughts on whether Lascelles did the right thing to leave his man and try to stop Mikitaryan (sp)? If they had ran him out of play you would have said it was good defending but it left Aubamayang completely alone.

    I have never been completely sold on Lascelles ever since the first game I saw in a friendly under Schteve. In the 1st 20 minutes he gave away a penalty and then completely lost his man on the edge of the box who went on to score.

    He has a mistake in him. Yesterday’s goal was not entirely his fault. It was a comedy of errors. 3 players and 1 manager were responsible.

    Is Jamaal John Terry or Titus Bramble?

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  26. Prem: that link to last year’s game is pretty funny. People are moaning at Bruce but easily forget that Rafa was being slaughtered for his unfathomable subs – especially when he brought on the Spanish donkey.

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  27. I scrolled down on that Arsenal report from last September and looked at a few comments. The first from me said that Rooney’s contract would finish within 18 months (it was a 3 year deal). Now he is off to Derby in less than 18 months although he did OK.

    Then I linked to Wilshere being injured and being out long term. Guess who was injured this Saturday after 57 minutes of his latest comeback?

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  28. BTW: Rooney’s pals are still making excuses for him. Now it is that Colleen and the kids are homesick. He was a damn good player in his day but he was finished at 28. Championship is his level as he can still hit a rocket and a set piece. If he had made the impact they thought, DC United would have kept him. I think they thought they were getting the name recognition of Beckham but nobody really cared that much about Wayne here after the initial hoopla.

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  29. Eric Sykes:
    Bruce is considered one of the best defenders never to play for England. I would like to hear his thoughts on whether Lascelles did the right thing to leave his man and try to stop Mikitaryan (sp)? If they had ran him out of play you would have said it was good defending but it left Aubamayang completely alone.

    I have never been completely sold on Lascelles ever since the first game I saw in a friendly under Schteve. In the 1st 20 minutes he gave away a penalty and then completely lost his man on the edge of the box who went on to score.

    He has a mistake in him. Yesterday’s goal was not entirely his fault. It was a comedy of errors. 3 players and 1 manager were responsible.

    Is Jamaal John Terry or Titus Bramble?

    Eric – I actually think it was Schar at fault over Lascelles – who was left with 2 to mark coz Schar had pushed too far up the pitch on the right.

    But to be fair, it was good anticipation from Niles and an excellent finish from PEA.

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  30. Sharpy: I haven’t watched the goal again and should before I start running my mouth off 🙂 They did have about 5 replays though when I was watching live.

    What the whole team might want to learn for next time is to not leave one of the best strikers in the world unmarked 🙂

    Kane, Aguero, Salah – do not leave them unmarked. Brucie, get them telt. You used to be a centre back.

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  31. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy: I haven’t watched the goal again and should before I start running my mouth off They did have about 5 replays though when I was watching live.

    What the whole team might want to learn for next time is to not leave one of the best strikers in the world unmarked

    Kane, Aguero, Salah – do not leave them unmarked. Brucie, get them telt. You used to be a centre back.

    Eric – not running your mouth off mate. I just think if you’re playing 3 CBs we should never be in a position where Lascelles finds himself in a position where he’s the only defender having to either close the ball or mark the forward.
    When I watched it back Schar too far forward (imo) to get back in time to block off PEA.

    I know Schars thing is to move up into midfield a bit more and be more of a ball player. But he’s got to know when to and when not to.

    It seemed overkill yesterday with him look to pass it round, and Shelvey and Longstaff were too – but because there was only Joelinton and Miggy, there was no bugger up there to pass to.

    It’s early days though, and it certainly didn’t look disastrous that’s for sure.

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  32. So far it’s one match, and it was against Arsenal… I wasn’t happy with what I saw and agree with most of the comments here… Longstaff not fully fit, defence way to open for their goal. Apart from that lapse of concentration and the last 20 mins we did ok I thought. Some very odd decisions by Brucy but let’s see how we get on in the next few matches. Howay the lads…

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  33. https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rafa-benitez-hits-back-lee-16744687

    Quite interesting. Rafa’s version inn repsonse to Charnleys wors on Sunday. It does make me wondered why the club put so much effort into signing Joelington last season when they knew the manager didn’t want him.

    The club really won’t every change. Bruce has no chance, not because it’s Steve Bruce but because of who he’s working for.

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  34. I suppose he feels he’s allowed to defend himself against the allegations the cloub make against him. The notion that Mike Ashley is all of a sudden changing a habit of a lifetime and telling the truth is rather for the birds.

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  35. Rafa Benitez “I’ve been made aware of what Lee Charnley, Newcastle’s managing director, claimed in the club’s match programme last weekend and I think it’s important I address that.”

    “I tried to do my best every day, even staying when we went down to the Championship and saying no to other offers — bigger offers than the one I recently accepted with Dalian Yifang, by the way.”

    “Newcastle’s board had a year to sort out my contract but, when we met after the end of last season, they didn’t make me an offer I could accept. They told me they didn’t want to invest in the academy or the training ground.”

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  36. My final word on Rafa coz he’s gone now and I don’t care.

    I suspect the club offered a very fair contract – why?, why wouldn’t they?, they offered a good contract to get him here in the first place.
    Rafa says he stood by the club when relegated – and he did – but he was also handsomely paid for it – the club done the right thing.

    So, when it came to his new deal, I suspect it was fair. However, it was never going to agree to him having the kind of control he wanted – that isn’t how it’s done anymore in the PL. Poch has been saying it all summer.

    The only place Rafa would get the kind of control he wanted was somewhere like USA, UAE or China.

    The Chinese knew Rafa wouldn’t choose to manage out there. Regardless what people say about the quality of their league, or the popularity of the game out there – in terms of World football, it is not elite, and it’s still miles off European football.
    Let’s face it, it they thought it was, he’d be on the same money he was on at NUFC.

    Truth is, I think both are telling the truth. The club offered what they (and most would have) perceived to be a good offer – Rafa didn’t.
    When China came calling and were offering that kind of money and control, he was never going to turn it down.

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  37. Sharpy17:
    My final word on Rafa coz he’s gone now and I don’t care.

    I suspect the club offered a very fair contract – why?, why wouldn’t they?, they offered a good contract to get him here in the first place.
    Rafa says he stood by the club when relegated – and he did – but he was also handsomely paid for it – the club done the right thing.

    So, when it came to his new deal, I suspect it was fair.However, it was never going to agree to him having the kind of control he wanted – that isn’t how it’s done anymore in the PL.Poch has been saying it all summer.

    The only place Rafa would get the kind of control he wanted was somewhere like USA, UAE or China.

    The Chinese knew Rafa wouldn’t choose to manage out there.Regardless what people say about the quality of their league, or the popularity of the game out there – in terms of World football, it is not elite, and it’s still miles off European football.
    Let’s face it, it they thought it was, he’d be on the same money he was on at NUFC.

    Truth is, I think both are telling the truth.The club offered what they (and most would have) perceived to be a good offer – Rafa didn’t.
    When China came calling and were offering that kind of money and control, he was never going to turn it down.

    think you have it all wrong,you always seemed a jabba lover over the yrs on here your making it very plain to,for gods sake he admitted in a court of law that told the club fans lies and misled everybody i guess he fooled you to

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  38. icedog: think you have it all wrong,you always seemed a jabba lover over the yrs on here your making it very plain to,for gods sake he admitted in a court of law that told the club fans lies and misled everybody i guess he fooled you to

    Ice – disappointing you of all people should say that. I’m not sure what comments you’ve been reading over the years to label me an ‘Ashley lover’, but I guess by not just being a sheep and just agreeing with everyone, it’s an easy insult to throw.
    I’ve made excuses or defended Ashley, and I’m nobodies fool. But I always don’t think he’s the devil sent to destroy us as many others do. If that makes me an Ashley lover in your eyes, there’s nowt I can do about that.

    I’m afraid I didn’t lap up all of Rafas PR slaver like some did. I spotted that a lot of things he said didn’t match his actions – it sounded great though 👍🏻.

    But for the record, and just to be clear for the many times you’ve clearly missed me say it in the past – Ashley is a $hit house who has never done right by our club, and the sooner he’s gone the better.

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  39. https://sportsmaza.com/money/english-premier-league-managers-salary/

    Ice – I’m also basing my opinions on what RAFA said, not Ashley or Charnley.

    Rafa himself said that the clubs off was the same salary he was already on, but with less say over transfers – he said that himself.

    The above link shows Rafas salary in comparison to other PL managers – and it’s my opinion that’s fair based on what others are getting.

    With regards the less say on transfers – Pochettino at Spurs has said all summer that he gets little say on transfers. Also saying that it’s the case at every club barring City and Lpool. We don’t have the money of those clubs, so why wouldn’t we operate in the same way as the rest?. It’s also backed up by the fact Rafa left the PL – knowing he wouldn’t get the control he wanted anywhere else either.
    I’m not saying he’s wrong for doing it, just saying it how I see it.

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  40. Maybe you should stop digging Sharpy 😆
    I know where you’re coming from and Rafa is obviously not the easiest of men to deal with. Do I believe Charnleys version or Rafa’s? Bloke’s gone. I don’t care.

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  41. georgio:
    Maybe you should stop digging Sharpy
    I know where you’re coming from and Rafa is obviously not the easiest of men to deal with. Do I believe Charnleys version or Rafa’s? Bloke’s gone. I don’t care.

    It’s Rafas version I’m using!! 🤷🏼‍♂️.

    Not digging mate, and I’m a big boy. I can handle a bit of name calling and more. Just surprised with the ‘years’ of being an Ashley lover, yet this is the first time the accusation has been made 🤔🤷🏼‍♂️

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  42. I think I’m with you Geogio
    I was not in favour of Rafa’s appointment, I gave my reasons at the time. Yes he is a good manager, but, not I felt what was needed or in alignment with Newcastle’s football.
    His tenure was mixed,and he has left. I had hoped he would stay, but he’s gone. I’m not convinced it was for the money, he said he was happy with that, but the control, decision making arrangements were never going to work. With another owner perhaps.
    I’m not a fan of Ashley, He has made his mistakes, and he has not moved us forward. We have had other poor owners in the past and more clubs seem to want rid of their owners than fans happy with theirs. If he goes I hope we get better.
    I’m not a fan of boycotts as they cause damage in the wrong places and are not going to influence Ashley.
    As to Bruce, well he is no master tactician, but then neither was KK. Not the best start, but better than last years game.
    The team seems to have more potential than recently, hopefully we can enjoy the football nd let go of the politics.

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  43. Prem – sorry mate but money definitely played it’s part – Rafa said so himself. He had to wait 19 days until after their meeting for a contract that was the same salary as 3yrs age, with less say on transfers.

    The fact he’s saying the same salary as 3 years ago means he expected it to be higher.

    He’s now getting paid more than any other manager in the PL bar Pep – 4.5m more than Klopp, who won the CL and just missed out on the PL.

    If Everton or Leicester came in for him this summer, no way would he have taken £6m.

    It may not have been solely about the money, but it without doubt was a factor.

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  44. Sharpy.
    I mean that I don’t think it was the deciding factor. He has been offered more money elsewhere, and given it was time to go took the best offer. Each side tells the truth as they see it, Rafa manages the media as well as anyone. If everything else was what he wanted, improbable if not impossible then he would have stayed.

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  45. Icedog: I don’t think Sharpy has ever been pro-Ashley.

    Fatty has reverted back to his Carr-Charnley-McClaren model. We just have to hope it turns out better and that Bruce knows what he is doing.

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  46. I’ve never been able to figure out Ashley. He seems to do things that are against his own interests.

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  47. Not sticking up for the Fatman at all, BUT. And when you say “but” the next bit is always what you really think!

    Somehow I think he was duped by 2 con-men. Jiminez and Llaimbas. He sued jiminez and won a judgement of 3 million pounds. Lliambas convinced the Fat B@stard that they could succeed by out-b@starding all of the other teams.

    I sort of have no idea how this will all end. I need to see a few more games and to see if Longstaff regains his fitness and how the new players settle.

    I still have a feeling that Gayle will be pivotal.

      (Quote)

  48. George Caulkin

    @GeorgeCaulkin
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    I know there’s been a lot of this kind of thing recently … but after 21 yrs with @TimesSport, yesterday was my last at the paper. It’s been such a blast. There are way too many people to thank here, but I’m very lucky & proud to have worked for such a brilliant sports desk.

    🙁 gutted, only one worth reading .

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  49. Kimtoon: he is not leaving journalism, just The Times. I read he is moving to The Atlantic which I think is a startup sports publication. I will look it up.

      (Quote)

  50. Sharpy, Ice has a point though, you do sometimes come over as an Ashley apologist, or maybe you just didn’t dig Rafa ? that’s ok too. He’s not everyones cup of tea.

    What is the most concerning thing to me with Rafas reply to Lees programme notes is the fact he says they have no intention of updating academy or training ground. That is shocking if true but not unsurprising as it’s all about survival at the end of the day. Rafa wanted progression and to see a club competing as best it could. Ashley wants cheap as possible youngsters that bring maximum return and nothing more.

    Just on the wage issue, when the club finished 10th all the staff got bonuses but not Rafas coaching team ! how is that fair or right ? As Rafa rightly points out it’s smacks of him and his team being punished for not signing an extension to contracts. Moreover it shows a total lack of respect for what an elite manager and his coaches achieved against all odds.

    The trouble with Ashley is he knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, he has let his personal dislike of Rafas vision for the club cloud his already dubious methods of ownership.

    I also think there was an element of jealousy involved there, that Rafa was so loved and got his name chanted where he was mocked by the crowd must of hurt, he’s not that thick skinned. He confirms my very point when Sunderland fans were chanting ” there’s only one mike Ashley ” and said that hurt him.

    To offer Rafa no pay rise after bringing us back up and steadying the ship and also taking away any say on transfers is a kick in the teeth and a v sign to him and his coaches. He wanted him out the club one way or the other. He was forcing players onto a manager just like he did with KK before, and refusing to sign players Rafa wanted.

    Well I hope Bruce comes good for us as i quite like him, but he’s no Rafa and i think we will soon see that.

      (Quote)

  51. Eric, yes i have heard that rumor too about the Athletic .
    Still it’s a huge loss for the Times and one less anti Ashley view/perspective reaching a wider audience via the times.
    His pieces were always well written and balanced, often heartfelt, almost poetic and an absolute joy to read from a real master of the art of journalism .

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  52. Nice points Kim!

    Anyone else share my opinions on the Joelinton signing? Did he really cost £40m? Really??
    They bought him for £1.8m and have made no big noises on the massive profits they’ve gained. His record suggests nothing like £40m either. I like the bloke and he may mature into a top class CF but was the £40m another attempt at getting the fans back on side? Was the fee more like £8m? It’s also really odd to do a deal in January but not announce it till July. Maybe the cynical side of me is getting ultra suspicious of Charnley and co’s announcements and can you blame me?

      (Quote)

  53. Georgio, I am one of those that isn’t really arsed what we pay for a player, but it does worry me that Rafa thought he was ok but not worth the reported fee. He felt Rondon was better value at £16m . I have no idea if Joe will be a stellar signing or not as i have never watched him previous to being with us. He looks strong, holds the ball up well but lacks composure from the little i have seen so far, but it’s early days still.
    Mitro was the same, all the qualities needed but not consistent in front of goal, hence one of the reasons Rafa got shot, that and his temperament .

    I thought Rondon was brilliant and certainly worth a punt at £16m, even if it only worked for 2 years it’s good business in todays market.
    I’m also worried about Miggy, he’s fast and exciting but so far misfiring at the end, he was deadly in the US, is their league so much poorer than ours ?

    Hoping that Joe isn’t Mitro and The Saint isn’t another HBA or worse still Thauvin, but we are back to the old model a bit now.

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  54. Kimtoon: I don’t think we should judge Almiron on the Arsenal game. He played well for us last year in the PL without getting a goal. He scared teams though and opened up space. He was trying too hard on Sunday. Had never played with the forwards before and he and Joelinton were both coming back to get the ball. That was probably because for some unfathomable reason none of our midfield or defense could make a pass. Schar, Ritchie, Shelvey, Longstaff. That is usually the best part of their game.

      (Quote)

  55. Georgio, HBA was great when in the mood but not the best team player by all accounts, wasn’t trusted by the manager either only used as super sub to try and win us the game when the tactical masterclass had failed 😀
    I loved Mitros madness but Rondon was better by miles and a fit AC better still.

    Eric, I’m not judging him on one game though, i’m including last season from jan onwards . I really like him , he excites me but i would be lying if i said i wasn’t concerned by his end product.
    I kinda hope that once he gets his first goal, it’ll open the floodgates.

    Jabba should of gotten these players in way earlier than we did, no pre season to gel really, likewise the manager, they ruddy well knew Rafa was away, why not get cracking sooner. It happens every blooming summer too. Shambolic way this club is run.

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  56. Putting up with what Rafa has had to put up with for the last couple of years and getting offered £12m from China probably didn’t take much thinking about for him. Simple as that!

    As for this season I think our best chance will be getting Almiron, Joelinton and Maximin in ther same side. That’s either 3-4-3 or 4-3-2-1 I imagine. Although none of them have great scoring records so it will be still one hell of an effort for them to get the goals we need.

      (Quote)

  57. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, Ice has a point though, you do sometimes come over as an Ashley apologist, or maybe you just didn’t dig Rafa ? that’s ok too. He’s not everyones cup of tea.

    What is the most concerning thing to me with Rafas reply to Lees programme notes is the fact he says they have no intention of updating academy or training ground. That is shocking if true but not unsurprising as it’s all about survival at the end of the day. Rafa wanted progression and to see a club competing as best it could.Ashley wants cheap as possible youngsters that bring maximum return and nothing more.

    Just on the wage issue, when the club finished 10th all the staff got bonuses but not Rafas coaching team ! how is that fair or right ? As Rafa rightly points out it’s smacks of him and his team being punished for not signing an extension to contracts. Moreover it shows a total lack of respect for what an elite manager and his coaches achieved against all odds.

    The trouble with Ashley is he knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, he has let his personal dislike of Rafas vision for the club cloud his already dubious methods of ownership.

    I also think there was an element of jealousy involved there, that Rafa was so loved and got his name chanted where he was mocked by the crowd must of hurt, he’s not that thick skinned.He confirms my very point when Sunderland fans were chanting” there’s only one mike Ashley ” and said that hurt him.

    To offer Rafa no pay rise after bringing us back up and steadying the ship and also taking away any say on transfers is a kick in the teeth and a v sign to him and his coaches. He wanted him out the club one way or the other. He was forcing players onto a manager just like he did with KK before, and refusing to sign players Rafa wanted.

    Well I hope Bruce comes good for us as i quite like him, but he’s no Rafa and i think we will soon see that.

    Kim – I was second only to you in calling BS on Ashley’s interview with Samuel. I said I hoped the boycott wasn’t overshadowed by people just looking to cause trouble – the protest against Ashley. For years I have said it’s a disgrace that he employs his mate rather than look to getting the best possible people in to do the important jobs.

    I haven’t jumped up and down with illness or death to him and all he knows granted, but I would love you know or have an example of what’s been perceived as an apology for him?!.

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