Flirting with optimism

So the summer transfer window is just 50 days away from closing as I type and Newcastle have already done some considerable business.

With the arrival of Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Jesus Gamez, Isaac Hayden and Matz Sels, Rafa Benitez has wasted little time in revamping the squad.

Outgoings have also been swift with Papiss Cisse securing a big payday in China and our Captain returning to his native Argentina and first love San Lorenzo to play out his final footballing years. Gone too are long-serving Geordie defender Steven Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux and sadly the very gifted Andros Townsend – the latter’s move still puzzles me to be honest. Quite why you swap being coached by Benitez for Pardew is a mystery for me, I can only assume it’s just a case of returning to the Premier League and potential to get in future England squads.

We have also secured the services of youngsters Yasin Ben El-Mhanni and Stuart Findley and released Jamie Cobain.

With the possibility of Blackburn Rovers captain Grant Hanley joining us soon it looks like we are seriously flirting with optimism here. Not for a long time have i felt so optimistic about the squad. Yes it’s true, the glass half empty girl has optimism for the coming season!

So what has brought about this change in my psyche? Well for me it’s the type of player we have brought in. The fact that we are buying players who would appear to have good mental attitude as well as good skill levels is very pleasing. You don’t always need the big money signings to achieve big results, Leicester City showed us that much, as did Iceland in the Euro’s this year. So far we seem to be getting a very tidy group of individuals together who all seem genuinely  thrilled to be joining us.

This is evident in the case of Matt Richie, Jesus Gamez and Isaac Hayden even dropping down a level to do so. Matz Sels also came to us from a very successful side in KAA GENT who won the 2014/15 season Juniper Pro League in Belgium.

Sels is apparently a workaholic, hell-bent on self-improvement and regularly does extra training sessions to target certain areas of his game. He is tee-total, not even indulging in fizzy drinks to keep his body in optimal shape.

The experience of Jesus Gamez goes without saying and will be invaluable to Mbemba and Lascelles who are developing a very good partnership, but they need an older experienced head to help guide them. In Lascelles we have a future captain too.

Matt Ritchie will undoubtedly be an asset to the team, great work ethic, lots of pace and good skills. Will he have the impact that Townsend had? Who knows, but he is a good player there is no doubt of that. What he does appear to have is good mental strength, leadership skills and could be our new Nolan.

Isaac Hayden could hopefully be a future star for us – a central defender equally at home in central midfield where I believe he may play for us this season.

His former coach Arsene Wenger has said he has great strength, intelligence and concentration.

The latter attribute being welcomed news since so many of our players seemed to lack concentration last season, especially in the last ten minutes of a game when you are hanging on.

Benitez seems to be having a positive effect all over the club with revamps to youth and reserve squad development also.

The training facilities are updated and the club are fostering ever-growing links to the local community in a way not seen for a long time, all influenced by Benitez.

It may well be that his time at Liverpool and the way they deal with the local community and huge worldwide fan base has had a bearing on his advice to the club and how to develop a better brand as it were. It’s no small achievement to get our owner to realise that cheap and nasty and strict transfer rules are not the way to go.

It is so important to get the mix of experience and skill and character right, this season more than ever as we simply must achieve promotion at the first attempt.

Failure to do it could see Rafa Benitez walk away and all the good work undone. Call me an optimist but I don’t see us failing, not with the way the squad is developing under Benitez- yes it will be tough and nervy at times, this is Newcastle after all, but I do believe in us, do you?

23 thoughts on “Flirting with optimism

  1. Good read Kim. It flowed nicely. I think you would be hard pressed to find a Toon fan pessimistic about our chances this season. For me, unbridled success in the Championship was always an expectation. The proof in the pudding will come upon our return to the Premiership. I do not want or expect to see us slogging it out in or around the drop zone upon our return. It is only then that I will begin to judge Rafa’s work.

    I do have faith that the Rafolution will bear fruit though.


  2. KIM nice one again mate you covered a wide area on one thread well done,that could be a worry I think with everyone saying its a four gone conclusion we go up I wouldn’t go that far nothing is certain in football but it’s as close as we can expect,don’t think the fans would be so sure if was anyone except Rafa has got the job


  3. Ice I said before Rafa was on the radar that I would expect automatic promotion and nothing less should we get relegated. Our club has much bigger resources, stadia and support than anybody in the Championship so having to settle for anything less is really not good enough. The point about Rafa being here or not is irrelevent though, because he is and the expectation comes with it.

    Likewise, I will expect us to be pushing the Top 10 come the end of next season in the PL.


  4. SHAM it’s alright saying you expect we would get back to the PL without Rafa I don’t think we would as it would be same old same old jabba with second and third rate managers with the board picking and choosing who came in and who left and fans hoping for the best,no we have no chance imo if things were left the same,that’s my view anyway mate


  5. So toon are asking 10 mil for Janmaat,asking and getting are two different things,but PL clubs are carrying a lot of cash this year imo7/8mil will get him


  6. Yeah i believe , Rafa is changing the club in a way not done before . We are building for the future while also revamping the first team for the here and now ,i cant ever remember this happening before on such a scale or at such a pace . The best thing is the transfers in are being thought about and bought for purpose, no more throwing money at players and once the transfer window shuts trying too work out who plays where .The future is bright for the fist time since the Sir Bobby years and i have never been more optomistic in all my 46 years supporting the toon.


  7. And… I agree with everything LIBAW just said. Except, I have only supported NUFC for about 43 years.


  8. Eric Sykes:
    And… I agree with everything LIBAW just said. Except, I have only supported NUFC for about 43 years.

    Your just a newcomer mate lol


  9. Me too Icedog and he can take Gini and JanMaat with him ,they all made it clear they have no passion for the club after relegation and want out. Good riddance because none of them have the bottle for a fight and next season its about getting stuck in ,good football alone is not going too get us promoted its going too be a battle every game .


  10. It would be refreshing to have a squad full of players that actually appreciate being here and graft for the shirt, their teammates and their fans. I’d not be saddened by the loss of all 3 either – particularly Sissy and Gini.


  11. Thanks Kim for the very readable article. I look forward to the new season with some optimism and no small excitement.


  12. Very nice article Kimtoon mate. Yes, I think most of us have real optimism about the club now. Rafa has renewed the faith of many of us. Keep up the good work lass. 😀


  13. Welcome LIBAW. The blog is very friendly and welcoming. They even allow me to come on here now and then….


  14. Kim very good read and I agree with what you say.
    I cant remember the last time I felt so optimistic for the season ahead.
    I also agree with Sham that for me we should win the league and anything less than automatic promotion would be a failure.


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