Looking forward as a Newcastle fan…for once! 

Another season is finally over and it’s been a hell of a ride.  It, probably, could only happen to Newcastle United and if someone wrote down the events of the 2021/22 season a couple of years ago, they’d have been ridiculed as a crazy fantasist! 

It’s all ifs and buts:  What if the takeover had happened this time last year….?  What if Bruce had been sacked sooner….?  What if Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier hadn’t got injured…?  

There’s also the counter to those statements:  What if Bruce hadn’t been sacked….?  What if Clark hadn’t been sent off….?  What if the takeover hadn’t happened at all….?

It’s all mind boggling, but the reality is that we finished 11th after almost everyone having us dead and buried at the start of this calendar year.  The work put in by all of the staff, playing and non playing, has been incredible.  The belief and fight we’ve shown has been immense and it’s been to a joy to watch unfold.  Our form over the last half of the season has been way beyond anyone’s expectations.  The table for the last 19 games shows that Liverpool at the top on 48 points, Man City second on 46 points and Newcastle United third on an unbelievable 38 points!  We’ve earned 13 and 14 points more than West Ham and Manchester United, respectively, over that period and they have both qualified for Europe!  It really is superb and it all bodes well for next season.  

Going back to the what ifs, I reckon that if Wilson had stayed on the pitch against Man United and continued, with improved fitness, for the rest of the season, we could conservatively be looking at an extra 11 points, where games would have ended in victory, or draws, with just one goal making the difference.  I’ve added our defeat to Everton in that scenario, because, poor though we were, I reckon that had Wilson been playing, we’d have had more of a focal point up front, probably would have scored and may have seen Everton crumble.  It’s all hypothetical, but we could very well have qualified for Europe.  My head hurts! 

For the first time in ages, probably since we finished 5th under Pardew, only to realise that zero investment would mean we’d regress rather than build and progress, I’m sad to see the season end of a season.  I’m not including the Championship win under Rafa Benitez, because I was over the moon to have that season end as it did!  This time, again for the first time in years, I’m looking forward to next season and am pleased that it starts sooner than usual.  I hate the close season.  As a kid I enjoyed a summer holiday at Butlin’s, or something similar, playing cricket with my mates and days out at the beach, but nothing is a suitable substitute for watching the beautiful game. 

It’s sad that so many players will be moved on.  We could have seen the last of many a great servant, who’ve fought to get us promoted and keep us in the Premier League.  That is the nature of the game, though.  Very few play beyond age 34 and most are coming to the end of their peak by 32.  Modern fitness, nutrition and methods used to combat injuries, all help to keep some players beyond their sell by dates, but this time around we need space for incoming players, who we hope will bring more quality to the team and more strength in depth to the squad.  For that reason, a number of top players will be moved on.  We have to trust Eddie Howe on this.  I know I certainly do! 

Looking ahead, I feel like that 6 year old, once again, looking to find out when the new season starts and the relatively modern phenomenon of seeing when the transfer window opens, with pure excitement, more greatly anticipated than the best Xmas ever!  I know that table for the last 19 games looks very promising, but I’m under no illusions that we’ll finish above Spurs, Arsenal, or Man Utd, as they all have a strong basis and will be spending in the summer, as well.  Chelsea are an unknown quantity, because of the situation hanging over the club and if their own takeover goes ahead, or not.  However, I feel that we can give all of these teams a good run for their money.  They’ll be worried about the old/new kinds on the block, the princes elect!  I really can’t believe that I’m even writing about this, if I’m honest.  It still doesn’t feel real, somehow after all that’s gone on in the last 15 years or so.

One thing that I will say is that we have a fantastic opportunity to achieve something really special next season.  Now, I know that this is a long term project, but I think the circumstances we find ourselves in could prove to be the perfect storm.  One that other teams will be dreading!  

This is what I mean:

We already have the basis of a great team, with the players we’ve had for a while coming to some real amazing form, along with the new players that arrived in January.  That table has shown that.  We will have investment in the summer and, perhaps, again in the January window, bringing in some real quality.  We can compete for top players on free transfers, but also look at some excellent footballers we have to dip into the market for.  We have a new structure at the club, from top to bottom and the pre-season is so important in terms of buys, but mostly in relation to fitness and togetherness, all looking ahead, rather than being concerned about the coming campaign.  There’s a new positivity throughout the club.  

We find ourselves in this position, but unlike the teams mentioned before, along with West Ham, we don’t have any extra European fixtures to contend with, so we can concentrate solely on the three domestic campaigns.  There’s also the anomaly of a World Cup taking place in the middle of the season!  Yes, we have a few players who are internationals and will hopefully be going to Qatar, but most of our current players are skirting around the edges of selection for their countries and may not be taking part.  I’d love to see Joelinton partner Bruno Guimarães in the Brazilian midfield and it would be brilliant to see Callum Wilson playing for England and Allan Saint-Maximin dance around the pitch in a French shirt, but aside from some players we may bring in during the close season, there aren’t many who will definitely be going to the World Cup.  

That puts us in the position of being able to keep the bulk of our squad together, during that break, keeping up fitness levels, but not totally flat out busting a gut to win the World Cup in the searing heat of Qatar.  The fact that most of the aforementioned teams will be sending many of their players to the Middle East may, be an extra advantage handed to ourselves! 

It’s all hypothetical, as I say, but it all bodes well for a very interesting and potentially fantastic season.  I can’t wait! 

It Doesn’t Really Matter…But It Does! 

Davy Craig  

214 thoughts on “Looking forward as a Newcastle fan…for once! 

  1. I have to say the signings of Botman and Ekitike would also feeling like the signings a top 6 club would make as well.

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  2. The prices flying around are insane. Measure them all against the £40m Liverpool want for Mane.
    Who knows what’s real though. I’ve heard the £30m quoted for Ekitike is actually £15m.

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  3. Olly – the sites still a mess mate. Made a comment half an hour ago, saw it in place and now it’s gone.

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  4. georgio:
    Olly – the sites still a mess mate. Made a comment half an hour ago, saw it in place and now it’s gone.

    Trying to get it sorted mate. Problem is, I only write the articles and can only do so much!

    Apologies if it’s taking a while.

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  5. Prices are always daft at the start of the window. Clubs trying to get as much as they can for their ‘star’ players. But as the window progresses and the clubs realise that their own business & in some cases chance of remaining in the league depends on the sale of these players, the prices will level out.

    For example – Lille know Botman is leaving, but will want top whack for him. But it was obvious he’s been leaving since January, so they have likely identified his replacement. They will hold out for top dollar until such time as it looks like they miss out on that replacement – then they will get sensible to save their business plan.

    Man Utd will hold out for Henderson until it looks like we will sign an alternative – then they will get in touch and agree closer to the price we are suggesting. Because the alternative is they are left with a player that doesn’t want to be there and they won’t use.

    It’ll be a long window I imagine, but Dan Ashworth is the man to oversee the silliness.

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  6. Olly Hawkins: Trying to get it sorted mate. Problem is, I only write the articles and can only do so much!

    Apologies if it’s taking a while.

    Georgio – he’s a married man now mate, his times not his own!! Give him a break 😂😂

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  7. Sharpy17:
    I have to say the signings of Botman and Ekitike would also feeling like the signings a top 6 club would make as well.

    both players have said they dont want to come to the toon in last couple of days,Lille chairman has not happy and has fell out with Botman over his stance that he only wants Milan move,lets move on to players that want to come

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  8. icedog: both players have said they dont want to come to the toon in last couple of days,Lille chairman has not happy and has fell out with Botman over his stance that he only wants Milan move,lets move on to players that want to come

    icedog: both players have said they dont want to come to the toon in last couple of days,Lille chairman has not happy and has fell out with Botman over his stance that he only wants Milan move,lets move on to players that want to come

    With you on this ice, days of fair weather signings has to be over. Committed to our cause /project or take a hike.

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  9. Eric, See there is another mass shooting this time in Maryland, America is broken .

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  10. Lots of talk about a forward again, but I’m not sure that a priority position if Wilson stays fit – IF.

    I’d happily see us take Eddie Nketiah on a free transfer. Young lad still learning his trade so good back up come understudy for Wilson and he’s best mates with Willock so would settle and grow with him I reckon. His record is decent & with a run of games in the team would only be better I reckon.

    As it is just now though, if Wilson is fit I think I’d want him playing – so who comes as his cover?.

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  11. Everybody seen the clips of Anderson dribbling for the scots. Brilliant.
    19 year old injury prone £30m Ekiitke or him for free. I know what I’d do.

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  12. Georgio – it’s an impossible comparison. At the minute Ekitike is playing against Monaco & PSG – Anderson was playing against Mansfield and Port Vale.

    I’m not saying Anderson can’t/won’t come good, everything looks very promising in fact. But I would want him doing it at a far better standard before I’m convinced he’s in the same potential pool as Ekitike.

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  13. Prem – equally I’m not sure any of those will come good – I do hope so though.

    But I agree with the more the merrier. I really hope we invest heavily in our academy.

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  14. You’re right Sharpy, it’s a big step up but then so is Reims to the PL.
    The clips I’ve watched of young Billy, as the Bristol lads called him after his dancing dribbling style, he looks our best prospect since Gazza. Not saying a lot but I always have hope.

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  15. I watched the Germany game & the first half of this Italy game & it’s so painful watching England!!.

    I don’t know how as a nation we always get sucked in when there’s a tournament on.

    There’s some decent players out there as well but it’s just so boring to watch 😴

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  16. Sharpy, agree, Southgate doesn’t instill an awful lot of confidence for me. He never takes any risks and his football is boring to me.
    Tried to watch properly but the lad has been poorly tonight, this covid is awful and having looked to be doing better he has gone down hill again since lunch time. Would not be surprised if he goes back in tbh hoping he can get some good sleep tonight and feel brighter tomorrow . I feel a bit better but we are still both testing positive , he’s day 9 and i am day7 . They do warn that day 8 onwards is the most likely time to get very poorly. Weird how some get zero symptoms or just a slight cold yet others feel like they been struck by a brick wall like Lew and I. Thank god we had the vaccines I dread to think what we’d of been like otherwise.

    I suppose not getting beat off Italy is a good outcome at the end of the day but boy what I saw of it was boring .

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  17. Well that England team was like watching the Toon under Cabbage heed… what a pile of shi.te.

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  18. Kim – I think the credit Southgate gets for bringing a togethernesses is deserved. I think back to an England team under Sven & it was full of egos & the football was equally as poor.

    But I think Southgate keeping egos in check is backfiring a little bit now because nobody seems to want to step up & shine.

    The fact that of the current squad there is only Kane, Sterling & Maguire that have scored more than 5 goals is shocking really – especially when you consider that Southgate tends to pick the same players over again.

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  19. Sharpy, he seems risk adverse to me and won’t try different players/tactics. Nice but dull our Gareth bless him . We need another El Tel or Sir Bob don’t we ?

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  20. So City & Liverpool flex their financial muscle early in the transfer window – the 2 clubs that won every domestic trophy between them & not a negative word us spoken. No talk of fairness throughout the league – nobody raise a concern that the 2 teams already streets ahead of all other teams go and spend close to £150m on a new forward each.

    But we all know, if NUFC were to spend £150m on 5 players – every media outlet would be slaughtering our club.

    When does FFP come into it for those I wonder?!.

    Hypocrisy at its finest I’m sure.

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  21. Good point Sharpy, thing is though shirt sales alone for Liverpool will fund Nunez, think they got him for a good price actually £64M + ADD ON’S . Mind you someone put up a link of his awful first touches lol .

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  22. Spurs and Everton will spin themselves into an awful web of debt, let them crack on and enjoy the fall when we pass them by in a couple of seasons.

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  23. Bissouma’s a cracking player. Just the type of DM we need. It’s also interesting how most deals are a lot less than we’re being quoted. Or is it spun?

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  24. We were bought on Oct 7, 2021. What has happened since then? Oil prices have doubled. I went to a gas/petrol station on the weekend and the price was $6 a gallon. It was $3 last October.

    Who has the largest oil reserves in the world? Who owns NUFC. Yes. The Saudis.

    We can afford any player we want. It is all a matter of persuasion. No European football (yet) but the deepest pockets and grandest plan in football history.

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  25. Liverpool complete the signing of Nunez within 24hrs of it being announced they had a bid accepted – how long have we been mincing on with Botman & Ekitike???.

    Is it down to Liverpool being a bigger, CL club that can offer trophies or is it that we haven’t really had the personnel in place to work on deals the way Liverpool & City have??.

    It is starting to feel like we are being led a merry dance with those 2 deals now – you’d expect at least 1 to have been completed by now – or at least feel either we’re in the advanced stages.

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  26. I know there’s only so much Olly can do – but it’s really disappointing this site hasn’t been fix yet.

    There’s a good 4 or 5 articles still managing to get uploaded on a daily basis.

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  27. Sharpy17:
    I know there’s only so much Olly can do – but it’s really disappointing this site hasn’t been fix yet.

    There’s a good 4 or 5 articles still managing to get uploaded on a daily basis.

    I’ve mentioned it several times now mate, so it’s annoying me too that they’ve not sorted it.

    As I say, my job is to just write the articles, so there really is only so much I can do. Sorry mate. Will mention it again and say it needs sorting!

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  28. Olly – i hope my message reads I get it’s not your fault, I tried to word it so it would.

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  29. This England games another hard watch. There’s slightly more urgency about our play & a bit more creativity, but either the final pass isn’t good enough or Hungary know how to defend it coz we’ve not really worked their keeper at all yet.

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  30. Well that was a horror show!!.

    Ramsdale had a mare tonight. Should have saved the first 2 & done better with the 4th – 3rd was a thunder strike to be fair.

    We have looked awful in those 4 games though.

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  31. Our page on this site doesn’t earn anything … I’m guessing it’s why nothing is getting fixed but all the ad loaded articles keep getting uploaded. Absolutely no blame to Olly at all. Whoever owns/runs the site clearly is not too bothered about the chat articles for us lot. Money rules the world!

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  32. I think we are getting fleeced left right and centre for players too. Botman price seems to have gone up again as teams want more and more money, and we don’t have European games to offer. We will have to do it the hard way. Find lesser known players and push for Europe asap. Easier said than done.

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  33. Eric Sykes:
    Where did you go on Honeymoon Olly, mate?

    Went to Vegas, Hawaii, LA and New York. Was an incredible few weeks mate!

    Only just adjusting to the constant changes in time zones now!

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  34. Sharpy17:
    Olly – i hope my message reads I get it’s not your fault, I tried to word it so it would.

    Appreciate that mate. Just thought to clarify when you mentioned the articles going out on the blog but no fixes, as I post the articles but can’t control the latter.

    I’m told another email has been sent so I hope they get onto it soon. Site was hacked and certain plugins had to be deleted, so will hopefully get them sorted ASAP!

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  35. There’s some very ordinary players getting selected for England and then not performing at all.
    How good is Saka really? Gallagher? Mount? There’s only 3 or 4 I’d want at SJP.

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  36. Was just having a read through Eds blog. Has someone from this blog been slagging his blog off on twitter? He seems quite upset!
    I’m not on twitter so I am not sure what the craic is..

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  37. Aussie:
    Was just having a read through Eds blog. Has someone from this blog been slagging his blog off on twitter? He seems quite upset!
    I’m not on twitter so I am not sure what the craic is..

    Wasn’t slagging them off, just pointing out that they released an article last night which was misleading, as it was based on a tweet from 6 months ago (saying Ekitike was flying in for his medical, yet the tweet they based this on was from Jan 31st)

    I tried to message them on Twitter or find an email but manage either, so put a tweet out that was taken the wrong way.

    Wasn’t trying to get one up on them, just tried to let them know about the error. Should’ve said nothing as it was taken the wrong way.

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  38. Olly Hawkins: Wasn’t slagging them off, just pointing out that they released an article last night which was misleading, as it was based on a tweet from 6 months ago (saying Ekitike was flying in for his medical, yet the tweet they based this on was from Jan 31st)

    I tried to message them on Twitter or find an email but manage either, so put a tweet out that was taken the wrong way.

    Wasn’t trying to get one up on them, just tried to let them know about the error. Should’ve said nothing as it was taken the wrong way.

    It’s been cleared up now between myself and Neil, but has let to users on blog.com saying some pretty nasty things about me and this site – which is odd when this all stems from me trying to point out an honest mistake!

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  39. Ed’s lot could start a riot in a Monastery. Neil’s articles are usually pretty good though.

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  40. There is absolutely no chance that England will get rid of Southgate before the WC. He has done OK, I would probably give him a C minus because he got extremely lucky with the last WC draw and the Euros were basically home matches and most home countries usually go far – even Japan and Korea.

    He is too defensive minded though. It is like having Bruce manage the national team. He needs someone to inspire the forwards. Gareth is too much like an accountant for that. He says the right things to the media but he is very boring at the same time. I think he should get Wayne Rooney in as a coach. He is nowhere near as dumb as he looks and I think he would bring some enthusiasm.

    Yeah, I know!!! I am saying Rooney for England when I was disparaging of him on here in the past. But that is because he was washed up at 26 and Mr. Roy didnt see it.

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  41. Yeah, I will go through the Southgate lucky sod scenario of a journeyman/accountant type manager somehow lucking into the England job:

    1. They were sick of appointing “foreigns” like Goren Erkisen and Capello who really couldnt give a toss.

    2. They appointed a failed Liverpool Manager who would rather take a boat trip down the Seine than prepare for a football game the next day (Mr. Roy).

    3. Then there was BFS and his pint of wine fiasco so they needed a “safe pair of hands” and an accountant type. Nobody else was available and Southgate was in with the FA hierarchy.

    4. So, Gareth gets the job and gets so fcn lucky with the WC draw and then the Euros are basically at home.

    5. He is also handed some top quality players like Kane and Sterling.

    We should all be so lucky as Southgate getting handed millions with pretty much no credentials to manage a top 5 world team in terms of talent. Only Roberto Martinez could fck it up worse. Or Capello.

    Steve Bruce was actually in the conversation for England Manager once 🙂 🙂 🙂 I am serious. He was.

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  42. I was thinking on the Paqueta rumour and I would actually wait.

    I’d go for Eriksen on a free transfer this window and go after Paqueta in a year or so.

    If we are climbing the league I think players with PL experience would be best to have to get us there. Eriksens experience & leadership could be invaluable.

    That money would then be used on a forward, RF or CB.

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  43. Olly, Eds blog would be enjoyable but for the constant arguments that get really personal on there. It’s unreadable when ever i have been on there, that they have posters slagging this site off doesn’t surprise me one bit. Sadly for every decent poster on there there is an idiot ruining it for Ed who has kept the site running despite illness.
    Glad it’s all sorted anyway, we’re all Toon fans in the end so have never understood the nastiness on that site.

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  44. The fixtures look kinder with us handed Forest at home to start. You can never guarantee a win but you would want the Championship playoff team at SJP 1st up in an ideal world.

    In recent years, all I can remember is misery in the 1st half of the PL seasons. McClaren had an awful start. Remember him saying judge him after 10 games and then switching to after Xmas. Rafa also had 1 year when I think we were in the relegation zone after 10 games. Then there is the combo of Cabbage and Jones last year with 5 points after 11 games.

    All I can really remember is a struggle with dour defensive football trying to eek out the odd win before Xmas. It hasnt been much fun has it!?!

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  45. Fed up with this site not refreshing properly and having to keep entering details, cannot understand how they can’t fix it tbh.
    Going back to gardening, less frustrating.

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  46. It’s a difficult call to make, but is it time to walk away from Botman?.

    If reports are to be believed we have made the offer Lille want, with Milan about £10m off – personal terms have been agreed with both clubs, but it seems blatantly obvious the lad wants to move to Milan.

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  47. I dont think we need to panic on transfers. The window closes on Sept 1st. That gives us 77 days beginning Friday June 17.

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  48. I have never seen Ekitike play a minute of football, only a youtube clip. He could be the next MBappe or the next Riviere for all I know. Same with Botman. I saw one game against Chelsea where he looked a bit dodgy and that is it.

    Losing sleep over players we dont really know anything about is a fool’s errand.

    I remember seeing youtube clips for Albert Luque years ago where he looked like a world beater, and he turned out to be shyte.

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  49. Well said Eric. I thought we were getting a cracker in Luque . . . these early days transfer rumours are just that . . . rumours. The club has said nowt.
    Botman looks slow to me. I’d go for Bremer from Italy.

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