French Defender – We Got The Job Done – We Survived


Mapou Yanga-Mabiwa showed what a great player he can become for Newcastle in the future, with some excellent games in his first few months on Tyneside, and that was against a back-drop of possible relegation – so our players and the five new Frenchmen in particular, were playing under considerable pressure in the last four months of the season.  We’ll not even mention the extreme pressure on Newcastle fans. 🙁

mapou yanga-mbiwa

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – we got the job done

Mapou has talked on the Newcastle web-site today and he mentions how things suddenly became a lot more relaxed after we managed to beat QPR  2-1,  after going a goal down, and then down to 10 men after goalie Rob Elliot had been sent off after 81 minutes.

But veteran goalkeeper Steve Harper came in and settled everybody down with his experience.

And Steve then made his farewell appearance and played very well against Arsenal in the 1-0 defeat in the final game of the season, when he was made captain for his very last of  199 appearances for his home town club.

Mapou has talked about how things were when we were struggling:

“It was tough and pretty complicated at times but the job was done – we stayed in the Premier League, which is what we set out to do when we arrived in January,”

“Newcastle United is a massive club which deserves to be playing Premier League football. It was a very stressful situation and we owed it to ourselves to go out there and do really well.”

“What we were doing for the last few months was playing with quite a lot of pressure on our shoulders, but as soon as we beat QPR and secured our safety, things were much better.”

“Even in training sessions, people were enjoying themselves because the weight was off our shoulders. It was a very tough season but we will go out next year and aim to hit the ground running and do a much better job.”

That’s one of the problems clubs have when they sink near the relegation zone – tension mounts and the players are under a lot more pressure – and that’s one reason we hope we’ll be nowhere near the relegation zone next season.

And the latest betting on which Premier League manager will be sacked first next season, has Alan Pardew at the very top of the list at 2-1.

We need the players and the manager to have another season like we had in Alan’s first full season at the club – and we could finish in a top eight place next May.

And certainly Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa looks like somebody who can help us get there.

Comments welcome.

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71 comments so far

  • Tsunki

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #1

    Job done after we beat qpr? Oh, I see. That’ll be why sitting through the Arsenal game was a snorefest then.

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  • JAMSHA

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #2

    Boreng

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #3

    Just to clarify, so far there’s no proof to say Ashley has definitely got richer from NUFC. Sure, you could say he’s got more exposure for his other businesses but I doubt you’ll find any figures to quantify that.

    He hasn’t made a profit from the club at all. In fact, so far, he’s invested about £240M into the club (about £140M to purchase it and £100M in interest free loans) with zero return to date.

    Obviously if he sold the club for £400M tomorrow then he would make a £160M profit, but how likely is that to happen any time soon?

    I’m sure Ashley could have found a lot more lucrative and even safer options to make a profit on his £240M if he wanted to.

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  • Guj NUFC

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #4

    Can’t wait till next season when the players play without the pressure of relegation. I think Sissoko will flourish in a center midfield roll….a fit Ben Arfa!!….so excited 😀

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  • Agent Stardust

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #5

    You know I think if we tighten up at the back and players regain their form we have a very good team, but where we are lacking is forwards. I don’t think any are good enough. In fact I only class us as having one and that’s Cisse and lets be honest he scores goals but he doesnt assist the team with regards to the actual play and never has really. Not like Ba did or other strikers in the league do.

    But what I find worrying is that we are hearing rumours about 2 exciting players coming but its a sort of winger/attacker and a defender. I really think we are in need of 2 good strikers. To me this is a key area that we are very very poor in.

    I would have loved Carroll back but that’s simply not going to happen is it?

    Surely strikers are the most important thing we need right now?

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  • magfly

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #6

    @ Strardust
    We have the players what we lack is managerial knowhow

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  • Vancmagpie

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #7

    @tdf
    Ashley and co are proven liars that’s a FACT.
    You have no proof either way to say if Ashley has made any money or not.
    Sports direct is plastered everywhere to do with NUFC so I’m pretty sure he has saved a pretty sum with all the free advertising

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  • Ibizatoon - Back By Popular Demand

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Comment #8

    TDS…Another thing people seem to point to is that SD has grown since Ashley took over Newcastle. Could that not be down to the fact that the world is in financial crisis and SD offers some of the cheapest stuff going? Nah, it’ll be the signs at SJP that has done it!

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  • Markaccus

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #9

    Afternoon all. I see it is “ashleys finances” day again. Which means tomorrow it is “complain about pardew day” again. Who says footy fans have no imagination. 😀

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #10

    Addressing the posts on the previous page…I’d say it’s pretty clear what Ashley wants from the club.

    Firstly, he bought the club as a renowned name to increase the profile of some of his other businesses. Once he bought it, he wanted it run like all of his other businesses, and found that it had been mismanaged in many ways, so he set about restructuring the club to allow it to stand on its own two feet.

    We know he’s a businessman so obviously he wants to increase the value of his asset, NUFC. By limiting the debt on the club, making it public on how the club is now run to make a profit (rather than Shepherd mortgaging our future on CL qualification), and buying players that will have significant resale value, he maximises his asset. At some point he will sell the club and he wants to make sure he makes significant profit at this stage.

    Finally, he’s a football fan. If a businessman wants to earn some money and have some fun at the same time, then there are a lot worse businesses to get into that football!

    The only people who have lost a load of cash in that way are those who have gambled for short term success and lost. Portsmouth, Leeds, Wimbledon etc. all spent beyond their means for too long and then they crashed. We only just about avoided that fate.

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #11

    Vancmagpie – and I’m pretty sure he’s lost a pretty sum on alternative investments for that £240M plus his own time that he’s put in.

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  • Ibizatoon - Back By Popular Demand

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #12

    Vanc..I think most people accept we have been lied to by Ashley. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been lied to in some shape by everyone at some stage. Doesn’t make it right, but sadly a part of life.

    As for the sponsorship, whilst I don’t like the SD signs, would you feel any better about it if we charged SD for the advertisement space, but then Ashley charged the club interest on the loan?

    I’ve always viewed it as a trade off.

    Free advertising vs a interest free loan.

    As for proof on whether Ashley has made money from NUFC. Aren’t there published accounts available?

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #13

    Ibiza – he’s not stupid though. SD has always been known as the tatty store that you get dirty cheap goods that probably won’t last very long. It’s always seemed to be the place that the charvas would get their clothes rather than people going to buy actual sports gear.

    But…with the association with a proper club, and SD being mentioned in mainstream media, they got some credibility as a proper sports store. So that’s definitely had some effect.

    But yeah…he’s positioned SD perfectly to take advantage of the economy. It’s all worked out pretty well for him recently…

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #14

    Ibiza – Yeah, the accounts are available. I think last time around he paid off the interest free loan to the tune of about £15M? But I stand to be corrected. I don’t think he took a dividend for himself though either. Again, I stand to be corrected…

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  • halliday_9

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #15

    Just noticed this site has 89m hits. Canny.

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #16

    Sorry, forgot to address the lying comment…yeah Ashley and co lied. Pretty much every single person involved in football has lied at some point.

    Let’s sack Saylor for his look of shock and patting his chest when the ball blatantly hit his hand…

    I’m not going to forget that they lied, I’m well aware that they are businessmen first and involved with NUFC second. But I’m on my way to forgive them if they keep the club running smoothly and give us a platform to better things.

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  • toontillidie

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #17

    Has anyone noticed that even though Ashley has SD as his Business you can never find anything other than the sole Toon Shirt in his stores He has no Passion for the club or we would see a hell of a lot more Toon merchandise within SD stores

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  • Vancmagpie

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #18

    @tds
    Well where’s your facts to back up your statement.
    Like I said Ashley and his lackeys were proven liars so you will only ever know what he wants you to know.
    Ashley has his grubby fat fingers in investments everywhere so I’m pretty sure he won’t have lost out in any alternative investments

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  • Ibizatoon - Back By Popular Demand

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #19

    TDS…I am not based in England anymore, so have no way to know what the general feeling is, so appreciate the feedback.

    I just think with the way finances are, people are having to cut costs and that’s SDs market. I can’t see many people globally going “oh yeah, they’re the sponsors of Newcastle, I’ll shop there”. Granted it will have some effect, but not to the levels of growth the company have seen, of course this is only my opinion.

    Anyway, back to intentions 🙂

    I have no problem with him making the club stand on it’s own two feet. Imo, that is extremely ambitious and something I wish all clubs would do.

    Beyond that, I think it’s just too early to tell what comes next.

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  • Ibizatoon - Back By Popular Demand

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #20

    toontillidie…But then he’d have to sell the stuff cheaper than the official store 🙂

    I don’t think anyone claims he is a toon fan and as such, wont approach it the same way as a fan. That doesn’t mean he’s out to hurt the club though.

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  • Vancmagpie

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Comment #21

    @tdf
    So settling for a top ten finish is a sign of better things.
    We have a dumbass manager who is already favourite for the sack.
    Ashley was proven in a court of law not just trying to con a ref.So where is that the same

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  • toontillidie

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Comment #22

    @ ibiza – that maybe so but wouldnt it show the fans that he actually thinks about the club as well as just profit i wanted to get my son the new strip in a baby size and not one sports direct store had it in and i eventually had to order it from the club shop surely if he sold more toon merchandise he would make a profit with the amount of fans around the country

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #23

    Ibiza – I wonder if once Ashley has recovered his £240M (initial investment and later loans), if he will give the club to all Geordies as a gift? 🙂

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  • Vancmagpie

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #24

    sorry meant to be tds damn phone

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #25

    Vancmagpie – who said settle for top ten? You’re reading a negative into a positive. Top ten is a minimum finish this season, bottom half would be a failure and Pardew will be out, mark my words.

    I posted some figures a few days ago that show quite clearly that 7th/8th is where our club should naturally finish based on revenue, squad value, wage bill etc.

    We were 8 points off 8th this season and last season we were 13 points ahead of 8th. So over the two seasons, that’s probably about where we should be.

    It will take some bloody hard work to grind our way up the league. Nowadays, a club needs a combination of luck (fewer injuries, nice decisions by referees etc.) and brilliance from players and staff to jump way ahead of their natural position. Unless you have a few hundred million to spend of course…

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #26

    toontillidie – SD is run to gain profit for SD, not any of Ashley’s other businesses. If I was a shareholder in SD, then I would be pretty pissed off if he was using it to generate profit for another business of his to be honest.

    So, if he sees a greater profit in displaying Utd, Liverpool or Real Madrid shirts, then that’s what he will do. Besides…you hardly think it’s him making these decisions do you? Each store manager will have profit targets, and they will decide on the displays that will best meet those targets.

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  • Ibizatoon - Back By Popular Demand

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #27

    toontillidie…I can only imagine the uproar amongst toon fans for then depriving the club of extra profit, only to give it to SD 🙂

    I’m really not trying to say he’s a good man or anything like that, but it’s not all quite as black and white as many make out imo.

    I think it’s fair to say he’s done some good and some bad during his time at the club. His next moves are vital in showing the fans what is at play. It was never going to be easy project to turn around, we may not have ended up like a pompey, but we weren’t in a good state. I can take small steps towards success, and that is what I thought they were doing. Last season shook that confidence, now it’s over to the club to restore it.

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  • Vancmagpie

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #28

    @tdf
    What does squad value,revenue and wage bill have to do with where we should be in the league…..Nothing.
    Names on a piece of paper mean nothing and if they did we would have beaten yer Scum,Reading,West Ham`s etc as we had more than enough quality to beat them.
    We are in the same position as we were after Ashley took over so where have we improved

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  • Slank

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Comment #29

    Toon @ 24

    I cannot see ManU, ManCity, Chelsea and Arsenal being dislodged from the first four positions in the league. It would take a cataclysmic loss of form for any of those to lose their seats at the top table, even though three of the four will have new managers next season.

    Next runners and riders in the table are likely to be Spurs, Liverpool and Everton. The question, therefore, is will we be better than any of those. Possibly better than Everton with their new manager but probably not as good as the other two.

    Finishing eighth is probably are best bet.

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #30

    Ibiza – last season may have shaken the confidence, but the club has still taken small steps in the right direction:
    – the youth team is finally being focussed on more – does anyone know when the decision on Category One takes place for our academy?
    – the squad has been improved, with all key players on long term contracts
    – the club is turning a profit
    – we stayed in the Premier League!

    Let’s hope that platform gives us a minimum top ten finish and hopefully a proper effort at getting into Europe via the league, or even better, by winning one of them trophy things…

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  • sparky55

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #31

    2-1 odds for first manager to be sacked are pretty long in the scheme of things especially after his performance last year but perhaps takes into consideration the brilliant squad we have might just save his sorry @ss.

    As agent stardust quite rightly points out we do have a very good team which with very few additions SHOULD compete at a decent level next year…BUT that is assuming of course we keep our purples which I’m not at all convinced we will.

    It’s my opinion Ashley has spent just about all he wants to spend in this calendar year in January…and why spend more money in the summer if his manager is on a last warning like everyone (including the bookies) think he is.

    And why spends loads of money on a squad that under a decent manager is very capable of achieving a minimum of 10th which is all he’s actually aspiring to to keep Sports Direct in the public eye. To be honest with a good pre-season under his belt and no injuries to contend with, Pardew just might be able to get us a 10th…but shouldn’t we expect a bit more with the squad we have?

    IMO that current squad is easily capable of 7th / 8th…which unfortunately is why I don’t think Ashley will too spend too much money in the summer…the squad is good enough for whatever ashley wants out of the club for Sports Direct…but for us supporters that’s a disappointment for sure…we want more than mid table obscurity…we just want something positive to talk about after the match and on this blog.

    Jesus I’m depressing mesel now!

    Don’t know what the answer is but need some positive news to feed off…all is see is icebergs at the minute

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #32

    Slank – I do agree with you. I think we’re about on a par with Everton, so we should see 7th/8th as a decent enough season. Bottom half would be bad and finishing above any of those other 6 would be a fantastic season.

    It’s not impossible that we can get top 4 in the next few years, but it’s rare that too many of those clubs will have significant blips. We’d need a storming season and for 3 of those 6 to have poor seasons.

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  • Ibizatoon - Back By Popular Demand

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #33

    TDS…I tend to agree, I just don’t dare call the last season a “blip” again 🙂

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  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #34

    Slank
    Top four next year
    1st Man Shitty
    2nd Chelsea – Morhino sacked
    3rd Arsenal
    4th Spuds
    5th Manure Utd – reason don’t think Moyes will get the same out of a ageing squad – depends on who they get in.

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Comment #35

    Vancmagpie – are you kidding me? In the modern age of football, those stats mean everything! They don’t dictate the results of every match, which is why we love football so much. If money meant everything then we’d know who would win the league before it started.

    But if we had the revenue to support a wage bill at twice the size, then you can naturally assume that we would have better players, as we would have been targeting some of the players who have gone on to join other clubs instead.

    We were in a false position when Ashley took over. We were there because Shepherd had signed loads of players with little or no resale value and where the club would be paying for their transfer fees for years to come. That would have worked well if we’d been in the champions league every year, but as we weren’t it meant that the club was sinking more and more into debt, leaving no profit for transfers.

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  • ToonDarnSarf

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #36

    Ibiza – Whatever you call last season, we all know it was rubbish.

    I know Ashley has made mistakes by lying and by making stupid appointments (KK, Wise, Kinnear, Shearer), I know Saylor seems to think he’s a goalie sometimes and I know Pardew has made some odd tactical choices…but I can still see good things happening, I’m glad we’re not languishing in the Championship like Boro, I’m glad we’re not plummeting down the leagues like Leeds, Pompey or Wolves, and I’m hopeful of some exciting times ahead…:-)

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  • Vancmagpie

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #37

    @tdf
    Is that why Swansea and Wigan won cups because they had a higher wage bill or bigger revenue.

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  • lesh

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #38

    Wanted – TWO top-drawer strikers. One to replace Demba Ba and the other, Shola

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  • Ibizatoon - Back By Popular Demand

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Comment #39

    TDS….And I am glad you’re here to bring some positivity back!

    All these miserable sods getting me down 😉

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  • Slank

    Jun 6, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Comment #40

    Toon @ 31

    I’ve been thinking (dangerous I know) and wondering whether it’s in the stars that some clubs will always win nearly all the trophies (with the odd exception, Wigan) irrespective of whom the owners are, whom the manager is and whom the players are, whilst others, us included, will never win anything no matter how hard they try.

    Are we destined to always be the perennial also-rans?

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