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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Howay The Lads!!

Brilliant Benitez Even Has These Players Performing Well

3:27 pm, Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 53 Comments

When we think of what coaching is all about, the first person we think of is Sir Bobby Robson, because he could take a group of players and get the best out of them and weld them into a good side.

He did that Ipswich and at Newcastle, when he took over the side in early September of 1999 when we were second bottom of the league with one point from the first seven games.

And we are seeing that with Rafa Benitez now how he can mold a group of players into a fighting outfit and has them well drilled and we looked a good team last night.

But it may be he was brought in to save us far too late – and the powers that be at Newcastle were hoping Steve McClaren would turn things around – but he never did.


Rafa Benitez on the touchline
He’ll be resting up today after some workout last night

When you look at the side that started last night, who would have thought that players like Karl Darlow, Vurnon Anita, Jamaal Lascelles, Cheick Tiote and Papiss Cisse were all starting for Newcastle and they all played very well in what was a rare united team performance from Newcastle.

Indeed, Vurnon Anita looked excellent at right back and he scored a great goal and Daryl Janmaat is going to find it very difficult to get his place back this season.

Maybe that’s poetic justice after Daryl broke a couple of fingers in his hand when having it out with a wall – and the wall won.

Rafa seems the consummate coach, who is always respectful and positive when talking about his players – and he also had a good workout himself last night on the touch-line as he seemed to kick every ball.

Nobody can ever accuse Rafa Benitez of not doing absolutely everything he can to save Newcastle from the drop this season – and we are just so impressed with the man.

He seems to have the complete respect of his players (not to mention the fans) and he left out top players Gini Wijnaldum and Jonjo Shelvey last night and they will need to buck up their ideas if they are to start in this Rafa Benitez side.

Rafa doesn’t have any problem in dropping top players if he thinks they can give more both in games and in training and in truth Gini should be dropped a while ago after some insipid performances in away games.

It was also good to see young Rolando Aarons on the bench again and finally come on late in the game – obviously that was reward for some good training from the 20 year-old.

Last night was an excellent performance from our team and they were so well-drilled it was great to watch them and the defense even looked solid enough.

A special mention for goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who made about four good saves last night – one  was simply a brilliant reflex save from a Navas right wing shot and Karl got a strong hand to the ball and sent it just wide of his right hand post.

Who said Karl and Jamaal were not ready for the Premier League and  they are now looking very good signings for the club and they have excellent temperaments.

It’s a bit late, but in the last two games we have seen what the Newcastle side could have been from the start of the season if we had hired a manager of Rafa Benitez’ ability, experience and strong character.

There’s still hope for the future – if we can avoid the drop.

In fact if we can dodge the bullet for the second season running we have complete faith that Rafa will sort out the problems in the team and also at the club, where he will be given vast control of things.

In his 30 years of coaching he has earned that – and we know the top guy running the club – Rafa – knows what he’s talking about and has the trophies and vast respect to prove it.

For a workaholic like Rafa Benitez, who could talk to you all day about football – to be manager of a club like Newcastle –  where the fans are the most passionate around – it seems like a match made in heaven.

Here’s hoping we can survive.

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53 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:30 PM

    This is what a good manager should be able to do ! Was just a bit of a gutter for the first couple of games we had no left back as Dummett was injured hes added the balance we have lacked for a fair few games !

  • 2 The next Mike Williamson // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    @ Hibbet. You asked this morning if the linesman was bribed why was the penalty not given. Because the ref made that decision and he was 5 yards with a clear view. The linesman would look suspicious if he tried to overrule the ref especially after that dodgy offside.

    Maybe this was a genuine howler but I think some of the many other ones they’ve got have been suspicious. How comes it’s always City get the ludicrous goals given? Look what they did to get the world cup. I’d put nothing past them.

  • 3 dok - the horrid colonial // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:49 PM

    perhaps it was the worldwide audience they had.. “hey, lets ensure he gets his 100th with the world watching, give him a few extra yards so we make espn highlights at ten o clock”….

  • 4 Jib // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:52 PM

    “He seems to have the complete respect of his players (not to mention the fans) and he left out top players Gini Wijnaldum and Jonjo Shelvey last night and they will need to buck up their ideas if they are to start in this Rafa Benitez side.”

    This paragraph by Ed makes a mockery of his whole previous article .

    When Rafa stays regardless of PL or Championship there will be no player who will want to leave !
    You get the chance of working with someone like Benitez very rarely in a career , Rafa will be the arbiter of who stays or goes.
    No-one will be singing this !

  • 5 barkel // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:53 PM


    From previous, I don’t think anyone is answering your question more skirting around the outside.

    It makes sense that if the players can preform consistently for Rafa that it was indeed poor recruitment of the coaching staff rather than the playing staff. Which I think was indicated by some of our “top players” playing well at international level. I think it’s a very valid point to make. When things are going badly we need someone to blame and there are only so many that can be held accountable.

    There have been people on here saying Cisse, Tiote, Anita, Sissoko should be sold since the start of the season and they were some of the best performers in the last two games.

  • 6 Average_Contents // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    Aye munster, but fatty employed old man Carr and decided to entrust him with player recruitment off the back of the cabaye purchase and subsequent sale. He was blinded by money.

    Money and in particular profit is king. Regardless of the on-pitch impact it may have.

    Remember, every single player has been purchased with profit in mind, not because it would help the team. Well that’s how I see it going off past history.

    The same as he employed effectively a secretary to the role of MD.

    I’ve heard it was actually penfold that pushed for Mcclown. He seen ex-england manager, he’d managed abroad and couldn’t resist getting him for fcukall.

    The calibre eh. No doubt Carr had input in the process but I believe garde was his choice hence the talks in January that broke down after only offering a short term deal.

    On the garde subject. It’s pointless discussing how he would of coped here.

    Endless outcomes to that one. We’ll never know but using his time at villa as a benchmark is a false economy imo.


    It’s got holes in

  • 7 Essex Geordie Bill // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:56 PM

    Any half way decent manager should be able to get the best out of their players. Even Pardew at times achieved this.

    Just look at what Craig Hignett has done with Hartlepool as an example. One to watch for the future?

  • 8 bettyswallocks // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:57 PM

    Signing players is always a gamble unless you pay out huge fees for the obvious megastars. Unless the head coach/ manager agrees with the signing and thinks the player will fit into his plans then it’s destined to fail. Hopefully our owner and board have finally realised this and have enough respect for Rafa if he decides to stay to allow him to decide which players he needs. Carr could still do a bit of scouting but to burden him with the final say on transfers, I think not.

  • 9 ilovetoon8788 // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:57 PM

    Seeing us now under a proper manager makes me wonder what the flying fk mclaren was doing at his time with us? Whoever idea to hire mclaren must be shot in the head.

  • 10 bettyswallocks // Apr 20, 2016 at 3:58 PM

    Jib……. What the fusk has Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein got to do with anything? Lol.

  • 11 Jib // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    Best ask Back Door Doylem

  • 12 Our Toon // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:04 PM

    Darlow made a cracking save yesterday but he also had a few moments that were very concerning, aguero bobbling shot and a poor parry put from a shot straight at him. Jamal had a heart stopping moment as well when he gave it straight to De Bruyne, thankfully he was greedy and went for goal rather than playing in Aguero which would have sealed the game for them. Plenty to work on for the lads.

    Finally I’m supporting Everton tonight, anything less than 3 points for Liverpool puts them out of challenging for top 4 which can only be good for us, I’d expect the likes of Ojo to start against us with them playing the strongest team tonight. He’ll rest players for the EL game again another positive for us. What a good time to play Liverpool this weekend

  • 13 bettyswallocks // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:05 PM

    All managers inevitably make mistakes with recruitment and it’s not always the best coach who is the shrewdest in the transfer market.
    Take Mourinho as an example, he binned Lukaku and De Bruyne and look at them now.

  • 14 Our Toon // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:06 PM

    It’s also been said on previous posts that the linesman last night could cost us 100m and our place in the league… all reality that’s not true, Ashley and his cronies have done that by sticking with mcclaren and appointing him in the first place. Let’s not blame others for our own shortcomings this season, we should never have been in this situation to start with

  • 15 Our Toon // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:08 PM


    He binned lukaku because he wanted to play more games, no way he was getting ahead of Drogba and then Costa. De Bruyne didn’t want to be rotated and don’t want to fight for his place in the team. When you have big squads you have to accept this and both players didn’t want to. At the time it was the right call

  • 16 bettyswallocks // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:10 PM

    Jib…… Understood.

  • 17 bettyswallocks // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:20 PM

    OurToon…….. All I can say is if he had realised they would turn out so good , particularly De Bruyne who proved an instant success in Germany he would and should have engineered a way of keeping them on the books. Ok Lukaku was young and still raw but they are desperate to resign him now for a lot more money.

  • 18 Bobbybee // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:27 PM

    I think the fact that we have £30m worth of wingers out on loan because they were simply not good eough for the PL, says enough about Carr’s recent trading skills. Time’s up, time for change from top to bottom, whether we survive or not.

  • 19 Essex Geordie Bill // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:33 PM

    you can’t really blame Jose for not keeping promising players, it happens at all clubs.

    Can anyone name all/any of the young players we’ve let go who have gone on to outstanding success.

    Answers on a postage stamp.

  • 20 bettyswallocks // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:33 PM

    Bobby…… I think McC must have jumped up and down about Carr signing more French lightweights and was then allowed to sign Shelvey and Townsend. If Thauvin turning out to be so Shyte has changed their thinking on transfers then it was worth it.

  • 21 Bobbybee // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:44 PM

    Betty, we can but hope. That said, I truly believe Chumlee and Carr’s positions are now untenable and both will be fired this summer from their current positions. Ashley handed it over lock stock and barrel to them and demanded value for money. Over £80m spent and another relegation battle is not, and never can be, described as value for money. If Rafa’s to stay, there will be changes.

  • 22 Our Toon // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:44 PM

    Fergie let go of Pogba

  • 23 Bobbybee // Apr 20, 2016 at 4:49 PM

    Ben Arfa’s doing quite well for himself… Aaaarrrgh!!!! Still annoys me! 😉 If only, eh?

  • 24 Bobbybee // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:02 PM

    It was good to see Aarons get a late run out last night. With Townsend doing a great job down the right, Aarons might still be the answer to the opposite flank. I think it’s healthy that nobody can second guess Rafa’s selection policy because it keeps the entire squad on their toes. Rafa had previously told Aarons that he wanted to rely on experience for the run in, but something he’s seen in training must have changed that. Good management imo. Never say never.

  • 25 stuart no9 // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:15 PM

    sorry to say this but i’m still upset about the linesman last night
    I kmow its no good harping on about it but the players should have shown their disgust at the decision,
    some one must have seen it and should have been straight over to the linesman and told him in no uncertain terms what he is , the fact that no one mentioned it at the time , he thinks he made the right decision at the time- thiught he was having a blinder, if someone had of , then maybe that would have woken him up and concentrate. He was bent down looking along the line , the question is , what exactly was he looking at ?? there is only one thing he has to look at and he still couldnt do it. he needed a rocket up his jacksy from las, and to remind him to use his f””ng eyes.
    He had earlier missed the ball going over the byeline ( TWICE) in a couple of minutes before the offside and no one again said anything . sometimes it just has to be done .

  • 26 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:28 PM

    We’ve got those dirty dingoes down in Sunderland worried now. We’re hot on their tails and Rafa has laid the whip to us in the final stretch! Huzzah!!!

  • 27 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:29 PM

    Norwich are looking very nervous as well. And they’re playing that way. We’ll pass both of them in the coming weeks! HWTL!!!

  • 28 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:33 PM

    Those mackem lads will be busy sniffing their own butts as we fly past in the standings! Attack!!!! Attack!!!!

  • 29 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:39 PM

    Lee Chunga Barnley Party @1. You are absolutely spot on there mate! Huzzah!!!

  • 30 Munster Mag // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:44 PM

    Geordie two, why do u keep saying Huzzah? Wtf are u on about?

  • 31 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:44 PM

    Some of you have been saying “G2 you’re on the edges of the lunatic fringe there mate”. Negative on that. Repeat negative on that. I am the central core of the lunatic fringe lads! Together with beermonkey and Ibiza we ARE the lunatic fringe! Harrumph!!!

  • 32 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:45 PM

    Thank you for noticing Munster Mag mate. So few notice my contributions. Harrumph!

  • 33 Jail for Ashley // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:46 PM

    Carr recommended Bony and PEA but we almost got Gomis? but ended up with that poor excuse of a footballer Riverie. How do we know that Carr never told them to get Payet but was reminded of our rigid policy.

  • 34 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:52 PM

    Yes Jail mate. We’re far too rigid! We should be supple and flexible. Like a yoga pose. Upward facing dog. Then sun salutation when dealing with players’ agents. Now we’ve got Rafa we can be flexible. Bend and you will survive the hurricane. Stand fast and you will be broken. I think that summarizes it for the lunatic fringe. Thank you.

  • 35 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    Lee Chunga Barnley Party, have you got anything to add to that mate?

  • 36 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    Stand steady Rafa! We’re with you mate!

  • 37 posada // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    Jail. I won’t listen to any excuses for Graham Carr.
    One name Thauvin should sum it up.
    If the remit from the owner was the problem then these people should be telling him loud and clear that it won’t work, doesn’t work.
    Instead they just keep taking the money and don’t give a stuff for the club.
    They know when it gets too bad they will get their pay off.

  • 38 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:56 PM

    I wish I looked like a little Spanish gent with a moustache.

  • 39 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:57 PM

    Sack them! Sack those dirty dogs! Send them packing! Charnley oot!!!! Carr oot!!!! Board oot!!!!

  • 40 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 5:58 PM

    Once beermonkey and Ibiza are back we’ll demonstrate the power of the lunatic fringe!!!! Stand ready to be amazed lads!!!!

  • 41 Yo-yo // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:01 PM

    Let’s hope the side have finally clicked with Rafa.

    I’m sure the dropped players are capable of googling ‘Rafa Rotation Policy’ and realise he is a strong believer in working with his whole squad.

    Can’t see Shelvey or Wini panicking and putting in transfer requests.
    If we stay up I’d be pretty sure they’d want to be along for the ride.

    One of our problems has been the players have not been managed in a way that really does keep them on their toes.

  • 42 posada // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:02 PM

    Relegation does not matter. If we go down it is because the owner neglected the club and listened to fools.
    All that matters is that we are at least recovering some pride and dignity.
    If we can play with the same quality and spirit as last night for the next four games that will do even if it is not enough to save us.

  • 43 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:06 PM

    We have turned things around just in time. We were in a nosedive at 10,000 feet but Rafa has pulled back and is hauling ass to save us now. You haul that ass Rafa!

  • 44 beermonkey // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:07 PM


    i am never far away

    sneaky sneaky pee in pocket

  • 45 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:07 PM

    Ibiza mate can you haul that ass with Rafa? Just give him a wee hand would you?

  • 46 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:08 PM

    Aha! Beermonkey ready yourself to haul some ass mate!!!

  • 47 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:09 PM

    The lunatic fringe is on the case now. We’re pulling in the same direction! We’re peeing in back pockets wherever needed. We’re hauling that ass!!!

  • 48 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:11 PM

    Sack the Board! Sack those dirty, dirty dogs! Sack them, fong them, then pee in their back pockets!!!!

  • 49 Bambams // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:13 PM

    I don’t know if I need tablets or councelling but I still think there is a twist to come and before the end of the season we will be out the bottom three……

    One thing I am positive about is Charnley must go at the end of the season and I know I might get bitten here by others – I wouldn’t be surprised if Ash finds a buyer if we do go down and he cuts his losses.

    He has enough on his plate with the govt after him re his running of sd.

    It certainty wouldn’t surprise me

  • 50 Ibizatoon // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:15 PM

    Bobby…Along with others, I think you’re missing the point. I presume you mean Cabella and Thauvin?

    We’re talking about two players, who have played under bad coaches in non-functioning teams, in a new league too.

    How do we know what they’ll be like under a proper manager, such as Rafa?

    Please don’t think I believe it to be £24m well spent (on those two), my point is that perhaps we all need to review our positions with regards to how good our players are / could be, simply by having a proper coach in.

    Surely that leads on to the idea that our scouting isn’t potentially as bad as some are making out.

    Barkel…Thanks for giving it a go 🙂 It would seem people aren’t willing to reassess previous conclusions. Not sure why.

  • 51 Ibizatoon // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:16 PM

    G2…What is it you want me to do?

    How come I ‘ve ended up with ass detail?

  • 52 GeordieTwo // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:23 PM

    We’re helping Rafa haul ass Ibiza mate. It’s our duty as the lunatic fringe! We haul ass! We do the dirty deeds that need doing! We pee in back pockets! We loose the honey badgers from hell. (Come on Ibiza, I explained all this at the last Lunatic Fringe meeting mate. Weren’t you listening? Harrumph…)

  • 53 jimiley // Apr 20, 2016 at 6:26 PM

    Cisse could not trap a bag of cement. The ball cannons off his feet like a super ball. We are gannin doon with the Canaries. Scum to send us doon. Penfold left it too late. Why are Carr and Penfold still in a job??????

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