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

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Newcastle Get Backing To Win The Championship

1:40 pm, Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 59 Comments

Newcastle are currently red-hot 7/4 favorites on SkyBet to win the SkyBet Championship next season with the next on the list being Aston Villa at 8/1 and the other relegated side Norwich City being 9/1 followed by Derby County at 10/1.

So we are the clear favorites to win the league and to simply get promoted we are 4/7 odds on.

rafa benitez closeup in cap

Rafa Benitez – has already improved the Newcastle squad

Maybe it’s because not only is Rafa Benitez out manager but it looks like by the end of today Rafa will have brought in a total of  six good players for around £34M gross and around £11M net – given some of the players we have sold – like Andros Townsend and Remy Cabella.

Matz Sels£4.5MKAA Gent
Dwight Gayle£10MCrystal Palace
Matt Ritchie £10MBournemouth
Jesus Gamez£1.5MAtletico Madrid
Isaac Hayden£2.5MArsenal
Grant Hanley£5.5MBlackburn
Ciaran Clark£5MAston Villa
Mohamed Diame£4.5MHull City
DeAndre Yedlin£5MTottenham
Daryl Murphy£3MIpswich Town
Achraf Lazaar £3MPalermo
Christian AtsuLoan - seasonChelsea
Transfer Fees In£54.5M
Gabby ObertanReleasedAnzhi Makhachkala
Sylvain MarveauxReleasedLorient
Steven TaylorReleasedPortland Timbers
Fabricio ColocciniReleasedSan Lorenzo
Andros Townsend£13MCrystal Palace
Remy Cabella£7.5MMarseille
Papiss Cisse£2.5MShandong Luneng
Gini Wijnaldum£25MLiverpool
Florian ThauvinLoan - seasonMarseille
Siem de JongLoan - seasonPSV
Kevin MbabuLoan - seasonBSC Young Boys
Henri SaivetLoan - seasonSt. Etienne
Daryl Janmaat£7.5MWatford
Tim KrulLoan - seasonAjax
Gael BigirimanaFreeCoventry City
Adam ArmstrongLoan - JanuaryBarnsley
Emmanuel RiviereLoan - seasonCA Osasuna
Jamie SterryLoan - JanuaryCoventry City
Haris VuckicLoan - JanuaryBradford City
Sammy AmeobiLoan - JanuaryBolton Wanderers
Moussa Sissoko£30MTottenham Hotspur
Transfer Fees Out£85.5M
Net Spend-£31M

We should be signing Grant Hanley for 5.5M from Blackburn Rovers today – which is great news.

Tim Sherwood has talked about his former club Aston Villa today on talkSPORT, but also thinks Newcastle are in a great position to win the Championship next season:

“I know Roberto Di Matteo has got a tough job,”  “He’s got a lot of players there who can do a good job in the Championship.

“I think Newcastle are absolutely nailed on to win that league, but Villa should be right up there.”

It looks like our squad will be stronger than it was when we beat Spurs 5-1 in our final game last season.

Newcastle could still lose Moussa Sissoko and Gini Wijnaldum, but it will still be a stronger squad from last season because it is much more balanced.

Rafa has strengthened some of the weaknesses in the Newcastle team including  the defense,  which has been needed for the last four years.

We conceded a massive 255 goals in the Premier League over the last four seasons.


Comments welcome.

Tags: Championship · Coaching · Newcastle News · Other News · Pre-season · Premier League · Transfer News and Rumours

59 responses so far ↓

  • 1 G // Jul 20, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    Assuming Wini / Sissoko go then there isn’t a great deal of creativity in the side still. If Rafa can make Shelvey come good, then we are covered, however, it’s a long season, so I think we need just one more player in CM position, and another LB and we are ready to rock.

  • 2 JDdubai // Jul 20, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    Might be worth playing the first few away games with Mbemba at RB and Hanley with Lascelles in the middle. Gvies us more solidity and strength and better in the air – reckon the first few away games teams will be runnin’ around mental when they play us and luanching the ball into the box as much as possible.

    Home games we can have attacking FBs no issue..

  • 3 G // Jul 20, 2016 at 1:46 PM

    @2, I suspect Rafa will not experiment too much outside of the friendlies, however, I do expect that over the course of a very long season he will employ pretty much everybody in the squad before now and June.

  • 4 Jib // Jul 20, 2016 at 1:56 PM
    The usual thing about fakes – please don’t shout at me if it doesn’t work.
    However I have a feeling this could be Rovers own stream

  • 5 cestriasteve // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:02 PM

    Stuff the creativity, we’ve got more than enough and focusing on that’s got us nowhere.
    No what Rafa has done is build from the back and although I didn’t get to many games with my stroke affected season what I did see is potential another Johnathan Woodgate in our midst with Lascelles, with Rafa’s coaching he’s going to be some player that lad. Mark my words, give him another season and he’ll be learning his Spanish too.

  • 6 stuart no9 // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:04 PM

    Hail Wor Ashley—- rm previous topic .
    thats agood point ypu made about Hanley. Every CB has a mistake in them of course , take luiz at chelsea , he was a nightmare sometimes but still one of the best in the world , as you say when it comes to the bramble era , no one made more cockups than him . For the first year he was here i thought his first name was ” mistakeby’ coz thats all i heard the commentator say – mistakeby bramble, untill i found out it was actually Titus.

  • 7 clinath@ed // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:19 PM

    Does anyone else think Rafa could keep some money back until the January sales?

  • 8 stuart no9 // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM

    cli nath ——- without a doubt . hell test the water untill xmas . then do what he has to do to finish the job.

  • 9 firebug666 // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM


    I think there will still be enough in the bank should Rafa need to make changes in January.

  • 10 Hail Wor Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:39 PM


    Yes I can recall a handful of Mbemba mistakes last season, Lascelles had at least 1 biggy, Colo an increasing frequency in his latter years, Steven Taylor was a worthy Mistakeby Bramble tribute act, not quite the real thing and Willo was always good for the odd lapse in concentration.

    Defenders failings are remembered just as keenly as attackers successes. Who’d be a defender!?

  • 11 Hail Wor Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:40 PM

    Anybody noticed the rise in single mothers calling their children Gedere in recent years? Odd name, anybody know it’s origin?

  • 12 JDdubai // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:41 PM

    Just seen the new FA guidelines for yellow and red card offences for players using bad language or their behaviour…….might need another CF to fill in each month for Mitro’s bans..

  • 13 Our Toon // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    Are we seriously taking player of the season with seriousness? Williamson was voted player of the season at the toon was he not?

    Was Hanley voted by his peers into the championship team of the year?

  • 14 stuart no9 // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:51 PM

    hail wor ashley– could it be geordie ?? Gerdere? sounds like a posh geordie, ya naa , someone from the west end , like darrass hall or Kenton bar , lol

  • 15 Mister Tuff // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:56 PM

    The panickers should recall that Benitez has said Penfold knows we need cover for each position.
    So the extra games would appear to being attended to.
    So no gambling on what might be – chance is not in the blueprint – like it was in the past.

  • 16 Bobbybee // Jul 20, 2016 at 2:59 PM

    We’ve got a young winger who played with Arma and Aarons etc through the academy and is currently in the U21’s team. Very creative and capable of beating defenders and getting in quality crosses. He’s called Callum Roberts and hopefully he might get a chance this season too. Not short of pace and can pick a killer pass through the channels. With Rafa’s coaching, he could save us a transfer fee for certain.

  • 17 Bobbybee // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:09 PM

    If i was Rafa, I’d keep plenty money back for January. For one, regardless of what money we get for Sissoko and Gini, the chances of replacing like for like in the Championship are zero. However, if we are clear at the top by January and knocking bets for promotion, then persuading quality players to join us becomes easier. A few months in the Championship followed by the PL under Rafa is a good prospect for any ambitious player.

  • 18 clinath@ed // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:12 PM

    my thoughts too lads

  • 19 Shadow_Shearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:23 PM

    Times the game??

  • 20 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    The game is 19:45.

    I see Cisse has scored on his home debut. Took him 14 minutes off the bench.

  • 21 lordy_geordie // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:28 PM

    Yeah but didnt look like much of a goal. First shot blocked.

  • 22 Shadow_Shearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:29 PM


    Seriously?? He barely scored a goal for us in the last 10 games. Only 1 I can remember was against liverpool. Here he is scoring 14 minutes in his debut.
    Looks to me he was out of motivation here.

  • 23 Bobbybee // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:33 PM

    JDDubai, not seen those rules yet, but it beggars the question as to how Rooney will get through 90 mins, with his foul mouth! Then again, the rules will be laxed a bit for manure – aren’t they always? 😉

  • 24 ToonRich // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    Looking forward to tonights match…I’ve only been to the Keepmoat once before when we last played them!

    Any idea of starting line up?

  • 25 Bobbybee // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    Shadow, or against better quality players over here? Maybe the chinese don’t play offside? 😉

  • 26 Spoof // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:36 PM


    I can see your logic but without the quality of Gini, Sissoko and lets not forget Townsend would we have enough quality to be clear at the top come January, are we not in danger of concentrating too much on a balanced squad due to fear of the heavy schedule and possibly forgetting that we also need a good side and not only a good squad.

    With the possible exception of Gamez which is due to my own personal dislike of Janmaat who I feel is dreadful (personal opinion only) I would suggest that the team is possibly weaker than what it was last season as for me Ritchie is not as good as Townsend, is Gayle better than Mitro assuming we play the expected 4-2-3-1 so they won’t play together that much, is Hanlay better than what we have, is Hayden better than Tiote or Colback, and whoever takes over from Sissoko and Gini will have to be some player, we seen to have bought quite a few squad players, I just hope that there is enough quality amongst them, on that we will find out, but a couple of marquee signings at this point would for me be very welcome.

  • 27 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    He will probably start smashing in worldies soon! Half volleys from impossible angles and that! I’ll never forget that annoying grin when he has just been caught offside for the millionth time!

    Some canny goals though, I’ll give him that.

  • 28 Bobbybee // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:45 PM

    Spoof, i’d love to see some marquee signings too, but we are what we are – a Championship club. Marquee signings aren’t queing up to join Championship clubs matey, which is why we’re losing ours. Rafa pointed this out immediately after he signed. He’s looking for players he can improve with better coaching, because he’s fully aware persuading PL quality players to join us in the second tier won’t be easy.

  • 29 Jail for Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:51 PM

    255 goals over four years??? If you take away the the seven, all the six, five, four and three nil hidings we didn’t really concede that many to be honest.

  • 30 Spoof // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:52 PM


    When I say marquee I don’t mean £25M+ players as they aren’t as you say going to come to the Championship, but a marquee for this division is what I mean ( if that term excist’s in this league ) perhaps a Danny Ings or another winger as we are relatively short of numbers there of a quality which is far better than what is normally found in this league.

  • 31 clinath@ed // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:53 PM

    spoof I agree with you that the new players are possibly not as good as those that may b leaving, or have left.
    But what, I believe, we will have this season, is a much better team, and that is the important thing.

  • 32 JDdubai // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:53 PM

    Spoof @26

    Surely our performance LY tells us that what looks good o paper counts for nowt compared to a solid, organised unit playing “properly” and actually giving everything each game.

    Of course, on paper, our side will look worse off after being relegated but the squad and team as a whole will be stronger in the long run.

  • 33 JAMSHA // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:54 PM

    Jib // Jul 20, 2016 at 1:56 PM
    The usual thing about fakes – please don’t
    shout at me if it doesn’t work.
    However I have a feeling this could be
    Rovers own stream

    Thats Fake Link Mate, Same User On Youtube Name Queen WhosHad Our Last Game Stream Link All Turn Out To Be Fake

  • 34 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    Looking back i noticed a few did reply to my “hows are squad looking” question. Thanks. I lost all connection so could not keep up with the discussion.

  • 35 Spoof // Jul 20, 2016 at 3:56 PM


    your probably right and hopefully it’s just me being overly wary as this is Newcastle and when does good things ever happen to us, at my age it’s natural to be wary.

  • 36 Bobbybee // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    Spoof, got to fly, maybe continue this later mate. I know exactly what you mean, but then, we rescued Townsend from obscurity and he still chose the PL and Palace agead of us. Footballers are strange creatures. 😉

  • 37 Shadow_Shearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:12 PM


    U make a very good point about the squad not been as good as last season. But I don’t think rafa plans on building from last season. I think he’s playing on building depth this season. Then season he will hopefully build quality on top of the depth.

  • 38 Sazzer // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:15 PM

    Hanley arrives:

  • 39 Shadow_Shearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:17 PM

    * then next season

  • 40 Mister Tuff // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    I see that Twitter pic is outside the Hilton at Gateshead. At least he’s here.

  • 41 JamesToon // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:25 PM


    Your forgetting that we are in the second division, we are not going to be able to “improve” the supposed “ability” of the likes of Gini and Sissoko. However I’d argue that we can replace them with players who have better attitudes and want to be successful with this club. Can you tell me a winger in the championship better than Matt Ritchie? Any strikers you reckon that are better than Gayle/Mitro? Any CB’s better than Lascelles/Mbemba? Any defensive mids better than Tiote?

    We will have a team that will be made up of youth, experience and leadership. Far more mentally strong and hungrier than the squad we had last season. As I’ve said before, I’d rather have a team of 11 championship quality players who have the stomach to fight and do whatever it takes to get the club back up, rather than a team with a few players of Sissoko/Wijnaldum quality that are supposed “champions league quality” yet when the going gets tough, they go into hiding.

  • 42 OneAlanShearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    We are building a balanced side. I’d like another fullback, attacking midfielder/winger and a striker. Then I’d say we are good to go. If tiote goes I’d want an experienced dm as well.

  • 43 JamesToon // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    Would rather have a strong group of players than a weak group of players with a few apparent “top class” players like we had last year. Imo, we have done well with these signings, this is the best transfer window we’ve had in a while so far

  • 44 Shadow_Shearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    I apologise if this sounds very negative, but I don’t see Hanley as a good signing. I dont rate him. I hope he proves me wrong, & becomes a very good signing
    But at the moment I see lascelle & mbemba first choice, hayden 2nd choice, & Hanley 3rd.
    I reckon that’s why negotiations took so long for Hanley, we didn’t want to overpay for a 3rd choice player.

  • 45 OneAlanShearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:27 PM

    I want shelvey to stay but I’m still hoping for some Spanish flair in midfield.

  • 46 JamesToon // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:28 PM


    I don’t know much about him, but the fact that he was blackburns captain suggests that he will only be positive for the dressing room, is that kind of gritty players we will need for a long hard championship season, and if Rafa thinks he’s what we need then that’s all I need to know

  • 47 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:30 PM

    I am surprised at how many people dont rate Hanley. Although i myself do not follow as much football as others, i am shocked to see that people seem to know so much about Hanley, enough to form a considered opinion on rating him.

  • 48 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:31 PM

    Like the bit about the 3 systems against Barcelona !

  • 49 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:32 PM

    I hadnt even heard of him until we were linked.

  • 50 JamesToon // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:34 PM

    Not trying to criticise anyone or call anyone deluded, I just think some people need to realise more about what the championship is about. It’s not a case of having the “quality” of Wijnaldum and Sissoko and then walking the league, it requires players to fight and who are mentally strong and to go to a cold rainy Friday night at Burton Albion and play their hearts out, because they WANT the club to be successful. It’s not so much about having all the quality, it’s more about the mentality. And that’s what Rafa is building. We can’t attract players like we could before in the prem, we’re not going to be linked with the likes of PEA, Remy, Zouma etc because we’re not a premier league club. We will be able to make those marquee signings when we are back in the prem. But I’d argue e’re having one of the best transfer windows under Ashley we’ve ever had. No more French/Dutch unproven lightweights who go into hiding when the going gets tough *cough* Sissoko *cough* we are signing players who have experience of this league AND the prem, with youth and experience, I think if you asked the other 23 clubs in our league, they’re take every single one of our signings everyday of the week

  • 51 Mister Tuff // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:43 PM

    YCMIU – opinions on players we have not seen/seen much of – I think there is a tendency for us to personally import other peoples opinions in the first instance and being able to watch the player for ourselves our assessments are “updated”.
    Take Armstrong for example – without doubt a decent player with a good future. His goals last season/and for England show he can finish.
    But what stage is he at now How many on here visited the Ricoh last season on a regular basis to check him out.
    none that I recall.
    So until you see a player yourself – it is just a matter of opinion.

  • 52 Mister Tuff // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:44 PM

    We all at sometime employ the Dennis Wise method of assessing players – by video.

  • 53 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 4:52 PM


    Yeah, scouting by you tube. I just get the impression he has been written off before he has kicked a ball.

  • 54 GeordieTwo // Jul 20, 2016 at 5:00 PM

    Very disappointed to say I didn’t get to watch Whitecaps vs Crystal Palace. All I know is it ended 2-2. Both Caps CB’s scored (David Edgar was one of them, you may remember him from some time ago). Both Palace goals were scored by Frazier Campbell).

  • 55 GeordieTwo // Jul 20, 2016 at 5:02 PM

    Hanley will have to prove himself but if Rafa has shown interest in him I would think that bodes well for him and means he’s a fairly decent footballer. Many CB’s don’t have lightning speed but know how to get where they need to be. All this complaining about his pace seems a bit ill-considered. Let’s see what he looks like on the pitch.

  • 56 Spoof // Jul 20, 2016 at 5:04 PM


    I think your missing the point mate, no one is suggesting that we go out and buy £25m+ players, even if we had the money they wouldn’t come, but so much is getting said about squad balance, fighting spirit, championship experience etc etc, and yes undoubtedly we will need those aspects and need them in abundance but those ingredients alone will not be enough if there isn’t enough quality, you have got to have the quality as well, the top two teams and the following four will have those aspects but the top two will be the two who have just that little bit more quality and we have to make sure that we have that and with Sels, Gamez, Hayden and Hanley are we sure that we have that quality, I think that Gayle and Ritchie will be ok but can we be certain about the rest, we don’t know for sure, that is all that has been said and for me it is a fair point when you consider that very few of us had even heard of 4 of our 6 signings, no one is being deluded or unrealistic, I’m just asking a fair question.

  • 57 Mister Tuff // Jul 20, 2016 at 5:08 PM

    G2 – the ultimate test.
    “Let’s see what he (they) looks like on the pitch.”

  • 58 GeordieTwo // Jul 20, 2016 at 5:10 PM

    I think Gamez will add tremendous skill to the team Spoofy@56. As for Sels, he will have to play well whenever he has an opportunity. Ritchie should be excellent and won’t spend his time crying to the press like somebody we know. Hanley has the size and experience to be our CB leader. Gayle should excel if paired with Mitro. The signings are excellent for the job that has to be done. Another fullback (LB) coming in would help and I would like to see us get another AM Who knows about Hayden? But we have Tiote for now.

  • 59 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 5:14 PM


    Agreed. We have to see all our signings play before we judge.

    Not having a go here, but…
    Can we be sure on ANY of our signings,until they play for us? Have you or anyone else REALLY seen enough of any of the new players to be SURE if they will have the quality? In reality, we have to rely on the judgement of the people who scouted and signed them.

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