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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!!

Benitez – This Doesn’t Help – We Have To Start Again

8:55 am, Monday, August 15th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 14 Comments

It’s something that has come as a major shock to Newcastle fans and given the pre-season when Newcastle were installed as odds-on favorites to get promotion this season, we have started the season with two defeats in a row and one of them at home in front of a sold-out 52,000 fans at St. James’ Park.


That’s not the way we wanted to start the season or expected to start the season.

gayle scores aftre penalty saved huddersfield

Dwight Gayle heads home on Saturday to put Newcastle level

But that’s what’s happened and as manager Rafa Benitez has said – it doesn’t help blaming each other and the team simply has to start again and do a  lot better.

The lads have to learn what the team has not been doing and start doing the things they practice every day in training.

This is Rafa summing up our current situation:

“It’s not just about the division, you know that when we play at home teams will be organised and play deep. They will play counter-attack.”

“It’s nothing new that we should expect. It’s just more that we need to play with confidence to break down these teams.”

“We need to do what we do in training sessions that we aren’t doing in the games.”

“We were nervous and we gave the other team the belief they could do something.”  “Obviously, the two goals are something that’s difficult to explain.”

“But the team still have to better. The second half was much better, but still not enough to win this type of game.”

“Now we have to start again. We can blame each other or anyone but it doesn’t matter, we have to work harder and play better and be sure we don’t make the same mistakes in the next game.”

“In these games, you need to be very sharp and focused. Huddersfield were really up for it at the beginning of the game and they did really well.”

“The system that we want to play, you need to be patient on the ball and spread the play and let them run.”

“But, if we lose the ball, it can be very difficult and that is what we did at times.” “If you are focused and concentrated then you can get results against these teams.”

“We want to do a lot better.”

The terrible start to the season may have caused some fans to think of the disaster scenario this season – that we don’t get promoted.

Just like last season’s disaster scenario was to be relegated.

But it’s very early in the season to start even thinking that defeatist way – and also can be extremely painful – so I don’t recommend it at all.


There’s no good reason with the players we have that once Rafa gets them understanding more fully how he wants them to play and then producing the goods on match-day, that we cannot start to play much better and get some good results.

Rafa showed he could do that when he first came in last March and we lost three of the first four games and drew at home to Sunderland in the other game.

But the poor start this season has shown you can never take anything for granted in football – whatever division we are playing in.

Howay The Lads!!

Comments welcome.

Tags: Championship · Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Other News

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 gorgonzola ( former Pecorino former to gorgonzola) // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:08 AM


  • 2 Ian Toon // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:10 AM

    Toon // Aug 15, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    BandB- We are in agreement and I won’t seek to dispute the choice of insidious over invidious. This is just the beginning of a devised programme an overhaul of years of neglect and the rebuilding of a club capable of progressing- rather than stagnating. In the short term there will be a few twists and turns as in any new venture. My overblown point is that positive change is not always immediately appreciated. I would suggest that the Hudd’fd game was a regression over the Fulham game. Not all of the fan base fully appreciate that it requires just pushing a button and have just bought into the hype. It is an opinion but Benitez has a hell of a lot to lose- failure is not an option. Ideally he would have liked to have kept the likes of Townshend , Sissoko, Tiote and Cisse. Pragmatism is called for – give and take.

    Benitez is still experimenting – some players settle quickly others don’t but in the longer run could make a more meaningful contribution. We are all learning from the experience of having a top draw manager who is certainly on board with the self sufficiency programme because the value is already being seen at Beardsley’s level – so I was told over the weekend.

    The question for me, is whether Benitez is being fully backed- I am not just talking about spending Ashley’s money!! Clearly perception is all important and PR does have a role. I can see a time when it will be undertaken by other than solely Benitez.. I also personally value Charnley’s contribution and see him working with Benitez rather than being part of any subplot.

    Alignment of opinions often gives a misrepresented personal view.

    33Ian Toon // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    hibbitt- I was a season ticket holder either side of uni and before I went to London to work . I watch as many games live away as I can and the occasional at SJP . I have never booed my own side or individual players. It has already made us a laughing stock- from Winning the Championship to being booed after two games- one of which I saw and there was no booing only mass support. In football the fan base being highly vocal in support is usually the home crowd! Bobby b is one such fan. A model to young and older fans alike. I don’t share the ” you pay your money and you makes your choice” Just my personal opinion. I prefer to support.

  • 3 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    The Championship is a long season. It isn’t won or lost in the first 2 games. Yes, our start has been very poor, and results have been deserved based on performances (at least from what I can garner reading various reports on the Huddersfield game), but I have no doubt it will pick up. Hopefully Rafa can see he has got the set up wrong both times, and changes his approach.

    Not sure why Munster is getting so much stick, when he has called it fairly straight on Rafa so far. Still, Rafa has more than enough to turn it round, but it will take him rethinking his preferred approach to the game. The ‘better playing not to lose than to win’ mentality has to be sidelined. In my time supporting the club I’ve never known that approach to work well here. The worrying thing is, defensive errors have cost us, and this is meant to be Rafa’s strong point – not that he can account for individual errors.

    It is a worry that creativity has been left so late to be addressed. I seem to remember Rafa mentioning a big signing earlier in the summer, and maybe this was the creative spark. It just hasn’t happened yet. It needs to. Soon.

  • 4 Rotonda heights // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Although I don’t really get the signings of Hanley and Clark as a priority, I think our only major failing is creativity. It’s a shame Knockaert and Forestieri weren’t targeted in the off season, rather than now appearing to be desperate and expensive last minute solutions. Carr really hasn’t been of much help to anyone.

  • 5 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:19 AM

    Whilst I agree this is the start of a major overhaul, and it will not be plain sailing. This was also your argument last summer to counter what some fans viewed as an underwhelming transfer window and a laughable football board.

  • 6 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    Carr? Is he all of a sudden back doing the transfers just because we lost a couple of games and Benitez can’t be criticised?

  • 7 Rotonda heights // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:22 AM


    Munster has made some valid points but he and a couple of others do seem to have had a bit of a downer on rafa from the start , as if it was his fault we got relegated etc, when in his brief 10 games, the last 6 were 3 wins and 3 draws unbeaten.

  • 8 BandB // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:24 AM


    I have replied to you where you originally posted this.
    I’ll spare you the repost.

  • 9 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Rafa got it wrong in keys games last season that would have seen us stay up. Yes, unbeaten in 6, but 3 of those were against the other worst teams in the league. We failed to score (or create much) against Villa, and were second best for a long period at home against Sunderland. Benitez only had 10 games, but had we been better against both of those (and Norwich) then we would have stayed up.

    He got us a bit more organised defensively, the rest was ‘big name’ players lifting their games as they were in a game that may get them spotted for a transfer. Pretty much as we were under Pardew, Carver etc.

  • 10 Rotonda heights // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:29 AM


    Carr shouldn’t be here. end of. How many of his buys, apart from a few obvious ones, have been of any use to any of our managers, even the c–p ones during his tenure at the club.

    Surely if carr is retained as head scout rafa has asked his opinion and deferred to him on a regular basis. None of these buys, gamez apart, really sound much like rafa signings. So yes rafa may be rubber stamping them, but who is advising him if not carr and if not carr why is carr still at the club?

  • 11 kimbo // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    First step is to drop Anita, this will make a massive difference, he offered nothing to the game apart from passing backwards and running slower than my 92 year old mother in law. Benitez has been a disappointment so far this season, get a grip Rafa or lose on Wednesday and the honeymoon period is over.

  • 12 DeanToon88 // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    I don’t like how negative and empty in terms of atmosphere st James park is lately and has been over the last 6-7 year, everytime i go to watch a game the stadium feels dead – devoid of life and excitement, there’s only the Gallowgate end that sings and the rest of the stadium is just quiet, it certainly does not help the players when the fans are not behind the team and only makes them more nervous, the fans need to get behind the team and lift them, i’m not just talking about small sections of the crowd im talking about the whole of st James park roaring on the lads.

    Teams in the championship are always going to come here to a big ground and play like they have a point to prove, we have to show that when they come to st james park they know what they are in for, and we need to go at them all guns blazing from the start.

    And booing the players off the pitch after 2 games is just disgraceful to be honest.

  • 13 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 15, 2016 at 9:35 AM

    So Hanley, Ritchie, Clark and Gayle are all your stereotypical Carr signings? Many have banged on about Rafa’s database. Carr is part of the scouting team, but through the summer most seemed happy with a lot of the business done, and saying that Rafa was in charge, and you could see that from the incomings. Funny how now we lose a couple of games Carr has been in charge.

    Rafa isn’t infallible. His transfer record at Liverpool was average at best – which I think we can all agree wasn’t Carr’s fault. I’d argue he has too much control over all and sundry at the club.

  • 14 BoyNUFC // Aug 15, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    Away on holiday and not been able to get on here as much. Really poor and (for me, unexpected) results but I still have belief that Rafa will sort things out, sooner rather than later! I read an article yesterday that recalled Sunderland’s last promotion season. They lost their first 4 games and went on to be gain promotion as champions that season. I’m sure it’s already been mentioned on here as I haven’t been able to read the blog for a few days but fingers crossed something similar will happen to us!! Keep the faith!

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