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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!!

Experienced Center-Back Eyeing Revenge Against Wolves

2:35 pm, Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 62 Comments

We’ve been surprised that 24 times capped Scottish International Grant Hanley hasn’t had more playing time since he arrived at Newcastle.

Hanley arrived from Blackburn where he had been captain and played 46 times for the club last season with a couple of goals.


Grant Hanley after scoring against QPR last Tuesday

In fact in the last four Championship seasons since Blackburn Rovers were relegated from the Premier League back in 2012, Grant has played 162 times with 7 goals for Rovers so he hasn’t exactly been on the bench much.

So far he’s made only 3 appearances for Newcastle with one goal.

Grant has been talking to nufcTV today:

“There are a number of players fighting for positions, it’s only going to do the squad good.” “It can help everybody improve.”

“Cup runs are always great. They are good for the fans and the players.” “The manager gets a chance to rotate his squad.”

“It’s good when you get into the later rounds and get that cup atmosphere around the place, it’s good for everybody.”

“After you have a bad game you always have a chance to put things right pretty quickly in this league.”

“It’s now a chance for a wee bit of revenge.”

“The main focus here is promotion, our season isn’t going to revolve around getting our own back on Wolves.”

“But it’s a chance to put the right the wrongs of Saturday.”

The back four had a real poor day at the office  last Saturday afternoon and we expect a number of changes to be made and Karl Darlow will also deservedly get  a chance tonight.

And we should hear shortly if Newcastle’s appeal against Vurnon Anita’s red card has been upheld.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · EFL · EFL Cup · Grant Hanley · Newcastle News · Squad

62 responses so far ↓

  • 1 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    promotion this year= utopia

  • 2 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    not with this team any way

  • 3 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Sorry clint, Ed beat me to it. Reply on previous page mate.

    Budge, I’m defending the rotation system because Rafa has won virtually every competition with it. It works for him and all the players are more than happy with it. If we keep picking the same team we’ll lose players through injury, or tiredness, or suspension because fatigue results in a badly timed challenge. This is a system that has won Rafa everything in the game, are we so special that he should change a winning formula just to suit the opinions of some of our fans? Remind me what we’ve won whilst Rafa has been sweeping everything before him? I want to see a winning side and Rafa is a serial winner. We should let him get on with what he does best – winning things.

  • 4 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    so rafa rotate as much as u want, u r not gonna make it,already 3 loses and visibly more on the way.

  • 5 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 2:51 PM

    not this time unfortuntely

  • 6 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 2:53 PM

    what rotation when it was blatant to see that gayle hardly saw anytime on the ball on saturday and how benitez remedied it?????it simply went past him

  • 7 clinath@ed // Sep 20, 2016 at 2:58 PM

    Bobby, no didn’t vote a draw….but was amused by your counting obsession. A little worried about your mental health there for a while.
    Expect a good reaction tonight, probably a stronger team than Rafa would have liked to pick pre saturday. Could be a close affair, but i am confident.

  • 8 clinath@ed // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    I do not count the defeats, I am more interested in the average points scored. If we can keep above 2 points per game throughout the season we will end up in the to 4…hopefully top 2.

  • 9 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:02 PM

    Mautitoon, you’re entitled to your opinion mate, just as I am mine. We’ll see who’s right at the end of the season. 🙂 Or would you rather we went back to the ‘purples’ policy? Which is fine until injuries kick in and we have no decent back up. This way all players are getting used tp playing when called upon. The season’s just started so saying we won’t get promoted already is just a bit daft mate, no offence intended. We’re third. 15 points from the last 18 will certainly see us promoted if we continue in this way. Five game winning streak with no goals conceded had to end somewhere. If we keep getting 15/18 points we’ll win it by a distance. We’ve got the best squad in the league and the rotation system will keep everybody fit. Have you heard any of our players say it’s not the right way? No. It’s far too early to say we will or won’t get promoted, but at this rate, we’ll be fine.

  • 10 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:07 PM

    There’s a very good reason Rafa is in charge and not you. I’ll let you work it out. 🙂

    Clint, I was having a good laugh last night marra. It’s just mind blowing that so called football fans don’t have a clue about the competitions we’re playing in. And despite me repeating it, people still insisted on putting down the draw! 🙂 Unreal.

  • 11 clinath@ed // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:09 PM

    Bobby, how did you work out my name is Clint?

  • 12 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:14 PM

    Clint, the average points is all that matters. 15 out of every 18 points available will see us win by a distance. What I find amazing is that some of our fans seem to think we should win every game. They forget the other eleven players on the same pitch who are also trying to win the game. Rafa didn’t get excited by the 6-0 at QPR and isn’t going the other way after one defeat. Even Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ didn’t win every game, why should we? Totally unrealistic expectations. Look what Rafa’s won whilst we’ve won jack shit. Nuff said really.

  • 13 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:16 PM

    Clint, is it? Lmao. I didn’t mate, it’s just easier than your blog name so I took a stab in the dark. Sounds cool anyway! 😉

  • 14 Spoof // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:20 PM

    Saturday was one rotation too many for me, Rafa has got to be careful with this rotation policy as it could bite him on the bum, he will continue with it as it has served him so well down the years, and we will get promoted and I fully expect us to win the league as well, this is a poor league and we are the best in it but sing Rafa’s praises as much as you like it is his mistakes which are costing us at present.

    First of all he has done a great job in assembling the squad he has, but what he seems to be forgetting is that as strong as this squad is it is probably the weakest that he has managed since his very early days in Spain, and what is catching him out imho is that he is so used to having quality players who blend in seamlessly that he has forgotten that a lower quality player may not be as effective at blending in as those that he is used to and as a result as we saw against Wolves we lost all of our fluidity, he needs to cut back on the amount of changes that he makes and he needs to be more ruthless, yes, I did say that as for me he is making changes solely to give everyone a game now and again, that needs to stop.

    First of all he was far to defensive in his team selection which thankfully does seem to have been rectified, but now we have no cohesion due to his over the top rotation, rotate by all means but not at the expense of losing your fluidity, he learnt the first mistake very quickly and I am sure that he will learn the second one just as quickly.

  • 15 clinath@ed // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:22 PM

    It is mate. Clinath is a mix between mine and my sons. when he was young it was the name we gave to our Avatar on games. Seemed appropriate on here….

  • 16 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:26 PM

    the season just started well it has not just started only for us mate,it has started for all of the team and at thesame time.then just wonder where huddersfield and co will be by the time we get our first ball kicking.sorry mate i just don.,t buy into the season has just begun,yeah,the season has just begun wand we are way behind,sorry to say that

  • 17 clinath@ed // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    Wolves made 5 changes from their 4-0 drubbing last Tuesday. Wolves fans were complaining after that defeat because he’d made 6 changes from the previous Saturday..??
    Rotation is not the problem per se, its the inability of those picked to perform.

  • 18 WWSBRD // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    Way behind? I must be reading the table wrong then

  • 19 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:31 PM

    by the way mate,how did you enjoy saturday’s match?i didn’t that’s y i’m so bitter today and i’m really sorry about that.i have nothing against u,just that i’m so unsure of our team.

  • 20 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    no u didn’t lol but wonder how u’ll be reading the table once we get a succession of saturday’s result in just a few occasions and believe me u have not yet seen the end of it…more of it to come but i just hope it does not start tonight.

  • 21 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    same question to u my friend,i believe u had an awesome time on saturday with our so to say breathtaking performance…hehe

  • 22 hibbit // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:37 PM

    spoof that’s were your wrong its not a poor league its very hard competitive physical and a very long season
    we were never going to win every game as some on here seem to think ok Rafa’s made some mistakes but its a learning curve for him and his staff but i am sure in the long run Rafa will help reach our goal of promotion to the prem

  • 23 hibbit // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:39 PM


    way behind ??????

  • 24 WWSBRD // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:39 PM

    Bud we won 6 in a row before Wolves

  • 25 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    Mautitoon, I’ll bet a pound to a penny Huddersfield won’t be there when the season ends. Promotion is the target – how are we way behind? This is a marathon, not a sprint mate and the team with the best squad and fittest will come out on top. We’ve got that squad. Flapping after eight games? Come on matey, get real.

    Spoof, presuming you were there on Saturday, you must have seen that the team selected was good enough if they’d played anywhere near their best. They didn’t. They let us down and they let Rafa down. Couldn’t control the ball, let alone the game, but that certainly wasn’t what Rafa asked them to do. Shit happens mate, but 15/18 points is promotion material in anybody’s books. Stay calm and trust Rafa to get it right. His record is second to none and he’s already transformed the club beyond recognition and the further we go, the better it will get. Nobody gets promoted after eight games. We, more than any other club should know that the title goes down to the wire, where even a 13 point gap can be caught. We’ve had one bad game in six. I’ll take that for the rest of the season personally.

  • 26 clinath@ed // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:42 PM

    its a marathon…not a sprint

  • 27 WWSBRD // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:43 PM

    1 performance a season does not make

  • 28 ron burgundy // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:45 PM

    drop the non-performers

  • 29 MadisonToon // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:49 PM

    Expectations of a rotating squad:

    Slightly weaker early in the season as players don’t have complete consistency with who they need to be linking up with.

    Much stronger end of the season as players are fresher than their competition and have been given the chance to learn how to work with all of the other players not just the few that they are on the same line with.

    A principle of motor learning could be useful here –

    blocked practice (practice in which you do the same things many times) will lead to better performance of that exact skill, but no additional performance in related skills
    – in this case, better performance of a starting XI that never gets rotated because they keep playing together


    mixed practice (practice in which you attempt many different variations of the same skill) will lead to greater overall performance across a range of similar skills
    – in this case better overall performance from each of a range of starting XIs

    In essence, Rafa is pushing mixed practice by rotating the starting XI which will result in better overall performances form whatever XI goes out there. If he was able to have a starting XI that never needed subs AND never got hurt AND always had full fitness, then he should only play them…but we all know that isn’t the way football works – rotation will lead to better overall performances, we just need to take a step out and see the forest for the trees.

  • 30 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:50 PM

    totally agree on that with u,but i’m just too dismayed after saturday’s result,don’t think that when i’m critical of the team’s perfarmance that i’m against it,i’m a newcastle fan afterall and as others i’m as desperate as u for the team to find its nobless of yesteryears and would u blame me for that,hehe,guess not.

  • 31 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:51 PM

    Mautitoon, I’ve been going to SJP all my life mate and Saturday was a disaster. However, the previous six were really enjoyable. Do you seriously expect us to win every game? If so, you’re slightly deluded mate! 🙂 No, I didn’t enjoy Saturday and doubt anybody there in black and white did, but that’s football mate. But, when other sides are struggling to put out a team later in the season, we won’t be. I find it incredulous that anybody can judge a season on one bad game. Five wins and five clean sheets says more than one game where the team played like amateurs surely? It was pants and nobody is saying any different matey, but sometimes ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ is a disappointment. We beat Sheff Weds by a cricket score when SBR first came in, followed by a defeat. That’s football.

  • 32 Yorkshire Magpie // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:52 PM

    for god sake im getting fed up of reading this bi-polar blog. from last week everyone worshiping the ground Rafa walks on to this week he’s not good enough and you can all do better. yes we were very poor on sat and we were very good against QPR. that’s not down to rotation as Rafa only changed 3 players so stop going on and on and on about it. this is the system Rafa has always run and he’s been quite successful with it so who are you to question him? bad results are always going to happen but we are still in a good position and I do think the squad will only get stronger as the season goes on.

  • 33 MadisonToon // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    Yorkshire Magpie

    Spot on. The good will outweigh the bad this season and we need to take a page out of Rafa’s book (and any other manager worth his wages) and not overreact either direction.

  • 34 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    Missed the bit where i should’ve said ‘been going all my life and been disappointed many times.’

  • 35 Macas // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:56 PM

    Do we really have the best squad?
    We’ve been playing Gouffran on the wing, that doesn’t strike me as a team with lots of options out wide.
    Hopefully Atsu will come good but if we picked up a couple of key injuries, for example Ritchie and Shelvey, I would worry about how well we would cope with that.
    Rotation isn’t the issue for me, in most areas we have replacements, but we are definitely short of quality creative players.

  • 36 Average_Contents // Sep 20, 2016 at 3:57 PM

    Isn’t it 15 points out of 24 or are we not counting the first two games.

    That sounds a lot like McCardew speak to me.

    15 points is a pretty decent return so far imo.

    New players, new league and fairly new manager who needs to get his ideas across.

    Let’s not go crazy eh.

  • 37 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:01 PM

    Yorkie, bang on matey. Our ‘purples’ experiment failed miserably and was always likely to come a cropper when injuries and suspensions kicked in. We begged Rafa to stay for a reason – he’s a serial winner. I thought everybody knew he would play it this way, as this is how he’s always done it and had huge success with it. I’m still pinching myself that he’s our manager after years of pure dross. I’ll take the odd loss as long as we keep winning most of the games.

  • 38 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:05 PM

    only hpe what u r saying is not a sour grape mechanism mate and that u know better since u’ve been to sjp for long,i’m not as fortunate as u but i only wish my team well, by the way how much point do u expect us to board on, i give u the benefit of the doubt in r5elation to what u might have been expecting at the beginning of the season and by the way,truthfully how many points were u giving us at the begginning of the season?

  • 39 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:05 PM

    AC, I was counting the games re rotation. The first two rotation wasn’t really involved. Since those first two – where we were caught out fair and square – our run has been 15/18. That was my point mate, I’m not trying to gloss over anything. Let’s be honest, the first couple of games are generally a lottery that turn up crazy results. If we continue at this rate we’ll be fine.

  • 40 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:06 PM

    may i board yr ship sire?

  • 41 Spoof // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:06 PM


    I think you need to read my post again and if you do you will see that I was pretty much level headed, as you rightly sat Rafa has made mistakes, I said that myself, you say its a learning curve for him, so I imagine that you feel that he will learn from his mistakes, I said exactly the same, not ever have I suggested that we would win every game, apart from the quality of the league which we may have to disagree on we have pretty much said the same, so I’m not really sure that I get what your point is, seeing as we are pretty much singing from the same hymm sheet ?

  • 42 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:12 PM

    Mautitoon, if you check my rewrite you’ll see i missed out the first bit where I said ‘i’ve been disappointed many times’. Not sure where sour grapes come into it though, we both want the same thing. I predicted 103 points and to finish top which is still on by the way. I just don’t see how one bad game destroys our season, that’s all.

  • 43 YoungMagpieFromBurnley // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:12 PM

    Can I change my Rafa bingo? Or am I f*****? Lol.

  • 44 jon.c // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:13 PM

    Mautitoon Get a life you must the most miserable bloke in town we don’t want supporters like you

  • 45 Ron Knee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    Vurnon Anita recalled to the Holland squad for next month’s games with Belarus and France #nufc

  • 46 hibbit // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:17 PM


    i dont agree with you that championship is is a poor league thats all
    maybe i should have spit my 2 comments up i do agree with the bulk of what you said

  • 47 Average_Contents // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:18 PM


    Welcome aboard.

    Now walk the plank….

  • 48 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    yeah i am and believe me i’ve marked this word of yours and u can be pretty sure that yr these words won’t take lond to bite u,yeah of this i’m daft sure,cheers

  • 49 Ron Knee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:19 PM


    That’s a bit harsh! He’s entitled to his opinion, surely.

  • 50 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:20 PM

    Macas, for the Championship, yes, we do have the best squad – one that will be improved in January as well. The Gouff has been one of our better players this season, certainly one of the most consistent, so not sure what you mean by that. We’re no longer a PL club, which is why we’ve lost some of our so called ‘stars’, so it’s no surprise we haven’t got a team to compete in the PL. That will come when we get promoted. He’s building a squad to get promoted and we should be fine with what we have.

  • 51 Spoof // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:21 PM


    not sure if you have read my view on the season so far, pretty much up and down, which at the season’s start could be expected as you say, but my view is longer term, I think we will go up and I also think that we will win this league, so I’m not a Rafa basher, but I still have concerns, if Rafa can rotate and at the same time keep the fluidity within the side then it is a no brainer as later in the season where fatigue set’s in with other teams it won’t with us, but can we keep that fluidity, I’m not so sure as the way I view it so far is that apart from QPR where we were very fluid we have sort of muddled through games managing to get the three points, but never have we really looked a good fluid side, apart from QPR, and possibly Brighton as I thought we were terrific there, and the big question is, what is the most important, having a settled fluid side where adrenalin can take you a long way, or fitness levels without fluidity, well the chances are you could guess what my view is, cut the rotation down and lets get a settled and fluid side, but no doubt others will say the polar opposite of myself with good reason as well, isn’t this a wonderful sport———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–by nthe way I am right, I had to sneak that in somewhere lol

  • 52 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    Ron Knee
    thanks for the moral support mte,lol afterall the truth is often bitter,lol

  • 53 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:24 PM

    Jon, have you never read Leazes Ender – or Bell as I like to call him? He comments on the Mag and The Chronic. Now he really is the worst fan in the world mate! 🙂

  • 54 Ron Knee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:24 PM

    Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.

    Well, maybe not to the death, in this case!

  • 55 hibbit // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:26 PM


    i think this Mautitoon guy is on the wind up just seeing how far he can push things

    thats it for now off to the game lets hope its not a case of Déjà vu

  • 56 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:35 PM

    while u are at itwhy not have a go that i’m a mackem in disguise ,lolz

  • 57 Essex Geordie Bill // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:35 PM

    Didn’t we have a cr*p result prior to our promotion season ie a 6-1 loss to Leyton Orient.

    If we were to base that season on that result we’d be playing Gateshead now according to some people,

    I’ll start to panic if we are near the bottom at Xmas but I don’t think that is going to happen We’ll win the war of attrition as other teams lose players to injury and the club is probably in the best position to bring in players in January if needed, I doubt that that will be necessary though.

  • 58 Budge123 // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Bobby – what have we won whilst Rafa sweeps all before him you patronisingly asked me.

    My reply to that would be the Championship.

    He has won 2 league titles in his career I believe. Hardly sweeping all before him.

    He is a great manager and it is great and truly exciting that he is at Newcastle.

    But he isn’t omnipotent.
    I’ve never once suggested we should win every game. I’ve suggested the best thing for this club to get out of this league is with momentum of win after win. Exactly what we had before Wolves.
    It seemed rotation for the sake of it . It was players out of position. It was tactics unsuited to the 11 on the pitch. It didn’t change as early as it should have. I don’t think any of that can be argued with?

    To question Rafa isn’t a crime.

  • 59 Spoof // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:38 PM


    I did sort of guess that, for me to see how weak this league is all you have to do is look at Huddersfield, they were in this league last season and they were in a relegation dog fight for the entire season, they nearly went down, but now after a total spend of £2m they have transformed themselves into promotion contenders, how have they done that, confidence, nothing more and nothing less, yes I accept that confidence is huge in football it really is, but can confidence transform a team to the extent that Huddersfield have been transformed, I have my doubts so my guess is that the Huddersfield transformation was greatly added to due to the weakness of the league.

    At the end of the season you will get 21 managers saying that it is a difficult league to get out of because they have failed to get out of it, forgetting about the relegation issues obviously, but is it difficult or is that they are just poor teams, I think they are poor teams who deserve to be stuck where they are, a little bit of quality and a little bit of nouse will get you out of this league, and even though I don’t like Rafa’s rotation policy I am convinced that with Rafa we have more, much more than enough to get promoted.

  • 60 MAUTITOON // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:39 PM

    now that’s a proper reply and to believe we sent our best squad at home bar mitro,well well……

  • 61 Bobbybee // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:45 PM

    Budge, to question Rafa will never be a crime, but why did you expect anything else? Picking out two league wins is fine, if you add all the other things he’s won as well, including Champions League and Europa Cup. So we’ve won the Championship? Shouldn’t have been there to win it mate, not really.
    Check out Rafa’s history and you’ll find he’s ALWAYS done it this way. What makes us so special that he should change a winning formula? We wanted Rafa, and that includes everything he brings – including rotation. I’m just amazed people expected anything different.

  • 62 Jib // Sep 20, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    In “The Friends of Voltaire”

    Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote the phrase:

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

    It is often misattributed to Voltaire himself

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