Newcastle Enforcer – We’re Correcting Those Mistakes – Home Form So Important


Newcastle have played nine games this year and we have picked up 3 wins and 4 draws for 13 points.

That’s not too bad a return and it seems we need three more wins in our remaining 8 games to be safe from relegation.

One good thing that’s happened this year is that we are starting to play really well at home as witnessed in the last two home games against Manchester United and Southampton.

Both wins and two clean sheets too – who would have ever thought that was possible?

And we need to keep the good home up in our four remaining home games starting with Huddersfield at home two weeks on Saturday, after a three-week break.

Mo Diame – in action at home to Manchester United

Mo Diame has been in excellent form for us this year as the midfield enforcer and he has given an interview in the Chronicle today where he talks about how crucial our home form is:

“We have had two very big wins at St James’ Park in the last couple of games but we need to make sure we keep going,”

“This stadium has to be our fortress, with all the fans pushing us in every game – just like they did during the win over Southampton.”

“We have to give our best to win these games, we are doing well and must keep doing it.”

“I think we had some problems and little details earlier in the season that we couldn’t sort out for a while.”

“We made mistakes and it cost us some points at home.”

“But we’ve been working hard on the training ground, correcting these issues, and we are focused to keep making less mistakes going forward.”

“To be honest, it helped us a lot that we scored the first goal so early.” 

“It put away a lot of the pressure and made us just work hard to make sure we made the most of that.”

“Other teams know it is very hard when you concede goals against Newcastle this season because we have done well defensively.”

“A lot of people may have been criticising us for the way we played against Manchester City when we played deep and defended a lot.”

“But it could be important at the end of the season for our goal difference.”

“We are doing well, the team just needs to keep going.”

Rafa was only able to bring in three loan players in January and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and winger Kenedy have made a huge difference to the team.

They have both settled in well and if we have both these players next season we will do a lot better then this term.

We are likely to buy Dubravka (we have an option to buy him for €4M) but it could be more difficult to sign the 22-year-old Brazilian who is already a firm fan favorite.

And if we can get Islam Slimani fit then hopefully he can prove he deserves to be a permanent player at Newcastle too.

Surely he will be available for the home game against Huddersfield?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


66 comments so far

  • Little h

    Mar 13, 2018 at 9:22 AM

    Comment #1

    Hopefully slimani will get a game at huds other wise just send him back if he cant recover in an extra month hes no good get rid im hoping we will be good as we are any way gayle seems to want to shoot a bit more now he seems like his confidence is coming back

    0
  • The next Mike Williamson

    Mar 13, 2018 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #2

    We might have only brought 3 players in, but if you look at the team that was losing earlier in the season compared to now we also have Lascelles back, Dummet back, and Diame has transformed from a waste of space number ten, to a good defensive midfielder. So that is almost like 6 new players from the team that lost all the games.If Slimani can add anything and everybody stays fit then we could really push towards top ten. We look so much stronger without Eliot, Manquillo, Clark, Hayden, and the old Diame.

    2
  • RobLeenio

    Mar 13, 2018 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #3

    Jail, I was told yesterday to “pull my head out of my ar$e” regarding Mike Ashley (not by you), as I suggested this Summer’s contract negotiations could provide a ‘reset button’ opportunity for the Rafa / Ashley relationship. I think Ashley will have to at least consider this or Rafa will almost certainly walk, whether this Summer or at the end of his contract next Summer. If Rafa signs a contract on his terms, hopefully Ashley and his cronies’ influence at the club will diminish and leave us all in a better place going forward. Lots of ifs / maybes / unknowns, but I think it comes down to one big uncertainty in reality – will Rafa sign a new contract?

    1
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Mar 13, 2018 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #4

    I also think we are starting to look better because Rafa is playing a settled team apart from against Liverpool where we shuffled the pack and looked pretty disjointed to be fair!

    Wins against Man Utd , Southampton and the first 70 minutes against Bournemouth were the same team the defence never gets rotated but I think up front we are starting to get a better understanding because players are knowing each others game more!

    Rafa done this last season as well in the home straight we played quite a lot of the same team in games and crucially won our big matches such as Brighton and Huddersfield and I think we are going to see a strong finish again this season!

    Our level of pressing against Southampton was highly impressive we bullied them and it wasn’t so long ago I remember us going to their stadium and being destroyed by a couple of goals with Saylor all over the place…..

    2
  • DaveD1000

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #5

    RobLeenio
    Hopefully Ashley is gone by summer and your point is moot. However, Rafa can sit back and see what is on offer, there is no need for him to rush into signing and I cant see him taking Ashley’s verbals as gospel.

    2
  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #6

    Robleenio,
    Rafa can get all the assurances he wants on paper, verbally and told to the world. But it all boils down to him walking if he doesn’t get them. It doesn’t look like he does that. I’m not sure what will happen. One thing for sure though is he will continue to get months long saga over negotiations and third fourth choice options.

    2
  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #7

    In the short term Ashley doesn’t have to change that much. He just has to back Rafa when the money is there, and in his 11 year tenure he has done that, not always, but more often than not. It’s when Rafa inevitably wants more, that we start to get into uncharted territory. Ashley will no doubt think he now has the man to make his break even approach work, but Rafa will eventually want him to speculate to accumulate. That’s my best bet. I think Rafa will succeed in forcing Ashley to straighten his bat, but when he presses him to speculate against future success, then he’ll have a bigger fight on his hands.

    1
  • dig-n-dig22

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #8

    Robleno #3

    Do you not think that Rafa thought he had signed his “FIRST” contract on “HIS” terms, only to find out that a contract with Ashley doesn’t even bother with small print.

    3
  • magscar

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #9

    RobLeenio

    It is those who can’t move on who need to remove their heads from the proverbial. We are on the same page I think but as you say – will Rafa sign a new contract? – i think it is a possibility but by no means certain.

    Jail

    If he “doesn’t do that” (which I accept) then we have him for another year if no new deal. If he does sign I can only think some if not all of the creases have been ironed out. Rafa wants to stay but he won’t be held to ransom – Ashley might just have to be. As RobLeenio says there is a chance to press reset button – not my first choice by any means but something I might be able to live with if Rafa does stay.

    1
  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #10

    How many managers actually have quit at Newcastle? It’s a big club and a top job. Managers don’t jack it in too often. Rafa has leverage and will most likely want to stay, so he’ll use it first and foremost to that end.

    0
  • hibbit

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #11

    i dont know were all this new found faith / trust in Ashley is coming from but it will end in tears

    5
  • RobLeenio

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #12

    DaveD1000:

    “Hopefully Ashley is gone by summer and your point is moot”

    Yep, totally agree. Whether the relationship is reset or not, the fans will never trust Ashley again and a toxic cloud will forever hang over his ownership.

    1
  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #13

    I don’t think it’s faith or trust. It’s more looking at what he’s done in the past, which is noth periods of austerity and periods of spending, and the fact we now have Rafa to force him to keep his bat straight.

    0
  • magscar

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #14

    Dig

    If contract was broken then presumably Rafa could have already walked without fear of retribution. He hasn’t so either not so legally clear that it was broken as such or Rafa looking longer term is prepared to live with it for now and renegotiate from a position of strength later.

    Ashley wants him to talk about a new contract and yes could be simply a PR exercise which can lay blame with Rafa but surely Ashley isn’t as naive to think the fans will accept that cop out. Negotiations may as well not take place if that is the strategy- Rafa is not the one over a barrel in agreeing to further negatiations.

    Rafa might walk but he hasn’t yet despite all that has gone on so I am prepared to consider the reasonable proposition that he sees possibilities still if he stays. If it all falls apart as it well might then ” unlesh hell” as Maximus would say

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #15

    dig-n-dig, I doubt his first contract was on his own terms, although he may have thought it was, as by that point he never would have thought Ashley would fail to give him his backing. I think that January window in the Championship was a proper wake-up call to Rafa and the first inklings of what was to come. He’ll be far more careful with any future contract. Who wouldn’t be?

    1
  • RobLeenio

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #16

    Nicky, Pardew left but I don’t think anyone was crying at the time….

    0
  • Rob1971

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #17

    Nicky, Keegan walked twice, 2nd time due to Ashley, Gullit resigned so its happened

    1
  • RobLeenio

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #18

    Jail, your months-long saga prediction is sadly likely correct. I can’t see a new deal for Rafa being in place for the start of the Summer transfer window, which would be the ideal scenario – the timescales are too short. It’s likely we’ll have at least one more window where the fat man holds sway.

    0
  • hibbit

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #19

    Nicky
    Rafa or not Ashley will do it his way and his way has cost the club dearly 2 relegations and very nearly a 3rd
    our best hope is for to sell the club and let us move on

    3
  • griff

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #20

    It is a hopeful condition to believe a manager can control the owner.

    Let’s look at the situation – has Ashley ever stumped up for Rafa? Let’s peer closer – do three loans towards the end of the window look like supporting Rafa? In a period when Ashley has asked Rafa to extend his contract?

    If Rafa re-signs under Ashley, I would not doubt Rafa’s integrity. I would doubt his cunning.

    0
  • magscar

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #21

    hibbit

    There is no “newfound faith” in Ashley choosing to do the right thing unconditionally – just posters’ assessments of the stark reality facing Ashley if he doesn’t sell and then has to keep Rafa on board.

    Surely no one can see a scenario where no sale and no Rafa and Ashley soldiers on without any cataclysmic consequences can they? I cerainly don’t

    1
  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #22

    Nicky,
    He has only backed us when totally necessary, if he hadn’t of we’d be in league one by now. He’s never backed us once to push on. Is it not obvious, he is not interested in success. You seem to think that he has found a magic formula in Rafa who can keep us afloat under the same restrictions as Pardew. Rafa doesn’t want that, even Pardew bailed out of an eight year deal.

    2
  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #23

    Our best bet maybe, but not the most likely outcome I think. More likely that Rafa and Ashley reach a workable compromise for at least the last year of his contract.

    0
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #24

    It is actually quite an easy thing for Ashley to fix all he has to do is give Rafa a realistic budget plus all player sales which includes a breakdown of what we can pay out for wages and fees and not change his mind depending on what side of the bed he got up in the morning!

    From what I read Rafa gave him a presentation before pre season detailing what he needed and he wasn’t exactly asking for a crazy amount , Ashley then suddenly decided to pull back on deals as he wanted to “sell” the club!

    Rafa also got rid of loads of players this season so the excuse about having too many players won’t wash either especially as Haidara , Gamez are out of contract and Colback looks like getting a permanent move to Forrest as they love him there!!

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #25

    Even that every last penny is a fallacy, money siphoned off for shirt sales, catering etc.
    Nicky.
    What about that statement of breaking our transfer record then wouldn’t budge on Jorgensson.

    3
  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #26

    Nicky,
    A workable agreement for the last year of his contract unfortunately is the most sensible thing you’ve suggested.

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #27

    griff, it’s less about Rafa controlling Ashley than having specific clauses written into his contract about his role and responsibilities. ie Rafa makes the final decision on incoming / outgoing players based on available budget, has full oversight of the budget and is at least part of the group which allocates that budget. Ashley could write in clauses which state percentage of club budget spent on wages etc which would keep him within his fiscal targets, but Rafa wouldn’t have to go to Charnley for sign-off on inbound players, and he couldn’t have our star players sold from under him.

    This seems reasonable, but it’s whether Ashley would be prepared to agree to it.

    0
  • hibbit

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #28

    magscar@21
    i see that in your posts trying to see both sides of the debate
    but Ashley is a maverick used to getting his own way and definitely not to be trusted and more fool the man that does
    by far the best option is for him to sell

    3
  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #29

    Also, why must Ashley do it his way? Rafa has plenty of power, and Ashley little wriggle room. Circumstances change, people are different. This is not the same situation as when Pardew and Keegan walked, and Rafa is a cannier operator than both.

    0
  • magscar

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #30

    griif

    No manager can control an owner but the better and more coveted ones especially in a club’s desperation can mitigate the worst aspects of ownership and mold and shape the development given the inclination.

    Essentially I ( and presumably others) are realistic after 10 years but aren’t as blinkered by that to think Rafa hasn’t the experience and ability tostill be able to fashion something here . Ashley has more of a match than he has ever had and Rafa’s powerbase with fans is unassailable. Interesting times for sure!

    1
  • hibbit

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #31

    Nicky@22
    and if they don’t ??

    0
  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #32

    We’ll see Jail. To be honest I think its entirely sensible, or I wouldn’t be posting it. It’s certainly a bit more considered than your we’re f@#ked until Ashley sells one.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #33

    Nicky,
    Pardew walked because he knew they were going to sell two defenders and bring no one in during January, leaving him in the same mess that seen the crowd vent their spleen from the record losing streak the season before.

    0
  • griff

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #34

    Robleenio, we are talking about someone that makes deals for a living in a position of owner v. someone that is a gifted football manager that is negotiating employment. We should ever respect Ashley’s ability to get down and dirty in a deal and come up on top.

    1
  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #35

    Nicky,
    I agree, it is the most likely and sensible.

    0
  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #36

    I think that’s less likely, but yeah they mightn’t, and then we’re a mess.

    0
  • magscar

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #37

    hibbit

    I totally and unreservedly agree that the best option is to sell but I am not convinced he now will – as you say he is a maverick. You had more insight into what was happening in proposed sale than most and still may have some that I am not privy to but I can only offer conjecture on what is before me and currently I m doubting a sale wil happen soon therefore I speculate where that leaves Ashley, Rafa and not least us.

    Perhaps Rafa holds the key to a sale – if he will agree to a new deal Ashley stays but if he won’t Ashley realises simply has to sell?

    0
  • hibbit

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #38

    magscar @36
    LOL
    even if i had new information which i dont i would never ever post it on here
    learned by my mistakes with that one

    2
  • hibbit

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #39

    37

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #40

    griff, yes Ashley is the one with the dirty negotiation experience, but as Magscar points out, Rafa is in a position of power and has the backing of the fans. If Ashley fails to get a contract renewal with Rafa and it seems plain that it’s because he wouldn’t agree to Rafa’s terms, there will be Hell on. The one thing Ashley cares about with our club is what money he can make out of it, and that includes its sell-on value. Rafa and his relationship with the fans has a big bearing on that and I’m not sure Ashley will willingly damage it.

    1

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