Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it.
It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes."
It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city."
It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.
Newcastle have been linked heavily with Hull City center-back Harry Maguire in the recent past and if the reports are to be believed Newcastle are in the driving seat to sign him once we are promoted back to the Premier League.
We were also interested in signing 19 year-old Partizan Belgrade center-back Nikola Milenkovic, but he has just signed pre-contract forms with Fiorentina and he will be joining them in the summer.
Harry Maguire at £12M would be and excellent singing for us if indeed he is Rafa’s first choice for a center-back to bring in this summer.
It’s going to be an interesting pre-season this summer given that Newcastle have made it back to the Premier League, because a number of loan players will return and try to prove to Rafa they have a future at Newcastle.
One of those players will be Tim Krul who will be fighting to get the number one spot back.
But he will have competition from Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot and Matz Sels.
We will not include the impressive Freddie Woodman who is very likely to be out on loan next season to get first team experience as he develops into a top goalkeeper for the future.
It looks like 20 year-old Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman has a great future ahead of him and he has already played 42 times for the various England youth sides through U21 level.
He is the son of former Newcastle goalkeeper coach Andy Woodman and he has come along very well through the Newcastle Youth Academy and the Newcastle Reserve side since joining us from Crystal Palace in 2013 as a 16 year-old.
Freddie is on loan at the moment at Kilmarnock where he is playing well and getting some rave reviews north of the border.
If Newcastle are promoted back to the Premier League in May then it should be an exciting summer for Newcastle United fans, as Rafa Benitez with the help of Lee Charnley will again transform the squad to make it more than just Premier League ready for next season.
Rafa will want to finish somewhere in the top half of the table and that will be only the second time we have done that since Mike Ashley bought the club ten years ago.
As well as selling some players this summer Rafa will want to strengthen specific positions in the squad.
Rafa Benitez – will want to strengthen certain positions [Read more →]
After the disappointing draw at Birmingham last Saturday Rafa has more players injured with Grant Hanley the latest to pick up a knock and he’s now back at Newcastle having withdrawn from the Scotland squad.
Grant picked up the injury at Birmingham so it wasn’t while he was training with Scotland and it’s an ankle injury, but whether he will be fit for the game at home to Wigan on April Fool’s day we don’t know.
That’s also true with our other center-back – Ciaran Clark – who has picked up a knee injury and missed Saturday’s game and subsequently withdrew from the Ireland squad.
We think both players were withdrawn by Rafa as a precaution because of the big games coming up at Newcastle and they would not be able to play for their countries in any case.
Ayoze Perez had a decent game for us at Birmingham on Saturday in the disappointing 0-0 draw and hopefully the Spanish U21 International is in good form and can help us score some goals in the final 8 games of the season.
Once things start up again on April 1st after the two week International break, we have 5 games in 17 days so our promotion fate may be sealed with the results of those games.
Certainly the sooner we can nail down that automatic promotion spot the better it will be for all associated with Newcastle – and Rafa and Lee Charnley can then get busy doing deals in the transfer market.