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Rafa – This Player One Of Our Most Important Signings

Newcastle manager Benitez has often pointed to Matt Ritchie as the type of player he wants at Newcastle.

Matt was desperate to join Rafa in the summer of 2016 even though it meant dropping down one division from Bournemouth to do so.

But Matt’s enthusiasm, hard work, and significant skills have been a huge positive for Newcastle since he signed for us for about £12M.

Matt has now played 117 games for Newcastle with 21 goals and 21 assists in almost three seasons at Newcastle and he was a key player in getting us promoted in May 2017.

Rafa Benitez with Matt Ritchie

This is what Rafa has said about Matt as reported in the Shields Gazette today:

“He is definitely one of the most important signings,”

“In terms of importance, value and what he has been giving to the team, he has been an important player for us, for sure.”

“We have to decide about that (who takes the penalties)”

“What I can guarantee you is that we have been practicing taking penalties, free-kicks and corners.”

“We were practicing before, and I saw bottom corner, bottom corner. He was doing really well (taking the penalties).”

“During the game, he decided to change and do something different, but he’s someone you can trust.”

Yes, Matt missed his first penalty for Newcastle last Saturday but in the end, it didn’t cost us any points.

In an amazing second-half comeback from 2-0 down, Rondon scored and two goals from Perez allowed us to get a brilliant home win against the Toffees.

That’s five home wins in a row – now let’s hope we can get a win away this afternoon at Matt’s former club Bournemouth.

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Comments welcome.

65 comments so far

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #41

    Bournemouth’s points tally over the last twenty two league games puts them in the bottom 3, and ours 8th.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #42


    Thanks for filling in for me. 🙂

    3 hours 49 Minutes to KO.

    Incidentally I think it was you who first posted the Ripple stream that’s been so good the last couple of weeks, I’ll check it out again later, cheers!

  • AncientC

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #43

    Ritchie looks infantilised by Benitez in the above picture, quite funny. Some players just need a pat a on the back.

    I have never understood the cautious praise by referring to Ritchie as a “grafter”, he has much more than hard work and professionalism to his game.

    Ritchie’s long range pass in the championship—I cannot recall who against—that lead to a last minute winner, is the best long range pass I have ever seen in the game.

    Put Ritchie in a top 8 side (which will hopefully be us soon), and he will get you 15+ goals/assists a season.

    The problem is that in the PL the side are currently a conservative side and Ritchie doesn’t get in and around the box. He gets slated for not beating his man, but I haven’t seen the left or right side under instructions by Rafa to try and beat their man.

  • DubaiMicky

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #44

    27c blue skies here Munster – I may go down the pub to watch the game though….

  • lesh

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #45

    Hey ho, Jib arguing with Just a Fan… We just need Jane to chip in and we’ll have the full set testing their mind!

  • Jib

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #46

    Steady Lesh , that was nearly a footy – related post on match-day

  • Just a fan

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #47

    Hi lesh
    Popping your snout in the trough again.
    Get some proof then you may be creditable.
    Are you trump in disguise with your fake news.
    Have a nice day now.

  • AncientC

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #48

    Matt Ritchie goals and assists record over three seasons:

    14/15 season – 15 goals, 17 assists (Championship)
    15/16 season – 4 goals, 6 assists (Premier League)
    16/17 season – 12 goals, 8 assists (Championship)

    If Ritchie can get 10 goals/assists in a PL season playing for Bournemouth, who were more liberal than we are going forward, but with a poor squad, why couldn’t he hit 15 goals/assists in a season playing for a better side that pushes forward more.

    If Benitez stays and gets some more players he wants, it could liberate the side to attack more; that in turn would bring out the best in Ritchie. I personally hope Ritchie is still at the club for years to come.

  • DaveD1000

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #49

    I rate Ritchie and don’t get all the Ritchie hate on here. Still needs a bit work on gelling with Miggy but I reckon it will all come good

  • cyprus

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #50

    Agreed re Ritchie. Not just a grafter. He’s the best crosser of the ball at NUFC and usually has a positive contribution, as those stats attest.

  • DubaiMicky

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #51

    ***** NON FOOTBALL RELATED *****

    Scientists announced this morning that porpoises are second to man in intelligence levels.
    Obviously this means women have been pushed down to third place.

    ***** BACK TO FOOTBALL *****

  • AncientC

    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #52

    DaveD, I would expect Ritchie will be moved back into midfield sooner or later, so a partnership with Almiron cannot be long term. Benitez is on the lookout for a LB and that would surely move Ritchie back to RM.

    Murphy and Atsu should be more worried than Ritchie is right now.

  • toon22

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #53


    Have we been sold yet ??


  • ronaldo aarons

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #54

    What were Ritchie’s goals/assists last season?

  • ronaldo aarons

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #55

    I can only see Ritchie in 17/18 3 goals 5 assists.
    This season 18/19 so far 1 goal 4 assists.

  • geordietom

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #56


    told you its a Chinese consortium…

  • Jib

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #57

    why ask a charlatan ?
    know what I mean
    nudge nudge – wink wink

  • geordietom

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #58

    jib …

    you changed your name ? to Charlie Tan mate …

  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #59

    Jib – your true blog intentions have been revealed.
    Your grooming lust has been identified. You are a dirty old perv.
    You have been sussed.


  • geordietom

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #60

    watford winning 1-0

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #61

    2 hours 4 Minutes to KO

  • Mindshaft

    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #62

    A day to keep the ball on the deck, it’s windy as f00k today on the south coast – not a day for pure football

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 16, 2019 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #63

    Big sports day today. 3 rugby matches and Toon. I’m not sure we will take Bournemouth though, just hoping.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 16, 2019 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #64

    I like Matt Ritchie, but is he good enough to play in a top eight side, I don’t think so, in an ideal world we’d have him as a squad player. It’s that old argument, someone said put Armstrong in that Barca side and he’d get 20 goals, but he’s not good enough to be put in that Barca side so it’s a moot point

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 16, 2019 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #65

    For once we agree jail. I had said from way back that arma would never make it in a rafa team.


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