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Rafa’s Newcastle Side From His First Game in Charge At Leicester – How Things Have Changed

When Rafa Benitez first arrived at Newcastle, he was sure he could save the club from relegation.

But we had something like 13 injuries at that time.

And that’s something common at Newcastle for the last 20 years – we always had too many injuries – and a lot of hamstring injuries.

So when he arrived at Newcastle on Friday 11th March Rafa was struggling to find a left back, and in his first game in charge, Jack Colback played in that position, and Anita started on the right wing.

Shelvey and Kante challenge for the ball

Here is the team in that first game on Monday night 14th March at Leicester City – a game we lost 1-0 – and the Foxes went on to be Champions that year:

Janmaat Taylor Lascelles Colback
Anita Shelvey Perez Wijnaldum Sissoko

Substitutes: de Jong Saivet Townsend Darlow Doumbia Riviere Sterry

Of that team, only Lascelles and Perez started our last game at Bournemouth, and the lineup has changed big time.

Rafa has brought in players who want to play for Newcastle, and before he signs a player, he has his staff ensure the player is of the right character and temperament.

When you do that we have seen that Newcastle play like the fans want them to play.

They are proud to wear the shirt and never give up in any game.

This is what Rafa has said in the Chronicle today about how we lost some good players through relegation and how he has rebuilt the squad:

“We lost very, very important players when we were relegated. You see they are now playing in the Premier League .”

“Townsend, Sissoko, Janmaat, Wijnaldum. They are good players.”

“We lost something but, little by little, we were building something new.”

“What do we have now? We have a team that we know, and everybody knows, that every player cares, and everybody is focused – all these things. So it is different.”

“I am not saying it is better or worse, but it is different. Those players, they were very good players in the Premier League, but in an environment, that was not ideal.”

“These players are in an ideal environment at the moment.”

“And maybe you are missing some of these players that had the experience and the quality to make a difference in the Premier League.”

We hope Rafa will stay on at Newcastle – we think he will, but you never know with Mike Ashley still the owner of the club.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

5 comments so far

  • lochinvar

    Mar 27, 2019 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #1

    Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct is considering a ÂŁ61.4m bid to take full control of Debenhams. Sports Direct already owns a near 30% stake in the retailer.
    The potential offer would be conditional on Mr Ashley becoming Debenhams chief executive.

    In that scenario owning a football club could be seen as a distraction. Better that he sells that to an intelligent football minded investor and concentrates on his shops.

  • Jib

    Mar 27, 2019 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #3

    I like his depiction of J R-M
    I’ve always thought at some
    time he got his head caught
    in a trouser press

  • Jib

    Mar 27, 2019 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #4

    who will be next PM ?
    Boris the blonde bombshell
    The cadaverous J R-M
    The back stabbing Michael Gove

  • magscar

    Mar 27, 2019 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #5


    Yes Mike Batt could call on quite an ensemble for his projects amongst them Roger Daltrey, Roger Chapman, Rory Gallagher Tony McPhee and Colin Blunstone – still like “Imbecile” guesting Chapman on Youtube with many others including Hunting Of the Snark TV showing. Inclined to MOR but still enjoyable.

    I fondly remember singing “I’d rather be a Womble than a Scouse” at Wembley May 74 in response to Liverpool’s fans’ labelling us “Wombles” leading up to FA Cup final for some reason that escapes me now, just to bring it all back to NUFC in case Jail is around 🙂


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