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Match Preview: Derby home, Saturday 4th Feb, 3.00pm

by • February 2, 2017 • Match previewsComments (21)1884

A lot to talk about, isn’t there.  Over the past few days I’ve seen people criticise Ashley, Charnley, Carr, Benitez, Townsend, Allardyce, Sky Sports, John Hall, Goufrann and true faith for NUFC not signing a player in January.  It’s been smashing to see so many old names who enjoyed berating other fans for crimes such as ‘going to the match’.  Welcome back lads, it must have been murder these past few months while most have been content with their lot.

Straight to it though; Rafa Benitez leaving Newcastle United could be the end for the club as we know it.  In reality the club could be promoted without Rafa Benitez.  It’s a good squad.  The long term ability of the club to compete at the top end of the Premier League would be damaged as no coach of the same calibre would work with us, but the club might survive. There’s no way the club could be as successful but it could survive. What it won’t survive is Mike Ashley making ‘football decisions’.  He came on live television two years ago and told us those days were over.  If he resumes control of ‘footballing matters’ then the club will not survive it.  It’s a personal opinion.  Maybe I’m wrong.  The appointment of Joe Kinnear twice was akin to Excite passing on the chance to buy Google.  Placing Dennis Wise ahead of Kevin Keegan was as bad as Apple firing Steve Jobs (presuming Ashley is more familiar with those areas of failure).  That Newcastle United aren’t playing in a lower division is miracle after his calamitous stewardship of the club before he saw sense.  If he is back making football decisions with a scout, the club is done. 

However.  I am not happy with the decision of Rafa Benitez to publicly make clear his frustrations on Tuesday.  There was no call for it.  No one has benefited.  We are talking about politics again, hierarchy and panic. He has sent the Newcastle United related internet into meltdown.  If he has grievances I would prefer them to be aired privately.  If he is frustrated being paid an alleged £5 million a year to manage at this level but not given two more players, I feel and share his frustration having just paid for transport, tickets and accommodation in Brighton.  A game live on television but a game myself and thousands of others will attend in person at huge expense as we believe in him and this football club under him.  If he sees his future away from the club due to being lied to, mislead or just conned by Mike Ashley then he has my understanding and most likely thousands of others.  There was no need for Wednesday though. No need.

I should be moaning about the home support, the referee or the overreaction today and preaching unity as we face a massive game on Saturday.  Instead Benitez has clouded the issue and it becomes more difficult for me to answer his call to arms in the knowledge that the hours I put in on Saturday with flags, getting behind the team, writing and podcasting about Newcastle United (which regardless of those who dislike it,  is enjoyed by a reasonable number of people.)  If he is to leave at the end of the season, or god forbid before then the impact would be the same without three months of worry, speculation and (heightened) hysteria. 

Gallowgate Flags needs you! Volunteers needed for Derby County home game. Contact:

Me and thousands of others are trying.  Filling away ends, being positive, going to games, flag displays, getting behind the lads at games (even though we’re in a huge minority).  What’s the point if as he didn’t get one or two players and all of sudden he’s taking on Mike Ashley in public.  Who wins?  I absolutely love Rafa Benitez. I want him to be manager here, with all of the control for years to come. I agree with him on the atmosphere at games and the fans needing to back the team. He’s made it more difficult for me though.  Maybe I’m the only one, but a little bit of me has detatched itself from the club since Wednesday, and if there are others like me he has made a mistake.

United played well second half after being dreadful first half.  We were shocking first half against  Rotherham as well. Derby are a solid side at the level.  I want to see Isaac Hayden with the ball in the box in the first half on Saturday.  I want to our fullbacks pushing up from the first whistle.  We sat back too much at home in the first half against sides.  Goufrann upfront gave the side more balance and Ritchie gave the left side an actual attacking threat when moved out there and Sammy Amoebi went wide.  Perez played better in the second half. I’m not a fan of his but sang his name as he left the pitch on Saturday.  That’s what supporters are supposed to do.

Derby got a great win on Tuesday at Ipswich, a side in free fall.  Before that they lost at Leeds and Norwich without scoring.  I expect United to improve and win the game.

United by two goals.  Someone from the club needs to clarify what the hell is going on.

Alex hurst

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21 Responses to Match Preview: Derby home, Saturday 4th Feb, 3.00pm

  1. Steve says:

    Alex, I echo your sentiments regarding feeling differently this week, and although difficult feel it is absolutely vital to give the players more support sing Rafa’s name more than ever (try telling the to 3 quarters of the crowd who moan at a sideways pass). We need to let Ashley know what Rafa means to us for the remainder of the season.

    What I do disagree with is saying Rafa shouldn’t have made those comments. We have had a succession of spineless managers who have played into the failed attempts to sign players and kissed Ashley’s backside, and I’m pleased we finally have a manager with enough balls to let the fans know this is the man they work for.

    This is the beginning of the end of Rafa, he knows it, the players on Wednesday knew it, and deep down we know it. It will also be the end of my attendance at the numerous games I attend both home and away.

  2. Alan says:

    How old are you Alex?
    Maybe too young to cast your mind back to February ’92 and Keegan’s ‘not like it said in the brochure’ walkout?
    It was instrumental in bringing about the greatest period of football in my fifty decades of supporting Newcastle.
    Like Keegan, Benitez was fully justified in airing his views publicly. Sadly it’s unlikely to have the same impact as the fat cunts to stupid to realise what he seems hell bent on destroying.
    Personally I hope Rafa walks. now.
    And I hope it costs Mikey boy countless millions.

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yes I’m too young to cast my mind back to 92 (I was three) but have read about them in Touching Distance.

      My issue was the timing pre a massive game, and my worry that he’d walk away whilst trying to galvanise support for the game etc

      He’s clarified today so fair play and I withdraw any criticism

  3. James says:

    Agree with you Steve; why shouldn’t Benitez say how it is? We complained that pardew et al were yes men, happy to collect a paycheque & put up with all manner of shit but then criticise Rafa for refusing to do so? Do people think the tabloids wouldn’t have stirred the point without said interview?

  4. Davey says:

    Completely disagree with you, mate. For all we know Rafa has already had ‘behind doors’ talks? This could be the next stage of trying to get a certain pigheaded person with lot’s of previous for pulling rugs from under managers to see sense and get a dose of the reality that will occur if the manager leaves either now or in the summer. ‘What would Rafa do?’ goes the line in match special, well here’s what Pardew, Carver, McClaren and Joe-fucking-Kinnear would do……Nothing. Sweet FA. What Rafa has seemingly done is not the same, what Rafa seems to have done is something KK done with Hall after the Swindon game. Sometimes in life you have rattle a few cages and sit like a mute if people won’t take a lend of you. Rafa has done this for a reason and hopefully the ‘club’ (Ashley), takes note. (Obviously absolutely nobody will be holding their breath on that one).

  5. tomb says:

    I’m hopeful that we can weather this storm, still be promoted as champions and Rafa can sort out any issues he has with the transfer situation. I have no problem with no more money being made available in theory but if Rafa has been led to believe they were going to sign players then I can understand his frustration. The squad and manager are still more than capable of going up as champions. Probably being naïve but I’m hoping its no more than a storm in a teacup

  6. Paul smith says:

    Sorry Alex I disagree.
    Rafa had to do that. People were turning on HIM. Surely he’s not another spineless sap ??
    The fans had to know it was the cold hand of Mike Ashley.
    There’s no point blaming Carr. He’s just a silly old man nowadays. Mike Ashley has resurfaced buoyed by the period of contentment. He’s a monster. End of story.

  7. Andy B says:

    Well said Alex. How many players did Brighton buy? How many players in the top 6 of the prem buy? The summer transfer window is far more important. People who do business in January are desperate and given our situation I don’t think we are in that bracket. Yes a new signing would have been nice but I don’t think it’s the disaster some are making it to be.

  8. Marc Corby says:

    I don’t think there is ever a perfect time to tip the journo’s (or those close to them) off about how unhappy he is but, thinking from a positive point of view, it’s good timing to let Ashley know that essentially, if he isn’t backed in the summer then he’s away.
    Ashley now has 4 months to get this right and ensure we keep the man who has simply brought the pride back.

    Also, Rafa clearly indicated that the supporters need to get behind the players he is left with in the final push for promotion. He’s right. Too many have taken him for granted and the love affair last season and for the first half of this appears to have went stale.

    Tomorrow we must make some noise regardless as this is a ‘big game’ but this will rally the troops and I for one will be chanting none stop.

    We ALL have a part to play in this.

    I expect Rafa to make soothing noises in today’s press conference to continue to rouse the crowd for tomorrow, and then leave it until later in the season.

    The ball is firmly in Ashley’s court if we go up.

    Back him or lose him. And a hell of a lot of support. Myself included.

  9. Nick says:

    I know what Alex means when he asks why Benitez can’t keep it in house but at the same time that’s what Pardew did and everyone called him a stooge. Sometimes they called him worse…even using rude words.

    • Alex Hurst says:

      To be fair to him he’s clarified today and says he’ll stay.

      My issues wasn’t the public nature but the timing before such a big game. Reading the above, I haven’t put that across very well.

  10. Tom says:

    I hope there is a bit of over exaggeration at Rafa’s remarks on Wednesday….to be fair his interview came about after we’d just conceded a late goal to draw the game and he was probably irritated by the performance (I know i bloody was!) so i think we need to stick together and support him and the team on Saturday for what will be a tougher opponent than what we faced on Wednesday.

    What disappointed me most about the transfer window was that we appeared to put all our eggs in one basket and had no alternative to townsend….if we were unwilling to pay more than what we sold him (seems fair enough based on his lack of performances/playing time for CP) then where were the other signing to fall on? Total lack of planning by all at the club as far as i’m concerned….and why we have to wait until the 31st Jan at 5/6pm etc when CP are playing away to try and get the transfer/loan through shows the total lack of competence with the decision makers in the club!!

  11. Peter Shearer says:

    Difficult to know where to begin with that report! I assume me and others who boycotted Ashley are the target of your criticism. The only reason things have been ok is because Rafa is there. Our club will never be where we want it to be whilst Ashley remains, and all we will ever have with Ashley is a temporary truce. Common sense says there is no point in encouraging fans to protest whilst Rafa is there, as the majority could not be bothered when he wasn’t! But the problem has not gone away and it will not go until we finally pluck up some courage. No-one should berate those that choose to go to the match and no-one should berate those that boycotted an Ashley-owned Newcastle-so do not try and claim some sort of higher moral ground.

    And now you say “a little bit of me has detached itself from the club since Wednesday”. Well many of us did that years ago-so hard to see how you criticise others that were simply years ahead of you!

    If Rafa has been sold short/lied to, he should go and let us take up the fight with Ashley. Rafa owes us nothing other than honesty about what is going on.

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Hi Peter

      No those comments weren’t aimed at you. Sorry if any offense caused. All the best.

  12. rich says:

    We played well second half! No, the first half made us look good. We were rotten….

  13. Ivan Malley says:

    Agree with most of what you said in the preview and good to see you were prepared to alter your stance slightly after hearing Rafas press conference today.
    I have huge respect for all you and the lads are trying to achieve with the Gallowgate flags initiative but I would suggest that maybe something could be done to extend this to other parts of the ground rather than just contain it to the Gallowgate end.
    This may help with the overall atmosphere across the whole stadium which I agree is not what it used to be.
    Maybe the new surfer flag could go around the whole stadium like it used to in the Keegan era?
    I appreciate the “official” singing end is in the Gallowgate corner and obviously is where you and your mates are but there are lots of us that couldn’t get seats together there so are in other parts of the ground that would otherwise be happy to help with the flags etc.

    • Alex says:

      Ivan, if we have even 10 Volunteers per stand we could do it for other parts of the ground.

      Get in touch if you want to help!

  14. Graeme Cross says:

    I stopped going to the match in 2011 because of Mike Ashley. If he cannot see what he has in Rafa Benitez then this club is doomed.
    Keep up the good work Alex I enjoy the match previews and match reports.

    • David R says:

      Agree 100% Rafa is our man inside the club. He wants what we want whereas the Fat Man keeps trying to re-impose the model which failed us in 2009 and again last year A third failure might well be fatal, so we need to be right behind Rafa and the team for the rest of the season. If we stay united behind Rafa and the lads, we’ll go up and then he can, hopefully, face down the Fat Man and take us forward

  15. David says:

    Although there wasn’t really much about the upcoming match, I really enjoyed reading this and the comments. I applaud the effort you’ve put into writing the previews in the first place. It’s a matter of opinion and it’s good to see you amend your position when more facts came to light and on a re-read of the article – many wouldn’t.

    I’m concerned that we didn’t get the targets Rafa Benitez wanted and also that it may be a sign of a return to the bad old days of Chairman Ashley’s reign, but wasn’t all this preceded by an article in a paper from an alleged Sunderland fan? I’m not sure if it’s a case of Benitez reacting to the poo-stirring or if there is a genuine cause for concern. Time will tell, but automatic promotion has to be our immediate priority.

  16. Bob says:

    Seems to me Rafa is an honest man, to himself and others (us) and when asked by the press about transfers was honest in his reply. He gave targets and left it to Charnley to do the business, maybe he got waylaid by Ashley/Carr. Ashley has always, it seems, listened to fools rather than people who know the game. The fact that Carr has resurfaced suggests a lot. Why….who knows. Maybe Ashley is jealous of Rafa’s relationship with the crowd and vice versa., 100 times better than any other in Ashley’s time here apart from maybe Keegan in his short stint here. I would have thought the financial advantage of the premierwould keep him quiet at least until promotion wasacheived.