MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur, St James’ Park, 14/May/16, KO: 3pm.

by • May 12, 2016 • Match previewsComments (33)4137

TRUE15 LUKE 1977 Voucher (1)



Jesus Christ man.

I don’t even know what to write.  Where to start or end.  I’ve tried to make these match previews not just about the upcoming game.  There’s often so much more at stake than the next fixture in football.  There’s the last fixture, and the ones before that too.  There are the ones coming up.  Next week.  Next month.  Now it just seems there is very little to say.
There is also everything to say.  No doubt this fanzine will play host to a range of debate over the next few months.  That’s a good thing.  As long as mags can stay civil towards one another, we’ll always win. If you’re going to keep going, like me, then great.  I’ll see you next season.  Anyone not going – I feel your pain.  It doesn’t make anyone less of a fan, or prove they care more or less than the mag at every home and away.  There are different ways to support your football club.
If you’re not going, or haven’t been for a while then you’re no more superior than anyone else.  You haven’t been Pocchetino1vindicated and you’re in no position to be judging or ‘advising’ other fans.  Not attending Newcastle United home games comes more naturally to some than others.  Some will jack season tickets and no doubt pick up £15 tickets on the turnstiles.  They’ll save a fortune.  Some will never be back.  They’ll save a fortune too.  Money isn’t everything, but it matters.  I’ll be there next season.  Gallowgate Corner.  Access 1. Row K.  Last season my whole row, bar one or two sacked it off.  I wonder which faces will be nodding as they pass me at the start and end of each game.
This really is the great unknown.  Again.
Who knows where we’ll be come August.  Who’ll be in the dug out.  On the pitch.  I know who everyone wants. I don’t doubt that Charnley wants the same thing. Rafa Benitez was always too good for this lot.  Always will be.  He doesn’t need this hassle.  Who knows what he is thinking.
Football is weird.  When Pardew was leading us to a temporary 5th place in December 13, I enjoyed it nowhere near as much i’ve enjoyed the last 9 games.  I’ve done all of them bar Southampton.  We lost at Norwich and Leicester.  Still enjoyed them.  It’s that feeling that anything is possible.  Anything.  With Benitez in charge I felt 13 again.  Desperate to get to the match.  Desperate to hear the manager speak.  Desperate for United not to get beat.
What came before was a ‘let’s hope they’re not shit today’ attitude.  Home games become too easy to miss.  You don’t realise it while it’s happening.  You tell yourself you have to work.  You have to go to that place.  Do that thing.  It’s a mates birthday in London.  I could go on.  Then Benitez arrives and you’ re going to every single minute of every single game that man is in charge of and nothing will stop you getting to the game.  I don’t care who we were playing.  Vile or Villareal, Barnsley or Barca, I’d back us to beat them, because of him.
I don’t care about other clubs.  Couldn’t care less who stayed up and we didn’t.  They’re not Newcastle United.  They’re not important. What is important is this club and this city.  Quick, someone tell Lee Charnley.  And his boss.  You don’t hire Steve McClaren if this club matters to you as much as it does to me.  You don’t give Allardyce a 21 game head start on Benitez.  You don’t sign Doumbia and Saivet.  You don’t do a lot of things differently, if you care.
Sunday is quite fitting. I discovered this season that in United’s first 10 seasons in the Premier League, we finished above Spurs 9 seasons out of 10.  Since then it’s one of 10.  No Abramovic at Spurs.  No oil rich, human – rights abusing foreigner to oversee the total role reversal in who was the more successful club.  Just people at the top, who aren’t perfect, taking every single decision in the best interest of a football club. Spurs are a proper football club.  We are not.
I hope we win on Sunday.  I don’t know if i want it to be poisonous or rapturous.  Rafa Benitez matters to me.  He matters to loads of people I know.  He gets it.  He won’t ever be looking at the West Brom job, the Sunderland job or the Bournemouth job.  That’s because he gets us.  That alone has endeared him to a city.  I want him to stay.  I don’t want his last game to be about anger.  I want to win the game, because he deserves the scalp. He deserves the send off.
I listened to radio 5 on Thursday morning.  Loads going on.  Loads.  Current affairs and politics. Plenty.  They found ample time for Newcastle United.  Too much time.  Leicester won the league and they didn’t flinch. United are shit and they can’t stop talking about it.   They were digging the boot into Benitez saying he had ‘quarter of a season’ to turn this round.  Benitez was never going to get any credit.  He doesn’t care.  He’s not Alan Pardew.  If he’d have kept us up it’ll have been because of the failings of others. He didn’t, he couldn’t and I love him even more for taking the job because of that.
All the best all the people who can’t stop talking about us, can’t stop thinking about us.  That ranges from most Premier League fans, to every fan in the Championship.  Every Sunderland fan.  Most Vile fans.  Everyone in the media.  All the best.
I think we’ll be back straight away.  I’m allowed to think that.  It starts on Sunday.
3-0 United



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33 Responses to MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur, St James’ Park, 14/May/16, KO: 3pm.

  1. Pedro says:

    Can you please. Stop using so many full stops. It makes it difficult. Sometimes impossible. To get any fluency. When you read this. Thank. You.

  2. Simon Sharo says:

    In fairness to Radio 5 they did spend ages talking about Leicester. Including getting the Lord Mayor to sing Louis Armstrong on national radio. He’ll want to crawl into a hole when he hears that played back.

  3. Ian Summers says:

    I hate to be contrary but the season we had in the championship under Houghton was quite refreshing. Most away fans were excellent and it was a pleasure to see them wandering around the city before the match, often in great numbers. Compare the likes of Plymouth fans to the pathetic turn out of clubs such as Man. City this year. Our own crowds were also more positive in the championship. I totally agree about Rafa and obviously he is key here. If we keep him and give him complete autonomy then a year in the championship is an opportunity to rebuild a team around the likes of Mitrovic, Perez, Townsend, Mbemba, Shelvey, Lascelles and Darlow. Wasn’t McLaren given a seat on the board, maybe Benitez could go one step further and also replace Charnley? The appointment of Rafa has boxed the club into a corner which is massively to our advantage because if they cannot persuade him to stay then the ramifications of that are obvious, nothing has changed. While weeding out the high earners in the squad hopefully losses incurred will cause the club to rethink their transfer strategy. Selling the club to prospective buys as a stepping stone to “bigger” clubs surely is central to the losing culture of the club.

    • mick says:

      Agree 100% Real fans in the Championship and it was nice to see proper football and us winning!! And no more humping off the Mackems!

  4. DavidinBilbao says:

    Great write up Alex – it’s optimism that defines this club.
    Around 1999/00 (Bobby Robson time) I was out with some mates and one ( a Gers fan) asked what the best match I’d been to was, I replied hopefully the next one – now with Rafa we’ve got that back.
    Let’s hope he stays or the outlook is bleak.

  5. Stevie says:

    I think he might just stay. Hopeless romantic that I am. But then I thought Everton might get something at Sunderland so what do I know. Probably because I don’t know any better I’ll be there next season too.

    Good article as usual. Although… Leicester won the league and they didn’t flinch?! Really! you been away a while

  6. Brian Standen says:

    Great write up and spoken from the heart! Those who stay away are no better than those who go, we are all just fans, fans of the greatest but most abused football club in the world. Saturday must be about convincing Rafa to stay. Anger for Ashley and Charnley is for another day!

  7. Chris Rickleton says:

    Benitez is the right manager to get us out of the championship if he stays and it could be a fantastic season. Is Charnley to blame for not getting him in sooner (he’s to blame for almost everything else)? Did anyone realistically think he would come to us when he’d just left Madrid? In hindsight we saw a great change in the team under Benitez and results like the Liverpool one were ones that had his name all over it. But the regrets obviously are the Norwich and Villa games and they had his name all over them too. Too cautious. Too tactically restrained when the games cried out for going for the jugular and outscoring the shit opposition. He’s a fantastic manager but not a God. At any rate, here’s hoping Saturday is a barnstormer.

  8. Boomtown says:

    ok… playing devils advocate… we all agree that Rafa is god… BUT… his career, experiences and most importantly scouting network are all based around the top half of the top division in whatever country he’s worked in. Do you really think he, or his contacts, will know anything about recruitment in the 2nd tier… will he have heard of any championship players? His name alone will pull in some players who just want to work for him…. but how many quality players would move to a championship club? Hopefully there will be a mass exodus of deadwood in the team and the boardroom. Maybe Rafa as director of football with a championship manager working alongside.

    • Alex Hurst says:

      There is no way Benitez would stay as director of football

      If memory serves Chris Hughton hadn’t done any second division coaching at all either, when he pissed that league in 09/10

      • Boomtown says:

        maybe not, but he did have a grounding in English football and a familiarity with the different leagues. I’m just throwing it out there that Rafa might not be the best option for the championship (not that I know who would be!)

  9. Big Sam says:

    You sound angry Alex. I have some transcendental meditation tapes you can borrow if you like.

  10. ExPat says:

    Firstly, let me point out I am not a Sunderland supporter, I support a club in League 1. I also understand the pain of being relegated by your rivals. It hurts, it stings the pride and you have to put up with constant jibes for the foreseeable future until an opportunity arises to put things straight. What I don’t understand is this sense of grandeur your supporters have, this quote from Alex, ” He won’t ever be looking at the West Brom job, the Sunderland job or the Bournemouth job. That’s because he gets us.” What does that mean? Why is your club different from these 3 clubs? Is it because West Brom doesn’t have or have never had a ” Messiah “, Sunderland don’t have a ” Famous No 9 shirt ” or is it because Bournemouth doesn’t have a ” Nation ” following them? I find that statement so disrespectful and derogatory to any team outside the ” Big 6 “. Your fans are no more passionate than the fans of these clubs, granted you have more, but no more passionate. You seem to have this thought pattern that you all “deserve” so much better, why? What makes you think that? You had a good run in the mid nineties for a few years and should of won the title, but you didn’t. So other than that little period, you have to go back to 1969 (I believe) to your last success. Not great eh?
    If you keep Rafa then well done, but heed the warning in the post of BOOMTOWN. Rafa is used to top drawer not bargain basement.
    So please, if you come back up at the first attempt, can you have a bit less delusion and a bit more reality. No more mock funerals, no more miss spelt bed sheets, no begging letters on the front page of your local newspaper, no dot com petitions to hound out a manager, then you may get some respect from opposition fans instead of ridicule because everyone’s second club you’re not, but a laughing stock, yes.

    Thank you.

  11. foggy says:


  12. foggy says:

    We are down, relegated accept it, its not the end of the world. On Sunday the world will be watching.
    This is not the time for tears, for rage or retribution. Sunday is the time for SUPPORT.
    Everyone going to the match should wear blach and white, must take a scarf. Everyone must STAND UP and sing.
    On Sunday we must STAND UP, SING and show the world WHO WE ARE.

    • Boomtown says:

      I think you might be in the minority with that one mate… I’ll leave my blach scarf at home.

      • foggy says:

        50000 standing up and singing, who’d have thought it eh?
        This is who we are, Geordies loud and proud.

    • Lofty says:

      Couldn’t agree more Foggy. Where has the bong eyed defiance gone from our support? Sunday should be a show of defiance. It’s about showing everyone that DESPITE having complete idiots in charge at the top, and losers on the pitch, it’s the CLUB we support.

  13. ExPat says:

    Good afternoon,

    May I ask why my previous post was rejected and not allowed to be seen?

    Many thanks.

  14. Peter Shearer says:

    Are you Foggy from Last of the Summer Wine? Or is this a description of your mind? Just being light-hearted of course, but either way I think you have it wrong!

  15. Bob says:

    The usual uninformed comments from all and sundry on radio, tv and in the papers. Anyone coming in at the stage Rafa did wouldn’t have stood much of a chance. Too much tochange in too short a time. If he had beenin charge for the first quarter of the season I’m sure things would have been different.
    I hope he stays but the fact that reports are about that Charnley is not due the chop is worrying. Hopefully the atmosphere will be all about Rafa with a good result to finish.

    there are plenty of plaudits for fat Sam in saving Sunlan. You would think he’d won something instead of finishing one place above relegation. It was more Defoe saving them. Ironic as he’s a Sam player in age only, not the sort he likes up front.

  16. Carol Willis says:

    Señor Benitez

    Por favour estancia en Nuestro club y juntas podemos lugrar la Victoria.

    Mr Ashley

    We are Newcastle and we will not be cheapened by association with you. We are not Everlast or any other brand you have sold half price in one of your retail outlets. You know nothing about football or about our town. we will be here long after you have gone. If you want us to stop despising you at least on a temporary basis GET RiD OF CHARNLEY and let Benitez refashion the team so we stand something of a chance in the Championship. We need to have a United front if we are to get back and you are to move on. What a “hasta la vista” moment that would be.

    • Dave says:

      Carol, perfecto Espanol, esto es muy impresionante. Espero que su motivo trabaja con Rafa.

  17. Jarra mick says:

    I for one think it’s a done deal and Rafa is already on his way. They have probably asked him to keep this under wraps until after the Spurs game to offset the potential vitriol from the terraces aimed at Ashley. Bunch of cnuts.

    • Mango Mag says:

      Completely agree with jarra Mick. What better way to get everybody going again then announcing on Saturday Rafa is staying. It’s either Pearson or Bruce I’m afraid . Full stop!

  18. Peter Shearer says:

    It would be good to think that Rafa would communicate his decision before the game and not allow himself to be used as a shield. The club are experts at trying to avoid the venom building-ignore it and let Ashley see how we feel. Rafa will be able to tell the difference between support for him and hatred of the owner.

  19. tomb says:

    I don’t think an instant return is as unlikely as some are suggesting as the championship really isn’t that good. It’s not like the old division 2 days where a team containing Keegan Waddle Beardsley McDermott weren’t good enough for automatic promotion at the first attempt. The amount of money in the premier league means any decent player will choose to warm the bench for a PL side rather than earning less money for first team football in the championship. On a different note I agree with another post that we nearly had Ashley after the Spurs protest game judging by his subsequent TV appearance. Surely it’s not a coincidence that after we showed we won’t accept his running of the club he finally splashed the cash and by god it worked as the protests managed to last one game.

  20. Whitleylad says:

    Just make sure we all sing Rafa’s name to the end. Whatever the score. He is the first chance that NUFC have had to be a decent team since Cashley took over. If he feels loved he may stay, hopefully Charnley will realise this and give him what he wants. If he goes then let him go, knowing that despite the club we appreciated him! In that way he may come back under a new regime. That dear friends is the best we can hope for.

  21. Mikey says:

    Expat I will treat that post with the contempt it deserves ,seems like you were inebriated whilst writing it .
    Please can we all raise the roof to Rafa today show how much he is wanted.

  22. Mickthegeordie says:


    Top piece mate. Nailed it.