Musings on 2013/14 – Some TF writers think about the new season

by • August 10, 2013 • NewsComments (6)787

We managed to persuade a selection of regular true faith scribes to get up out of their flop joints, opium dens, squats and illegal caravan sites to give us some thoughts on the up and coming season and opine on the matters of the day. 

Eyes down for a full house and a bit of order if you please …. 

 

 

GAVIN BRADSHAW  

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? GavB copy

Satisfactory in terms of no long-haul exertions (though commercially attractive) or major injury scares (customary for NUFC) but few genuine opportunities to test formations or conditioning against quality opposition. Cisse and Coloccini have still got pegs at Little Benton. Frustration rightly abounds on the lack of new faces but some of the negativity and fatalism on message boards and blogs is way, way over the top. I read the other day that NUFC was “on its knees”. Really? Like Portsmouth? Like Wolves? Like Coventry? Grow up.

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football?

Wrong man in the right post. Last season underlined the need for a “football man” to mediate between manager and owner and when the dust has settled it appears that Kinnear has a relatively modest job profile which is very unlikely to result in interference in first team affairs (unlike Shepherd with Robson – funny what people forget).  Kinnear may be a poignant example of Ashley returning to his inner circle (and again exposing his limited network of contacts within the game) but Pardew is intelligent enough to make the arrangement work in his favour. Good results will help everyone move on.

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

Finish in the top half of the table and a clichéd ‘cup run’ should meet the Ashley prospectus. A poor return from the opening 10 fixtures will undeniably see the pressure cranked up from the stands but Ashley is famously indifferent to public opinion. A quiet majority are still prepared to give Pardew time but their fuse will shorten if points are dropped in so-called ‘winnable’ home games.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad?

Strengths – arguably the most technically gifted group of players at NUFC since the 1995-96 squad. Weaknesses – uncertainty remains if Cisse can play in a 4-4-2. If not, a 4-3-3 would see any current or future forwards deployed in a wide berth – a particular problem for Gomis who prefers a back-to-goal target man role. Confidence may still be fragile after last term so a good start is even more important than normal over the first five games. Lack of genuine pace at centre-half. I also expect to lose Cabaye to PSG or Monaco before deadline today.

Mike Ashley. Discuss.

The only show in town and the only man in our history to put significant sums of personal capital into NUFC while creating a more self-sufficient business model. Purveyor of more affordable ticket prices and more embracing of the ‘family’ demographic than any of his predecessors.  Stands accused of limited aspirations for the club and lacking a long-term strategy. Huge over-dependence on TV revenues (needs urgently to accrue more commercial income) and prone to obvious and sometimes outright provocative PR gaffes. One of the anomalies of our predicament is that people feel we should be competing at the top table due to our support and recent (1993-2004) history but our match-day revenues translate into a relatively modest financial return. Crowds do not equal clout – unjust, but we need to wear it. Others hear the word ‘billionaire’ and are angry that we do not get Chelsea levels of investment. The Keegan years have gone. There are no benevolent sugar daddies waiting to enter stage left. Football finance is mercenary, brutal and unethical. Ashley would undoubtedly sell at the right price but we should be careful what we wish for.

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

A positive step – one of those moves where if it does not happen then people will accuse NUFC of not listening and if it goes ahead, then it is a cynical, meaningless gesture. Still more detail needed on the full remit and terms of reference for the group but it should in no way diminish the case for part ownership of NUFC by supporters.

Who will win the title?

Arsenal

Tips for the top 4.

Do I really need to list them?

Your relegation candidates.

Hull, Norwich, Stoke.

Final league placing prediction for United.

8th 

GARETH HARRISON 

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? Gareth

Muted – some very average opposition, but let’s face it we’re not the big draw for the top European clubs we might like to think we are.  Off the field, well……. 

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football? 

Depressing.  Practically, I think he has been brought in to ‘move on’ as many of our saleable assets as he can upset.  Even more depressingly, I don’t think his involvement with the club will end here. 

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job? 

As above, I would be surprised if Kinnear wasn’t managing us sooner or later.  Pardew needs to get off to if not a flier, then at least a strong first half dozen games or I think the writing is on the wall. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad? 

Strengths are all at surface level.  We’ve got one good keeper, one good centre half, one good playmaker, one good striker.  Weakness is with the depth of the squad as we have no cover if the aforementioned are injured or sold. 

Mike Ashley. Discuss. 

He’s been discussed enough.  What else can you say about him? 

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum? 

I actually represented TF in a previous incarnation and although there were some (emphasis on ‘some’) well meaning folk that used to go along, it achieved next to nowt and I very much doubt the current version will either.  A box ticking exercise. 

Who will win the title? 

Chelsea.

 Tips for the top 4. 

Chelsea, Man City, Man United, Tottenham 

Your relegation candidates. 

Hull, Palace, West Brom 

Final league placing prediction for United. 

15th

 

CHRIS BETTS

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? ChrisB

Hmm. Well, mine have been coming along fine, I’m fully ready to go, as for the team…..There’s been a distinct lack of incomings, distractions galore, a 2nd failed attempt to go to South Africa and a mixed bag of friendly results/performances! All in all, not what I’d hoped for, but probably what I was expecting

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football?

To say that this is an absolutely, fucking, stinking appointment, is a bit of an understatement. Totally unqualified, totally unsuitable. I doubt it’ll last long or have a happy ending.

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

Win matches, stop talking shite about the Europa League, pick players on form and play them where they’re meant to play. Of course he needs support from above him too.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad?

Strengths:

Hatem Ben Arfa, a fit and focussed Capo, Sylvain Marveaux, Loic Remy, Tim Krul, Cabaye when he wants to be, and the new fitness expert will hopefully help keep them all fit.

Weaknesses:

We let in too many goals, we’re not clinical enough, soem individuals aren’t up to scratch

Mike Ashley. Discuss.

Enigma! I agree with some of his financial decisions, we have signed some cracking footballers on his watch, which if he wanted us to fail, he could have easilly not signed, but his choices of management are poor and smack of ‚jobs for the boys‘, plus, the management of the club is uneccessarily conveluted. We’re a very expensive advertising vehicle for sports direct. His vision and ambitions for NUFC don’t seem aligned with the supporters

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

If I’m feeling positive, then it’s great to have a platform recognised to liaise with supporters and deal with issues that we have, particularly those inside the stadium on match days

If I’m feeling cynical, then it’s an opportunity for people to take themselves a bit too seriously and another opportunity to have a well intended cause hijacked by personal agenda’s.

Who will win the title?

Chelsea

Tips for the top 4.

Cant see it changing for years to come:

Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal ZZZzzzzzzzz

Your relegation candidates.

Crystal Palace, Hull City and Cardiff will struggle whilst I expect the mackems, oursleves, West Brom, Fulham and Aston Villa to push them close

Final league placing prediction for United.

Probably flit between 10th and 16th most of the season between settling in 15th in May.

TED EDWARDS

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? Ted

Alright but I think we’ve played some shite sides and will not be well prepared for the start of the season.

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football?

A fucking disaster and an embarrassment

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

Win some football matches and prove he really can coach the side

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad?

Strengths – good first 11, great keeper

Weaknesses – no strength in depth and no ambition

Mike Ashley. Discuss.

It’s been 6 years and I still haven’t got a clue why he bought the club. I just want him to get his money back and fuck off. When he does sell up, I will be overjoyed

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

Good intentions but think I can’t help but think it will have no sway whatsoever

Who will win the title?

Hate to say it but Man Utd

Tips for the top 4.

Man U, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal in that order

Your relegation candidates.

Palace, Hull and Norwich 

Final league placing prediction for United.

14th after a brush with delegation again

 

MARK BROPHY

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? MarkB

Much better than normal. That means no-one barred entry to a country, no long-term injuries, no imprisonments.

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football?

A disaster in the making. The man is a walking explosion and I can’t see everyone working together for long if indeed they still are.

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

Solid top half all season, no sneaking in for the first time on the last weekend. Anything other than real improvement on last season’s debacle won’t suffice. Oh – and no early-round cup capitulations.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad?

Zero backup beyond the first team. Decent midfield which didn’t perform to the best of its ability last year. Still thin up front, and we don’t have the players which would allow us to change tack mid-game.

Mike Ashley. Discuss.

I have no idea what he’s up to. I’m convinced he’s not an idiot, but I’m less convinced he always acts with the club’s best interests at heart. If I wanted to turn the club around after last year, this summer isn’t how I’d do it.

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

I realise they had no other real option but the lottery aspect of choosing some members of the forum means there’s a good chance those members will be useless. It’ll be reliant on fans groups’ representatives for its effectiveness. There’s never been a better reason for joining a democratic fans group.

Who will win the title?

Chelsea.

Tips for the top 4.

The usual procession unless Moyes mucks it up.

Your relegation candidates.

Stoke. The promoted teams. Villa if anything happens to Benteke. Us.

Final league placing prediction for United.

15th.

SEAN WHELAN 

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? Seanw

Massively lacking in ambition. 

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football? 

Not much 

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

Firstly he needs to win one of the home games against either West Ham or Fulham to keep his job. If not, how can he stay? After that………

Comfortably mid table AND a good run in one of the cups i.e. Semi Finals. In which the team demonstrates a spirit and purpose. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad? 

Strengths – the starting 11 is relatively strong. We have 2 wingers either side of Cisse in Remy & Ben Arfa who can both create and score. A three man midfield which is strong on paper – Sissoko, Cabaye, Tiote. Cisse is a goalscorer. Pace at the back in Mbiwa, composure in Coloccini. 

Weaknesses – Well if the same cry arsing goes on this season, then there are no strengths. As our key individuals shirked responsibility last year – Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Coloccini. What happens when Cisse/Remy/Ben Arfa get injured? Where is the creativty when Cabaye is sold at the end of August? 

Mike Ashley. Discuss. 

No ambition. Short sighted. Bloody minded. I understand why you wouldn’t throw £20m – £50m around in the tranfer window, it wouldn’t make us a Champions League team so therefore its money lost. But without steady investment (e.g. £10m on transfers per season, plus any money from sales) and a plan to develop what is the point? I’m surprised players are willing to hang around at SJP. 

Ashley likes to see himself as a man who can beat his rivals with his ability to spot value. Why doesn’t he pay good money for a top manager? By far the most important individual at a football club yet not the best paid. In Rafa Benitez you could have signed a heavyweight of European football on a free transfer and paid him £80k p/w on a 5 yr contract. Massive money for a manager but worth it. Not only because he has experience of winning cups but is well respected by European players and is a high profile manager who can raise the profile of Newcastle United and develop the club commercially, something that Ashley has been hopeless at. With the brief to Benitez – you’ve got 5 years to win something, £10m per year to spend on transfers, plus any money from sales. Work alongside Graham Carr and continue the process of signing cheapish European players with a sell on value. Wages musn’t exceed 65% of turnover. Could have been done, and in a thrifty Mike Ashley manner. But instead we’ve got the penny wise, pound foolish mentality. 

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

I haven’t any. 

Who will win the title? 

Chelsea 

Tips for the top 4. 

Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham. I’m looking forward to the wheels coming off at Old Trafford and seeing lots of David Moyes’ ‘first shit after a rape’ face and their spoilt bastard fans whinging like fuck. 

Your relegation candidates. 

Hull, Palace, Sunderland after storming out the traps their new faces lose interest before Guy Fawkes comes out, a la Middlesbrough 96/97. 

Final league placing prediction for United. 

12th

 

MICHAEL MARTIN

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? MickM

Failed for the second year running to organise a tour of So. Africa. Lost the Managing Director suddenly and who hasn’t been replaced. Made more redundancies. Appointed a joke as Director of Football. No club in the top two, possibly three divisions would entertain him but Mike Ashley gives people jobs he bumps into down the pub it seems. Made a wise move in appointing a fitness coach. We’ve lost Perch, Harper and Simpson and sent Ferguson, Tavernier and Abeid out on loan. Failed to sell Gosling and Amalfantino after telling them they are unwanted. Remy has come in on loan but God knows what could happen with him with a serious allegation hanging over his head. No other signings made for the first team with 21 days of the window remaining and the season a week away. A squad that struggled last season, particularly defensively, is now weaker.

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football?

Words cannot describe my despair this man is on the payroll at Newcastle United.

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

Win the games the team is expected to, stop the excuses, coach the team to be competent defensively and play players in their correct positions. If players ever chuck the towel in like they did last season v the Mackems and Liverpool then I think he should be down the road. The first five games are crucial for him and us.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad?

Krul and Colo are the only two players I rate.

Mike Ashley. Discuss.

Everything he does at Newcastle United is motivated by naked self-interest. He is a plague upon us.

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

Ashley, upon whose whim everything is decided won’t take part and will continue in his merry way completely oblivious to its existence.  It has a major credibility problem. It will likely not concern itself with the big issues and become bogged down in petty stuff like how hot or cold the pies are. Their previous incarnations have been laughable failures. I have a big problem with the involvement of supporters “representatives” who have no mission statement, membership, elections, decision-making apparatus, accountability and whose place at the table appears to have been gained by pretending they are something they aren’t. I am skeptical and share the view it is a box ticking exercise but I’d be delighted to be proven wrong

Who will win the title?

Chelsea

Tips for the top 4.

Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal. Boring.

Your relegation candidates.

Hull, Palace and possibly Norwich.

Final league placing prediction for United.

12th

PAULLY

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? Tasmanian Devil

Touring the Wee Jock Poo Pong McPlop leagues in search of the best fried Mars Bar without Gazza’s help seems a fine way to improve our fitness during the close season. I also liked the way we excluded our best centre forward from our trip to Portugal too.

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football?

Joe’s sperm created God so I have complete faith in him. You only need to listen to the man to realise what a genuine, honest man he is. He’ll be the King of England and £10 notes will feature his bracket by 2018.

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

Apart from being nice to Joe; he needs to vastly improve on the shambles that was last season and quell the constant excuses. The Europa League was a humongous ‘get out of jail’ card for him so much so that they’re going to replace the card with it on Monopoly from next year.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad?

I think we have a very good 1st XI if used in their best positions with the idea of actually playing football rather than launching it. Over to Pardew.

Mike Ashley. Discuss.

Mentalist. Whenever things are calm, he seems to thrive on launching chaos grenades. Maybe he enjoys being public enemy number 1? I honestly can’t fathom the bloke out apart from his house must be bloody untidy if his shops are anything to go by.

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

I hope I’m wrong but a complete waste of time like the previous one.

Who will win the title?

Man City pushed closed by Chelsea. It’ll be interesting to see how Man U’s fans react if that happens as a lot of them aren’t enthusiastic by the ginger Scot’s appointment as it is.

Tips for the top 4.

Man City

Chelsea

Man Utd

Arsenal

Your relegation candidates.

Crystal Palace

Hull

Cardiff

Final league placing prediction for United. 

8th

ALEX HURST

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? Alex

We’ll only know how adequate they are when we start the season

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football?

His appointment lacks logic but he should be judged on results. A director of football in charge of transfers – who makes no signings should be made redundant.  Good luck to him I say but he should face the consequences if he fails.

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

Finish 12th or above>  Ashley won’t accept another season like the last one.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad?

Set piece threat is a major weakness.  Teams around us last season all scored goals from set pieces.  Team spirit seams brittle.

Mike Ashley. Discuss.

He’ll do things his way – the removal of Llambias indicates he has no friends in business.  He’ll not run the club into the ground but United won’t challenge the top 6 again under his stewardship.

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

I’m not of its purpose or what it could possibly achieve.  Selecting one season ticket holder from each stand rather than the best qualified people is laughable.

Who will win the title?

Chelsea

Tips for the top 4.

Lpool City Man United Chelsea

Your relegation candidates.

Cardiff, Palace, Swansea

Final league placing prediction for United. 

9th

GUY HANNAY-WILSON

What do you think of our pre-season preparations? Guy

We have fallen well short of the 5 additions I hoped for, especially in Defence….thus far. Pre season away matches on a Sunday shows little consideration for supporters.

What do you think of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football?

Utterly incapable of the job at hand. Appointment smacks of cronyism. Embarrassing and unprofessional.

What has Alan Pardew got to do this season to keep his job?

I have the strong feeling he has been set up to fail anyway. A top 8 finish or a cup should protect him under normal circumstances….. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad?

Strengths – A spine of Krul-Coloccini-Cisse. I’d include Cabaye but he’s just not consistent enough. Marveaux’s potential, as ever.

Weaknesses – Cabaye’s flakiness. A squad that is middle heavy. As a unit, fragile.

Mike Ashley. Discuss.

A measured degree of progress noted has been permanently damaged by the JFK fiasco. He’s not running NUFC as a club geared for success.

What are your thoughts on the new Newcastle United Forum?

On the face of it a welcome development but we want to see higher away allocations, better SJP stewarding and more efficient ticketing from this for a start.

Tips for the top 4.

As you were Gentlemen…..

Your relegation candidates.

Hull, Crystal Palace, Norwich

Final league placing prediction for United.

With the squad and set up as it is – 15th TF_INITIALS_LOGO

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to Musings on 2013/14 – Some TF writers think about the new season

  1. Jack says:

    Newcastle United don’t exist as an independent club anymore. We are merely a pretty minor part of a bigger company. Sports Direct, distinguished by the way in my opinion they exploit people, sweat shops abroad, zero hour contracts in the UK. And a legalized loan shark as main sponsor. vile. Want a senior job at NUFC? speak with same accent as the owner and drink in the same pubs, it’s all it takes. Harvey, Keegan,Robson it just isn’t the same club anymore.

  2. David says:

    Very interesting to read the different view points and also some measured assessment of the current situation. I think Gavin’s points were well made and that reflects where I’m at with the club.

  3. Manwithnoname says:

    I don’t agree with Micheal Martin’s politics much but his summary of the club under Mike Ashley is spot on. Those lauding the fat bastard as some kind of genius when we finished 5th need to accept now that the transfer policy has ALWAYS been the same. I don’t rate Graham Carr either. I swear to God that if I went to watch Lique 1 every week I’d match Carr’s record of signing some good, some bad and some utter shite players. His ‘good’ by the way being internationals. Utterly depressing, we are owned by nothing less than a fucking parasite.

  4. Mick Dixon says:

    Sorry I really wish I could be optomistic. BUT
    Not bought a player!
    One guy in on loan but injured!
    Same old setup, coaching tactics?
    Ameobi and Obertan? Come on they should have been shown the door.
    After the Mackem and Liverpool games how can anyone be confident going into this season.
    Those games finished me off disgraceful.
    We hear the same old shte from players and Pard on how things are going to be better!??
    Well lads prove it.
    Wait for the next excuses after getting humped a few times,………….you have heard them all before.
    I hope and pray Im wrong!

  5. steve McGill says:

    Gavin paints the picture of my thoughts exactly….spooky really

    my overwhelming feeling is that there are a lot of shit teams in the division – and we wont be as bad as last year. The majority of mid table (from 6th to 15th in my eyes) – are desperately trying to polish their turds by spunking a whole load of dough on players who’s name they’ve heard of before.

    It never works. Norwich, Swansea, Southampton, West ham, West brom, Mackems (ha ha) – will fail spectacularly and end up below us – along with 3 newly promoted teams, stoke as well. – so I’m plumping for 9-10th.

    My tip for the surpirise team of the season…..Villa. They nearly tore us a new arse in the second half of the game down there. Watch them go man

  6. Hoglan says:

    Echoing Steve and Dave’s comments about Gavin’s words, especially about Ashley.