Friday, May 20, 2016

NUFC 2016/17

This is my first post since October and the truth be told I like many other fans have really struggled following our team this season. From August to April our season was a disaster and I found myself dreading each game as it inevitably resulted in another loss and a ruined weekend. 

They say it is the hope which kills you and this was the case when Newcastle somehow managed to appoint Rafa Benitez  - we were given hope and while Rafa is a top manager he is not a magician and could not undue the damage done by Steve McClaren.

Relegation is awful, but it has happened so NUFC need to accept it, move on, and learn from it. Keeping Rafa at the club in now paramount. We cannot change the past, but Rafa can change the future.

Losing Rafa would almost be as bad as relegation has been. I fully believe that with Rafa in charge we could be on the cusp on the best spell at the club since Sir Bobby Robson and tthankfully there seems to positive noises coming out of St James park that Rafa is set to stay and lead us back to the Premier league and onto bigger things.

Our current squad under Rafa went 6 games without defeat to end the Premier league season  - this squad with a few tweaks should gain promotion at the first time of asking. Rafa will have players in mind to bring to the club, while also knowing the players he does not want, and those who he knows will want out. I have no doubt that players will stay simply to work for Rafa.

With the current first team squad I would make the following changes:

Big money sales - Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Janmatt, Krul
Heading to China - Cisse, Tiote
Release - Coloccini, Taylor, Gouffran

In terms of squad additions I would look at top championship players who also could step up to Premier league level:

Will Hughes
Lewis Dunk
Steven Caulker
Ross McCormack
Matty Philips

Also fringe players at Premier league clubs who will be hungry and have a point to prove:

Victor Moses
Dwight Gayle
Patrick Bamford
Peter Crouch
Danny Ings

I would bring Michael Carrick home - make him club captain and let him run the midfield.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Is the Corner in sight?

There has been little improvement in our results yet I would argue NUFC have improved massively under Steve McClaren.

If you watched in isolation our performances away to Man Utd, home to Chelsea and Norwich, and the first halves at City and Sunderland you would not believe we are a team sitting in the bottom 3.

In these games we've played some of the best football we have seen for 18 months. Our passing, movement, team shape have all improved. We have individual players who have come in and raised the team level - Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and Mbemba in particularly. Everything sounds great - except the obvious lack of points we currently have. 

Yes football is a results business and we do need to start winning points but I really do believe we are doing a lot of things right on the pitch, and usually when you do the right things on the pitch the results will come. Everyone outside the city of Sunderland and even some within if they are being honest saw that we are a much better team. We were better than City for 45 minutes and Chelsea for 75. The results will come and for that reasons I am pleased to see there is no mass call for McClaren to be fired. 

Not everything is rosy - we need to improved defensively - we need a new centre back and captain as Collocini is not up to either job right now. This needs to be addressed in January along with a top quality left back and Charlie Austin must be brought North 6 months after he should have arrived.  McClaren remains safe right now but he knows that Mike Ashley will protect his investment and will not allow us to drift too far before he makes a leadership change.

Our club has done a lot wrong over the last 7 years but slowly there seems to be small signs that we might be approaching a corner and potentially might even start to turn it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Our season has started

Newcastle United's 6-2 victory over Norwich yesterday has certainly lifted the clouds of doom and gloom which have hung over Tyneside for most of 2015. This must be a spring board to bigger things and not just a temporary respite.

Steve McClaren took a lot of stick after he made the "Our season starts now" comment. For me this was unfair criticism and it was obviously meant to put a positive spin on what has been a tough start to the season - I say this has been harsh as I can only really think of 2 results which have been poor. We've had an awful fixture list and other than the Watford and Sheffield Wednesday games the results have been predictable. Not many teams will take points away at Swansea or West Ham yet we got unexpected positive results against Man Utd and Chelsea.

McClarens "our season starts now" statement was blown out of context and should be filed alongside the old football classics like: 'A 6 pointer' or 'Its like a cup final'

Wijnaldum is a special player - I really feel he will eclipse everything Yohan Cabaye achieved with the club - he can really be the leader and future of our club. Our front 4 were excellent and will be a match for any team. When Moussa SIssoko puts in an attacking performance like that he is unstoppable - we just need to see this on a regular basis.

Yes we were still a little sloppy at the back and that will improve with time but right now we look like a Keegan team in that rather than defend we will just out score you.

This is the ideal performance and result in the build up to the Tyne / Wear derby next weekend and our players must be buzzing with confidence and a belief they can take all 3 points at the Stadium of Light.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Return of the McC

So after only two days of optimism surrounding the potential appointment of Patrick Vieira -  Newcastle United have once again brought us all back down to earth with a dump. All the optimism which followed Mike Ashley's interview and  the news of the Vieira interest has all but gone.

With Vieira out of the running it appear that Steve McClaren has a clear shot at managing out club - is is simply either McClaren or the unthinkable Carver?

I actually do not mind McClaren at all and honestly think he will do a steady job. He will stabalise the club and I have no reason to doubt he is a quality coach. You do not work for Alex Ferguson for so long if you are an idiot, you do not win the Cup with Boro or league with Twente if you are not talented. McClaren's coaching ability is far better than his charisma and this is his major downfall. Let's all remember McClaren is a massive improvement on Carver - it is disrespectful to even compare the two.

Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson were great managers and with big strong personalities who could inspire both players and fans. We all bought into what they had to say and backed them to the hilt. McClaren will not offer this. Fan opinion is very negative and he faces and immediate uphill battle to win over the St James crowd. 

Appointing Vieira would have been a clear indication that NUFC were ready to go in a new direction and offer a bright, young head coach free reign to shape the club. Sadly this does not appear to be the case and McClaren will happily accept his role within our 'structure'. He will work hand in hand with the ever increasingly powerful Graham Carr.

If the worst case scenario is appointing Carver then McClaren isn't a bad option and with heavy investment he could be the calm steadying influence our troublesome club needs. 

Whoever is appointed Mike Ashley needs to follow up on his promise and dig into those very deep pockets and stump up the funds needed to rebuilt our team.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Turned the corner?

Firstly let me apologise for the lack of articles. Like many Newcastle fans I have grown so disillusioned with the club since January. I really fell out of love with Newcastle, and football in general - I dreaded match days as it became expected that we would lose and plunge further and further into relegation trouble. 

Everything about Sunday was awful until the the victory was secure. The whole build up during the week, the pundits tipping us for the drop and the feeling that the world was against us winning and would celebrate our relegation. 

As we now know thankfully this didn't happen and the lads had enough to get the result we needed. Seeing Jonas score our second goal was a magical moment that only football can produce. After  everything that Jonas has been through over the last few years I cannot think of a more deserving player to seal our survival. He truly is a Newcastle United hero who will be remembered in Geordie folklore.

The second half of Sundays game reminded my why we all love football, and Newcastle United and since then I really have been buzzing with excitement. Hopefully I am not being naive but I really do think we are on the cusp of a big change at the club. Mike Ashley's interview was a huge step and if he follows up on his word then we are in for an exciting summer. Of course this is a big IF and word can only go so far - Ashley needs to back this up with actions. The biggest of these actions will be appointing the right manager to lead us forward.

Yes we are owned by a multi Billionaire, however we need to still be realistic - even though Ashley spoke about investment we are simply not going to be the new Man City. Spending 70m would be a giant step in the right direction and would get us back amongst the top 8 where we belong.

With this is mind I have tried to be as realistic as possible when looking at potential manager appointments and player recruitment. Yes we all want Carlo Ancelotti or Jurgen Kloop - but it is not going to happen. Remi Garde, Michael Laudrup and Steve McClaren are names we have been linked with over the past few months and to be honest I would be happy with with any of those - McClaren being my 3rd choice.

Once a manager is in place we can set about player recruitment. I've gone for players with PL experience. There are very few members of our first team squad that I would worry about losing.

Kasper Schmeichel             If Tim Krul is sold

Virgil Van Dijk          We need 2 starting CH
Steven Caulker          We need 2 starting CH
James Chester                  Good cover, better than Willo
Kieran Trippier          Competition for Janmaat

Leroy Fer                  Replace Tiote
Etiene Capoue          Replace Tiote
Mohamed Salah                  Quality player

Charlie Austin         Goals needed if Cisse is sold
Danny Ings         Goals needed if Cisse is sold
Patrick Bamford         Huge potential
Aleksandar Mitrović         Goals needed if Cisse is sold

Friday, April 17, 2015


Here at My Kind of Toon we support the Boycott...

Buy British

Everyone knows NUFC face a massive summer - we need manager and an overhaul of our playing squad. In my previous posts I outlined who I would keep and who I'd sell. I'm sure we all agree there are not many players we want to keep - based on ability, and importantly character.

Character and attitude are the new buzz for regarding potential signing's. With that in mind I have complied a transfer shot list of player who I believe will both improve our playing squad and bring the right attitude to the club. All of them come from 'smaller club' ,all of them are what you would call proper footballers and seem to be good lads. They are not at the peaks of their careers and will be hungry to improve.

Here we go:

Danny Ings - Great bosman signing if he does not go to a top 6 club.
Charlie Austin- - Plenty of goals in a struggling team.
Jordan Rhodes - Another 18 goals this season - deserves his shot in the PL
Patrick Bamford - Great at Boro - unfortunately he will not get a chance at Chelsea - great for us.

Steven Caulker - All the ability needed - will only get better.
Scott Dann - Solid PL centre-half - improvement on Willo & Taylor.
Kieran Trippier - Great PL season - young, hungry, talented.

Tom Huddleston - Passes the ball as good as anyone we have. Physically imposing. 

Will Hughes - Best young English midfielder

I am also all in favour of picking the best players from the Championship - these lads know our game, have the right attitude and are desperate to improve.