Celtic confirm on Saturday that Rafa Benitez won’t be their new manager

rafa benitez

Celtic have confirmed that Rafa Benitez will not be their manager when they kick off next season.

With the Spaniard’s situation at Newcastle United very much up in the air, the much decorated manager was top of their wish list.

Optimism flowed north of the border (see below) and indeed at one point, Rafa Benitez was backed into short price favourite at the bookies by Celtic fans.




It always appeared though to be very much wild optimism rather than reality, that the current Newcastle boss would drop down to that level, whatever happens at St James Park.

After Celtic won the Scottish Cup on Saturday afternoon, the club released an official statement.

Predictably, the Glasgow club have offered the job to caretaker boss Neil Lennon instead.

Celtic Official Announcement:

“We are delighted to announce that Neil Lennon has been offered the job as permanent Celtic FC manager and the details will be confirmed in the coming days.”

The Mag – 19 May 2019:

Newcastle supporters get ever more anxious as they await an announcement on Rafa Benitez…and for many Celtic fans their hopes/expectations are growing that they could actually bring the much decorated manager to their club.

The media and rumour mill have fuelled the idea of Rafa moving to Glasgow.

Obviously with Mike Ashley involved, there is no guarantee of any sensible outcome at St James Park.

However, it is quite another thing to believe that in any shape or form, Rafa Benitez would have any interest in Celtic, or indeed any other club north of the border.

Whilst neutrals find the idea ridiculous, you can’t blame Celtic fans for having varying degrees of hope in attracting the Spaniard.

Interesting to see the comments below reflecting that range of hopes and expectations.

From those who already think it is a done deal, to those who see zero chance of it happening.

For neutrals, they look in and see such a weak league where it is failure for Celtic not to win all the domestic trophies. Whilst as one of the Celtic fans comments below, if Rafa did go there he would probably have a net spend transfer budget of only £3m or £4m, maybe more than enough to dominate Scottish football but not much to launch a European campaign on!

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Celtic fans comment via their Talk Celtic message board:

‘Rafa announced Monday apparently.’

‘Yeah signing new contract with Newcastle.’

‘Lennon saying he is jetting away right after final and has no talks planned with board.’

‘Rumour we have matched what Benitez is looking for. Now it’s up to him.’

‘I’d say Lennon on the ‘B list’ of candidates with the A list consisting the likes of Benitez, Rose, Villas-Boas, Mourinho etc.’

‘Was at a first communion today and apparently the latest from one of the supporters busses guys who works in the club has said DD met Jose and Rafa in London a few days ago.

Jose was said not to be satisfied with the amount of money he’d get to spend on players, but Rafa apparently did not say that, so he’s more a positive depending on the meetings at Newcastle.’

‘I have heard this also mate might be something to it.’




‘Realistically though, what will the budget be?

Can anyone see us spending 20m this summer? I certainly can’t.

I think it will be 7-8m with a net spend of around 3-4m.

This is part of the problem in attracting a top manager.’

‘It seems like Benitez is everyone’s favourite, I can’t really understand why?

He’s done basically nothing for a decade, granted he was astonishing in Europe at both Valencia and Liverpool and was thrown under the bus at Chelsea.

Also, he wants to leave Newcastle because they give him a perpetually small budget…am I missing something?

Why the fu.. would he go to a far smaller league for even less money?

I honestly don’t think he’s the best possible candidate out there. Problem is I don’t know who is.’

‘He’s maybe won a lot less trophies the last 10 years but he has been pretty astounding at Newcastle, given their financial situation. You say that he isn’t the the man for the job, on what basis?

You say this but fail to give your own opinion as to who would be best? You then ask why he would even come… so do you not want him or do you just think he wouldn’t come?

Any person who wouldn’t take Rafa, in my eyes, is absolutely crazy.’




‘While I think Benitez is ‘wishful thinking’ …. the low budget at Newcastle (as you pointed out) is the very reason that he could do things at a club like Celtic. Yes, way less money, but we are operating on a different financial scale altogether.

Relatively speaking .. as the wealthiest club in the league , there would be more than enough potential in the budget to create a team capable of delivering what we want for the next two seasons and more in Europe.’

‘There will be plenty of options in between Benitez and Lennon. The likes of Benitez and Mourinho are the creme da la creme of the managerial world over the past decade or so and would clearly be a big step up. When we look at more realistic candidates it becomes much harder to identify candidates that don’t have a few question marks about them themselves.

That isn’t to say they couldn’t do a good job, or better the Lennon, but it becomes a bit more difficult to say. Benitez would be ideal for me and I think most would agree he’s in the ‘no-brainer’ category if it comes down to him or Lennon.’

‘As much as we’d like a Rafa or Mourinho sort of appointment, it’s sadly pie in the sky as managers like that will have agents just using us to either get their client a better deal in Rafa’s case or a job full stop in Jose’s case.’

‘IF by some miracle our board have got the finger out and lined up Benitez for example…

Even if he leaves Newcastle … he is contracted until end of June…. that’s ok if he’s off somewhere with no European football or no qualifiers…. but Celtic need a man in by end of May to get to work.

Would Celtic have to buy out the last month? Would Ashley just hold him to it if he wants to go to ANY other club ?’

‘Go on Mashley son, dont give him an inch.’

‘There are countless coaches between Benítez and Lennon in ability. We shouldn’t settle for Lennon if Benítez turns us down.’

‘Best possible outcome: Benitez

Be happy with: Bilic or Hughton.’

‘Newcastle managing Director Lee Charnley has been tasked by owner Mike Ashley to lead negotiations with Benitez, Sky Sports News understands…..

So Ashley cannot be bothered dealing with Rafa, delegating the job : newcastle fans convinced they dont want Rafa, so who knows ???’




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Striker’s agent confirms talks with Newcastle United but waiting for Rafa Benitez contract decision

newcastle united

The ongoing saga of waiting for the Rafa Benitez contract situation to be resolved, is taking its toll on Newcastle fans.

Fans worried about whether the much decorated manager will stay.

Whilst there are also the worries of just how big a negative the Rafa situation will be, in terms of its impact on missed transfer opportunities.




A big indication as to just how real those fears are, has been delivered on Saturday.

Club Brugge striker Wesley Moraes has been widely linked to Newcastle and last weekend (see below) confirmed his preference was to move to the Premier League this summer.

Paulo Nehm is the agent of the Brazilian striker and in an exclusive interview has answered questions about the player’s future.

Nehm confirming that there has been talks with Newcastle United.

However, he says that they are having to wait to see what happens with Rafa Benitez first, before any potential progress can be made on a transfer.

Speaking to The Laziali, Wesley Moraes’ agent, Paulo Nehm’:

‘Are Lazio interested still?’

“Yes, it is true, Lazio are interested, but between being close and getting the business done it still demands conversations.

‘What about Newcastle? Are they in the running?’

“Yes, it’s true too, we already had a conversation.

“But, Rafa Benitez needs to renew his contract (first)…

“West Ham have already made contact.”




The Mag – 20 May 2019:

Wesley Moraes is definitely leaving Belgium this summer.

The 22 Brazilian striker ended his season with Brugge on Sunday, a 3-2 home win over Antwerp on Sunday.

He left the pitch in tears and afterwards confirmed it was due to the fact he is leaving the club this summer, saying he has to ‘give it a go’ at a higher level next season.

His three and a half years at Brugge have seen the 6ft 3 forward score 32 league goals in 78 starts (plus 29 appearances off the bench).

This compares to Aleksandar Mitrovic’ record of 36 goals in the Belgian league in 65 starts (plus 4 sub appearances) for Anderlecht before he joined Newcastle as a 20 year old back in 2015.

Lazio have been regularly linked with Wesley Moraes and Corriere dello Sport have given that link more coverage today – but have also quoted the striker’s agent saying that there has been contact this month from Newcastle United and West Ham as well.

Newcastle are reported to have watched the striker (as well as countless others…) this season and he has scored 17 goals (13 in the league) in all competitions and got 10 assists as well.

After Sunday’s game, Wesley Moraes stated ‘I have a preference for the Premier League’ but claimed he doesn’t know yet who he will be signing for.

Another name for the summer signing list…

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When asked about his future after the final game of the season on Sunday, a 3-2 home win over Antwerp, Wesley Moraes said:

“I’m really sad to leave (Brugge) and that is why I cried.

“I do not know yet (who I will sign for) but I have a preference for the Premier League, we will see what happens.

“I have to give it a go (at a higher level).

“It has been three years since I arrived (in January 2016) at Brugge (from Slovakian club Trencin).

“It (Brugge) is a great club that has made me grow and progress.

“A club with whom I discovered the Champions League and scored important goals, now I’m going to meet a new challenge.”




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Manchester United fans comments on signing Sean Longstaff potential

manchester united fans

Manchester United fans watched their team finish outside the Champions League places.

That sixth place was 32 points behind Manchester City, the same points gap that Man Utd finished above relegated Cardiff.

This has brought accusations that big money/wages signings such as Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and others…might not be giving 100%.




Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the job of turning the situation around amid claims he is going to base the rebuilding around recruiting promising young players.

Widespread reports claiming that a big for Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff is imminent, with a figure of £20m-£25m mentioned in most of those reports.

So what do Manchester United fans think of this?

Some interesting views on trying to buy a 21 year old English midfielder with potential, a few rational ones but as for the rest…

Manchester United fans comment on reports their club are bidding to sign Sean Longstaff – comments via Twitter:

‘I’ve seen Sean Longstaff play and…no, just no.’

‘Who?’

‘OMG huge news.

Imagine Scott McTominay and Longstaff !!!!

Watch out Man City we are gunning for you !!!’

‘Fu..ing laughable.’

‘There’s a difference between going for gems and signing unnecessarily risky players.

Daniel James is a perfect signing. But Longstaff when the likes of Partey, Rodri, Ndidi etc are available?’




‘If he were called Seanos Longstaffinho, people would he all over him.’

‘How many Michael Carricks are we going to have? I thought ya all said Mctominay is a Michael Carrick? Why sign another? Gosh….am tired of Manchester United.’

‘Half of our fans haven’t even seen him(even I haven’t) but already think it’s okay to say he’s a bad player just because he isn’t a big name,and then they moan that we sign only shirt sellers.’

‘Seen him a little this season. Looks like a talent but at this point, is he a risk worth taking? I don’t think so.’

‘Personally I feel that this Is the right approach, young unknown kids that are hungry to achieve their dreams would serve us better than the Hollywood players.’

‘Never mind the new Carrick, would we be any worse if we played the old one?’

Even Lascelles is a better CB than what we got beside Lindelof.’

‘I’ve actually seen Longstaff play, he’s not a bad player.. but no. just no.’

‘If Barca bought a player everytime he was called ‘next messi’, ‘next Xavi’, ‘next Iniesta’.

They wouldn’t have even qualified for UCL.’




‘I’d happily take him, he’s way better than McT, and more complete than Rice.’

‘I watched the obligatory YouTube montage of Sean Longstaff.

Couldn’t tell the level of his quality, and his stats aren’t amazing or anything. But the way he moves and runs looks really like Carrick and he loves a ping so that’s nice.’

‘Get him in midfield with McTominay we’ll be unstoppable…’

‘English FC in the making… all sh.t and average english players are always linked to us.
We’re becoming a joke of a club.’

‘Look at this, people pretending they haven’t seen Longstaff played…. You’ve seen him play and you all know even if we’re in a relegation battle, he’ll never be good enough for us…’

‘He played 9 games last season and is injury plagued.’

‘Is he a holding midfielder? Does anyone have any valid info on this guy??’

‘So another average player who passes side to side, no thanks, glad one crab is gone dont need another.’

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Mike Ashley just running down Rafa Benitez contract and transfer window – Sees squad strength ok

mike ashley

Mike Ashley sees things very simply.

A lot of people credit him with far too much interest in Newcastle United.

However, the NUFC owner will not give the football club a second thought from one second to the next.




No more than he gives the Sports Direct store in Chesterfield or Flannels in Sunderland.

It is only when there is a crisis that Mike Ashley will take any notice.

Does he see a crisis now?

I don’t think he does at all.

Ashley sees a team/squad that ended up in the top half of the Premier League in 2017/18 having spent a pittance after promotion, then a 13th place finish in 2018/19, 11 points clear of relegation and not having  laid out a penny in terms of net transfer spend.

Crisis, what crisis?

Mike Ashley doesn’t value managers like we do, Newcastle fans see Kevin Keegan, Sir Bobby Robson and Rafa Benitez for what they are, supporters also seeing Pardew, Carver, Kinnear and McClaren for what they are too.

It is all blurred for Ashley though, so when he met Rafa on Thursday 16 May he will have let the manager have his say but not really listened to him.

Just paying lip service, the club’s owner will have been told about the need for realistic investment in the squad, the academy, the training complex and so on, yet all the time in his head, Mike Ashley will have been thinking ‘You’re having a laugh, 10th and 13th spending next to nothing, why would I want to lay out so much of MY (the club’s!) money when this is working?’




I honestly think that Mike Ashley has walked away from that meeting and his only thought was, that’s out the way, now we can just crawl to 30 June, another month of the transfer window will have gone with everybody more concerned about the manager situation, then Rafa Benitez will walk away and plenty other managers out there.

As it stands, these are the players contracted to Newcastle United next season:

GOALKEEPERS

Martin Dubravka, Freddie Woodman, Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot

FULL-BACKS

Paul Dummett, DeAndre Yedlin, Achraf Lazaar, Javier Manquillo, Jamie Sterry

CENTRAL DEFENDERS

Fabian Schar, Florian Lejeune, Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez, Ciaran Clark

CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS

Jack Colback, Henri Saivet, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-yeung, Sean Longstaff

WINGERS

Matt Ritchie, Rolando Aarons, Jacob Murphy, Christian Atsu

STRIKERS

Joselu, Dwight Gayle, Ayoze Perez, Yoshinori Muto, Miguel Almiron

The only ones with just a year left on their contracts are Sterry, Elliot, Manquillo, Darlow, Joselu, Ki and Fernandez.

The first four are squad players and the latter pair were older players brought in on short-term two year contracts. If Rafa goes then I’m guessing if any of the seven were offered an added year on their deals, they would all accept.

So the only players that Newcastle would be losing from last season would be Rondon, Barreca, Kenedy and Diame.

Kenedy was terrible, Barreca not even good enough for the bench, whilst Diame has been poor to average this past season and the late run of form was achieved without him.

As for Rondon, Mike Ashley will see Gayle returning and no real need for panic.

Last season the late run of form was built on a team of:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar, Lejeune/Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Longstaff/Ki, Almiron, Perez, Rondon

In 2017/18 the late run of form saw the following regulars:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy, Perez, Gayle

Of all those players in the two teams, only Kenedy, Diame and Rondon won’t be here as things stand.

The fact that Rafa Benitez was manager will mean little/nothing to Mike Ashley, for people like him he will no doubt see himself (Ashley) as being the true architect of this (relative!) success.




The fact Hayden is desperate to move for family reasons won’t bother Mike Ashley, he’ll just be thinking, he can stay here and alongside Longstaff, Newcastle have a great pair of young English midfielders who I can sell for a fortune if they do well next season.

Ashley doesn’t see any value in having a proper squad, having a load of extra players earning money despite potentially never/rarely playing.

So if there is a team there plus a few others that are good enough, then more than enough to get by.

On transfers/signings, Mike Ashley will decide with his people to maybe use the two loan signings they can make from other Premier League clubs on a striker and an attacking midfielder and maybe allow a couple of buys as well, allow a £10m or so budget and top that up with money from selling Joselu and a few others, maybe meaning £20m or £25m spent in total.

Then hand this squad over to another puppet manager in the style of Pardew/Carver/McClaren and expect another safe survival season.

What has he got to lose (as he sees it)?

Even if relegation happens, there is all the money that hasn’t been spent this season (or the previous two), plus Premier League parachute payments as well.

After two previous relegations ended up with instant returns as champions, Mike Ashley thinks he has got this cracked.

Every day that goes by without news, I will feel that my worst fears are being realised.

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Rafa Benitez wants twice the transfer budget Mike Ashley is offering – Reliable report?

rafa benitez

Saturday morning has brought a report that claims to have an inside track on the Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez situation.

This is now the tenth day of supposed talks between the pair and/or their representatives and still nothing official as to the progress, or lack of.

The media haven’t had a clue either, with both local and national newspapers simply repeating what had been said/claimed previously.




Surprisingly, transparent claims of supposed insider knowledge has been pretty much totally absent as well.

However,  maybe this is about to change.

This Saturday morning alleged insider knowledge (see below) states that the sticking point in negotiations, is that Rafa Benitez wants a lot more guaranteed transfer funds than Mike Ashley is prepared to offer.

The 90Min report says that they have ‘learned’ that Rafa Benitez ‘wants a guarantee of a £100m budget to take the club forward written into his deal; this excluding money raised through player sales, and not inclusive of player wages.’

I can see three sources for this new ‘update’…

Firstly, this is a totally made up story. Which is what most of us will automatically believe.

However, if by some small chance that proved not to be the case, then there are two other plausible explanations.

So secondly, this could have been leaked by Mike Ashley’s people, in an attempt by them to make out that it is Rafa Benitez supposedly being unreasonable for asking for that figure.

Or thirdly, Rafa Benitez’ people have leaked this. The reasoning behind that may not be as obvious but certainly I can imagine Rafa Benitez potentially insisting on this £100m without taking player sales into account.




Rafa has already found to his cost (‘Every penny’) that promises of money from player sales can’t be trusted, not when he might sell players for big money, only to find he gets a small fraction of any sale price to spend in the same window, with the rest to made available, supposedly, in future seasons. Last summer, Mikel Merino and Aleksandar Mitrovic were sold for a combined £32m (could rise to £37m depending on what happens with Mitro), Rafa signed free transfer Ki to replace Merino and wasn’t allowed to make a bid for Rondon, only a loan deal where he had to accept Dwight Gayle went in the other direction.

The same with the wages mentioned in this report, Mike Ashley and his minions are always keen to talk abut an incoming deal costing a certain figure, the figure they want to quote being the purchase price plus all the wages for the length of a contract.

Which means say if Rafa was allowed to buy Rondon for £16.5m, as per the release clause, the wages would then be added on. So for example, if Rondon wanted £80,000 a week (£4m per year) and a four year contract, Ashley would be keen to say this was a £32.5m deal. With all of that money to come out of any budget given to Rafa, not just the transfer fee.

However, when Mitrovic left for example, we don’t get Mike Ashley’s  people or their willing media friends announcing it was a £31m deal (as in, £22m transfer fee and three years of saved wages at £60,000 a week/£3m per season (I don’t know what Mitro’s wages were or how many years left on his deal at the time – this is just as an example!))

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Considering how he has been left short-changed since his very first NUFC transfer window, a figure of £100m (however i is financed) to spend this summer is needed realistically to finally to get the club to progress, with wages funded separately.

This doesn’t mean that kind of figure would then be needed to be spent every window/season but investment is needed in the squad now, rather than just trying to paper over the cracks each summer.

Rafa was backed at Napoli and that has paid dividends in the following years as players bought by Rafa have been sold on at massive profits and invested in strengthening the whole team/squad on an ongoing basis.

From 90Min:

‘Benitez met with the Newcastle board last week, and ​90min has learned that the former ​Liverpool boss has informed the club he wants a guarantee of a £100m budget to take the club forward written into his deal; this excluding money raised through player sales, and not inclusive of player wages.

And although the club are keen to extend Benitez’s stay, there is an unwillingness to bow to his demands, thus the delay in any confirmation.

It remains to be seen whether the club will give Benitez what he wants – it remains unlikely – or whether Benitez himself will be given enough assurances to re-sign.’




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The most desperate Newcastle United transfer ‘Exclusive’ of the summer…so far

newcastle united crest surfer flag

When it comes to Newcastle United transfer ‘exclusives’, there is desperate and then there is DESPERATE.

Anybody with a brain knows that there is no chance of Newcastle buying anybody, until the Rafa Benitez situation is sorted one way or another.

However, Newcastle fans do accept up to a point that the newspapers are still going to be running transfer stories in the meantime.




All we ask is that they don’t embarrass themselves too much.

Friday has brought the most embarrassing Newcastle United transfer ‘exclusive’ since the window opened eight days ago.

Indeed it could be a front runner for the worst of the whole summer.

The desperation for clicks is all too apparent with this one from The Star.

Their headline shouting out ‘Newcastle transfer EXCLUSIVE: Toon and Lazio battling for £16m Brazilian star.’

Not even naming the supposed transfer target in the headline puts you on a warning straight away.

The mystery ‘Brazilian star’ in this instance is Wesley Moraes of Club Brugge.

The really embarrassing thing though is that The Star claim this on Friday as an ‘exclusive’, yet on Monday The Mag (see below) and everybody else ran this exact same story about supposed Lazio and Newcastle interest in the striker.

The headline from The Star :

‘Newcastle transfer EXCLUSIVE: Toon and Lazio battling for £16m Brazilian star.’

‘NEWCASTLE are facing a head-to-head transfer battle with Lazio to land Brazilian forward Wesley Moraes this summer, Starsport understands.

Benitez is keen to bolster his attacking options in the coming months and United are firmly in the hunt to land Club Brugge forward Moraes.’




The Mag – 20 May 2019:

Wesley Moraes is definitely leaving Belgium this summer.

The 22 Brazilian striker ended his season with Brugge on Sunday, a 3-2 home win over Antwerp on Sunday.

He left the pitch in tears and afterwards confirmed it was due to the fact he is leaving the club this summer, saying he has to ‘give it a go’ at a higher level next season.

His three and a half years at Brugge have seen the 6ft 3 forward score 32 league goals in 78 starts (plus 29 appearances off the bench).

This compares to Aleksandar Mitrovic’ record of 36 goals in the Belgian league in 65 starts (plus 4 sub appearances) for Anderlecht before he joined Newcastle as a 20 year old back in 2015.

Lazio have been regularly linked with Wesley Moraes and Corriere dello Sport have given that link more coverage today – but have also quoted the striker’s agent saying that there has been contact this month from Newcastle United and West Ham as well.

Newcastle are reported to have watched the striker (as well as countless others…) this season and he has scored 17 goals (13 in the league) in all competitions and got 10 assists as well.

After Sunday’s game, Wesley Moraes stated ‘I have a preference for the Premier League’ but claimed he doesn’t know yet who he will be signing for.

Another name for the summer signing list…

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When asked about his future after the final game of the season on Sunday, a 3-2 home win over Antwerp, Wesley Moraes said:

“I’m really sad to leave (Brugge) and that is why I cried.

“I do not know yet (who I will sign for) but I have a preference for the Premier League, we will see what happens.

“I have to give it a go (at a higher level).

“It has been three years since I arrived (in January 2016) at Brugge (from Slovakian club Trencin).

“It (Brugge) is a great club that has made me grow and progress.

“A club with whom I discovered the Champions League and scored important goals, now I’m going to meet a new challenge.”




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Two Newcastle United friendlies announced on Friday afternoon

st james park

Friday afternoon announcement – Club confirm two Newcastle United friendlies.

We already knew that Newcastle were playing two pre-season games in China (see beow) and now another two warm up matches have been confirmed.

NUFC revealing that there will be a first team visit to play away at Hibs on Tuesday 30 July (7.45pm kick-off).

Then on Saturday 3 August, a week before the Premier League season kicks off, NUFC will host French side St Etienne with a 3pm kick-off.

The club stating that this is a complete schedule now of only four pre-season friendlies.

Whilst obviously that includes a trip to China, back in summer 2014 Newcastle played eight pre-season friendlies which included two in New Zealand.

In summer 2015, there were seven, including three during a trip to America. five in summer 2016, six in summer 2017, with five last (2018) summer.

Newcastle United official announcement:

Newcastle United will take on Hibernian and AS Saint-Étienne in pre-season friendlies as part of their preparations for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign.

The Magpies will travel to Easter Road to face Scottish Premiership outfit Hibs on Tuesday, 30th July (7.45pm kick-off), before welcoming Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne to St. James’ Park on Saturday, 3rd August (3pm kick-off).

With their participation in this summer’s Premier League Asia Trophy having already been confirmed, the announcement means that United’s pre-season schedule is now complete:

Wednesday, 17th July – Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League Asia Trophy, Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre, 6pm kick-off [local time])

Saturday, 20th July – Manchester City/West Ham United (Premier League Asia Trophy, Hongkou Stadium, kick-off tbc)

Tuesday, 30th July – Hibernian (Easter Road, 7.45pm kick-off)

Saturday, 3rd August – AS Saint-Étienne (St. James’ Park, 3pm kick-off)

Managed by former Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom, Hibs finished fifth in the Scottish Premiership last term, one place above local rivals Hearts – who the Magpies met in a pre-season fixture two years ago.

Saint-Étienne, meanwhile, are already assured of a top-four finish in the French top flight ahead of this evening’s curtain closer against Angers and currently possess two ex-United players in their squad – right back Mathieu Debuchy, and midfielder Rémy Cabella.




The Mag – 13 May 2019;

The Premier League Asia Trophy details are confirmed.

Newcastle United will play Wolves in Nanjing on Wednesday 17 July.

Kick-off is 6pm (11am UK time) for the friendly tournament game at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center.

Victory for Newcastle would then see them face whoever comes out on top between Manchester City and West Ham in the other semi-final.

The game between the two winners takes place on Saturday 20 July at 8.30pm (1.30pm UK time).

With play switching to the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai.

If Newcastle end up in the losers final, they would then be kicking off at 6pm (11am UK) ahead of the final.

If you fancy the trip, or happen to live local…

The Category D tickets start from £10 for the semi-finals and £32 for the final and 3rd/4th play-off, these are daily tickets and gives you access to both matches played on either day.

However, the official allocation Newcastle will put on sale are almost certain to be for higher priced sections.

The Mag – 26 March 2019:

An official announcement from Newcastle United has confirmed participation in the Premier League Asia Trophy this summer.

Several weeks ago, the media revealed that Newcastle United were one of the names being considered.

However, it was then said confirmation wouldn’t happen until the Magpies were confirmed as a Premier League club for the 2019/20 season.

The bookies make Newcastle 150/1 massive longshots to go down now, so the organisers must feel assured now that this won’t happen.

Newcastle will take part along with Wolves, Man City and West Ham in July, details are below.

Newcastle United took part in the very first Asia Trophy in 2003.

Sir Bobby Robson taking his squad to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), where they beat Birmingham 2-1 with goals from Alan Shearer and Shola Ameobi.

Chelsea beat the Malaysian national side in their semi-final.

The final saw Newcastle draw 0-0 with Chelsea, though the blues won 5-4 on penalties.

Dyer, Bowyer, Bellamy and Woodgate all scoring but Shearer, Robert and Jenas all missing.

The Premier League Asia Trophy is held every two years in Asia.

It takes place every other summer to avoid conflicting with the World Cup and European Championships.




Newcastle United official announcement:

‘The Premier League have announced that Newcastle United, Manchester City, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers will compete for the Premier League Asia Trophy in China this summer.

All four teams will play in a double-header at Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre on Wednesday, 17th July, with a third/fourth place play-off and final staged at Shanghai’s Hongkou Stadium on Saturday, 20th July.

This is the second Premier League Asia Trophy to be held in mainland China, with Beijing hosting the tournament in 2009. It is the first time the biennial tournament has taken place in two different locations, giving more fans the opportunity to enjoy the Premier League experience and witness a world-class line-up of players and managers.

Ticket prices and on-sale dates will be announced soon and the Premier League will continue its commitment to ensuring fans can attend matches at affordable prices. PPSports will be the exclusive broadcaster for the Premier League Asia Trophy in China.

This is the ninth edition of the Premier League Asia Trophy (previously Barclays Asia Trophy). Newcastle United are taking part for the second time after featuring in the inaugural competition in 2003.

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are making their third appearance in the tournament and won the trophy in 2013. West Ham United participated in 2009 and it is a debut appearance for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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Premier League Interim Chief Executive Richard Masters said:

“We are delighted to be bringing the Premier League Asia Trophy to China this summer and playing in both Nanjing and Shanghai will be an exciting experience for the league and our clubs. The fans in Asia always offer us an extremely warm welcome and terrific support, and we look forward to seeing them in July.

“In Manchester City we have the reigning Premier League champions competing for the trophy, along with three other excellent clubs in Newcastle United, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. I have no doubt the fans can expect some competitive and thrilling Premier League action.”

The Premier League Asia Trophy is part of the league’s ongoing commitment to fans in Asia, and to supporting the development of football at all levels in China.

As part of this, the Premier Skills programme has reached more than one million young people and trained more than 5,000 coaches and referees in 23 cities across China since 2007.

The Premier League also assists China at an elite level through a formal partnership with the Chinese Super League and Chinese FA to help improve the professional game in the country. This bond was further strengthened in 2016 through the UK/China Football Forum and now has a renewed focus on youth development.

In relation to this, a full programme of football development initiatives is planned leading up to and during this year’s tournament, including coach education, referee training and a youth tournament.

The Premier League Asia Trophy will be officiated by Premier League match officials as well as local match officials and will be staged in accordance with Premier League rules.’




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