‘Supporting Newcastle United is like being a Brexiteer…’

newcastle united

Supporting Newcastle United is like being a Brexiteer, in that we know what we want…

We have bought our tickets. Dressed in our colours.

Voted (with our feet and money) and are committed to our team. Gone to games home and away.

All based on the pre-season bravado statements with the club saying all is changing for the good.

That we are moving forward.

That our new manager will promote attacking football and the hierarchy endorse this new direction of travel.

Well folks, surprise surprise.

What has been served up is indeed not the same old rubbish.

Oh no, we have now instead found a completely new offering of trash – look at the league table, it does not lie – but even more revealing, just look at our performances .

According to Steve Bruce we were robbed of a result at Chelsea because the officials missed a foul.

Get real – was he watching the same game as everyone else? We were shocking and with possession at some 28%, even when we got the ball we were about as exciting as spent fart.

No skill, no flair, no flamboyance, no speed, no cohesion , and certainly no attacking plan, with an average of less than 30% possession you need all of these accessories in your armoury to be able to counter-attack effectively but we appear to have none.

Having said all that, I do feel sorry for Miguel Almiron, who tried his heart out playing to Steve Bruce’s plan.

However, saddled with a playing partner who at £40m is only possibly equal to the now departed Joselu, gives you an idea of the scale of his problems. Joelinton is slow to think, act and move, with a ponderous first touch just awful to watch, in fact woeful to watch.

Also, why on earth are we playing Andy Carroll who is slower than a snail and whose only skill is to head the ball? Which is great if you have support players and a plan to put pinpoint crosses into the penalty area – we have neither sadly and his substitution for Almiron cost us a point.

Unfortunately, it has to be said that Newcastle United are the most boring team in the Premier League.

The football dross played out before us is inept in its perception and execution, with maybe half of the Newcastle United squad way below Premier League standard – sadly, I also include our manager.

Hidden amongst this football morass we do have some jewels  – the Longstaff boys, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Dummet and Dubravka, to name but a few. However, our future depends on these gems being used in a more enterprising and entertaining way, let’s all hope it happens soon.

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Wolves fans comments ahead of Sunday got me a bit emotional – Reminds us how great Newcastle is

Wolves fans have been looking ahead to Sunday.

They have an away trip in Slovakia first on Thursday but the visitors already looking beyond that.

Some great comments after one supporter asked his fellow Wolves fans for advice ahead of his first visit to Newcastle

Reading the comments got me quite emotional…

Whilst it is so depressing that we are now in the 13th year of Mike Ashley and no signs at all of him finally trying to genuinely sell the club.

You do sometimes forget just how lucky we are in other ways.

Away fans just love coming to Newcastle and to hear outsiders talk so positively about our city and the people (and the pubs!), is a big deal (Though a couple of them do seem to have a bit of an outdated idea of what The Strawberry is like!).

I think Newcastle fans who haven’t travelled around much, especially to away matches, have no idea just how great Newcastle United/Newcastle Upon Tyne is for an away trip, compared to almost every other club/city.

The location of course plays a massive part and as a recent report showed, the city centre spot means that within half a mile of St James Park you have a choice of 108 pubs (174 within a mile). Ironically, Wolves is the next highest of the 92 clubs but they only have 32 pubs within half a mile of Molineux, 76 less than at Newcastle.

It isn’t just the number of pubs, when you travel away you often find that away fans aren’t even welcome in any/many of the pubs, a truly alien concept these days in Newcastle city centre.

Wolves fans commenting via their Molineux Mix message board:

‘Just wondered if anyone who has been up to Newcastle in recent years, can recommend or advise what are the common pubs designated for away fans?

I’ve looked on some of the away fan guides, there does seem to be a few options, some say cover up colours and some do not admit children.

I’m going up with the family, my boys are 15 and 11, so looking for ones that let the kids in.

Looking forward to a weekend up at the Toon.’

‘As long as you are sensible you are spoilt for choice really, lots of them.

Can’t remember where we went last year but it was literally 4-5 minute walk to the away end.’

‘Four spoons in the town centre. Most are ok, some more colourful than others.

Bridge hotel great pub, crown posada another good pub

There’s loads, too many to list, most are busy on match day.

I can’t think of a pub to stay away from really.’

‘We got in everywhere last season no problem.

Didn’t see any home fans only signs in the numerous establishments we frequented.

Great city! Shame I’m not going this season.’

‘In colours last season and we got in everywhere. Proper friendly people.

There is a home pub next to the ground and we went in there, with colours on. Got a few dodgy looks but was having banter with the locals and no issues.

Newcastle away IMO is the best away day of the season… Can’t wait.

We are going up on Saturday so will have a few drinks Saturday night….’

‘I think generally apart from the Strawberry you can get into any pub.

There’s a few little side streets just off from the Train Station that would be best avoided just in case.’

‘The union rooms in town was decent, had staropramen on draught

Trying to be posh though cos there is a restaurant next door and they didnt like us chanting.’

‘One of my favourite away days.

Geordies are a good bunch.’

‘Looking forward to this.

Mate is driving us up.

5.30 am start should get there for 9 am. Brekkie then sesh.’

‘Shark Sports Bar which is part of the Sandman Signature Hotel.

Very close to the away end and it’s a belter, loads of tv’s, massive bar and table service by not unattractive ladies!:)

We will be in there before the game but staying over on the Saturday night – agree with previous comments that it’s a great city and my favourite away day!’

‘Right next to the ground is the Strawberry – personally I wouldn’t go in there match days unless you were wearing stripes & can speak fluent Geordie.

I remember sitting in there when it was a lot rougher with the VIZ writers looking for ideas back at the start of the ’80s.’

Just out of interest, what are your favourite away trips for the people and pubs etc?

I think Fulham is probably top of my list, or Liverpool if I’m stopping over – though not many pubs near Anfield so best to drink in city centre and  get a taxi.

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Strange claims as to why Matty Longstaff will be left out of Newcastle United team v Chelsea

Matty Longstaff made quite an impression on his (league) debut.

The 19 year old making his Premier League bow with Newcastle sitting in the relegation zone, no pressure..

Pretty much all of the boxes ticked.

Man of the match – ticked.

Score a cracking goal – ticked.

Win the match – ticked.

Do it against ‘name’ opposition – ticked.

Matty Longstaff has had a long two weeks to enjoy and soak up what happened on Sunday 6 October and is no doubt itching for this Saturday to come around.

However, many in the media and also a sizeable number of Newcastle fans, are saying that the best plan would be to drop the midfielder down to the bench, along with claims that Steve Bruce could be considering the same.

The reasoning for this is that it would be ‘protecting’ this promising young player.

Now I understand the concept of looking after promising young players and I am all for it, however, there is a risk of overthinking things a little bit too much here.

Matty Longstaff has played one Premier League game, couldn’t have really done any better than he did, his confidence will be soaring, so why on earth would anybody think that after 90 minutes in the top tier, he should be left out?

Yes you shouldn’t overplay young players and at some point it is sensible to take them out of the firing line but not after one game, when they have excelled.

The midfielder needs to be given his head and the opportunity to carry that adrenaline rush into Saturday at Stamford Bridge, then once again the following weekend at home to Wolves.

The simple truth as well is that Newcastle don’t have a suitable alternative at the moment.

Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-yeung have offered absolutely nothing so far this season and aren’t capable anyway of giving the same kind of energy packed display that Matty Longstaff gave against Manchester United. He ran further than any other Newcastle player as he harried and helped unsettle Man Utd, which Ki and/or Shelvey couldn’t have matched, never mind getting up the pitch and produce that cracking finish in the later stages of the game (and supply the only other serious attempt on goal, when Matty Longstaff hit the bar from distance).

Circumstances have also dictated that Matty Longstaff has the perfect window of opportunity.

Isaac Hayden’s suspension for three games has given an ideal number of matches, in my opinion, for Matty Longstaff to throw everything at. These three games probably just about right before possibly then bringing Hayden back in and giving the 19 year old that chance to take stock.

The fact is as well is that then from late November into early January, Newcastle will have 10 games in less than six weeks, so Steve Bruce will almost certainly need at times to mix it up in the middle of the pitch to help protect players from injury.

In January this year it was Sean Longstaff who made his first ever Premier League away start (indeed first PL start of any kind) at Stamford Bridge, in a game where Newcastle deserved a point as a minimum, only to lose 2-1. The older Longstaff brother excellent as he kicked off a very good partnership with Isaac Hayden.

There is a need to protect Matty Longstaff from himself to ensure longer-term returns but that need to do so comes at some beyond well beyond this Saturday.

Newcastle United need as much pace, mobility and enthusiasm as possible on Saturday, as well as ambition to have a go at goal.

Matty Longstaff needs to be on the pitch to contribute to that.

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Gallowgate architects promise to preserve SJP views but they once suggested boarding up the Tyne!

The fight goes on to try and stop the Strawberry Place development, a project on land once owned by Newcastle United which will prevent any future expansion of St James Park (see details of how, like hundreds of other Newcastle fans have done, you can still register your own objection below).

Mike Ashley has turned a personal profit by buying the land off the football club and then selling it on to developers to make a few million for himself.

Whilst every other Premier League club is trying to increase the number of fans they can get into their stadiums, Mike Ashley is doing his best to ensure St James Park will never have an increased capacity, even if one day he does sell to ambitious new owners.

Another concern with the development is that it will totally ruin the Newcastle city centre skyline and the views of St James Park that we see now.

Interesting then to see the Strawberry Place architects (Ryder Architecture) quoted in the Chronicle:

In new documents submitted this week, Ryder Architecture states that the height of the buildings “has been designed and tested to ensure that they sit comfortably with the adjacent buildings and within the wider context”.

They add: “The footprints of the new buildings have been located to preserve key views to the Gallowgate stand of St James’ Park from both the head of St James’ Boulevard and the Chinese Gate.”

All of that sounds professional but in the 60s the same firm (then known as Ryder & Yates) proposed boarding over the River Tyne for T Dan Smith because it was an eyesore. Can you imagine? (***Thanks to one of our avid readers for the tip-off to this one..)

If Burns’ plans for a city of elevated pedestrian walkways were ambitious, Ryder & Yates’ proposal for the regeneration of the Quayside area was audacious. As the hub of Newcastle’s industry, the Quayside enjoyed over a century of prosperity but by the time T. Dan Smith was in office it was deeply derelict and left reeling from years of post-war deindustrialisation and neglect. Smith turned to the trusted Ryder & Yates to figure out how to revitalise the area and—possibly inspired by Wilfred Burns’ love of pedestrian decks—came up with the Tyne Deck plan.

Ryder & Yates proposed decking over the River Tyne, from one side to the other, and building a sprawling conference centre complex on top. Few can deny the sheer audacity of this plan. It’s doubtful whether even the most radical members of Burns’ planning team would have countenanced the idea, but its very conception captures the utopian mood of the 1960s planning scene in Newcastle.


Nothing changes – local architects are still happy to kill our heritage on behalf of the council!

(From Monday’s article ‘Add your objection today against Gallowgate development that stops St James Park ever expanding’)

We have done a short step by step guide detailing how to get to where you need to, so you can object and comment (it is simple and will only take you a few minutes. This probably makes it sound more complicated than it actually is but thought worth detailing step by step just in case…).

A quick step by step guide to objecting:

Click HERE to go to Newcastle City Council planning page.

Then second option down is ‘Search by reference number’, click that and then enter 2019/0879/01/DET to take you direct to the SJP/Gallowgate planning application.

At the top of that page click ‘Register’ and you enter name, address and password, then an email is sent for you to click to confirm you are registered and now able to comment/object.

Log-in using your email and password, then search once again using 2019/0879/01/DET and then click ‘Commenter type’ and choose ‘Member of the public’

Then click ‘Object’ and leave your comment below that, explaining why you don’t want the development to go ahead.

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New reason put forward for further delay in announcing Newcastle United Live TV matches

tv camera

An announcement on Newcastle United Live TV matches was due on Friday.

The scheduled announcement was to let us know which of the 10 games in December and January had been selected and had their time and/or day changed.

In total, Newcastle have 10 Premier League games across December and January that could move.

It is now four days since the December/January games should have been revealed.

So far, six of the eight NUFC games played have been moved for Live TV, with another three of the next six also moved up to the end of November.

Bad enough so many games getting moved but at least fans should be entitled to as much warning  as possible, to enable them to sort the best/cheapest transport and accommodation options.

So why the delay on this anticipated announcement?

Well, it is claimed that the Premier League and TV companies may have conspired to give themselves an extra big headache this time.

Amazon Prime have the rights to two entire rounds of games. All of those scheduled to be played on Boxing Day and all 10 PL games in the first midweek of December.

As it stands, there are currently six PL games to be played on Tuesday 3 December and four on Wednesday 4 December.

However, due to a combination of Europa League action on the previous Thursday and the TV choices already made for the end of November and moved to Sunday 1 December, four PL games are taking place on that Sunday.

The knock-on effect for the midweek games is that four of the six games currently scheduled for Tuesday 3 December, include teams that have games only two days earlier on the Sunday (including Sheffield United, who Newcastle are due to play on the Tuesday).

No club will want to play games only two days apart so what if those games were moved  from Tuesday 3rd to Wednesday 4th December?

Well then this apparently causes a big problem for Amazon Prime.

Not surprisingly they want to get as much bang for their buck as possible and having only two games on  Tuesday 3rd December and an overload of eight games on Wednesday 4th is not good at all.

So rumour has it that Amazon Prime would then see the compromise to keep them happy, being for some games to be then moved to Thursday 5th December to give them a better spread of those televised/streamed live games.

However, moving games to that Thursday would then impact on the next weekend and so on…

Who knows the exact details of the hold up but the above scenario is surely at least one of the reasons for the delay, if not THE reason.

There will have to be some compromises by some but we all know the one group of people that absolutely ZERO thought will be given to.

That’s right, us mugs who are still sitting here waiting to find out when games will be played in seven weeks time, with not even an apology or explanation in the meantime as to why there is this delay in announcing the December and January Live TV games.

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Racism, England and Newcastle United – A reality check

Racism is the hot topic.

All the talk before the game wasn’t the usual tedious ‘can England beat yet another poor team to complete the typical ridiculously easy route to a finals, instead it was racism.

Bulgaria are one of those destinations repeatedly flagged as having the racism problem and England and the media were keen to talk the issue up beforehand.

I doubt it was with any kind of hope that this prevent any problems on Monday night, instead I think it was all about putting UEFA on warning, so that when the predictable behaviour did take place, the ball would be very much in their (UEFA’s) court for them to deal with.

As in…they were warned and now what are they going to do about it?

Ahead of the game, Bulgaria’s manager/coach Krasimir Balakov reacted to the worries by claiming that England had a worse racism problem than Bulgaria.

You can only ‘admire’ his determination to keep to the script when after last night’s 6-0 defeat in a game where the match was stopped twice due to the appalling behaviour of many Bulgaria supporters, Krasimir Balakov said:

“I personally did not hear the chanting.

“I saw the referee stopped the game but I also have to say the behaviour was also not only on behalf of the Bulgarian fans but also the English fans, who were whistling and shouting during the Bulgarian national anthem.

“During the second half they used words against our fans which I find unacceptable.”

Not making light of the issue but the ultimate Arsene Wenger-like ‘I didn’t actually see/hear the incident(s) myself…’

The only problem being, the Bulgarian coach COULD hear what England fans were saying but nothing from the home supporters.

The Vasil Levski Stadium was already subject to a partial closure for last night’s match after Bulgaria were sanctioned by UEFA for racist behaviour in qualifiers against Kosovo and the Czech Republic.

The Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov wasn’t following the same path as his boss of pretending there was no problem, he was praised by the likes of Marcus Rashford for trying to intervene, going over to talk to home fans at half-time.

The Bulgarian coach did though admit that if his hearing had been faulty…

“If this turns out to be true we are truly sorry and we as the Bulgarian Football Union and the Bulgaria national team are working very hard.

“We’ve had this problem ever since England were about to come to Bulgaria and all I’ve heard for three weeks is people talking about anything else but football. I don’t think this was the proper manner to prepare and play a football game.”

I think there would have been racist behaviour whatever had been said or done beforehand but what happened beforehand probably did make last night worse, as those who wanted to act up knew that they had the perfect opportunity and biggest audience (via TV) to get maximum publicity/coverage.

I totally disagree with those who say England should walk off and have the game abandoned if racism strikes.

Why punish all those England fans who have spent a lot of time and money going to support their team?

Yes UEFA should punish Bulgaria in whatever way(s) possible, whether it is points deduction, playing behind closed doors, banning them, or whatever.

However, that is also really avoiding the unavoidable truth.

This is not a football problem, it is a society problem.

Not all, or even a majority of, Bulgaria fans are racist. However, they have a society which is allowing it to openly happen.

Nobody pretends that racism has disappeared amongst Newcastle United fans, or any other English club’s supporters, they will always be there (Though hopefully in ever decreasing numbers) because there are racist people in the population.

The difference now is that through years and years of education thanks to the likes of Tyneside based Show Racism the Red Card: fans, clubs and the authorities are now well aware of what is right and wrong and what can’t be tolerated.

Last night you could clearly see the faces of home fans acting up, yet the police went in and arrested nobody and no doubt nobody will be charged with racist behaviour in the aftermath.

If somebody was acting like that at a Premier League match they would be identified and dealt with.

Imagine sitting inside St James Park and people next to you are persistently making monkey noises and/or racist chanting, most of those around them would be appalled and somebody would ensure that police and stewards were alerted.

If like me you grew up standing on the Leazes and then Gallowgate terraces in the 1970s and early 1980s, was it actually that different to what we saw/heard last night?

Police moving in to arrest Newcastle fans for racist songs/chanting? If it happened it certainly passed me by.

As a kid you knew no different and so many other (older) people doing it, you just joined in or at the very least, thought nothing really of it.

Society here in England has changed, certainly when it comes to what is deemed acceptable at football matches.

It might appear to be a bit of a depressing/defeatist attitude to some but maybe you just have to accept that in countries such as Bulgaria they are 40 years behind the times and there are no easy solutions. Simply a combination of both carrot and stick needed over a long period of time to drag them into the 21st century.

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I don’t want to go to Chelsea – Newcastle United return tickets

chelsea fans

It is Chelsea away on Saturday, the first game after a bleak international break fortnight and three weeks since the last away trip.

However, despite this Newcastle United can’t shift their allocation of tickets.

I have criticised the daft decisions when Newcastle refused to take the full away allocations for Norwich and especially Leicester.

However, on this occasion you can’t blame NUFC for sending tickets back to Chelsea.

The West London club revealing on Monday that they had extra tickets for sale after returns came back in from Newcastle.

Even despite those returns, the Newcastle United official ticketing website is still showing 218 tickets still for sale, only four days ahead of the match.

People might find this a bit strange, especially when it is a rare 3pm on a Saturday afternoon away game.

However, Chelsea has never been one of the most popular London away venues for whatever reason(s) so that may play some part.

Also, Chelsea have insisted that Newcastle’s away allocation can’t be put on sale to the NUFC general public, only season ticket holders and members.

However, whilst that will stop some and inconvenience many, the simple fact is that the majority of Newcastle away fans at a typical London away game are our supporters living down south, people used to relying on friends/family in the north east (and elsewhere) to get hold of tickets if they themselves aren’t members or season ticket holders.

Price isn’t really a serious issue now for your regular or even irregular away attender, with the £30 cap on away ticket prices. I remember some 25 years ago going to Stamford Bridge when they had put away prices up to an outrageous £25 and they kept going up and up from there, until this recent away price cap in the Premier League.

You can’t get away from the Mike Ashley factor because if it is affecting the attendances at St James Park, why wouldn’t it then affect the enthusiasm for some/many to go to away games.

The owner has drained so much enjoyment and enthusiasm out of supporting our club, there are bound to be casualties (in terms of fans just wondering why they should bother – especially worrying if you then look further ahead if ex-pats aren’t brainwashing their kids into the black and white faith to the same degree).

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