Click here to go to the discussion thread by Yacob
Life in the Championship could hardly have got off to a worse start after successive defeats have us languishing in the relegation zone. We remain favourites with the bookies to win the league, but today feels like a must win. We are already seven points off the top and can’t afford to fall any further behind at this stage.
This season was never going to be easy and there is still going to be work done in the transfer market, but the current squad need to up their game and pick up the three points on Wednesday. Reading will be the visitors and they have had a mixed start to the season under new manager Jaap Stam. It was an interesting appointment as the Dutchman hasn’t got any real experience as a number one.
They won their first match under Stam, but they struggled away to Wolves and couldn’t match the intensity that they showed in the first match. He had been coaching in the Ajax youth set-up previously, therefore it would be expected that he would try to play an entertaining brand of football at Reading. It was a risky move from Reading, but it could prove to be a masterstroke after time. Let’s just hope they struggle tonight and we get our first win on the board.
Click here to go to the discussion thread by TJR
Flags. Scarves. A sea of black and white shirts. Three vital ingredients for what the club are calling ‘black and white day’ at St James’ Park this afternoon. Gallowgate flags behind a campaign that will see over 500 flags on show. Those sitting in the Gallowgate and Strawberry corner have volunteered in their numbers to wave flags. Those elsewhere in the ground are advised to wear black and white and bring their scarves as we aim to create a show and atmosphere in the stands that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Although the game itself doesn’t kick off until 15:00, you are strongly encouraged to be in your seat for 14:30 as this is when the flag display will start. The display will last around 30 minutes and finish just before kick off.
It is anticipated that there will be a real carnival atmosphere around Newcastle city centre today and hopefully that positivity will make it’s way onto the pitch. The buzz around the place is unlike anything we’ve had for years. In his short time at the club Rafa appears to have united a previously divided fan base as we all look to get behind the team and create an electric atmosphere at St James’ Park.
Click here to go to the discussion thread by Colback’s Orange Tufts
Hello and welcome all to the first preview of the new season, and what a season it promises to be. After such a bad time in every aspect last year, the arrival of Rafa Benitez has brought unfamiliar optimism. Utilizing his reputation and strong character, not to forget Newcastle’s desperation, Rafa has pulled apart a failed business model of tight purse strings, low aspiration and speculative investments in unproven, young players. In its place a more singular, focused and inspiring pattern is emerging. Whilst it would be human nature may be tempting to look at our 09/10 total of 102 point and say we’ll beat it, if any club can fail from a position of such strength, it would be NUFC.
We kick the season off on Friday with a trip to Craven Cottage, the site of five consecutive losses in the league for Newcastle. Our last game in 2014 saw a struggling Fulham gain a vital 1-0 win for their ultimately fruitless survival bid, whilst Alan Pardew served the first of a three game ban for headbutting David Meyler. The last Newcastle win at the Cottage came in 2007, a poor quality match with a last minute Joey Barton penalty temporarily easing the pressure on Sam Allardyce.
The players are working very hard and they are ready. We know the Championship is very difficult but we have the hope and belief that we can do well. We have a lot of respect for Fulham. They beat Crystal Palace 3-1 and have a good manager. It will not be an easy game.
Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cisse’s Overheating Torso
This Sunday sees Newcastle’s last game in the Premier League for at least a season, if not longer and an opportunity to make an updated version of this montage:
We face a Spurs side second in the table, needing a draw to all but seal second place and finishing above rivals Arsenal for the first time since 1995. Spurs have had a great league season, improving from 5th last year and with the best defence. The club and the squad give the impression of everyone working together well, the polar opposite of the ongoing calamities at SJP.
Our home record against Spurs is not stellar, having won one and lost two of the last five. Seemingly, we do our best work at White Heart Lane, with our third win on the bounce only one of 2 away wins this season (why are we going down again?).
Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal
Perhaps the most important Tyne-Wear derby of all-time takes place at St James’ this Sunday; a relegation battle six-pointer between the sides in 18th and 19th as we enter the final stretch of the season.
Following an encouraging performance against league leaders Leicester days after taking over, Rafa Benítez will be hoping to take part in the recent trend of newly appointed managers getting a Tyne-Wear derby win in their second game. We’ve not been victorious in a derby since August 2011, and Sunderland have won the last six.
“I am sure that we can win this game and that will give the players belief going forward into the next games. Every game is different and a derby is a derby, so anything can happen. The players know this but they also know how important it is that we win.
“The main thing now is that they stick together. They are committed and working very hard to try and understand our ideas of what we want to do. They are trying their best and that is the main reason why I’m so positive.”
– Rafa Benítez