Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Reading – 17/08/2016

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.

St James’ Park is heading towards another sellout, which is incredible for a night game in the Championship. The support has been great so far this season and there hasn’t been panicking after the opening two defeats. In the past, under Steve McClaren and Alan Pardew, we as a fanbase were never fully on board, but that has changed under Rafa Benitez and there is still lots of positivity, despite the results. However, another defeat tonight and that could be tested. You can’t win a title in August, but you can certainly lose one and we can’t afford any more defeats.

Benitez has remained confident throughout and that is reassuring as you have to believe that he is correcting things behind the scenes. He hasn’t tried to pull the wool over our eyes like his predecessors and that is refreshing. The performances haven’t been good enough and he has admitted that. It is great to finally have a manager who speaks the truth, rather than attempt to cover themselves. It is still early in our season, but we need to stick together. We have the right manager and things will get a lot better soon.

Team News

Newcastle United:

Mo Diame will be missing after picking up a slight knock on his debut. Moussa Sissoko is unlikely to feature for us again and this week it is an ‘ankle injury’ keeping him out. Matt Ritchie will be likely to return to the starting eleven, while Aleksandar Mitrovic serves the third of his four-match ban.


Jaap Stam is likely to make changes after his side’s disappointing defeat against Wolves. Jake Cooper and Deniss Rakels are pushing for a start.

Predicted Line-Up

<janmaat> <mbemba> <lascelles> <dummett>
<hayden> <shelvey>
<ritchie> <perez> <aarons>

There could be changes made, but it is difficult to see where. The loss of Diame is huge and restricts the possible ways we can line up. Gamez could come in for Dummett, but I think that is unlikely as Benitez likes to have balance and Gamez is right footed.

A word from the gaffers:

“It has been a really bad start in terms of results, but at the end of the season we will be fine and where we want to be.

This is just the start. We have to fix things, but I am confident we can do well. We have had chances we did not take. We have made mistakes at the other end. We can be better in defence, the middle and attack.”
– Rafael Benítez

“Everybody is expecting a lot from Newcastle this season and there’s a lot of pressure on teams like them in the Championship this season.

Team who play them can play freely, but while they’re having a difficult time, they’ll want to win the next game. We need to be prepared for that, but we’ll be looking to get a similar kind of result that others have so far.”
– Jaap Stam


Andrew Madley:
This is his first match in charge of us competitively and his most recent fixture in the Championship was last Friday in the Brighton/Nottingham Forest match. He didn’t dish out any cards in that match.


I’m not confident. Our team still lacks in certain areas and we struggle to break sides down. Reading will try to play the same game as Huddersfield did on Saturday and we have yet to show that we can deal with that. I don’t think we will lose, but I don’t think we will win either. A boring 0-0 and the optimism will drop a notch once more. The opening two months are going to be frustrating and I just hope we don’t fall too far behind before we manage to get things right.


No UK TV coverage.
Overseas TV:
No overseas TV coverage.
UK Radio:
No national radio coverage.
Local Radio:
BBC Newcastle (Locals can tune in on their radio. Those outside the region can listen via this link

How do you think we’ll get on in this game? Have your say in our discussion thread.


Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Huddersfield Town – 13/08/2016

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.

There are three major football clubs in the North East. Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Despite the fact that Sunderland and Middlesbrough are competing at the top level this season while we are in the second tier, we have sold more season tickets than both Middlesbrough and Sunderland combined. This is testament to the fantastic work Rafa Benitez and the club under his guidance have done off the pitch.

In terms of the on the pitch action, we head into this on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Fulham. Rafa has described that as a ‘wake up call’ to his players and they are fully expected to respond by emphatically beating Huddersfield today. The performance at Fulham wasn’t awful and there are positives to take. It is likely that it was just a bit of an early season blip and we’ll improve greatly going onwards.

Huddersfield lost to Shrewsbury in the League Cup on Tuesday night. Ivan Toney assisting the winner. There previous Championship game was a 2-1 victory over Brentford.

Remember to wear black and white, bring your scarf and be in the ground at least half an hour before kick off. Today is going to be a special day!

Team News

Newcastle Utd

New signings Ciaran Clark and Mohamed Diame are available while wantaway Frenchmen Moussa Sissoko may feature. Serbian nutcase Alexander Mitrovic serves the second of his four game ban. There is no new injury following the Fulham game.

Huddersfield Town

Dean Whitehead is suspended. Philip Billing and Harry Bunn will miss out through injury but Nahki Wells could make a comeback.

Possible Lineups

<janmaat> <mbemba> <lascelles> <gamez>
<ritchie> <hayden> <diame> <aarons>
<gayle> <ayoze>

Dummett and more so Colback were woeful against Fulham and could lose their places as a result. With it being a home game we could go more attacking and play two out and out wingers.

Huddersfield Town

Smith Hudson Schnidler Lowe
Hogg Mooy
Lolley Palmer LaParra

A word from the gaffers:

“The atmosphere that the fans create already is amazing, but for our fans to organise something like this shows the huge passion of the Geordies to support their team. I know it will make the noise and the atmosphere in St James’ Park even more special than usual, and that will be fantastic. I would like to thank everyone involved with this project (gallowgate flags) on behalf of myself and the players. It is things like this that can really make the difference for us over a long and challenging season ahead.

To see 52,000 fans shows how important the Club is for them, and we want to be sure that we give them as much as we can. Sometimes you can win, sometimes you draw and sometimes you lose, but the main thing to be sure is that the players and everyone give everything to make sure we are where we want to be at the end of the season. When I was talking with some of the players to bring them here, they were telling me about the stadium, the fans and playing in front of so many people. That is a situation that we want to be an advantage for us. This initiative of the fans has to be crucial. They are key for us because we are together until the end. Even if we make mistakes, if they support the team it is easier for us to play better, it is easier for the players to have more confidence and quality to win more games. It is for the benefit of everyone that we stick together from the first day to the last day. We have to give everything, they (the fans) will give us everything, and that is good for the future.

Because of the fans, because of the stature of our Club, we know that every game will be more difficult. But if you want to go up, you have to adapt to these situations. We know that they (Huddersfield) will give everything, so we have to do the same and hope that we are better than them. We know that we have to improve (from Fulham) and the main thing is make sure that every time we are improving a little bit and that we are much better. Then, we can approach games with the confidence that we can win.”
Rafa Benítez

“As long as nothing extraordinary happens to him, Mark Hudson is fit and fresh and he will be back in the starting eleven to lead us out. With his experience he knows how to handle different situations on the pitch and he knows how to communicate that to people. He knows how to make people relax and he knows how to make people accelerate the game when they have to. He is able to deliver these messages to all the players and it’s important to have someone in this position. It’s important, also, that he has quality and Huddy is strong in the air, he is a great defender one-on-one and he will make sure it’s very tight. Newcastle have quick and mobile people and we don’t want them to have too much space. We have to build up a fighting zone against Newcastle and Huddy is a real fighter. He feels a responsibility not only for himself but for the whole team – he is very unselfish. After signing his new contract, he knows he will be a big part of the next three years here and also of developing the atmosphere in the squad, which is very, very good. He is an important player for me on the pitch, but also off it as well and we are very happy to have him.

I thought the first half against Shrewsbury was good – it was almost exactly what we had done in both halves against Brentford and the only problem was we didn’t take the chances. In the second half, though, we didn’t continue to do these good things any longer. We didn’t keep the ball and we didn’t move enough without the ball. We made things too complicated and we didn’t have good balance after we lost the ball to avoid the counters. For me this was simple stuff we have spoken about and it’s why I was angry about the defeat, because our problems were caused by ourselves for one half of football when we have played three good halves before that.”
David Wagner


Oliver Langford:

The West Midlands based referee takes charge of only his second ever Newcastle United fixture. His only other was our 1-0 victory at Gillingham in the League Cup back in 2014.

Expert Opinion

” tipped Huddersfield to go down at the start of the season and I could end up with egg all over my face. They played really well last week against Brentford.

But I think the support at St James’ Park will carry Newcastle to the victory. It’s an immense ground, and while opponents can raise their game when they visit, it might just be too much for Huddersfield.

I do apologise to their fans, though, because I only see them getting better, and that pre-season prediction could be the biggest mistake I make all season!

Newcastle United 2-1 Huddersfield Town.”
Ian Holloway


A full house at St James’ Park creating a cracking atmosphere led by Gallowgate Flags will should spur the side on. This should be the best atmosphere witnessed at St James’ Park in many years. Maybe the best since Shearers testimonial. It truly is amazing what one man, Rafa Benitez, has done to the city. He’s completely transformed the atmosphere, belief and outlook across the Tyneside region in such a short period of time.

I can’t see anything but a convincing Newcastle win. Newcastle United 4-0 Huddersfield Town. Gayle hattrick and Ritchie with the other.


St James’ Park:
The game is sold out. Fans are asked to be in their seats by 14:30 and are encouraged to bring scarves. There will be a flag and scarf display starting half an hour before kick off. This fixture is expected to break the all time record high Championship attendance record. The previous record was set by us when we welcomed Ipswich to St James’ Park in 2010, that day 52,181 were in attendance.
No UK TV coverage.
Overseas TV:
No overseas TV coverage.
UK Radio:
No national radio coverage.
Local Radio:
BBC Newcastle (Locals can tune in on their radio. Those outside the region can listen via this link
Championship Highlights – 21:00 – Channel 5 (Repeated on Sunday Morning – 10:30 – Channel 5)


How do you think we’ll get on in this game? Have your say in our discussion thread.


Preview – Fulham FC vs Newcastle Utd – 05/08/2016

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.
Rafa Benitez

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Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Tottenham Hotspur – 15/05/16

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?).

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Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Sunderland – 20/03/16

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

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