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Shola Comments
It's for the best. - Stavely is a bullshit merchant. - Everything she's associated with fails. At least Mike Ashley is risking his own capital. - He's tied to us whether he likes it or not.

The Newcastle-Brighton game sounded horrific, according to the reporter who was there for 5 Live.

Utd 0-0 Southampton FT. Chelsea 2nd now.

Yeah - genuinely amazed Benitez got stick for midweek - for almost scraping a point against Man City - but never gets criticised for complete non-performances like today. I think Darlow, Dummett, Lascelles, Joselu and Hayden are the only ones who put in acceptable performances. Yedlin has also regressed to one of the worst full backs in the league.

Good to see Knockeart is still shit though.
I thought he'd already been put in the reserves before Benitez rocked up, then wanted to go back to France after the demotion as Thauvin and Cabella did, but only came back last summer because nobody wanted him. Its still a pleasing way to find the option is there. Whether or not he'll still be about when Hayden, Merino and Shelvey return... who knows.

Saivet was apparently sent straight to the reserves - as was Doumbia.

Ah Thauvin. - Benitez sold a guy who's probably worth £50m for less than he bought Matt Ritchie or Jacob Murphy.
Saivet was apparently banished to the reserves by Rafa for two years....

And yeah I'm a bit skeptical about the injuries - looked to me that Benitez is stunting to try and 'prove a point'
While not quite as comfortable as it could've been judging by the internet/Sky, a win for the first time in too fucking long is all good. Very nice as well to see Diame and Saivet do good things after all the half-arsed performances of the former and the latter's virtual anonymity.

It's a Christmas Miracle. No Shelvey and Hayden, and Newcastle look a team transformed. (Also more solid without Lejeune)

Rafa will be fuming thought - with Elliott saving a penalty. - and I wonder how injured Mitrovic, Lejeune, Merino and Hayden actually are?
It's a bit weird how Alan Pardew's biggest fault according to some Newcastle fans is now that he doesn't make enough excuses
Can someone please explain to why Newcastle being shite makes Benitez a world class manager again?
Would highly recommend Nathan for You - First few episodes are on Sky Demand bit at the moment if anyone has access to that

Genuinely hilarious.
He's literally passed the ball and landed on Bellerin. Does no one play football anymore and actually use context? - People's criteria for a red simply seems to be if it looks bad in slow-mo or a still photograph.

I'm not really paying attention at the moment - but has this not been overturned? - One of the all time worst sending offs.
It was never a red in a million years
Love Richarilson - A proper snide cunt. Truly shameless.

Anyway can't score, can't defend, and Mo Diame was our best outfield player
Good to see Benitez back to his best and firing up the PR machine - such organisation skills and efficiency when it comes to blaming someone else.

Isaac Hayden played all right - but he seems to offer no actual protection when Newcastle are under pressure. He seemed to disappear against Bournemouth and did so again. Lejeune still looks a donkey to me - numerous bits of questionable defending. Jacob Murphy is still a raffle winner. Shelvey actually ran a football game (for 30mins) at least - one of his few games where he doesn't flatter to deceive. Gayle looks sharp.

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What did Scotland do in a past life then?
I think Drogba would struggle to score 10+ goals in this side with our tactics.

fwiw Mitrovic got 9 last time......
Benitez is taking us down. (again!)

Absolutely baffling not playing Merino against Palace and Southampton. - The way we're set up - he's the only one with enough ability to make something happen. Shelvey really isn't good enough.

Aarons has apparently been fit for weeks - and he can actually control a football.

Dyche 1-0 El Dyche

We'd be relegated already if we didn't have Merino.

Ritchie seems to refressed into being average, Shelvey offers nothing, Perez is lighweight, Joselu has no threat. Lejeune looks dodgy as well.

Clark, Mbemba, Merino, Colback, Mitrovic and Aarons need to be restored.
In fairness was Giggs not Man Utd assistant and Phil Neville.has coached at a couple of top clubs?
Still reckon Pickford is really overrated. Like he looks better at saves by being 5'3
Def wouldn't consider the season Keegan walked away or the one that led to Robson being sacked as good ones.

Sorry it was three good seasons in the 90's followed - but back then teams like Palace, Norwich, Villa and Forrest could compete at the top - now there is six good teams - it's a lot harder - Everton are obviously there and finding it very hard to breakthrough. - Even when we finished fifth - we probably wouldn't have done if Chelsea got knocked out of Europe - and Liverpool were awful that year.
It's not particularly successful - but we were absolutely rudderless before Ashley - and we probably won't be any better after him.

And what we had two good seasons in the decade before? - and two good seasons in the decade before that?

My point is takeovers never actually work - either the club is run in the exactly the same way it previously was, an owner is a 'maverick' who make impulsive decisions and pisses everyone off, Or an owner with big plans - who inevitably loses interest after no success and spiraling debts.

Plus Newcastle have had protests against every owner - and have spent more time in the second flight than the top flight - We were at the foot of the second tier in 1992

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Shepherd and Hall made millions out of Newcastle - Whilst paying themselves massive salaries and flogged their unprofitable businesses to the club.
That's the thing. Ashley is rightly hated, but some god awful owners have somehow found their way into English football in recent years and completely ruined clubs.

If you get good, sensible new owners with a bit of money, and keep Rafa, you'll be on the up.

Elsewhere, WBA 1-0 up at Leicester. Why did they give Shakespeare the job permanently.....

He's kept prices down reasonably down - and we'd be in a much worse state that if he never bought it (He was probably the only possible buyer in 2008 - because he didn't do proper due diligence)

Really can't see any sale happening - I think Ashley is still owed £159m - I think no will buy it at with that outstanding - and the fact Ashley has had to put out at a statements suggest no one is interested.

As an aside - has any takeover ever worked? Out of the clubs sold in the last decade Newcastle's was a success - Sunderland, Villa, Portsmouth, Coventry, Blackburn, Liverpool (Hicks), West Ham (Iceland), Fulham were brought to their knees by unsuccessful takeovers.

Liverpool (FSG), West Ham (Gold&Sullivan), Arsenal - haven't really kicked on - and I'm pretty sure they're fans are eager for a takeover.

And even the successful ones like Swansea and Palace have seen the owners become seen to be clueless and despised by the fans despite large success.

Leicester's owners never actually put that much money in, nor did Bournemouth's, and Southampton seem to have most of their success after Liebherr died. That Everton guy has put some money in - but without success so wouldn't be shocked if the fans started insisting he needs to sell up as they deserve better.

Chelsea and Man City are obviously different as they are built around buying legitimacy - and the football is secondary.
Amanda Stavely in the crowd.....No thanks
RIP Fat Controller
With Everton having a shite transfer window - and seemingly going backwards, Southampton seeming to have the same problems as last year - (7th is wide open - to aim for at least)

Anyway Newcastle are weird at the moment - Ritchie, Atsu, Lascelles, Hayden seems miles better in the Premier League than they did last year - Clark has stepped up and looks like a good Premier League defender, Mbemba and Elliott have came back in after barely featuring last year - And Merino is an absolutely ridiculously good signing.

We also seem more attacking than we did last year - which is weird
In what sense? Just because he doesn't connect? what sort of fucking rule is that?

No, because it wasn't as bad as Mane's - as evidenced by the referees decision.

Do you honestly believe anyone would be talking about Ritchie's challenge if Mane hadn't been sent off on Saturday? - No of course they wouldn't just like 99% of incidents like it.
So Ritchie didn't get sent off why?

Because it was nowhere near as bad as Mane's?