Newcastle United Q&A - The Supporter's View
Q&A with Dan, from the Spectators View
Firstly, I want to say thank you Dan for taking the time out to talk to me today!
No problem mark. Look forward to sharing the real NUFC fans views not those that Paul Merson spouts.
Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.
Q: I have to start with the match on Sunday vs Spurs. I suppose what was your feelings going into the game and how do you feel your team performed?
A: Going into the game I think most fans were hoping for a solid defensive performance and not to get embarrassed by a classy Spurs side. Nobody really expected us to win, a few were quietly confident that we could knick a draw perhaps but most simply wanted a good performance. Throughout the first half we coped well, even after the loss of Dummet and particularly Lejeune who had frustrated Kane but never really looked like scoring even with Atsu looking lively. Unfortunately, a moment of madness from Shelvey killed the game for us, but the performances of Manquillo going forward and Merino when he came on were real positives to take. Had it stayed 11v11 I wouldn't have been surprised if we walked away with a 0-0.
Q: agree with you on that, I think 11v11 you looked very good. Solid enough. The Shelvey incident killed the game, what did you make of the expert pundits reaction? Do you feel they were too harsh or justified?
A: From what I've read and seen, particularly from those like Souness and Pardew, the criticism directed towards him in general is harsh. It's worth remembering he's only had three red cards in his entire career, and to go through what he has in terms of his upbringing and the abuse he receives, which is often ignored, is undoubtedly difficult. In terms of the particular incident it was a nothing "stamp" but unfortunately you can't do that under the ref's nose. However, I would say Kane's challenge on Florian Lejeune was just as worthy for a red!
Q: Interesting thoughts! You mentioned that NUFC didn't look like scoring, do you feel Rafa's commitment/call out to sign 5 more players will help you stay up this season? What type of players are you’s missing?
A: Before the window most fans would have expected to be in a much stronger position at this stage than we are. A striker is vital. We lost Daryl Murphy, Rafa doesn't seem to trust Mitrovic and Gayle will inevitably get injuries as he did last season. It'll be interesting to see how Joselu from stoke works out. I wouldn't be surprised if Rafa went for another striker as well. Before Dummet's injury on Sunday we really needed a left back and that's been highlighted even more now. Dummet did a job last season and Rafa has certainly improved him defensively but he's inept going forward. The priority going into the window would have been a new number 10, but that hasn't happened. Ayoze Perez has failed many times in that position, Diame was woeful last season and Siem de Jong is a broken man, so I'd be very surprised if we don't sign a number 10 or another central midfield which could see Jonjo Shelvey moved forward. Rafa seems to want a new keeper but most fans are happy with Elliot as first choice. With the injury to Lejeune a new centre half may come in but we have options. Simply put, we need a lot! If Rafa gets his 4/5 players, I think we'll be fine.
Q: With respect to the other clubs who came up NUFC are a massive club. There really shouldn't be an issue attracting players. Mike Ashley interview on Sky was very open and honest. There doesn't seem to the same level of disgruntlement towards him, do you agree?
A: I think the interview appeared open and honest but I've heard that Ashley made sure that he picked the interviewer (who is his mate) and the questions. It was more of an advert to possible buyers. Last season the anger towards him died down as he seemed to be talking a back seat and handing pretty much all control back to Rafa. However, cracks began to reappear when we signed nobody in January and Rafa was clearly unhappy. There are rumours as always but the reality is that we made £30m in transfers last season and got promoted which gives us the PL/Sky/BT money (8 of our first 12 games on TV) yet we don't seem to be spending any of it. While it's not as bad as it was, there is definitely still anger towards Ashley which will become toxic if we don't bring players in and lose our first few games. If Rafa walks then it could become ugly.
Q: 37 games remaining now, what is your expectations for NUFC? In terms of league position, cup runs, etc.?
A: Before the transfer window, fans and pundits alike were hoping for the 10th-12th mark in terms of league position, but that would now be a miracle. I'd like to think that with a couple more signings, around 15th is a realistic aim for us. As long as we're not in a desperate relegation battle I think most fans will be happy and then hopefully we can kick on from there. In terms of the cups I can't imagine they'll be priority this season, but if we start well and look on course for a mid-table finish then I wouldn't be at all surprised if Rafa was to target the league cup perhaps as he's known for his cup runs!
Q: Just to finish up Dan, can I get your predictions for the following: Premier League Champs, Top 4, Bottom 3, NUFC POTY & NUFC Top Scorer?
A: Sure! League Champions - Man City, no better strike partnership in the league, Silva, Silva, Sane, De Bruyne is a scary midfield and investment in defence makes them look untouchable. Top 4 - Man City, Man U, Spurs, Chelsea. Bottom 3 - Burnley, Brighton and Watford. NUFC POTY - If Merino makes his way into the starting XI id go with him. Top scorer - tough call as I can't imagine many will get over 10 goals but it has to be Gayle out of the options!
Finally, I want to say thanks to Harry who arranged for Dan to attend this Q&A.
PS: Be Sure to follow @SpectatorsView for great NUFC content!