Jonjo Shelvey: West Ham no better than Newcastle

There may be 14 places and 23 points separating Newcastle and West Ham but Toon midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has said that on paper he feels that the Hammers are no better than the Magpies.

Speaking to talkSPORT, the stand in skipper said: “On paper, I don’t think West Ham’s squad is better than ours.”

The Irons are fighting for a space amongst football’s elite in the UEFA Champions League whilst we are scrapping around to accumulate enough points to ensure we aren’t playing in the Championship next season.

With a squad that has players such as Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron, Shelvey is correct in his assertion that Newcastle are underachieving but the Hammers’ squad is full of talent and is arguably a lot more balanced than ours.

Ironically, the midfield area is probably the one that West Ham really outshine Newcastle with both Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek having brilliant seasons and being pivotal to their success whereas we are constantly lumbered with Shelvey.

With the addition of Jesse Lingard, West Ham have further strengthened and the in the hot run of form that he finds himself in, Newcastle will have to be very wary of the attacking midfielder.

His comments have bemused plenty Toon fans who have seen it as basically admitting the failures of the team and its manager, who Shelvey has always been full of praise for.

I have many problems with Shelvey but it encourages me to hear him speak so highly of the squad. All we need now is the actions to back up his words and we can do that by taking a huge leap to survival by picking up a result against West Ham tomorrow.

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Do Not Do This Against West Ham, Warns Federico Fernandez

Their upcoming league opponents West Ham fight at the other end of the table for a Champions League spot and thus both teams are desperate for the three points to further boost the chances of reaching their respective goals.

The 32-year-old has pointed out that the key to keeping West ham at bay is not providing them with any space on the field, as they have players with good pace in their ranks.

However, Fernandez stressed that Newcastle’s focus should be on playing their own game and taking a positive approach whenever they are in possession.

Asked whether the key is focusing on their own game plan against West Ham, Fernandez told NUFC TV: “Well yes, of course.

“Always the main thing is focusing on your own plan.

“We try to do even better every week and really want to analyse the opponent.

“You see where they attack or where they create more chances.

“Against Burnley you know that they score like 35 per cent of their goals from set plays, so you need to be aware of these kind of things.

“So do not give West Ham much space, they are good, good pace so we analyse and when we have the ball we need to play our game.”

Newcastle came out on top with a 2-0 win when they took on West Ham in the season opener and they will be determined to snatch another positive results come Saturday at home.

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West Ham Have Very High Confidence – Federico Fernandez Wary

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Steve Bruce Comments On Starting Attacking Pair Against West Ham

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Steve Bruce Has Done Good Job At Newcastle United – David Moyes

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When Toon fans can get back to SJP

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to go to St. James’ Park and for over a year we have had to express our frustrations at home instead of being surrounded by 50000 likeminded people.

A drab 0-0 draw with Burnley in late February was the last time that St. James’ saw a crowd but the wait could almost be over with Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.

The PA News agency report that the Premier League are set to reschedule the last two game weeks to give all sides one chance to play in front of their home fans before the season is up.

Of course, like everything at the moment there is restrictions and it will likely be a maximum of 10000 allowed into the stadium to start with, which is a start I guess.

The 37th round of fixtures commence on the 18th and 19th of May and all being well, 10000 Toon fans will be lucky enough to watch their side take on basement club Sheffield United, in a game that could be absolutely pivotal to their chances of survival.

At parts of this season, you would have done well to find 10000 people willing to go and watch Newcastle but the longer the wait has been, I feel the more we have missed it.

In a weird way, going to watch Newcastle hasn’t been about the football at all for the last few years and instead spending time wit friends and family and I have definitely missed the social element that football brings.

Let’s hope that United are safe by then and there is no pressure and the fans in the ground can just enjoy it for what it is, finally being back in the ground after a long absence.

One man who may not be so happy at this news is Steve Bruce. Despite the fact that the ex-Manchester United defender has put on record his desire to see fans back in the ground, I reckon the reality is that he is dreading their return.

The feeling towards the head coach is so bad that if the game were to be going the wrong way, the atmosphere could be pretty toxic at a partially filled St. James’ Park.

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Mohammed Bin Salman’s plea to Boris Johnson

Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is said to have urged Boris Johnson to step in and intervene in the proposed takeover of Newcastle United.

The Daily Mail reports that the bumbling Prime Minister was warned by the Saudi Arabian prince that anglo-saudi relations would suffer if the proposed buy out failed to materialise.

Bin Salman was apparently furious with the Premier League’s stance on the matter amid questions of whether the club would be state owned.

In reply, Johnson sent his aide Lord Eddie Lister to investigate but then the Saudi-led consortium officially pulled out afterwards, clearly still raging at the perceived injustice in the decision made by the governing body of the English top flight.

In an absolutely mental year at St. James’ Park, this story is about as strange as it gets and goes to show just how big of a deal the takeover would have been.

In a year dominated by covid-19 and the governments response, it is mental to think that little old Newcastle United was on the mind of the PM but it is a shame that the deal couldn’t be pushed through. If it had of been, we would have been shot of Steve Bruce by now.

Both the PM’s camp and the consortium have distanced themselves from the story, with the league denying any lobbing from the government’s side with the buyers also reiterating it.

Considering the main issue is supposed to be the level of involvement from MBS, it is hardly surprising that they have put feelers out that it is not true and Shields Gazette journalist Liam Kennedy put this update out to his twitter followers.

I guess if true, it shows that the Saudis do desperately want this takeover and that is surely a good thing.

Over a year on from the start of this saga, it is still raging on without closure and news stories regarding it have picked up, hopefully it is not just white noise and there is something to the rumours but for now we should sit tight and concentrate on our battle to stay in the division.

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Newcastle fans will ‘owe apology’ to Steve Bruce

This one is hilarious. Newcastle United fans will owe Steve Bruce an apology as he leads United to comfortable survival.

Which one of his media chums has come out with this nonsense? This week it is Gabby Agbonlahor to spout this utter rubbish.

Speaking to The Football Insider, the ex-Villa wind up merchant said the following

“I’ve said this all through the season that Steve Bruce deserved people to get off his back,”

Quite what Bruce has done this season other than drag a mid table quality squad into a serious battle against relegation is beyond me and that certainly does not deserve people to get off his back, quite the opposite in fact.

“He’s had a hard season with injuries, coronavirus affected his squad the most with players missing games.”

Newcastle United are not the only club to have suffered an outbreak of covid-19, it’s just at Newcastle that is still being used as an excuse months and months on with all effected players having been recovered for a while.

“Once you get Callum Wilson back, once you get Allan Saint-Maximin back they’ll be a different team and it’s shown already.”

Someone really needs to show Gabby our form when the two have been available this season, it’s hardly brilliant.

“Newcastle will be absolutely fine, they’ve got no chance of going down. They will continue to get wins.”

Hopefully he is spot on with this one but the phrase ‘continue to get wins’ did amuse me. Three from the last 22 outings is hardly the hallmark of a good run and a team that gets ‘wins’ on a regular basis.

“Newcastle fans will owe Steve Bruce an apology for the way they’ve treated him.”

What about an apology for the United fans from Bruce? Not only for the turgid football on offer but also for the continued insults to our intelligence and putting the fanbase down at every opportunity.

“Hopefully the Newcastle chairman will give him some money in the summer to build an even better team.”

Of course we all hope this but the use of ‘even better’ did amuse me. As if being 17th is some sort of big achievement that will take some beating. Hardly.

Agbonlahor is well known to United fans for his bizarre take on matters and only last month he came out in support of his former manager despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Only Steve Bruce could get praised for taking this Newcastle side 17th and unfortunately this is just another example of rank bad punditry by a former pro.

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Football owner’s message to Mike Ashley

Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony has put on record the advice he gave to the unpopular Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

The advice given by the Posh top man was for Ashley to let the fans get to know him more, get a taste of who he really is by making himself more accessible.

I feel like this advice comes from a good place but Ashley has done too much to upset United fans over the years and MacAnthony, who is clearly on decent terms with the high street tycoon, said it is a shame that the relationship is beyond repair.

He was also high of praise for the Newcastle fans, which is always nice to hear. When speaking on his podcast, he said that the Georide fans are magnificent and also went on to say:

“Regardless of who owned it, if Colonel Gaddafi owned Newcastle they would still all show up because they just love their football.

“A couple of my pals are Geordies and they are just obsessive about that place.

“I have been there for a couple of games and there is no better place to go. It was the most daunting thing to go from the tunnel on to the pitch and up to where I was sitting.

“It is an unbelievable stadium.”

Whilst he may be slightly wide of the mark regarding Gaddafi (10000 packed in their season tickets just because Steve Bruce replaced Rafa Benitez and despite being a truly terrible manager, you couldn’t accuse him of being a facist dictator.) his comments will be appreciated by Toon fans.

He also spoke highly of the 1892 pledge, a scheme launched by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust to try and buy a small stake in the club and MacAnthony feels it is something that Ashley should entertain.

“Look, they want to feel part of it and they could buy a short equity stake. If Mike Ashley had any sense he would sell or he would put a fan as part of the board.”

The amount of common sense talked by the Peterborough chairman is completely different from anything we have ever seen from our owner.

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Club shop closure points to takeover?

A year on from companies house developments that sent Tyneside into frenzy, there has been another development that potentially points towards the club finally changing hands.

The report in question comes from the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope who last night stated that current owner Mike Ashley had closed the NUFC retail stores, making all staff redundant in the process.

What is interesting is that he puts on record that the letter received by the staff to tell them of their fate mentioned the proposed new owners not wanting to keep them on.

This is something Hope later expanded on via Twitter where he said that the ‘new owners’ were mentioned more than once and the phrase “the anticipated transfer of ownership of the club.”

Of course any statement like this is likely to get Toon fans excited and in that language it certainly sounds like a deal could potentially not be too far away from happening.

If this was last year, this is the type of comment we would have all allowed ourselves to get carried away and stocked up on cans for the inevitable celebration but now we are a lot more cynical and naturally expect the worst, after all the worst usually happens when it comes to Newcastle United.

The piece in the Mail also states that Castore are set to be announced as Newcastle’s new kit supplier, replacing Puma.

Whilst the line about the club changing hand and the repetitive mention of new owners, I firmly believe there to be very little in this story that will lead to a takeover.

In my (admittedly cynical) opinion, this is Mike Ashley trying to save himself a few quid. The Sports Direct tycoon will not have had a great time of it over the last year and a bit with the covid-19 pandemic rendering his shops closed for the most part and it is a fair guess that the club shop probably operates at a loss and choosing to close it up will save him a few quid.

The mention of a takeover gives him a ready made excuse that he is only too happy to use when binning off his staff. The kind of heartless act that has become so synonymous with Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United.

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