CHINA IN YOUR HANDS 

United’s pre-season plans became a little clearer today with news of the club’s involvement in the PREMIER LEAGUE ASIA TROPHY this summer. Whoever is managing and playing for our club will join Wolves, West Ham and newly crowned PL Champions, Manchester City in the Far East providing Donald Trump’s tariff crack with the Chinese doesn’t send the world into a nuclear catastrophe. Ah well.

The games will be:

17/July/19 v Wolves, Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre with a 6pm KO. Tickets are £21.

Dependent upon results in the first round of matches United will then travel to the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai to play one of West Ham or Man City on Saturday 20/Jul/19 with tickets at £32.

TRUE FAITH’S Rob Clothier will be headed to China to cover the matches for the fanzine.

No other news as yet about the rest of the pre-season plans.

DOING THE OFF 

As probably our best-paid player Jonjo Shelvey perhaps hasn’t been earning his corn on the pitch this season due to a mix of injuries and not being picked by Rafa. This has fuelled some speculation he might be considering his future at the club, though he does have two years left on his contract. Shelvey said:  “I needed to put in a performance to get people talking back about me either at Newcastle – or away from Newcastle. At least I’ve finished with a good performance and a goal”. Bit of a leap to think that is a statement definitely suggesting he wants to leave but lack of games is probably more important to him.

ALAN, RIGHT AGAIN. 

Former net-burster of this parish and Mag, a certain Alan Shearer expressed what many of us are thinking with regards to Sunday’s performance and the future of our manager as a pundit on Match of the Day on the last game of the season: “I was very happy watching that performance today but they need to sort his future out – they need to keep Rafa at all cost. Wonderful strike from Shelvey gets them off to a great start and then the best three players of the season for Newcastle – Perez, Schar and Salomon Rondon – were all involved in scoring the goals. It was a very good performance. It’s 24 goals between Rondon and Perez now and Perez has had an excellent season. Rondon got the fans’ player of the season and rightly so. Whether they get him – whether they want to pay that money – is a different matter”.  Unfortunately, Alan Shearer knows just like everyone else that Mike Ashley seldom makes the right calls when it comes to Newcastle United.

EVERYTHING CHANGES, NOTHING CHANGES 

Good interview with Rafa from Simon Bird, The Mirrorclick here

Here are some quotes from Senor Benitez: “But when I came here it was a bad time, everything was in a bad position. Football is about emotion and the fans everything depends on that. But the mood changed and everyone had more confidence. What’s changed in terms of the club (gestures to low key press room, at a training ground he wants revamped) – not too much! In terms of the atmosphere yes, it’s been positive and gives us hope that we could do better. We had 33 players and half of them they were thinking about wanting to leave. Now we have reduced it to 27, 26 here. In terms of the atmosphere the people who are here now are quite focused. Has this season been a miracle? It has been a great achievement. Why? Because it was more difficult than last year. And because the players realised that was the way to do thing. They had more belief that they could do it. Don’t worry about the mind games! You have to create something, so I said that it could be a miracle. After, your reaction was: ‘Oh no, he’s negative, the players will lose confidence’…. No, the players were not losing confidence because they knew.  I remember the team, for two years in a row, were at the top for injuries in Premier League. But after, we were the best team in the Championship in terms of injuries. And we have been second, third in the Premier League this year.

RECOMMENDED READING: 

If you can’t get enough reading about football, may we kindly point you in the direction of the excellent website, Two Hundred Percent – this is a great article on the National League Play-Off and the state of that division – click here. 

TRUE FAITH, NEWCASTLE UNITED FANZINE