TALK, TALK 

The usually reliable Luke Edwards of The Telegraph has had it that talks between Rafa Benitez and Lee Charnley should have begun yesterday somewhere in London. Its not 100% certain whether Ashley would be in attendance, which makes you wonder what the point is if that’s the case. You can get access to the full story – just click here. Some sources have it that Celtic will attempt to take Rafa to Glasgow if Ashley screws up the deal – click here No disrespect to Celtic obviously but I can’t see that happening simply because of the lamentable standard in the SPL and it would be a stretch to see The Bhoys being able to match the wedge he’d get in wealthier leagues.

Meanwhile Ian Murtagh of The Star reckons the talks were productive and there may even a decision today on Rafa’s future. We’ll see. Click here 

The Chronicle latterly claimed talks between Ashley and Rafa will go into the weekend with words such as deadlock being used – which is not promising and some reference to Ashley insisting the club will only sign players under-24 – which is straightforwardly mental but quite likely accurate given the goon we’re dealing with. Click here. Sky Sports News however refer to the problem being signing players over 26 as opposed to the age quoted in The Ronnie – Click here

YOU SNOOZE YOU LOSE 

It appears Wolves have a bit about them and are making an attempt to sign Solomon Rondon under our noses – providing Ashley would even countenance sanctioning a move to bring him to United on a permanent deal. There are details in The Mail – just click here  You wonder whether  a failure to sign up a player who has been central to the club’s recovery after its appalling start to the season gone might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back with Rafa? Everton are apparently interested in signing Mitrovic – click here 

ON THE WAY BACK 

The Chronicle has a little piece detailing the work Miguel Almiron is doing to get back to fitness after missing the last three games of the season with a hammy in readiness to go on international duty with Paraguay. Click here for the story.

GOING NOWHERE 

Ian Murtagh of The Star reckons Rafa has told Isaac Hayden he may not be leaving United this summer no matter how much he wants to be next to his wife and bairn. This might contradict quotes from Hayden pretty emphatic he’s for the off. It could all be smoke and mirrors however. Click here for the full story. Its also predicated on the basis Rafa will be staying as well, which we all know is far from certain.

FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS FEDERATION 

The Football Supporters Federation newsletter has landed in thousands of in-boxes. This week they are covering FA Cup Final tickets, safe-standing and there is a survey for away fans which we’d recommend you complete if you follow Rafa’s Mags away from St James’ Park. To access it, just click here 

LIFE’S A GAMBLE 

It appears when Ashley met Rafa and the players for a pizza last year in Ponteland, he promised them an all expenses end of season trip to Vegas if they stayed up. But that hasn’t been organised or paid for as yet. The Mail reports that it will happen next year – when I’d expect a load of the players won’t be playing for us any more … top tip lads … Fat Man Speak With Fork Tongue …. just click here for full story.

COME ON BORO? 

Baseball cap wearing gobshite and all round pain in the hole, Tony Pulis has departed Boro at the end of his contract which means The Smoggies will be looking for a new manager. Somewhat surprisingly, our former perma-crock but absolutely class central defender, Jonathan Woodgate might be in the frame to replace him. Just click here for story in The Guardian.

DIG THE NEW BREED? 

Neil Lennon, the interim Celtic manager has had something of a pop at fans and their unrealistic expectations via the rarefied world of social media. He refers to Celtic fans but also other clubs too. Lennon refers to a new breed of fan who are active in social media with knee-jerk reactions and all of that. Does he have a point? Click here

FOR THE OFF? 

According to The Express, Sean Longstaff is wanted by Man Utd as their sacked-before-the clocks-back manager attempts to reshape his expensive band of flops. If a load of money comes in, Ashley will sell, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Click here for the gen. Then again, he is injured so that might put them off for a bit. Sky Sports have it United have told other PL clubs Longstaff is not for sale … but whey, its Mike Ashley and flogging stuff is what he does. Click here. 

RECOMMENDED READING: 

Excellent piece from Paul Doyle in The Guardian dealing with why the Europa League Final will be in Baku. Try reading it and not thinking UEFA and CORRUPTION. Just click here

If you are up for a bit of a long read, may we respectfully recommend this excellent piece from Alan Feehely, writing for the magnificent In Bed With MaradonnaSEARCHING FOR THE ROOT – MARLEY, MUSIC AND FOOTBALL –  click hereI think we can say confidently this won’t be the last time we point you in the direction of that excellent website

TRUE FAITH – NEWCASTLE UNITED FANZINE