And so it begins… 

Welcome to the post Ashley era.

An era that has already seen Newcastle United and its fans become public enemy No 1 in the eyes of football clubs, their owners, their fans, and journalists the length and breadth of the country and beyond.

Our collective job now is to thrive off that hatred, feed off that vitriol, and to let let every bit of jealousy masquerading as moral outrage, only serve to increase our defiance.Be proud of our club. Stand tall. Be United.

For Newcastle United the process of healing itself has begun, but it won’t happen overnight – and that process starts tomorrow at Selhurst Park, the very home of a Football Chairman who feels so threatened, that only this week he vociferously encouraged 18 of his counterparts to put measures in place specifically designed to prevent Newcastle United from realising its now limitless potential.

If you are there tomorrow, make sure Steve Parish hears your wrath.

As for the game, whilst the fans and players may now be free from the shackles of a man whose mere presence saw them engulfed in a cloud of  negativity, we still have the same playing squad to choose from; a defence who recently drew praise from the British Medical Association for taking social distancing to a whole new level, and a midfield / attack who, barring Wilson, display the same level of confidence as Alex Bruce at an NUFC Fan convention…ladies and gentlemen of this parish, we are most definitely in the clarts.

That being said, there is talent in the black and white ranks – we’ve all seen it, and my biggest hope is that the talent has been suffocated by the fella last seen wandering down the M62 towards Cheshire with a£8m sized novelty cheque and a bacon sandwich , can be sparked into life by a man revered by England, but vilified by Luton Town fans.

We will now get a chance to see whether the Graeme Jones ‘Hype’ is justified, or whether his stock has been falsely inflated as a result of another man’s incompetence.

Personally, I simply cannot see us winning – Palace carry too much threat in the form of Zaha, Edouard and the increasingly impressive Gallagher, but with a few tweaks to ourline-up, a positive mindset and players playing to impress whoever will be next in the dugout, and we may just be able to sneak a much needed and morale boosting draw.

Fede, Schar, Lewis and Miggy simply have to come in for the misfiring, low on confidence quartet of Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie and Joelinton – and with those changes, who knows what mood we may head back up the A1 in on Saturday evening.

Whatever happens though – win lose or draw – tomorrow is just the start.

Newcastle UNITED. Will never be defeated.

Dangerman: Edouard, powerhouse of a player whose only weakness is his lack of pace (thank Christ!)

Prediction: 1-1

Lee Forster @LeeDForster

Proper start of a new era…

Finally, he’s gone. Steve Bruce has left the club he proclaimed to support and want the best for. Him leaving is exactly that – the best for the club and it should’ve happened long before now (and certainly before the Spurs game). What’s clear is that it’s also the best for him to the tune of eight million pounds.

To his many media chums and protectors fighting his corner and lambasting our fanbase for having the temerity to question a man with 1,000 professional games under his belt, the reason he has gone is simple – 9 games, 0 wins. This is a sacking (ignore the mutual consent waffle) for purely sporting reasons. Not because of some fan campaign, or perceived volume of abuse. The man isn’t up to it, and never has been since he landed on Tyneside two years ago.

Now that’s dealt with, on with the actual football. This Saturday we travel to face a Crystal Palace side thriving under the management of Patrick Vieira. This will be a tricky challenge for interim manager Graeme Jones in his first game in charge as Palace have been full of vim and vigour since the Frenchman arrived in the summer, along with a host of young, fresh faces such as Marc Guehi, Conor Gallagher, and Michael Olise. The Roy Hodgson era at Selhurst Park is already firmly in the rear-view mirror.

What realistically can Jones achieve in the three days between Bruce leaving and the Palace game? Well, playing players in their correct positions is the quickest win you’ll ever see. Dropping the likes of Clark, Lascelles and Ritchie will also help, and how about going into the game with a clear formation and idea on how to leave south London with three points? All of those are not rocket science yet seemed far beyond our former manager.

Whatever happens, the biggest barrier between us and remaining in the division is now gone. Let’s give the players and coaching staff our full backing in what promises to be a raucous and rowdy away end. Howay the Lads!

Danger man: Odsonne Edouard. Taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. Big threat.

Prediction: A battling 1-1 draw.

Craig Shaw          @shawzey15

Forget the departing martyr…

As the country enters the third day of national mourning for its new-found darling – the Pundit’s Princess, the People’s Porker, the Coach… inclines head respectfully and sorrowfully …of our Hearts – we’ve got more pressing matters on our minds, like actually winning a football match. Something beyond the capacity of our martyred hero, even as the kebab shops of Cheshire stocked up in anticipation of a record splurge with his £8 million golden shit-shower.

More importantly, as one interim head coach is replaced with another, the crucial question is whether events at Selhurst Park are going to turn out gloriously Roederesque or hideously Carveresque. Personally, I’m going with the former, and not because I believe Graeme Jones is any kind of managerial messiah (© Talkshite Radio). Far from it. But Jones does have one magical mercurial quality. He is not Steve Bruce. Much as Glenn Roeder was not Graeme Souness.

This one will be a test of the players. The final 88 minutes last Sunday were as poor as I have seen us in a long time, and that’s saying something. There was a foul end-of-days stench, redolent of Bournemouth under McClaren, just without Emmanuel Riviere. The midfield was overrun, the defence shambolic. Heads went down and minds went missing. But this lot have shown before that they are a resilient bunch for all their limitations. Brighton away last season felt very similar, but the players pulled themselves together. I hope they can do it again.

Then again, and for all the precariousness of our position, the result still feels secondary. This will be the first away end since Ashley and the first crowd of any kind since the inept cabbage head (his words, not mine) shuffled off his mortal managerial coil. It will be some party whatever happens on the pitch.

Dangerman: Zaha obviously

Prediction: 2-1 to Graeme Jones’s Black and White Army

Matthew Philpotts         @mjp19731

Getting drunk on life…

I’m going to Selhurst Park on Saturday.  I’m insanely excited.  Dangerously, aggressively, violently excited.

I haven’t been to a match, home or away since April 2019 – 30 months ago.  I haven’t had a proper day on the beers for a long, long time – this summer’s great post-lockdown binge has coincided with becoming a dad.  Weeks ago, I’d circled Palace away in red pen, identifying it as probably my first realistic opportunity to get to a game – and possibly my only proper day out before my little one enters her sleep regression phase and starts teething.

So, I sorted my tickets for this one as soon as they went on sale, which (thankfully) was before the takeover, otherwise there’s no way I’d have got them.  Anything other than a London game – this is where we’ve made our home – is unrealistic at the moment.  As desperate as the Ashley-Bruce era has been, I was already looking forward to Saturday, to see friends and support my team, before getting back to Finchley to put my little girl to bed.

Now, the takeover and the departure of Steve Bruce mean that I can actually look forward to the football, too.  I think we’ll win.  Not because we’re good.  We’re not.  And not because Palace are bad.  They’re not.  They should have beaten Arsenal on Monday, they absolutely dismantled Spurs, and in Conor Gallagher they seem to have one hell of a player in the middle of the park.  But I’m just too giddy, too blinded by boyish enthusiasm for Saturday, to contemplate anything other than three points for Jonesy’s Mags.

God, I’m just looking forward to it so, so, so much.

To drinking cans on the Tube in the morning.  To meeting my friends at Kings Cross.  To finally meeting some of the True Faith crew for the first time (you’d be amazed how much WhatsApp can become such a crucial part of your social life, so quickly), to stand for ninety minutes, to scream at every refereeing decision that goes against us, and to roar myself hoarse at a team wearing black and white.

If you’re going too, I cannot fucking wait to see you there.

Howay the lads.

Danger man: The Ghost of Stephen Roger Bruce

Prediction: 4-0 Newcastle

Let’s See What You’ve Got…

 Bruce may have finally got the bullet but he’s still stinking out the place, attacking the fans at every opportunity through a disappointingly compliant media. He increasingly feels like a rejected ex, bitterly lambasting us when what he really wants to scream is “WHY DIDN’T YOU LOVE ME?”. If you want an answer to that, there are some excellent articles on the True Faith website analysing Mike Bassett’s tenure as boss.

Saturday is about moving on and it is time to shine for Graeme Jones. We’ve heard rumour and counter-rumour about who is in charge of what ever since Charnley parachuted in the genial Geordie goblin to save Bruce’s bacon. There are no excuses now, Jones needs to show us what he’s got.

Given Bruce’s complete lack of interest in actually training the players, and the short run-up to the game for the interim manager, it is highly unlikely we’ll see a radical change of formation as Jones won’t have had the time to drill it into the lads. Will he therefore stick with the vulnerable 4-1-4-1, or revert to a back 5 and play for a point? Newcastle have a fully fit first team, so there are no excuses here. Nowhere to hide, Graeme Jones.

Palace are draw specialists, having taken a point each from their last three fixtures against Brighton, Leicester and Arsenal. Vieira has them playing more aggressive, exciting football, but they are undoubtedly less defensively solid as a result. In Edouard, Zaha and Ayew they have a front line that can hurt any team, while the hugely talented Conor Gallagher runs the show in midfield. Travelling fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that Zaha has not recovered from illness, as when he plays well, Palace tend to win.

While Jones will be in charge for this one, perhaps the new boss will be watching from the stands, with a deal looking imminent to bring in Paulo Fonseca. So this is a free hit for Jones, here’s hoping he grasps the opportunity.

I am expecting goals in this game as neither side can defend, so it might well come down to who has the most cohesive attack and clinical finishing. That would point to a narrow Palace win.

Dangerman: Gallagher is the one to watch.

 Prediction: 3-2

Dan Jenkins @PlumsGinger

Its time to hit the road once more as Newcastle United travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Saturday 23rd October for our next Premier League Fixture. This will be an interesting match as when the last time the two clubs met in February, Palace emerged victorious with a 2-1 victory at St James Park. Both sides gained a win over each other during the 2020-2021 season.

The Magpies will be under new(ish)leadership as Graeme Jones takes charge of the squad after Newcastle and Steve Bruce parted ways on Wednesday.Whilst Newcastle fans will be happy to see the back of Bruce, they will still be anxious to see who the club announce as permanent manager as Jones is just on an interim basis.

  • Newcastle United Team News: Graeme Jones isn’t expected to make any drastic changes to the starting line-up although players such as Fabian Schar, Jamal Lewis and Ryan Fraser could come into starting contention. Jonjo Shelvey will miss out after his sending off in the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and Paul Dummett is still injured.
  • Crystal Palace Team News: Wilfred Zaha is hoping to be back in contention after missing out on Monday but both Nathan Ferguson and Eberechi Eze remain absent through injury.

Newcastle come into this game without a win in their first 8 fixtures this season and are occupying 19th place in the table after 3 draws and 5 losses, their latest was Sundays 3-2 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur which was the first game under the club’s new ownership and proved to be Steve Bruce’s last game in charge of the club.

The Eagles will be wanting to unleash their frustrations out on Newcastle as they could not hold onto their lead against Arsenal on Monday nightwith Lacazette denying Palace and their manager Patrick Viera a famous victory at the Emirates. They currently find themselves in 14th position so far and only getting 8 points out of a possible 21.

Prediction for this match? Both teams will be right up for the match with Palace wanting to prove they can see a game out after Monday’s gut-wrenching late draw to Arsenal.Newcastle will be desperately looking for their first win of the campaign to start climbing the league table. I am going for a 2-0 score line with Newcastle United coming away with their first 3 points of the season.

JACK SUTTON – @jsnufctruefaith