Howe soon is now?.. 

Despite the shite results, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Tottenham and Chelsea games – the feelings of liberation, having been cleansed of Ashley and Bruce were palpable amongst the Mags I encountered at both games. As enjoyable as those two occasions were, however, it still felt like something was missing, almost as though we still didn’t have ‘absolute’ closure on the Bastard of Burnham’s tyrannical 14-year reign.

What were those two celebratory occasions missing? Well, for me, both fixtures saw us take to the field, bereft of one simple but hugely important ingredient – Newcastle United did not have a bona fide Manager on the touchline.

In Eddie Howe, I believe we now have a Manager that will allow both the players and fans to collectively move on – a Manager that the players have respect for and faith in in equal measure, and a Manager that the crowd can get behind with everything they have to give.

Since rocking up on Barrack Road, Howe has presented himself as a hungry, tactically aware, self-analysing, articulate, progressive and most importantly an ambitious manager – something the fans, and even more critically, the players have desperately needed since July 2019 – and for these reasons, we simply have to get behind him and the players on Saturday, because make no mistake about it, this is HUGE game.

Win, and the club could immediately be engulfed in a feelgood factor reminiscent of the period following Sir Bobby Robson’s first home game – surely, we all remember the absolute mess Newcastle United were in before that Sheffield Wednesday game, and the mentally joyous journey we went on from that day onwards…

Lose however, and we will then be 6 weeks post takeover, still winless and our collectivehopes that we can retain our Premier League status will have taken another almighty knock.

More importantly, a loss on Saturday will somewhat erode the current feelgood factor that is – albeit bizarrely – still engulfing our fanbase, despite the fact we are well and truly in the shit.

Getting a win from this one shouldn’t require any form of rocket science: Brentford aren’t a Chelsea or a Spurs, so players playing in their preferred positions who have been told to get on the front foot and express themselves, coupled with yet another vociferous crowd should be enough to overcome a team that is currently on a downward trajectory. Why? Because player for player, Newcastle United ARE better than Brentford – and if Eddie Howe and his team can instil some belief in the players, and that belief is then reflected in their performances on the pitch, there should only be one winner come 5pm on Saturday night.

Only a win will do. Make it happen, Eddie.

Dangerman: Ivan Toney, obviously.

Prediction: A nervy, but hugely significant 2-1 win.

Lee Forster @LeeDForster

The new dawn, part three…

Another match, another new dawn. But this one’s no longer purely symbolic. This one matters. A new manager and one of only two or three winnable matches between now and January. We desperately need some of that mythical new manager bounce, especially against opponents who have lost their last four in a row, including to Burnley and Norwich. Mind you, let’s not take anything for granted – their combined xG in those defeats is actually +1.27. They’ve been unlucky.

Two weeks is hardly long enough to turn around two and a half years of managed neglect, especially with the international break, but it’s long enough to arrest the decline, to raise morale, to impose a shape, and to re-assert the long-forgotten fundamentals of movement, possession, and passing. Who knows, maybe we’ll even break the habit of a lifetime and press the ball.

The team? Clean slate, no favourites, no grudges, no preconceptions. Howe’s pretty much always played a back four, so let’s start there. I would have fancied Schär to make a comeback as a ball-playing centre-back. But given the international break, maybe it’s Fernandez and Lascelles in the hope the latter rediscovers his leadership mojo. Lewis has also been away, but surely Eddie realises he needs an actual left back and preferably one with fully functioning legs. Behind them, Dubs has had some vital minutes on international duty. Surely, he has to start.

Ahead of them, apparently Eddie likes two sitting midfielders, proper wide players, and two strikers, one of whom is withdrawn. So, a 4411 out of possession that can spring into a 4231. For me, that means Fraser and ASM wide and Hayden and Shelvey centrally (that particular metaphorical cupboard is sadly bare). Behind Wilson I’d play Willock. He’s not a natural possession-based midfielder, and maybe that advanced position can get him back to being the goal threat we need.

Then again, who knows? For all I know, it might just as well be 541 with Joelinton as the lone “striker”. All that matters is that we win. By any possible means. It’s been 6 months…

Danger man: This is the easy one – we all know Toney will score.

Prediction: My head tells me a narrow, scrappy 2-1 win; my heart tells me a full-scale Keegan 3-0. Fuck it, heart wins: finally, the new era dawns, 3-0.

Matthew Philpotts @mjp19731

A new era begins, and it’s exciting times at NE1….

Eddie Howe takes charge of his first Newcastle game on Saturday, as Brentford come to town to attempt to spoil the party.

With a full two weeks actual training. Yes, they’ve actually been grafting instead of pissing off to Portugal like a certain former custodian in the dugout. From the videos and pictures tha the NUFC twitter account have been publishing, Howe appears to have superb communication skills. I mean, he’d even got additional support for Joelinton / the next Messi.

Hopefully we will have seen the back of 3 centre halves and shut shop football. Hopefully we’ll see the return of our best pairing at the back. Hopefully we’ll see players like Jamal Lewis blooded in a more attacking line up. I mean, we might even see Miggy played in his best position on the park!

Whether or not Howe selects the players who’ve been away on international duty remains to be seen, but I hope he throws Schar, Lewis and Miggy straight in and tells them to express themselves.

I’m looking forward to this one. My mind is sent back to KKs first game in the dugout where we hammered Bristol City 3-0 with some swashbuckling football.

Brentford are in free-fall, having lost their last 4 PL games, and if I were a betting man (which I am) I’d plump for an ambitious and overly excitable 3-0 win to get our season up and running!

Howe-y the lads

Paul Karter   @peekeekay

Revitalised…

What a strange feeling to be excited and looking forward to a match under a new regime with a new manager. I’d completely forgotten Howe it has felt for so long.

The international break couldn’t have come at a worse time from a fan’s perspective, as the days have taken forever to pass, an eternity. The pictures, videos, and content from the training ground look very impressive, and yet I’m cautiously optimistic. We’re Newcastle United after all, and it could turn into a disaster in an instant. That would be very us though, wouldn’t it?

I can imagine the atmosphere being the best since Rafa was the gaffer, and I’m gutted to be out here in South East Asia instead of at the match itself. It’ll be a nervy one that I feel we’ll win 2-1. Not totally convincing with all the cobwebs from the previous manager still being cleared, and yet just enough air freshener to cover up the foul stench. A revitalised Ryan Fraser finally showing us what he can do, after Ivan Toney opens the scoring to silence us for selling him. A winner in the last 10 minutes is what I predict via our French maestro Allan Saint-Maximin, as his goal knocks over all the Sports Direct signage.

 Alan Khaw    @alankhaw

 Check it out Howe, the funk soul brother

Doesn’t this feel different? A new manager, new backroom boys, and a new sense of optimism. I’m salivating over Saturday like Steve Bruce over a Magic Flame Meal Deal. After suffering the Steves as People (who) Just Do Nothing, we’ve finally got a manager who has both a vision and the ability to implement it.

The opposition feels almost irrelevant as this is Howe’s first game in charge and all eyes are on the team sheet. For the first time in months, fans can expect a first 11 that will actually play to the squad’s strengths. Imagine trying something so reckless? It’ll never catch on.

With a few players away on international duty, expect Howe to have fashioned a first team out of the lads left behind. This probably means that Ritchie will continue at left back, so whoever is playing in front of him had better put in some defensive graft. Beyond that I am hoping to see a back four, no square pegs in round holes, and finally some football on the front foot.

There are two big questions for me going into this game. The first is whether Shelvey fits into Wor Eddie’s plans. On one hand, his ability to move the ball quickly and to spray passes out to the wings would suit Howe’s approach. On the other, Shelvey rarely looks remotely interested in the defensive side of the CM role – and when he does, he’s a red card waiting to happen. The second question is, how much has Howe been able to improve the first team’s fitness in the short amount of time he’s had them? Since the start of this season, the players have looked knackered by about the hour mark, depending on the opposition. Anything Eddie has achieved in improving their fitness will be a bonus, but will it be enough to beat Brentford?

The Bees are in a slump – but make no mistake they will be targeting this game to turn things around. They don’t know how to defend any more than we do, so I’m hoping for a high-scoring game in which the home crowd help Eddie Howe’s Mags to a fully deserved first victory.

Danger Man: Ivan Toney

Prediction:4-2

Dan Jenkins            @PlumsGinger

Premier League Football is back!! After what seems like the longest two week break thanks to the International fixtures, the Magpies host Brentford in the next round of Premier League fixtures.

Since Eddie Howe was announced as manager just under two weeks ago along side his own backroom team, the Geordie Faithful have once more got a reason to be excited for what the future holds for the club.

Thomas Frank’s Brentford side will be Eddie Howe’s first opponents as Newcastle United Manager and the Magpies will be hoping to record their first win of the campaign. The home fans will be feeling a bit more confident in climbing the table now due to the fact that the new manager and backroom staff have had some time to work with the players and get their style of play drilled into their heads.

Brentford will be hoping to bounce back from a shock defeat to Norwich and end their rotten run of four Premier League defeats in a row whilst the Magpies drew away to Brighton. The last time these two sides met was last term in the EFL Cup Quarter Final when the Bees knocked the Magpies out thanks to Josh Dasilva’s winning goal.

Head-to-Head Results

  • Newcastle Wins: 8
  • Draws: 0
  • Brentford Wins: 4

Early Team News:

  • Newcastle United: Paul Dummett is still unavailable as he recovers from injury but he is the only senior absentee in the squad. Ryan Fraser is expected to be included after he pulled out of the Scotland squad during the international period due to injury but has been training with the Magpies all week.
  • Brentford: David Raya and Josh Dasilvaare out until 2022, Matjias Jensen tested positive for Covid-19 before the international break so its touch and go to see if he makes an appearance in the match day squad.

Sutton’s Match Prediction: I’m feeling rather confident that the home side will have what it takes to leave St James Park with the three points come 5pm on Saturday, mainly because I believe that Eddie Howe will have unlocked the full potential of the likes of Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Willock and Co. It won’t be a push over by any stretch of the imagination as Brentford are a better side than their recent results show but thebuzz from a sold-out St James Park getting behind Howe and his boys will be what separates the two teams. My score prediction being 2-1 to Newcastle. HOWE’AY THE LADS!!!

@jsuttonwrites