Newcastle Utd signing Asian players for purely commercial reasons?

Newcastle Utd are set to sign their second Asian player in a matter of weeks with Yoshinori Muto on his way to Tyneside from Japan to complete his medical. This follows the free transfer of Ki Sung-Yeung from Swansea.

This raises some questions of what is the sudden interest in Asian players, considering that before these signings Newcastle had never had an Asian player in their history? Ever.

Now I am not saying these aren’t good players and won’t do well for us. They might. However, if you take a look at our new shirt I think the main answer is staring us in the face.

As of last season, NUFC gained a new shirt sponsor from the awful Wonga debacle to the new and ‘funky’ Fun88bet.com who are an Asian online betting company. So I don’t think it really requires an investigation from Sherlock to work out where I sudden interest in Asian players has come from.

Now, I am not saying investing in Asian players to make moves into the Asian market is a bad thing, in fact I have been asking why Newcastle haven’t done this in the past as it’s easy money to be made with the right player on the books.

However, given our massive restraints in signing football players, especially ones that Rafa Benitez wants, if we are in anyway signing footballers for mainly commercial reasons to appease our main sponsor, then more serious questions need to be asked of this Ashley establishment.

I personally have analysed Bundesliga matches for two seasons as part of my job as a performance analyst and I can sum up what I have seen of Muto as; he is ok. Nothing special. So, to spend just under £10 million on him would be a massive punt on our part.

If Muto ends up being our only investment in the forward line come the start of the season then Lee Charnley deserves to be hauled up in front of parliament never mind a petition. Muto at best will serve as competition for Ayoze Perez in the no.10 position. He is not a prolific goalscorer by any stretch.

I am still of the belief that once Mitrovic is sold to Fulham we will bring in a No.9, most likely Rondon from West Brom but I will put nothing past our administration in leaving any sale until deadline day and we end up with no replacement.

However, sticking on point, Fun88 bet will be extremely happy with our two Asian signings and no doubt they will both be front and centre of all our commercial campaigns this season as they promote the bright blue Fun88 logo with pride.

It just so happens Keisuke Honda is available on a free transfer and reminded everyone of his quality in the World Cup so don’t be surprised if Charnley has made an enquiry to his agent.

I am just surprised he hasn’t brought in Southampton’s Maya Yoshida instead of Fabian Schar…

All hail Fun88.com. Bet now!

#DontTakeYourSeat #DontBuyTheShirt

Newcastle Utd are at a crossroads.

Ashley and Rafa have drawn their line in the sand on how this football club moves forward.

rafa-benitez-thumbs-up-promotion-newcastle-united-nufc-bw-650x400

On the side are the fans, they have a choice and must make a decision on which side of the line they want to be on.

Ashley side of the line is to carry on regardless, filling out the stadium and accepting lack of investment in the team.

Rafa’s side is to make a stand against this nonsense and refuse to accept it. This choice is the most obvious, however, is the most difficult to make. As it would require some harsh actions…

Ashley’s side of just carrying on regardless in this mindless fashion of sitting motionless in the back seat of a car as it rolls down a hill towards the edge of a cliff is pathetic.

Two things are set in stone in the current climate. Rafa Benitez WILL leave in the current state of play at the end of the season and there WILL be anger and uproar when it happens.

So my question is very straight forward. If we know both these things WILL happen, why wait? Why are 50,000+ people buying the new shirt, filling out the stadium and waiting for the inevitable?

What are they mindless, cowardly sheep?

I have witnessed and lived through every situation under Ashley in the past 10 years but I have to say this latest one is showing badly on the fans more than him.

We all know what Ashley is by now. A cheap, ignorant and unfathomable moron when it comes to his understanding of running a football club. He doesn’t know what he is doing.

He only understands a handful of things. A premier league team, with passionate supporters filling out a 53,000 seater stadium with his Sports Direct banners all over it promotes his baby.

That is it. That’s why he is here.

So fans must realise that they have it in their power to get rid of him? Surely?

If you want rid of Ashley then don’t fill out the stadium. It’s that simple. An empty stadium on a Premier League level embarrasses him. It embarrasses the logos surrounding the empty seats.

This embarrassment is the only message that will get through to him. Bed sheets spray painted with small cliche messages don’t get through to him.

He laughs at you. You know why? Because you paid him for the privilege of getting into the stadium and paying for your seat. He cares about your money, not your opinion.

The situation of Mike Ashley vs The People of Newcastle has come to a head now and it must be resolved. The fans have a direct choice.

Continue to fill out the stadium, sell out the £65 new kit and try to enjoy Rafa Benitez last season as manager before he waves goodbye for good.

Or

Kick up a fuss and refuse to take your seat or buy the new kit and make Ashley realise once and for all what he needs to do. He needs to go.

Once Ashley enters serious and genuine negotiations to sell the club, then the Toon Army can flock back into the stadium to support Rafa and his boys.

It’s short term pain for long term gain.

Newcastle fans have the power in their hands to end this nonsense and save the club from inevitable doom.

The only way forward is with Rafa. The only way to keep Rafa is if Ashley goes. The only way Ashley will go is if the one thing keeping him here is killed.

That one thing is passionate match day support to a worldwide audience that actively promotes his sweat shop. Stop this. Kill it and he will go.

Once he goes, the new owner will invest in the team and in Rafa and we will be free to reach our potential.

If Ashley stays, Rafa will leave and some average manager will come in and we will go round the same old wheel of misfortune all over again.

It’s your choice lads and lasses. Make it.

#DontTakeYourSeats #DontBuyTheShirt

Ginger Pirlo

(I’ve not stepped foot in St James nor bought a kit for 10 years now. It really isn’t that hard knowing it’s for the greater good)

Why Rafa taking over as Spain national boss makes sense

Fernando Hierro has left the Spanish football federation and with it leaves the Spain job open for a new manager and beginning.

Rafa Benitez name has been linked and dismissed by many as nothing but paper talk. However, when you consider it logically, it makes sense.

5eb10-rafa2bwave

Spain have been horrendous in the last two World Cups since becoming champions of the world in 2010. Dumped out in the group stage in 2014 and embarrassingly losing to Russia in 2018.

Defensively they were shocking and in attack they were several lacking in cutting edge as they pass, pass, passed the ball around side to side seemingly for the sheer sake of it.

Their midfield maestro’s of Xavi and Iniesta are now gone and Cesc Fabregas won’t be around come the next World Cup and wasn’t even picked in the squad for Russia.

What Spain need is a new generation and with it a new style. Tiki-taka looks like yesterday’s style and boringly out of date. They also don’t have the right players to do it.

When you have Diego Costa up front then passing the ball around for fun is not going to get the best out of him. Going slightly more direct is just what the doctor ordered.

They have young players like Asensio who is full of pace and full of running. Iago Aspas is in a similar mould. They need a manager who will carry the transition from purely possession based football to effective football. Rafa Benitez could be the perfect fit.

He will build their team from back to front and make sure they are defensively sound first and foremost. He will also pick and develop the players that will do the best job to do the end goal; win.

Rafa also has an incredible record in cup tournaments. Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup & Italian Cup are on his CV. He knows how to win. Plus he is obviously one other thing. Spanish.

Not just Spanish but a boy from Madrid who would be nothing but proud to take control of his country. He cried tears of joy when appointed Real Madrid manager. He would do the same as Spanish national coach.

As a Toon fan, I clearly don’t want it to happen right now as he has a job to do building my club into something special. But if Mike Ashley messes him around over the next few weeks of the transfer window, it could be an offer to good to turn down.

Let’s hope Spain don’t ask…

Ginger Pirlo

Belgium should be sending Japan a thank you note.

When Japan left the World Cup they left a thank you note, in Russian I believe, for their hosts which received worldwide acclaim.

If Belgium end up lifting the World Cup trophy next week, then they should be sending their own thank you note to Japan.

In their last 16 match, the Japanese raced into a two goal lead which came from them taking advantage of Belgium’s lopsided system.

Martinez has insisted on playing a 3-4-3 formation with a right back on the right of a midfield four and an attacking winger on the left.

In theory, some people would say this gives you the best of both worlds. However, in reality it can also give you neither.

The Japanese took advantage of what seemed a blatant weakness in the Belgium fortress, in behind the fake wing backs.

Vast gaps were there for all to see and Japan took advantage like the rebel alliance blasting a couple of shots down a massive hole in the Death Star.

A clear weakness overlooked that would inevitably be there downfall to the right opponent. Luckily for Belgium, it was ‘only Japan’.

If that match played out like most anticipated and the Belgian red devils ran out 2-0 comfortable winners, then Martinez would very likely have stuck to his guns going into the Brazil game. As why would he change?

The 3-4-3 would no doubt have been absolutely demolished by the likes of Neymar and Willian, which would have made this quarter final a very different affair.

Not only would they have been weak without the ball but playing De Bruyne in a midfield two against the Brazilian three, would have also seen him stifled.

As it turns out, Martinez learned his lesson from Japan after a miracle comeback and plugged the gaps and free his biggest weapon.

Belgium were the clear better team last night and Martinez is being lauded a tactical master. Yet this Jedi may need to remember what has lead him to this moment.

When you consider how well they played in a 4-3-3 with his big hitters in better positions to play, you should be asking why he has insisted with the doomed 3-4-3 for his entire reign as Belgium boss.

Yet nobody will if they lift that trophy. It will all be forgotten. But I would be keen to stress to Martinez if I ever met him to insist he remembers the Japanese.

If it weren’t for them, Belgium could well be going home right now. I suggest Mr Martinez should be sending a thank you note of his own to Japan, perhaps in Russian would be apt.

Ginger Pirlo

Survival Sunday prediction

I am gonna look into my crystal ball and make a bold claim.

Now that the likes of Newcastle, Bournemouth are safe and I think Crystal Palace will comfortably stay up. This is what I think will happen in terms of the relegation battle:

Brighton and/or Huddersfield won’t get another point for the rest of the season. Their respected fixtures are quite honestly, rock hard (old term, thought I would use it) so will be stranded on 35 points. (I repeat at least one of them. maybe both)

Southampton will manage to get themselves a couple of wins and a draw in the coming weeks, most likely against Leicester away, Bournemouth at home and Swansea away. This would also put them on 35 points heading into Man City at home on the final day.

Now, Swansea are on 33 at the moment with Man City away, Chelsea at home and Bournemouth away. At best I think they can get a point or two from these games but it’s also likely they won’t get anything.

Then they have that Southampton game and given my prediction above, they will only draw this game at best and will be somewhere around the 35 point mark themselves heading into their final day showdown with Stoke (who I think will be already gone)

So, going into the last game of the season, we could have a situation where all four of these teams are sat on 35 points and we could have a goal difference decider on who gets dumped into the Championship. With all that being said here is who I think it will be:

15th – Swansea
16th – Huddersfield
17th – Southampton
18th – Brighton
19th – Stoke
20th – West Brom

Saints survive an onslaught from Man City and keep the score down to stay up on goal difference.

Sorry Brighton, but just like when you blew the Championship title last season, it could be last day heartbreak for you again from a seemingly comfortable position.

@TheGingerPirlo_

Brighton

Jose Mourinho is no longer The Special One. He is The Dull One

One thing that must be acknowledged is the Jose Mourinho we all knew and some fell in love with is gone.

The slick, arrogant, hungry young manager is long gone and is now a completely different animal. He is now a negative, dull, tired old shell of his former self.

The tipping point seems to be the Chelsea league win a few years ago. Even when he came back to Chelsea he looked tired and dull in his opening press conference.

He won the league in his 2nd season back so no one seemed to make much of this difference in persona. With this achievement, he seemed to be completely contempt and any remaining hunger left him completely.

An unbelievable relegation battle followed and inevitable sacking. He got the Man Utd job off reputation alone and in his first season finished outside the top 4.

This was covered up by the Europa League and League Cup triumphs which are not major trophies. Not in Man Utd’s world anyway.

He has been given an unreal amount of money to spend on players who at this stage have got his team results despite his overly negative and defensive tactics.

This Sevilla two-legged performances and results are showing his lack of quality as a manager. The 2nd leg last night was absolutely diabolical. Truly awful.

The team were suffocated through fear of losing an away goal. This comes from him. Nobody else. If you let the players go out by themselves, they would look to smash Sevilla.

To put this result into perspective, Leicester City beat this Sevilla team 2-0 this time last year to dump them out. This £400m Man Utd team never looked liked doing the same.

Being 2nd in the league this season is no achievement when you consider the money spent and being 16 points behind Man City without any realistic title challenge.

Jose Mourinho should be developing into a different type of manager at this stage. He is older but is he any wiser? Perhaps he is a different type of manager…an average one. A dull one.

So maybe that’s just it. The Special One has become The Dull One.

@ToonBano

 

Mitro is on fire and he is making Rafa look ridiculous

Just a word on the Mitrovic situation.

Mitro has not been given one league start all season. The one game he did start was in the League cup and scored. He mugged off Joe Hart in a Premier League game whilst scoring, elbowed someone and seemed shunned for it.

On fire

His (basically) replacement Joselu has been nothing short of terrible in front of goal this season. He had a 7 game spell where he started each game but scored in none of them. Yet Mitro was not brought in to end this nonsense.

Joselu has only 4 goals to his name in 20 appearances. One of those goals was the ridiculous ricochet against Liverpool and two were open goals. Mitro was only two goals behind despite no starts and a handful of appearances which were mainly 10 to 20-minute spell at the end of games.

Mitrovic has gone to Fulham on loan and has already bagged 5 in 4 games. He is actually Newcastle Utd’s top scorer with 7 goals…

Sheff Utd boss said the following after he tore their defence apart, “Mitro is too good for the Championship and should be playing for Newcastle. He is a £15m Premier League striker who is going to the World Cup.”

Whereas Joselu hasn’t started any of Newcastle’s last four games or had many minutes off the bench since ironically the 31st January, deadline day, where he missed a penalty and missed a massive chance against Burnley to seal all three points. We ended up dropping two points that day.

Rafa Benitez may be a lot of things. He may have a lot of trophies. But if Newcastle Utd are relegated this season by a point or two, than Rafa Benitez will be 100% responsible. 100%.

I want to make it this perfectly clear so everyone understands this.

It won’t be Ashley’s fault. It won’t be Lee Charnley. It won’t be Amanda Staveley. It will be Rafa’s. Ashley gave Rafa a shorthand this season, no doubt about it. Rafa moaned every week at the lack of quality to choose from and rightly so.

Useless

However, he has refused to select arguably our best all-round striker for the entire campaign, who no doubt would have scored and created more goals than Joselu and would have put more points on the board to have kept this club up.

Make no mistake about it. Don’t be confused. This is pretty much a cast iron fact

when you look at the young Serbian tearing up the Championship and dragging his country to the World Cup.

Rafa Benitez hasn’t properly explained his decision as to why he has made our clubs job a whole lot harder in trying to stay in this league. Quotes of ‘not working hard enough in training’ or ‘he doesn’t fit tactically’ are weak explanations to say the least.

Especially when you consider just how dire Joselu was and still is with his

supposed extra ability to run more in training and tactical efficiency. Plus speaking of tactics, I could go on about how Rafa’s over cautious approach in home games has also cost us this season but that’s for another day.

Bye and good luck

If we go down. Rafa will walk off into the sunset to a top job and restart a project for himself somewhere else, whereas it will be the Newcastle fans who are left to pick up and deal with the unimaginable sh**house he left behind.

Explaining himself isn’t even the start of it.

Mitro’s on fire and Newcastle don’t have a pot to p**s in. Work that one out. And people say beggars can’t be choosers.