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

 

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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.

Weird transfer XI – Some shockers in here!

There have been some weird transfers over the years. Some that just didn’t make sense at the time and seem even worse when you look back. Here are some that stick in my mind: 

GK: Edwin Van Der Sar – Juve to Fulham.

The whole thing was just weird. Clearly too good for them. Eventually made his move to Man U and won it all. What’s unreal is he was at Fulham for FOUR years. What a total waste of time.

RB: Mat Debuchy – Newcastle to Arsenal.

May not seem that weird but as a Newcastle fan, we couldn’t believe Arsene Wenger paid us twice as much as we did for him, to take him off our hands. He’s done nothing at Arsenal and none of us are surprised. Weird.

(I also have to mention Julian Faubert from West Ham to Real Madrid on loan. Very strange one)

CB: Laurent Blanc – Inter to Man Utd. 

Seriously this one was weird for the entire time he was there. He was clearly too old and contributed to Fergie’s worst ever season in the Premier League. So ridiculous.

CB: David Luiz – PSG to Chelsea.

This one was weird right? No-one could understand it. He then helped them win the league. So weird. He’s now not in the team. Not so weird.

LB: Mikael Silvestre – Man Utd to Arsenal.

I found this one just very strange. I couldn’t get my head around it. Fergie never sells to a rival, so he must have been past it, but he wasn’t that bad, which made it all just weird.

CM: Thomas Gravesen – Everton to Real Madrid.

Has there ever been a weirder permanent transfer? He actually played as well. Twilight zone.

CM: Edgar Davids – rocks up at Barnet.

This wasn’t a transfer and he was player-manager (kind of) but come on. Edgar Davids playing for Barnet? Weirdo.

CM: Ivan Campo – Real Madrid to Bolton.

I could have put Fernando Hierro in this team or even Djorkaeff but Campo was still in his prime and had only recently stopped polishing his Champions League medal. He would spend six years at Bolton. Six.

FW: Nicolas Anelka – Fenerbahce to Bolton.

PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Man City, Fenerbahce, Bolton, Chelsea, wait what? If Anelka were to go for a job interview, he would need to explain the gap in his CV for that 2-year spell at Bolton Wanderers. How? Why?

FW: George Weah – Milan to Chelsea.

This was just weird. It’s like it never happened but it did and I for one can’t forget it. George Weah was a mirage, a mysterious idol to be watched only on Football Italia, winning World player of the year. Not struggling to play up front with Chris Sutton. No. No. No.

FW: Ian Rush & John Barnes – Leeds & Liverpool to Newcastle.

First off, these are two players so technically makes my XI a 12 man team. However, they came at the same time and given their ability at their respective ages, they just about make up one players worth.

As a Toon fan, I watched Kevin Keegan sign Ferdinand & Ginola in 1995 and almost won us the league. I then saw Kenny Dalglish sell them both in 1997 & replace them with over the hill Ian Rush & John Barnes. What? I know they say ‘sign what you know’ but this destroyed our team and put the club back for years. Perhaps forever. Why Kenny? Why? Utter nonsense.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano

Mike Ashley: Lies, Damned Lies and Spending Statistics

Now that the January window has slammed shut, let’s take a look at how much clubs spent on their squad, and also net spend, for the season as a whole.
Net spend 2018

Newcastle Utd are the second lowest spenders with only £36 million being spent on permanent transfers. Only Bournemouth have spent less with £30 million.

Now, you could put the Cherries spend into context, in that they sold nobody and gave Defoe a massive contract & signing on fees for his ‘free’ transfer, so could be seen as more than £30m, but there we are.

If you look at Net spend (everyone’s fave) then there are 6 clubs below Newcastle in the “table” who themselves had a net spend of a putrid £11m.

They are Liverpool, West Ham, Burnley, Arsenal, Swansea and Southampton. Now, let’s look into that for all of two seconds.

Coutinho £146m, Ayew £18m, Michael Keane £30m, Oxlade-Chamberlain £35m, Sigurdsson £45m and Van Dijk £75m.

 

 

Each of those clubs had at least one major sale which drove down their net spend massively. Some had more than one.

Whereas Newcastle didn’t. They sold their prized assets last season after relegation. The only option they had this year was to spend.

To put this into some context, if you look at fellow promoted teams in Brighton & Huddersfield who also have no prizes assets to sell.

They spent £57m & £49m respectively, with total net spends of £57m & £43.5m. This places them 5th and 8th in the net spend table.

This is where you would expect them to be given their lack of selling power. Brighton sold nobody for eg.

All of this means one thing. Mike Ashley has drastically under-funded his business that he is supposedly looking to sell.

To the point that if NUFC were to go down, it will be worth half as much and he will have cost himself millions.

He will also be unable to receive the total amount he has invested in his time at the club. Around £250m. So he will have lost money if and when he sells.

In the last two occasions that NUFC have gone down, he has been obliged to pump in his own money into the club to keep it running. The only time he has ever spent something himself.

“Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has loaned the club £33m to help it cope with the effects of relegation. … The £33m loan has been made available through St James Holdings Ltd” – The Chronicle, 6th Jan 2017 

So even if he doesn’t sell, he will cost himself millions by needing to spend to keep it running and there is no guarantee the club will bounce back up.

So to conclude, not only will relegation mean the business he is trying to sell will be worth half as much than if it were in the Premier League, but it will cost him a fortune to keep it running…again.

People say Mike Ashley is a sound businessman. They base this totally on his supposed wealth and Sports Direct.

When it comes to running a football club, he is arguably the dumbest owner in football history.

At least when other idiots make mistakes, they sell up and leave. The bloke has been here for 11 years!!!

He has learned nothing over that time. Nothing. What kind of a moron would act the way he acts over and over again? How dumb can you be?

For the record, Mike Ashley has an average spend of £4.5million per season on the team. Which is never going to be successful. Ever. Talk about running something on the cheap.

He said if he couldn’t find a buyer before Christmas he would invest in January, he lied. He spent nothing.

He said he turned PCP’s £250m offer for the club down because he has other people willing to pay the £350m. He lied, he doesn’t.

The man is a compulsive liar and has been proved to be so in court when Keegan took him to trial.

Yet, amongst all of this, his chosen mouthpiece in Sky still hire people like Craig Bellamy, Simon Jordan and Dennis Wise, plus others, to tell the viewing nation he has done a great job and that they really like him.

It’s a disgrace that this man isn’t known throughout the world of football for exactly what he is. A liar and a terrible football club owner. One of the worst, if not THE worst in history.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano

The problem with English players is they aren’t foreign enough…

One thing I have always said, and I am in the minority (but I like that), is that a problem the England football team may have is not with all those foreigners coming over here, it’s that our own boys don’t go over there.

Think about it. Some of the best players that have ever played the game, especially in recent years, leave their own country and play abroad. Often over here. Then represent their country proudly and win the World Cup or Euros or Copa America or whatever.

Perhaps the reason why these players are so good is that not only do they learn the culture and style of their own domestic game but they also add on top of this, other countries culture and style, making them a better all round player and a better all round human being.

Let me give you two modern day examples:

Let’s also use the FA 4 corner model of developing players. Technical; Physical; Psychological; Social.

Cristiano Ronaldo – grows up in Portugal. Learns the technical side of the game, learns all the ins and outs of his countries football culture, socially and psychologically.

Goes to England. Learns the physical, end to end all out action side of the game. Learns Socially the complete difference with his fellow players and also the manager and the press. Becomes a much stronger Psychologically.

Ronaldo

 

Goes to Real Madrid in Spain. Again, different culture, similar to Portugal but still different. Real Madrid is a different culture in itself. Technically outstanding. Physical specimen. Psychologically dominant. Socially superb.

A World class player moulded by the different countries and their domestic football as well as the culture of the countries themselves. Each has their own challenges to overcome.

Ronaldo is the extreme example of what can be achieved when you leave your own backyard and see the world.

This is, in my opinion, a key factor in why England fail at major worldwide tournaments. Their players just aren’t developed enough.

An example of what a domestic player can achieve is Gareth Bale. He was a truly wonderful player at Spurs. But look at him now. He is an absolute beast of a player who can take Wales to the Semi-Final of the Euros.

Technically great. Physically he has got better at Madrid. Psychologically much stronger now than when he left. Socially almost a different person.

Bale

Where as England were dumped out of the Euros by Iceland. A nation who shouldn’t really be on the same pitch never mind knock them out. Who is Iceland’s star player? Gylfi Sigurdsson. A player who has left his domestic land and developed abroad in England. Thier are hundreds of other examples.

So to conclude this seminar. If England want to have a truly world-class team, then don’t you dare blame the foreigners coming over here, blame the English players for not going over there!!!

Get out of your own domestic safety net and grow as a player somewhere else. Grow as a man in another country. Learn another way of playing. Develop yourself in each of those 4 corners I mention.

Imagine an England XI with 2 players playing in Spain, 1 in Italy, 2 from Germany, 1 in France and the rest from Man Utd, Liverpool etc. Imagine how good you would expect that team would be…..

The Ginger Pirlo

The shocking truth behind the failed Chelsea’s Kenedy deal. It’s totally unacceptable…

Charnley

As a Newcastle fan it is obvious our window was beyond a joke built up of lies and misery. However, I just want to make clear to everyone how either incompetent our administration is or how scumbaggery they are towards our official ‘UEFA Elite Coach’ Rafa Benitez. Or perhaps they are both.

We had in place a deal for Chelsea left back Kenedy sorted TWO WEEKS AGO but it could only be finalised once Chelsea brought in a first team wing back themselves. Fine.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was their first choice but that fell through on Deadline Day morning as he joined Liverpool. So, my amazing club concluded that the Kenedy deal was off.

Now, this is where some serious explaining needs to happen as at 2.30pm Chelsea agreed a fee for Zappacosta in light of missing out on the Ox. The whole football world knew this as the fact he had Costa in his name brought great attention. So, the Kenedy deal to NUFC is back on right? Apparently no.

Despite there being a good 8 hours or so for Newcastle to get in contact with Chelsea and sort out arrangements for Kenedy making his way to the North East in anticipation of Zappacosta signing, which in turn we could confirm Kenedy…Newcastle Utd announced at 7 pm that they had shut up shop with no more business for the day.

Apparently no. Despite there being a good 8 hours or so for Newcastle to get in contact with Chelsea and sort out arrangements for Kenedy making his way to the North East in anticipation of Zappacosta signing, which in turn we could confirm Kenedy…Newcastle Utd announced at 7 pm that they had shut up shop with no more business for the day.

Are you having a laugh?
Rafa Benitez has woke up this morning to a first team that is minus a left back. A left back that he had lined up a fortnight ago. Chelsea have their new wing back in place to make the deal happen, so why don’t we have it?
This isn’t due to time restraints as Zappacosta was in place many many hours before the window was due to shut. If Zappacosta deal somehow fell through, then Kenedy would too. That’s fine.
But to not have Kenedy at the training ground last night with medical done just waiting for the nod from Chelsea after Zappacosta was confirmed is totally unforgivable for its senseless incompetence.

Newcastle Utd is ran by con men who should be nowhere near the positions they hold. A 15-year-old boy addicted to Football Manager could conduct transfer activity better than them.

Or maybe it’s down to they just don’t want to bring any much needed new players in. That means spending money. Which we all know Premier League clubs don’t have….?

So in which case…what are you doing here? Get out of my club. What possible enjoyment do Ashley and his administration get out of it? Name me one thing? Shambles.

Once Rafa walks, everybody else should too.  Fans first, then Ashley will follow. It’s the only way to get rid of him. He isn’t interested in owning a club with an empty stadium. He will sell and we can finally move on.

The Ginger Pirlo.

We need to talk about Rafa…

My thoughts on Sunday’s game are similar ones to those I have had over the past year watching Rafa Benitez’s team. We lack depth, we lack width and we lack movement off the ball whilst in possession. Pretty much the absolute basics of attacking play. Rafa may (rightfully) moan about missing out on specific transfer targets earlier in the window but this does not explain his needlessly negative strategy, line-ups and substitutions.

Before I go off on a possible rant I would like to make one thing perfectly clear, we are not a bad team. Don’t buy into the mainstream football media’s avalanche of misery they insist on piling onto our club whenever things don’t seem 100% right from the outside looking in. We were not outplayed by Huddersfield, much like we weren’t outplayed by Spurs last week when 11v11, and apart from their goal, the newly-promoted side hardly made a dent in terms of hurting our back line.

Out of both sides, it was us that had the biggest chance of the game when Ayoze Perez blasted over when completely unmarked from about 8 yards out. Substitutes Joselu & Murphy had opportunities to have a clear shot on goal but failed to make the most of them. Out of both goalkeepers, it was Huddersfield’s Jossl that had to pull off a fingertip save to keep out Ritchie’s effort in the first half. If that chance, or any of these chances, go in then it’s a different game and likely different result.

Mooy

Now that the positives are out of the way, yes, they were positives honest, there is a big elephant in everyone’s room on Tyneside that nobody wants or is prepared to talk about. Some refuse to even acknowledge its very existence under any circumstances mainly due to bigger worries and concerns. However, at some stage, this has to be discussed and looked at. At some point, we need to talk about Rafa.

Amongst all the lack of transfers stuff & the Mike Ashley stuff and whatever other stuff fans want to talk or moan about, there has been one massively concerning issue that has been staring us all in the face over the past year. Rafa Benitez’s overly cautious and needlessly negative approach to our games. More specifically his tactics and use of the personnel he has at his disposal. Do we lack some quality? Yes. Do we have any quality? Yes. Is that quality being used in its capacity? No.

How we managed to win the Championship was quite remarkable to be perfectly honest. You can count on one hand the amount of games where we actually looked impressive and destroyed teams that were below our level. No one can say our Championship season wasn’t one hell of a long struggle. Some say, ‘well that’s the Championship’, maybe.

Ritchie

The more accurate thing to say, however, is that we caused our own frustrations by not going about our business on the pitch anywhere near as positively and ambitiously as we should have. Wingers dropping deep and always coming short. Full-backs chained to the halfway line and unable to get forward. Both centre midfielders dropping deep right in front of our centre-backs. It’s needless and it’s wrong.

Against Huddersfield, these demons in Rafa’s philosophy raised their ugly head once again. 99% will put this down to ‘lack of quality’ or ‘they need more players’. I am telling you now, even with new and/or better players that won’t dispel the demons. The football club needs to change its philosophy when it comes to being cheap in the transfer market. But Rafa also needs to change his philosophy with the players he has. Neither are good enough at the moment.

Follow on Twitter @ToonBano