Newcastle United: A Step From Disaster

Codeydbw
13 posts Ball Boy
All Hands On Deck
It's the 1st of February. National Freedom Day. The day that the Cold War ended. The day J.K Rowling announced the final Harry Potter book.

And, this year, of particular significance to the entire city of Newcastle...

The day Rafa Benítez left.


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General Info

Name: Newcastle United Football Club.
Nickname(s): The Magpies, The Toon, The Toon Army.
Established: 1892.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne.
Owner: Mike Ashley.
Squad
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Comments

  • WestardLord
    1539 posts Play-Off Hero
    edited April 5
    Always good to see new storytellers here.

    Looking forward to this, I hope the new manager can take full advantage Almirón!
  • Codeydbw
    13 posts Ball Boy
    The Day After

    It was city-wide mourning on Tyneside after the news broke. Nobody understood what was happening, it came out of nowhere. January ended with such optimism - a record signing, Rafa surely on his way to signing a new deal, and a real sense that finally things were going right for the club.

    But merely 24 hours later everything changed. Rumours quickly started. Was it a dispute over money? What finally caused Rafa Benitez - a man known for his exemplary professionalism - to walk out? Nobody knows except those at the top.

    The next day was utter chaos. There was no plan for this - the club scrambled for someone, anyone. Links were made to David Moyes, Slaven Bilic, Mark Hughes, Thierry Henry. Even Alan Shearer got a mention. With the next game fast approaching and the club in the relegation zone, there wasn't time to be patient.

    That's where I come in.

    On the 3rd of February, 2019 I was appointed as caretaker manager of Newcastle United.

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  • maestro_08
    26 posts Last Pick at the Park
    a promising start, loving the start of this career
  • Codeydbw
    13 posts Ball Boy
    A House Divided
    The first press conference was a nightmare. But then, at least nobody wanted to actually talk about me.

    ‘Any words on Rafa’s departure?’

    ‘Are reports that it was a disagreement about funding true?’

    ‘How do the players feel about all of this?’


    I suppose that last one was a good question. My first meeting with the squad was an event that Amazon and Netflix would have salivated over.

    It was the start of the first training session, two days before we travelled to Wembley to face Spurs. But that felt almost secondary in comparison to the situation at hand. When I arrived nobody had changed, and from the expressions around the dressing room it was clear this wasn’t going to go smoothly.

    Usually a voice of reason whatever the scenario, club captain Jamaal Lascelles seemed hesitant, uncomfortable. After brief silence he finally addressed me. ‘The boys aren’t happy’, he said. He went on to explain that Rafa’s departure was being felt, and some players were even angry. Nobody was named of course, the boys stuck together and all that.

    Players who had been brought here by Rafa were the most obviously distraught: Matt Ritchie, the man who dropped a division in 2016 to play for him; Antonio Barreca, whose decision to come here was informed, I assume, heavily by Rafa’s reputation as a defensive coach; Joselu, a man afforded a lot of faith by Rafa despite a questionable return.

    Loyalists like Paul Dummett and Rob Elliot tried to argue the case that the club should come first regardless, but it wasn’t going to change things: players were already gearing up to leave in the summer.

    In response I had to strike a deal. We are in trouble - there are 14 games left to dig our way out of the relegation zone. My offer was simple: if we survive, anybody who wants to leave will be allowed to go. I needed to get rid of the toxicity building in the dressing room, Miguel Almirón’s head was down already.

  • LAboog4
    668 posts An Exciting Prospect
    Great start, I enjoy the stories with background and added twists. Good deal for the players, keep us up and you can be sold if you wish.
  • Codeydbw
    13 posts Ball Boy
    Matchday 24
    Tottenham Hotspurs vs. Newcastle United
    Wembley Stadium

    Big day. A tough trip away to a team that honestly outmatches us. And it's not as if they were playing for nothing - the title race is very tightly contested right now, and Pochettino's side has just as good a chance at winning it as anyone else.

    Spurs lined up with the usuals - Lloris in nets, Vertonghen and co guarding him whilst Alli, Eriksen, Son and Kane pushed forwards. For us, I went with Dubravka in goal, behind a back five of Barreca, Lejeune, Lascelles, Schar and Yedlin.

    In midfield we started with breakout academy graduate Sean Longstaff in tandem with Isaac Hayden. Just ahead of them, Ayoze Perez on the right and new signing Miguel Almiron on the left, the two supporting thirds of an attacking trio completed by front man Salomon Rondon. The plan was to remain solid and hit Tottenham on the break, Almiron's pace would come in handy.

    But then, nothing really goes according to plan, does it?

    Spurs led by the third minute.


    'And Harry Kane gets Tottenham rolling in double-quick fashion!'

    It was the worst possible start, Harry Kane given time and space on the edge of the penalty area to smash the ball into the back of the net. Our plan went out the window.

    We recovered well enough, and even managed to get forward at times. Then came the second.

    KANE! 2-0 Spurs!'

    Once again Kane profited from a lapse in concentration, a goal nearly identical to his first. Seemingly the game was done then and there.

    'And it's dangerous, Davinson Sanchez needs to deal with this- he doesn't! Rondon scores for Newcastle! 2-1!'

    A flicker of hope was restored, but just a few minutes later we were tasked with defending a corner. Guess who?

    'Kane rises! Hattrick!'

    I was getting really sick of Harry Kane. Half-time came and went. I wanted to ask how three central defenders managed to give the top scorer in the league so much space, but that'd just lead to arguments. The second half began and we continued to press for a route back into the game, but...

    'Sent towards- Kane! Oh what a delightful finish!

    Harry Kane was busy netting his fourth. The best of the bunch, a first-time hit with the side of his foot that curled into the top right corner. There was nothing we could do to stop this man. Thankfully, Tottenham showed us mercy and brought him off. Enter Eriksen.

    'Lloris' goal kick... it's headed on, oh the Newcastle defence have got that horribly wrong! Christian Eriksen is through against Dubravka... and he finishes in style! 5-1!'

    This was getting embarrassing. We needed something, even just a shred of credibility back.

    'Newcastle here... still pressing... and the ball's broken nicely for Almiron, and he's taken the chance! Well, it doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it's a debut goal for Newcastle's record signing!'

    Now this is Yoshinori Muto on the counter... he's got space, looks inside- Almiron again! It's 5-3! Surely there isn't time for a comeback?'

    There wasn't, but the goals were nice. The match drew to an end - 5-3 the final score. There was work to do.


    TOT 5 - 3 NEW
  • LAboog4
    668 posts An Exciting Prospect
    Exciting writeup, different from other ones on here. Spurs are a great team and Kane is nearly unstoppable in FIFA. No shame in the away loss but I wish the defense was better.
  • Ashy
    9905 posts League Winner
    Good luck with the story pal, Newcastle are a club that need waking up to reach their potential, should be fighting with the top 6 really
  • Codeydbw
    13 posts Ball Boy
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  • LAboog4
    668 posts An Exciting Prospect
    Exciting game and a good point. The early defensive struggles are worrisome and make me think the team is not prepared at the start of a match but Newcastle fought back and left with a point.
  • Codeydbw
    13 posts Ball Boy
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  • Codeydbw
    13 posts Ball Boy
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  • LAboog4
    668 posts An Exciting Prospect
    Huge win for Newcastle. Jonjo showing how important he is to the squad, if only he could find consistency.

    Staying up is in your hands now. How does the remaining schedule look?
  • Codeydbw
    13 posts Ball Boy
    edited April 19
    LAboog4 wrote: »
    Huge win for Newcastle. Jonjo showing how important he is to the squad, if only he could find consistency.

    Staying up is in your hands now. How does the remaining schedule look?

    Our remaining games this season: Chelsea (A), Burnley (H), West Ham (A), Everton (H), Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (A), Palace (H), Leicester (A), Southampton (H), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H) and Fulham (A).

    Certainly doable.
  • LAboog4
    668 posts An Exciting Prospect
    Very doable if you win against Fulham, BHA, Burnley and Bournemouth. Picking up points against the top 6 would be an added bonus.
  • Virtual_K
    1705 posts Play-Off Hero
    I've been skimming through this one. I think Almiron was a good pickup for Newcastle, and it sounds like he is doing well for this team too. Interesting to see what will happen with Shelvey after his performance against Huddersfield. One suggestion: I always like to see the league table after a few matches at least, even if it's only a snapshot.
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