Saturday May 28th, 2016

    last update 01:34 BST

      Your genial hosts: Niall and Biffa

Next Match


To be confirmed

Last Match
Newcastle 5
Tottenham Hotspur 1
Premier League
St. James' Park
Sunday 15th May
Match report

The Never-Ending Tour

  Number of Newcastle
  games attended by in 2015/16:



If anyone missed out on Paul Joannou's excellent "Newcastle United Ultimate Who's Who" book, the last remaining copies are now available direct from the publisher for just 20 including local delivery*.

Biographies of over 1,800 players and officials are contained in this definitive 400 page hardback volume.

The last
author signed hardback copies of Martin Hardy's "Touching Distance" book are also available for 15 including local delivery*

Email for more details. 

(* delivery costs elsewhere in the UK and overseas vary, email for a quote).





Ticket news: To follow


This week's call-ups:

England: Andros Townsend
Fri 27.05.2016 Australia won 2-1
The winger was among the substitutes at the stadium of plight for this friendly and arrived as a 76th minute substitute with the scoring completed.

Townsend's eleventh senior England cap was his first as a Newcastle player, while old boys Fraser Forster and James Milner also featured. 

The Socceroos named ex-Magpie reserve Brad Inman in their squad, but he didn't get off the bench. Our current Aussie Curtis Good wasn't fit enough to be considered for selection.  

Sun 22.05.2016 Turkey won 2-1
Andros was an unused sub at the Etihad Stadium.

Netherlands: Georginio Wijnaldum
Fri 27.05.2016 Ireland (a) Dublin FR drew 1-1
Gini was named in the Dutch XI at the Aviva Stadium and completed 82 minutes. His replacement was our former loan flop Luuk De Jong, who took just three minutes to equalise when offered a free header. 

Serbia: Aleksandar Mitrovic
Wed 25.05.2016
Cyprus (h) won 2-1
Mitro scored after just two minutes and played the first 45 minutes of a friendly match in Uzice.

Watch Mitro's goal online here (youtube)

Club confirm 
ST price cut  


From NUFC, Friday:

Newcastle United have confirmed that all season ticket prices for the 2016/17 season at St. James' Park will be reduced by ten per cent across the board.

The Club announced in February that it had reduced all junior season ticket prices for next season by up to 54 per cent, as well as freezing adult season ticket prices.

Following relegation to the Championship and confirmation that manager Rafa Benitez will remain at Newcastle United, a new ten per cent discount has now been applied to reward supporters' loyalty.

Supporters on long-term price deals will receive a ten per cent reduction on the prices sent to them in February and will receive refunds or reductions in their monthly payments.

Lee Charnley, managing director at Newcastle United, said: 

"With our future under Rafa now secured, we are delighted to announce price reductions across the board for all supporters.

"Your loyalty through these challenging times has been magnificent and it is right that we now reward you with savings for our 2016/17 Championship season."

The Club will now be writing to season ticket holders in the coming days and weeks, detailing new prices and the process of how refunds and/or reductions will be managed.

For supporters wanting to purchase a one-year season ticket:

For example, an adult in our category 2 seating, you'll be paying 520 for your season ticket instead of 578 in 2015/16. Combined with the additional four games, this brings the per-game price down from 30 to under 23.

Prices in the Family Area are 68 for under-18s and 329 for adults. This means a per-game price of 3 for under-18s and just over 14 for adults.

Juniors across the board will see significant reductions from their 2015/16 price.

Fans with an existing one-season, half-season and five-game season ticket will be able to renew online, over the phone or via our Matchday Box Office from Tuesday (31st May).

We will make applications forms and monthly direct debit forms available online from Monday, 6th June.

In the meantime, all seats which were occupied during the 2015/16 season will be reserved until Friday, 1st July to enable season ticket holders to keep their seat.

If the Club has not heard from 2015/16 season ticket holders by Wednesday, 15th June, a prompt will be issued giving all the information needed to renew.

Existing hospitality customers will also benefit from a ten per cent discount and the Club will be in contact shortly to confirm new prices.

Rams appoint old boy 

Championship side Derby County have confirmed the arrival of Nigel Pearson as their new first team manager, succeeding interim boss Darren Wassall.

Former Magpies coach Pearson has been out of the game since being relieved of his managerial post at Leicester City in June 2015. 

The Rams were one of several Championship clubs with a vacancy; Aston Villa, Blackburn, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Reading and Rotherham United also currently looking for a new messiah.

Pre-season update 

From NUFC, Friday: 

Newcastle United will travel to Ireland in July for a week-long pre-season training camp.

The Magpies will be based in County Kildare from Saturday 9th to Saturday 16th July, where they will step up their preparations for the 2016/17 Skybet Championship season.

At this time there will be no fixtures during the training camp, however the Club are in the advanced stages of finalising a number of friendlies for elsewhere in the pre-season campaign.

United prepared for the 2009/10 Championship season by training at Carton House in Maynooth, County Kildare before facing Shamrock Rovers in Dublin.

When they returned to Carton House for pre-season in 2010 however, no games in Ireland were scheduled.

Belgium for Benitez? 


Media outlets in Belgium claim that Newcastle are to face Sporting Lokeren at their Daknam Stadium as part of our pre-season preparations.

The game is claimed to be set for Saturday July 23rd with a kickoff of 5pm local time - although there's no confirmation of the fixture from either club as yet. 

United previously visited Lokeren for an Intertoto Cup tie back in July 2001, running out 4-0 winners before beating the Belgians 1-0 on Tyneside a week later.  

Sporting remain in the top flight of Belgian football and finished eleventh last season. Their current manager Georges Leekens was in charge of Club Brugge the last time we visited Belgium, in November 2012.

No strangers to the venue are our trio of ex Belgian League players Cheick Tiote, Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic all having played there - Mitro netting for Anderlecht in his last two visits.

News of possible pre-season opponents from the Chronicle includes visits to Premier League new boys Burnley and League Two-bound Doncaster Rovers.

A home game against a team tbc leading up to the opening weekend of the Championship season on August 6th has also been mentioned.

Proud sponsors of


Kit claims 

Having opted not to debut next season's ensemble in the final game of last season, official confirmation of what kit design Puma will provide Newcastle with for their seventh season as official supplier is awaited. 

These claimed designs are currently circulating online however, via the usual sources:

View kits online (including close ups)



Arch rivals:
Owls & Tigers, 
Lions & Tykes 

The composition of next season's Championship will be finalised this weekend, when Wembley Stadium hosts playoff finals on both Saturday and Sunday.  

Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City face off at 5pm on Saturday for a place in the Premier League, with the losers remaining in the second tier.

And the following day sees Millwall and Barnsley do battle at the National Stadium in a 3pm kickoff, with the winner ascending to the second tier.

The conclusion of both ties will see the identity of all 24 teams in the second tier finalised as follows:

Championship 2016/17:

Aston Villa Barnsley or Millwall
Birmingham City Blackburn Rovers
Brentford Brighton
Bristol City Burton Albion
Cardiff City  Derby County
Fulham Huddersfield Town
Hull City or Sheff Weds Ipswich Town
Leeds United Newcastle United
Norwich City Nottingham Forest
Preston North End QPR
Reading Rotherham United
Wigan Athletic Wolves

We'll be doing a daily preview of all 23 opponents on starting on Monday.

Eyes down 

Local crime author and toon fan Howard Linskey has penned a new book featuring characters introduced in his successful 2015 release, "No Name Lane".  

Set in the North East during the 1990s, "Behind Dead Eyes" contains a mix of corpses, conspiracies and criminals familiar to readers of his previous works. 

Thanks to publishers Penguin we have signed copies of "Behind Dead Eyes" to give away and to be in with a chance of winning, just identify this 1990's Magpie:


Email your answer to (subject: Eyes). Closing date is Wed June 1st @ Noon - one entry per person please - UK addresses only please.

PS: Howard will be signing books at Waterstones in Newcastle on Saturday June 4th from 1pm-2pm.




Upcoming selections:

Serbia: Aleksandar Mitrovic
Tue 31.05.2016 Israel (h) Novi Sad FR
Sun 05.06.2016 Russia (n) Monte Carlo FR

DR Congo: Chancel Mbemba
Thu 02.06.2016 Madagascar (a) Antananarivo ACNQ

Andros Townsend
Thu 02.06.2016 Portugal (Wembley) FR

France: Moussa Sissoko 
Mon 30.05.2016 Cameroon (h) Nantes FR
Sat 04.06.2016 Scotland (h) Metz FR

Wales: Paul Dummett  
Sun 05.06.2016 Sweden (a) Stockholm FR

Netherlands: Georginio Wijnaldum
Wed 01.06.2016 Poland (a) Gdansk FR
Sat 04.06.2016 Austria (a) Vienna FR

Slovakia U21s: Lubo Satka
Wed 01.06.2016 Ukraine (h) Poprad FR
Sun 05.06.2016 England C (a) Sutton FR

England U19s:
Freddie Woodman / 
Adam Armstrong

Sat 04.06.2016 Mexico (a) Mexico City FR
Mon 06.06.2016 Mexico (a) Mexico City FR

Old Boys:

Ex-Magpie player involvement in Euro 2016:

England: Fraser Forster, James Milner
France: Yohan Cabaye
Hungary: Tamas Kadar
Ireland: Shay Given
Northern Ireland: Shane Ferguson, Aaron Hughes

(Patrick van Aanholt and Luuk De Jong are also in the Dutch selection for their friendly fixtures)

Second coming 

On the anniversary of his Champions League Final victory with Liverpool, Rafa Benitez has confirmed that he'll ignore the relegation break clause in his Newcastle contract and remain at Gallowgate to honour the three year deal agreed in March.

The 56 year-old Spaniard returned to Tyneside from his home on the Wirral on Wednesday and was then unveiled (again) in a press conference at SJP.

That was open to all of the media, in contrast to the "preferred partners only" farce that Steve McClaren endured upon his introduction almost a year ago. 

Rafa quotes:

"The first thing was for me is the fans, the stature of the Club and the future. So I have seen all of these things together.

"I said in my press conference that I came here because of that and I could see these things every day and especially the last game. 

"There were a lot of positive things here from day one. Also my family is in England and I wanted to stay here, so everything together means that I'm really pleased and happy to be here.

"From day one, my relationship with Lee Charnley has been really good. I'm very pleased working with him.

"When I was asking for something they were trying to give me what I wanted and in this case when we were talking about the future they were quite positive. 

"The main thing for me is that I have assurances that we will have a strong team - a winning team. If I am here again, I would say it's because I am convinced we can go up next season.

"My family also told me - Rafa you have to stay.

"I needed a new challenge and a new project. I can see the possibilities and the size of the club. It's massive....and I want to be part of that.

"I am convinced we can go up next season, we can stay for a long time in the Premier League and win trophies.

"If I don't want to sell any players I don't need to sell any players. We have to start working - when I finish this press conference, I will start working.

"The fans have been a major factor in my decision."

When asked about Chief Scout Graham Carr (who had reportedly met with Benitez earlier in the day):

What I have is the conviction that I can tell the fans that they dont need to be worried about that.

We will try to bring the best players possible, and we will try to have a very strong squad. I will take responsibility if we need to do it.

I have had different meetings with different people, and I am quite happy. We will work hard and improve the team as much as we want.

I dont have any problem (with Carr).

I dont want to talk about that, because it is the first Press conference, but you will see that we can work hard and we can improve the team and it will not be a problem.

(As is often the case, quotes come from various sources including the separate press conferences staged for TV and newspapers).

Club statement, Wednesday:

Newcastle United are delighted to confirm that Rafa Benitez will remain as Newcastle United manager, after signing a new initial three-year contract.

On Wednesday afternoon the Spaniard put pen to paper on the deal which will keep him on Tyneside until at least the summer of 2019.

Benitez will have day-to-day responsibility for all 
football-related matters at the club.

The 56-year-old joined the Magpies in March, taking charge of the team for the final ten games of the 2015/16 season.

Despite the club's eventual relegation, he led United to three victories and a six-game unbeaten run, which culminated in a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season.

Benitez said: "I am extremely pleased to be staying at Newcastle United.

"The love I could feel from the fans was a big influence for me in my decision to stay, as was my relationship with Lee Charnley and all the staff.

"This is a huge club and I wanted to be part of the great future I can see for Newcastle United."

Managing director Lee Charnley added: "When we brought Rafa to the club in March, we knew he was a phenomenal manager and everything we have seen from him since has only served to reinforce that.

"We are therefore delighted to have secured his services for the next three years and I believe with Rafa as manager it gives us the best possible chance of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking and delivering success for this football club beyond that.

"It is clear that Rafa has connected deeply with the club's supporters and we do not underestimate the role they have played in his decision to stay.

"He has captured the hearts and minds not just of the fans, but of everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him at the club thus far.

"As a world-class manager we had no doubt in our minds as to the importance of retaining him at Newcastle United."

A further announcement regarding Benitez's coaching staff will be made in due course.

All we can do is repeat part of our Spurs (h) waffle, which sums up things nicely from our perspective:

If the price of keeping Benitez is relegation, then that certainly seems like one that's worth paying for the long-suffering followers of this club, who finally see something that they can believe in and have responded accordingly.

Include us in that.

Comparing this situation to Kevin Keegan's time in charge at the club is valid, but rather than his first arrival as manager, our mind turns to the Swindon home game and his "not like the brochure" line.

An upturn came after the manager asserted his position and stared down the board - hopefully it's that element to be repeated this time. 

Chatty Mag:
The Rafalution 
will be televised 

Almost as momentous as the Benitez news was a rare TV appearance made by club MD Lee Charnley - for anyone who has never heard him speak before, he hails from the Lancashire coast originally.

Watch it online here (club website)

Charnley made other comments to the club website that the Shields Gazette have helpfully transcribed:


"Im absolutely delighted that Rafa has committed to being the manager of Newcastle United. Its taken us a period of time, obviously, to get there. Weve had a lot of talks and discussions but weve reached a point where we are both very, very happy, very pleased to move forward and Im delighted to secure one of what I believe is the best managers in world. 

"I think its something clearly our fans will delighted to hear, the staff, the players, but also the city.


"Im not necessarily concerned about what message it sends out to the footballing world but the message it sends to our supporters is that weve done everything we can to bring the individual here who we think gives us the best possible chance of suvccess.


"I dont think its a case of the conversations that have taken place over the last one or two weeks, I think it goes back to the conversations that were first had prior to him joining the club, the regular dialogue Ive had with him. 

"I enjoy a very good relationship with him and I believe the relationship will go from strength to strength. I believe its the efforts of all the staff in all areas of the business, giving their all to him and his staff members who came in and I think its against that backdrop the conversations we had at the end of the season when unfortunately we were relegated. 

"I think he understands where this club wants to be and he appreciates our desire is to get out of the Championship as quickly as we possible can. We accept its not going to be easy but our desire is to get out of the division as quickly as we possibly can and then build this club.


"Hes been everything I expected and if truth be told, more. When he was first identified as an individual we would like to try and bring in it was very clear from the outset this was a manager of the absolute highest calibre, one of the best managers in the world.

"Everything that Ive seen from him from his backroom staff who have also been absolutely fantastic, what the other staff members who have worked with him
(have said), the views of the players its absolutely clear that we have here one of the best managers in the world.


"Where we are is that our job is to work together to ensure that we have a team and a squad that when the season kicks off at the beginning of August we have given ourselves the best possible chance of getting back into the Premier League at the first opportunity.

"I think his track record as manager, what hes achieved prior to coming to Newcastle United, the conversations I had before he came here and the conversations and relationship we have developed since he came here, Im in no doubt this is an individual who can take us back to where we want to be.


"I think the way the supporters have taken to Rafa has been absolutely fantastic. Its clear that theyve taken him to their hearts and obviously that played a factor in us wanting to keep him here. 

"Certainly we dont underestimate the role the supporters have played in trying to persuade Rafa that this was the best place for him. 

"Rafa will have had a number of other options but I think a combination of the love he feels from the supporters, the relationship he has with people in the club, the support he knows he will get within the club, from within the city, I think together with the supporters behind us it gives us the best possible chance of achieving what we want to achieve.


"What we will be coming out with in the coming days is some pricing for season tickets and corporate hospitality packages for next season. 

"What weve tried to do with those prices is reward our most loyal supporters and what we want is a full, loud and vibrant St Jamess Park.

Rafa's youth policy 

While the reaction of a 50,000+ crowd at Gallowgate on the final day of the season has been credited with swaying Rafa Benitez, the support from 2,650 Toon followers at Liverpool played a significant role, as reported by The Independent:

In the queues to the turnstiles and inside the stadium, the song of Rafa Benitez, to the tune of La Bamba, was being repeated over and over. Two girls walked through the crowds to get to the main entrance to the main stand of Anfield; Claudia and Agata Benitez.

In a second half fightback, Newcastle would score twice and earn a 2-2 draw. The songs did not stop.

Later that night, back at the family home in the Wirral that Benitezs family did not leave when he went to either Napoli or Real Madrid, the two girls spoke to their father.

Dad, you cannot leave these people, they told him. They love you. You have to stay."

Full piece online here

Junior addition 
Having signed defender Gideon Adu-Peprah following his release from Manchester City's Academy in 2015, Newcastle have acquired another youngster from the same source ahead of next season.

The player in question is 16 year-old defensive midfielder Mace Goodridge, who also played as a trialist for Leicester City last season.  

Goodridge is one of 12 full-time scholars who have joined United's youth set up, with only Goodridge coming from outside the North East region.

Old boy:
New challenge for Daz 

There's a new DJ at Stark's Park, with incoming Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke appointing former Magpie Darren Jackson as his second in command.

49 year-old Jackson has been out of a job since leaving his post as Dundee United assistant boss in September 2015.

Old boys:
Transfers etc. 
Old boys with new clubs:

Joey Barton (Glasgow Rangers) 
Ben Pollock (Hartlepool United)

Former Magpies released this close season:

Craig Baxter (Gateshead)
Sylvain Distin
Ryan Donaldson
(Cambridge United)
Jose Enrique (Liverpool)
James Marwood (Gateshead)
Matty Pattison
Peter Ramage
(Coventry City)

Jonathan Woodgate (smoggies)

Steel City date for 
Toon youngsters 

Newcastle are to compete in the U16 section of this year's Youdan Trophy - an annual youth tournament staged in the city of Sheffield.

The Magpies will face Charlton Athletic, Seattle Sounders from the USA and Zimbabwe's Friendly Academy in the group stage of the sixteen team event staged between August 1st and 5th.

U16 games will be 30 minutes each way.

Jennings Ford Direct
Jennings Ford Direct | 0845 020 5918


Fixtures, Tickets etc.
Season 2016/17

The ticket office is on the first floor of the SJP club shop, under the Gallowgate End towards the Strawberry.

Paid-for matchday ticket collections take place from the windows at the back of the Gallowgate End Stand, above NINE Bar.

Matchday ticket sales are from the Box Office in the Milburn Stand, just up the slope from the Sir Bobby Robson Statue.

SJP Box Office phone: 0844 372 1892* 
(Open for away ticket sales and enquiries during the above Box Office hours).

* 0044 870 444 1892 from overseas


Online Box Office is here

SJP seating plan is here 

On the opening day of ticket sales, they officially commence at 10am - with any points reduction for away tickets becoming effective at the same time.

Away tickets are sold only to season ticket holders and members. All ST holders are also automatically members (a non-negotiable fee is added annually by NUFC to each ST).

A 1 administration fee per ticket applies to away sales in all competitions, with no upper limit. In addition, non-NUFC members pay the same fee on home ticket sales.

NUFC's members only away ticket policy is still in force, with only NUFC ST holders and members able to purchase tickets. 

altoonative travel is the public face of the Newcastle United Travel Plan, designed to help fans attend matches using the most efficient and sustainable methods available.

Heading to the Toon?

City guide

Geordie Map here  

NE guide here


Wed 22.06.2016 Championship fixtures published @ 9am.

Tue 28.06.2016 Players return for pre-season training.

Sat 06.08.2016 Championship season begins (NB: may be on Fri 05.08.2016) 

Sat 06.05.2017
Championship season ends. 

(Championship playoff final takes place at Wembley Stadium on Mon 29.05.2017)

League Cup:
United enter in Round 1* - draw date tbc 
(Ties played w/c Mon 08.08.2016)
League Cup Final: Sun 26.02.2017

* A bye to Round 2 is possible - tbc.

FA Cup:
United enter in Round 3 - draw date tbc
(Ties played in early January 2017)
FA Cup Final: Sat 27.04.2017

Metro line closures 2016:

Sat 23.07.2016 to Sat 06.08.2016 From Benton to Whitley Bay both ways. 

Geordie in Europe!

Having conquered Portugal and Spain, Mark Allison aka Run Geordie Run is now in France, en route to Turkey on the 2016 part of his planned global charity trek.

A 3,400 mile route via Andorra, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece will take him to Istanbul on Monday August 8th.

Mark is raising funds for The Children's Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and his efforts to date have seen good causes benefit by 250K.

Finishing the fourth part of his challenge will take him past the halfway point in a 20,000 mile route that encompasses 24 countries across four continents.

Donations can be made online here and Mark's progress monitored online here


International Magpies
National Service
Euro 2016:

10.06.2016 to 10.07.2016 

A: France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland
 England, Wales, Slovakia, Russia
 Germany, N.Ireland, Poland, Ukraine
 Spain, Turkey, Czech Republic, Croatia
 Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Italy
 Portugal, Iceland, Hungary, Austria

2016/17 future match dates:
Mon-Tue 29.08.2016-06.09.2016
Mon-Tue 03-11.10.2016
Mon-Fri 07-18.11.2016
Mon-Tue 20-28.03.2017

Coxy's Cockup Corner
Whoops, He did it Again...

What's this all about then?
Click here  
for a rambling explanation of sorts....

On This Day in History
28th May

Born Or Died:

1908 Stan Barber born, Wallsend.

Left half whose sole senior appearance for Newcastle came when he moved up from the reserves to replace Willie Gibson during March 1928.

Sadly the Magpies were beaten 5-1 away at Burnley in that game and Barber moved on that summer to Bristol City.

Later playing for Exeter City, Stan was part of the Grecians side who won through to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup in the 1930/31 season before losing to the mackems.

Ending his career with Brighton & Hove Albion, Barber later returned to live on Tyneside and passed away in 1984.

1909 William Birkett Forster born, Walker. (1932-38)

Right back acquired from Howdon British Legion for 25 during May 1932. 

Forster's senior debut came when deputising for Joe Richardson in a 1-1 home draw with Burnley in March 1936, with two further outings during the following season.

Joining Southend United in a 150 deal during August 1938, Billy made just half a dozen appearances for the Shrimpers that season before moving again.

Signing for Bristol Rovers, the outbreak of WW2 quickly curtailed his career however.

1914 Henry Clifton born, Newburn.

Another player who lost his best years to World War II, inside forward "Harry" made an 8,500 switch to Tyneside from Chesterfield in June 1938, having previously been rejected by the Magpies. 

Undergoing an unsuccessful trial at West Bromwich Albion early in his career, The Spireites signed Harry from Scotswood in 1933 on the advice of their North East scout Harry Dormand and he first featured at senior level on New Years Day 1935.

and collected a record transfer fee for him five years later after netting 26 goals in the 1937/38 season. He'd ended that campaign with an England callup and infamously gave a Nazi salute in Berlin before a friendly international, although he didn't play.

Making a scoring debut against Plymouth Argyle at SJP that August, Clifton then added 16 more that season as United ended up with a mid-table spot in Division Two. 

The onset of World War II however saw his career curtailed and Harry saw military service in the Middle East, guesting for Chelsea when back in Blighty.

A single England cap came in December 1939, scoring in a 2-1 win over Scotland in front of 15,000 spectators at SJP. 

Returned to SJP, Clifton played in United's two-legged FA Cup tie against Barnsley in the 1945/46 season but by the time the Football League resumed fully in 1946 though, he was a Grimsby Town player.

Later appearing for Goole Town and Sutton Town, Clifton then worked in the steel industry at Sheepbridge near Chesterfield and also for a time at Arkwright Colliery.

Harry's Spireite connections then resurfaced in March 1968, when he was made Steward of the newly-built Saltergate Club.

He died back on Tyneside in 1998.

1986 Charles N'Zogbia born, Harfleur, France. (2004-09) 

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."

Tempted away from Le Havre's junior side in a deal which was ultimately referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, N'Zogbia had made an instant impact when joining United in pre-season training.

Handed the briefest of debuts by caretaker John Carver at home to Blackburn just over a month later, the midfielder delighted and annoyed fans and team mates equally in his 154 senior games (including 40 as sub).

Capable of sublime dribbles and pinpoint crosses, Zog lacked consistency and didn't react positively when circumstances saw him forced to play at left back.

Continual talk about him moving to a London club in order to be nearer to his capital -based relatives failed to materialise into firm bids - and Charles woke up on his 22nd birthday to find newspapers linking Wigan with a move for him.

Zog duly swapped SJP for the JJB in the wake of Joe Kinnear's famous "insomnia" comment in January 2009, with Ryan Taylor coming the opposite way in part-exchange. 

The most memorable of his ten goals in a Toon shirt was probably a solo effort in the 4-1 success on wearside - a goal he almost reprised at the same end of the Stadium of plight on his Wigan debut.

Like Jermaine Jenas however, Zog is another example of a promising young talent who exited SJP having seemingly added little to their game - whether that's testament to a bad self-attitude or inferior coaching remains a moot point.

The closing weeks of the 2009/10 season saw Charles in the news for a couple of reasons - firstly turning down a move to Birmingham City and then arrested for allegedly getting a stand-in to complete the theory section of his driving test!

A first full international cap for France also came his way after 10 U21 appearances, appearing in a 1-2 loss to Norway in August 2010 - the first game after France's World Cup calamity seeing a raft of new faces drafted in by coach Laurent Blanc.

In classic style Zog returned to Gallowgate two months later, scoring twice in quick succession for the Latics in a 2-2 draw.

The final hours of the January 2011 transfer window saw United supposedly make a bid for Zog after selling Andy Carroll to Liverpool although no business was done.

Those same links resurfaced in May 2011, although he eventually joined Aston Villa, appearing 30 times but only scoring twice during a disappointing season in which the side flirted with relegation.

It was a similar story the following season although he managed one more goal in 28 appearances, one coming in a memorable 4-2 Capital One Cup win at Manchester City.

He missed the entire 2013/14 season for Villa after rupturing his Achilles tendon while on holiday in Miami, but returned to make 30 appearances the following season although failing to find the net.

He featured just twice for Villa as they were relegated in 2015/16, coming off the bench for a grand total of 41 minutes.


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What Else?

1921 Gallia Club de Paris (a)
Aitken 3, McDonald
Scorer tbc
Crowd tbc 
United were in four team tournament action at the Colombes Stadium near Paris that would later host the 1924 Olympic Games.

Following Newcastle's game Glasgow Celtic then beat Cercle Athltique de Paris 6-0.

1922 Copenhagen XI (Denmark) (a)
Dixon, McDonald
Scorer tbc  
The Magpies maintained their 100% win record in a post-season tour of Denmark, winning their fifth game in Copenhagen.

The Danish Capital was familiar to the Magpies, following previous visits there in 1904, 1909 and 1913.

1929 Slavia Prague (Czech) (a)
Scorer tbc  

1949 Saskatchewan All Stars (Canada) (a)
G.Robledo 4, Thompson 2, Walker 2, Milburn, Dodgin, Houghton, Mitchell, og(Greyeyes)
Rivett 2
After win in Montreal and Toronto, United's tour party moved on to Saskatoon and a Saturday evening game at Griffiths Stadium. 

Home striker Sam Rivett netted twice in reply, but team mate Dave Greyeyes netted an own goal.

1955 FC Nrnberg (West Germany) (a)
Scorer tbc
Crowd tbc 

Bobby Cowell's career in football was ended after a heavy tackle from home full back Uckow left him with knee ligament damage.

The German was sent off while Cowell was stretchered off, later telling journalists:

"Uckow had been given a hard time by Jimmy Scoular and he took it out on me."

1961 A gallant performance by the Welsh saw them lose 2-3 to Hungary in Budapest, thanks to a debatable late penalty. United's Ivor Allchurch was among the scorers.

1976 Two goals from future Magpie Mick Channon helped England to a 3-2 win over Italy at Yankees Stadium in New York City.

The friendly match was part of the US Bicentenary celebrations and also featured Mike Doyle of Manchester City - who was to have a brief unsuccessful trial at SJP in 1982 that coincided with Channon's fleeting spell in a black and white shirt.

1983 22,000 fans saw Bobby Robson's England side draw 0-0 with Northern Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast.

England finished this Home International fixture with future Magpies Kenny Sansom and John Barnes on the field and Toon old boy Peter Withe leading the attack.

1985 Fiji FA (a)
Anderson, Gascoigne 
 (local sources claim 10,000)
The final match of United's Pacific tour was played at the National Stadium in Suva, the capital of Fiji.

After losing the first meeting of the sides 0-3 days earlier, the Magpies were deserved winners second time round, Gazza coming off the bench to net a late clincher. 

1988 Paul Gascoigne netted for England U21s as they drew 1-1 with Switzerland in a friendly match staged in Lausanne. Within weeks, the midfielder had joined Spurs.

1993 Two goals from Newcastle's Andy Cole helped England U21s to a comfortable 4-1 success in a European Championship Qualifier against Poland in Jastrzebie Zdroj.

A number of Norwegian media sources ran a story linking United to Tromso player Morten Gamst Pedersen. A year later and the links re-emerged but the striker ended up going to Blackburn Rovers.

2005 Newcastle midfielder Jermaine Jenas gained his 11th cap for England as they won 2-1 against the USA in Chicago.

2009 Following three days of talks over his future, there was still to no meaningful word from either Alan Shearer or Newcastle United as to whether progress was being made over an extended deal for the former manager.