Friday May 27th, 2016

    last update 10:51 BST

      Your genial hosts: Niall and Biffa

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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


Belgium for Benitez? 


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

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

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.  

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 including a game in Ireland and 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.



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):

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

ďWe 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.

ďI 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.

ďI donít have any problem (with Carr).

ďI donít 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.Ē

(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:


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

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


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


"I donít think itís 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 Iíve had with him. 

"I enjoy a very good relationship with him and I believe the relationship will go from strength to strength. I believe itís 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 itís 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 itís 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.


"Heís 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 Iíve seen from him Ė 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 Ė itís 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 heís 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, Iím 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. Itís clear that theyíve taken him to their hearts and obviously that played a factor in us wanting to keep him here. 

"Certainly we donít 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 weíve tried to do with those prices is reward our most loyal supporters and what we want is a full, loud and vibrant St Jamesís 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 Benitezís family did not leave when he went to either Napoli or Real Madrid, the two girls spoke to their father.

ďDad, you cannot leave these people,Ē they told him. ďThey love you. You have to stay."

Full piece online here

Euros etc:
Mitro on target


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)

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

Fri 27.05.2016 Australia (mackems) FR
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
Fri 27.05.2016 Ireland (a) Dublin FR
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

Those two kickabouts are warm-ups for the U19 European Championships in Germany this summer.

In that eight team tournament, England open up against France on July 12th, face the Dutch on July 15th and then Croatia on July 18th. The Semi Finals take place on July 21st and the Final on July 24th.

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 is also in the Dutch selection for their friendly fixtures)

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 2015/16

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
27th May

Born Or Died:

1929 Ellis Reginald Davies born, Cymmer, Wales. (1951-58)

Inside forward who began his career at Cwm Athletic before joining Southampton as an amateur - having opted to give up a promising career as a choir Soprano.

After completing his national service with the Army Medical Corps, Reg signed for Southend United ahead of the 1949/49 season. A £9,000 deal then saw him switch to Tyneside in April 1951.

Making a goalscoring debut against Wolves at SJP in October 1951 Davies went to hit 50 goals in 170 games. However he wasn't selected for the 1952 FA Cup Final side (being the 12th man in pre-sub days) and a bout of tonsilitis robbed him of a place in the Wembley lineup in 1955.

Capped six times by Wales - all coming while a Magpie - Reg first represented his country against Scotland in 1953. 

Moving on to Swansea Town in 1958 in part -exchange for Ivor Allchurch, he later signed for Carlisle and Merthyr Tydfil, before serving as player-manager of Kings Lynn. 

Reg subsequently emigrated to Australia and coached Bayswater United and Ascot, playing on until his 50th birthday in 1979.  

He remained in Western Australia to his death, in February 2009.

1940 Death of Stan Docking, 25.
Tragically Stan succumbed to a heart attack while on leave from the RAF at his home in Whitley Bay.

1967 Paul Gascoigne born, Dunston.

From April 13th 1985 to September 22nd 2004, "Gazza" enjoyed a playing career that saw him make over 450 club appearances and score in excess of 100 goals.   

Beginning his career at Newcastle United as a substitute at home to QPR, he moved on to Spurs, Lazio (Italy), Rangers
(Scotland), Boro, Everton, Burnley, Gansu Tianma (China) and Boston United - his final game a League Cup tie against Fulham at York Street.

What's happened to him since has been frequently newsworthy and often tragic - recounted with glee by tabloids and TV alike. Excuse us if we don't follow suit.

Rejected by Bobby Robson's Ipswich Town  as a youngster, Gascoigne's performances for Redheugh Boys Club resulted in his joining United on schoolboy forms in 1980.

Appearing as a ballboy, he later became Kevin Keegan's boot boy and signed as an apprentice at SJP on his 16th birthday.  

The Gazza nickname was first coined by Magpies youth coach Colin Suggett and the midfielder caught the eye in the FA Youth Cup during the 1983-84 season.

Following the arrival of Jack Charlton as manager, a slimmer Gascoigne then led the juniors to FA Youth Cup success, scoring nine times in the competition.

By the time Watford were beaten in a two- legged final, Gazza had made his debut at both reserve and first team level - and was then offered a two-year professional deal just before his 18th birthday.

His first senior start came at Southampton on the opening day of the 1985-86 season, by which time former coach Willie McFaul had succeeded Charlton.

And Paul's debut goal wasn't long in coming - a solo effort that beat Steve Hardwick in the Leazes End net to round off a 3-0 win against Oxford United in September.

From then on until his departure for White Hart Lane at a cost of £2.65m after the 1987/88 season, Gascoigne entertained Newcastle fans in unprecedented fashion.

Be it wonderful dribbling skills, great scoring technique, bouts of daftness, the infamous Vinnie Jones knacker clincher or sendings off, there was plenty to choose from.

England also came along - with an U21 call-up - and by 1988, with local heroes Waddle and Beardsley both departed and United mostly in mid-table, offers from a number of other clubs arrived.

Turning down Manchester United in favour of Spurs, Gazza played what proved to be his last Newcastle game against West Ham at SJP in May 1988, scoring in a 2-1 win. 

By the time of Newcastle's next home game the following August, he emerged from the away dressing room clad in an all- yellow kit for his Spurs debut - to be greeted by fans on the Gallowgate flinging Mars bars at him. 

Less than a fortnight later Gazza made his full England debut, against Denmark.  


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What Else?

1969 Forty-eight hours before the home leg of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final against Ujpesti Dozsa, the press reported that match tickets issued to players were on sale at inflated prices from a Tyneside grocers.

In the event the touts struggled to punt their wares and were left with fistfuls of unsold tickets when the game got underway.

1970 Vancouver Spartans (Canada) (a)
Robson, Dyson, McGovern
4,000 reader Seymour attended and recalls that it was played in front a capacity crowd at the Swanguard Stadium.

His post-match bonus came when half a dozen Newcastle players took advantage of an offer of hospitality - from his father!. 

Cue appearances of Moncur, Robson, Young, Craggs, Dyson etc. round his house for a celebratory sherry or five. 

1972 Team mates Bobby Moncur and Malcolm Macdonald were on opposite sides as England met Scotland at Hampden Park. Little Alan Ball scored the only goal of a rough match.

1982 A rather one-sided game that hardly lived up to its friendly billing, as the Republic of Ireland lost 0-7 to the home side Brazil in front of 72,000 fans in Uberlandia.

Newcastle's Mick Martin was joined in the side by John Anderson of Preston, who within three months had moved to SJP on a free

2000 Alan Shearer set up Michael Owen at Wembley as England took the lead against Brazil. Franca equalised for the visitors shortly afterwards. Kevin Keegan was Manager for this Euro2000 warm-up game.

2003 Tino Asprilla fired two gunshots into the air - apparently blanks - while jokingly urging his Universidad de Chile team mates to try harder during a training session. 

Club President, Rene Orozco, confirmed the incident, but said, "It was just a joke, there were blank shots and it was not a real pistol."

2004 A 1-0 home victory for the Republic of Ireland against Romania featured United duo Andy O'Brien and Shay Given.

2009 Talks with Alan Shearer failed to reach any agreement after marathon discussions at Darsley Park and the position of manager remained vacant.

Meanwhile, Freddy Shepherd was rumoured to be heading a consortium of new investors interested in buying out Mike Ashley.