Wednesday June 29th, 2016

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The Never-Ending Tour

  Number of Newcastle
  games attended by in 2016/17:



Martin Hardy's excellent "Touching Distance" book is now in paperback.

Order from the publisher for just 8.99 including UK postage here




Ticket news: To follow

Benitez goes Belgian 

Me Matz Sels and I!

Official confirmation is awaited that goalkeeper Matz Sels is now a Newcastle player - although one of his entourage looks to have jumped the gun and uploaded photos of his visit to Gallowgate on Tuesday. 

The 24 year-old Belgian international was on Tyneside to undergo his medical and put pen to paper on a claimed five year contract for a transfer fee estimated at up to 5m.   

Sels joins from Belgian side Gent and had been the subject of interest from a number of Premier League clubs including both Middlesbrough and Southampton. 

Joining Gent from Lierse in 2014, he helped them to Belgian title success a year later. That resulted in a Champions League campaign last season that took them to the last sixteen and saw him make eight appearances in that competition.

Earning a callup to the full Belgian squad, the former U21 international played twice in the run up to Euro 2016 but missed out on the squad for the Finals.   

The acquisition of another goalkeeper isn't an obvious choice and will trigger speculation as to which of our current quartet of custodians is set to depart - with Tim Krul and Freddie Woodman seemingly more likely to exit than either Rob Elliot or Karl Darlow. 

Eagles eye Andros

The Guardian reported on Monday that Crystal Palace had offered the 10.5m fee* that was sufficient to trigger a release clause in the contract of Magpies winger Andros Townsend.

It remains to be seen whether the 24 year-old who arrived at Gallowgate in a 12m move from Spurs in January is tempted by a speedy top-flight return.

* that figure has been claimed to be between 8m & 13m by different outlets, with various Premier League clubs said to be keen on London-born Townsend.

Dwight fight

Gayle: Craig Bellamy impersonator?


Spoken of as a separate deal so far in terms of Andros Townsend, Newcastle are reportedly negotiating the signing of Crystal Palace forward Dwight Gayle

The 25 year-old Londoner first came to prominence after scoring 13 goals in 28 Championship starts for Peterborough United during the 2012/13 season, which persuaded Palace to pay 6m for him that summer.

Since then he's been in and out of the Eagles side but managed to net 26 times during 74 appearances in all competitions - a tally that looks more impressive when considering he started just 34 of those games.

Two of those 26 goals came against United: in the opening seconds of a 3-3 draw at Gallowgate during August 2014 and from the penalty spot in our 3-2 League Cup away victory a month later.

Previously turning down moves to Norwich City and Bristol City, 11m-rated Gayle signed a new contract earlier this year but is anticipated to be sold, with Aston Villa and Fulham also rumoured suitors.


Twenty year itch 


As an antidote to the Euros, local TV channel Made in Tyne and wear address United's epic failure in 95/96 on their latest "Football Still Matters" show. 

Contributors include old boys John Beresford, Steve Watson and journalist Martin Hardy - author of some obscure tome about the season in question....

The programme airs at 9.30pm tonight (Wednesday), then at 9.30pm on Friday and again at 10am on Saturday. It will also be available online here

Made in Tyne and wear broadcasts on Sky Channel 117, Virgin channel 159 and freeview. For further details, check their twitter @footymatterstv

Unlikely lad
Champions League looms for loan dud 

Spectacularly unsuccessful Newcastle loan player Seydou Doumbia is on the move again, after his parent club AS Roma agreed a season-long switch with reigning Swiss League champions FC Basel.

The Ivory Coast international striker who claims to be 28 had a prolific spell with Young Boys Berne earlier in his career and spent the first half of last season at CSKA Moscow before his farcical switch to SJP.  

Euro 2016 latest

And now let's meet the eight who are going to generate.....

price the Quarter Finalists to win Euro 2016 as follows to existing customers and new-signups (the latter get 20 free bets if staking 5) online here:

France 14/5 
Germany 3/1
Belgium 4/1 
Italy 11/2
Portugal 13/2 
Poland 16/1
Wales 25/1 
Iceland 40/1

Thu 30.06.2016:
Poland v Portugal (8pm, Marseille)

Coral's latest new punter offer is 10/1 on Portugal to qualify for the semi-finals on Thursday (5 maximum stake) plus a 5 free bet if Poland prevail. Get that online here

Fri 01.07.2016:
Wales v Belgium (8pm, Lille)

Sat 02.07.2016 
Germany v Italy (8pm, Bordeaux)

Sun 03.07.2016 
France v Iceland (8pm, Paris)

Watch the remainder of Euro 2016 live on TV while supping some cracking brews at The Bodega on Westgate Road, next to the Tyne Theatre. 

If you're tweetish find them at: @TheBodega_SJF

Find further details of this and the other locations that make up the Sir John Fitzgerald estate online here

Words of wisdom

Comic timing par excellence from the former Toon Manager, Sky Sports, Monday night
online here

Terriers unchanged 

As promised, live TV selections for the second weekend of the Championship season have been confirmed and Newcastle's home game against Huddersfield Town has not been selected.

Therefore the Terriers will visit Gallowgate as scheduled for a 3pm KO on Saturday August 13th. 

Live Championship games that weekend are on Friday 7.45pm and Saturday 5.30pm, with the latter slot expected to be used more often this season than Saturday lunchtime was in 2015/16.

That's due to BT gaining Saturday night for Premier League live games and Sky taking the Saturday lunchtime slot for PL action (along with a number of PL games on Friday nights rather than Monday nights).

Sky will show 92 Championship games live this season (the same total as 2015/16 and confirmation of live TV games up until September 24th are promised before the end of July.

2016/17 fixtures

Kit release 

Nothing official from NUFC or Puma as yet, but social media claims are circulating that sales of Newcastle's 2016/17 home shirt will begin on Friday July 8th.

Belgian confirmation


Official confirmation arrived on Saturday of a fourth pre-season fixture, away to Belgian side Sporting Lokeren on Saturday July 23rd (4.30pm local time).

Ticket details are awaited.

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

The hosts are 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, back in November 2012.

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

First team pre-season:

Sat 09.07.2016- Fri 15.07.2016 
Irish training camp

Sat 16.07.2016 Bohemian FC (a) 2pm

Wed 20.07.2016 Doncaster Rovers (a) 7.45pm

Sat 23.07.2016
Lokeren (a) 4.30pm (local)

Date tbc opposition (a) unconfirmed (Burnley was mentioned but they already have a game on 26.07)

Sat 30.07.2016 Vitesse Arnhem (h) 3pm


Proud sponsors of


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The bumper bundle that is True Faith's summer special is now available free of charge online here - a right riveting read on matters Toon and beyond.

Unlikely lad:
Killy claim Cobain 

Kilmarnock boss Lee Clark has returned to former club Newcastle to sign reserve full back Jamie Cobain, following his release by the Magpies.  

The 19 year-old wearsider made his Academy bow in
March 2013, alongside the likes of Freddie Woodman, Adam Armstrong and Rolando Aarons, but injury delayed a competitive U21 debut for two years.

Making nine reserve appearances last season, Jamie also spent some time on loan to Sheffield United, featuring for their second string.

Cobain becomes the second fringe player shown the door by United this summer to find a new club, with fellow defender Ben Pollock now at Hartlepool.

Worthy cause:
Ando Q & A

Ex-Magpie defender and BBC Radio Newcastle match summariser John Anderson is the special guest at a talk-in event in Gateshead early next month.

Ando will be appearing at Teams & District Social Club on Friday July 8th and tickets are on sale now priced at 15 including comedian and a pie & pea supper. 

The evening is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Gateshead, a sporting club and registered charity for people with learning disabilities

Tickets can be booked via Danielle Appleby on 0191 433 2712 or

Venue: Teams & District Social Club, Derwentwater Road, Gateshead NE8 2SJ

Back to Bootham

12 months on from playing a first team friendly there, Newcastle's second string will return to Bootham Crescent next month to face York City.  

The National League side entertain Newcastle on Saturday July 30th at 3pm - the same day and time that our first team are in friendly action at SJP. 

Tickets are priced at 12 adults & 6 concessions - the same as for last season's first team encounter.

Four pre-season games for Peter Beardsley's side have now been announced as follows:

Sun 10.07.2016 Bradford Park Avenue (a) (3pm)

Sat 23.07.2016 Corby Town (a) (3.30pm)

Sun 24.07.2016 PSV Eindhoven (n*) (Noon) 
(*at Corby)

Sat 30.07.2016 York City (a) 3pm 

On the road again   

Our rundown of what lies ahead next season for those embarking on our 23 away treks has now concluded - but every entry is here in case you missed any: 

Teams A-H

Teams I-W


Ahead of the new season, Newcastle currently have 42 registered professionals as follows:

Goalkeepers (4):

Darlow, Elliot, Krul, Woodman

Defenders (11):
Coloccini, Dummett, Gillesphey, Good, Haidara, Janmaat, Lascelles, Mbabu, Mbemba, Satka, Sterry

Midfielders (16):

Aarons, Ameobi, Anita, Barlaser, Bigirimana, Cabella, Colback, Gouffran, Saivet, Shelvey, Sissoko, Smith, Thauvin, Tiote, Townsend, Wijnaldum

Strikers (11):
Armstrong, Cisse, De Jong, Gilliead, Heardman, Perez, Mitrovic, Riviere, Roberts, Toney, Vuckic

Singers - update 
Fan-led moves to create an unofficial singing section in the Strawberry Corner next season have resulted in all available season tickets there selling out - although further seats in that area may be up for grabs after the final date for renewals of June 30th has passed.   

For those still looking to relocate or house themselves among livelier neighbours though, like-minded fans are now massing in adjacent lower Gallowgate areas. 

The process of moving seats is simple, with ST holders able to do so by emailing,  telephoning them 0844 372 1892 or visiting them. 

For anyone doing the latter, the match day box office in the Milburn Stand is currently open from 10am-5pm weekdays and Saturday 9am-4pm.

Season ticket sales for unoccupied seats have now commenced, with the deadline for existing ST holders to renew set as Thursday June 30th.

The club have announced a 10% price reduction across the board for season tickets and the new prices will come into effect immediately for those renewing or buying for the first time.

PS: If you're staying in the same seats for 2016/17 then your existing season ticket cards will be used. New cards will only be issued to supporters moving seats / price categories (i.e. junior becoming adult).

Old boys:
Unlikely lads 
Old boys with new clubs:

Joey Barton (Glasgow Rangers)
Craig Baxter (South Shields)
Jamie Cobain
Adam Collin
(Notts County)
Mark Cook
(Dunston UTS)
Frank Wiafe Danquah
(Fortuna Sittard)
Nicky Deverdics
(Hartlepool United)
Ryan Donaldson (Plymouth Argyle)
Seydou Doumbia (Basel)
Alex Francis (Bishop Auckland)
Matthew Grieve (Morpeth Town)
Brad Inman (Peterborough United)
Callum Morris (Aberdeen)
Oguchi Onyewu (Rangers - trial) 
Matty Pattison (Blyth Spartans)
Ben Pollock (Hartlepool United)
Louis Storey (South Shields)

Coaches etc:

John Carver
(AC Omonoia M - Cyprus)
Steve Clarke (Aston Villa AM)
Nigel Pearson (Derby County M)
Carl Serrant (Charlton Athletic C)

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* 
(7p per minute plus network charge)

* 0044 870 444 1892 from overseas


Online Box Office is here

SJP seating plan is here

2015/16 season ticket cards will be used again for 2016/17. New cards will only be issued for ST holders moving seats or changing price categories.

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


Fri 01.07.2016 Last day for renewals of any 2015/16 season tickets.

Sun 10.07.2016: U21s v Bradford Park Avenue (a) @ Horsfall Stadium, 3pm. Friendly.

Sat 16.07.2016 Bohemian (Ireland) (a) Dalymount Park, Dublin, 2pm. Friendly. Ticket details tbc.

Wed 20.07.2016 Doncaster Rovers (a) Keepmoat Stadium, 7.45pm. Friendly. Ticket details tbc.

Sat 23.07.2016 Sporting Lokeren (Belgium) (a) Daknam Stadium, 4.30pm local time. Friendly. Ticket details tbc.

Sat 23.07.2016 U21s v Corby Town (a)
@ Steel Park, Corby, 3.30pm. Friendly.

Sun 24.07.2016 U21s v PSV Eindhoven (n)
@ Steel Park, Corby. Noon. Friendly.

Mon 25.07.2016 U18s v Fermanagh (n) @ Ballymena, 7.30pm. NI Super Cup.

Tue 26.07.2016 U18s v Right to Dream (n) @ Seahaven, Portstewart, 7pm. NI Super Cup.

Wed 27.07.2016 U18s v Tyrone (n) @ The Warren, Portstewart, 3.30pm. NI Super Cup.

Thu 28.07.2016 U18s v opponent tbc, location and kickoff tbc. NI Super Cup.

Fri 29.07.2016 U18s v opponent tbc, location and kickoff tbc. NI Super Cup.

Sat 30.07.2016 Vitesse Arnhem (h) SJP, 3pm. Friendly. Ticket details tbc.

Sat 30.07.2016 U21s v York City (a) @ Bootham Crescent 3pm. Friendly.

Mon 01.08.2016 - Fri 05.08.2016
U16s v Charlton Athletic, Seattle Sounders (USA), Friendly Academy (Zimabwe). Youdan Trophy, Sheffield (games 30 mins x 2).

Fri 05.08.2016 Fulham (a) @ Craven Cottage, 7,45pm. Championship. Live on Sky Sports. 

Sat 13.08.2016 Huddersfield Town (h)
@ SJP, 3pm. Championship.

Sun 09.10.2016 Alan Shearer's Newcastle Legends team v Keith Gillespie's Manchester Select, Kingston Park, 1.30pm.

Tickets from 10 adults & 5 juniors via 0871 226 6060 or online here (Hospitality packages via 0191 214 2892). Proceeds donated to the Alan Shearer Foundation. 

Sat 06.05.2017
Championship season ends (all games kickoff at Noon).

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

Confirmed NUFC UK live TV coverage:

NUFC Live on Sky Sports:
Fri 05.08.2016 Fulham (a) 7.45pm

League Cup (aka The EFL Cup):
United have a bye to Round 2.

R1 w/c 08.08.2016
R2 w/c 22.08.2016
R3 w/c 19.09.2016
R4 w/c 24.10.2016
R5 w/c 28.11.2016
SF1 w/c 09.01.2017
SF2 w/c 23.01.2017
F Sun 26.02.2017

FA Cup:
United enter in Round 3 - draw date tbc

R3 07.01.2017
R4 28.01.2017
R5 18.02.2017
R6 11.03.2017
SF 22.04.2017
Sat 27.05.2017.

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

A 3,400 mile route via 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
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
29th June

Born Or Died:

1928 Tommy Cavanagh born, Liverpool. (Trainer 1981-82)  

Trainer/coach/assistant to Arthur Cox during the first full season of his reign at SJP, Tommy played for Preston North End, Stockport County, Huddersfield Town, Doncaster Rovers, Bristol City and Carlisle during his career.

After coaching at Cheltenham, Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Hull City, Cavanagh moved to Old Trafford and assisted both Tommy Docherty and Ron Atkinson before making the switch to Tyneside.

Following his departure from Newcastle, Cavanagh managed Norwegians Rosenborg and also had a stint in charge of Burnley. Working as an FA coach in his latter years, he passed away in 2007.

1935 Keith Kettleborough born, Rotherham. (1966)

The lesser known of the two Yorkshiremen with initials KK to have played for United, Keith was a talented golfer and cricketer whose batting prowess saw him represent Yorkshire Schools and North of England.  

Joining the RAF to complete his National Service, Kettleborough switched attentions on football and was invited for a trial with Grimsby Town during 1955.

Nothing came of that but by December of that year Keith had signed for hometown club Rotherham United, later joining Sheffield United for 15,000 in December 1960.

Helping the Blades to promotion in his first season at Bramall Lane, the midfielder was also selected to represent the Football League - but continued to play cricket for both Rotherham Town and Rawmarsh. 

Included in Alf Ramsey's initial 40 man selection for the 1966 World Cup squad (missing out when it was cut to 22), Keith was added to a struggling Newcastle side at a cost of 22,500 in January 1966.

His influence ensured that United avoided an instant return to the Second Division - the side's first win in eight games coinciding with his debut at home to West Ham. 

After spending the summer playing cricket for Chester-le-Street, Keith returned to SJP but unexpectedly joined Doncaster Rovers for 12K as player/boss in December 1966.

Unable to prevent the side dropping into Division Four, Keith remained at Belle Vue as a player the following season before signing for Chesterfield and later, Matlock Town.

Post-football, he worked as a milkman and continued to play cricket for Whiston Parish Church before becoming janitor/PE teacher of Birkdale independent school in Sheffield.

Keith died in November 2009 and his passing was marked with a minute's applause at Bramall Lane the following day, before the Sheffield United v Newcastle United game. 

1937 Chris Harker born, Shiremoor.

Goalkeeper who appeared for local sides Backworth Welfare and West Allotment before joining Newcastle in 1955.

What proved to be his sole senior outing for the Magpies came in place of Ronnie Simpson for a season-ending 3-1 home loss to Burnley in April 1958.

Called up for national service, Harker spent time on loan at both Consett and Aberdeen before a 1,000 switch to Bury in late 1961, shortly after former SJP team mate Bob Stokoe became Manager at Gigg Lane. 

He also finished on the winning side at SJP in February 1965 when Bury ran out 3-2 winners in a fixture where over 10 minutes of time were added in the second half. That proved to be the only home loss United suffered en route to the Division Two title.

Later spells at Grimsby Town and Rochdale were followed by a drop into local league football with Stockton and a stint on the Darlington coaching staff.

Chris remained resident in Darlington and worked as a mechanical fitter (having given up a similar job in the shipyards to play football).

A caretaker in later life, Harker passed away in September 2014, aged 77.

1938 Robert Gilfillan born, Cowdenbeath, Scotland. (1959-61)

Bobby had been a prolific scorer for his hometown club when Newcastle paid 4,000 for his services in October 1959.

Making his debut shortly afterwards in a 0-2 home defeat by Bolton Wanderers, Gilfillan wore the number nine shirt on four other occasions that season without scoring.

His only competitive United goals came when he bagged a brace in a 7-2  home win over Fulham earlier the following season but never appeared again after drawing a blank against Burnley four days later.

Newcastle recouped their outlay in early 1961 when Bobby joined St.Johnstone, later moves taking him to Southend United, Raith Rovers and Doncaster Rovers. He later worked as Northwich Victoria player-boss.

1969 Archibald Murdoch Gourlay born, Greenock, Scotland. (1988-92)

Midfielder signed from Greenock Morton who managed only one competitive first team appearance in his first spell at SJP - a sub outing at Luton Town in December 1988.

Within 24 hours United moved to replace caretaker boss Colin Suggett with Jim Smith - and Archie was to play no further part in the club's failed relegation fight.

Loaned back to Morton for a spell, Gourlay returned to Gallowgate and briefly featured in the senior side in the 1990/91 season. 

A further loan saw him join Gateshead, with one final Magpies appearance coming in a League Cup defeat at Peterborough under Ossie Ardiles in October 1991.

Following his release by United, Archie joined Motherwell and later played for Hartlepool United, Linfield, Whitley Bay, Morpeth Town, South Shields and finally Bedlington Terriers.

Working for a local paper in Northumberland, Gourlay later returned to the Magpies as an Academy coach.  

1979 Andrew O'Brien born, Harrogate.

Signed from Bradford City by Bobby Robson, this central defender wasn't the most gifted footballer - but proved that he had a heart to match the size of his injury-prone hooter.

Fondly recalled for putting the ball in the mackem's net (in only his fourth toon game), arguably his major contribution to our cause was scoring the equaliser at Highbury in December 2001, as United broke their London hoodoo in considerable style.

O'Brien moved on to Portsmouth for the same 2m fee that Newcastle had paid and was to have a walk-on part in our history, being the player Alan Shearer eluded before netting his record -breaking 201st goal.

Joining Bolton Wanderers in 2007, Andy was loaned to Leeds United in October 2010 and made that move permanent in the January transfer window.

However, he only appeared a handful of times in the 2011/12 season and joined Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps in August 2012, leaving in January 2015.

Alongside fellow ex-Magpie Shaka Hislop and future arrival Lee Bowyer, Andy played for England U21s at friendly level - earning praise for keeping Thierry Henry at bay in a 3-2 win over France in 1999.

Ireland managed to hijack his affiliations however and after eight U21 outings, the first of 26 full caps came as a substitute against Estoniia in Tallinn during June 2001 - replacing Damien Duff and joining both Shay Given and Stephen Carr on the field. 

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What Else?

1950 Magpies striker Jackie Milburn watched from the sidelines as the USA beat England 1-0 in a World Cup tie in Belo Horizonte. 

1954 Newcastle's Ivor Broadis played but failed to score for England as they beat Switzerland 2-0 in Berne. Future Magpies manager Bill McGarry was in the team.

1976 Sacked Wolves boss Bill McGarry accepted the job of coach to the Saudi Arabian national team. He lasted just over a year before returning to England and taking over as Newcastle boss.

2005 Laurent Robert was fined for comments he made about Newcastle United after joining Portsmouth on loan.

Officially on the books at SJP (his Fratton Park deal being an extended loan) some mutterings about Jermaine Jenas cost him another six-figure sum, in the wake of previous public grumblings about United costing him four weeks wages.

2009 The BBC reported that a consortium were in "advanced talks over a 60m takeover" of the club via TV and online news updates, naming Freddy Shepherd as the lead figure and Alan Shearer as preferred manager.

However the story quickly died down and no comment was forthcoming from either party.

2012 Midfielder Danny Guthrie left Newcastle for Reading while United while were reported to be negotiating the transfer of striker Luuk De Jong from FC Twente.

Dutch international De Jong would move to Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach, later joining United for a barren loan spell in the latter part of the 2013/14 campaign