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    Wednesday August 12th, 2020

    Last update 13:34 BST

      Your genial hosts: Niall and Biffa


 

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Last Match

Newcastle 1
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Premier League
St. James' Park
Sunday 26th July
Match report

The Never-Ending Tour

  Number of Newcastle
  games attended by
  NUFC.com in 2019/20:

85

 



Masks and more
 

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Live music returns:
Van the Mag

As part of a series of socially-distanced outdoor events, singer songwriter Van Morrison and his band will be playing at Gosforth Park on Thursday September 3rd.

Gig goers will be accommodated on a series of raised platforms, holding groups of between two and five.

Thanks to SSD Concerts we have a platform up for grabs for Van Morrison. To be in with the chance of winning it, email the answer to the following question to comps@nufc.com (subject: Van).

Which Van Morrison song was a top five UK hit for Dexy's Midnight Runners in 1982 - and a terrace favourite of Newcastle fans around about that time?

Closing date is Tue 18th August @ Noon - one entry per person please, no age restriction on entry. Be aware that everyone on a platform must arrive in the same vehicle (private, taxi or drop-off).

First up at the racecourse (temporarily rechristened the Virgin Money Unity Arena) is a series of sold-out appearances from local hero Sam Fender. Other music, comedy and dance performances are scheduled online here including the infamous Bongo's Bingo nights.

For an idea of how the venue has been transformed to comply with current requirements, see online here

Signing claim:
Hendrick still
undecided

Speculation that United are about to conclude their second free transfer signing of the summer* has increased, with The Guardian claiming Burnley's Jeff Hendrick has agreed a move at SJP.

The 28 year-old Ireland international midfielder is a free agent following the expiration of his Clarets contract.

Having rejected an extension there, he's believed to have deal offers from a number of clubs including the Magpies - but is still to make a final decision.

Dublin-born Hendrick was schooled at Derby County's Academy, netting for the Rams against Newcastle U18s back in the 2009/10 season.

The first of over 200 senior appearances for Derby followed in 2011, making his international bow two years later against Poland in the same side as Ciaran Clark.

Making a 10.5m switch to Burnley early in the 2016/17 season, Hendrick scored the only goal of the game against United at Turf Moor just over a year after.

His penultimate outing for Burnley came on the right hand side of a midfield four in a 0-0 draw on Tyneside last February. However he has also played in more central advanced and withdrawn roles.

* Newcastle signed former Motherwell goalkeeper Mark Gillespie last month.
 

2020/21:
Jack's return home

Tuesday saw Championship side Nottingham Forest conclude the permanent signing of Jack Colback after the midfielder's contract at SJP ended.

The 30 year-old made 55 appearances over two separate loans at the City Ground during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, and last kicked a ball competitively in April 2019 when with Forest.



Fellow former Magpie midfielder Gael Bigirimana is also on the move, after agreeing terms with Glentoran.

The 26 year-old joins the Belfast-based club after an unsuccessful stint at National League side Solihull Moors.

SJP old boys changing clubs during this transfer window include:

Jak Alnwick
St, Mirren (Scotland)
Gael Bigirimana
Glentoran (NI)
Luke Charman
Darlington
Jack Colback Nottingham Forest
Victor Fernandez Viitorul Constanta (Romania)
Michael Hoganson West Auckland Town
Ki FC Seoul (South Korea)
Jonathan Mitchell Northampton Town (loan)

Ex-Mags:
Rondon strikes,
Rafa struggles

The new Chinese Super League season is well underway, but for Dalian Professional and their coach Rafa Benitez things are little improved from last time round.

A 2-2 draw at Shanghai Shenhua on Monday left Dalian seventh in their eight team league, with just two points from their opening four league fixtures.

Benitez has won six of the 19 league games he's taken charge of since joining the club that were then known as Dalian Yifang in July 2019.

However four of those victories came in his opening six games; the subsequent 13 seeing him collect just 10 points from a possible 39.  

Dalian striker Salomon Rondon scored twice against Shenhua and now has four in as many games. He netted five times in eleven league outings last season.

PS: There was another familiar face involved in Monday's game, with SJP old boy Obafemi Martins in the Shenhua starting line-up.

Now 35 (at least), Martins spent two years out with a serious knee injury incurred while playing for Shenhua in 2018. Released while sidelined, he rejoined them in July of this year.

2020/21:
Kits confirmed

NUFC have now revealed next season's two change kits, confirming that the recent pictures leaked online were accurate.



The nominal second kit is a pale yellow colour on the front and back, with black contrast on shoulders and collar.

From the photos, the colour is more akin to the lemon change kit of 2012/13 than the "Brazil" version of the following season.

The third kit meanwhile is purple and black, with the design supposedly inspired by the Tyne Bridge. The back panel is black.

Both designs can be pre-ordered online now ahead of the official release date of August 17th when they'll be in-store.

NB: a couple of outlets have proclaimed these as the final kits to be produced for NUFC by Puma, but our understanding is that a two year deal extension has been agreed with the kit manufacturer.

2020/21:
Diary dates

Sat 15.08.2020 Amended go-live date for test sporting events with limited crowds (had originally been Sat 01.08.2020).

Mon 17.08.2020
NUFC senior squad return for pre-season training.

Mon 24.08.2020 PL fixture list release (date subject to final confirmation).

Sat 12.09.2020 PL season start date.

Taylor's tales:
Magpie memories

The latest edition of The Blizzard football magazine includes some NUFC-flavoured recollections from retired journalist David Taylor, in conversation with fellow Toon fan Paul Brown online here

PS: David also appears in a 1968 TV documentary online here about urban redevelopment on Tyneside.

Update:
Takeover: petition
passes 100K

Update: the fan petition online here has now exceeded 106,000 - an incredible figure.

Earlier: While previous periods of fan unrest during the Ashley era have been characterised by protests inside and outside grounds and match boycotts (actual and proposed), the current pandemic has taken the fight firmly into cyberspace.

Most noticeably, an online petition calling on HM Government to launch an enquiry into the conduct of the Premier League was initiated by one fan.

NB: the petition is hosted by change.org a not-for-profit organisation. Unlike a petition hosted by gov.uk, there is no requirement for any form of official response regardless of the level of take up.

While in itself of no consequence, the level of support is symbolic of the depth of feeling and frustration; the increasing amount of signatories prompting additional media coverage both in the UK and further afield.

That includes media outlets in Saudi Arabia, where the takeover process had rarely made any headlines.

Separate to the petition, The Newcastle United Supporters Trust have become a rallying point in recent days, reporting a sizeable increase in new sign-ups.

Having polled their membership to receive overwhelming support for the Investment Group takeover, they are now attempting to "get answers from the Premier League which could aid this process and get information and an explanation."  

Again it's debatable what purpose this will serve, given that the bid was withdrawn amid claims of a lack of clarity over the proposed ownership structure.

If nothing else though, various fan groups and accounts have set aside rivalries and combine their energies with the NUST, creating a less fractured fanbase than has been seen in previous times of turmoil.

The Trust website is online here and they have created an online template allowing discontented fans to email their MP regarding the takeover, regardless of their constituency. online here

Over 7,000 emails have been sent out and received a variety of positive responses, including one from the MP for South Ruislip & Uxbridge aka the PM.

Update:
Takeover timeline

Tuesday 04.08.2020:

The chief executive of Newcastle City Council Pat Ritchie contacted the Premier League to ask for clarity over their process for the takeover online here

Monday 03.08.2020:

Martin Cruddace (CEO of Arena Racing Company, owned by the Reuben brothers) was quoted online here

Monday 03.08.2020:

The Independent Football Ombudsman Professor Derek Fraser responded to supporter queries by saying that he had advised the Premier League to make a statement regarding the takeover process online here

Sunday 02.08.2020:

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) confirmed that a telephone call between their Chair Alex Hurst and Amanda Staveley from PCP Capital Partners had taken place. The text of that letter was reproduced by the Chronicle online here

Friday 31.07.2020:

Quotes from Newcastle United CEO Lee Charnley were reported by Sky Sports online here

Thursday 30.07.2020:

With no public sign of a decision by the Premier League whether to allow a proposed takeover of Newcastle United by the Investment Group (Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers), the bidders issued a statement withdrawing their bid for the club online here

2020/21:
U23 update

The curtailed Premier League 2 season has been concluded on a points per game basis, with Chelsea winning the Division One title and Wolves relegated.

West Ham and Manchester United both gained promotion from Division Two meanwhile, with no playoffs possible - Newcastle among several teams with a chance of qualifying when their season was called off with four games left.

With Burnley, Leeds and Palace all gaining Category 1 status for their academy and accepted into PL2, that means that 27 sides will contest the two divisions next season as follows:

D1: (13 teams) Arsenal, Blackburn, Brighton, Chelsea, Derby, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton, Spurs, West Ham.

D2: (14 teams) Aston Villa, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leeds, Boro, Newcastle, Norwich City, Reading, Stoke City, mackems, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Wolves.

With Newcastle facing a semi-final tie against Blyth Spartans, the decision was taken to abandon the Northumberland 2019/20 Senior Cup. And a similar fate has befallen the Premier League Cup, with the Magpies drawn away to Exeter City in the last 16.

PS: Details of the U18 league composition are awaited, with the two leagues at that level divided on regional grounds rather than merit. As with the U23s, Burnley, Palace and Leeds will all be added.

Loan departure:
Jake's progress

League Two side Morecambe have concluded a season-long loan deal for Newcastle's U23 goalkeeper Jake Turner.

The 21 year-old joined United just over a year ago and made 20 appearances in all competitions for the reserve side last season before fixtures were curtailed.

Loaned out to non-league sides Frickley Athletic, Stalybridge Celtic and Darlington while with previous club Bolton Wanderers, Jake is yet to make his league bow.

2020/21:
PL: back to
three substitutes

Thursday saw the Premier League AGM take place, when various outstanding issues were due to be decided ahead of the upcoming season.

Amongst these were whether to continue with fielding five substitutes from a bench of nine, a rule change which applied for the restarted games of last season.

That motion was defeated, meaning that top-flight sides will revert to a seven man bench this time round, of which three replacements are permitted.

Agreement was also reached on VAR usage to reflect current FIFA guidelines, which should mean more decisions being made by the match referee viewing a pitchside monitor, rather than the remote VAR official taking precedence. 

Also on the agenda is how and when to allow spectators to return to grounds, with possible test events at pre-season games. News on that is awaited.

2020/21:
Crowd latest

Earlier: Draft guidance over the phased return of crowds to sporting events in England has been published by HM Government and can be read here.

Some test events have been organised ahead of a proposed October 1st live date, but no details of the football matches that will be part of that are known as yet.

Details of how spectators at those test events will be organised can be read here

The Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) have also published their draft guidance/proposals, which details how a phased return could look for spectators, in terms of access, seating plans etc.

That can be read here

NB: These documents are proposals at this stage and subject to amendment via a consultation process.

 

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Fixtures
Season 2020/21

 
 


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2020/21 season:

Fixture release date 24.08.2020
(subject to final confirmation)

Season start date 12.09.2020
Season end date 23.05.2021

Transfer window ends 05.10.2020
(PL and FL clubs can trade with each other until 16.10.2020).


Refunds:

NUFC have refunded all paid single ticket holders for games played behind closed doors - now moving on to ST holders.

Separate to that 2020/21 season direct debits will still be taken.

The 10,000 free part-season ticket holders receive no recompense.

2019/20 season tickets:

From NUFC 18.06.2020:


"Supporters who purchased a 2019/20 season ticket will be eligible for a pro rata refund or pro rata account credit for the remaining five Premier League home matches.

"This will not include additional half-season tickets which were redeemed free of charge."

From NUFC 27.07.2020:

"We will begin processing refunds on 27th July 2020. Supporters will receive their refund within 30 days of this date. "

2020/21 season tickets:

From NUFC 18.06.2020:

"We will not, at this time, be issuing refunds to supporters on long-term price-freeze deals who have already paid for their 2020/21 season ticket in full or have made part payment through monthly Direct Debits.

"Direct Debit payment schedules for these supporters, which enable them to secure their seat for significantly less than the general sale price, will continue.

"The position will be reviewed when further information is known about supporter access for the 2020/21 season."

Other events @ SJP:

Rugby League:

Rugby League Magic Weekend XIV
(held over from 2020):

Sat 29.05.2021
Sun 30.05.2021

2020 ticket holders have the option of a refund or a credit towards 2021 tickets.

Rugby League WC Finals

Sat 23.10.2021:  
England v Samoa (2.30pm)

 

International Magpies
National Service

International breaks: 


2020/21:

31.08.2020-08.09.2020
05.10.2020-13.10.2020
09.11.2020-17.11.2020
22.03.2021-30.03.2021

Euro 2020 rescheduled:
11.06.2021-11.07.2021.

 
Whoops, He did it Again...


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

On This Day in History
12th August


Born Or Died:

Nobody today.
 

What Else?

1961 Odense (Denmark) (h) 2-0 (2-0)
Friendly 
Allchurch(3,24)
9,869
Having beaten Aarhus at SJP the previous Wednesday, United warmed up for their Division Two season with another friendly win against Danish opposition.

Odense had lost 1-5 on wearside in midweek, while Aarhus moved on to Roker Park and conceded three goals without reply.

Team: Hollins, Keith, Ferguson, Neale, McGrath, Dalton, Allchurch, Leek, Hughes, McGuigan, Tuohy.

1961 United's reserve side recorded a 1-0 friendly victory at Hartlepools United after Jackie Bell converted a penalty kick.

Fellow Magpie Ken Hale had earlier missed a spot kick, while teenager Colin Clish earned good reviews for his display at left back.

1962
The Republic of Ireland beat Iceland 4-2 in a European Cup Qualifier staged in Dublin. Newcastle's Liam Tuohy won his fifth full international cap, scoring once.

1967 Middlesbrough (h)
2-0
(0-0)
Friendly 
Davies(72), Hilley(87)
13,850
Four days after losing 2-3 at Ayresome Park in another friendly, Joe Harvey's side gained their revenge at SJP in an unimpressive victory.

Jimmy Scott was seen for the first time following his arrival from Hibernian but United posed little threat in front of goal until replacement 'keeper Maurice Short fumbled a Pop Robson header and Wyn Davies kneed the loose ball into the net.

Substitute Dave Hilley then added gloss to the scoreline with a late solo strike in United's second and final pre-season outing.

Team: Marshall (McFaul), Craig, Clark, Elliott, McGrath (Burton), Iley (Moncur), Scott, Bennett (Hilley), Davies, B.Robson, T.Robson (McNamee) 

1972 Wolverhampton Wanderers (h)
2-1
(2-1)
Division One
P1, 2pts, 5th/22 
Green(11), Tudor(12)  
Kindon(17)
33,790 
Wolves netted through debutant Steve Kindon but United were already two goals up, Tony Green's opener a beauty from the edge of the box that whistled past 'keeper Phil Parkes.

1994 Northern Ireland XI (a) 5-2 (3-1)
Friendly 

Cole(14), Fox(20), Lee(41), Mathie(78), Elliott(80)
Rowland(15), Dennison(75) 
7,000
United returned to Belfast's Linfield Park to participate in a Testimonial for ex-mackem and Northern Ireland boss Billy Bingham. 

Included in the home select XI were many former heroes from Billy's teams including Gerry Armstrong - responsible for Bingham's finest moments in the 1982 World Cup.

Future Magpie Keith Gillespie was also in the home starting XI, alongside SJP old boys David McCreery and Ian Stewart. 

The game ended with Kevin Keegan playing for Newcastle and George Best for the Irish.

Team: Srnicek (Hooper 46), Hottiger, Beresford (Elliott 46), Venison, D.Peacock (Neilson 79), Albert, Lee (Jeffrey 79), Beardsley (Mathie 71), Cole, Fox (Keegan 79), Guppy (Drysdale 61).

1995 Tottenham Hotspur (a) 2-0 (1-0)
Friendly 
Sellars(45), Ferdinand(70)
17,288
An assured United display deservedly saw them win this Testimonial match for the long-serving Gary Mabbutt. 

New arrival Shaka Hislop made his debut in goal, while long-term injury victim Philippe Albert returned as a second half substitute.

Team: Hislop, Barton, Beresford, Clark, D.Peacock, Elliott (Albert 75), Lee (Watson 72), Beardsley (Kitson 75), Ferdinand, Gillespie, Sellars (Fox 56). Subs n/u: Srnicek, S.Elliott.

1998
Following promotion from the Pontins League Third Division the previous season (after reforming the reserves and returning on the bottom rung), United began their Division Two campaign at Shrewsbury Town.

They returned from Gay Meadow with a 3-1 win thanks to Paul Robinson and a brace from Paul Dalglish.

2000
Newcastle U17s notched up a 10-2 win over Darlington in a friendly at Maiden Castle. Michael Chopra led the way with seven goals, while Louis Carr added a hat-trick.

2005 Newcastle manager Graeme Souness responded to press claims United were attempting to sign Michael Owen:

"Without exciting the fans too much, I think there is a good chance. We are still in there."

"We are targeting, and have been targeting, several players. The Michael Owen situation, we know everything about Michael's situation - he is a target, but we also have other targets."

2006 A family had a lucky escape after Magpies defender Titus Bramble crashed his BMW into the wall outside their home.

Bramble was travelling towards Norwich on the A140 around midnight when the accident happened in the village of Newton Flotman.

A Norfolk Police spokesman said that five or six people were travelling in the vehicle at the time, but that no-one had been hurt.

2006 Ireland boss Steve Staunton was hit by the withdrawal of Shay Given from his squad. The Magpies goalkeeper had sustained a back injury when clearing the ball against Ventspils.

2009 The Carling Cup Second Round draw saw Newcastle paired with League One Huddersfield Town, setting up a SJP return for Terriers boss Lee Clark and his coaches Terry McDermott and Paul Stephenson.

2010 Mystery surrounded the future of Marseille midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, amid reports that the player had walked out following the breakdown of his move to SJP.

French media reported that Ben Arfa stormed out of a club meeting at which his agent and lawyer were present, vowing not to play for OM again.

A hastily-arranged press conference was then dumped as OM president Jean-Claude Dassier addressed reporters in a car park, saying that:

"The Newcastle offer does not exist. Hatem Ben Arfa is staying at Marseille."

It would take another fortnight of haggling before a season-long loan to Gallowgate was thrashed out.

2013
Newcastle's U21 side began their league campaign with a 2-4 loss to Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

Gael Bigirimana and 16 year-old debutant Adam Armstrong netted for the Magpies while French teen Olivier Kemen also made his bow but was soon forced off through injury.
NUFC.com match report

2019 It was a Hog Roast for the U23s in their opening league fixture as they left Reading's Hogwood Park training HQ having been stuffed 0-6.

There were debuts for goalkeeper Jake Turner and midfielder Kyle Scott, while Owen Bailey was sent off with the score at 0-4.
NUFC.com match report