truefaithnewsletter@gmail.com

View this email in your browser
The Special Newcastle United v reading, 17 August 2016, 7:45pm
Illustration of supporters holding up a "Keep calm and believe in Rafa" banner

And fade in .... 

If anyone doubted the impact Rafael Benitez would have on Newcastle United then this last week and the summer before it should have disabused anyone of the notion our new manager is hear to tread water. By my reckoning, an astonishing turnover has been enacted by a manager who has sent an incredible number of players packing. To be frank, the only player I've been sorry to see leave was Andros Townsend because the rest have demonstrated they weren't good enough and weren't up for the fight. Several analysts and even ex-coaches and managers have questioned the mentality and attitude of the squad that got us relegated last season and Rafa's response has been to cast them to the four winds. I won't lose any sleep over any that have left. 

I do regard the deal that has taken Tim Krul to Ajax as a remarkably innovative piece of business. Krul has had horrendous problems with injuries over the last two and a bit years and that doubtless has taken the edge off him. Within him however, Rafa sees a player and that explains an extra year on his contract and a season in Amsterdam as our Dutch minder gets his form and fitness back in a fantastic environment for him. Seeing Saviet head back to France this week won't cause any ripples

Players walk out in front of a sea of flags at the Gallowgate End.

Its sad to see Gael Bigigrama move back to Coventry because we all saw a player in him when he arrived but under Pardew his career simply stalled amidst salacious rumours of various illnesses that have never been substantiated. 

The latest is we hear Goufrann and Riviere can't be moved on because of the wages they are on at United and the inability of French clubs to match their packages here. I suspect some compromise might be in the offing and I'd expect to see them go. That may also apply to Tiote. The elephant in the room however is Sissoko, the club's biggest asset for whom it wants top dollar and rightly so when you see the eye-watering amounts of money passing between clubs for mediocre players (Benteke anyone?). 

Whilst we are in a better position without the players Rafa has moved on the focus is now very much on the players we need to bring in. 

I concur with the view we need striking talent and tonight's bizarre situation with Gayle and Mitrovic demonstrates how light we are up top. I'm encouraged by the names we've been associated with but the deals are never done until they are done. I've no doubt the last few days of the window are going to be busy.

The business at hand however is Brighton at home in what might well be one of the most pivotal games of the season. Like many I'll be on my feet to make sure the excellent Chris Hughton gets the ovation he deserves but then I'll hope Comrade Chris leaves Gallowgate with nowt but good wishes. 

Before the game kicks off however, Gallowgate Flags will stage their second display. Supporters are encouraged to be in the ground for 5pm. There has been a change to the arrangements with the distribution of the flags following a load going missing and my plea is for anyone who took them from the Huddersfield game to bring them back - either to tonight's game or to drop off at the Backpage or the United club shop at the back of the Gallowgate. They are no good to anyone anywhere else other than at SJP. 

There are more displays with particular themes planned but to add to the flags currently held Gallowgate Flags really does need your support. Please support Gallowgate Flags by making a  donation. 

You can throw some bob the Gallowgate Flags way by donating here. 

We've had a good fortnight at United with three wins on the spin and a growing feel of confidence despite the injuries picked up in the LC tie with Cheltenham. We clicked by getting another home draw to Wolves, so there is reason to be positive right now. 

Interestingly Rafa made mention to the help the team received from the support down at Bristol last week. We've dealt with the pointless booing at half time and full time that sometimes happens at SJP and I'll confess to being irritated by the mass sighing if anything goes wrong. None of that helps. These are new players finding their feet under the management of a new manager who is getting used to the club and the division. Let's not be found wanting when the team crosses the white line tonight. 

Great match preview from Alex Hurst here.

Keep On, Keepin' On...

Share
Tweet
Forward
Follow Michael Martin true faith editor on twitter @tfeditor1892
Phoenix Taxis sponsors of the Special. Call 01670 540 222 or 0191 237 7777. www.phoenixtaxis.net
Forward this email to a mate to and get them to sign up for The Special here
The Entertainers @0th anniversary game, Newcastle Legends vs Manchester Select, in aid of the Alan Shearer Foundation. Sunday 9th October 2016 Kingston Park.

Brighton (h)

SWOT analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

I am sure that Comrade Chris will receive a warm welcome from the St James’ faithful but this is a game that we need to win and certainly don't want to to lose even at this early stage of the season. Hughton is very good at instilling a sense of togetherness in his teams and they won’t be found wanting for team spirit and resilience this afternoon. The fact that they were only beaten three times last season and remain unbeaten this highlights how difficult our task will be against the team currently sitting in second place. They have won both of their home games 3-0 but only managed a 2-2 draw away at a poor Reading side last Saturday. Hughton’s team was:

Brighton’s goals were an own goal by Reading’s Van den Berg and a second half effort by Antony Knockaert. Our attempts to sign Knockaert have been well documented and he will provide Brighton’s main creative threat but Glenn Murray delivers the muscle up front and our centre backs will know they’ve been in a game. Murray has three goals to his name already this season.

There are some familiar names in the Brighton line up. Leroy Rosenior gets forward to good effect but is not so clever defensively. Lewis Dunk, another we were linked with, is commanding in the air and provides a threat at set pieces. Steve Sidwell will work hard and get his foot in in midfield, while Kayal was one of their best players in midfield last season, offering bags of effort and no little skill. They even have Kazenga Lua Lua on the bench.

Brighton have drawn both away games (0-0 and 2-2). That sort of form, combined with their strength at home means that they will probably be there or there about again this season. On the other hand Plank McShane scored against them for Reading on Saturday so defensively they can’t be that great. 

Obviously the fact that we are without Gayle and Mitrovic will influence the way Rafa line us up this afternoon. We will miss Gayle’s pace and finishing while the crazy Serb might have helped us out in defending set pieces. I imagine we will try to control the midfield but they will offer more of a threat up front while they are not bad in midfield themselves and are probably our main threat this season. From a positive angle, I think we will threaten them from midfield and Diame could be our main man today.

I think that the Gallowgate Flags can inspire a first league victory at SJP but it won’t get any tougher than this for us this season at home. This is our chance to lay down a marker. Imagine beating our chief rivals without any of our main forwards. Patience will be required as well as a support in full voice for 95 minutes. This is where we uphold our reputation as the best support in the country bar none.

Share
Tweet
Forward
Support Gallowgate Flags. Paid for by fan donations to create a better match day atmosphere, donate here https://www.gofundme.com/gallowgateflags

What Would Rafa Do?

Rafa would play a strong team in the League Cup and leave no doubt as to whether he is taking the cups seriously this year. He'd get a performance in a cup game against a weaker opposition that was no less committed than the one in the previous league game. Unfortunately, he just forgot that if you do that as Newcastle manager, the football gods will give you 2 concussions and a broken metatarsal. Obviously.

This came in a productive week where the club have successfully moved on some deadwood and agreed an interesting deal with Tim Krul that might yet see him play for us again eventually. Only with Rafa. 

These injuries, although not too serious, may yet expose the lack of depth in the squad and encourage a few more signings off the back of this weeks departures. Aarons is looking less and less like finally breaking out of the old injury habit and it seems that Armstrong isn't in the plans either after a non-appearance against Cheltenham. That being the case, Rafa surely will be working tirelessly on another winger and a forward. 

On to Brighton. No Gayle and no Mitro. That leaves a front line that picks itself of Perez, Ritchie and Gouff. Rafa seems to like Shelvey at home and he played very well with Diame in front of him on Tuesday. We all know Rafa likes to rotate so Hayden or Colback could go either way.

Defensively, however, we have options for the first time since before Ned Stark lost his head. Mbemba is the only obvious pick. Anita probably plays full back. The rest is down to the wonderful man in the dugout.

What would Rafa do?

Respectfully outclass Chris Hughton for 3 massive points. 

Share
Tweet
Forward
Simon Campbell - true faith podcaster, follow him on twitter @simoncampbell11

Club and county - We are the Mags. 

Get into these absolutely top notch true faith t-shirts which celebrate the identity of Mags from England's two finest counties, Northumberland and Durham. 

Only £17 plus P+P. 

Northumberland Mags t-shirt - get them here
Durham Mags t-shirt - get them here
Newcastle v Sheffield Wednesday, 27th August 1984, Division 1

As it was when it was

Newcastle v Sheffield Wednesday, 27th August 1984

Newcastle United had got off to the prefect start on their return to the top flight having won the season’s opener at Leicester, 3-2.

However, in typical United style, off the field activities had dampened the mood as supporters not only said farewell to Kevin Keegan, but watched Arthur Cox leave and Terry McDermott made an outcast due to contract disputes.

2 Days later, a Bank Holiday Monday crowd of almost 30,000 were at St James Park for the game against Sheffield Wednesday who had also been promoted the previous May and won their first game.

For The Record:

Having been relegated in 1978, this was The Mag’s first top flight win at St James Park since Wolves were hammered 4-0 in November 1977.

United won their following game 3-0 at home to Aston Villa to go top of the table for the first time since October 1950.

Knocked off the top following 2 defeats in a week, it was 3 days short of 10 years when Newcastle would top the English league again.  

The Owls would get revenge over United by winning 4-2 in March and finish in 8th place whilst the hosts flirted briefly with relegation before finishing 14th.

George Michael of Wham! was number 1 with ‘Careless Whisper’, his 1st of 4 solo efforts.

George Michael - Careless Whisper (Official Video)
Share
Tweet
Forward
Entertain with the Entertainers, 20th anniversary charity dinner St James Park, Saturday 8th October 2016.

Skeleton Crew?

For the first time in a long time no one can seriously suggest Newcastle United haven't been involved in the transfer market during the summer window. The folks at nufc.com have counted 14 first team squad players going out and 9 coming in at the time of writing on Thursday night. On the face of it we are 5 players down from last season, prompting worries that our squad is thinning too much. However, half of those leaving made virtually no appearances on the pitch last season whether for reasons of fitness or selection. In addition, last season we had a glut of midfielders and a severe lack of options in other areas. 8 of those leaving are from the midfield and most of the new recruits are in defence or can play there.

So despite on the surface having fewer players than before, we have more first teamers now, there having been a definite theme of cutting out our dead wood. The squad is also more balanced with fewer midfielders and more defenders and strikers. There's still room for a few more to go and I'd like a little more creativity to come in but things are in hand.

Share
Tweet
Forward

Taking a Lend

There's been a fair bit of puzzlement about Tim Krul's departure. He's gone on a season's loan to Ajax but it's reported he's also signed an extension to his Newcastle contract. The extension implies not only that he wants to stay here long-term but that we want to keep him. What could be the motivation behind the loan? 

Perhaps Krul sees his future here but wishes to push himself for international recognition over the next year. There's no comparison between the exposure he'd get in that way playing for his home nation's most high-profile team and what he'd get playing for us in the 2nd tier. Maybe part of the way we've got him to stay is to let him pursue his international ambitions elsewhere with the understanding he'd return when we're back in the top division. A benefit for us is a player who's been out injured for 10 months comes back to us match-fit after working his way back to his best somewhere else.

I imagine there are some who feel he's being allowed to have his cake and eat it, that he's either committed to us or he isn't. I think it's an innovative way to hang onto a top player by keeping him happy in the short term.

Share
Tweet
Forward

true faith - pin badges

We are delighted to announce we have a new batch of pin badges on sale. 

Our Leazes and Gallowgate SOUL pin badges are now available and you can get them here - 

Leazes Soul, and Gallowgate Soul,

Our hugely popular Durham and Northumberland - We Are The Mags pin badges are also back in stock 

Durham, and Northumberland.

Each badge is only £5 Plus P+P. They will be delivered the day after they ordered. 

What a Headache

Our best 3 strikers all suffered head injuries midweek, and though Ayoze Perez is ok to play today, both Mitrovic and Gayle are out due to FA rules regarding players who've suffered concussion and how long they need to wait before they play again. Those rules are eminently sensible, there's a history of footballers suffering years later as a result of minor head injuries sustained during their playing days. Jeff Astle springs to mind and there's a fairly high-profile campaign on these issues named in his memory. So no arguments on that front. 

Without wishing to align myself with the thinking of discredited past bosses, it does show the pitfalls of playing a strong side in the cups. We're lucky really that Perez is ok, it could easily have been all of them out. I still think playing a good side in that League cup match was worth it, even though we've lost important players because of it. The key is building a squad with enough depth that we can ride out these problems when they arise, not sticking with a thin squad and not trying in the cups. Looking on the bright side, Adam Armstrong's been waiting for a chance and this could be it for him. We also have players on the sidelines like Gouffran and Riviere (Yes, really) who though they weren't great as Premier League strikers should be good enough to step up into the strikeforce at this level. 

Hopefully we have enough to cover those who've had to drop out.

Share
Tweet
Forward

Fortiter Defendit Triumphans

We developed this interpretation of the city crest some years ago for a cover of the fanzine and its fair to say it has proven extremely popular.

Now we have incorporated that design into this fantastic t-shirt which we expect will be a must for anyone who loves the city that plays host to our beloved football club. Let's not forget for many years, the city crest emblem sat proudly on the shirt of Newcastle United FC.

The t-shirt comes to you for a very reasonable £15 plus P+P.

To order one of these t-shirts just click here.

Share
Tweet
Forward

What the papers say

It’s been yet another busy week on Tyneside with signings being made, matches being won and Newcastle being spoke about heavily in the press. Things are finally starting to look up for Newcastle United and here is what the papers have been saying in the past seven days. 

We’ll start with the many ins and outs that have occurred in the past week. After missing out on Brendan Galloway, it was important that NUFC focused on bringing a new defender before the end of the window. They did just that in the form of Spurs defender DeAndre Yedlin. The American right back spent last season on Wearside and received praise from fans and pundits. His blistering pace is his biggest asset but whether he can defend as well as attack is a slight concern. He is being brought in to replace Dutchman, who is set to make the switch to Watford, in an £7.5m deal. Of course, fans don’t care about fees as such, but that is brilliant business by NUFC.

Another player who is set to sign for the club is Brentford’s Alan Judge. The 27-year-old is currently recovering from a leg injury, so may not be officially signed until January but the deal is likely to be wrapped up very shortly. The Irish midfielder has reportedly turned down a whopping £67,000-a-week contract at Wolves and taken at £5k pay cut in order to sign for the Toon Army. Although a large number of fans won’t have seen him play, he is highly rated at this level. 

To round off the transfer scoop for this week, two fringe players have departed the club on loan. Both Henri Saivet (who) and Kevin Mbabu have been sent out on loan to St Etienne and Young Boys respectively. The former never got a chance under McClaren and probably won’t be missed by the club, whilst Mbabu looks to have big future ahead of him. Fingers crossed a season in the Swiss league will do him good. 

Finally, it was good week on the pitch as Newcastle picked up wins against Bristol City and Cheltenham Town. The first was a nervy encounter, in which Newcastle just managed to scrape through. Tuesday’s clash with Cheltenham was slightly more easy, even if the scoreline didn’t show it. A number of head injuries to all three of our strikers hampered the fire-power of Rafa’s team but it was still a pretty comfortable game. Hopefully this is the start of a long cup run, finally.

Share
Tweet
Forward

Vamos Rafa & Gallowgate Corner - t-shirts

As we start our first full season under the management of our excellent new manager Senor Benitez, the sentiment of this t-shirt and its superb design could not be clearer - VAMOS RAFA - we are right behind you. Only £15 get it here.

The Gallowgate Corner of St James' Park has always been one of the most vociferous and passionate areas of our grand old home. From the days of the terraces to the modern era, The Corner stands out as home to some of Newcastle United's most passionate fans get it here.

Moussa Sissoko: Potential superhero, eventual villain. 

At the time of writing this piece, Moussa Sissoko looks set to exit Newcastle this summer and bring to an end what will be remembered as a rather indifferent career on Tyneside. 

The talent is there, we’ve all seen it. A man of the match performance in this summer’s biggest footballing spectacle just proved that the Frenchman has what it takes to be playing at the highest level. However, Newcastle fans will be able to count on one hand how many times Sissoko has produced such a showing in a black and white shirt.

Sissoko had all the makings of becoming a true Newcastle United legend. A hero, a poster boy, a St. James’ Park Superman, if you will. But as his exit looms large, he will be leaving on a low and fans will forever wonder where it all went so wrong. 

Now, it hasn’t been all bad when it comes to the 26-year-old. There was, for example, that show-stopping strike against West Brom back in 2013. Also not forgetting that fantastic debut display, in which he single-handedly beat Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. However, there isn’t a lot more that stands out in the memory.

When Graeme Carr brought him into the club from Toulouse, Newcastle fans sensed that there would be moments of magic upon arrival, but the only wizardry they've been shown is Sissoko’s ability to vanish for 6-7 months at a time. His recent form at Euro 2016 just adds to the frustration. Where has that Sissoko been hiding? His time under Rafa Benitez has been much better but not enough to earn redemption for the months of inactivity. 

To add to this, it’s fair to say that the midfielder hasn’t helped himself when it comes to getting fans back on side. It seems as if every other week there is a new interview surfacing, in which Sissoko is professing his undying love for Arsenal, or PSG, or any team that plays in and around the top six of a big league. One thing Newcastle fans extremely dislike is players not wanting to play for the shirt. If his form over the past two years had been sublime, fans could maybe understand and tolerate it. 

This is such a stark contrast to players such as Jamaal Lascelles and Ayoze Perez. The latter may not be as talented as Sissoko but you can tell he loves playing for Newcastle United. In an age where social media is such a big part of our lives, Perez will take every opportunity to thank fans, show his passion for the club and pay respect in times of struggle. That goes a long way with fans these days.

So, it now only remains to see whether Sissoko does in fact choose to stick it out in the Championship under this new Newcastle regime, or whether he chooses the bright lights of Real Madrid or Liverpool. 

It’s fair to say it will probably be the latter, and if so, Sissoko must realise that he will be leaving this club as a failure. A player who promised so much, yet gave so little.

Share
Tweet
Forward
An evening with Andy Cole Friday 16th September 2016, 7pm. Nine Sports Bar and Lounge St James Park. Ticket hotline 0191 229 9632 or visit www.newcastlelegends.com

Blackburn is "toxic brand" say fans

Rovers Trust urges Indian owners to sell club as soon as possible

As attendances at Ewood Park continue to fall and the situation on the pitch looks increasingly grim, the Rovers Trust has urged Venky's to put the club up for sale. Trust chair Wayne Wild said: "We are already at the bottom of the Championship and the financial situation looks increasingly alarming."

"Our members – and many Rovers fans - are increasingly looking to us to lead the campaign to remove the owners from our club." Last week,Blackburn Rovers FC Action Group called for the immediate resignation of the club's board.

Share
Tweet
Forward
GET YOUR FAVE MATCH HERE

Podcast: First win

United FINALLY won away from home and the lads are here to quiz Dogger, who was at the game, on what went on. We also discuss the imminent exit of our two Dutch internationals as well as how poor two players hve been this season. Listen here.

We're on Radio Tyneside every Friday 6:30-7:00pm and pre-match every Staurday match at 13:30 listen on 1575 MW or online here.
 
Follow us @TFweeklypod

LISTEN ON SOUNDCLOUD
SUBSCRIBE ON iTUNES
LISTEN TO US ON RADIO TYNESIDE
Share
Tweet
Forward

Silence

I’ve often thought about what life would be like as a supporter if we moved to an out of town ground.  Despite most of us admitting that being a present day Newcastle fan is special only due to the support we have, would the same be true if our ground was next to Silverlink or the Metro Center.  What if there wasn’t 200 pubs within a 2 mile radius or there wasn’t 100 bus routes and a major metro service bringing us in.  

Well you don’t have to imagine anymore as West Ham United have created the dream.  I’ve now watched two games at the London Stadium and can reveal that games are watched in absolute silence.  No songs & no atmosphere. No history, not culture and no one seems to care.  Bleak.  Tourists all over the shop and the dream of ‘families’ going along, buying a programme and a £7 hot dog (all clad in replica kits) has been realised.  Give it three seasons and the upper tier will be closed.

Share
Tweet
Forward

Pace Setters

One of the most interesting games of the weekend is early table toppers Huddersfield Town welcoming Wolves –who’ve also had an excellent start.  Neither side was excepted to be anywhere near the top yet both are playing well.  Small squad numbers are predicted to be a threat to these clubs as well as the emergence of the ‘favourites’ including United, but long may their resurgence last as they hopefully take plenty of points from our promotion rivals.

Share
Tweet
Forward
Newcastle 3 Barcelona 2 an evening with Tino Asprilla, Keith Gillespie and Joe Allon. Thursday 7th October 2016, Nine Bar, Newcastle United St James Park. Call 0191 229 9632 or visit www.newcastlelegends.com

Please don’t sing that song

Bristol away last weekend was good.  Bristol is a brilliant city – the first in the South of England I’ve ever enjoyed going to.  Our support was good.  At London away games it can feel a little watered down (for reasons I’ll not go into) but Bristol was radged up and bouncing.  One criticism; please stop singing ‘please don’t take me home.’  It peaked at Spurs in the cup in 2014.  Now every club sings it including on the continent and in the lower leagues.  It’s become a ‘till I die’ type song that clubs like Reading and Sunderland sing in their flat packs. 

Share
Tweet
Forward
tfeditor1892
tfeditor1892
gallowgateflags
gallowgateflags
tf group
tf group
tf website
tf website
editor email
editor email
Copyright © 2016 true faith, All rights reserved.


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp