The Qatar World Cup break interrupting this Newcastle United season.
An ideal time to get a snapshot of views from NUFC fans on how they think things are going.
So we sent out various questions to a number of regular / irregular contributors to The Mag.
Next up we have Simon Ritter:
Over 13 months now since the takeover, what are your thoughts now on the debate that surrounds the identity of the Newcastle United owners?
Anyone who bemoans the sheihkover takeover is at best naive and at worst a hypocritical, jealous little toerag.
The Newcastle United owners have transformed the management.
The management have transformed the team.
Many of the players have transformed themselves.
The Newcastle United owners are a force for good in a city that can once again become a northern powerhouse.
Newcastle United third in the table, how are you feeling?
Euphoric, delighted, high as a kite, over the moon, buzzing, thrilled, grateful. And just a teeny bit anxious.
Goal of the season (top choice and then second and third)?
Best: Almiron’s goal at the Naming Rights Here stadium.
The way he fought off Sessegnon, accelerated past Lenglet on the outside (the true mark of a player with speed to burn) then coolly drove the ball under Lloris was top-notch. Miggy’s left foot is akin to Messi’s this season.
Second choice: Willock v Chelsea at SJP.
A great build-up, from Trippier, JoeLinton and Miggy, followed by a sublime first-time strike by Little Joe. Something special was needed to overcome opponents hell-bent on playing for a 0-0 and this was something special.
Third choice: Miggy’s opener at St Mary’s.
Worth a mention in dispatches, if only for the hilarious attempt by Maitland-Niles to foul our Paraguayan Pele rather than go for the ball. Remember, Maitland-Niles has five (5) caps for England. Unbelievable, Jeff.
A must win game and the whole squad fit and available, which 11 would you select?
Pope; Trippier, Botman, Schar, Burn; JoeLinton, Bruno G, Willock; Almiron, Wilson, Isak.
Subs: Darlow, Dummett, Targett, Lascelles, Anderson, ASM, Fraser, Shelvey.
Eddie Howe signings (Botman, Bruno, Burn, Isak, Pope, Targett, Trippier, Wood) best to least best and explain why?
Trippier for his all-round game, his leadership, his experience at home and abroad (Europe here we come!).
Bruno for the way he revived the team last season and is driving us forward in 22-23.
Pope because every good team needs a great keeper.
Botman for his class and almost limitless potential.
Burn for his versatility and telescopic legs.
Targett for his work last season.
Isak because he could be something very special, if Anfield was a glimpse of his true ability.
Wood for battling non-stop when often isolated in attack.
Which match have you enjoyed the most this season?
Chelsea at home was suitably old-school for a sixty-something brought up on meaty tackles and no quarter asked for or given. Reminded me of matches from the mid-70s. The atmosphere was brilliant, too.
If you could guarantee three NUFC players to go through rest of season available for every match, who would they be and in what order?
1 Wilson; 2 Trippier; 3 Joelinton
How big an advantage (if any) is it likely to be for NUFC when the Premier League kicks off again in late December, considering how many each of the ‘big seven’ have at the World Cup (16 Manchester City, 15 Manchester United, 12 Chelsea, 11 Tottenham, 10 Arsenal, 7 Liverpool, 5 Newcastle United)?
The biggest advantage will come from Eddie and his assistants working with the lads left behind, once they have had a well-earned holiday. They have put in a massive shift already this season and need a little down-time.
Most of the other clubs’ players at the World Cup will finish before the semi-finals but I doubt they will go straight back to their training grounds. Our camp in Saudi Arabia could be a big boost.
If you are honest, ahead of the season kicking off, if you’d had to put your mortgage, rent…energy bill on it, where would you have predicted Newcastle to finish this season?
As the world’s worst tipster, I declared before the Forest game we would finish 5th this season. And was roundly ridiculed, called delusional by fellow Mags on this website, told by several we would do well to finish top half. Just saying, like . . .
Same as above but where now do you predict Newcastle to finish this season?
For the sake of consistency, I’m still saying fifth.
Eddie Howe’s selection for the Palace League Cup game, three days before Chelsea in the Premier League, eight outfield changes. What did you think when you heard the team before kick-off, then what were your thoughts after the win (on penalties!) on the team Eddie had selected?
Eddie knows best.
Having watched the team at St Mary’s, I didn’t disagree with his selection. He will never be subjected to chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” from this quarter.
Pope is capable of three games in seven days, as he proved in the shoot-out and against Chelsea. That was the most important non-change. By keeping most of the best players fresh for the Chelsea game, we were able to outmuscle and out-think them.
Your choice – England win World Cup or Newcastle win League Cup?
Newcastle win League Cup. No contest, no argument. And I’ll take a good run in the FA Cup and a Europa League berth before an England World Cup win, if you’re asking.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in this Qatar World Cup?
Two. That’s considerably less interested than I am in the Worthing and District indoor bowls matches (available for selection).
Three words to describe Eddie Howe?
Baby-faced hard man.
In the next five years, who are going to be the most dominant four clubs in the Premier League?
Man City, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Arsenal.
Best (realistic) signing Newcastle United could make in January?