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Five things to learn from Newcastle’s pre-season



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Image: @NUFC via Twitter

Pre-season is over and Newcastle’s Premier League campaign starts on 6th August. The Magpies’ extensive run of friendlies holds some clues as to one what next season might look like and raises some new questions.

Back-to-back wins bode well

Newcastle head into the Premier League campaign in good form after four wins out of six friendlies across July. With an opening fixture against newly promoted Nottingham Forest less than a week away, victories over Gateshead, 1860 Munich, Atalanta and Athletic Bilbao will give the Magpies confidence.

The Magpies secured a 2-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday thanks to goals from Wilson and Sain-Maximin. This was preceded by a 1-0 victory over Atalanta just the previous day. Consecutive victories at St James’ Park against European opposition will encourage fans.

Howe told NUFC TV that winning is a “nice habit to get into” and that “preseason has gone as well as it can go”. He played down speculation about form going into the new season “he wouldn’t read too much into” the clubs’ victories. 

Newfound squad depth but few first XI clues

Friendlies are always an opportunity for a manager to experiment with different line-ups. With Howe telling press that “pre-season is used for lots of different things,” anticipating Howe’s first choice XI is an impossible task.

Rotating the starting XI frequently, including playing back-to-back friendlies against high level European opposition, the games highlighted the growing depth to Newcastle’s squad. New signings and the emergence of young talents like Elliot Anderson show that Howe has ranks to call on through the season.

A few key positions remain contested. For example, the manager is clearly creating competition between Nick Pope and Martin Dubravka for the goalkeeper spot, with both sharing preseason minutes. On the wing, Miguel Almiron impressed with a double against Benfica but Newcastle’s search for another forward to compete is well documented.

19-year-old Anderson pushes for first team spot

The usual suspects, Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Bruno Guimaraes were among the goals as ever, and even Miguel Almiron impressed over pre-season. However, it was academy graduate Elliot Anderson who caused the biggest stir.

Elliot Anderson has been the breakout star of Newcastle’s pre-season. The 19-year-old midfielder spent last season on loan to Bristol Rovers in League Two but has been given plenty of preseason game time by Eddie Howe. The Whitley Bay native was clearly keen to impress and was a constantly lively and creative presence in midfield.

The young midfielder earned the deciding penalty against Atalanta on Friday, being tripped after some sharp movement in the box. Howe praised Anderson’s performance: “I thought Elliot today again was very very good. Tactically, physically, technically a very high level performance.”

He will now have a decision to make whether the youngster is ready to feature in his plans this season.

Anderson talked to NUFC TV about his pre-season and fight for a place in the team: “I thought I’ve done well. I still need to improve and try to do better things. I’d love to stay.”

Signings Pope and Botman given debuts

Nick Pope had a calm debut, keeping a clean sheet against 1860 Munich. He had a more eventful first half appearance against Benfica. He conceded two in 45 minutes, at fault for one after failing to claim a corner. Pope showed his worth however, with an outstanding double save to deny last season’s Champions League quarter-finalists. 

He marked his home debut against Atalanta with another clean sheet. The ex-Burnley keeper was not tested much but looked assured when called into action with relatively routine saves.

Howe split appearances evenly between goalkeepers Nick Pope and Martin Dubravka, suggesting that the number one spot next season is still up for grabs.

Sven Botman also made his debut as a substitute against 1860 Munich earlier in the month. A more significant test came when he made his St James’ Park debut in the more intense match against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. 

Boss Eddie Howe was impressed by Botman’s performance: “Very solid. Very composed on the ball. He uses the ball very intelligently. He’s got a lovely relaxed manner on the pitch, but when he needs to defend and be aggressive I think he’s prepared and able to do that too. I thought it was a very good home debut.” 

Howe’s praise could mark the Dutch centre-back out as a likely starter once the league gets underway next Saturday.

St James’ Park packed for friendlies

Earlier in the summer, queues reached outside St James’ Park for tickets to Newcastle’s home friendlies. Close to 47,000 were in attendance on Saturday afternoon to watch the 2-1 victory over Bilbao, with an additional 40,000 on Friday watching Atalanta. 

After his home debut against the Basque side, Botman noted the presence of the fans: “If you asked me to tell you one club in the world with a full stadium for a friendly game I couldn’t, but Newcastle is one.”


Newcastle United to Reveal New Shirt Sponsor?



Newcastle United Kit Idea - NUFC kits

footballinsider247 are reporting that the main shirt sponsor slot for Newcastle United is expected to be filled by airline SAUDI, who sponsored Newcastle’s mid-season tour of their owners’ homeland in December.

They state ‘This site revealed in February that there is frustration at St James’ Park that they have inherited a kit deal with Castore worth just £5m per year with no break clause and several seasons left to run.’

Newcastle’s recently appointed CEO Darren Eales has already previously expressed that the club at looking at all commercial opportunities and fans on Twitter were keen to mock up their expectation for the new shirts, see below and let us know your thoughts and also see our below video on how NUFC can increase commercial avenues..

Eddie Howe’s team are currently in a strong position to achieve a European slot which would increase revenue into the club allowing more spend whilst staying within Financial Fair Play which is something Howe has spoken about on several occasions as they look to stay within. If the club do reach a European slot it should help significantly with recruitment in the summer by making it a more attractive proposition to any incoming targets.

What do you think of the kits – let us know on our facebook page and join in on the conversation.

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Newcastle United Kit Idea - NUFC kits
Newcastle United Kit Idea - NUFC kits
Newcastle United Kit Idea - NUFC kits
NUFC Concept Kits Designs
NUFC Concept Kits Designs
Credit: NUFC kit concept – twitter


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Amazon filming Newcastle United for “All or Nothing” style documentary



Amazon Prime are currently filming behind-the-scenes footage at Newcastle United for a new documentary.

The docu-series will provide an insight into the club and its efforts to secure a top-four finish and a piece of silverware in the 2022-23 season.

Reports today revealed that camera crews have been filming a four-part documentary for their All or Nothing series. Sky Sports’ Keith Downie confirmed that the series will cover the club and the new owners as they attempt to qualify for the Champions League and win a trophy.

The All or Nothing series has previously documented other Premier League Clubs including Manchester City, Arsenal, and Spurs as well as the Brazilian national team, Juventus, and the All Blacks of rugby.

Newcastle face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final on February 26 at Wembley.

The Magpies have featured three times in Europe’s most prestigious competition.

Most recently in the 2003-04 season as they reached the third qualifying round, eventually losing on penalties to Serbian side FK Partizan.

The season before the Toon finished third in the 2002-03 Champions League group stages, winning twice against Bayer Leverkusen and drawing with Inter Milan 2-2 at the San Siro. The lineup that night; Given, Solano, O’Brien, Dyer, Shearer (C), Bellamy, Speed,  Griffin, Hughes, Dabizas and Viana.

The series is expected to air later this year and will be available on Amazon Prime.

Based on previous seasons, you can expect exclusive access to training sessions, team meetings and match days, giving fans an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes on a day-to-day basis at Newcastle United.

It is set to be an incredible storyline and one that should provide fans with some real insight into what it takes to compete at the top level of professional football.

What do you think Newcastle fans?

Does this excite you or do you stand more with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp who once said the cameras could be intrusive to the dressing room when he turned down the offer from Amazon In 2018?


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Newcastle target rejects Everton move following £45m bid.



Newcastle united - St James Park

Everton have made a £40million bid with £5m in add-ons to sign Connor Gallagher from Chelsea.

This comes after Newcastle completed the signing of Anthony Gordon, the club’s second most expensive transfer behind Alexander Isak.

Everton received an initial fee of £40m plus add-ons that could increase the deal to £45m.

The Toffees currently sit 19th in the Premier League and are looking to reinvest the money from the Gordon deal to sign much-needed players under newly appointed manager Sean Dyche. 

But, multiple sources have reported today that Gallagher is not actively pushing for a move and has no intention of going to Goodison Park. However, with Chelsea having met the record-breaking €120m release clause for World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez, Gallagher may be forced to leave the club if the transfer is complete.

This leaves Newcastle an option as the player would prefer a move to a top-six club.

This morning, Eddie Howe said, “We’ll see what we can do to try & bring a player in. There’s no guarantees. In terms of permanent signings, it will be very difficult. We’ll look at a potential loan. But it’s got to be the right player & not one for the sake of it”.

Due to financial fair play, the only way Newcastle could sign the player is through a loan, with an obligation to buy the player for at least £45m, the same price they paid for Anthony Gordon.

Gallagher has been playing regular Premier League football over the last two seasons. Since returning to his parent club Chelsea, the 22-year-old has been linked with a move away to numerous Premier League clubs.

Last season he was named Crystal Palace’s Player of the Season by their fans. He also won the Player of the Month award twice, Goal of the Month once, and was awarded the Young Player of Year at the 2022 London Football Awards.

In the same season, he made 36 appearances scoring eight goals and registering three assists that earned Palace a 12th-place finish, one point behind Newcastle.

Have Your Say!

Would you want Newcastle to sign Conor Gallagher?

Does he start?

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