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Predicted Newcastle Starting XI: Following the January Transfer Window

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The first transfer window with Newcastle’s newfound wealth is nearly up and as expected there are changes to the team. Early additions to the team saw Kieran Tripper join from Atletico Madrid and Chris Wood from Burnley respectively. The rumours have been circulating for months on the potential signings as Newcastle are ranked now as the richest club in the world.

The January window is notoriously a difficult window to begin with, however the club is still working towards getting deals over the line to help bolsters the Magpies chance of Premier League survival.

Whether or not the deals go through, that is yet to be seen however, we are going to look at how Newcastle could line up if the rumoured signings are made by the end of the window as Eddie Howe looks to rebuild under Newcastle’s Saudi-led regime.

Martin Dúbravka:

The Slovakian joined Newcastle in 2018, making an immediate impact and becoming a favourite amongst fans. Since then, he has been in and out of the team with injuries however under Howe he has established himself as first choice goalkeeper. Dúbravka, has made some crucial saves for Newcastle and will certainly be an important player on the run up to the end of the season.

Kieran Tripper:

The first signing of the new era at Newcastle United, brought in from Atletico Madrid for 12.5 million. The former Tottenham and Burnley defender made the move to Spain in 2019 and won the league title in his tenure there, a player who Diego Simeone changed his formation to accommodate Trippier due to his attacking traits.

Trippiers crossing ability is rated highly as well as his attacking style of play something that Newcastle need desperately as they look to score more goals as they aim for Premier League Survival.

Dan Burn:

The Brighton defender is originally from Blyth, so a homecoming of sorts is potentially on the cards for the 6’4 defender. He’s played left back effectively for Brighton over the last two seasons however his height and ball playing abilities will bolster the Newcastle defence.

James Tarkowski:

The Burnley centre-half is currently in the last 6 months of his deal leaving Burnley is a situation in which they can face losing him for free at the end of the season or they can attempt to cash in on him in the January transfer window. Tarkowski has played in the premier league for several years and will certainly offer Newcastle a different option at the back however the situation is in Burnley’s control.

Mitchel Bakker:

An impressive CV already for the full back already playing for Ajax, PSG and now Bayer Leverkusen which has led to the interest from Eddie Howe to bring in the aggressive attacking full back, something that would help carry the ball further up the pitch for the team. The dutchman could be a starter in Howe’s team for years to come.

Bruno Guimarães:

In a deal that’s been rumoured for a few days now, it all seems eventually close to being complete.  Guimarães, currently plays for Lyon but is seemingly on his way to Tyneside in excess of 33 million and add-ons. The Midfielder is also a Brazilian international and will already have links to Joelinton, who we can see link up in the middle of the park.

On average, Guimarães covers around 13.5km per game, which will add an extra intensity to the midfield and the team overall as Newcastle look to push on in their efforts to survive the drop.

Joelinton

The 40-million-pound man hadn’t had the best first few years of Tyneside under Steve Bruce, failing to score goals and to make an impact. The attributes of Joelintons game such as his physicality have always been there. With Howe’s arrival, Joelinton looks transformed in his new box-to-box role seeing bits of flair, fantastic technique and getting himself in more goal scoring positions. For sure, a fan favourite.

Ryan Fraser:

The Scottish International is no stranger to Eddie Howe, the pair enjoyed success at Bournemouth a few years ago. As the pandemic started, Fraser didn’t sign a short extension and left Bournemouth while they were fighting for Premier League survival. When Howe took the reigns at Newcastle in November, Fraser’s future was immediately cast into doubt. Since then, Fraser has featured in most starting XI’s and has proved to be one of the hardest workers in the team, something Newcastle need in their attempt to fight the drop.

Jonjo Shelvey:

A player who in his time with Newcastle has divided opinions in his time at the club but is one of the most talented players in the current Newcastle squad. Since Eddie Howe’s arrival, Shelvey has looked like a different player, covering more ground, defending more, and providing goals for the team. As it stands, Shelvey has 18 months left on his current deal and will certainly continue to make his mark on his place in the starting XI.

Allan Saint-Maximin:

He is Newcastle’s entertainer, the energetic winger is a fan favourite on Tyneside. Whenever he gets the ball, there is gasp in the stadium as there is excitement amongst the crowd on what they will see. With improvements in the team, it can only boost ASM.

Chris Wood:

Signed from relegation rivals Burnley for 25 million, the New Zealand international has been involved in Newcastle’s last two fixtures against Watford and Leeds, making his presence known up the top of the pitch. With the service off the wide players such as ASM and Fraser, the goals should start coming for Wood.

 

What do you think? What would you change? & who would you like to bring in?

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Metro penalty fare rise from £20 to £100 supported by public, Nexus survey finds

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The penalty for fare evasion on the Tyne and Wear Metro has now increased to £100, with commuters largely supporting the change.

But despite the steep increase in the penalty fee, a survey conducted by Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, found that 72% of people supported the increase. And 88% of people surveyed said that other passengers were the ones who were the real victims of ticketless Metro travel.

The survey, conducted through Nexus’ customer insight panel revealed that respondents regard fared evasion as seriously as handling stolen goods, tax evasion or weighing a cheaper item at a self-serve check-out.

It increased penalty fare comes after The Department for Transport (DfT) decided to raise the penalty for rail fare evasion in England and Wales as part of a new effort to crackdown on fare evasion across Britain’s railways. Metro is part of the Government’s national penalty fare regime, so it is included in the change.

Fare evasion on Metro costs Nexus £1m a year in lost revenue on what is a vital public service which does not make any profit.

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “The penalty for fare evasion on Metro has gone up to £100 from today and this is something that the overwhelming majority of our customers support.

“This is the first change since 2005 and reflects feedback from customers who want to see a strong deterrent against fraud. Anyone who is issued with a £100 penalty fare will pay £50 if it is paid with 21 days of it being issued.

“The Government consulted the whole rail industry and Nexus was among those keen to see an increase. Our customers tell us they want tougher penalties for those who decide not to pay their fare.

“The simple message for Metro customers is to buy a ticket every time you travel, that is a lot more affordable than risking the £100 fine.

“It’s never been easier to pay for Metro travel with a Pop Pay As You Go card and Android’s Google Pay. One in four customers are now accessing Metro this way and getting the lowest fares we have on offer.”

The penalty for Metro fare evasion, which is always set by the Government, has been £20 since May 2005.

If paid within 21 days, however, the £100 penalty is reduced to £50. But anyone who fails to pay the penalty fare will be taken to court, where a conviction results in much steeper fines.

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‘Sex party’ in Newcastle cathedral under investigation by Vatican

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St Mary’s Cathedral Newcastle upon Tyne

Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral alleged to have invited worshippers to his living quarters during lockdown.

The Vatican is investigating rumours of a “sex party” at a British cathedral which is alleged to have happened during lockdown.

As part of an investigation into the circumstances of Robert Byrne’s resignation as the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the Catholic church is looking into claims one of his priests invited worshippers to a private party at his lodgings.

Multiple people are said to have complained that Father Michael McCoy, dean of Newcastle Cathedral, approached them to attend a party at a time when gatherings were not permitted.

A diocese source told the Sunday Times said: “A number of complaints were made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters attached to Newcastle Cathedral.”

McCoy, 57, killed himself in April 2021 four days after finding out he was subject to an investigation by Northumbria police’s child and adult protection department for child sexual abuse.

He had been appointed by Byrne in 2019, replacing the popular Father Dermott Donnelly, the older brother of TV presenter Declan Donnelly. Father Donnelly has since died after an illness in July 2022.

While there is no suggestion Byrne attended the party, he resigned as bishop in December, telling worshippers his office “has become too great a burden”.

In a letter to clergy, which he read in St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle, he said: “My own discernment has caused me to recognise that I now feel unable to continue serving the people of the diocese in the way that I would wish.”

He was appointed in 2019, after previously serving as an auxiliary in the archdiocese of Birmingham and as provost of the Oxford Oratory from 1993 to 2011.

In a letter seen by the Sunday Times, the archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon who is running the diocese until Byrne’s successor is appointed and is leading the investigation into his resignation, said he has been asked by the pope’s advisers to prepare “an in-depth report into the events leading up to Bishop Byrne’s resignation”.

The Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) last week began an “unscheduled safeguarding audit” at the diocese.

Steve Ashley, the CSSA chief executive officer said the body was independent and had “full autonomy”. He said: “The scope of the investigatory work will cover any reported abuses, alleged abuses, safeguarding concerns and the culture of safeguarding in the diocese as a whole.”

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Entertainment

ITV to Launch Love Island For Middle-Aged Single Parents

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Casting is open for the dating show, in which contestants will be nominated by their adult children

ITV has begun casting for a dating show for single parents. The contestants on The Romance Retreat will be nominated by their adult children to search for love at a Love Island-style villa.

“This is the only dating show where single parents can search for love, by spending time in a luxury retreat, where all the parents have been nominated by their grownup children,” reads the casting call.

A take on Love Island, which is a hit among gen Z viewers, for older contestants has been rumoured for months. In January, Davina McCall told Stephen Bartlett’s podcast, The Diary of a CEO, that she had pitched the idea to ITV.

“I could fill a villa in Love Island with middle-aged people with the best back stories you have ever heard in your life,” she said.

“They’ve lived a life – they’re widows, they’re people who have been through horrific divorces. They are people who have split up with somebody and decided they want to try going out with somebody the same sex as them. They’re like interesting people. I’d watch that show.”

According to the presenter, ITV responded to her request to host a show of that style with: “We’re looking at something else that’s quite similar, we might consider you for that”.

The current series of Love Island began on Monday, with a stricter set of rules in place to protect contestants’ wellbeing. Participants’ social media accounts must now remain unused while they are in the villa, rather than be operated on their behalf. It follows contestants’ families – who often run their accounts during the show – appealing for kinder comments from viewers.

This is the first series to be hosted by Maya Jama, after Laura Whitmore stepped down in August.

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