Newcastle United 22/23: Halal the Lads* **

Joe D Reid

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* Yes, this pun relies on the Sunderland “Haway the lads” rather than the Newcastle “Howay the Lads”, but it’s a visual joke and I'm stuck with it.

**Offensive alternate thread title spoilered below

In profound contrast to the past few years, it seems like there may be NUFC news this summer (plus the last substantive post in last year’s thread will never be topped). So here we go with a 22/23 thread. When last we left them, Newcastle had spent 90M for five players in January:
  • Kieran Trippier ended up hurt nearly the whole time. He has two more years left on his contract and will be 32 next year. If healthy, he should still be an
  • Chris Wood did his best pre-2022 Joelinton impression and is probably gone in the summer.
  • Matt Targett was just a loan. Newcastle have a cheap (~10M) buy option but look like they will try to find someone better first.
  • Dan Burn played just about every minute after his arrival and the team defense improved almost immediately upon his arrival. He is signed for two more years as well, is from Newcastle originally, and seems like an excellent fit.
  • Bruno Guimaraes played hardly at all for the first month, seemingly because either he or Eddie Howe wanted to play him centrally, there is only one CM in Howe’s 4-3-3, and Captain Jonjo had that shot locked up. Then they changed their minds and he was the team’s best player down the stretch. A player who could actually win things.
They also fired Steve Bruce, brought in Eddie Howe, and almost immediately began to look like they had a plan. The formation change included a move for Joelinton from CF/LW to LM. Apparently they had been playing him out of position for three years, because he was great and won the team’s player of the year award.

And, yes, they got bought by a country (technically a county’s investment fund, but the same family owns and controls both the fund and most of the country, so close enough). My own feeling is that I supported Newcastle and opposed the Saudi royal family before the takeover, and will continue to support Newcastle and oppose the Saudi royal family after the takeover. The sportswashing only works if we actually change our opinion of them. But I reserve the right to change my mind if the money spent gets too gross or they keep doing shit like the proposed third shirt this year. My new club will be either Clapton FC or ASD Montalcino; I will create a poll if the time comes.

My expectation is that Newcastle will spend an amount slightly less than the more desperate of the Big 6 and end up top half next year. Whatever level they are trying to reach, it’s not a one-year journey to get there.

**
Newcastle United 22/23: The Premier League is a Meat Grinder
 

Dummy Hoy

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I don't envy the challenge before you guys as sports fans...it's frankly an unfair dilemma to ask people with a moral compass to choose to change their fandom (or not) based upon something as distant as ownership of your club. Especially when the issue isn't hw the ownership treats the club and fans.

I do disagree slightly with the idea that "sportswashing only works if we actually change our opinion of them." The idea to me is less of changing minds and more of a magician's trick of misdirection. Pretty hard to focus on the myriad of authoritarian abuses when you've got 11 men creating art of the highest level.

Good luck with your journey. I mean that sincerely.
 

Zososoxfan

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I still play in a pub league and we wear orange. So every so often I go to an online soccer shop and search discount jerseys by color. About 1-2 years ago I nabbed a NUFC orange alternate shirt and it's terrific. It gave me much satisfaction wearing it a couple weeks ago when they beat Arsenal.

Much like MANC, I don't have much of a problem separating the owners from the club. The on-field product at MANC is brilliant, and I hope NUFC gives us another club to make this league even more impressive and competitive.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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  • Kieran Trippier ended up hurt nearly the whole time. He has two more years left on his contract and will be 32 next year. If healthy, he should still be an
I like to imagine that this was initially a typo, but then you saw it and frankly it was not inaccurate, so you left it as is.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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In Lampards first PL game, Newcastle abused Everton 3-1 and it wasn’t that close. Trippier and ASM were both holy terrors. Even before any window additions a *healthy* Barcodes team, especially at home, is formidable.

Of course keeping those two fit is a challenge.
 

Blundatola

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Allan Saint-Maximin played more minutes than any other Newcastle player this past season. But, yes, he’s our most creative player, so keeping him fit is imperative.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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Allan Saint-Maximin played more minutes than any other Newcastle player this past season. But, yes, he’s our most creative player, so keeping him fit is imperative.
I'm very surprised to hear that. I thought that he had missed a lot of time.
 

Blundatola

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I'm very surprised to hear that. I thought that he had missed a lot of time.
He missed a good amount of time the prior season, which is maybe what you remember. He’s logged over 2,000 minutes four times in his career and hopefully he makes it five next season.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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Am I the only person uncomfortable with this thread title? Saudi ownership or not, referencing Islamic food laws in this context feels kinda icky.
I think it's fair to flag it. But then we ought next to consider whether it denigrates or stereotypes the people or group in question. "Haway the lads" is just "LFG" in English-English, so for me, looping in "Halal" as a mere reference to the ownership doesn't really feel like he's criticizing the religion or religious practice. I'll defer to the feelings of any Muslim here, of course, but at first glance I think it clears my bar.

Separate question, I suppose, as to whether it's witty or whimsical enough to be worth the bother.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Looks like a great hire for them if you look at his first 4 years at Atlanta. More questionable if you look at the last 3.
 

Joe D Reid

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Well, we're about to get the new season underway, so might as well update the transfers which have been resolutely unsplashy to date. NUFC brought in:

- GK Nick Pope from Burnley (10M)
- CB Sven Botman from Lille (~32M)

That's the list--one new outfield player and a replacement for Dubravka, who I didn't think was all that bad these past few years. (Contrary to my prediction above, they also made Matt Targett's move permanent for a small fee, but he's been on the squad since January so he's not a new face.) Botman seems like a good move--looks like he'll get capped for the Dutch national team soon, and that's a good price for a 22 y/o international with starting experience in Ligue Un. No new strikers, which is surprising given Callum Wilson's age and injury history. No attacking players at all, in fact, although they are still in on James Maddison.

So, assuming Howe stays with a 4-3-3 I think we are looking at:

Pope

Trippier-Lascelles-Botman-Targett

Willock-Guimaraes-Joelinton

Fraser-Wilson-ASM

Maybe Burn plays over Lascelles, maybe Jonjo plays over Willock because they trust the pace of Fraser and Trippier to cover the entire right side. I would characterize that XI as on the good side of fine. But Chris Wood is another year older and still the backup CF, so the midfielders and wide players better score some goals. The Guardian projected them for 7th place; that seems a little optimistic to me unless you really think that Howe is materially better than the average PL manager rather than just materially better than Steve Bruce.

tl;dr: Consolidation year.
 
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PedroSpecialK

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Seems like a year to also bank increased revenues and drive the FFP cap higher for next summer, given the outlays in January. I think it's prudent and they're well positioned to stay up, with Europe + aspirations coming shortly after.

And hey let's face it, the money pit is basically bottomless but LIV hasn't been cheap.