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My ideal 19 other clubs to have in the Premier League with Newcastle United

My ideal 19 other clubs to have in the Premier League with Newcastle United

Now we are in between seasons, we wanted to get a Newcastle United fans snapshot of opinion.

The idea is to get a range of views of what various Mag writers (Newcastle United fans) think about what has happened and the current position.

Then most importantly, what is going to happen at Newcastle United moving forward.

So we have sent various regular and irregular contributors sets of questions, including some the same as others, some different.

Next up we have Mark Jankowski:

If you could have a totally free choice, which 19 other clubs would you like to have in the Premier League with Newcastle United?

I mean, there’s a few ways of answering this one.

Do I go for clubs I quite like, or should I pick the ones I hate, so the games have more spice?

Alternatively, should we just have 19 teams from the conference so we finally win something?

After a bit of deliberation I’ll go with, what I perceive to be, the biggest 19 teams, as lets be honest, St James’ Park is always a fraction more intense when the away end is full and bigger grounds to visit means I’m more likely to get a ticket!

Also, Watford sneak in because Vicarage Road was where I first watched Newcastle United in 1991 and it’s still one of my favourite away days.

Newcastle United
Aston Villa
Derby County
Ipswich Town
Leicester City
Manchester City
Manchester United
Nottingham Forest
Sheffield United
Sheffield Wednesday
Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United
Wolverhampton Wanderers
The Mackems (I tried to leave them out, but, I have to be fair)

Three words to describe Newcastle United now?

At a crossroads

To elaborate on these, we are at a moment where if we make the right decisions I believe we have the potential to shake up the establishment and insert ourselves as one of the Premier League’s true elite teams.

If we get those decisions wrong we’ll end up stuck in amongst the also rans for the next four or five years, scrapping about with the West Hams and Crystal Palaces of the world for the occasional cup run.

A must win game and the whole current squad fit (and not banned) and available, which 11 would you select?

Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Hall; Tonali, Bruno, Joelinton; Almiron, Isak, Gordon

Your thoughts on each of the signings made in 2023 and how you see their role (if any), their importance (or not) for the 2024/25 season – Gordon, Minteh, Livramento, Hall, Tonali, Barnes

Gordon – He’s been exceptional this season and has become one of our undoubted stars.

After watching his interview with Gary Neville (if you haven’t seen it stop reading and go and watch it now) I’m backing AG to get even better next year!

The guy has a singular drive to be the best he can be, which rubbed the Everton fans the wrong way when he realised he couldn’t do that at Goodison.

Anthony Gordon Alexander Isak Newcastle

I suspect that he’ll probably feel the same way here if we can’t kick on again next season but with the levels he’s been producing that shouldn’t be a problem.

Livramento – Tino has had a solid first season in the black and white and I see him primarily as Trippier’s back up for another season, although he may well feature more often than not as Tripps isn’t getting any younger!

Tino’s initial stellar performances faded off a little towards the end of the season, the game against Brighton he looked well off the pace. However, he produced several times in the biggest games so I’m sure consistency will follow with experience.

Hall – After a very slow start Lewis Hall finally got his run in the team at the end of the season and looked like he belonged. He was close to man of the match in several appearances and I think he’s got every chance to make the LB position his own next season.

Barnes – What a frustrating year for Harvey Barnes.

A freak toe injury was one of the few negatives from the day we thumped Sheffield United 8-0.

He’s a very different player to the man he replaced in Allan Saint-Maximin, he’s not going to create the same kind of chaos and chances that the mercurial Frenchman did, but what he does bring is end product in front of goal.

Despite only starting seven Premier League games he bagged five goals at an average of one every 159 minutes, matching the most ASM ever managed in his four years. I think he’s going to be an important cog in the wheel next year, either starting, or off the bench.

Tonali – I couldn’t believe it when the news broke about Sandro being under investigation for gambling offences. The lad was destined to be one of our most important signings last season.

What I’ve seen and heard about him since his ban has only convinced me that he is going to be back with a vengeance next season. This isn’t an average player we’ve been missing for the past several months, Tonali is a Serie A winner, Champions Leage semi-finalist and future Italy captain.

He’s used his suspension well as far as I can tell, getting help for his gambling issues, learning English and embedding himself in the squad. I’m calling this early but Tonali will be our player of the season next year,

Minteh – A signing for the future, which was confirmed when we quickly loaned him out.

I kept a fleeting eye on his performances across the seas and unlike Garang Kuol, Minteh improved massively as the season wore on. His future is possibly one of the most uncertain here, he could benefit from another loan spell to further develop his potential, alternatively he may be effective as a back-up option for the RW we so desperately need to sign.

However, some press reports over the weekend linked him with a move to Liverpool for as much as £40 million. I think if an offer that large came in for him you’d have to accept, as it would ease any lingering concerns about the club’s ability to spend in the window and secure players who are already top level, rather than one who might be. Either way, Minteh might end up having a massive impact on our season.

Hand on heart, where do you think Newcastle will finish in the 2024/25 Premier League?

Provided we keep hold of our best players (which I think we will), 3rd

The three most improved NUFC players as we look forward to the 2024/25 season?

Lewis Hall; He made only fleeting appearances with varying degrees of success over much of last season but the last several games he really began to step up and looked like the player we all hoped we were signing.

If he continues the trajectory he was on I think he could be an automatic name on the team sheet this time next year.

Anthony Gordon; I think I was in the minority when it came to my belief that Anthony Gordon would take a big step forward in his first full season.

He’s done exactly what I thought he would do and kicked on to a whole new level over the last year. The scary thing is I think he’s still getting better.

Jamaal Lascelles; A bit left field this one especially as he’s nearing the end of his Newcastle career but I though Lascelles’ play on the ball came on leaps and bounds this year.

He’s always been a vocal leader at the back and few players have given more for the black and whites over the past decade but he’s been more than dependable when he’s played this season, if he can bounce back from the knee injury quickly I’m sure he’ll have a key part to play next season.

The current NUFC player that you have been proved most wrong about?

Jamal Lascelles. The guy has given everything for the club over what is nearly a decade now but, given how effective our defence was last season without him, I thought we’d left him behind as we stepped into the Champions League this year.

So, when Lascelles had to play against the world’s best attacker in Kylian Mbappe at St James’ back in October, I was more than a little bit worried. What we got was probably one of his best performances in a black and white shirt. He caused mayhem in the PSG box in the build-up to Dan Burn’s goal and nullified PSG’s attacking threat with his superior strength.

He produced several big displays in the games that followed, contributing at both ends of the pitch, and had it not been for the knee injury sustained against West Ham, I’d feel a lot more relaxed about our defensive depth heading into next season. Our captain showed me this season that I was wrong and there’s still a bit left for him to give.

Is it still a Premier League big six, or is it seven (incl NUFC), or is it an eight (incl NUFC and Villa)?

If you are looking at finances then unfortunately it is still a “big six”.

I think if you look at the quality of the performances though, the so called big six, Aston Villa and Newcastle United are now a level above the rest of the league.

The challenge us and Villa have now is being able to sustain/build on what we have achieved over the past two years. If either of us get that right then the financial gap will lessen and we can start dreaming of regular challenges for silverware.

Newcastle Fans Aston Villa

What do you think should happen with VAR, what changes or get rid of altogether?

I wrote about VAR this season and I honestly couldn’t face going back to a world without it.

That being said it is so poorly utilised at the moment, especially in the Premier League. We need to learn how other sports use video technology and streamline how we go about it. There’s too much to go over in this format so I’ll have to get writing again to explain how it should be done!

Press a magic button and have a 62,000 capacity enlarged St James’ Park in place, or a brand new 80,000 capacity stadium just up the road at Castle Leazes?

Staying at St James’ will always be my preferred option.

I’m not completely against moving but it would be a last resort for me despite how incredible some of the new modern stadiums are.

Liverpool have shown that it is possible to redevelop your stadium and retain its soul, although we’d want better builders doing SJP after suffering the Anfield waterfall on my head from their leaky roof.

Going one further, Real Madrid’s updates to the Bernabeu show that it is possible to transform a historic stadium into one of the world’s most advanced.

Obviously, to follow Madrid’s example is unlikely, the cost and geographical limitations of doing the same at St James’ is prohibitive but the option is there.

Next three seasons, would you rather finish top four all three seasons BUT win nothing, or finish mid-table all three seasons AND win the League Cup in one of the three?

It might be controversial but I’m going with the consecutive top four option.

We’ve waited this long for a trophy, a few more years won’t kill us. The sustained commercial growth of consecutive top four finishes would unlock plenty of spending for the owners, meaning we’d be challenging for the league, not just a cup (I’d still take a cup though!).

Newcastle United Surfer Flag Wembley

With the summer business you are anticipating, what could NUFC be capable of next season?

Honestly, I think top four has to be the target.

I have a slight concern that Bruno may depart and we’d have to replace a massive hole in the squad. If he does leave it will only be to Man City or Real Madrid and I think we could demand a King’s ransom for him, which would at least allow us to target a top level replacement, but then you are relying on someone to hit the ground running.

I’m also probably more devastated than I should be that we lost out on Tosin, as now we are faced with using a significant chunk of funds on Schar’s long-term successor.

That being said there are a couple of creative options we could utilise and if we can sign a GK (back up for Pope), CB, RW and maybe a striker (depending on what happens with Wilson), then with no European football we have to be top four.

I do think Eddie Howe will fall under significant pressure if we are not in the top four come November but I have faith that he can deliver.

Would you like to draw Sunderland again in one of the cups this coming season?

Absolutely. I could happily live the rest of my days with Sunderland trapped in the lower leagues and us giving them the occasional spanking in a cup.

Scale of 1-10, how interested in England at the Euros?

In terms of interest 10, in terms of expectation probably a 7.

I’m pleasantly surprised Southgate has taken a few risks with the squad but I can’t for the life of me fathom how Fikayo Tomori isn’t in the squad. He’d be an automatic starter for me as defensively England look vulnerable. Milan haven’t had the best season but in all the games I watched Newcastle play this season, Tomori was easily the best CB we came up against.

Scale of 1-10, how interested in the Euros generally?

10. I love an international tournament over the summer. I wasn’t a fan of the winter World Cup, lets hope that idea is consigned to the history books.

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