The Newcastle United pre-season is all but gone.
We are asking various regular / irregular Mag writers a number of questions ahead of this 2022/23 Premier League season,
The idea to get a wide range of views ahead of this Newcastle United campaign.
A snapshot of what various fans are thinking about, what might lie ahead of us all…as well as reflecting on various other NUFC issues.
Next up we have Ben Cooper answering a few…
What is the minimum capacity Newcastle United need moving forward and what is the ideal capacity for the future?
52k is the minimum. If the East Stand could be developed, then it should be, so that it matches either of the heights of the other stands. That would take the capacity to something like 58k to 65k? The club should think long and hard about redeveloping the Gallowgate. If it can be done without losing the noise which that stand generates then I would grudgingly accept it.
Personally, I would protect the atmosphere above the capacity, so I would leave the Gallowgate alone. It is absolutely banging at the minute in there.
If that minimum can’t be achieved at St James’ Park, are you in favour of building a new stadium on another site?
If the ground can’t be redeveloped then it is fine as it is. The lost revenue is negligible compared to a bit of creative Man City style accounting. Hard on the fans who can’t attend at the minute, I understand that, but SJP is the club’s home and always should be. It is unique, iconic and magical. Most of the time.
If somebody asks you whether you are concerned about having Saudi Arabian ownership, what is your reply?
Football fans don’t generally ask that question. They, like us, are aware that there is nothing we can do about who owns the club. We would all probably love to have a club owned by someone magical, Sir David Attenborough, Kevin Keegan or Dave Grohl, all unlikely, or for it to be a fan-based model.
On a sliding scale of ownership, the Saudi Arabian Royal Family would come pretty close to the bottom of my list of favoured prospective custodians. I am completely against it but as the Rudyard Kipling poem goes, If …..
So it is all just background noise and I have continued my 3pm till 5pm relationship with the club that was born out of Hall, Shepherd and the Fake Sheikh and continued under Ashley. At least now we have a real Sheikh I suppose.
Not long until the Premier League season kicks off, how happy are you with where Newcastle are currently at ahead of the season?
I haven’t really been following the off-field improvement but I have noted that there are people in place at the club whose reputation suggests that they know what they are doing. The players signed will improve the team, the players who have left will not be missed. On the face it, all good.
What do you predict Eddie Howe’s team to be against Nottingham Forest?
Only the centre half pairing and the goalkeeping position will be in doubt. With Shelvey injured, the rest picks itself.
I would be very surprised if Pope doesn’t play because he’ll need to be number one for the oncoming world cup and probably will have already had that conversation with NUFC. I would also find it difficult to believe that Burn won’t play given how brilliant he was last season and spending £35million on Burn Junior and not playing him would be as bizarre as it sounds. Hard on Dubravka and Schar. Howe may decide to give them the first few games as the others settle in but by the end of September, I would expect Botman and Pope to be playing.
What is the fairest way to sell season tickets, who, if anybody, should get priority?
No idea. I got my first season ticket in 1982 (glory hunter). I have attended hundreds of away games and when I have lived in Newcastle I have had a season ticket. That would be about thirty of those forty years. I have got one loyalty point. I don’t attend away matches regularly now and can never get tickets for the away games I want to go too on my own account, continuing the cycle. It’s just the way it is. There is no fair way to do any of it across the board. Someone somewhere will always lose out unfairly. And not be shy to tell everyone about it.
Nick Pope or Martin Dubravka?
Whichever one is in the best form.
Hopefully we will be playing fifty games this season and they can have plenty of action each, the same way the outfield players do. I like Dubravka though, I mostly see him as a positive. Last season there was a game, Liverpool I think, and he was constantly booting the ball over the halfway line to JL on the wing – 7/8 times out of 10 it got there, only 1 out of 10 was way off. People around me were moaning about his distribution. Hilarious. Most of the outfield players couldn’t make that pass 9 times out of 10. Titus Bramble couldn’t do it twice in a game, not for the want of trying.
Howay The Lads.