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Nile Ranger is one of football's regulars in the game's Last Chance Saloon.

And having blown chance after chance at Newcastle United before being shown the door when patience finally cracked at the club's Benton base, Ranger - incredibly - has been handed yet another opportunity to sort his life out, this time at Swindon Town.

Let's judge Ranger the footballer first.

Certainly when making his way through the reserve team and youth ranks he looked like he was going to break through in a similar manner to Andy Carroll.

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Sir Bobby Robson always did have time for both young and old.

So when masses of fans of all ages turned up to pay tribute at the Sir Bobby statue just outside the Gallowgate End ahead of the United v Braga friendly game it was a fitting turn out for the Geordie Godfather of football.

Fittingly on the FA's Bobby Robson National Football Day they turned up in great numbers and a newly married couple even turned up to show their appreciation!

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It took Papiss Cisse just minutes to prove anybody who doubted his fitness completely wrong last night at St Mirren.

Cisse may have spent a stint training alone this summer due to the dispute over whether he will wear Wonga or not this season.

But those who know the striker will not have been surpised by his explosive re-introduction to Alan Pardew's team against the Paisley club.


There were some nice words from José Mourinho on Newcastle United star Davide Santon today.

When Santon broke through the ranks at Inter Milan, Mourinho described the defender as "a phenomenon" but the pair ended up taking different paths in football.

Since then Santon has became a big part of life at Newcastle.

As his big interview with the Chronicle during the club's tour of Portugal showed the left-back loves life at Newcastle and with his family settled in the area, he has shown no signs of quitting for a return to Serie A.

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Yoan Gouffran comes across as one of the more quiet Newcastle United players in Alan Pardew's Toon squad - but the amount of work he gets through for his team certainly doesn't go unnoticed.

The forward was a shrewd signing by the Magpies in January when they snapped up the 27-year-old from Bordeaux for a knockdown fee of just over £1million.

Gouffran wasn't signed to play as a central striker but that doesn't mean he isn't capable of doing a job in that position, in fact he has actually stated he'd love a crack at leading the line.

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NEWCASTLE UNITED trained in cool temperatures in cloudy Braga today on day three of their pre-season boot camp.

The Magpies have been putting plenty of emphasis into closing down opposition and working in tight areas of the pitch.

Just a pre-season friendly?

By Lee Ryder on Jul 17, 13 11:31 AM


It's a saying that gets dusted down every summer without fail.

And no matter if it's a win, a loss or a draw for Newcastle United - its one that quickly gathers momentum.

It was back with his with bells on as the Magpies ran out 4-2 winners against Motherwell and as the goals flew in the term: "It's only a pre-season friendly" promptly followed.

But is it?

paul-5117177.jpg

Just a pre-season friendly?

By Lee Ryder on Jul 17, 13 11:31 AM


It's a saying that gets dusted down every summer without fail.

And no matter if it's a win, a loss or a draw for Newcastle United - its one that quickly gathers momentum.

It was back with his with bells on as the Magpies ran out 4-2 winners against Motherwell and as the goals flew in the term: "It's only a pre-season friendly" promptly followed.

But is it?

paul-5117177.jpg


In the end then there was probably no surprise for Newcastle United fans that their opening game of the season was switched to a Monday night.

It all means either an evening with Gary Neville for the majority of fans while a couple of thousand will need to have to find some time off in order to get the fixture at Eastlands against Manchester City.

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Alan Pardew has already stated he doesn't fear Man City but a fixture that poses a difficult test will now be beamed out to live TV audience while other clubs and fans can put their feet up and see exactly what both teams have to offer.


Alan Pardew's return to pre-season training and subsequent string of interviews to the local media has at least shed some light on where everybody stands in the new set-up at Newcastle United.

And if everybody sticks to their assigned role and in an ideal world (if anybody knows where that is please drop me a line) there SHOULD be no reason for any mass hysteria.

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But we all know this is Newcastle United we are talking about and even during the great times it never seems straightforward.

The early reception of Pardew's summer comments have received mixed reviews, some fans are just glad he is back on the radar and is voice of Newcastle United again rather than Joe Kinnear while others have thrown caution to the wind with respected fan website www.nufc.com suggesting the Toon manager's comments are "cocky".

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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