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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.

gary-neville-3317582.jpg

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.

alan-pardew-image-6-233987530.jpg

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".


Here we are again then, lots of questions, not many answers and nobody prepared to come forward and answer them on behalf of Newcastle United's incredible fanbase.

Put aside some of Joe Kinnear's unendorsed interviews about how the club is supposed to be moving forward and United supporters have been left with precious little when it comes to guidance on just where the club is heading next season.

The frustration amongst fans is clear for all to see for everybody in the city but the silence is far from golden.

Alan Shearer called Kinnear-gate a "PR disaster" while Rob Lee stated today in the Chronicle that it was impossible for players to know where they stand if they aren't allowed to speak to the manager before signing.


The departure of James Perch probably wouldn't have caused any type of uproar two summers ago when the utility man was sent to play for the reserves during their tour of Holland.

Shortly afterwards United's reserve team chief Peter Beardsley said that rather than sulking or moping around the place and feeling second team life was beneath him, Perch had been the consummate professional.

perchy.jpg

Some players in football won't even entertain the idea of the reserve team but here Perch was working harder than any of the younger players in training and setting the example.


We are told that Derek Llambias' exit from the corridors of power at St James' Park comes after a disagreement over exactly how Newcastle United's new set-up is going to pan out.

And whatever people think of Joe Kinnear's interview on Talksport this week the former Wimbledon boss was anything but kind when talking about United's departing managing director.

We've had just a few scraps of official statements from United this week and they managed to contradict each other.


Joe Kinnear's appointment as Newcastle United's director of football was described by many as a shock.

But given Mike Ashley's track record with making big decisions since taking over the club this should not be a surprise.

After all this is Newcastle United we are talking about.


KEVIN KEEGAN has suggested that Newcastle United will never be the same club while Mike Ashley is in charge.

In a powerful interview with Sky Sports he told cricketing legend Steve Harmison that his second stint as boss was a "living nightmare".

Profile

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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