Newcastle fans, time to boycott the club for good

Joe Williams
Rafa Benitez Newcastle United

Send your thoughts to…


Rafa, Newcastle and feeling for the fans
So it is official, Rafa Benitez wont be having his contract renewed by Newcastle, well, by Mike Ashley, surely he has to be one of the worst owners of a Premier League club in recent memories, I truly feel for fans of the club, they have gone from rumours that he was finally going to sell the club to a very wealthy owner, talk of Mbappe, okay maybe the Mbappe talk was just fun gossip but it gave such hope to everyone of what could be, Rafa has performed miracles with that club with such lack of investment, without him you would assume they are now one of the favourites for the drop next season.
Mikey, CFC


My deepest sympathies to the Newcastle fans reading f365. Mike Ashley truly is the most spiteful, incompetent owner in football.
Dan, Plastic LFC


Hi Mailbox,

I am sure you will have a lot of e-mails about Rafa Benitez leaving Newcastle. I want to give an idea for a Liveprool fan who was living in Newcastle for three years.

When I arrived in the city, I quickly realised how big of a club Newcastle United is. The stadium and the crowd speak for themselves. But also look at how the city breathes Newcastle, every single person in the Grainger Market and even in the lecture hall of Newcastle University are so so passionate with the club. I remember my lecturer put a ‘motivational’ slide by posting Moussa Sissoko’s debut goal against Chelsea. I cannot really help to have a soft spot for Newcastle.

I was sad when Newcastle relegated, hired Alan Pardew and John Carver, and got thumped by Sunderland for 5 times in a row. But the news of Rafa leaving the club is by far the saddest one. Newcastle fans do not deserve this from Mike Ashley. Newcastle (and Mike Ashley) were so lucky to be able to hire Rafa for three years (a bloody Champions League winning manager in a Championship, for God sake!) and to somehow save Newcastle from relegation. Let’s not kid ourselves, Newcastle squad is a joke. It’s a testament that Rafa can somehow finish comfortably above the relegation zone.

As an owner, the least that Mike could do was to make sure he hired the best manager. He had one in Rafa, undoubtedly. Rafa ‘gets’ Newcastle supporters. I am just lost for words. The fans, the city, and the club don’t deserve this. For sure, Rafa what a gentleman he is does not deserve Mike Ashley.

Newcastle fans, time to boycott the club for good. Thank you Rafa. As a self-identifying Geordie, I am mourning.
Vincentius, formerly in Newcastle-upon-Tyne


More from Planet Sport: England v Australia: All you need to know

Wimbledon 2019: When is it, who are the defending champions, TV channels, prize money

Lap it up
Afternoon all

It’s been a while since I last wrote to you; a long mail suggesting solutions to the indiscipline in the men’s game that was published in the mailbox but  swallowed up by Martin O’Neill’s shock resignation as Villa manager (yes that long ago).

I suggested football follows basketball’s system of awarding personal fouls against players for a variety of infringements and, when a figure is reached e.g. 6 or 10, the player must then leave the field of play but can be replaced by another if there are unused substitutions. Problem is it would require more officials/extra scoreboard of offences etc etc so pretty much unworkable.

Then the other day I had a brief moment of clarity when casting my mind back to what happened in my playing days. If you were gobby then, or kept fouling or even just forgot to bring your kit, the PE teacher would make you do a number of laps around the pitch. Perfect. Can you imagine the sheer joy of seeing serial gobshites like Azpilicueta or Fernandinho or Henderson, all players constantly in the face of the referees, being ordered to the touchline (blue card?) where the 4th official would send them off to jog/sprint/sulk their way around a pitch for several laps? If more than one player from a team surrounded the ref they do their laps in relay rather than together. Awesome.

Look I know it’s not practical at most grounds as there simply isn’t room to keep a player safe as he jogs past opposition fans behind one of the goals. Although no problem at West Ham with their running track. Maybe they could trial it.
Red Mist RFC


VAR…something had to be done
After all the VAR talk/pros & cons I think everyone agrees something had to be done and that’s why it was introduced.Not a weekend went by without some manager blaming the officials for a defeat but Hughes and Mourinho were on another level.Hughes would lose 4-0 & pass the buck onto the officials and Mourinho is just Mourinho…a classless twat.All managers were at it but Hughes and Mourinho were on another level.

The abuse given to refs by players is an utter disgrace and it would be so easy to get rid of it by the authorities.
As one of the earlier emails mentioned,just copy and paste the rugby union rules.It should also be against the rules for managers to comment on refereeing decisions in post game interviews,if you do you get deducted points,simple as.

The issue needs to be sorted from kids up,instill a culture of respect for officials.It is clearly a culture in football to berate,intimidate and have no respect for officials.
I always remember Ray Wilkins was doing commentary on a Chelsea game & John Terry was shouting awful abuse at the official in charge.Wilkins tittered and said “I know how the ref feels,when I coached at Chelsea I refereed many an internal training match and he never let up,never agreed with my decision” to which Martin Tyler laughed loudly in a “proper football man” kind of way.

When you break it down that was a twenty something man shouting abuse at a fifty something man over decisions in a nothing game.
That sums up the utter gutter rat attitude in football for officials and VAR is just the beginning of what needs to be a root and branch review of the treatment of officials.


I can’t wait for VAR to come into the Premier League.  What I’m particularly looking forward to is the conspiracy theories, when fans of “Big Club A” discover that the company that makes the technology owned shares in “Big Club B”, 15 years ago.  It’s going to be great.
Matthew, Belfast


“I just hate… the general public…” Those infamous words uttered by Alan Partridge when Lynn asks who’s upset him this time?

And that’s me when I look at the controversy around VAR. It doesn’t bother me footballers complain, they are in the heat of the battle and complain about basically everything given against their team, its everyone else that annoys me.

Let’s just summarise for a moment what happened in the game. England lead 1-0 and score a second that is ruled out for offside. It gets correctly reviewed by VAR, its 100% clear the player is onside and the goal is given. Yes, the opposition players go in to meltdown. Yes the faffing about was annoying, but ultimately in a World Cup knockout game the correct decision was made at a pivotal time. Just so everyone is clear on what should be hideously obvious. THAT IS A GOOD THING. Then as if to reiterate how important the technology is, Cameroon score an offside goal. It’s correctly reviewed, the correct decision is made and the goal, after initially being given, is ruled out. Again we have the tomfoolery, Cameroon’s players do themselves no favours, everyone watching feels bad for them, but again, the correct decision was made which IS A GOOD THING.

Now, you can look at the game and wonder why VAR wasn’t used more, but you can’t argue that when it was used, it got decisions correct. Lets play this without the VAR. England go 1-0 up then they score a second but its ruled out incorrectly for offside. Then Cameroon score an offside goal but its given. We are now 1-1, no chasing for Cameroon, they can play to their strengths and play counter attacking football with their pace and athleticism. It’s a very different game. One England could very well lose. Would that have been better? and I don’t mean that from a nationalistic St George flag waving perspective, but a ‘Who was the better team?’ ‘Who deserved to win that game based on the football played?’

Yes we have Jonny Nic complaining about the emotion of the game, like that means anything. It’s a sport. 2 teams play to win. Ideally you want the team that actually win’s the game to win the game. It doesn’t matter if we all have to put up with a break in the play occasionally, regardless of whether it detracts from the spectacle, because the game thankfully doesn’t revolve around the spectators wishes for everything to be parcelled in a nice easily digestible slice. Moreover, Jonny likes to look at everything through a nice romantic prism of “Weren’t it all good in the old days’ just like the Brexit loving loons that he despises so much. Instead of realising that football is nothing like it used to be. Not in terms of the stratospheric financials involved but importantly, also not in terms of the speed, technique and fitness required to play at the top table. The game and rules have changed massively, but something that provides a stop to the game while correct decisions are made is unacceptable? It’s nonsense.

Yes, players might have the emotion of their goal scoring reduced as they wait with baited breath for confirmation they didn’t drift offside, but, hey-ho, if it provides justice and allows the rules to be applied correctly, I’m sure they will survive. Yes VAR can be done better (it is in’s infancy let’s remember) Yes you might need to pick and choose when to use the technology and when to go with the ref’s decision. But, ultimately, in the England vs Cameroon game it was used to save incorrect decisions from possibly robbing the most deserving team of victory.


That’s a good thing.
Ed Ern


Mikey, CFC said in this mornings Mailbox …After watching the England v Cameroon game, we have never seen VAR protests quite like how the Cameroon players protested, refusing to kick off a game, I expect this may just happen in the Premier League next season.

After chuckling at the ridiculousness of that happening, (Tell them to get a grip and book the lot of them, naturally) I wondered were it to happen, what past, or even present team, could actually potentially show such petulance in the face of such hurty feels of a VAR decision not going their way.

And sorry Mikey, I could only think of Mourinhos first Chelsea team, it’s the them ‘Them and Us’ nature they courted. Anyone care to put forward a more hurty team and Manager? Lord Ferg could sure throw a strop.
Chris ITFC, (Enjoying the football, but I watched Ipswich last year, so hmmm) Bourne


Dear Football365,

A couple of thoughts about England v Cameroon:

*I’m generally opposed to it, but in terms of solving problems it’s easier to have VAR than to naively expect players simply not to cheat or shout abuse at officials.

*As a TV viewer the most annoying thing about it is that you get the same replay at the same speed over and over again.  It’s important to view things at full speed because sometimes actions are distorted at low speed, but when you see the officials going through the video replays, they go through a variety of angles and speeds.

*Something needs to be done about what is going on in the stadium while the VAR is doing their thing.  Maybe they could put a bit of music on, so they don’t have to play it after a goal.

*There was something unconventionally enjoyable about Cameroon’s meltdown.  While it was an ugly scene, teams spectacularly losing their excrement at going out of a tournament is a far better spectacle than the countless versions of the England men’s teams meekly bowing out of tournaments without as much as whimper.

*Phil Neville’s comments about the game “not being football” have been well-received, and who better to espouse the virtues of sporting conduct and magnanimity towards opponents and officials as a former teammate of Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Jaap Stam and Gary Neville?
Ed Quoththeraven


Dear MC,

Alasdair’s email this morning was brilliant. I completely agree, although I don’t think he’s gone far enough.

The problem centres around football, however this cctv culture has permeated every single part of life. We have welcomed it with open arms. It’s what Instagram and Facebook is for. Why do we all have smartphones? So we can all monitor each other and catch each other out if we get anything wrong.

No opinions are allowed any more. We record our own car journeys with dash cams. We drive up the A3 past ‘average speed cameras’ terrified of getting caught out. It’s exhausting.

The country is completely split on politics because we’ve had years of politicians trying to please everyone without risking an opinion. Now it is almost impossible to have an opinion or to actually lead.

Football is going to be rubbish now. It is a metaphor for the real world and the excitement is now so controlled and force fed that there is no real enjoyment left. And that isn’t because I’m a gooner.

What we need is a decent counter culture football revolution bringing football back to its origins. Strip it bare and show great football without all the glossy manufactured rubbish. It may exist in Sunday leagues but maybe we’re missing a trick here ? Maybe there an opportunity to fight back?! Who’s with me?!
JazGooner (expecting deafening silence. And then a 1984 style thought police raid at my office)


Johnny Nic and Phil
Good article by Johnny re Phil and his approach to management. New managers are managing new youngsters. As a parent of 18-year-old twins, I can tell you that the approach to parenting is very different today than it was when I was 18. I engage with my kids more than my Dad ever did with me because he had no idea how to talk about college because he had left school at 15. School teachers no longer rant and rave at pupils, because they are not allowed to bully any more than anyone else. Young people expect to be treated as human beings. They do realise that they do not have as much experience as us older ones, but they also know that that does not give us an inalienable right to shout and scream at them.
So new managers need to work with the new kids on the block. They need to nurture and explain, not say “just do it because I told you to”.


Samuel Eto’o and the best league in the world
Samuel Eto’o believes that La Liga is the best league in the world. Based on what exactly?

The three main players are Barca, Real and Athletico with a brief appearances from Valencia and sevilla trading 4th place.

On the EPL the top is also very static top end but with six clubs competing and another 2 close to knocking on the door.

How would the other spanish teams fair in the EPL. If postiions 4 to 6 clubs in  “the best league in the world” were to ply their trade in in the EPL and our 4 to 6 thh finshers of the EPL  swapped for a season what would the outcome be?

Swapping Spurs, Arsenal  and United for Valencia, getafe and Sevilla

I doubt our top 3 would be under threat, maybe La Liga’s would not be out of reach for our clubs.
Justin, Cambs, LFC


Beating the Bookie
While waiting for the real football to start again (just joking!), I thought I’d write in about my one and only experience going to the bookies for a bet.

The year was 1998, it was the morning of the FA cup final. Me and a friend had finished concreting a drive for a friends father. He paid us and then gave us an extra tenner for a job well done.
We didn’t have the change to split the ten pounds so after a bit of discussion we decided to have a flutter on the final. It was Arsenal V Newcastle. We both were sure Arsenal would win but we also wanted to bet on who would be the first scorer. I called an Arsenal supporting friend and he reckoned it would be Overmars.

So we bet 10 pounds on Arsenal winning 2-0 and Overmars scoring first.

I can honestly say it was the most exciting, nerve wracking game of football I have ever watched. We went mental when Overmars scored, and then the second went in (couldn’t remember who scored the second, google has told me it was Anelka) . I could barely watch the rest of the game. It was incredible, I never knew sport could effect me this way. Especially as I didn’t support either team.
So we won, collected our winnings, I can’t remember how much we got out. But it was plenty for a couple of 20 year old lads. ( I think it was around 200 pounds) Then we and a few others went down to Devon for a long weekend and had one heck of a time spending our winnings!
But right there, after the highs of the game, after winning the money, I decided never to gamble again. It would be too addictive and i could never replicate the feeling I felt that afternoon. It was too dangerous. So I must be one of the few people to have “won” against the bookies. I took my winnings and never gave it back to them.

Enjoy the rest of the summer break!
Peter LFC Namibia. (Brackets)