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Life after Ashley...

What happens when Newcastle are hit with a relegation, a transfer ban and a loss of manager after their Chairman is hit with a prison sentence...
Started on 21 March 2019 by AndyD74
Latest Reply on 22 March 2019 by AndyD74
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1st June 2018 -

The news that has stunned football in the North East and the rest of the footballing world, especially those in black and white. For many it is bitter-sweet, but the long-reaching repercussions could affect the club for many, many years to come. The story read:-

"Ashley convicted of wrong-doing, Newcastle hit with multi-league relegation and multi-year transfer ban. Benitez goes…"

So Mike Ashley had finally been thrown out of football after a whole series of dodgy deals, some including Newcastle United, and some not, had come to light finally. Newcastle had been relegated from the Premier League to the Division 2, with the ridiculous FA deciding to simply replace them with Accrington rather than go through a deeper upheaval of the League system. They had also been banned from purchasing or loaning any new players for 15 years, a length of ban that the club said they would fight, but perhaps enough to make you wonder exactly what crimes Ashley had committed. Existing loans for the 2018/9 would be allowed to continue but could not be renewed.

All this has proved too much for Rafa Benitez, who despite repeated requests to stay from the board, then fans and indeed, the city, confirmed he could not continue under such conditions.
And so it was that a relatively unknown manager from Andorra was tasked with the unenviable of trying to return his beloved Newcastle back to the top flight of English football, and hopefully into Europe once more. All this with a playing staff wanting to leave and no method to replace them except via the club's youth system.

With such a massive wage bill, and with club funds in the red, the first thing was to thin out the playing squad. Luckily there were already 18 players on loan which was helping to reduce the weekly wage bill to a mere £1.4m. The first summer transfer window was a busy one as this cull of wages and top-heavy positional players took place.

Out went:

Gamez to Rennes - £700k (potentially rising to £950k with add-on clauses)
Ritchie to Man United - £12.75m (£19m)

Plenty of clubs were sniffing round like vultures, but I wanted some games to understand where we stood and who I might be able to cash in on in the winter transfer window.
2017 objectives -

1. Gain promotion from League 2.
2. Retain as many players as possible, sign stars to new contracts which will lessen wages and ensure they are here for a long time.
3. Players who want to leave and cannot be persuaded to stay must have their price maximised and their sell on clauses increased as high as possible for future revenue.
4. Internal facilities must be as high as they can be, as many requests must be made to the Board in this requirement.
5. Give 1st team chances to as many youngsters as possible without causing detrimental effect to promotion challenge.

Pre-season 2017

After the customary match against one of our junior teams, it was time to get into pre-season for real. We had a number of matches played:-

US Orleans (A) - W - 0-2 - Ritchie, OG
QRM (A) - W - 0-3 - Slimani, Ritchie, Gayle
Hull (A) - W - 1-3 - Slimani, Kenedy, Joselu
Villareal (H) - W - 3-1 - Clark, Slimani, Gayle
Gateshead (A) - W - 3-0 - Ritchie, Slimani, Atsu

This concluded an unbeaten pre-season for the club, with decent victories against Hull and Villareal, and a general idea of how my starting XI might look.
August 2017 -

L2 - Crawley Town (H) - W - 4-0 - Hayden, Kenedy, Ritchie, Joselu
CHK - Nottm Forest (A) - L - 2-0 - None
L2 - Lincoln (A) - W - 4-0 - Slimani, Hayden (2), Perez
L2 - Grimsby (H) - W - 4-0 - Kenedy (2), Ritchie, Merino
L2 - Barnet (A) - W - 4-0 - Ritchie, Kenedy, Slimani (2)

Apart from an early exit in the Checkatrade Trophy, a solid start for the club in a League they should dominate. Played 4, won 4, each by a scoreline of 4-0 tells the story. Goal scorers mixed around, but home attendances all in excess of 48,000 bodes well for the future finances.

Manager Andreas Monaco won his first award, picking up Manager of the Month. Kenedy won Young Player of the Month

September 2017 -

L2 - Cheltenham (A) - W - 7-0 - Joselu (2), Kenedy (4), Lascelles
L2 - Swindon (H) - W - 2-0 - Murphy, Joselu
L2 - Forest Green (A) - W - 4-0 - Kenedy, Joselu (2), Atsu
L2 - Notts County (H) - W - 4-0 - Perez (2), Atsu (2)
L2 - Exeter (H) - W - 4-0 - Merino, Murphy, Perez, Atsu
L2 - Colchester (A) - D - 2-2 - Shelvey, Atsu

Another unbeaten month, though we did lose our 100% record with a 2-2 draw away at Colchester. 4-0 continues to be a favourite score, and it appears as though we should definitely gain promotion, not surprising with the players we have at our disposal.

Andreas Monaco won the Manager of the Month again.
If anyone has any questions please, let me know. I am currently finishing up season 2 so this is a retrospective look and the updates might be more complete when i get nearer to real time. I will do my best to answer and provide screenshots where i can.

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