Newcastle Dent Leicester’s Champions League Bid With Shock Win

Newcastle United’s English striker Callum Wilson celebrates scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Newcastle United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on May 7, 2021.
Nick Potts / POOL / AFP

 

Newcastle United derailed Leicester City’s bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League with a 4-2 win on Friday that all but secured their place in the Premier League.

Defeat left Leicester third, two points in front of Chelsea and five ahead of West Ham, with both London clubs having a game in hand over the Foxes. Only the top four at the end of the Premier League season qualify for the Champions League.

Joe Willock, on loan from Arsenal, fired Newcastle in front in the 22nd minute at the King Power Stadium as he scored in his fourth successive top-flight game for the Magpies.

And the visitors doubled their lead before half-time with a rare goal from Paul Dummett.

Callum Wilson appeared to put the result beyond doubt with two second-half goals for Newcastle.

Marc Albrighton and Kelechi Iheanacho however, both scored inside the final 10 minutes for Leicester before Newcastle saw out the game.

Leicester, who face Chelsea in the FA Cup final next weekend, are now in danger of fresh Champions League heartache after they missed out on the top four of the final day of last season.

 

Leicester City’s English midfielder James Maddison reacts after Newcastle scored their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Newcastle United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on May 7, 2021.
Michael Regan / POOL / AFP

‘Lacked concentration’

Their three remaining league games are all against teams currently in the top six, with Brendan Rodgers’ men travelling to Manchester United on Tuesday before they face Chelsea and Tottenham after their Wembley clash with the Blues.

“We lacked concentration and if you do that against good teams and good players they punish you,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.

Leicester suffered a setback shortly before kick-off when experienced defender Jonny Evans pulled out after being injured in the warm-up, with Rodgers saying: “He is the brain in our defensive line…It was a big blow for us.”

Rodgers, however, insisted: “We are still in a really good position and everything is still in our hands.”

Newcastle’s win, which took place a day after UK tax authorities dropped their criminal investigation into the club, saw them move 12 points clear of the relegation zone with three games left to play.

They will be assured of top-flight survival without kicking a ball if Fulham fail to beat Burnley on Monday.

“Some of the counter-attacking was excellent, delighted with the win,” said Newcastle manager Steve Bruce.

“We made it a bit hairy towards the end. We are not safe, for the Premier League you can’t take it for granted.”

Newcastle made the early running and got the goal they deserved when Willock capitalised on a mistake by Caglar Soyuncu to beat Kasper Schmeichel from 10 yards.

Dummett made it 2-0 in the 34th minute when he powered in a header from Matt Ritchie’s corner.

Midway through the second half, Newcastle were 3-0 in front when Ritchie’s pass down the left evaded Timothy Castagne and allowed Wilson to round Schmeichel before scoring.

Wilson had his second goal and Newcastle’s fourth in the 73rd-minute firing in the rebound from a tight angle, after his initial shot hit the post, to crown a counter-attack.

Newcastle were cruising at 4-0 ahead only to suffer a nervous finish following late goals from Albrighton and Iheanacho.

Magpies goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had to make a brilliant stop to preserve his side’s two-goal lead when he denied Ayoze Perez from point-blank range.

-AFP

Liverpool Blow Place In The Top Four To Round Off Rollercoaster Week

Newcastle United’s English midfielder Joe Willock (2L) celebrates wth Newcastle United’s English head coach Steve Bruce after scoring the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool suffered another setback in a tumultuous week as Joe Willock’s 94th minute equaliser earned Newcastle a 1-1 draw at Anfield that prevented Jurgen Klopp’s men from moving into the Premier League top four.

Mohamed Salah had opened the scoring after just three minutes, but Liverpool wasted a host of chances to extend their lead and paid in stoppage time.

The Reds even had already had a reprieve when Callum Wilson’s equaliser was ruled out after a VAR review for handball, but still could not hold on as Willock’s deflected strike secured a vital point in the Magpies’ bid for survival.

Two more dropped points is a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a place in next season’s Champions League after their owners’ plans for ensuring they have top level European football every season without having to earn it on the field collapsed this week.

Liverpool were one of 12 clubs to initially sign up to proposals for a European Super League (ESL) last weekend, only to quickly withdraw within 48 hours after a backlash from their own players and fans.

A protest outside Anfield on Saturday was more muted than the ones seen ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal’s home matches in recent days, but a number of flags and banners were attached to the gates around the ground calling out the “greed” of the club’s American owners Fenway Sports Group.

In his programme notes, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who spoke out against the ESL on behalf of the squad on Tuesday, called for calm.

 

Liverpool’s English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) watche as as Newcastle United’s English striker Callum Wilson (L) scores, but the goal is not given following a VAR review, during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021. (Photo by DAVID KLEIN / POOL / AFP)

 

“Being critical of my own employers isn’t something I do easily,” said Henderson.

“It is good that Liverpool withdrew and the concept has collapsed. That’s good for football. It’s also good that our owners, via John Henry, have apologised unreservedly.

“People can disagree with me saying this, but my opinion is that our owners have been good for Liverpool. If you have a problem with me saying that, fair enough and I respect that. But my opinion is built on my own first-hand experiences.”

Henry’s FSG helped deliver Liverpool’s first Premier League title for 30 years last season.

But many of the problems Klopp’s men have encountered in defending their title were in evidence again as they as failed to see off Newcastle long before a nervy finale.

The hosts could not have made a better start as a brilliant touch and finish from Salah opened the scoring after just three minutes.

The Egyptian’s 29th goal of the season set up a wide-open game with plenty of chances at both ends.

Salah should have had a second but fired too close to Martin Dubravka when clean through on goal. Sadio Mane also failed to round the Slovakian goalkeeper with a glorious chance.

Dubravka made a string of fine saves after the break to deny Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane at his near post and a long-range effort from James Milner.

The tension in the Liverpool players was clear late in the game and Newcastle capitalised after manager Steve Bruce sent on Wilson and Willock.

 

Newcastle United’s English midfielder Joe Willock scores the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021. (Photo by DAVID KLEIN / POOL / AFP) 

 

Wilson bundled the ball home after Alisson had saved his initial effort, but the ball had rebounded off the Brazilian goalkeeper onto the former Bournemouth striker’s hand before he stabbed it into an unguarded net.

Seconds later, Liverpool failed to deal with another long ball into their box and the ball fell for on-loan Arsenal midfielder Willock, whose strike deflected in off Fabinho to leave Alisson helpless.

Liverpool move up to sixth but are a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea and West Ham, who face off later on Saturday at the London Stadium.

Newcastle edge ever closer to survival. They are nine points clear of the bottom three.

Singaporean Investors In ‘Advanced’ Talks To Buy Newcastle United

Championship: Newcastle Close Gap On Brighton With Cardiff Win

 

Three Singaporean entrepreneurs behind a Paris-based congolomerate are in “advanced” talks to buy English Premier League football club Newcastle United, the company said Monday, just weeks after a Saudi-backed bid was withdrawn.

Bellagraph Nova Group, which operates across 100 countries in fields ranging from finance to sport, healthcare and luxury goods, said it has given Newcastle a letter of intent and proof it has funds for the purchase.

The company also said it had “enlisted the help” of former England captain and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, along with fellow former player Michael Chopra.

The bid was announced after a Saudi-backed consortium withdrew its offer to buy Newcastle in late July, after months of waiting for Premier League approval.

“We are already negotiating the term of our acquisition of Newcastle Football Club. We are at the advanced stage of the purchasing,” a Bellagraph Nova Group spokesman told AFP.

Bellagraph Nova Group was co-founded by Singaporean cousins Nelson and Terence Loh and their business partner Evangeline Shen in 2008.

The Lohs are former investment bankers at JP Morgan, and are known to be keen sports fans who sponsored Singaporean racing driver Yuey Tan as well as the national muay thai team, the Straits Times newspaper said.

Singaporean businessman Peter Lim already owns Spain’s six-time La Liga champions Valencia.

Bellagraph Nova said it sent a letter of intent and “proof of funds” to Newcastle on August 10.

The company’s founders “have declared their willingness to massively contribute to the development of the club through their solid and international structure and a combined business/sport devoting mindset”, it added.

Bellagraph Nova Group said it oversees 31 business “entities” worldwide, with a group revenue of $12 billion in 2019 and 23,000 employees.

In its proposal, the company said it has “the necessary experience and resources to accelerate Newcastle United’s growth and realise its full potential”.

The Saudi-backed consortium, which included the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, had reportedly struck a £300 million ($391 million) deal to buy the club from unpopular owner Mike Ashley in April.

The PIF, chaired by Prince Mohammad bin Salman, had been set to take an 80 percent stake under the proposed deal, which was criticised by human rights groups.

AFP

Newcastle Ban Handshakes To Guard Against Coronavirus

Championship: Newcastle Close Gap On Brighton With Cardiff Win

Premier League club Newcastle United has introduced a handshake ban to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, manager Steve Bruce said on Friday.

“There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands with everybody as soon as we see each other every morning — we’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor,” Bruce said.

“We are like everybody else. Thankfully, we’ve got a superb doctor here and he will keep us informed of what we have to do.

“We’re like everybody else, we’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next and let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse in this country.”

Sports events across the world are increasingly being affected by the spread of the virus.

The clash between Juventus and title rivals Inter Milan is among five Serie A games that will be played behind closed doors this weekend because of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

The Swiss government on Friday said it was suspending all events in the country involving more than 1,000 participants.

In cycling, the UAE Tour was abandoned on Thursday after two Italian staff members of one of the teams taking part tested positive for the coronavirus.

The virus has proliferated around the globe over the past week, emerging in every continent except Antarctica, prompting many governments and businesses to try to stop people travelling or gathering in crowded places.

It has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 83,000 worldwide — the vast majority in China — since it emerged apparently from an animal market in a central Chinese city in late December.

AFP

Steve Bruce Loses First Game As Wolves Beat Newcastle

Newcastle United’s Rolando Aarons (2nd R) challenges Wolverhampton Wanderers’s Adama Traore (L) during the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy football tournament in Nanjing, in China’s Jiangsu province on July 17, 2019.
HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP

 

The scale of the task facing new head coach Steve Bruce was brutally laid bare as Newcastle United were thrashed 4-0 by Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in China on Wednesday.

Former Manchester United defender Bruce, whose appointment was confirmed just hours before kick-off, will jet over to take charge of Newcastle’s next friendly, in Shanghai on Saturday.

It was only a low-key exhibition match, but the heavy defeat to Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves in Nanjing was more evidence that Newcastle is likely to be battling relegation this season.

Newcastle has risked stoking the anger of their frustrated fans by hiring former Sunderland boss Bruce, who has sealed a three-year contract to succeed the hugely popular Rafael Benitez.

READ ALSO: Steve Bruce Named Newcastle United Head Coach

There were even isolated chants against hated club owner Mike Ashley during the Wolves loss.

Federico Fernandez, the Newcastle defender, called on fans angry with Bruce’s arrival to get behind the new man.

“We are looking forward to working with him, he is a man of great experience, we are thinking positive,” said the Argentine.

“I understand the fans’ situation,” he said, addressing supporters’ negative reaction to the 58-year-old Bruce, a lifelong Newcastle fan.

“For us, we want to work, we want to do better as a team… to show the fans and everyone that we can compete.”

In a statement, Bruce, who resigned from Championship side Sheffield Wednesday to join Newcastle, called it “a very special moment for me and my family”.

“This is my boyhood club and it was my dad’s club.”

Bruce might be a local boy, but his two-year spell as coach of Newcastle’s fierce rivals Sunderland and a mediocre record as a Premier League manager are major black marks for an already infuriated fan base.

Bruce, who has won four promotions from the second tier of English football, has suffered relegation from the Premier League twice.

His highest finish was 10th with Birmingham in 2003-04 and Sunderland in 2010-11.

Bruce has his work cut out at Newcastle, who have lost their leading forwards from last season — Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez — and are the only Premier League club yet to make a summer signing.

The transfer window closes in less than a month, adding to the pressure on Bruce and Ashley as they try to win over disillusioned fans.

There have been calls for a boycott of St James’ Park until Ashley sells the crisis club.

If Bruce was watching on television, he would have been exasperated by what he saw from his side in China, who were under the interim stewardship of academy coach Ben Dawson.

Diogo Jota struck twice in the first half for Chinese-owned Wolves as demoralised Newcastle wilted alarmingly in the Nanjing heat.

Champions Manchester City were to play West Ham United in the next match in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

AFP

Steve Bruce Named Newcastle United Head Coach

In this file photo taken on May 28, 2016 Hull City’s English manager Steve Bruce (R) reacts during the English Championship play-off final football match between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley Stadium. Premier League club Newcastle United have announced that Steve Bruce is their new head coach. PHOTO: Ian Kington / AFP

Newcastle United announced on Wednesday that Steve Bruce has been appointed head coach following the departure of Rafael Benitez from the Premier League club.

“Newcastle United can now announce that Steve Bruce has been appointed as the club’s new head coach,” the club said on its website, adding that the former Manchester United player had signed an initial three-year contract.

The 58-year-old Bruce, who grew up in Tyneside and is a former coach of Newcastle’s fierce rivals Sunderland, will be joined at St. James’ Park by coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, the club added.

Bruce, who resigned from Sheffield Wednesday prior to signing with Newcastle, told the club website: “I’m delighted and incredibly proud to be appointed as head coach of Newcastle United.

“This is my boyhood club and it was my dad’s club, so this is a very special moment for me and my family.”

Lee Charnley, managing director at Newcastle United, said the club was pleased to appoint a coach of Bruce’s “vast experience and connections…”

“The hard work for Steve and his team starts immediately and we will be fully prepared for the challenge of a new Premier League season,” he added.

The Newcastle squad are currently on a pre-season tour in China and Bruce and his staff are scheduled to travel to join them there following Wednesday’s match in Nanjing against Wolves.

AFP

‘It’s A Manhunt’: Mourinho Slams Critics After United’s Stunning Win Over Newcastle

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho gestures during the crucial game between his side and Newcastle at Old Trafford on October 6, 2018. Photo: Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho accused his critics of staging a “manhunt” to get him sacked after Manchester United rescued their under-fire manager with a dramatic 3-2 win over Newcastle on Saturday.

Just hours after a report emerged that Mourinho would be sacked regardless of United’s result against Newcastle, his team were rocked at Old Trafford as they conceded two goals in the opening 10 minutes.

But after being booed off at half-time, United avoided going five games without a win thanks to a thrilling second-half fightback.

Juan Mata’s free-kick was followed by Anthony Martial’s equaliser, setting the stage for a 90th-minute winner from Alexis Sanchez, who had been dropped by Mourinho before coming off the bench in the second half.

Whether Mourinho keeps his job remains to be seen, but the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss came out fighting following weeks of criticism of his handling of United’s squad, sparked by his fall-out with star midfielder Paul Pogba and other key players.

“As a friend of mine was saying to me this morning, if it rains in London tomorrow, it’s my fault. Brexit, it’s my fault. I have to be ready for this. There is a lot of wickedness and a clear manhunt,” Mourinho said.

“In the end, we won the match and I think we deserved to win. I think the fans deserved to win. At 2-0 at half-time, with all the dynamic of the man-hunting, I think they behaved amazingly well for the team. This is what a football club is.

“The industry I work in is different, a lot of wickedness, too much wickedness in something that should be beautiful.

“For me, it’s not easy but I think life is made of experiences and some are new and some are deja vu. This is new but I think it makes me a better manager and a better person because I understand things in human nature.”

Alexis Sanchez (R) celebrates with Marouane Fellaini after scoring United’s third goal during the clash with Newcastle. Oli SCARFF / AFP

‘I can cope’

Mourinho insisted he wouldn’t be affected by the doubters claiming he has lost control of his club and is destined for the axe.

Instead, he claimed the criticism was more of a problem for players who froze under the spotlight.

“In the biggest clubs in the world there are periods with a lot of meat and periods with a lot of bones,” he said.

“I am 55 years old, I am mature, I can cope with it and live with being hunted. I think some of the boys are not coping well with it.

“The way they started the game was panicking. I thought at some moments we could score in our own goal. It’s not easy for them.

“I cope with it, with some sadness, but I’m a big boy. Clearly some of the boys, Marcus Rashford was sad on the pitch, Scott McTominay was scared on the pitch. All the players committed mistakes that were not normal.”

Amid all the talk of shattered relationships with Pogba, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia, who was left out of the squad, Mourinho was adamant the fightback showed he retains the squad’s support.

“It’s ridiculous talk to say they don’t play for the manager, they play for the club. It’s not about that,” he said.

“What I asked the players is to give absolutely everything.

“This is not about me, this is not about the players, this is about the club, and in the second half the players gave absolutely everything. Nothing more to give.”

AFP

Former Newcastle Coach Guilty Of 36 Sexual Abuse Charges

File photo of the official ball of the tournament is during the Russia 2018 World Cup. PHOTO: YURI CORTEZ / AFP

 

Former Newcastle United youth team coach George Ormond was on Tuesday found guilty of 36 sexual offences against young men and boys between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s.

Ormond, who was a coach at the Montagu and North Fenham boys’ club which fed players to the Premier League club, was found guilty after a five-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court of abuse against 18 victims.

All the victims were under the age of 18.

“To many of his victims he was a figure of authority, trust and influence,” said Gary Buckley of the Crown Prosecution Service.

“Instead of nurturing and supporting them, he exploited his role to subject them to sexual abuse,” he added.

The jury convicted Ormond, 62, of 35 counts of indecent assault and one of indecency against a child, but cleared him of one charge of buggery.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

Ormond was the first person to be charged as part of Operation Tide, a police investigation set up late last year to look into allegations of historic child sex abuse at football clubs in the northeast of England.

The scale of abuse among youth football teams came to light in 2016, when a string of ex-footballers, including England internationals, told of the crimes inflicted upon them, including years of being repeatedly raped.

Former football trainer Barry Bennell was in February sentenced to 30 years in prison for abusing 12 boys he coached between 1979 and 1991, with the judge branding him “sheer evil”.

AFP

Lejeune Signs Five-Year Deal With Newcastle

Photo: nufc

SD Eibar Defender, Florian Lejeune, has joined Newcastle United on a five-year deal for a reported £8.7million.

Lejeune has become Newcastle United’s second signing of the summer transfer window, following the arrival of winger Christian Atsu.

The former France youth international Lejeune said: “I’m very happy to have signed. Newcastle United is a big club, and I’m very happy to be here.

“When you have a manager like Rafa Benitez who wants you, you are very happy to come”

Read Also: John Terry Joins Aston Villa

HMRC Raids West Ham, Newcastle United Over Illegal Payments

 English soccer clubs West Ham United and Newcastle United were raided on Wednesday morning by tax officials as part of a wide-sweeping probe, with several men arrested for suspected Income Tax and National Insurance fraud.

French authorities which are assisting in the investigation, said in a statement that secret payments made to players and agents are the focus of HMRC’s investigation.

A West Ham spokesperson said, “The Club is cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their enquiries.”

Newcastle initially made no comment but subsequently posted a brief statement on their website.

It said, “Newcastle United can confirm that a member of its staff has this morning been assisting HMRC with their inquiries. The club will be making no further comment at this time.”

A source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that no West Ham staff or representatives of the club had been arrested.

HMRC, the body responsible for the United Kingdom’s tax collection, said, “180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today.

“Investigators have searched a number of premises in the North East and South East of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones.

“This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences.”

HMRC said French authorities were assisting the UK investigation, that they have made arrests and that several locations have been searched in France.

France’s financial prosecutor’s office said that 10 searches had been conducted there, four people had been detained and that documents had been seized.

It said in a statement that British authorities suspected that secret payments had been made to certain players, their agents or third parties to evade taxes during the transfer of players between French and Premier League clubs.

Reuters

Newcastle United Celebrate Return To EPL

Courtesy: thesun.uk.com

Newcastle United started a promotion party on Monday by beating 10-man Preston North 4-1 at St James’ Park.

The victory means a return to the English Premier League for Rafa Benitez’s side.

Exactly 348 days after being relegated, Newcastle overcame their obvious nerves to bag a prize worth more than 100 million pounds and retain an outside chance of pipping Brighton & Hove Albion to the championship title.

The club has spent just one season outside the Premier League, and their return to the highest level of English football was a welcome sight for the historic club.

However, in order to avoid another relegation battle, the club’s manager, Rafa Benitez, will need to get his new additions spot on.

Aguero Treble Sinks Chelsea, Puts Pressure On Arsenal

AgueroSergio Aguero continued his good scoring form with a hat-trick as Manchester City beat 10-man Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The striker has 13 goals in his last 12 top-flight appearances and his display helped Man City move up to third position ahead of Arsenal, who play Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Kevin De Bruyne was a constant menace for City on his first return to the club who sold him in 2014, playing a key role in Aguero’s first two goals, which both came from swift counter-attacks.

Thibaut Courtois was shown a red card for fouling Fernandinho inside the box, and Aguero was afforded the chance to complete his hat-trick. He made no mistake.

Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri returned to the starting line-up but David Silva was rested with an ongoing ankle injury.

Chelsea also welcomed Courtois, Gary Cahill and Willian back into the team but their return could not save the defending champions.

With this loss, Guus Hiddink’s men have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions.

Meanwhile, in other matches played on Saturday, Aston Villa were relegated to English football’s second tier for the first time since 1987 after defeat at Manchester United.

Newcastle claimed a first win under Rafael Benitez as they overcame Swansea to bolster their chances of survival.

Sunderland also climbed to within a point of safety by beating relegation rivals Norwich 3-0 at Carrow road.

Southampton’s hopes of a European spot suffered a setback as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Everton.

Saido Berahino missed two second-half penalties as Watford hung on for a narrow win against West Brom.