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CHN Links: NUFC Joins MUFC In Exclusive Club, Transfer Rumors/Facts, Fixture Congestion (Already!)

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It is quite an active day in the news out there now that the players have returned for pre-season training. Not only do we have stories about players heading away from St. James' Park (as it must be called for the next month), but we have players returning, a player moving to quash rumors (if not strongly) and no relief for early-season fixture congestion for the Toon.

Also- I'm going to go ahead and tease this because I'm going to make it happen. Check back a little later on as we'll have what I think will be quite a fun poll to participate in. First, though, the news!

Newcastle United scores Carbon Trust standard after £200,000 bill savings | Solar Power Portal

Rutherford added: "It’s vitally important that we reduce our energy usage and we have been working very hard to make sure this is the case. "From Newcastle United’s point of view, it’s also important that we reduce our costs and make the club as sustainable as possible. The measures put in place have seen the club’s electricity consumption fall by 200,000kWh per week over the last four years, with gas consumption also down by 5 percent. Rutherford concluded: "Even though we have noticed huge savings over the last few years, there is still a lot of work to do, and I would urge all football clubs to look at how much they are using and ways they can cut down."

You may say what you want about Mike Ashley and the way he has run the club (I certainly have), but there have been major, positive changes in very basic business practice that you cannot ignore. NUFC are now 1 of 2 football clubs in the country to have earned Carbon Trust standard. Not only is this beneficial in terms of environmental stewardship it of course benefits the bottom line speaking in business terms which ostensibly flows back into the every day operations of the business (such as paying player wages/transfer fees, etc.) Bravo, Mr. Ashley.

Newcastle United in UEFA fixture row - Newcastle United - Shields Gazette

NEWCASTLE United will have to play two games in three days at the start of the season after UEFA refused to let them bring forward their first Europa League play-off game. The Magpies made an appeal to both UEFA and the Metropolitan Police to switch either the first leg of their play-off game, or their Premier League clash at Chelsea, but both requests were rejected.

I'm not entirely positive how much of a story this is at this point as to my comprehension the home/away status of the 3rd playoff round will not yet have happened, of course. If Newcastle are drawn away first, I could certainly see this changing. In the mean time, let me offer you this: in which you can witness the cup tie-ing of Luuk de Jong in live ticker format (starting at approx 1245 CDT)

Speaking of FC Twente...

Russians join the race for NUFC target Douglas - NUFC News - NUFC - JournalLive

NEWCASTLE United target Douglas is the subject of a big-money offer from Russia – potentially dashing the Magpies’ hopes of signing him at the end of August. As revealed in The Journal yesterday, United are mothballing attempts to sign the defender until the end of the transfer window after he indicated he would prefer to wait to decide his future. But they may be gazumped by interest from the East, with FC Twente receiving an offer from an unnamed Russian club on Wednesday.

Douglas has clearly been the number one target for Newcastle in terms of the CB position that must be reinforced this summer. I had initially thought that a later start to the Russian League would put a potential Russian bid in better stead right away with regard to Douglas' national team affiliation, but the Russian League actually starts a month prior to the BPL... so there's that. A late huge money offer might put a wrench in this, but you have to think that a cash-front deal would have some manner of attraction for Twente. It really hasn't thus far in the Luuk de Jong negotiations (or so it seems) so who knows. It's out there.

Newcastle looking to finish a few deals - Pardew - NUFC News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

Pardew did not seem too flustered today, and told the Chronicle: "We’re working on a few things. "I know this time last year we’d brought in a couple of players, but we’re very much in the market at the moment."

We're out there trying. Honestly. Sounds familiar. Bring me a CB and a striker at the very least and keep our "rumor players" and I'll be happy.

Transfer Talk: Newcastle United Sell Fraser Forster To Glasgow Celtic - Sky Tyne and Wear

And after failing to make a single first-team appearance for the Magpies since signing in 2005 while becoming a popular figure at Celtic, he was ready to leave his hometown club. The 6ft 7in keeper has been a commanding presence in the Celtic goal during the last two seasons, making 44 appearances as the Bhoys won the Scottish Cup in 2010/11. Forster then played 33 league games last term as Celtic won the Scottish Premier League title for the first time since 2007/08.

Surprising absolutely no one (despite a preference for the player to stay according to our poll), Fraser Forster has finally become the long-term successor to Artur Boruc at Celtic. Good luck, Fraser.

EXCLUSIVE: Pal Alan Padrew key to Danny Simpson swoop / Slough Observer / Sport / Football

BRIAN McDermott is banking on a favour from friend and former Reading boss Alan Pardew in his bid to sign Danny Simpson. Having already landed Danny Guthrie on a free transfer from the Magpies last week, McDermott is now keen on signing 25-year-old full-back Simpson. Pardew is being heavily linked with France's Euro 2012 star Mathieu Debuchy from Lille which could pave the way for Simpson's departure from St James' Park.

Progress in the negotiations for Mathieu Debuchy are proceeding toward a positive conclusion, it seems, so Danny Simpson is going to be prominent in the rumors as we move forward... but this one was a little interesting. What is interesting to me in this situation is that we were beaten over the head with the "the numbers say that Danny Simpson was the BEST RB IN THE ENTIRE PREMIERE LEAGUE!!11!one!... but there is no Sky6 rumor... no non-promotion club rumor. Interesting.

Demba Ba brushes aside transfer speculation linking him to Liverpool |

The Senegalese striker took to Twitter recently and dismissed all sorts of transfer speculation as rumours. "Holla back everybody. So much stuff about me lately. Rumours are rumours! Just forget about it. By the way I had the best holiday ever!!" Despite having brushed aside all transfer talk, there are still doubts over the player’s future. Tottenham and Turkish giants Galatasaray are also linked with the 27-year old striker, who has a clause in his contract which permits him to leave for a minimum fee of £7million.

On a Twitter rating from 0 (I'm leaving!) to 10 (#Pipedownsillybollox), this is kind of a 5... but it is not the first time in the last week that Demba Ba has come out to say that he is not seeking to leave St. James' Park. Experience tells us that you can never count your eggs before they hatch (even when the club SWEARS they want to keep a player), but at least we can feel pretty certain that if Demba 1 does leave, it's not by his machination.

Steven Taylor back in training at Newcastle after putting injury woe behind him - Newcastle United - Shields Gazette

The full team’s back apart from the lads on international duty, and I can’t wait to join in. "I can’t wait to get started again and for the games to come along. I’ve had a few tests this week, and I’m fully fit. "I was in Portugal last week with Derek Wright, and he pushed me hard. I was up first thing every morning for a session, and then another one at 10am. "He was making sure I could do all the things defenders need need to do. I’m back to how I should be, and I’ve lost my hamster cheeks!"

Also, remember when he ripped the mask off during the match at Old Trafford? Perhaps one of my absolute favorite moments from last season. That is all.