Time for another rendition of the Coming Home Newcastle mailbag. We took some of the best questions on Twitter and the staff has compiled the answers.
If you could only add one player to the squad, assuming no ones
leaves, what position would it be? Who would it be? #nufc
Assuming no one leaves is a big ask, but let's stay with the spirit of the question. For me, it's obviously a center back. Shore up one of those and make the rest of these fools compete for the second spot. A semi-realistic target is Fabian Schär of FC Basel, but if Arsenal are really interested, the price will quickly move out of Newcastle's range. Newcastle have been linked to Virgil van Dijk in the past, and I expect that he'll be the one that we're disappointed about when he decides to stay at Celtic.
I think that it's pretty clear that the places of weakness in the squad are at CB and Striker (weren't we saying this in 2011?). Since we have been seeing goals coming from Cisse and Perez while we're not conceding many at the back, we must be fine, right? Not really so much. Strengthening in either spot would not be a poor idea, but we are still starting Mike Williamson as a Premier League center back... Give me a big, imperious CB who never loses aerial battles and has sublime positional awareness. Someone like a Mats Hummels (although let's face it, this is not going to occur) or Joel Matip from Schalke. I think most importantly, we must assure that any CB brought in can also play left back.
Since STRIKER seems to be at the top of the Alan Pardew wishlist every season, I'm going to say that he's going to go begging again. I really don't see Mike Ashley opening up the purse strings for a quality striker. Unless Newcastle is right there for a Champion's League spot, then maybe you'll see a splurge. But, I don't think that will happen with contending for just the Europa League. I would say that we're more likely to see someone come in and give depth to the back line. I don't expect any massive signing, or big dollar amounts thrown about, just some bolstering of the backline.
And no, I don't know who it will be. I'm awful at predicting who will come in. I guess I should get Football Manager.
screw my soccer question. What’s the closest you’ve come to buying an
I've owned a George Foreman grill, since it technically wasn't against the rules in my dorm in college, but I didn't buy it from an infomercial, so I don't think that counts. Back in the late 90s, I knew a lot of people that had Tiddy Bear knockoffs, and I have to confess that I didn't know that that was their actual name until I looked them up just now. How did they get away with that? Anyway, to answer the question, I've thought about getting the Bullseye Pee Pads, because my dog is going through a phase where she pees on the floor every single day, within minutes of coming in from outside. Stupid dog.
Was the Ove Glove ever an infomercial? If so, I own two of them and would buy more. So much better than old school hotpads. I'll never forget the day I found out that they weren't steam-proof, though. Quite a bit of pain involved in that situation. Seems like Mr. T was the "celebrity help" for some kind of cooking product at some point... I guess maybe I would have been close to buying that because Mr. T.
I've never been spurred to by things from infomercials. This may be because I'm fairly confident in my ability to chop vegetables or cook and egg or what have you. I sort of feel like I'm not a true American since I haven't done this.
Teach me about NHL during the mailbag
Here's what you should know about hockey: Take the little puck and score it in the goal. Hit the players on the other team. Pick a fight with somebody if you need to get your team's blood flowing. If you cheer for a team from the north, use that as an excuse to feel superior to fans of southern teams, even though the game is played indoors. Bonus douche points if you ever utter the phrase "original six" to signify anything meaningful.
I have a mostly passing interest in hockey. I know that it has its roots in Canada which means that it must be timed in some sort of metric time that I don't understand. Seems weird. I think it probably had its origins in a failed ice fishing trip if I had to guess. "Ooh. This is kind of cold out here, hey, and the fish aren't aboot to bite. We've got to move around, right Gord?" Anyway, I have nothing to teach so I will insert a video of goalies fighting. I've started this at the 1:00 mark of the video. Notice how the ref gives up and just folds his arms to watch. Any sport that allows that can't be all bad. Perhaps Steven Taylor would have a future here?
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/vJlCdIOWkYM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
I love hockey and recommend that anyone new to the sport not go to an NHL game, but rather a junior hockey game. You are guaranteed to see a fight or three, it's cheaper, and more than likely they run a 50/50 drawing so there's a chance you walk out ahead on the deal. It's fast paced, there's hitting, fighting, amazing athletic ability, and then you remember they're on ice and doing all of this on skates. Hockey is probably most notable for the fact that despite being invented by Canadians, it's been two decades since a Canadian team won a Stanley Cup. I would laugh at this more, except that I'm a Canucks fan and, as much as everyone hated that 2010-11 team, I wanted them to win it all. That Canucks team was probably among the least likable teams in sports history for a variety of reasons. They were arrogant, did cheap shots, Alex Burrows bit a dude. It was one of those situations where you know the team is full of jackasses, but you say, "they're our jackasses!" and it makes it better.
(ED Note: I don't think we really answered Callum's question, but whatevs. Hockey!)
When everyone is healthy, who should automatically return to the
Starting XI and who should work for it?
I really wanted to make a case for several players as automatic starters, but truly, it's Tim Krul and Daryl Janmaat. There are a couple of other players that are close to that status for me - Coloccini, Sissoko, and Colback come to mind - but I can see scenarios where resting them is a good choice. Everybody else should have to fight for their jobs.