Newcastle United players cancel Christmas party to focus on Premier League relegation fight

Updated: 14/04/2024

Newcastle could be in danger of losing its reputation as a party city following the decision – for the second year in a row – of Newcastle United players not to hold a Christmas night out.

Led by club captain, Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle’s players had been planning a Christmas celebration after tomorrow’s Premier League match at Huddersfield.

But last Sunday’s late loss to Wolves via Matt Doherty’s goal in the fifth minute of injury time sickened the players as well as the crowd. The defeat left Newcastle three points above the relegation zone with just three wins all season.

‘Right thing to do'

“Last year they cancelled the party because they knew, they realised it was not the right thing to do,” said manager Rafa Benitez, “and this year it has been exactly the same.

“When I was talking to Jamaal, I said: ‘If something is wrong, you have to realise.’ I think he was quite sensible.”

Newcastle were one place worse off after 16 games last season and though they had two points more, they were in a run of eight defeats in nine matches. Benitez said then that the players “want to give a very clear message that they care”, and he said something similar today.

‘The fans will appreciate it'

“They wanted to do it because it is a tradition for some players, especially in England. But I think they have been quite good and I think the fans will appreciate that they are just focused.

“Hopefully we will not lose [at Huddersfield], touch wood. If everything is right, fine, still they will not do anything – or at least not that I know.

“And if something is wrong, still it is the same. They are quite responsible.”

Benitez, meanwhile, refused to comment on takeover speculation. Peter Kenyon, the former Manchester United and Chelsea executive, has held talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley. Given Ashley’s unpopularity, a January sale would no doubt restore Newcastle’s party image.

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