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'Madness, crazy': Shearer fleeces Newcastle United over Melbourne trek

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20th May, 2024

Newcastle United’s post-season trip to Australia has been described as “madness” and “crazy” by club legend Alan Shearer, the former England captain.

The Magpies headed for the airport as soon as they finished their English Premier League campaign on Sunday at Brentford’s west London stadium, conveniently less than ten miles from Heathrow Airport. 

If that was a short trip the journey that followed was anything but, a near-24 hour flight to Melbourne where Newcastle will face Tottenham at the MCG on Wednesday. That’s followed by Friday’s match at Marvel Stadium against an A-League All Star side.

Many of the players involved will have to report for international duty not long after they return home and Shearer said on the BBC’s Match of the Day highlights programme: “Can you imagine if you’re a player who is playing in either the Copa America or Euro 2024 having to do that? Madness. Crazy.”

The Premier League’s all-time record goalscorer, who later managed hometown club Newcastle, added: “I wouldn’t be happy at all. It’s crazy for Newcastle to go and play Spurs there on Wednesday night and then another game.”

Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier, who is expected to be in England’s Euros squad, had already said: “It’s not ideal because it’s a tournament year. I understand why the club are doing it. I’ve done it at Tottenham and (Atletico) Madrid but from my own experience of it, in a tournament year it’s not ideal.”

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has said he will rotate players and use all the 29-man travelling party – which includes Australia’s Garang Kuol – across the two games.


A number of notable players were not travelling, mainly through injury. New England cap Anthony Gordon missed out for that reason along with Fabien Schar, Sven Botman, Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock  and Jamaal Lascalles. 

Italy’s Sandro Tonali did not make the trip as he is serving a 10-month ban for betting on matches while goalkeepers Martin Dubravka and Loris Karius are set for moves away from the club. 

As a result many little-known youngsters will get playing time alongside international stars such as Trippier, Bruno Guimares and Alexander Isak. 

“It is difficult if you are just going on holiday, let alone playing so soon after landing. That will be the trickiest thing for us,” said coach Eddie Howe.

Tottenham have been more relaxed about their trip, in part due to having an Australian coach in Ange Postecoglou who will be returning home to Melbourne, but mainly due to having had a less-demanding season.

Postecoglou said: “Our situation is a bit different from Newcastle’s. They’ve had a European season, Champions League, it’s been a big season. We haven’t.


“I certainly wouldn’t have allowed it to happen if we were in Europe this year and had a bigger game schedule. I probably would have said no to it.

“And I don’t think the club would have expected us to go. If we’re in Europe next year, I don’t think you’ll be seeing this happen.

“I don’t think it’s ideal. But I think each situation is unique. For us, on the back of our season, to play one more game two days after the end of the season, there is substance to it for us.”

Spurs are also missing players through injury, notably Richarlison, Destiny Udogie, Christian Romero and Pierre-Emile Hojberg, plus Timo Werner who is getting married. 

But skipper Son Heung-min will nevertheless lead a strong party that features all but Argentine World Cup winner Romero of the 11 starters in Sunday’s 3-0 win at Sheffield United.