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Lee Clark: Reality of Deadline Day; Exciting Newcastle attack; Matty Longstaff?

I've been heavily involved in transfer deadline day during my management career. It's a hectic time for everybody involved, no less than the managers themselves.

There have been times, when the deadlines used to be at midnight, I've left my offices at Huddersfield or Birmingham at 8pm thinking nothing more was going to happen, then on the journey home a deal appears from nowhere.

Whether that's a deal to get a player out or a player in and you're driving back to the office to try and be there and you have to do certain things that you wouldn't normally do, such as get the paperwork faxed to the players' home or the agents home because there's no time to do it between the two clubs, or medicals wherever the player is based because you haven't got time to get them to your football club.

We've had to do medicals when a player is travelling up and they might ring up and say they're caught in traffic and the club will say where are you and then call the nearest hospital to them where they've got contacts because the doctors and medical teams at the football clubs have got so many contacts around the country in terms of specialists and other doctors in hospital to get things done.

And that's the reason why deals these days can get done so quickly. It doesn't surprise me when I see so many deals happen at the last minute as they did on Thursday night.

It's not being able to rest and it's not thinking your work is done even if you're 99 per cent sure it has. You've gone home before the windows shut because everything's gone quiet and then all of a sudden bang things just start to tumble because there's a domino effect somewhere else and effects you.

The problem is a lot of people think and fans think that when teams are doing last minute deals, they're thinking they're panic buying, doing this because it's last minute.

But actually these deals have been in the works for weeks and what happens is the other clubs will try and hold out for something else and all of a sudden they decide to go ahead with the deal, so it might appear like it's last minute but it's not always the case.

You know what you need and you've got a list of them and you're working your way down and you might have a couple of maybes in there so you can't move onto the next one until you've got a definite answer for your number one target or number two target so you know the specific positions that you want to buy, unless there is a real one out of the blue whose a game-changer for you in terms of one you weren't earmarking that position but if you get a type of player who can change the whole dynamics of your group then that's the difference.

But certainly most of the time you know who you're targeting and what you're doing. It's an exciting time but it is definitely stressful as well.


I'm excited by the acquisitions Newcastle have made because they've brought players in with power, pace and energy.

Steve has predominately been a manager who likes to play the 3-5-2 system and in preseason he's used that system with Miguel Almiron and Joelinton as his front two. What that tells me is that you've got a front two with unbelievable pace and power.

In Joelinton you've got someone who can hold the ball up and be an aerial threat but the two of them can also run in behind. They've got an asset that defenders hate at any level which is real genuine pace and in preseason they've combined really well. I think that all Almiron needs is some kind of goal. Whether he trips up and kicks one in, scuffs one in the net luckily, someone kicks a ball and hits him in the face and goes in, any kind of goal, because I think once that happens he'll be up and running. Joelinton has scored a couple in preseason already and Alain Saint-Maximin also brings that same pace and power.

I think there's going to be a little bit of change in the tactics from Rafa Benitez and that's normal when a new manager comes in. So it'll be exciting to see how the season starts against Arsenal who themselves have been very active in the transfer window as well.

What will happen on Sunday at St. James', the fans who are there, and there's talk of not being a full house. No-one knows what the end game will be in terms of attendance. But once the game kicks-off what I do know is that the people inside the stadium, and even the ones who don't go for whatever reason, they'll be sitting there on the TV's supporting the team, they'll be supporting the manager and his staff, because ultimately they want their club to do well, they want their team and their players and their managers to do well, they don't want them to fail.

So whatever else is going on, you know as a player that they are going to get the support of the fans. They'll just get their heads down and move forward and try and get the right result. It's not going to be easy.

For a club that doesn't affect the top-end of the table, it's a club that everyone likes to talk about, it's a club that's on everyone's lips, there's a lot of interest in the club.

And it's kept it's love from people because of the amount of support it gets, it's phenomenal really to think that the stadiums always full, I mean there's talk that this weekend that it could be the first time in a long-time that its not going to be in the Premier League and that's why they're saying it could make an impact.


As I've wrote previously about Sean, I've been aware of Matty for a long time. Matty's a different player to Sean in that he's a smaller version, very aggressive and loves to get around people.

But he also has great ability and I've got no doubt he can make a huge impact. I think he's made such a strong impact in preseason that there's a strong chance he could be on the bench against Arsenal on the weekend.

I think what Steve has to decide is how close do they think he is to breaking into starting XI, because if they think he's still a little bit away what'll be really strong and a good thing would be for him to take the same route as his brother Sean and go out and get on loan and build a number of games to get experience.

If he thinks he's still some time away, because he's still really young, then you can't deny him that opportunity to get out on loan. U23 football is probably not Matty's aim anymore. It'll be a loan move. Possibly SPFL like Sean or a Championship club to then re-assess in January and see where he is. I think there will be no harm in him doing the same route as what Sean did that's for sure.


Blyth has been going great, despite losing our first game narrowly 2-1. We played well and should've got something from the game after getting denied a last minute penalty. But we held our own. I'm confident for the season ahead because obviously it's a new experience for a lot of the players and I and my staff as well, I'm really looking forward to it.

It's great being back on the training pitch and coaching these players, they're a really good bunch of lads, who are really young and willing to learn. A lot of them haven't played at the level before and their reaction has been great.

We've also signed Newcastle's Nathan Harker, who is a very, very good goalkeeper. He was excellent on his debut last weekend and I thought he was terrific in every aspect of his goalkeeping. We're delighted to get him on board because we had a little issue with one of our goalkeepers Mark Foden so it was imperative we got another goalkeeper signed and Newcastle came up trumps for us.

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Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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