Miles Starforth's diary in Spain: Warm jackets, cold temperatures and an off-key performance

There was a chill wind blowing at the Pinatar Arena this afternoon.

Sunday, 18th March 2018, 8:02 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th March 2018, 8:10 pm
Newcastle in action at the Pinatar Arena

Admittedly, the temperature in Murcia, Spain, was far higher than that back home on a snowy Tyneside.

But it was still cold.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The players had been hoping for some warm weather training, but there wasn’t too much shirtsleeve weather during Newcastle United’s four days in Spain.

It was cold, wet and windy at times.

And the club’s kit man went to find some warm jackets midway through yesterday’s game against Royal Antwerp, though the journalists sat behind the dugout at the 3,500-capacity stadium didn’t get any extra layers for the 135-minute game.

Karl Darlow – who wasn’t involved because of a shoulder problem – gratefully accepted a jacket, while Islam Slimani, also injured, watched the game with his hood up.

A few hundred Newcastle fans watched the game, which had been arranged after the club was left with a 21-day fixture break.

The team spent four days in Spain.

If the players had been hoping to spend some time by the pool at their base in Algorfa, they will have been disappointed.

Still, they were able to relax and play golf when they weren’t on the training pitch.

The break should have done the squad some good, both in terms of fitness and camaraderie.

Striker Slimani, signed on loan from Leicester City in January, and 19-year-old goalkeeper Nathan Harker had their initiations during a team night out in Torrevieja.

They had to stand up and sing in front of their team-mates.

Thanks to social media posts from players, their efforts were watched by fans.

It wasn’t long before a few white hankercheifs were being waved by Slimani’s team-mates.

Let’s just hope that Slimani, not a gifted singer, fares better when he finally takes to the field for Newcastle.