Saturday, 18 May 2013

New site

From now on I will be posting on rather than this site.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Integration time after safety secured

Well that wasn't expected. I'm feeling rather reflective but for entirely the wrong reasons. Following Newcastle United there should be a disclaimer everyone must sign acknowledging that they know it won't be an easy ride and this season it's been no exception.

But we're safe. We live to fight another day and we'll come back next season stronger. We couldn't possibly get any worse that's for sure. With a full pre-season under the belts of the full squad I'm confident we'll be an exciting prospect next year. The new signings will hopefully develop the form that they showed to convince us to sign them and the likes of Tiote and Cabaye - assuming he stays - find their feet once again. Pardew has a talented squad at his disposal and he needs to make the most of this summer. I've labelled Pardew tactically inept in the past and I hope he uses this summer to experiment with new formations, try out partnerships and to practise bloody corners. Hopefully the board has a few transfer targets in their sights, if we are to sign anybody I hope that it is wrapped up early so that we could integrate them also. Ashley isn't a fool, he won't make the same mistake twice. He'll strengthen. We've come to close to the drop this season to make everybody in black and white wake up. 

We've got winners in our side. Ben Arfa, Yanga-Mbiwa, Debuchy, Cabaye, Anita and Tiote have all won titles around Europe. We need to play a strong sides in cup competitions even if it is against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Look at Swansea and Wigan, I want some of that. 

I envisage us starting slowly as Newcastle tend to do before results start to pick up. We need to turn St James' back into what it was last season where only Chelsea, West Brom and Manchester City picked up 3 points as well as picking up points on the road. Newcastle fans deserve better and I'm not just saying that to be romantic, they truly one of the best supporters in the league. 

As for Pardew I'm assuming Ashley will stick by his man. If he is replaced I'll welcome it, if he stays I'll try my best to back him even if I really don't want to. Howay the lads, howay Pardew.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Season changing incidents

Sunday 17th March. I remember it well, it was my first away game supporting Newcastle United and I was ridiculously excited.

I remember the game vividly. From Debuchy's disallowed goal; the incidents pre-match; Beusajour's opener; Carver's scuffle; McManaman's tackle; Santon's equaliser and Kone's winner which secured all 3 points for the Latics. I've never been so angry at a football match and never witnessed as much injustice in one match.

For starters, there was McManaman's horror tackle on Massadio Haidara. It was high, it was reckless, it was dangerous and it should've resulted in a red card. Mark Halsey did not give the lad his marching orders as he claimed to have not seen the incident. Fair enough. His assistant however had and did nothing about it. This act of incompetence meant that young Haidara was writhing in agony and the lad who had injured him had escaped without a yellow card to his name. What infuriated me the most was the ignorance of the Football Association who decided not to intervene out of their own stubbornness. Less than two months later, the FA intervened to punish Luis Suarez for biting Branislav Ivanovic. The correct form of action without a doubt. There double standards seem to be sending out a message. You're allowed to attempt to break someone's leg but biting is unacceptable. If the lad was punished like the media and fans demanded then he would have sat out Wigan's next 3 games. He would've sat out the FA cup semi final vs Milwall. Instead he went on to score guaranteeing a spot at Wembley.

As well as this, Kone's winner was quite clearly handball. It was visible from the away end -at the opposite end to the incident - and from first viewing on television. How can the referee and the linesman fail to see something so obvious. Was it not suspicious that every Toon player in the penalty area appealed simultaneously? Confidence is pivotal in football. The fortuitous win spurred them to defeat Norwich in their next game whereas the defeat hampered NUFC's chances of survival. I said pre kick off at the DW that whoever won would stay up and I'm praying that doesn't come back to bite me in the arse.

If Wigan stay up at Newcastle's expense I will be angry. Of course it's purely hypothetical but doesn't mean it's not a vaild point. I recall Michael Owen having a goal disallowed for United in relegation season in 08.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

One change too many?

On Monday night, Gary Neville played devil's advocate and offered an alternative view on Newcastle's lack of success this season. Do Newcastle United have a few too many continental players or is it Pardew's inability/stubbornness to change his tactics that have failed him thus far?

Tactically, Pardew has been shambolic. At the back end of last season, Newcastle went on a run of a form which saw them blitz everyone and everything in their path securing six wins in succession. Furthermore this was all whilst using the 4-3-3 formation which accommodated Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and the creative input of Hatem Ben Arfa into a devastating attack. Chelsea, West Brom and Swansea were beaten away and Liverpool were beaten at home in hilarious circumstances. Pardew could do no wrong even when we succumbed to an embarrassing defeat away at Wigan.

However, this season I don't know what sport Newcastle have been playing. I'm unfamiliar with this long ball technique Pardew has employed that sees the ball launched up to Papiss Cisse on his own? It doesn't work. It won't ever work. Pardew reverted to a 4-4-2 formation at the start of the season in order to satisfy Ba's desire to play in the middle. That decision was suicidal and cowardly by Pardew, no player is bigger than the club and no player should have the right to influence a manager's decision. Ba justified his argument by scoring nearly all of Newcastle's goals at the start of the season but his selfishness cost Newcastle dearly. It cost them when he demanded to be moved into the middle and when he jumped ship in January.

Papiss Cisse is a goalscorer. He is paid to score goals. Pass the ball in the box to him and he will probably score. So why didn't we do this? Pardew's man management has been very poor, he admitted that the two could not play together so why didn't he have the bottle to drop one or sign another striker in the summer? Why persist for twelve months? Answers on a flippin' post card please! When Ba did depart, Pardew reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation which with our players should suit us. However, the form of our players has been dire, players such as Tiote has seemingly lost the ability to pass and Coloccini has looked a shadow of the enforcer he was last season which won him a place in the PFA team of the year. Pardew's ineptness tactically has made the toon suffer. Playing players such as Gutierrez at left back on derby day was suicidal, playing Sissoko in centre attacking midfield when he is a centre defensive midfielder is idiotic and playing Shola on the wing earlier in the season was pathetic. Play the players in the right positions Alan and we might have a chance of actually winning a game!

Since the arrival of the french imports, Newcastle improved gradually and put together a decent string of results. However, the last few games have been utterly shambolic from a United point of view. Losing a home derby to Sunderland is inexcusable and in the manner we did, sackable. Losing to Liverpool 0-6 at home is inexcusable and in the manner we did, sackable. Finding ourselves in the relegation fight is disheartening. We deserve to be there on the standard of football and inability to see games out. But when you compare NUFC's squad to the teams in and around them it's laughable. Do the players  know what football means to geordies, to this city? Perhaps Gary Neville was right.

The only way they can prove they do know is by staying up and starting next season in style. If we fail? God help us.