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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
  Newcastle Thoughts...
Going into the midweek match against Man City there isn't a whole lot of positives, but here's a little optimism...

- The injury situation appears to be getting better, certainly the hamstring situation, we've had NO new hamstring problems since moving to that new ground, we're just waiting for Dyer and Moore to recover and they've both started training again this week.
- Emre and Parker are back, and this is key... While Bowyer and Clarke and good squad players and I'd prefer to have them in the middle than some Reserve or Academy players, they aren't world beaters and struggle to get a hold on a game or play a pass that will make a difference.
- Chopra's goal will have given him some confidence and with Ameobi and Luque fit, Souness really has some options up front now, and this hasn't been the case for much of the season.
- Our FA Cup draw (Home v. Southampton), is excellent, we have a really good chance of going to the next round, and with Liverpool v Man United, there's another of the big team's who will be out, so we continue to have a chance of advancing... Owen will be back by April, so if we can just keep getting lucky in the draw, once he's back, anything can happen!

Ok now for the bad news...
- We haven't strengthened during the transfer window... Many expected Bowyer would be off to London, but it appears that his history has finally caught up with him and not too many clubs are interested... It appears Souness spent his cash during the summer and with no realistic chance of Europe next year, the chairman has kept the purse strings tightly shut, which is probably a wise choice, especially with Souness' long term future in doubt.
- The press are 100% against us these days, they cannot wait to get Souness out the door. I understand that Souness has refused to speak with the Evening Chronicle and so they are all over him, and I've read that even Sky made the 'protests' of a few hundred people (from a home crowd of 50,000) seem larger than they were... Without a suitable candidate in the wings, and without a sizable transfer budget, what good would a new manager do for us now? I think Souness has a good point regarding this injury list, this is finally clearing up, let's see what the team does over the next 3 or 4 matches, hopefully they'll start to gel, start to pick-up some results, start to get some confidence back, this will translate to the fans, and it's a positive, upward cycle.
- I watched the FA Cup match v Cheltenham this weekend, and I thought Newcastle played relatively well, and yet when I read the press reports afterwards it was like they'd watched another game, going on about what a torrid time Cheltenham's striker gave Boumsong, he didn't score did he??

Anyhow, that's all for now...

HOWAY THE LADS!
 
Saturday, January 28, 2006
  Newcastle defeat Cheltenham Town
Well it wasn't as emphatic a win as I would have liked, but Newcastle put on a fairly professional display, and in my eyes didn't have too much trouble dispensing of Cheltenham Town... Of course their long ball approach and the play of their muscular striker provided a few anxious moments, but all in all, I think Newcastle won pretty comfortably, I don't think the scoreline was flattering.

I was very pleased to see Parker and Emre back from injury, Emre came on as a second half substitute and was busy as usual, always wanting to get on the ball, making himself available, tricky dribbling, and not afraid to shoot.

Shearer was unlucky, he almost got to a great N'Zogbia cross to notch his 201st, but it wasn't to be...

I was planning to watch the match at home on Pay-Per-View, as the Viewer's Choice web site had an FA Cup package with 4 matches on their website, but scrolled through all the digital channels and no luck... So I ended up getting a stream off of PPLive and just watched the match on the PC with Chinese commentary...
 
Sunday, January 15, 2006
  Citeh wins Derby!
That's the way back to Portugal you little fucking cunt!
Watching this match today made my f*cking day!

City win 3-1, and the whiny little biatch Cristiano Ronaldo gets sent off... Absolutely beautiful... I haven't enjoyed watching a match this much in quite a while... It's bizarre, but in some ways I actually enjoy watching Man United lose more than I enjoy watching Newcastle win! Ha!

I'm downloading a copy of the match and plan to burn it to DVD, so I can watch it to cheer myself up when the Toon lose (which they did again today...)
 
Friday, January 13, 2006
  BBC NEWS | Blues kick red sauce into touch
BBC NEWS England Manchester Blues kick red sauce into touch

Funny little article on how Man City have banned RED SAUCE (Ketchup) from their Stadium for this weekend's Derby vs. Man United.
 
  John Nicholson - I'm Falling Out of Love with Boro Slappers
Another brilliant piece by John Nicholson, check out...
- Football365.com
 
Monday, January 09, 2006
  Mr. Two Hundred


He's done it!

On Saturday, in Newcastle's FA Cup match versus Mansfield Town, Shearer banged in goal number 200 for Newcastle, equaling Jackie Milburn's record.

It's no suprise really, once Shearer had decided to stick around for another year, no one doubted he'd reach (and now inevitably surpass) Jackie's record.

It was a very important goal too! 10 minutes to go, it was still nil-nil... Phew!

I watched the match highlights on Match of the Day tonight, it's actually a neat little goal. Bramble does well to win the ball out wide, plays it inside to Nobby who advances, slides a neat through ball to Luque, which takes him too wide for a shot so he back heels it, the ball essentially STOPS just outside the 6 yard box, and Alan jumps on it, fires it far post...

Check out the BBC's VIRTUAL REPLAY! (How cool is this??)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/virtualreplay/premiership/index.shtml?148251

Queue the fans! Too bad it wasn't a full house, but I think in the end about 40,000 showed up, so I'm sure there was a decent roar!

To get some comparison, take a look at Andy Cole's 9 year stay at Man United, he scored just over 100 goals, and I'm sure you could argue he had a hell of a lot better service than Alan has had! How about Robbie Fowler at Liverpool? from 1993 to 2001, ~ 120 goals... Neither one are close to the consistency that Shearer has shown...

He is a LIVING LEGEND...

Here's a shot of Al and I, back in 2000 when we hung out after Newcastle's friendly with DC United...

 
Thursday, January 05, 2006
  WebForm1
Here's a little web page that screen scrapes the current EPL table from somewhere and compares it to the predictions made at the beginning of the season by myself and friends Richard, Steve and Joe... Calculates points based on accuracy, lowest point # is best:EPL Prediction Table 05/06
 
  Hello Football Fans
Greeting & salutations all.

I'm the latest addition to the geekyfootball writing team. My name is Steve Edwardson and I will be posting regular articles with my very opinionated view of Newcastle United and the football world as a whole. I regularly follow most of the " Major League" football associations (Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Scotland and of coarse England), as well as what's going on in South America.

The first of these articles will be posted next week.

Until then, keep the ale flowing!

Steve
 
  Souness Defiant!
I wouldn't have been suprised if I'd checked the soccer news this morning and seen that Souness had been sacked. There were some pretty compelling stories being floated around, including on www.nufc.com, but he's survived another day at least.

He spoke to Sky, here's the text of his article, and he's got some very good arguments... I think it's unfair to judge Souness based on the results this year. The simple facts are that INJURIES have been the single most imporant factor. We've had 5-8 players out injured almost consistently this whole season. I doubt that Souness has been able to field his strongest 11 ONCE this year.

Take a look at Arsenal, Henry has missed a few games, they're stretched at left full back with Cole and Clichy out, and of course losing Viera, and they're only 8 points ahead of us! If someone had asked you before the season, if you'd be satisfied being 8 points back of Arsenal after the Christmas period you've have taken it! Sure this is a bit of a lowest common demoninator approach, but are there calls to sack Wenger? No, because people have confidence that he'll get it right... Why not give Souness an opportunity to do that...?

Sky Sports - The Best Sport Coverage From Around The World
 
  Rubberneckers....
Rubberneckers drive me nuts.... Was flying into the office today, traffic still light because so many people have taken the week off, and then it gets all backed up on Gardiner around Park Lawn... Why? There was an accident and some emergency vehicles in the Eastbound lanes, and everyone is slowing down to take a look. Let me ask you, of all the accidents that you've driven past, when you slow down and take a look, do you EVER seen anything interesting? I haven't So I kept my eyes firmly peeled to the car ahead of me (and watched the driver slow down and take a look)... Next time there's an accident on the side of the road, don't look, just drive by, then click this link below the next time you're in front of a PC and you can get your fill of images of smashed automobiles! Grrr....
car crash - Google Image Search
 
  NUFC Electronic Programmes
NUFC Electronic Programmes

This is pretty cool, and something that I hadn't been aware of before. Newcastle offers an electronic edition of the their 'Black & White' match-day programme online... I think I'll pick one up this weekend and see what's going on. Despite the tons of soccer news outlets, the programmes do offer more indepth interviews and stuff and make then worth the read... In addition to being a nice souveneir...
 
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
  New... Year, New...castle, Same old Woe...
The good news, got to watch 3 Newcastle matches over the 'festive' period...

Away to Liverpool
Away to Tottenham
Home to Middlesbrough

Unfortunately we only picked up 1 point (2-2 Draw w/ Boro), and unfortunately more injuries... Some thoughts...

On Souness... I have mixed feelings on this one. It's so easy to be frustrated by results and want to put the blame somewhere, and with such a big squad it's hard to blame just one or two players for bad results, so the next logical option is to blame the manager... He signs the players, he picks the team, he decides the tactics, he's the one who's supposed to motivate the players... I hated Souness before he became the Newcastle manager... I was absolutely destraught when I heard he'd taken over... How could I cope with this? How can this happen? Anyhow, overtime, I got over my dislike of him... I listened to a few one hour interviews he did on the BBC and he sounds like an intelligent, likeable, mature, strong willed character. I agree with some of the outbound transfers he's made (Robert, Bellamy), but disagree with others (Aaron Hughes), I like some of the inbound transfers (Owen, Parker, Solano), but question others (Luque, Boumsong, Moore)... No doubt we've had absolutely HORRENDOUS bad luck with injuries, we've been near the top of the EPL injury table all season, only Sunderland seem to be worse off than us... We've typically had between 5-8 players out... What is most frustrating is the lack of consistency and I think much of that blame must go on Souness, also his tactics... I don't think I've seen Nobby get to the byline once since he's been back, he's constantly playing inside, tucked in just behind the right striker, leaving the crossing up to Ramage (who's played well, but is actually a centre half, so his crossing isn't great). It may be a valid argument that Souness has to go, but the more difficult question is WHO comes in? Also, Souness has spent upwards of £50 million to assemble his team, so there won't be money for a new manager to make changes, so where does that leave us? And if we don't have a top, top manager who wants the job, then will we be in a better situation?

On Parker... He's been absolute class, definitely one of the best signings of recent years, he's got fire, energy, commitment, great tackler, great passer, gets from end to end, and has been able to stay pretty fit.

On Given... He looks more and more frustrated during games... He makes matching winning saves, but is sold out by his defenders... I won't be suprised if he leaves in the summer...

On N'Zogbia... A very, very talented young man... If he's fit, he should start on the left. He's got incredible skill on the ball, he's direct, runs at defenders, not afraid to shoot. I think he can grow into a very tidy player for us.

On Luque... Unfortunately Luque is really struggling to handle the premiership... He's been injured almost constantly, and has only started to play over the last few matches... Out on the left he has looked completely useless, he's like a new version of Robert. He gets the ball, attempts to get past a defender, fails to and then does nowt to try to regain possession, incredibly frustrating. In Monday's match v Middlesbrough he played up front with Shearer and actually played not too bad, got caught offside WAY too many times, but at least was getting involved in play and was a little unlucky 2 minutes in when he rounded the keeper, but couldn't finish from a tight angle. I'm hoping with a few more matches under his belt he'll get some confidence and start to deliver, cuz he cost £8.5m and with Owen and now Ameobi injured Shearer needs a decent strike partner, and I've given up on Chopra.

On the rest of the Season... While I'd still LOVE to finish top 6 and be in Europe next season, I'm afraid the team will continue to disappoint and we'll be lucky to finish in the top half of the table... I doubt we'll make it to the FA Cup final, probably getting knocked out by Birmingham or something like that... It's a shame that Shearer's last season will end trophyless, but perhaps they'll prove me wrong!
 
A blog by 2 slightly obsessive Newcastle & Toronto FC Supporters, adopted Geordies, living in Ontario, Canada. Howay the Lads!

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