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Tuesday, April 25, 2006
  World Cup Rules for Wives
Extremely important advice and recommendations to be passed on to wives, girlfriends, fiancés, mothers, sisters, daughters, etc. (to all women in general) These rules are to be communicated prior to the World Cup in June/July this year...

LIST OF RULES

1. From 9 June to 9 July 2006, you should read the sports section of the newspaper so that you are aware of what is going on regarding the World Cup, and that way you will be able to join in the conversations. If you fail to do this, then you will be looked at in a bad way, or you will be totally ignored. DO NOT complain about not receiving any attention.

2. During the World Cup, the television is mine, at all times, without any exceptions. If you even take a glimpse of the remote control, you will lose it (your eye).

3. If you have to pass by in front of the TV during a game, I don't mind, as long as you do it crawling on the floor and without distracting me. If you decide to stand nude in front of the TV, make sure you put clothes on right after because if you catch a cold, I wont have time to take you to the doctor or look after you during the World Cup month.

4. During the games I will be blind, deaf and mute, unless I require a refill of my drink or something to eat. You are out of your mind if you expect me to listen to you, open the door, answer the telephone, or pick up the baby that just fell from the second floor....it wont happen.

5. It would be a good idea for you to keep at least 2 six packs in the fridge at all times, as well as plenty of things to nibble on, and please do not make any funny faces to my friends when they come over to watch the games. In return, you will be allowed to use the TV between 12am and 6am, unless they replay a good game that I missed during the day.

6. Please, please, please!! if you see me upset because one of my teams is losing, DO NOT say "get over it, its only a game", or "don't worry, they'll win next time". If you say these things, you will only make me angrier and I will love you less. Remember, you will never ever know more about football than me and your so called "words of encouragement" will only lead to a break up or divorce.

7. You are welcome to sit with me to watch one game and you can talk to me during halftime but only when the commercials are on, and only if the halftime score is pleasing me. In addition, please note I am saying "one" game, hence do not use the World Cup as a nice cheesy excuse to "spend time together".

8. The replays of the goals are very important. I don't care if I have seen them or I haven't seen them, I want to see them again. Many times.

9. Tell your friends NOT to have any babies, or any other child related parties or gatherings that requires my attendance because: a) I will not go, b) I will not go, and c) I will not go.

10. But, if a friend of mine invites us to his house on a Sunday to watch a game, we will be there in a flash.

11. The daily World Cup highlights show on TV every night is just as important as the games themselves. Do not even think about saying "but you have already seen this...why don't you change the channel to something we can all watch??", the reply will be: "Refer to Rule #2 of this list".

12. And finally, please save your expressions such as "Thank God the World Cup is only every 4 years". I am immune to these words, because after this comes the Champions League, Italian League, Spanish League, Premier League, etc etc.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Regards,

Men of the World
 
Monday, April 24, 2006
  Hail Roeder - Comparison of 05-06 Results versus Graeme Souness

I read this weekend that in Glenn Roeder's time as caretaker manager this season, he'd amassed more points than Graeme Souness. At first I couldn't believe it, so I dove into some stats and it's true, here's the details:


Comparions of Premiership Results
Grame Souness v Glenn Roeder


Newcastle under Souness
P W D L Pts

23 7 5 11 26
(10 Matches at Home)

Newcastle under Roeder
P W D L Pts
13 9 1 3 28
(8 Matches at Home)

So there it is, what does that tell you? Here's another thing which I think makes the stats even more compelling... Remember how much Souness moaned about injuries and how he was missing Michael Owen for much of the matches... Well Roeder has picked up his 28 points without being able to field Owen even ONCE! I looked back at the lineups for the 23 matches this season that Souness was in charge for, and if you look at the results W/O it is absolutely frightening:

Newcastle under Souness w/o Owen
P W D L Pts
13 1 4 8 7

That's relegation form! The *ONLY* match we won while Souness was in charge w/o Michael Owen in the team was at home versus Sunderland!!! What does that tell you!? If theses stats held true and Souness WASN'T sacked, and only picked up 7 points in the 13 games, we'd be on 35 points at the moment and be in the relegation fight with Portsmouth and Birmingham... But instead we're sitting in 7th place, potentially 6th if Blackburn lose their next match... Startling and scary stats!

Ok, so the facts are what they are, but what is Roeder doing differently, what other changes have occurred to result in this transformation?

Keiron Dyer has been available for a handful of games, but he's been injured more often than not. Craig Moore has come into the team and done fairly well, but Stephen Taylor was available for a good chunk of the first half of the season and I think he's comparible. Roeder has barely used Luque at all, so no difference there...

I think the key difference in watching the games is Newcastle's rediscovered ability to attack and create chances. I don't think Souness really understood how to structure the team to attack. With Souness in charge, Solano was more frequent than not floating inside as opposed to getting out wide, we lacked width and weren't getting crosses into the box. By stretching defenses we seem to be opening them up and creating chances and taking them... We've scored 15 goals in our last 5 premiership matches! Funny since Roeder was a defender in his playing days...

With just 2 games left we're still in with a good chance of a European spot, either by finishing 6th and getting a UEFA, or 7th and getting Intertoto. I'll be absolutely ecstatic if we get either, but will be quite disappointed after now getting so close if we fall away and end up 8th... If that's the case, though, then next season will be all amount domestic affairs, and perhaps we can grab the League Cup or something... But I'd really like the team to be in Europe next year, it's so much fun and it's where Newcastle belong to be...
 
Friday, April 21, 2006
  NewsNow: World Cup Coverage
NewsNow: World Cup Coverage

This is excellent, this is by far my favorite new aggregator, and they've built a World Cup page now, with all new articles grouped by the Groups and Hot Topics and stuff, very cool!
 
Thursday, April 20, 2006
  Get Involved, Name Toronto's MLS Team
Thanks to Steve for this Article...

Toronto's newest professional franchise is looking for a name.
The city's Major League Soccer team, scheduled to begin play in 2007, is asking fans for their input on what the team should be called.

Here's the shortlist:

Toronto FC
Inter Toronto FC
Toronto Northmen FC
Toronto Nationals
Toronto Reds

Read More: TSN.ca - Generic - Canada's Sports Leader

Or Vote for your favorite:

https://www.torontoprosoccer.com
 
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
  fbtz is dead...

Unfortunately, one of my favorite sites - www.fbtz.com - Maxxed Football Forums has gone dark... Apparently the EPL went after them for posting links to streams & full matches so they've dropped all of that content off of their site...

Bummer, I was really enjoying grabbing Match of the Day (MOTD) each weekend...

However, some googling around found this alternate Torrent site:

http://www.torrentportal.com

Where I was able to get MOTD, seems it's posted regularly, so that'll do for now! If you find any other good Football-related Torrent sites, please comment! Thanks!
 
  Derby Victory - Brilliant!
Awesome victory versus Sunderland on Saturday, here's some links to enjoy:

First off, get more great pictures like this from the game at the Yahoo Photo Gallery...

http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/ph/fo_newcastle_p.html

Ready to buy a few glossy 10"x15"'s?
http://www.nufcpics.com/pics_1944/Sunderland_away_170406.html?PHPSESSID=9249d0808d1d86b381cba5850524f38e

NUFC Pics has beautiful shots, these make great gifts! My Birthday is coming up in about 9 months...

Unfortunately this may be Shearer's last game, but what a last game! Scoring what turned out to be the winning goal via the penalty spot, classic Shearer!

The win, combined with Bolton being held by West Brom puts us 7th and just 3 points behind Blackburn... On track for the Intertoto spot, or maybe even 6th!

It'll be interesting what sort of team we're able to field against West Brom, as our treatment table begins to fill up again...
 
Monday, April 17, 2006
  Post Season Newcastle Squad Review
Ah... The final ball has been kicked, it's all over... Now what's next?

Expired Contracts:
Shearer - Legend.
Chopra - I've always had a pretty low opinion of Chopra, and while that has been softened in recent weeks as he's put himself about and shown a lot of commitment, realistically, I don't think he can hack it in the premiership, he should move on to a lower-division team and enjoy his football.
Elliot - Past it, his extraordinary lack of pace is a major problem, he's done.
Lee Clarke - A decent squad player, whether he'll feature in the first team next season is anyone's guess.

Loaners:
Milner - Hopefully he'll be back, I'll assume he will be. There have been some non-commital stories in the press from both him and his agent, elegantly sitting on the fence...
Butt - With Birmingham being relegated he's coming back, but there's no way he'll be playing for Newcastle again, so it'll just be a question of finding him another club, he might be a good signing for one of the teams coming up, give them his wealth of premiership experience.

Strikers:
Michael Owen
Shola Ameobi

Ok, so clearly this is the area that needs strengthening the most. I think we need to sign 2 more strikers, I'd say a proven premiership player, like a Robbie Keane or Defoe, perhaps Milan Baros... and then I'd suggest perhaps a more experienced, late in career player, strickly as a squad player, but someone who can come on and change a game with that little touch of brilliance, a sort of Dennis Bergkamp type... I'm concerned about Van Nistelrooy's situation at Man United, if he is available, and wants to stay in the premiership, then of course Newcastle will be a possible destination, I'd REALLY struggle to cheer for this horse-faced ass... But if he bangs them into the net, then I guess that's what matters...

Midfield:
Left: Albert Luque, N'Zogbia
Central: Emre, Parker, Bowyer, Dyer, Faye, Clarke(?)
Right: Solano, Milner

I think we're fine in Midfield, I think there's enough quality and depth, no need to invest here... If it turns out that Clarke is moving exclusively into coaching, and if Bowyer goes, then I think we potentially do need to make a signing, or decide whether Brittan, Pattison, or O'Brien are able to really step it up and be involved in the first team. Also if the new manager wants to make some changes, then I think Bowyer & Faye would potentially be the ones to move on...

Defence:
Left: Babayaro
Central: Boumsong, Bramble, Taylor, Moore
Right: Carr, Ramage

I think the full-back positions, especially left-back are the areas that need strengthening... both Yaylor and Ramage have shown a lot of versatility, but we should have some more cover there. As far as central defence goes, a I think a fit Stephen Taylor will be in the middle and Boumsong played quite well with him... Unless we can get a real quality central defender on the cheap (perhaps Matthew Upson?), there's no point bringing in more squad players, we need to improve on what we have. As far as a left-back or right-back, how about Glen Johnson who's been forgotten about completely at Chelsea? He played well enough against us this weekend...

Keeper:
Given / Harper

I don't want to see anything change here...

So overall, I think the squad is in pretty good shape... We need a couple of fullbacks and a couple of strikers and we should be good to go, I'll be happy with a 5th/6th place finish next season, perhaps challenging for 4th spot...?
 
Sunday, April 16, 2006
  Newcastle Update!
Well, so far so good... With the exception of West Ham's win over Man City this weekend, things are going according to my very positive predictions!

I actually listened to the Newcastle v Wigan match on Saturday, I bit the bullet and signed-up for Newcastle's Match Live service, there was a deal on, £7.99 until August 6th, so I can listen to the last few matches of this season, and hopefully from pre-season matches as well.

Pos / Team / Played / Pts
6 / Blackburn / 34 / 54
7 / West Ham / 34 / 49
8 / Bolton / 33 / 48
9 / Newcastle / 34 / 48
10 / Wigan / 34 / 48
11 / Everton / 34 / 45

Since the last post I've read and figured out the deal with European qualification...

- 5th-6th will be UEFA Cup spots
- 7th -would have- also been a UEFA Cup spot if the 2 finalists in the FA Cup were already in the Champions League, but since either Middlesbrough or West Ham will be up against Liverpool or Chelsea, Middlesbrough or West Ham will be the UEFA Cup spot.

So what's the point of finishing 7th? Well, Newcastle apparently HAS signed up for the Intertoto Cup, and this year's Intertoto format has changed quite a bit.

Only 1 team from England will be allowed in, apparently 7 clubs have signed-up, so the highest place of those 7 will get it.

Check this link out for the details....
http://www.uefa.com/competitions/IntertotoCup/news/Kind=1/newsId=412509.html

Basically the English team that goes in will face either the team from Norway, Northern Ireland or Iceland. 2 legs, Home & Away, and the winner goes into the FA Cup!

So that's a pretty good deal, but the bad news is, the dates... First leg: 15/16 July, Second leg: 22 July. The World Cup Final is JULY 9th!

So basically, if Newcastle is in this, any players who are in their National Teams playing in the World Cup won't get much of a summer holiday!

However, a somewhat sobering look at our squad reveals that perhaps we don't have too much to worry about:

Shay Given - Ireland, didn't qualify
Stephen Carr - Ireland, didn't qualify
Robbie Elliott - England, not in the squad (I also hope he'll retire at the end of the season)
Nolberto Solano - Peru, didn't qualify
Emre Belozoglu - Turkey, didn't qualify
Jean-Alain Boumsong - France, will be playing..., but there's also talk that he'll be shown the door.
Kieron Courtney Dyer - England, but not likely to be in the squad due to his fitness, but who knows...
Alan Shearer - England - RETIRED
Michael Owen - England, probably will be playing.
Lee David Bowyer - England, not in the squad.
Stephen Alan Harper - England, not in the squad.
Charles N'Zogbia - France, not in the squad, but if he keeps improving, I don't expect it'll be long before he does get a look...
Amady Moustapha Faye - Senegal, didn't qualify
James Milner - England, not in the squad
Scott Parker - England, not in the squad
Craig Moore - Australia, will be playing
Titus Malachi Bramble - England, not in the squad
Albert Luque Martos - Spain, probably in the squad, but who cares?
Lee Clark - England, not in the squad
Shola Ameobi - England, not in the squad
Steven Taylor - England, not in the squad
Michael Chopra - England, not in the squad
Celestine Babayaro- Nigeria, didn't qualify

So we've only got 4 players (at the moment, not including possible summer transfers) involved in the World Cup, so I say big deal, go ahead and enter the tournament, I think we NEED to take a stab at it to get into the UEFA Cup, Newcastle needs European football...

Of course all of this depends on us finish 7th...
 
Thursday, April 13, 2006
  Carlsberg's Pub Team
This is absolutely brilliant...
 
Monday, April 10, 2006
  It Sho feels good!
Well my fixture predictions related to the teams competing for the UEFA Cup spot came in pretty good for me this weekend:

- Newcastle beat Middlesbrough
- Bolton lost to Liverpool
- West Ham lost to Chelsea
- Wigan drew with Birmingham

It have been even better if Birmingham had of BEAT Wigan, but I can live with the draw, so now the UEFA Cup Mini-table looks like this:

Pos / Team / Pts / Goal Diff
7 / Bolton / 48 / 7
8 / Wigan / 48 / -2
9 / West Ham / 46 / -3
10 / Newcastle / 45 / -4

So our match v Wigan this weekend is absolutely critical now! If Bolton lose to Chelsea (hopefully HEAVILY), and if we pick up a decent win (hopefully by at least 2 goals, then we'll be ahead of Wigan and only behind Bolton on Goal Difference (I don't think we can eliminate the 11 goal difference margin in 1 match! ha!)

I don't realistically think we can catch either Arsenal or Blackburn who are on 53 and 54 points, but hey, if we can win our next 2 matches and if either of those 2 teams slips up, then who knows??

BTW - I think the key to 7th place being a UEFA Cup spot is for either Chelsea or Liverpool (Given that they'll already be qualified for the Champions League) to win the FA Cup... If anyone can find an official link that confirms that, please post a comment!!
 
Friday, April 07, 2006
  We could still finish 7th... Seriously!
After the 3-1 loss away to Charlton I'd given up on this season... I was ready for the world cup, I'd shut off my emotions, we were sh*te and I knew we were...

Our next match was Tottenham at St. James, I figured not a chance we'd get anything from the match... I wasn't even following it online... I checked the score at half-time... We're up 3-1! Hope comes soaring back... I scramble to the PC, log into Football Files, find a feed and spend the next 45 frustrating minutes watching 20 seconds of the game and 40 seconds of "Buffering...", but we get the 3 points!

Ok, fair enough, something to cheer about (including the glorious miss by Jenas), but still, no hope, we're adrift mid-table, forget about Europe next season right?

Then, I was reading about this weekends fixtures... West Ham face Chelsea, Bolton play Liverpool... Hmmm I thought, these are some of our Rivals for 6th/7th place... I had thought that Bolton were MILES Away from us, but they're only 6 points ahead (albeit with a game in hand), let's look at this area of the table:

Pos / Team / Pts
7 / Bolton / 48
8 / Wigan / 47
9 / West Ham / 46
10 / Everton / 44
11 / Charlton / 43
12 / Newcastle / 42

Let's look at this weekend's fixtures, and best possible outcomes:

Charlton v Everton (0-0 Draw)
Wigan v Birmingham (0-1) - Birmingham NEED to pick up points, they drew with Chelsea and beat Bolton so hey, it's possible!
Chelsea v West Ham (1-0)
Liverpool v Bolton (1-0)
Middlesbrough v Newcastle (0-1)

Then the table looks like this:

Pos / Team / Pts
7 / Bolton / 48
8 / Wigan / 47
9 / West Ham / 46
10 / Newcastle / 45
11 / Everton / 45
12 / Charlton / 44

Let's look at next weekend's fixtures, and potential results:

Bolton v Chelsea (0-1)
Everton v Tottenham (0-1)
Newcastle v Wigan (1-0)
West Ham v Man City (0-0) - Yeah, I'll give West Ham a point here!

Now looky here:

Pos / Team / Pts
7 / Bolton / 48
8 / Newcastle / 48
9 / Wigan / 47
10 / West Ham / 47
11 / Everton / 45
12 / Charlton / 44

Look at that! In 2 weeks we could very easily be level on points with Bolton, and in 8th place, still with 4 matches to play...

After these 2 weeks, here are the remaining fixtures for Bolton, Wigan and Newcastle:

Bolton:
West Brom (A)
Charlton (H)
Birmingham (A)
Tottenham (A)
Birmingham (H)

Ok, so on paper, not too tough, but remember both Birmingham and West Brom are absolutely fighting for their lives at this point, so these will be tricky games!

Wigan:
Aston Villa (H)
Fulham (A)
Portsmouth (H)
Arsenal (A)

I think Wigan will expect to beat Villa, but those last 3 fixtures are again very tricky, Fulham has done very well at home, Portsmouth are putting wins together in their relegation fight, and Arsenal are absolutely on FIRE and will want to WIN their final league match at Highbury, and will potentially NEED to win to secure 4th place.

Newcastle:
Sunderland (A)
West Brom (H)
Birmingham (A)
Chelsea (H)

We *HAVE* to beat Sunderland, they've been absolute SH*TE this season and although they'll almost certainly already be relegated in 2 weeks time, it would make their season to beat us in the derby, but I can't see it happening.
The West Brom and Birmingham matches will be tricky, no doubt.
Chelsea at Home, depending on Chelsea's result against Man United, and also on Man United's result versus Arsenal this weekend, hopefully Chelsea will have already sown up the title, and therefore, potentially have one eye on the FA Cup final, it will be Shearers final competitive match before his testimonial, the atmosphere at St. James will be MASSIVE... We beat Chelsea on the last day of last season, and we knocked them out of the FA Cup last year so especially if we've got a UEFA Cup spot on the line, I think we can do them! Also, don't forget that a certain Michael Owen could be back for those last 2 matches... Don't take MY word for it, check out HIS blog!

Ok, so it's certainly not smooth sailing, but god dammit, I've got my f*ckin' hopes up again!

H O W A Y T H E L A D S !
 
  John Nicholson - Football365.com
- Football365.com

Another great article by John Nicholson at Football 365 discussing Stuart Pearce's rant after the loss to Middlesboro and the state of Managers & Players in the prem...
 
A blog by 2 slightly obsessive Newcastle & Toronto FC Supporters, adopted Geordies, living in Ontario, Canada. Howay the Lads!

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