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Apologies To Hendo
I used to hate you. My hate was irrational as I neither support Liverpool nor Newcastle. It annoyed me that Liverpool thought you were worth anywhere near 20 million quid, it annoyed me that you ran around like a dog chasing a stick, and most of all it annoyed me that you were probably the most useless footballer I had ever seen. I used to post random hate messages on Facebook and text my mates slating you at every opportunity. Then suddenly, something happened....You became quite good. Not a world-beater, mind, but whereas before I used to want to tear out what little hair I have left when the words "England squad" and "Henderson" were mentioned in the same breath, now it doesn't upset me to see you wearing the Three Lions.
It's good to see you starting to fulfill some of the potential which I never saw in you, and I would like to apologise for being ever so mean in the past. Wishing you all the best.
Jamie Bedwell, Cheltenhamshire
This Man Hates Ross Barkley
What about players to hate this season? I mean new ones, not the old favourites.
I'm going for Ross Barkley. He scored at St James' and for no apparent reason ran past us doing the 'finger on lips' celebration. I didn't particularly know or care who he was until he did that...the ****.
Snelly, the reason some want rid is that he appears to be unable to motivate our players and is seen as a yes man to the regime. As we are unlikely to sell all of rubbish players or change their attitude and if he speaks out he will get the boot, people will call for his head. I disagree by the way, there is little point in sacking him...oh and he is totally sh*t in the cups...
Just saw a headline: "Townsend may miss world cup".
Instantly got my hopes up thinking they were talking about Andy.
Turns out they mean Andros. Bugger.
Reasoned Thoughts On Newcastle
Put simply, in response to Snelly from Nelson in New Zealand. Newcastle United were the reason that the local population put up with sh*t, muck, coal, bullets, marches and reality of an industrial Northern city. Newcastle is not a boom/bust type of city, throughout history. Newcastle United Football Club wasn't an escape from reality; it made Monday to Friday tolerable. If the Saturday is benign; the week remains miserable.
A lot has been said about the owner. Mike Ashley is just the latest in questionable ownership and this whole "Southern Mafia" idiocy is not new - Forbes became Chairman in 1990 because local fans wanted an owner who knew the area. Newcastle has swayed from the opportunist to the myopic consistently in its ownership but that doesn't make them unique. Shackleton was an ex-player, but his blank page in his autobiography wasn't solely written about North-East club Director's. Owner's don't and should never care about the club more than its fans. They just need to understand why fans care about their asset. Ashley tried, but he believed the caricatures and became a Hogarthian misrepresentation of his customers in the cheap seats before retreating.
The anger, isn't born from "we should be Top 4", "we should be buying Reus, Ronaldo and Robben" it's that When Saturday Comes, it feels like a Monday. The first-team looks bereft of care, attention and work ethic. The Reserves are under-resourced and being badly beaten by Academies of clubs outside the Premier League. The youth players have the willing of the entire city to produce just one talent... not a team... just one who with the right care, attention and aptitude could be 33% the player of Milburn, Moncur, Harvey, Seymour.
Malaise is where the anger comes from. The quiet indignity of the club ticking boxes, marking objectives, maximizing revenue from adjacent land, a path of little resistance. Newcastle is safe from relegation but it is also quite safe from ambition, safe from making the necessary effort that is not just measured in silver pots but giving the population something to look forward to. Ashley and Pardew are embodiments of the malaise; they are not monsters but they are not slayers of monsters either and we just wish they would try and give a little bit more than what is absolutely, lowest-common denominator necessary. We have and always will love a trier.
Geographically and psychologically, the club and the stadium is on a pedestal in the city. It is meant to represent and give pride to the thousands of people who see it Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Super Sunday.
I sincerely hope this makes it past the tub-thumping hyperbole that usually accompany critiques of the club.
...*Last season we struggled mightily and at one stage lost 10 games of 13 league games, the final defeat being at home to Reading 2-1. We finished 5th bottom and this was always going to be a season that Alan Pardew would need to prove himself.
*Newcastle have lost three games in a row to Sunderland for the first time since 1923, and if the Newcastle manager and Sunderland manager Gus Poyet remain for next season, do we have much hope we can beat Sunderland - assuming they are not relegated?
*Alan Pardew became the first Newcastle manager ever to lose six Premier League games in a row and the worst we had done was to lose four PL games in a row before this season.
*Newcastle have lost 14 of the last 19 games in all competitions, and in thirteen of them we have failed to score.
*Newcastle have only 46 points and the best we can achieve is probably 49 points, and that's only 8 points better than last season - and there's a reasonable possibility we will end up with only 46 points.
*We have been knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle in three of four attempts under Alan Pardew since 2011 - twice to Championship side Brighton and once to Stevenage.
*Alan Pardew hasn't been exactly controlled on the touchline in his Newcastle career and became the first Newcastle manager to get himself banned for seven matches - the first four of which were stadium bans. We lost six of those seven games and scored just two goals - and the news of his head-butt on Hull City's David Meyler gave Newcastle United some very negative headlines around the world.
In Alan's favour is that the owner also shares significant responsibility for Newcastle's plight this year. Newcastle in their wisdom, didn't make one permanent signing in the last two transfer windows, with Joe Kinnear as the Director of Football - but the fans knew Joe would be hopeless in the job, as soon as he announced he had it, so how come he was appointed in the first place?
And of course Mike Ashley decided to sell Yohan Cabaye in January, and that's the second time he's weakened the side to get big money over the last three years or so - having sold Andy Carroll in January of 2011 - and remember at the time Andy was the Newcastle and England talisman.
In January we not only lost a valuable goalscorer and creative player in Cabaye, but it created the mind-set in the squad that Newcastle don't really care too much about the team, and certainly cannot be accused of being an ambitious club.
That's not going to have a positive effect at any club, and the question that keeps coming up for us these days, is what makes Mike Ashley think he should be owning a football club? Those are some of the things Alan can use in his defence, and if we do finish in the top ten he can say he met the target for the season. But this has turned out to be an utterly disastrous year for Newcastle United.
I'm starting to think that we should start taking this 'fourth place trophy' joke seriously. What Arsenal have done is quite remarkable -remarkable being a good word to use as it doesn't commit to either 'good' or 'bad'. Have a team ever consistently finished in the same position quite as often as Arsenal? Ruling out teams that consistently finish at the top or bottom of their table, which is more to do with the balance of the league, Arsenal have an incredible consistency at doing just enough to ensure that they can do just enough again the next season (is that fair? After all, a lot of team's would kill to be in that position). Two season in a row now they have snatched fourth from the jaws of fifth, as Spurs, and now Everton, most likely, have faltered at the last hurdle, their passion for fourth far outmatched by Arsenal's own strangehold on the position.
I had a look at the stats for fun, and they're even more impressive than expected. In fact, they go right back to Arsenal's final season at Highbury, 2005/06. Before that Arsenal finished second, first - a myriad of positions. That season they finished fourth, and ever since seem to have done the same, perhaps as a tribute to their former home. In the nine seasons from 05/06 onwards, they have finished fourth six times (presuming they get it this season), a whopping 66.6% conversion rate. The three other seasons they were frustrated into finishing third, with the most frustrating surely being 2011/12, when they were third by one point. A loss would have seen them fourth, as their goal difference was identical to fourth place Spurs! Sadly it was not to be - if only they had cooked themselves up a dodgy lasagna... It's a strange love affair, both worthy of celebrating and of denigrating, that deserves some form of record or trophy, or at least a commemorative dvd.
...In response to Snelly, the concern is in the second half of the season Newcastle haven't shown up. If we consider the last match we played against each of the other 19 PL teams, after those 19 matches we would be sitting on a grand total of 14 points. That's comfortable relegation form.
Yes, the first half of the season was relatively successful, and I have to say that around Christmas I was thinking I'd misjudged Pardew. But the drop of form since the sale of Cabaye has been unforgivable. Pardew did a great job two seasons ago getting us on the cusp of Champions League football, but since then, we've not done so well. We were in a relegation scrap for all of last season, and this season, as I said above, our form for the second half of this season has been shoddy. That leaves a remarkably long period of really bad football, with our only good run coming on the back of a player in exceptional form who has subsequently left.
I think the main issue is that there isn't really much chance of that changing. At the moment in the Newcastle team there are no exciting young talents like Southampton have, no big name players like any of the larger teams; in short, nothing really to write home about. There's certainly very little chance of a big name signing over the summer, so there's no real expectation that under Pardew anything should change.
I would be very surprised if Pardew was still Newcastle manager next year simply because if he stays, I'm convinced we'll be in a relegation fight for next season and I can't see the board putting up with another one of those, long contract or no long contract. I think it's time to send him on his way, and hopefully pull somebody like Moyes in who would be exactly the sort of person to do the rebuilding job required.
Suarez's Record Isn't Too Shabby
Long-time reader, first time writer.
As a Liverpool fan, I would have liked Suarez to score more against top teams- but then I realized that if he did score all our goals then Liverpool would be called a one man team.
It's obvious that better teams will be able to cope with him but when you consider that Liverpool could only have dreamed of 4th in August- his run this season against rival teams for top four its a solid record.
Spurs: 3 goals
Everton; 2 goals
United: 1 goal ( missing from 1st match)
In the recent match against City, his assist to Sterling was fantastic.
It's a pity he missed the first six games as he could have broken the 40 goal mark this season.
Jamie-Aspas corner was outstanding
St Totteringham's Day
I really shouldn't bite and you might get a few of these but 19th consecutive year? Andy Law, Herts - do you actually understand the concept of St Totteringhams day?
It was 'traditionally' (ho ho) the point during a season when it became impossible for Spurs to overtake Arsenals points tally. More simply that means there was no point during last season when it was mathematically impossible for Spurs to overtake Arsenal.
Even more simply put that means you did not celebrate St Totts day last season.
Or the year before that.
In fact you've managed to celebrate it only once in the last five years.
Which given the two years prior you'd finished 19 and 37 points ahead represents a bit of a shift.