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Mike Ashley: This one’s on you
Everyone will know doubt believe Geordies around the globe will be waking up this morning red eyed through tears of dismay or anger with relegation confirmed. I can tell you only some will be, not all.
We are in this situation (again!) ultimately because of one man and one man only, Mike Ashley. His decisions or sometimes lack of decisions over his entire reign have been an absolute abomination. Nine years of total nonsense with a staggering season in the middle in 2011/12.
If Newcastle is ever to get back to what it once was then he needs to go. Its truly as simple as that. So with this FACT would surviving relegation this year have been the best thing for the club. I argue not.
FACT: Relegation only hurts Mike Ashley. He owns the thing. Its his asset.
FACT: He is only still here after nine years of misery to promote his tin pot sports company through Premier League audiences. Being in the Championship destroys his only reason of owning our proud club. So why would he stay?
FACT: Newcastle Utd is now worth a lot less then it would be in the PL, as of next season especially, so finding a buyer at a decent price is a lot more realistic. The £129million debt MA has seems about right as figure to get rid of him.
FACT: If Newcastle had survived we would be stuck with Mike Ashley for a very very long time so we would only have to endure his nonsense decision making for the rest of our lives.
FACT: We would never, ever, reach our potential under his ownership. Relegation can bring an end to his tenure a lot quicker.
FACT: The club will never die.
Rafa may stay or he may go. His choice, we will accept either way. What we won’t accept is Mike Ashley hiring people like Lee Charnley, Derek Llambias or Joe Kinnear. Who in turn hire people like Steve McClaren, Alan Pardew or Joe Kinnear. Who in turn hire people like Flaurin Thauvin, Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat, Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote or Joe Kinnear.
Today could be the start of the end of Mike Ashley’s reign of terror and we have Sunderland to thank. Believe That.
The pertinent Newcastle reaction
I guess that’s what you get for hiring Steve McClaren.
Well done Sunderland, from a Newcastle fan
I could wax lyrical about a half-arsed Chelsea, an Everton side intent on getting there manager sacked, or whatever excuse I could think of.
The fact of the matter is Sunderland acted swiftly, sacked a hilariously failing manager and brought in a proven one to steady the ship. For that I congratulate them.
We did the latter, however the fat lady had already won the xfactor semi final and had her sob story/acceptance speech at the ready.
Funny thing is tho, I thought I’d be angry. But I’m not. I’m anything but. Because I have the greatest gift of all. I know Schteve can’t hurt me any more.
Assessing Newcastle’s squad
Well thanks a f**king bunch Everton. My worst fears were realized as I woke up to discover the result against Sunderland, what’s worse is that it didn’t even seem to be a close game.
Surely everyone can stop banging on about Stones now as well as whichever muppet (forget who) was suggesting Baines should start at left back for England. Really hoped that Everton could do the business, allowing the relegation battle to go to the final day and dream of something miraculous for the Toon. Alas Martinez seems intent on getting himself sacked and there ya go…
And so it’s back to the Championship for NUFC again – part of me hopes that we hold on to our better players, part of me thinks we might be better off getting rid of some expensive and ageing players and actually try to bring through some youth, while also trying to sign some younger, hungrier players that actually want to play for the shirt.
The most obvious concern for all fans alike will be Rafa- he’s got the clause in his contract so it really is completely up to him, but I really can’t see him wanting to stay and manage in the Championship. I would love it, LOVE IT if he stayed, but it seems incredibly unlikely.
Everyone’s attention will then switch to who will stay and who will be attracting interest from other clubs?
-Wijnaldum: has shown plenty to suggest he can be a great option for a top team, surely has the opportunity to swap Championship football for Champs League football.
-Krul: injury has been unfortunate, but everyone knows that he’s a top keeper and there are several teams that I’m sure will be having a look at his situation.
-Colo: surely time for him to head home to Argentina…
-Sissoko: criticized often for doing too much but he’s been in the France squad and in a better team wouldn’t feel the need to do it all himself.
-Cisse: could probably make some good money by heading to the US or China, but I actually think he’d be able to do a job in the Championship.
-Tiote: really has regressed badly this season, combative nature would help in the Championship but he’s no longer fit for the upper echelons of the Prem so a mid-table club at best, or even a decent signing for one of the newly promoted sides.
-Anita: has done enough to show that he can cut it in the Premier League, perhaps would be a good buy for a mid-table club.
-Perez: hasn’t done nearly enough for the top teams to be interested, doesn’t score enough goals to be relied on by any of the promoted sides, not sure who would take a punt on him but I doubt that things will improve for him in Championship.
-Townsend & Shelvey: have showed since joining that they clearly have the ability to play at a decent level, not in a top 4 side but certainly top 8. Not long since they joined though and I doubt that we can recoup the money we paid for them so quickly.
-Colback: I hope he stays but he has enough quality to be under consideration by other Premier League clubs.
Obviously, there are more but at this point, thinking about trying to find coverage in China of Championship football next season is sucking my will to live.
Jon (Allardyce to win ‘sack race’ for 16-17 season), Guangzhou, China
And in fairness, he was
“It is outstanding from the grim dark days of December when we lost five games on the trot and it rang home that the only chance we had to survive was to get new players in. That’s proven to be the case – since the turn of the year our performances and ultimately our results have got us clear of relegation with a game to spare”
Sam Allardyce essentially saying look how brilliant I was in the January transfer window. Me, me, me…
Sunderland or Arsenal?
Well that was very exciting wasn’t it? Something to care about and get emotional over? Well done Sunderland!
Question to those in the Wenger Out brigade who complain about it all being too boring in 4th place: would you want to swap places?
What’s more important, supporting a fantastic club, one of the best, whose major problem is being predictably not quite the absolute best year on year… Or supporting a team that puts you through the wringer, has plenty of lows and some highs to throw in as well, and an exciting happy finish?
(MC – It’s *almost* like Sunderland and Arsenal might have different expectations, given that they have different budgets and revenues. Maybe, just maybe, this one has nothing to do with Arsenal)
Liverpool vs Chelsea thoughts
Very poor from Liverpool tonight. I’m writing this at 85 minutes gone. They seemed to be playing well within themselves, almost afraid of being injured in case they missed the final.
* They all seemed to be lethargic and there can be no excuses considering this was the best possible team available. The atmosphere was non existent. The amount of times I heard that stupid “Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea…” chant. Christ, a bit of creativity please.
* Speaking of creativity, where was it? We looked like we were going to blitz Chelsea in the first 10 minutes.
* Sturridge looked out of sorts and it summed it up that he missed against a very shaky looking Begovic.
* Speaking of shaky, what was Mignolet at for that Traore chance?
* The amount of times the ball was knocked out of play by both teams was criminal.
* Hazard looks back to his best. As an Irishman that terrifies me. Great goal and an unreal pass to Pedro.
How does Mikel still play for Chelsea? In saying that if you can’t score against a Chelsea team with him as centre half, you don’t deserve to win.
* Benteke just scored!!!
Miguel Sanchez LFC Eire (God Big Sam is going to be smug)
Predicting Arsenal’s transfer summer
What with falling frustratingly short this season, and having not really spent all that much money on new players (if £20m on Cech and Elneny can these days be classified as “not all that much money”), on top of a massive new TV deal, what could be Wenger’s last season and – reportedly – an good amount of players leaving, I think out of all the clubs this summer, Arsenal is going to witness a huge shake-up of their squad.
Petr Cech is still going to be the first choice and whilst analysis shows he’s been far from perfect, he’s also been very very good, so he stays. He’s still a reliable goalie and walks in to most Premier League sides. David Ospina and Wojciech Sczesney though, could both realistically leave. Fabianski and Mannone both left last summer (in fact Arsenal have a massive turnover of goalies) so that leaves room for a number 2, or Matt Macey to get promoted.
Despite the calamitous reputation I think Arsenal are fairly well stocked with good defenders. Certainly Koscielny, Bellerin and Monreal stay. Mertersacker will get another year, Gabriel deserves another season, Calum Chambers is also a really good player, if lacking playing minutes.
We are supposedly after a very good centre back prospect from Bolton(?), Carl Jenkinson is coming back, and Kieran Gibbs is meant to be leaving us. With that in mind, assuming we get that kid from Bolton then we probably only need a left back. Of course, if Varane, say, is available, then he’s possibly the most Wenger-y centreback in the game and we must sign him to play with Koscielny, but if he isn’t, then – gulp! – I’m happy with the defence.
Potential here for wholesale changes. Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini are all going to leave us. That much is certain. Diaby’s also recently gone. Wilshere, should he get injured in the Euros (or just in training with us) risks losing Wenger’s confidence in his fitness.
There are rumours circulating about Oxlade-Chamberlain. Even Santi Cazorla has recently talked on record about his desire to return to Villareal. That leaves Wenger with Coquelin, Ramsey, Elneny and Wilshere, two of whom (Wilshere and Ramsey), Wenger admits to wanting to play further forward whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain he wants to play deeper, that’s IF he can stay fit. Which he can’t.
As for incoming players, I don’t see a load of signings – instead I see Jon Toral (on loan at Birmingham) and Gedion Zelalem (on loan at Rangers) both coming in to the first team squad. I see, possibly, Dan Crowley being given a chance. We’ve also signed two Nigerian superstar teenagers with a view to fast-tracking them in to the first team, although admittedly that’s the most Wenger thing ever.
As for signings, Granit Xhaka looks nailed on, but I don’t see any more coming in. Wenger’s going to blood the kids. Oh, and Ozil stays.
Like London buses, fans have been screaming, demanding, baying for a new striker and after nearly 70 years of waiting and frothing, I think we’re probably going to sign that striker, and then possibly another one, and one more on top of that. Genuinely. I think Walcott is out the door, probably to West Ham but possibly – a bit leftfield maybe – to someone like PSG.
Alexis Sanchez is reportedly unhappy and there are also reports of him falling out with Wenger a few times throughout this season. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he goes – although I’d dearly love for him to stay. I think Olivier Giroud has made Wenger’s decision to replace him with a new striker. Poor Danny Welbeck, if he remains out until Christmas as is feared, then that’s three or even four people needed. Youth-wise we’ve got Chuba Akpom as a decent third choice, but we still need at least three.
So let’s talk seriously about forwards for Arsenal. Big money forwards. Who’s available, or possibly available? Well you have Paulo Dybala, Alvaro Morata, Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang, Gonzalo Higuain, Riyad Mahrez, Kingsley Coman and, dare I say it, Harry Kane? I think if you are predicting Arsenal’s next big signing, then you need to take a look at Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern and maybe even PSG shiny new plaything and then ask yourself who has to make way for that player? So with that in mind I’m going balls out in big, dangly fashion and predicting James Rodriguez to Arsenal. I’ve read no gossip or anything, but I’m calling it here first, James Rodriguez to Arsenal. Dybala and Coman would be my other two.
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
Granit Xhaka to Arsenal, eh
So it looks like we’re about to purchase Xhaka from Monchengladbach. Two thoughts:
1: I haven’t had the opportunity to watch him very often but when i have he seems very similar to Wilshere – a deep lying playmaker with a excellent passing range and a penchant for violence(booking every 4 games). Difference of course being that he’s quite a big lad and plays more than 10 games a season.
A German friend says he’s similar to Petit – a midfield powerhouse with a eye for goal, but he’s quite a way off the finished product. Question here is where this leaves the likes of Wilshere and Ramsey. It seems as if Sanchez is going to be back on the right from now, Ramsey’s old position with backup from the likes of Chamberlain and Campbell. Xhaka plus one seems the default for next season – who gets in with him? Wilshere probably too similar whilst Ramsey’s Gerrard-like propensity to charge around doing his best Roy of the Royers impression isn’t suited to a possession-based team.
That being said, his best season came alongside Arteta, a deep lying playmaker so this could be the perfect foil for him. Coquelin has been found out to an extent this season – his passing isn’t nearly sharp or crisp enough for us, whilst Elneny is decent but nothing more. Cazorla is getting on now in years but along the likes of Wilshere, Coquelin and Elneny its decent backup and the deal makes a huge load of sense.
2: This seems to be quite a big change from Wenger. Assuming the deal does go through, it’s the first time i can remember us getting something like this sorted whilst still in season. Xhaka doesn’t solve every problem we have – still need a CB, Striker and possibly a wide forward if Walcott leaves, but this deal reminds me a lot of bayern buying Javi Martinez – is he overpriced? Probably. Does he solve a pressing problem? Definitely, so spend the money, which is quite a departure from our usual buying policy – see Martial, Suarez etc for more detail.
According to the press and some of the ITKs were after the likes of Mahrez, Aubameyang, Morata etc so exciting times ahead hopefully – add in Reus/Mkhitaryan/Benatia please Wenger. I remember writing in after the United debacle saying Wenger had to go, but i think a good summer where we buy around 3-4 good players and let some of the dross go would go a long way to bridging the divisions amongst fans, and go a long way to shutting up the idiots that sprout up on ArsenalFanTV etc.
Yusuf, Hackney Gooner
Some Hillsborough love
Great article about SW by SW today. Although their stadium will always represent sadness and heartache for a red I do have a similar soft spot for the team. I remember the awesome Hirst, Waddle and Warhurst power 3. The imposing Woods in goal, the brilliantly meh Palmer holding things together in the middle of the park with his gangly semi autonomous legs and big Ron in the dugout.
Now that justice was finally delivered to the victims of Hillsborough it would be fitting that the Owls returned this year so that the game against my beloved reds could finally allow the victims to rest in peace.
…Sarah Winterburn’s article on Sheffield Wednesday struck a chord with me.
When I was eight or nine I was playing football with my older brother in the garden and he asked me: “What team do you support”. I answered, thinking it a rather obvious question, “Tottenham of course.”
That was who I supported — we’d play three-and-in and we were always first Gazza or Lineker, and later Anderton or Sheringham or Barmby. Growing up in the southeast of England, Spurs were a very reasonable choice for a young boy (as they still are).
However, my brother, who was a bit of a bully, turned up his nose and sneered: “You’re not cool enough to support Spurs”, and went back to blasting the ball at me (with him it was always five-and-in or six-and-in, on the grounds that I should have saved some of them).
Totally proving his point that I wasn’t cool enough, I started casting around for another team to support given Spurs were off-limits.
It must have been the 92/93 season that Sheffield Wednesday made the cup final, because I settled on them.
Paul Hirst, Chris Waddle, Mark Bright — it was a decent team, and it was always blue teams over red ones for me. Job done — although in hindsight, I fear this makes me the rarest of breeds, a Sheffield Wednesday glory supporter.
I followed for a couple of years until our dad took us to see Reading, our closest team, and my allegiance changed to the Royals. Five or six years ago, in my mid-to-late twenties, I finally decided I was cool enough to support Spurs, and I felt a huge weight off my shoulders and that I was no longer living a lie. Sort of a footballing “coming out” feeling. It’s Spurs all the way now — almost obsessively, like I’m making up for lost time.
But, because of this brief — enforced — flirtation, I will always have a massive soft spot for Wednesday, and would love to see them back in the Premier League, where they belong.
Come on you Owls!
Charlie, THFC (via SWFC and RFC), Somerset
Report from the big game
Zbrojovka 1-0 Sparta last night!!! Wooooo!
Sell-out at Srbska, a hint of menace in the air (there always is when either Sparta or Banik Ostrava visit), excellent choreo (although we did get doused by the fire hoses because a section of the Ultras decided to burn Sparta flags. They didn’t count on the wind), but… sorry, I’m rambling.
David (srdce Moravy) Szmidt