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Just a tough day overall. I completely, 100% disagree with the first person's comment. Pardew has been fantastic. A revelation in fact. To say he should be gone is absolutely insane. Liverpool were clearly the better team yesterday, unfortunately. Sometimes that happens though, even to the big teams (Manchester United vs. Blackburn today anyone?) 7th place after this many games is FANTASTIC. If any Newcastle fan would have been told this at the beginning of the season, they would have been ecstatic (otherwise they are lying). I certainly am happy at our place in the table. Yes yesterday was disappointing, but we are not that far off from competing at the very top. Given a bit more time to shape the side, Pardew will have us rolling along.
I am not panicking yet, despite another 3 points that should have been had. The team is definitely pressing. A good team has someone step up and relieve the pressure. Everyone exhales, and relaxes. We are definitely a good team, and have the personnel to put in a splendid performance to relieve the pressure. My worry is the transfer window. If we fail to get in that CB yet again, as well as a striker (which rumors now have us waiting until the summer- surprise, surprise), I fear that a true panic mode may start. Demba Ba certainly is capable of scoring, but we can't rely on just one player either. Especially when they leave for the ACN for a bit. We need to go out, get 3 vs. Bolton, get a body or two in, and regain our confidence. I am confident this is just a bump in the road. It's up to Pardew, the players, and the fans to make sure it stays a bump and doesn't turn into a long rut.
Well it was certainly a deflating loss, but I agree with Bob that it's not time to panic yet. The defense was poor yesterday and the team just didn't put in a good performance. I do give them credit for fighting and not giving up, despite being down to 10 men. This Newcastle squad never quits, and after Ba scored his second, it seemed to me that there would be an equalizer coming. Getting Tiote and Colo back should help out quite a bit. We definitely need to come back next week and get all 3 points to get back on track. A solid run in December heading into the window would be very nice.
No matter what Alex or anyone else says, that was a hard fought, deserved draw. Newcastle continues to show heart, grit fight, and that, above all, we deserve where we are at on the table. I really think we have a great chance for 3 points this weekend. HWTL!
Agreed on the points you mentioned Bob. Every team has to deal with injuries. When healthy, I think we can threaten anyone in the league. While we have some bright young players, this match should show the powers that be that we still need some depth given Newcastle's yearly injury problems (let's keep our fingers crossed we stay relatively healthy this year). Honestly, despite Man City dominating possession for the most part, I thought we showed pretty well considering the pieces we were missing. Although it would be nice to convert every goal opportunity, on any other day we could have had 3-4 goals. So it's not like we got beat from post to pillar and never made the match competitive. We got a few great looks against one of the best teams on the planet. That's more than most teams can say. We created quality chances against a great side. I will take that result at this point in the squad's development. Had a couple of the early opportunities gone in, it could have been a draw easily or even a win. If we play well like this vs. Manchester United and Chelsea, I think we have a chance to take 4 points, if not 6. And hopefully Tiote and Best should make this week's match.
I would never desert the club either, regardless of the stadium name. But you make a good point Bob. Being a fellow American Newcastle fan, I get so sick of the stupid names that some of the American stadiums have. As a Cubs fan, that is one thing I like about Wrigley Field. When you say the name, it immediately evokes thoughts of history, tradition, and uniqueness. Same with St. James Park. There is just something about the name that is magical. It will always be St. James Park to the fans, regardless of what Ashley does. If I had the 10 million pounds, I would buy naming rights myself and tell them to switch it back to St. James Park. That way Ashley would have his money, and we would have the name. I am hoping that whoever decides to sponsor it (Nike has been rumored), that they at least put their name/brand followed by @ St. James Park. Then at least we have SJP in the name. Here's to hoping I guess.
Sad, sad day. I can see the financial argument for doing it, but I, along with most others, will still call it St. James Park. And, I don't think the Mike and Derek looked at the flip side of the coin. They looked at how much they can make via naming rights, but they didn't consider that even MORE money could be lost due to the name change. Obviously, people are upset, and if I am a company looking at putting my name on the stadium, I would be a bit worried whether Geordies and fans mad at the name change would boycott my company's products. I do like how the Newcastle City Council have come out and said it will always be SJP and all signs in town will remain the same. So it may say something else on the grounds, but just across the street it will say SJP. I would find it a bit funny if someone that had lots of money to spend would pay the 10 million and have the St. James Park name put back. I bet that would burn Ashley and company just a little. I am very saddened and disappointed. Again, I understand that the revenue may help us get to Europe, which may lessen the blow a bit. But, there are some things that MUST NEVER BE CHANGED. In my opinion, renaming St. James Park should never even be thought of, let alone carried out. And that is sadly what Ashley and co. did. It's like Ashley and Llambias enjoy causing a stir every few months. Just when fans get on their side, and Newcastle is quiet for an extended period of time, they do things like this. It's almost as if they have a medical condition in which they enjoy causing grief to others. And one thing they forget is that they are always looking outside the club/city for opportunities. But, they forget those INSIDE the club and the city. Those are the customers Ashley should be wanting to please, not alienate. Without their financial and moral support, the club wouldn't exist. NUFC fans are what makes the club go, not mike Ashley. So the plan of continuously making the lifeblood of the club upset over and over again is foolish. In the end, I will always support the club 100% heart and soul. While I like some of the sense Ashley has brought, he has also done some pretty stupid things in my opinion. That is his right as owner. As Steve Wraith says, support the club at all times. You don't have to support the regime to do that. I support Ashley for many of his decisions. I won't support him for his foolish decisions that seem to be made only to piss off the fans.
Vassilis, just because one American writer wrote a misinformed article on Newcastle doesn't mean all Americans don't understand football/soccer and it doesn't mean we don't appreciate it. We all comment on this blog because of our love for Newcastle United. I do wish I lived closer to SJP so I could attend in person. Due to costs, I will make it there someday, but until then I follow as best I can on tv and through blogs like this. As for the World Cup issue, that is odd to not be able to watch it in a big city. I live a few hours away from a big city (Chicago being the closest), and I had no problem watching World Cup games last year at any of the bars near me. Although we have other sports in the US that get more spotlight, football/soccer is steadily growing here. To label all American fans because of one uneducated fan is unfair. We love Newcastle and fanatically follow them, depsite being thousands of miles away!
For me, when I could finally start getting Premier League matches on tv where I live, it was time to pick a time. I watched a lot of games at first, trying to learn about different clubs. One thing stuck with me for every Newcastle match I watched over the course of a couple of months. Home or away, the fan support was TERRIFIC. I, like many others have mentioned, didn't want to jump on the bandwagon of a big team, like so many of my friends had done. I wanted a team that was hard working, wasn't successful simply by spending hundreds of millions of dollars (like the Yankees), but most of all I wanted a club that had followers that stayed with the club through thick and thin, hell or high water. I can't stand clubs that have fair weather fans, and in watching Newcastle matches, they proved to be everything I could ask for. Newcastle fans are the loudest, most loyal, and unwavering fans of any club in the world. I dream of making a trip to SJP some day myself. Until I can get there, I know the Newcastle supporters will show up, thick or thin, rain or shine, and sing their hearts out. Being a rather big Cubs fan, I think Newcastle pulled at my heart because, in many ways, the clubs mirror each other. Both have long droughts of major trophies, have had some VERY tough seasons, yet no matter what, the fans come back for more and never turn their backs on the team. That's why it will be so glorious when Newcastle can next hoist a major trophy. The long suffering supporters certainly deserve it! In the end, I am so happy that I chose Newcastle for my club. Though I was not born and bred there, I was able to travel to Kansas City this summer to watch my Magpies. All of the Geordie fans (both domestic and from Newcastle/England) made me feel like part of the family. Everyone was so nice, and it was fun drinking/singing with everyone and supporting the team together. I can't wait until I can hear 50,000 Geordies at SJP singing together. I am so happy to be a Newcastle supporter for life. I can't imagine supporting any other club but the best club in the world.
Another great win. As Dave from Newcastle said, we have hit a point where we can stop wondering when the luck will end and realize the truth- we are good, very good. Get a bit more depth and it gets even better, but even with the current team, we can accomplish great things. Credit to the owner (yes, credit to Ashley), a LOT of credit to Pardew, and heaps of credit to the players. We are building a great side and doing it on a financially sound basis. I don't think Newcastle fans are used to such long periods of happiness and calm. Upwards and onwards. HWTL!!!
A trophy to me is incredibly important. I know how much it means to Newcastle fans everywhere, but especially in and around Newcastle. Obviously, a trophy like the FA or Carling is not like the Premier League trophy, but it would still be great. If it would come at a price like Birmingham paid, it would definitely water down the enjoyment a bit. But, to be honest, we are a lot better than Birmingham last year. Had we won the Carling this year, I don't think there is any serious relegation worries. While I agree with Tom somewhat in that some American fans may look at this issue a bit differently, I am in the boat of the European Geordies. I have an incredible (and probably a bit unhealthy) competitive streak. I want my teams to win at everything. If the cost is too great, it changes things of course, but the more trophies the better in my book. Plus, when you are a fan of a club with a long trophy drought, winning a trophy can become almost mythical. I know I dream about a day when I can celebrate a major trophy for Newcastle. I can't imagine what it would really be like in Newcastle someday when that happens. The longer the drought goes, the more important it becomes to win a trophy, or any trophy for that matter. Just my 2 cents on this. Very interesting topic Tom, good job on the article.
Well said Ocorious. And that's why I love Newcastle. Despite the highs and lows, there is something special about the club for me. I can't explain it, I don't know why, but I could never leave supporting Newcastle. Even if they were relegated to level 50 in English Soccer, I would still follow fanatically. Anyone can jump on a bandwagon of a team that wins all the time like Manchester United. Not just anyone can follow a team through thick and thin like Newcastle. It can be the highest of highs or the most depressing lows, but the team knows in the end, no matter what happens, the supporters will always be there. And THAT is what makes Newcastle the most fantastic club in the world. Being in America, I too was at work during the match. I tried to follow via Twitter between calls/customer/tasks. And of course it always gets busiest in my day during the most exciting times of matches. So try as I might, from the Lovenkrands penalty through the rest of extra time, I couldn't check the score. I was itching to check and when I finally did, disappointment hit me fully. But, despite that, a great pride was also felt because the team never stopped fighting. I will say this, being a fellow Cubs fan like Bob, plus a Newcastle fan, I regularly experience extreme highs of euphoria and lows of despair. It's like everyday of my sporting life is a roller coaster. Despite this obvious masochism of mine, I would have it any other way. Howay the lads!!
As an American, I really love the promotion/relegation system. It's a refreshing change from the US sports systems that I have grown up with (I still watch my US sports too). I wish the MLS could have relegation/promotion, but the league won't be anywhere close to being able to pull that off for decades, if then. The thing I like with the system is that every match matters, even against inferior opponents. Take a middling club for example. They can't challenge for a title. But if they don't have to worry about relegation, then some of the matches become almost meaningless. Even though last season was very frantic for NUFC fans at times when it looked like we may be relegated, it was also an adrenaline rush to me. It's like living life on the edge. Newcastle will always be my team. Even if that means me falling off a cliff with them (relegation), or climbing the mountain with them (promotion), that's all part of being of fan of NUFC. Personally I love the system and hope it never leaves.
There is also a new rumor out that we are interested in Twente's young striker Luuk de Jong. Honestly, I would put him up there with Maiga. I think Pardew would know how to handle Maiga IF we got him, but he seems to be a bit of a personality problem. I would be concerned about Maiga getting unhappy like he is now and threatening the changing room harmony. De Jong is younger and a bit taller. And he has been lights out so far for Twente this year. Considering how our striker pursuits have gone the past couple of windows, I am not getting my hopes up at all until an official signing is announced by the club.
Agree with M. I was actually looking for HBA to come on around the 60th minute. But, that's really a nitpick. Overall, I was impressed and am very satisfied with the result. I know it could have been 3 points, but the fact that we fought back not once, but twice shows this team has something special that last year's team did not. If we can fortify a bit in January and stay healthy until then, I think Europa is a definite possibility. Once we get through this stretch of tough fixtures, I think we will have a much better idea of where we are as a team overall. But so far, so good. HWTL!!
I agree that as form and time playing together improves, more goals will come. However, I do think we need one more striker type in January. I know assuming we will sign one is folly after the last couple of windows. But if we can get a true striker type in the door, along with HBA and Ba/Best, we will do very well. Without another striker, I think we can finish top 10, but we are going to have to be lucky in terms of injuries, etc.
Completely agree, Mike Ashley deserves some credit. Despite what were seemingly shockingly bad decisions at times, he never wavered from his ultimate plan. And we see that plan being implemented now. We have a great, young, hungry, up-and-coming squad. If we can just sprinkle in one or two more faces this winter (a pure striker maybe?), I think we will be set for a fantastic run this year and into the near future.
Great article. I agree with the sentiment about how we play against the bigger clubs. We beat Arsenal last year, and should have beaten Tottenham if not for a late goal. Two weeks against Tottenham will be a good test for the club. We were able to hang with Arsenal, but they have been struggling mightily. Last year, we would play with the big teams, and it seemed that we were underwhelming when playing against teams we should be on par with or even beat. We were basically playing to the level of our competition. I don't think we will have that problem this year. We have a lot of young, hungry players, and I think things will only get better. It was a lucky 3 points Saturday, but I will definitely take it. How many times have we been on the other end of those calls? It's nice to see them swing our way now and again.
Great read. According to Ashley and Llambias, at some point we should be able to spend more. I know we have a wage structure in place, but when Newcastle is making a nice profit, why not reinvest the money if you have it? That's the biggest question in my mind. If we can continuously be around the top 8, and start making a healthy profit and have more to spend, then will the wage cap rise too? it would make sense. Llambias has said the plan is for NUFC to be able to "wipe it's own nose." If that happens and a Shearer like striker becomes available, we should be able to bid for him at least. If there will always be a wage structure regardless of how much we are making, that is Ashley's choice. But as Bob said, Moneyball only gets you so far. The Athletics do great at utilizing talent and great value, but they are never series World Series contenders either.
Almost every soccer team I have ever seen tries to waste time with a lead. RSL has done it too. So if you are trying to say the only team that does it is the Fire, get a clue dude. It was a really physical, chippy game. That equals lots of players on the ground.
I will take your "greatest team in the history of soccer" as the sarcasm I am assuming it was meant to be...
Great to hear about the Jonas signing. I think he brings a lot to the team. As Tom said, what he may lack in crossing, he makes up for in hustle, drawing fouls, etc. Plus, he really loves Newcastle and loves playing for us. That goes a long way in my book. I would take Jonas any day over a player a little more skilled that doesn't want to be at Newcastle (Barton or Enrique). It's so refreshing lately to be playing well and not having any distractions. Newcastle fans aren't often used to this. I think the lads can keep it up Saturday vs. Wolves. HWTL!!
It's definitely encouraging to hear Sly is doing well. If he stays healthy, I think he breaks into the starting XI at some point. I too like Spiderman, despite his weak crosses. If we can just put and keep him on the right...
One thing I have been wondering lately is why Shane Ferguson is not being talked about at LB. I think he could do good there until Santon is ready. Yes he is young, but he has to have some time eventually. And he looked great from what I saw of him last year. Plus he can push up the field on attack as well a la one Jose Enrique. I thin Fergie is ready for a serious look. At any rate he can't be any shakier than Raylor has been. For the record, I would like to see a break from the 4-4-2 as well. I would really like to see the 4-3-3 look. I agree that we have the personnel to do it. Let's let our creative players create. Adding HBA back into the mix could really be dangerous and fun. I don't know if the 4-4-2 can carry us to January when (hopefully) we will get a striker. So Pardew needs to shake things up to get us through until then.
You can be critical of the owner with some decisions but still support the owner/club overall. That was my main point, it seems that you are saying if you don't support him fully, then you are a moaner and should get out as a fan. It's ok to be critical when he makes bad decisions, just like I give him credit when he makes good decisions. It would seem you are saying that there is no middle ground, you either have to love him or hate him. Regardless of which view you take, he hasn't done the best job of communication with the fans. I understand this is because some fans are hostile and he may not want to interact with them, but again I think everyone can agree that his PR with the fans leaves a bit to be desired. If he doesn't want to do it, I think someone should be appointed that can. Pardew does a good enough job, my biggest problem lies with Llambias. I have never been a fan, and he could do more to ease the communication problems between the owner and the fans in my opinion.