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Great expectations?

Posted on November 14th, 2010 | 86 Comments |

Is it a case of classic Great Expectations?
Is it a case of classic Great Expectations?
First and foremost, you may not recognise the name above this article. I visit the ‘blog every day, I rarely comment but always read with great interest. I thought I’d start by introducing myself.

I’m Mark, and I’m good friends with Mr .org himself, Toonsy! I often go to the games with him. Like Toonsy, I currently live in The Midlands in a dive which is known as Rugby. I bleed black and white and Newcastle United are my life.

Its always been Sunderland or Newcastle in my family. Luckily when I chose my team I had the sense to stay away from the dark and unwashed side and opt for The Toon. Much like our No.9, who has a Sunderland supporting Grandma I think!

Anyway, I’m going to attempt this ‘blogging malarky in the hope that I can match Toonsy’s, Workyticket’s, and the rest of the gang’s good work with this great blog. But enough about me as I’m beginning to make this article sound like a lonely hearts ad…..

As I’m sure most will agree, the lads have made a decent start to the season. They have certainly exceeded many expectations anyway. This evening we sit in a very respectable 8th place in the Premier League table on 18 points. Of course the shock win for the unwashed at Stamford Bridge this afternoon nudged us down another place after sitting in 7th place yesterday.

I read a comment somewhere last night stating that if we had won our two home matches against Blackburn and Fulham respectively, we would have gone up to 3rd yesterday. It got me thinking a bit to be honest. Do the majority of our supporters expect us to be winning every home game? Obviously we must pick up points at home, especially against the so called ‘lesser sides’.

I went to the Blackburn game and I must admit that I had a bit of a gut feeling before kick-off that we’d lose the game. Blackburn are a physical team and are very differcult to play against. I think Big Sam will always be desperate to come out on top against Newcastle which I feel perhaps added extra urgency to the away team. He would have had those lads pumped up for this one.

In all honesty I believe it was urgency that we lacked on the evening. That game came off the back of a wonderful trio of wins – The derby game and tricky away ties at West Ham and Arsenal. The lads looked a little casual at times maybe, which is my only critisism.

The Fulham game was end to end stuff and it could have been a different with a bit of luck or if Mark Schwarzer hadn’t have been in goal for the opposition. He was magnificient on the day, as were Fulham defensively.

It’s easy, sometimes, to forget that we are a newly promoted team. Before a ball was kicked this season many Newcastle fans were in agreement that survival was the only realistic target for the season. Now we sit comfortably above mid table 13 games in and it’s amazing that already were speaking of missed oppertunities, though naturally it’s what we do as football fans.

Of course the table is so tight right now and seemingly one defeat can knock you down the table quite dramatically. I just hope that the expectations aren’t already through the roof for the season and that some fans will not see such a fall down the table as failure. Safety first, remember?

It’s very disapointing to have already lost three arguably winable games at St James’ Park, but the Premier League is a different class to The Championship and funny results do happen. Take Arsenal, title contenders, lost at home to two promoted teams. Then Chelsea going down 3-0 at home to a team that we thrashed 5-1 on our turf.

I am guilty of getting carried away this season at times, but we must ride the rough with the smooth and no matter what get behind this group of lads that have worked so hard to get us back here. Expectation can be a hinderance when it’s set too high. I’m really proud of the boys thus far and will keep offering my undying support. I love how weve proved a lot of the doubters wrong already.

We next face a tough away trip to Bolton’s Reebok Stadium on Saturday. Bolton look like a new team under Owen Coyle and sit 5th in the table currently on 19 points, just one more than us.

I hope we fair better this time round at Bolton. Last time we went there we were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline. We were poor that day. Though I remember the crowd being great that day, with one long haired Bolton fan trying to give it the biggun from the stands in reponse us singing ‘is it a man or a woman’ at him.

Embarrassed, he seemed to dash for the exit to which he fell down the stairs, much to the amusement of us sat in the away end. Toonsy also met a friend for a life at the Asda near the ground, he was a trolley boy or something but he was odd and took a shine to us. That is one to ask Toonsy about though!

Any team ideas for the game guys? Let’s hope that Kevin Nolan fancies a couple on his first return to The Reebok since leaving for Tyneside.

Thanks for reading……..HWTL!

NUFCBlog Author: MarkToon MarkToon has written 10 articles on this blog.

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86 Responses

  1. An excellent read Mark. Not a bad debut at all. That ASDA bloke was funny.

    “What do you think of Kevin Nolan”

    I think you’re spitting on me :lol:

  2. Hey MarkToon. Good to see another blogger.

    It seems as if we always suffer from an ex-player’s return, it’s about time we did it to some other team. Nolan to score the match winner in the last minute.

  3. haha i reckon asda bloke will be waiting for the away coach to arrive with some stuff for kev to sign…
    bolton will be a tough tough game!

    Brisvegas- ta mate

  4. This coming weekend marks the 46th anniversary of me seeing Newcastle live for the first time. Remember it being freezing cold. Remember cigarette smoke and how beautiful the pitch looked. 2-2 with Derby. I was 9 years old. Went on to get promotion.

  5. Strangely enough the last game I saw before travelling the world was also this week in 1973. We beat Man U. 3-1 I think.

  6. Nice article, that mirrors my feelings about the season so far. Fingers crossed that Carroll is fit for the weekend as he’s become so important for us now. I think we need Guthrie to play central as he’s more creative especially at home, I’d play:
    Krul

    Simpson Williamso Colo Enrique

    Routledge Guthrie Smith Gutierez

    Nolan

    Carroll

  7. I wonder whether Perch and Smith as defensive midfielders might not be better. With Guthrie Nolan and Jonas in front. Bolton are pretty mobile in midfield and we’ll need to crowd them out. Simpson and Enrique can work the wings because of the extra defense in the middle.

    But Hughton isn’t going to do anything like that. I think he’ll go similar to the Sydney man’s team.

  8. I think Sydney has it about spot on to be honest. Guthrie will go in the middle as Nolan is needed more advanced. Smith will play for Tiote by default. Routledge is our only RW as Raylor is injured. The big question mark is Carroll. If he isn;t fit, and Shola is struggling, who gets the nod?

  9. Thing with Ranger is, depsite his endeavour, I never get the feeling he is going to score. I know he is young and all that, but I don’t rate his finishing at all.

    How about a bit of outside the box thinking?

    Nolan can finish? He can finish very well in fact, so why not bang him up top and play Vuckic behind?

  10. It doesnt matter if Ranger doesnt look like scoring, as long as he plates up some chances for the rest of the team

  11. Toonsy – I don’t think Nolan is mobile enough to play up top on his own, we need someone to work the channels and chase lost causes. I would go with Ranger (I remember he had a blinder against Ipswich last season on his own up front when his hold up play was awesome, abviously PL is harder)
    How long is Shola out for?

  12. And what about Best? Has he played any reserve team football yet since returning to training? I didn’t get to see any of his games for us last season but know he had a shocker. But he has got good experience and even played for ROI (although my irish mates say he has always been poor for them also)which might give him the nod over Ranger. I think CH just wants to give Ranger sub appearances and he doesn’t feel comfortable going with him from the start in the PL. I watched the game on Saturday and thought Loverman did well considering he hasn’t has a run this season, but away from home I don’t think he has ever been as effective as at home.

  13. Against bolton,with what we have its gotta be nolan off ranger. I love loven,but not sure hes pl class. This is assuming andy isnt fit at weekend. Wish we had creative player up top,i’d love tuncay!

  14. To be honest, I know people don’t rate Best, but he was arguably one of our best performers in pre-season. Whether that is good enough for him to get a shot, who knows if he doesn’t get a chance?

  15. I think most people will to be fair, but I also don’t think it will stop people being somewhat underwhelmed.

  16. MarkToon – Tuncay ay? That could work and he will be available in Jan. We definately need that creative spark to play off Carroll. I myself am hoping that we can get Robbie Keane in January either on loan or at a cut price. He still performs well for ROI and he must still have the hunger to show he can be a hit in the EPL. Before he went to Liverpool and lost his confidence he was class. I think he would love playing at St James’ with the fans screaming “KEANO KEANO” and feeling appreciated again.

  17. Yeah-your not wrong mate. I spoke to cov fans who couldnt wait to see back of him. Same with leeds fans and beckford-i was amazed when a mate said they were happy to see back of beckford. He did alot for leeds

  18. As toonsy said-good timing for the post for foreign fans.apart from the fact that its a good read.keep it up mark:-)

  19. for me:
    ————–krul———–
    simpson–sol–willo–bull
    ————-colo————
    jonas—danny boy–loven
    —————–nolan——-
    ——andy——————-

    if andy can’t play:
    ————–krul———–
    simpson–sol–willo–bull
    ——-smudge–colo——
    guthrie—-nolan—-jonas
    ————-loven———-
    don’t think ranger is ready to start the game especially against a team like bolton. He’d be better with fresh legs off the bench imo.

  20. Great stuff lads. I live and work in Hong Kong and watch the toon match at odd hours. Mackams game at 9:30pm,
    Arsenal 11pm; Blackburn 3:45am,Fulham 11am.
    Watched the derby match in the company of two plummy Machams quaffing wine. I was on the Carlsberg as usual. The wine tasted like vinager by the end of the game. The guys were fine actually and magnanamous at the end. I have been a member ot the toon army since 1963. First game was Bedford town in the FA Cup. We got beaten 1-0 and Barry Thomas was our centre forward. It was pissing down for the whole game so I must have got the NUFC virus and have not been able to get rid of it since. I am really proud of the team both last season and this. Although I am always up for the team the same could not be said for the club. Ashley would be prepared to let the club rot on a whim. Let us hope he does the right thing and sells the club to someone more deserving before he sells Andy Carroll as a “nice little earner”!!

  21. JerseyGeordie – Colo centre mid?? I don’t think we can afford to move him from the backline as he’s been top notch again this season. I do think having Sol in there against Davies would be a good tactical change, but who do you drop? We could always go in with 3 centre backs I suppose or move Colo to RB a position he has played before in his career. Simpson has been playing well at RB though so doubt he’ll make way. Another option would be to give Williamson a well deserved rest but he won’t want to give up his place.

  22. colo has played cdm in the past and he has the kind of ability and vission on the ball that will help turn def into attack much like tiote does. Whilst he has been class this year in the backline we have more quality there than in years past and sol and willo can do a job with colo supporting. I feel when ever smudge we lose that quality of distribution that tiote has proved to be vital this season.

  23. Ranger played great at the start of last season on his own, but to be honest I would happily put money on Carroll playing some part at least.

  24. Good article and “nick” Mark ;-)

    Bris@5 isn’t 30 a little old to go to your first game? :lol:

    Toonsy…So ya have 2 special friends then? :-)

  25. Me and the laddie are going to the game.
    It will be his tenth away game and he has yet to see them win.

  26. Hi Mark, good article. I think my line up on Saturday would be (assuming Andy is injured), Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Colo, Enrique, Routledge, Guthrie, Vuckic, Jonas, Nolan and Ranger. I think would give us a strong defense with pacy midfield going forward with possible goals coming from Vuckic and Guthrie as well as Nolan and Ranger. I may well get shouted down for my next opinion but I’d like to see Perch on the bench and come on for a midfielder. I really don’t think we have seen the best of this lad in the RB position he was made to fill in. It’s a strange one because I saw him play one game and he was dreadful then in another he was brilliant, but he seemed much more comfortable when able to go forward. Hope he is given another chance, just not at RB! Cheers, Jilly Bean

  27. Regular reader of this site but this is my first comment and i just want to say to toonsy please change your avater it is really ugly and gross. Tnx.

  28. Richie – hope I’m still around in my 70s. After a lifetime of substance abuse I’m surprised I’ve survived this long – certainly surprised I don’t have a police record.

    Hope the lads win another trophy before then as well – something to go with the Fairs Cup. Now that was a great time – saw all the home games for that one, as well as the 0-0 in Glasgow – me uncle got me a seat up near the directors. I remember somebody telling me off for swearing – I told him to f@ck off and almost got kicked out. Me uncle never took me to a game again.

    And we all know what happened in the return game.

    Was chased by police for tossing a brick at some Rangers fans. Sh@t a brick, I was only 14 acting like a pitbull. Thankfully I got better when I left England. Now I’m a lapdog. Woof.

  29. Bris… I’ll die a happy man if I ever see them win something, was just 2 when we won the fairs cup.

  30. The only thing I ever regret about leaving England is that I missed out on seeing Newcastle. It wasn’t until I got cable tv that I saw them again regularly. Now I see every game, home and away, on wide screen HD.

    Sorry for the introspection. Birthday. Pissed. It’s how I remember my first game. Dad said wha’ d’ya want for ya borthday? See Newcastle, I said. Best birthday present ever.

  31. Bris….it was the toon matches I missed when I was in Germany and it’s what I’ll miss when I bugga off to Spain.

  32. Good luck with Spain, richie. I didn’t spend much time there on my travels – a few weeks in and around Barcelona. It’s good to get and about.

  33. Cheers Bris.I’ve only been to Barcelona once and that was just for a match v AC Milan so didn’t see owt of it and wor lass is from Madrid so she doesn’t want to go cos she can’t stand them.

  34. You ever eaten Kangaroo meat, Rich? I found it quite nice to be honest.

    I had a crocodile steak once aswell. Ever so quick it was, reet snappy :lol:

  35. I’m vegetarian. But I’ll chuck a handful o mung beans on the barbie – then I’ll dance around the smoke in my edible underpants and cricket pads singing the Blaydon Races in falsetto voice.

    That should get the neighbours talkin

  36. Toonsy…Aye I’ve had kangaroo, actually got it from Tescos a few years back, very nice.
    They used to do Alligator in old orleans in the haymarket, it Lacoste too much for me tho ;-)

  37. Anyway, I think I can get my hands on full matches that have been played already. If anyone wants the download links to a particular match then let us know :)

  38. Who,s our oldest blogger…..? My first game was aged 7 and remember being hauled over the wall at the corner of the pop and leazes end by a copper who told me to hurry up as we,d kicked off already. I,m 61 now and remember very little else.
    Little did I know then that in the years to come, I would end up being Head Groundsman at St James,s.This was when Bill Mc Garry was in charge,and we were in the seccond div. He was a real ignorant git and after two very happy years, we fell out over him using the pitch for training when it was all prepared for Match of The Day v Wolves (his ex team)on a wednesday night. I stuck to my principals and the following morning, I very sadly jacked it in. I,m living in Cyprus now and never miss a game at my local,The Frog and Toad, in Paphos.

  39. Porcie…Ice might out do yaI think he saw us win the old 1st Div as he was drinking the 1st bottle of “dog” of the production line. :-)

    Where is Ice anyway? not seen him on for a bit.

  40. Batty – None yet. There will be, no doubt. I read something that Hughton said last night about Carroll feeling his groin at the end of the game.

    I thought that was a bit fishy like ;)

  41. jay jay says:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:44 am
    Wish I was 12 again richietoon

    Dya miss church choir practice like? :lol:

  42. No mate she doesnt wanna go.

    As long as ya not a ginga, I don’t have much street cred but don’t wann lose what I have by being seen with one ;-) :lol:

  43. Good debut on the blog Mark. I think for me personally it’s not the being 3rd part of not picking up these points that bothers me (although it would be nice ;) lol ) it’s more thinking about how these missed opportunities can effect you down the line. We can already see our squad is starting to get thinner with the losses of HBA, Barton, possibly Carroll, Tiote etc.. I think that the second half of the season will be alot harder in terms of picking up points because of factors such as losing players and the big 4 will really start to pick up pace after Christmas. Because of this I think we need to get as close as we can to the safety margin as fast as possible. We don’t want to get to the end if the season needing points and thinking what if we had of beat Blackpool, Stoke, Blackburn etc…