Joey Barton thinks that next season will be tougher for Newcastle than this one was due to that ‘second season syndrome’ (or ‘SecSSy’ as it’s known to those of us who have our eye in the circle). He believes that existing players will need to up their game and new talent will need to be hired.
“We believed in the squad and the group that we could achieve what we have achieved and maybe if one or two things had gone our way we might have done a little bit better.
“Next season is going to be as difficult a season, if not a lot more difficult because teams will respect you a little bit more and the Cup Final atmosphere of every game goes.
“It is going to be a lot more difficult that what it has been this season.
“The test is on us to improve individually and as a collective to move forward.“
I must admit I’m not sure how badly this second season stuff will affect us given that we were only absent for one season, but the need for squad improvements is a given anyway.
Meanwhile, back at the bat-cave, Pardew is apparently keen to get an answer from Jose Enrique about whether or not he’s planning to move on in the summer. Although The Chronicle reports this without any actual quotes from Pardew, it’s probably true: I’m sure our manager will be keen to get Enrique’s decision so that he can plan accordingly early in the summer rather than having to wait until the deadline’s nearly upon us.
It seems that Enrique is still hedging his bets and waiting to see which clubs show a genuine interest in him.
There are also rumours (from Sky Sports) that we’re ‘keeping tabs’ on Championship top scorer Danny Graham who has scored 86 goals in 262 appearances for Darlington, Middlesbrough, Derby, Leeds, Blackpool and Watford. Last season he hit 17 goals in 49 games and this season he’s hit 27 goals in 49 games.
He’s a Gateshead lad – 6ft 1in high and 25 years old – who has previously had Premier League experience when he was with Middlesbrough, although he’s played most of his games in League One and The Championship.
Watford chairman Graham Taylor and manager Malky Mackay (and, no doubt, Elton John) will be keen to try and keep him at Watford and they got him to sign a new contract last summer which covers 2 years until 2012 with an option to take another year.
And finally, did you know that scientists have invested in ‘Panda Porn’? In order to urge Pandas to breed in captivity they are giving them Viagra and showing them videos of pandas mating in the wild. Another very little known fact about pandas is that they have 6 digits – 5 fingers and a thumb – which must be handy for operating the remote control on the porn videos.