Top Six Toon – What Next?

Posted on April 2nd, 2012 | 74 Comments |

Proud to be a Geordie.
Geordie Pride.
They came, they saw, we conquered. Newcastle United 2, Liverpool 0 has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?

It’s certainly put a little skip in my step on this particular Monday morning!

This isn’t a match report as such. It’s more of a “reflections” piece featuring a few random thoughts as we find ourselves in what the trendy commentators call the “business end” of the season – or what us ordinary folk call the “last ten games”. We’ve won the first 3 of those games, and when you win, it matters not what the chasing pack are doing.

Whether the “National” (read “London”) media care to admit it or not, it looks like they are going to have to start referring to Newcastle United as a “top six side” – or whatever the latest catchphrase is. Because, barring almighty intervention of biblical proportions (or Everton winning every one of their remaining games), this result is the one that pretty much establishes United in the top six. Not just because it was another 3 points taken from the club who were immediately below us, but also because the 3 points were taken from one of the so-called “Big Clubs” that the media keep telling us are erm “Big” – whatever that means. That sort of result puts us firmly in the headlines, and makes everyone else sit up and take notice.

But it get’s better. With 7 games to go, we’re neck and neck with moneybags (but smaller crowds) Chelsea – same number of wins, same number of draws, same number of defeats. Separated from fifth place only by goal difference. We’re also only 5 points behind (smaller crowds) Tottenham. And with 7 games to go, the siren voices earlier in the season that wailed “they haven’t played anybody yet” have gone strangely silent. I wonder what pundits such as Mark Lawrenson “Newcastle won’t finish in the top six” and Paul “Cudiccini” Merson “Newcastle are punching above their weight” were thinking as they were chewing on their cornflakes this morning.

Yesterday’s game might also have brought about a dawning realisation in the head of a certain Jose Enrique, the world’s newest goalkeeper, that maybe United aren’t as much of a “smaller club” as he would have himself believe? As his new club settle into mid-table oblivion and United consolidate our top six or top five place – a time for reflection by the spanish full-back?

I genuinely felt sorry for Andy Carroll yesterday. He’s a young Geordie lad and I’m still not convinced he wanted to leave, the 35 million £££ signs in Mike Ashley’s eyes still seems more of a plausible reason for that particular transfer – but we’ve debated that one to death before… more to the point – great stumble by Agent Andy when clean through, and that header he put over the bar from 2 yards was a peach, without making it too obvious to the watching cameras – well done that Geordie!

In some ways Ashley now sits at the crossroads. People like Graham Carr, Alan Pardew and his coaches have proven to be the right people to move the club forward. They have done so quicker than expected and have out-performed against their “top ten” target this season. Where does he want the club to go from here? If it’s not “onwards and upwards” – how will the likes of Carr and Pardew respond to that?

I’m hoping this season’s achievements will stir some realisation in Mike Ashley and his entourage about what this club is capable of. I hope it stirs some ambition in him. Mike likes making money, and it’s his prime motivation in life – that much is obvious. But he also likes to gamble and he also likes the sweet smell of success. It must have occurred to him that in the Premier League, the higher a club finishes, the more the prize money it gets. Also there is additional money to be made, and prestige to be gained, from taking part in European competition. To say nothing of more TV exposure for his T-Shirt-direct adverts plastered all over St James’ Park. We can only hope that he realises the potential for what could be achieved by keeping the core of the current squad together – resisting any overtures this summer from so-called “bigger” clubs and adding some quality to our defence. After all, the more successful the club is, the more value that can be attached to our players in the market.

It’s worth a punt Mikey-Boy, and apart from the buzz of the financial rewards it might bring, you’d also have potential success and a bit of fun along the way. Hell! win something and maybe you can start drinking in the Bigg Market again!

NUFCBlog Author: UTD111 UTD111 has written 59 articles on this blog.

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74 Responses

  1. err, probably top 6 at best I’m afraid! I think we have caught chelski & Liverpool in an off season – but they will spend big and come back strong. Likewise I think Everton & Villa will give us a hard challenge next season.

    Even with 2-3 decent players I think top 5 will be out of reach to any club like us unable/unwilling to pay c£30m+ for top players and have strong cover in every position.

  2. Daily Mirror says Carroll allegedly let rip with a volley of abuse towards Dalgleish “F****** joke this, f****** shit, f*** off”
    – and he was right!

  3. Good article.

    I couldn’t help laughing yesterday evening watching MOD2 – Lawrenson tried very way he could to not talk about Newcastle, try to explain how Liverpool had played well for part of the game and how they were so unlucky…Priceless :-)

    Fair play to the others in the studio though – Jason Roberts gave a balanced view and the presenter – don’t know his name – gave us due praise and pointed out Pardew is in with fair shout for LMA manger of the season assuming we hold our nerve to the end (not to be taken for granted – we’re in good form but our fixture list isn’t such an easy one).

    What next indeed – Ashley is a very astute businessman, despite the mistakes he made with running the club at the start. I’m sure he recognises the opportunity to significantly improve the club’s value through building a competitive top 6 squad.

    No, I don’t think he’ll suddenly open the purse strings – in fact I don’t want to return to the previous unsustainable style of paying over the odds for ‘big name’ players who so often didn’t live up to their name or cost.

    I do, however, think there’s a good chance he’ll sanction 10-20m of carefully scouted players to improve our first XI and squad.

    With this, assuming we keep up the recent record of buying really well for reasonable fees and wages, I think we could consolidate a regular 7th-5th spot and cope with the added pressure of a Europa League campaign.

    For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling really positive about the future :-)

  4. You will probably stop over-performing and drop down to your normal level, ultimately leading to Pardew’s sacking when he doesn’t win you a trophy in the next 2-3 years.

  5. PFFFT! Let us not worry about next season, let us rejoice in beating Liverpool and look to the pundits to use the term “top eight club” as they try to include Liverpool – christ knows what they’d resort to if Liverpool got relegated – “top 19 club” anyone – we are a big club that has underperformed as a team. Liverpool however, and Enrique in particular, may be behind us now, but when he retires he will have at least one medal more than we’ve won in many years. Still, I was at the match yesterday (with some friends who support the reds) and I loved it, first game of the season (I live away) and to beat them was all I could have wished for, carry on lads. HBA FTW !!!

  6. David says:
    April 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm (Edit)
    Good article.

    I couldn’t help laughing yesterday evening watching MOD2 – Lawrenson tried very way he could to not talk about Newcastle, try to explain how Liverpool had played well for part of the game and how they were so unlucky…Priceless
    __________________________________________

    Thanks for that info David – I didn’t see match of the day so I missed that!

  7. ste says:
    April 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm (Edit)
    You will probably stop over-performing and drop down to your normal level, ultimately leading to Pardew’s sacking when he doesn’t win you a trophy in the next 2-3 years.
    _____________________________________

    Is that YOU Paul Merson??? LOL!

  8. We’re “punching above our weight” a little bit, but not alot (as Paul Daniels used to say). We should be a top eight side now thanks to some transfer dealing which has been very advantageous and we are sixth, which is good nonetheless. We always get so premature though, which makes us arrogant and cocky whenever there’s the slightest whiff of “success.” Let’s wait until we have had some real success, like Liverpool have had for decades now, before we get carried away with ourselves again.

  9. David says:
    April 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    “I couldn’t help laughing yesterday evening watching MOD2 – Lawrenson tried very way he could to not talk about Newcastle, try to explain how Liverpool had played well for part of the game.”

    They actually did play well for part of the game though, David, as we did. Lest we forget, Danny Simpson stopped a goal going in with his bicep, and should have been sent off, with a penalty too for good measure. We were very good, but we were a bit lucky too. This is something we have had on our side this season (for a change).

  10. UTD111 says:
    April 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    “Found this article quite balanced:”

    But I thought that the media in that London (the strange land south of Scotch Corner) were all biased against us, UTD111? :-)

    For once, that really is the “London Media,” it’s the London Evening Standard. Though it’s owned by a Russkie called Lebedev.

  11. workyticket says:
    April 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    But I thought that the media in that London (the strange land south of Scotch Corner) were all biased against us, UTD111?
    ____________________________________

    Oh they are! The reason this article was balanced was probably because it was writted by a Scottish journo who supports Dundee United :)

  12. UTD111 says:
    April 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    “Oh they are! The reason this article was balanced was probably because it was writted by a Scottish journo who supports Dundee United”

    But most of the Journalists in this London media you write of are like that, UTD111. Another one is that well known cockney, Anal Oliver, down at the People, or “weez keys are these, Louise?” Taylor at the Manchester Guardian.

  13. David @ 4

    ‘….Ashley is a very astute businessman, despite the mistakes he made with running the club at the start..’

    Why is it (and I’m sure someone is going to tell me) that comments about Ashley’s success are frequently tempered with ‘..mistakes he made with running the club at the start or words to that effect…’

    It’s like saying Shearer was a great centre forward, despite the fact that he was a crap manager or he never converted every penalty he took or he has terrible dress sense or is a boring fart. He was a great centre forward, period.

    Likewise, Ashley is a very astute businessman, period.

    Other than David, I agree entirely with your post.

  14. Well so much for Schadenfrued, the fans had it in spades yesterday, could almost hear them booing poor old Enrique in NYC.
    Have to say Andy’s dive could only rate a 2# at most and one had to credit the ref. for awarding a card.
    For whatever reason Andy had one of his worst games ever, with almost no support, plus the fact Williamson was as close as you can get without being accused of performing a sex act in public.
    Wee Perch had another good day and continues to improve, perhaps we should keep him ?
    Great credit has to be given to Pardew for everything positive about HBA, at least he’s taking all credit, being HBA was’nt ready until he (Pardew) decided it.
    Yeah right !
    I know it was a win to savor and got no problem with the barracking given to the former toon players, but lets not get too carried away.
    We have won nowt and are celabrating a sixth place spot, a place we were regularly in or above , during SBR’s time.
    We are no where near competing for silverware, the side has to be improved with a bit more quality and the fact is yesterday’s game could have gone either way but for a bit of luck on our part.
    The good news is,.
    Pardews stock is rising rapidly and being one of a small group of English managers now plying their frade in the EPL, could be considered for the Engerland job.
    Hell he ticks all the boxes, errrm actually there’s only one box, yes man, and we know he can do that.

  15. They were lucky too.
    enrique coulda given a pen away inside 5 mins when he tried to remove HBA’s shirt for his collection.
    If reina was red carded, how come we didn’t get a pen?
    The ball was in play!

  16. chuck,
    AP turned down the chance to be considered right at the start of the ‘considering’.
    Surely there’s a blog about that somewhere in the ether.

    Williamson was voted MOTM in that game mate. Afford the lad a little credit, please.
    Perchinho was ‘A1+’ class too.
    It was hard to pick a motm for me.
    The pitch looked nice though!

  17. You beg the question, “Top six – What next” ?
    Thats the sixty five thousand dollar question ?
    And you gotta get inside “Wor Mikes” heed to find out.
    We could sell both Ba and Tiote and possibly one more, dump a lot of our deadwood and rebuild with a combination of ready to play quality players and young prospects.
    The replacements financed by the sale of our top players of course, and the few bucks from the deadwood.
    Or we could reinforce our defence and bring in a striker and a midfielder, holding onto those we are not offered mad money for.
    Actually there’s any number of permutations that are possible.
    What it will eventually come down to is, are we interested in silverware or earning profits or perhaps Wor Mike believes he can do both ?
    We will find out soon enough.

  18. & chuck, mate.

    No one’s celebrating being a lowly 6th man.
    People are celebrating the fact that liverpool tried to buy a top 4 by taking some of our ‘so called’ best players in the off season.
    While languishing below lowly little Newcastle United.
    It’s funny!
    Get it?
    :)

    dogleash, clarke, enrique, bellamy, ac.
    The crowd don’t boo ex players that left in good circumstances.

    It’s worthy of a little chuckle mate, ain’t it?
    ;)

  19. Clint
    Yeah, what was that about, a red card for an offence inside the box, with the ball in play and no penalty awarded.
    Can anyone clarify that ?

  20. Though not a great fan of Carroll (thought he was a bit of a thug) I got a kick outta Bellamy.
    He always gave 100% and never shut his mouth for the entire gam, made me laugh.
    Not a fan of Daglish, but he was a great scorer in his day.
    My memory of Enrique was of him outpacing some of the fastest wingers in the league, which in his early days at the club amazed me.
    Clarke, who remenbers, but would love to have him here as a coach or even manager.

  21. Guys – I don’t think the ball WAS in play – I’m sure the ref had given the foul by Perchinho. So this was an “off the ball” incident.
    I agree with workyticket – we ARE punching above our weight – a little. Everyone, especially Pards and the Toon hierarchy, would (will? – heaven forbid!) have been happy with a top 8-9 finish this year and we’re looking like 6th with a squeak at 5th. For me, top 6 next year plus a really good cup run (Wembley, please) would register progress. And I’m not so pessimistic about Mike Ashley’s ambitions as some. Yes he wants to run the club as a business and yes, he wants value for money, but he didn’t have to sanction the £9 million for Papiss – boy, does that represent value for money – he’s already paid back some of that fee by keeping us up the league. A bargain doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest thing going – and I’m sure Ashley knows that and will want the club and the team to march onward and hopefully, steadily upward.

  22. chuck,

    i happen to agree wholeheartedly with that appraisal mate.
    I loved enrique from the get go, but he let himself down by not re-signing & allowing himself to be spirited away to liverpool. ac was alright, not ever a top Newcastle player for me like. Glad we got what we did for him.
    bellamy was great for us, but again, let himself & the team down with his mouth, when we needed him most.
    dogleash was a great player, but ruined our great 90’s team when he took over, then we played some awful football under him.

    Yea!
    Why wasn’t it a pen?

  23. magpie,
    had he blown for a foul, i thought he blew after reina laid the nut on Perchinho like.

    & it’s not down to anyone other than fifa/uefa now on who spends what…for glory!
    When the new rules come in next season it’ll be a new landscape.
    We’re getting used to doing it the correct way, careful buying & ‘building’ a team, not just hoying good money after bad ’til it sticks.
    About time!

  24. This game highlights why kk only got a 2 year deal to manage liverpool.
    There’s no real support from above. The ‘old boys network’ PR team have tried/worked hard to hype him up, but it ain’t working out, is it?
    He’ll ruin them like he ruined us.

    He looked not only crestfallen but clueless yesterday.
    What was he doing on the field of play at the reina incident? Why no subs earlier? How could we be so comfortable as to take off our double goal scorer with 15/20 mins to go?
    They look a shambles!

  25. Ken Dodd! Cilla Black! William Ewart Gladstone! Paul McCartney! John Lennon! George Harrison! Ringo Starr! Jimmy Tarbuck! John Bishop! Derek Acorah! John Parrott! Stan Boardman! Arthur Askey! Ricky Tomlinson! Margi Clarke! Clare Sweeney! Steve MacManaman! Carla Lane! Jennifer Ellison! Les Dennis! Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Your boys took one hell of a beating! ONE HELL OF A BEATING!

  26. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    April 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    “He’ll ruin them like he ruined us.”

    I think that it’s due as least as much to Director of Football, Comolli the Clown, Clint. He brought in Carroll and King Kenny. Remember when he almost ruined Tottenham by bringing in a load of shite players and unbalancing the team without telling Martin Jol, getting him sacked then bringing in the wrong coach from Sevilla? Two points in their first eight games etc? he’s repeating his magic at Liverpool.

  27. Ah yes – Derek Acorah….

    “Is there somebody here called John?…..or erm Mary, Peter?

    I’m sensing someone from the other side who wants to talk to you – an Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent perhaps….sister?

    I’m seeing the colour blue, or maybe red??

  28. UTD111 says:
    April 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    “Ah yes – Derek Acorah….

    “Is there somebody here called John?…..or erm Mary, Peter?

    I’m sensing someone from the other side who wants to talk to you – an Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent perhaps….sister?”

    I’m seeing the colour blue, or maybe red??”

    I know I’ve posted this before before, but it’s the best Acorah pisstake, especially where he walks over to the biggest gadgie in in the room and says – “I’m gettin’ the word – NONCE!” :lol:

  29. worky,

    that’s as maybe, but it’ll still show up on kk’s CV won’t it, along with his ill-fated celtic stint.
    He’s one of those managers that didn’t come up through ther ranks, he had a winning, imperious liverpool team at his disposal the first time.
    Then he bought his way to the title at blackbum.

  30. Sad state of british yoof, racially abusing Perchinho via twitter.

    Will they ever learn?

  31. Oh aye!

    While i remember,
    well done to Jonas!
    Captain for the day, did a great job, putting in a tireless shift, again, as per usual.

    Argentoona!

  32. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    April 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    “£8m for Cisse?”

    I believe it’s something like £7.5-8 to £9 million depending on various things, which is what I wrote at the time. Most jounalists and bloggers just said ten as they are lazy, don’t bother to check their facts as well I do and just copy from each other most of the time. This often results in one mistake quickly becoming estblished as a “fact.” I don’t know why I bother though, it’s like pearls before swine much of the time and you just get people patronisingly trying to “correct” you with the lazy journo guff they’ve read, and telling you that you’re wrong.

  33. worky,

    aye mate, indeed!

    A case in point:
    In that podcast ^^^^ When asked directly Carr said £8m, then ‘talkshite numpty’ immediately said £9m.
    I tend to believe Carr like.
    But maybe it does rise to £9m, but he didn’t mention that.

  34. Interestingly I read David Pleat’s comments in the Guardian today and he praised Pardwho but also Carr and Carver.

    Recalling recent headlines about Pardwho doing defence for the first four days and JC the attack plans on day five, do we read into that the 4-3-3 is down to JC ? If so was it his 4-4-2 beforehand ?

  35. AndyMac says:
    April 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    “Interestingly I read David Pleat’s comments in the Guardian today and he praised Pardwho but also Carr and Carver.”

    Andy, Pleat, Carr and Hughton all worked together at Tottenham, that’s why Hughton brought Carr to Newcastle in the first place. I’ll probably be patronised and insulted for writing that though, as I was last time. :-)

  36. “Andy, Pleat, Carr and Hughton all worked together at Tottenham. That’s why Hughton brought Carr to Newcastle. I’ll probably be patronised and insulted for writing that though, as I was last time”

    Never mind WT you can get the Blog Patrol onto it as from now !!

    PS Where does JC come in to that equation though ? Or did Pleaty just mention him so he wasnt left out ?

    PPS Considering a trip to the Valleys this Friday ? This could be a real game !

  37. Andy,

    i would hope not mate.

    Really,
    Colo in neville’s team of the year?
    Only Colo?
    :)
    Who’s the keeper-hart?
    DM?

  38. Really, Colo in neville’s team of the year? Only Colo?
    :)
    Who’s the keeper-hart? Yup
    DM? Only done keeper and back four tonite

    TBF he had TK in his top four keepers and Simmo in his top 3 RB’s

  39. A french journalist from RMC Philippe Auclair), who have broken numerous deals involving us, has just claimed that Ben Arfa was signed for as little as 3 million euros.

    If that is true, then, BARGAIN!!!!

  40. AndyMac says:
    April 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    “PS Where does JC come in to that equation though ? Or did Pleaty just mention him so he wasnt left out ?”

    People don’t need much of an excuse to slap each other on the back in public, Andy.

    Pardew was once at Spurs on loan when Hughton was a coach there too. He only played in a few rounds of the Intertoto cup though. Football’s a small world.

  41. Andy,
    well that’s not bad i suppose.
    Good on ya Gaz!
    Who’d a thunk he’d be a decent ‘pundit’?
    :)

  42. Even more of a bargain than Ba the freebie £2m transfer plus a years supply of strawberry syrup.

    Sadly I see Shaqiri is moving to Bayern in the summer for 10m euros which is only about 10 grand now the euro has found its new level and parity with the old greek drachma :)

  43. CLiNT FLiCK says:

    “Who’d a thunk he’d be a decent ‘pundit’? :)”

    Cant be any worse than Andy “show us your knickers” Gray ?

    WT says:

    “Pardew was once at Spurs on loan when Hughton was a coach there too. He only played in a few rounds of the Intertoto cup though”

    Surely they’re about the same age or did CH give up football early through injury ?

  44. summerof69 says:
    April 2, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    “A french journalist from RMC Philippe Auclair), who have broken numerous deals involving us, has just claimed that Ben Arfa was signed for as little as 3 million euros.”

    Where did he say that, Summer?

  45. AndyMac says:
    April 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    “Surely they’re about the same age or did CH give up football early through injury ?”

    I seem to recall that Hughton retired in his mid thirties, and Pardew went on until he was knocking on forty, Andy. I’ll look it up for you. Hughton’s just a few years older than Pardew, both early fifties.

  46. Chuck, Tripp, Summer of 69. He’s quite good at “scoops”. I think he’s as daft as I am when it comes to sifting through lots of NUFC football drivel.

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