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Archive for category: Hughie Gallacher.

Which Newcastle United manager had the longest balls?

February 21st, 2013 | 7 Comments |

Newcastle United - A long ball dinosaur?
Newcastle United – A long ball dinosaur?
Since I wrote a few pieces on how Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United had become the biggest “long ball” side in the Premiership this season some time ago, It piqued my curiosity to look beyond and see how the “route one” style favoured by Pardew this term compared with that of his predecessors, and possibly, what we might be able to learn from what comes out in the wash so to speak.

The stats contained in the table below go back to the start of the 2008-9 relegation season. Hence, the managers I have included are Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear, Alan Shearer, Chris Hughton (x3) and Alan Pardew.

Admittedly, some of the managerial spells are ridiculously short, and one would prefer at least a whole season for each manager, where every other team in the division was played with their varying tactics pitted against Newcastle United’s would have been the ideal. However, in the crazy world of Newcastle United since the blundering Mike Ashley took over, the longest continuous run of Premiership matches for any manager apart from the current one has been Joe Kinnear’s nineteen. Although Chris Hughton at least had a full season in the Championship, his spells as caretaker apart, he only had sixteen games in the Premiership before being sacked. Anyway, the point of this is more to take a look at Newcastle United’s long ball style as a whole in recent years, rather than just focusing on one particular manager. This brings me to my final point in this section, why I haven’t included that Championship season. This was for two reasons: Firstly, because I do not have the same stats for that season (I only have Premiership stats from “OPTA”). Secondly, it is also (literally) a different league, a different paradigm where different standards apply. (more…)


The next Newcastle number 9?

June 21st, 2011 | 35 Comments |

Who is worthy of the Newcastle number 9 shirt?
Tough acts to follow
On arrival at Newcastle United Demba Ba was handed the number 19 shirt, leaving the number 9 shirt vacant. Does this indicate that there are plans to recruit another striker to fill it or is the shirt going to be retired for a while?

The Newcastle United number 9 shirt is of course sacred. Leaving it unfilled for a while – after Obafemi Martins moved to Wolfsburg – was a deliberate ploy by former manager Chris Hughton who said:

It’s something I’ve done deliberately. We have a lot of strikers here and I’m quite sure that every single one of them would have wanted to wear the No 9 shirt. As soon as I came to this club I knew what it meant and it’s both my decision and a combination of a few things.

It can be a heavy number to carry, a burden, and wearing it is an achievement which I want somebody to grow into. I want somebody to earn the right to be Newcastle’s No 9. I don’t want to suggest that the strikers here aren’t worthy of it because each of them has a real strong value.

I don’t anticipate years going by without one, but I know what the number nine is and I don’t want it to be an issue. The only issue I want is the normal stuff of the team performing well or not performing well, winning games or not winning games, and that’s very much team based.(more…)


Vying for No.9 at Newcastle United? – Part Deux.

January 12th, 2010 | 129 Comments |

So who fancies living up to this then?
So who fancies living up to this then?
Well here it is, the third and final chapter of my mid-term player review. And a topical area for discussion, as speculation remains over a move for Leeds Utd’s Jermaine Beckford, or A.N. Other should we fail in that bid.

The No.9 shirt is almost as synonymous with Newcastle United, as St James’ Park, the black and white stripes or that deed funny accent we’ve got. It’s been made particularly special in this part of the world because it’s been worn by some of the best players this country has seen. The likes of Gallacher, Milburn, MacDonald, Cole, Shearer have graced that shirt and it will undoubtedly always be a big shirt to fill.

Ironic then, given that the No.9 shirt and the prestige it carries with it is currently up for grabs, that we have a group of strikers who fall somewhat short of the standards we’ve come to expect from our centre-floorboards, and that none of them look like earning that honour just yet, particularly in this current barren spell…..

So how far short have they fallen so far? (more…)