It seems a lifetime since signings like Michael Owen and Mark Viduka wore the black and white. Declining, injury prone and nearly always overpriced; these marquee players from the Shepherd era were one of the main reasons we were relegated at the beginning of Ashley’s reign.
On massive wages and having already achieved something notable in their careers, they didn’t seem like they were hungry enough to care about the current club’s situation enough to save us from the drop. Going down to the championship a few years ago turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to the club in years as we found out who was there for the team and who was just there for the money and prestige.
The new policy of signing hungry players with lower reputations and wage demands started with the signings of players such as Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez, who were the first of many similar players to come through the door with similar ambitions and experience. These were followed in subsequent seasons by the likes of Cheick Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye, plus the five recent additions to the squad last month, making this transfer policy clearly the most important reason for our fledgling success in the last three / four seasons. (more…)
Well, Newcastle United have finally managed to finish in the top half of the Premiership under current owner, Mike Ashley.
This is our first top ten finish, and qualification for European competition, since Glenn Roeder’s Intertoto “Dream Team” managed seventh, and Europe, after a storming finish in the 2005-06 season.
However, we fans are constantly reminded that this can only come at a very high cost, that the name of the club’s traditional home, St James’ Park, must be sacrificed to become a free publicity vehicle for Sports Direct, that we must also be subjected to a myriad of fit inducing signs publicising Sports Direct throughout games, that we must pay a £25 membership fee to purchase a season ticket, or even just one away ticket and so on…
Mirroring the spin department of the current administration at 10 Downing Street, everything is blamed on our previous administration for allegedly taking us to the edge of the financial abyss, with neither the world economic crisis, nor relegation to the Championship playing any part whatsoever. Even after five whole years, when controversial decisions are made, the spectre of the Byker Beelzebub himself, Freddy Shepherd, is constntly raised, and the club’s current owner is hailed as a messiah who has somehow led the club from the verge of complete extinction. So, now that the club has completed it’s fifth season under its current ownership, I thought I would put this to the test, measuring the performance of the current owner, both on the pitch and on the balance sheet, against his predecessors under the leadership of Shepherd. (more…)
As I write this, we sit at the top of the Premier League injury table alongside Spurs and the rabble from down the road and my perception is that we get a lot of injuries compared to other teams.
However, my perception might be clouded by the fact that I support Newcastle, so I set about trying to find some historical stats about injuries and – in the main – failed dismally to do so. I did find a site called LadyArse – a gooners’ fan site – which does contain an injury list that has us 5th, but I can’t vouch for the accuracy of said table.
Another thing that might cloud my perception is that injuries to key players are obviously noticed more than those to squad players, and we seem to have had a lot of those in recent seasons too.
So I guess my first question is: do we get a lot of injuries for a Premier League club? (more…)
Newcastle’s Shola Ameobi seems to divide opinion, with some fans eager to get shot of him at the first opportunity and with others jumping to his defence. This article looks at both sides of the argument.
I had an argument with my wife the other day. Having left our TomTom at home, it was one of those typical man and wife arguments about asking directions.
My wife wanted to stop and ask someone the way and I thought that was the most ludicrous idea I’d ever heard and refused to ask directions. She accused me of being a loser and I said that, being a Villa supporter, she’d know all about being a loser. Then I was given the silent treatment, which at least meant I could peacefully get on with following a car at random, which is my tactic in such circumstances.
Anyway, we got where we wanted to be and I was very smug. My wife said I was just lucky but I insisted the end result was what counts.
Which brings me to Shola Ameobi and the ‘end result’ that strikers must achieve to earn their pay packet. (more…)
As you’re probably aware, Newcastle United’s Boxing day trip to Sheffield Wednesday will mark our 23rd league game of the season, marking the half-way point in what is turning out to be a fantastic season so far! This article takes a look at some of the happenings since the season began way back on the 8th of August.
With a team seemingly devoid of confidence, direction, application and the uncertainty surrounding the owner, managerial position, and who was next to be sold, the toon set off for the season opener at West Brom. After being 1-0 down at half-time, a superb finish from Damien Duff earned us a share of the spoils. That was to be Duff’s only appearance for us this season as he was quickly snapped by Fulham and he followed the likes of Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins, Seb Bassong and Habib Beye out of the club. (more…)
I think the signing of a new player, albeit only on a four and a half month loan, marks a bit of a turning point in the club sale saga. I suspect what it means is that Ashley is more or less resigned to failure (again) in his attempts to sell the club and is preparing to remain as owner until at least January.
I’m guessing we’ll see a new manager appointed shortly, probably Joe Kinnear if he’s fit enough. I just can’t see too many other managers being interested in working under Ashley with an extremely tight budget and with a short-term outlook on things. Red Adair would be a good choice.
As to the players that have gone, the list currently numbers nine – Owen, Viduka, Cacapa, Lovenkrands, Edgar, Nacho, Martins, Bassong, Beye – and if Duff and Steven Taylor leave too that’ll be eleven players who’ve gone and one who’s been brought in.
Personally, I’d rather we’d kept Steven Taylor, Duff, Bassong and Beye and got rid of Coloccini, Barton, Nolan and Ryan Taylor, although some or all from that latter group may yet depart. I know Barton’s not a bad player and should shine in the Championship but, sorry, I just think he’ll screw up again – either on or off the pitch – and as far as I’m concerned he’s too much of a risk. As to Coloccini, well, he simply hasn’t done it for us and I would love to see us get a decent fee for him and send him on his way (by invisible bicycle maybe). (more…)
Once upon a time, comparisons were made between the clubs based on positive notes such as the club history, the passion of the fans and their desire for success diluted with a realistic and humorous outlook on the game. Instead, the familiarity these days is apparent for a different reason. It doesn’t take a genius to draw a parallel between our decline and that of our old friends down the road, Leeds United. That’s why people have been doing it for the last couple of years or more.
Mismanagement and poor finances off the field together with mismanagement and poor performances on the field led to the downfall of the once great Leeds. A club who, less than 20 years ago (just less mind), were the English Champions. Holding off the challenge of their bitter rivals across the Pennines to take the 1991/1992 title, while the destiny of Newcastle United was being re-charted dramatically by a certain messiah (ahem….). (more…)
While we await the dawn of a new era, some of our former staff will be looking to carve out a new career elsewhere. We’ve had more than our fair share of expensive disappointments over the years but they don’t come much bigger than The Damaged Duo.
Arriving with great expectations, between them they have caused more gnashing of teeth than many who have gone before or those who will follow them onto that hallowed turf.
I leave you with an all-too-infrequent sight of the pair celebrating a goal. One of a handful of fleeting glimpses and empty promises of what could and should have been a great partnership. Both have undoubtedly had their injury problems which have plagued Newcastle careers which should have seen them projected to hero status. Owen for his undoubted goalscoring ability and overall professionalism earlier in his career and Viduka simply because of his genius, when he decides to turn it on. (more…)
£400,000, that will do nicely for players such as Michael Owen and Mark Viduka, as they walk away from Newcastle after playing little part in helping the club avoid relegation last season, or being available for a fraction of the games for which they could have been eligible. So as we say “adios”, we will all rest easy knowing they have a nice ‘loyalty’ payment due to cushion the blow while they find some other mug to keep them in the style to which they have become accustomed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not their fault that the fat scrap man wanted to shower them with money. In their shoes would you turn down mega wages and very nice ‘loyalty’ payments? Would you not fill your boots if some idiot was waving large wads of used tenners in front of your nose and begging you to take it? So if it’s not their fault who’s is it? (more…)