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Archive for category: Shay Given.

Magpies frustrated! Aston Villa vs Newcastle United match report, highlights and interviews.

September 17th, 2011 | 23 Comments |

Leon Best: 9 goals in 12 games.
Leon Best: 9 goals in 12 games.
Aston Villa 1 (Agbonlahor 13)
Newcastle United 1 (Best 57)

Both teams went into this game unbeaten in the Premier League so far, but with the Magpies four places ahead in the table through an extra victory, with nearly all of Aston Villa’s games being draws. And so it proved today once again.

Despite being dominated for long spells of the game and tailing off pretty badly at the end of each half, Aston Villa held out for another draw, their fourth out of five so far. It was a fairly exciting encounter overall, though in one respects it was like Newcastle United’s previous game against QPR. This time however it was the Magpies who were in the driving seat for much of the game, and would have been almost certainly disappointed to walk away with only a point.

We got off to a much better start than we did in that game with some great pressure. Unfortunately though, it wasn’t to last. Unlike that last game, Aston Villa had Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor instead of Jay Bothroyd, and as soon as a real chance presented itself to the Villans, the latter of the two made no mistake. After around ten minutes of the game, Gabriel Obertan almost left our former goalkeeper, Shay Given with egg on his face as an attempted forced a tip-over from the Irish shot stopping supremo. Three minutes later though, it was the dominant Magpies who had egg all over as the babovementioned Abonlahor picked up a Bannen cross, holding off Captain Colo to slip in a nice low short range finish in the box. It must be said, or even written, that our defending could have been better there though. Damn and blast it all! Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle United. (more…)


Magpies and Villans: Aston Villa vs Newcastle United match preview

September 16th, 2011 | 15 Comments |

Villa Park awaits the high flying Magpies.
Villa Park awaits the high flying Magpies.
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Kick off: Saturday, 17th Sept, 3pm
Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Well if stats are anything to go by, our forthcoming away clash with the Villans, the result could well be another 0-0 like the QPR match. Of course though, there’s been many a time in the past when people like myself written stuff like that and the games have ended up as 4-3 scorchers so here’s hoping!

While both Newcastle United and Villa have made fairly promising starts to the season, the best in fifteen years for Newcastle no less, this has been more on the back of solid defences rather than exciting, entertaining Cavalier style attacking play. Both teams are yet to lose, with Aston being the draw specialists on the Premiership so far with three of their first four games ending up deadlocked. Incidentally, whilst I’m wheeling out the stats, Villa are also the all time draw specialist in Premier League history with no less than 226 altogether in the nineteen and a bit years of the competition so far, which is around twelve draws a season. While the Magpies have one more victory than the Villans, and are four places ahead in fourth, we have scored but three goals in our opening four games, whereas Villa have scored five.

What the managers say

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Magical Magpie legends: Shay Given (part three)

June 24th, 2011 | 7 Comments |

Shay says goodbye.
Shay says goodbye.
<< Part two.

Moving on from part two, it’s now time for the final chapter in the trilogy of articles I have written profiling Shay Given’s time at Newcastle United. Hopefully, it will end on a high and not be resurrected with a 4th instalment some 20 years into the future (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull anyone?)

Newcastle began the 2005-2006 season by failing to qualify for the UEFA Cup via the Intertoto after failing to progress past Spanish side Deportivo La Coruña. Newcastle’s league campaign didn’t go to well either resulting in Souness getting the sack in February, and Glenn Roeder taking charge in a caretaker capacity to the end of the season. Roeder’s instalment helped propel United up the league and eventually finish in 7th position, meaning that we got another chance in the Intertoto the following season. Shay played every Premier League match and his excellent form saw him named in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2nd time in his United career.

“Shay is so like Gordon Banks, he’s not the tallest keeper but makes up for his lack of height with incredibly fast feet. They make his reaction times, for example from close range headers, quite remarkable. Possibly the best I’ve seen. And in terms of his all-round game, what I’ve seen of him in the last 18 months or so has been phenomenal. His development has staggered me. He’s now displaying a palpable all-round knowledge of his art. His positioning is impeccable and his consistency is remarkable” – Former Arsenal legend and goalkeeping coach Bob Wilson on Shay Given. (more…)


Magical Magpie legends: Shay Given (part two)

June 22nd, 2011 | 49 Comments |

Shay Given v Feyenoord - 2002.
Shay celebrates our 3-2 win at Feyenoord.
<< Part onePart three >>.

Part two: Shay celebrates his 300th game!

As Given’s first 5 years at Newcastle came to an end, the 2002-2003 season began with United qualifying for the Champion’s League first group stage after a comfortable 5-0 aggregate win over Bosnia and Herzegovina’s FK Željezničar.

At the season’s start, Sir Bobby Robson had decided that he was going to alternate Given with Steve Harper for our European matches, a decision which did not bode to well with the Irishman:

“Personally I’m not adjusting very well to being in and out every week, I’d rather play in every game. But I’m not the manager and I don’t pick the team. It’s his decision, but I was very disappointed when I first found out. Hopefully he won’t do it too often. I don’t think you can keep alternating between the keepers for very long, but I don’t know what will happen. (more…)


Magical Magpie legends: Shay Given (part one)

June 20th, 2011 | 96 Comments |

Shay Given - Greatest ever Toon 'keeper?
Greatest ever Toon 'keeper?
Part two >>

Moving on from my previous article on Gary Speed, it is now time to profile another ex Newcastle United legend from the past decade. This time focusing on current Manchester City and Ireland international goalkeeper, Shay Given.

Born April 20th 1976 in Lifford, County Donegal, Ireland, Shay started his career at his boyhood club, Celtic, before moving onto Blackburn Rovers. Whilst at Blackburn he spent loan spells at Swindon Town and Sunderland. It was at Sunderland where Shay won his first trophy, picking up the Football League Championship in 1996, this was also the same year he won his first cap for Ireland, in a friendly match against Russia at Lansdowne Road.

He joined Newcastle United In the summer of 1997, signed by former Magpie’s manager Kenny Dalglish for £1.5 million from Blackburn Rovers. This was the second time Dalglish had signed Given, previously signing him for Blackburn from Celtic in the summer of 1994. Demonstrating his athletic nature and sharp reflexes, Shay spent a total of 12 excellent seasons on Tyneside. In my opinion, he was the best ‘keeper Newcastle have ever had, certainly in my lifetime so far anyway, and one of the best shot stoppers the Premier League has ever had.

His outstanding shot stopping ability was evident from the moment he first featured for us, in a pre-season competition ‘The Irish Tournament’ at the start of the 1997-1998 season. United subsquently won the tournament (anybody else remember Rob Lee shaking the trophy over his head like a mad man?) and as an impressionable 12 year old boy, I remember thinking, not only about how much are new green ‘keepers top looked like a Crocodile / Human hybrid skin shedding, but also that we potentially had got ourselves a great player. I also remember really wanting a pair of Adidas ‘Fingersave’ gloves like Given’s and how I would be able to convince my parents to get me a pair! (more…)