It isn’t very often that I venture off the highway of football to enter the arena of art criticism here on NUFC Blog, but this is one of those occaisions and I am actually more qualified. Having been a figurative artist, a designer and also an art dealer in a very modest sense, I hope I can give a reasonably informed opinion without getting too carried away.
As you might have guessed from the photo accompanying thus piece, my current musing has been inspired by the recent unveiling of the Alan Shearer sculpture. Named ‘Local Hero,’ it is the second by local self-taught sculptor, Tom Maley for Newcastle United. It follows Maley’s Bobby Robson tribute of 2012, though it was actually commissioned by former NUFC Chairman, Freddie Shepherd before that in 2007 at an alleged cost of around £250,000. There is almost certainly some kind of club politics behind the nine year delay in its unveiling but that is not what this story is about. (more…)
There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Said Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and so it was with Newcastle United when they missed football’s greatest tide, leaving themselves bound in the shallows and miseries of mediocrity ever since.
To elaborate, in 1997-8, in the early stages of the biggest ever growth in football finances, Newcastle United were the fifth biggest football club in the world according to the Deloitte and Touche ‘Football Money League’ for that season. To make it seem even more unreal when we look at Newcastle United today, they were slightly ahead of Louis van Gaal and Bobby Robson’s Barcelona, who the Magpies had beaten 3-2 in the Champions League at St James’ Park that season. They also made the FA Cup final, after finishing as runners up in the Premier League for the second year in a row and signing the world’s most expensive player in the previous season. However the signs were already there, they also finished thirteenth in the League that season, the club lost some great players, Les Ferdinand, David Ginola, Faustino Asprilla and certainly not least, a 36year old Peter Beardsley. Kenny Dalglish was then sacked early into the next season and things were to get even worse under his successor, Ruud Gullit. (more…)
“Newcastle fans, following my Football Focus interview, plenty of you tweeting me saying you don’t blame me for getting injured but for leaving when we got relegated.”
“Despite the club saying they did, they didn’t ever offer me a new contract despite them putting it in the press that they did. How could they when they had just been relegated? It would have been financial suicide. I’ve seen it a million times, a club will blatantly lie to their fans to take the moral high ground leaving the player with no leg to stand on. I’ve taken the stick for years which is fine but you really don’t know half of it. All will be revealed one day.”
Tweeted Michael Owen on his final season at Newcastle United. Then however, he backtracked somewhat, updating his Twitter with the following:
“Just to clarify. My tweet yesterday referred to no contract offer after Newcastle relegation. Which I said was understandable. Newcastle did make me an offer to extend in 2008 when Joe Kinnear was manager. Apologies to the club if there has been any confusion. I just didn’t want the fans to think I had deserted the club after relegation. I didn’t.” (more…)
Going against my parents wishes was nothing strange to me, but the day I am about to describe where I did just that definitely set the course of my life.
I was born in Brunton Park, Wideopen, to Cynthia and Bert, a firm upbringing but nontheless loving. I mostly had a carefree childhood ’til my little brother came along when I was 4 and everything was my fault from then on! Then, for some strange reason, we moved to Jesmond and without realising it, that was the start of love and despair following the glorious Black and Whites.
Perhaps my parents fell on tougher times, I never found out or even asked the question. However we arrived at Clayton Park Square, just behind the Brandling Park. I’d settled into my new school, made some mates, and managed to get to seven years old without too many scrapes. As with most young tear-arses, I was up to all kinds when one Saturday morning, I was playing with all me new mates in the Exhibition Park who were all alot older than me because I was always very tall for my age, when they all decided it was time to “nick into the match”. Whats this aal aboot? I’d never even heard of “the match.” (more…)
In Joe Kinnear’s “Talk Sport” interview just over a week ago with Richard Keys and Andy Gray, besides being touched as Kinnear recalled the awful series of events which befell him after his reign at Newcastle, not just the heart episode which forced him into retirement but also the loss of his only son Elliott to multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow), and then Kinnear himself contracting Septicaemia (blood poisoning), it also reminded me of the complete and utter of contempt shown to Kinnear by the media and many of Newcastle United’s fans when he was manager, a contempt which still remains seemingly after seeing some of the responses to it. So in this piece, I thought I would examine his record at the club, and attempt to explore some aspects of why this might be.
Getting to the interview itself, which is still available in full on the Talk Sport website, Keys remarked at the beginning of the interview on Kinnear’s time at St James’ Park:
“You slipped away so quietly after that time at Newcastle as a result of illness. we never really got the opportunity, I’m sure all Geordie fans would like to say ‘well done.’ You didn’t get quite the credit you deserve for laying the foundation stones to sorting that mess out. It was quite a period, wasn’t it?”