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?”
Of course, Newcastle United’s game against West Ham on Sunday will see the return to St James’ Park of two ex Magpies, Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll, and also an ex manager, Sam Allardyce.
In this piece I intend to concentrate on one of those, Kevin Nolan, who has received much undeserved flak from the less “gifted” sections of Newcastle United’s fanbase since his departure. Though Carroll has almost certainly received even more, that is undoubtedly a whole story on it’s own and as a Newcastle United blogger, I am still suffering from Carroll fatigue, and possibly you are too?
Getting back to Nolan though, below is one example of the kind of thing I’m writing about from so called “fans”. It is from the commments section below a story on the midfielder in local rag, the Chronic.
“Yes kevin Nolan, one word springs to mind that actually rhyms with “Fishbowl” when talking about the south….”**ithole” Thank you for your service, but sorry, you wouldn’t get into this squad ahead of Ben Arfa or Cabaye, get your head out of the smogg air son, big clubs have demanding, passionate fans, that’s why so many can’t handle the pressure up here and depart for debt laden clubs willing to overpay on salaries, smaller crowds, less expectation, and poorer playing standards installed by useless fat Sam!”(more…)
Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, has been voted as Barclays “Manager of the Season” for 2011/12, after an excellent season which has seen the Magpies claim a place in European competition for the first time since the days of Glenn Roeder’s Newcastle United “Dream Team” in the 2005/6 season.
Depending on our result against Everton on Sunday, and a few other things going our way too, it could still even be top four and the Champions League!
Alan succeeds Alex Ferguson (2011) and Harry Redknapp (2010) in winning this award, and he was selected by a panel appointed by current sponsors, Barclays. Interestingly, this is the first time it has ever been awarded to a Newcastle United manager. Despite coming second (and third) in the League with one of the most exciting teams of the ‘nineties, Kevin Keegan never won it, and neither did Kenny Dalglish for achieving the same feat in a rather more prosaic style, and getting us to two FA Cup finals, after Keegan’s departure. Not even the most popular man in football in his day, the late, great Sir Bobby Robson didn’t manage it despite two top four finishes and a fifth.
So, our congratulations to our Silver Supremo!(more…)
Newcastle United have announced that a statue of Sir Bobby Robson is to be unveiled before the final home game of the season on 6th May. The statue will be nine and a half feet high and cast in bronze. It will be situated at the south west corner of St James’ Park.
Ipswich Town, of course, have had a statue of Sir Bobby outside their ground for many years – a much younger Sir Bobby it has to be said. I’ve had my photo taken standing beside that one, and will be completing the set when United’s new statue is in place!
The club’s managing director Derek Llambias told the club’s official website:
“We’re delighted to be able to honour Sir Bobby Robson with this lasting tribute.
“He was a great man and ambassador for this football club and for the city. He achieved great success during his time as manager of Newcastle United and this statue is a fitting way for the club to remember him.”
Lady Elsie Robson added:
“It’s very fitting that there will be a tribute to Bob outside Newcastle United’s ground. This is where his love of football began.”(more…)
“Jossys Giants” visit Bobby Charlton and Willie McFaul at St James’ Park – 1985.
Aye Bobby Charlton, not Jackie Charlton who had left the club as manager in the huff over player sales and such before McFaul stepped in and faced the same old problem.
After introducing the Jossy’s lads to McFaul the ex Northern Ireland goalie, Bobby then takes them through the bowels of the old St James Park, the old away dressing room with the old plunge bath, the old physio room and so on. A magical trip down Magpie memory lane. As you can see, Bobby’s no Al Pacino when it comes to acting; then again, he could probably teach Pacino a thing or two on playing against the likes of Eusebio and Beckenbauer! (more…)
30 minute Tyne Tees Television special programme from 1984, where David Burton reviews Newcastle United’s 1983-4 promotion season. Featuring Arthur Cox, Kevin Keegan, and some classic Keegan, Waddle and Beardsley goals from the days when the club had a front three that I’m sure quite a few Toon fans would happily include in their NUFC all time “Dream Team”. One telling point was the commentator looks back at when the club were ninth early in the season and had problems scoring goals, “but the signing of Tyneside born Peter Beardsley changed all that”. It certainly did. As well as being one of the club’s great goalscorers, he was also quite possibly the greatest goalmaker in the club’s history. Despite all the above though, the real star of the show for me is the old St James’ Park scoreboard with those daft little gadgies kicking a football across it.
Warning: As this is the eighties, these videos do feature lots of men running around in VERY tight shorts, and a streaker! (more…)