Archive for category: European Football.

Why Ashley leaving Toon for the Champions League with Rangers is nonsense

January 27th, 2015 | 32 Comments |

Mike Ashley boxing
Mike Ashley: A heavyweight who’s always up for a fight
With Mike Ashley’s recent attempts to take over at Rangers, and specifically his problems with the Scottish FA for having an interest in both clubs, it has often been said recently that Mike Ashley would be willing to leave Newcastle United so he can take over Rangers completely. There have been several hypotheses put forward for why he might do this

Champions League exposure for Sports Direct?

One which makes no sense at all is that Ashley would be willing to sacrifice Newcastle United and the English Premier League to expose his cheap sports goods in that great league of leagues, the Champions League. This would be once Rangers get through the small formalities of getting promoted back to the Scottish Premiership and then beating Celtic to win the Scottish Premiership title. This one is a complete non-starter though as there are two crucial things the proponents of this hypothesis have overlooked.

1. As both Newcastle United and Rangers fans should know from previous European competition, Rangers or any other side are only allowed to display advertising for their shirt sponsors and kit sponsors. There could be no pitch side hoardings or anything else emblazoned with cheap Ashley brands like Sports Direct, Firetrap and all the rest. Only UEFA sponsorship partners are allowed to advertise in both the Europa and Champions League competitions. (more…)


Pardew pooh-poohs Gutierrez’s talk of lazy training sessions

August 5th, 2013 | 39 Comments |

Alan Pardew shrugging.
Pardew: Sticking with his old excuses.
After Jonas Gutierrez publically criticised Newcastle United’s lack of intensity in their training sessions last season, Alan Pardew went away for a while, had a think, and has decided that both his staff and himself “need to be honest about it” and admit that mistakes were made.

He then goes on to suggest that Gutierrez saying training sessions are “a bit too easy” was a little misleading at least by once again pointing the finger of blame at the stresses of playing in the Europa League, injuries and a lack of quality players.

“You’ve got to be open and honest about it as a staff,” the Silver Supremo began, continuing:

“My staff – my immediate staff and myself as manager – need to be honest about it, mistakes were made. You need to be honest enough to admit them and look at when and why they were made.”

Pardew then went on to discount Gutierrez’s critique, falling back on his old chestnuts: (more…)


Newcastle United’s new crazy gang – Kinnear and Carr

July 1st, 2013 | 37 Comments |

Joe Kinnear and Graham Carr.
Kinnear and Carr: NUFC’s scouting “dream team.”
They are two chubby old men who swear so much, they even make Bernard Manning and Chubby Brown sound like a pair of Vicars.

One is reviled and one is revered by significant sections of Newcastle United’s fanbase, yet they are almost like peas in a pod. Two chubby, foul mouthed, old school pros with two lifetimes worth of experience in football. Carr has already been an excellent scout for Newcastle United, and there is no reason why Joe Kinnear can’t add to that significantly too, as a scout himself, as well as a bridge between the football side of the club, Mike Ashley and the future Managing Director, whoever that might be.

Since Kinnear’s return to the club, the first lazy stereotype of uninformed newspaper hacks was that Kinnear was putting a stop to the foreign signings because he’d never heard of them, that he was looking to sign more Kevin Nolans and Ryan Taylors, and also that Carr was set to walk out of the club in disgust. However, if you cast your mind to his time as interim manager at Newcastle, Kinnear was actually exploring the French market long before Carr came to the club. One transfer target Kinnear bid for was potential Butt replacement, Stephane Mbia, then a Stade Rennais player who eventually moved to Marseilles for over £10 million and eventually, QPR. There were others too such as Toulouse right back Albin Ebondo, who was looked at by Kinnear before he eventually moved to St Etienne. (more…)


Pardew’s tired excuses don’t make sense, and here’s why…

April 24th, 2013 | 78 Comments |

Alan Pardew.
Pardew: Blaming extra games for failure.
“This was our 50th game today, which goes a little bit unnoticed. With all the travelling involved as well, that’s tough. Clubs will look at us and the impact it can have, because it’s not only the extra games but the injuries we’ve had on the back of that. There’s no doubt that our league position would be greater. We’ve had to pay a heavy penalty on the Sundays, not just for Sunderland but for previous games. Swansea are going to find that next year – it’s difficult, unless you really increase the size of your squad.” – Johnstone’s Paint trophy winner Alan Pardew after Newcastle United’s game with West Bromwich Albion.

“I know one year that Barcelona played with 19 first-team players, as well as a few younger players, and they played every three days. It is possible.” – Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, winner of 15 major trophies as a player and 5 as a manager on Swansea’s entry into European competition next season.

“We have a short squad, but it is my decision that the squad is short because I want a squad of 20 players, no more, with the risks a short squad has, but also with the good things a short squad has. The good things are that the side is competitive, everybody feels part of it. So I hope I don’t read again “Mourinho wants more players,” because I don’t want more players. I’m happy with the short squad I have, with the good things and the bad things.” – Jose Mourinho, winner of 20 major trophies as a manager and whose Real Madrid team played 58 games last season. (more…)






S.L. Benfica – A complete guide for Geordies (part two)

April 2nd, 2013 | 45 Comments |

Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light) - Lisbon.
The real Stadium of Light.
With the Newcastle United being drawn against footballing aristocrats Benfica for their Europa League quarter final on Thursday, here is part two of my guide to Benfica.

In part one, I took a look at some aspects of Benfica’s history, including it’s links to Newcastle United and the North East in general. In this one, I will looking at things like the club’s current form, it’s coach Jorge Jesus, tactics, some of Benfica’s key players and that sort of thing.

Benfica and Newcastle United have never played each other competitively, so we can get that one out of the way pretty sharpish and take a look at their current form.

Current Form.

Benfica’s form in the Portuguese League is pretty predictable. If they’re doing well they’re top of the League, and if they’re doing not so well they are second, usually behind their fierce rivals, FC Porto. Their other great rivals in the Portuguese “Três Grandes” (Big three) are fellow Lisbon side Sporting Clube de Portugal, but they seem to be in a bit of a pickle at the moment, currently languishing in eighth in a sixteen team league. (more…)


S.L. Benfica – A complete guide for Geordies (part one)

March 29th, 2013 | 7 Comments |

Benfica Crest  - Estadio da Luz.
“Out of many, one.”
As Newcastle United’s next Europa League opponents are the Portuguese footballing aristocrats of Benfica, I have been inspired to write a two part guide to the club.

In this first part, I will taking a brief look at the history of the club, as well as taking a look at the links between Benfica, Newcastle United and the North East in general. There aren’t a huge amount and Thursday will be the first time the teams have ever met in a competitive game, but they are quite interesting nonetheless.

History, facts and stats.

The club known as Sport Lisboa e Benfica, or simply “Benfica” was formed by 18 year old footballer Cosme Damião on 28 February 1904. In their 109 year history since then they have become Portugal’s most successful club, with 32 Portuguese League titles, 24 Portuguese Cups plus 3 Campeonato de Portugal titles (the old version of the cup), 4 Portuguese League Cups, 4 Portuguese Super Cups and not least, 2 European Cups won in 1960 and 1961. (more…)