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…)
Whilst searching for inspiration yesterday, this piece by Jackie Smithfield in Newcastle United blog The Mag caught my eye. Entitled ‘Newcastle fans help Mick Harford to decide Millwall is better bet’, it bragged of fan power scaring away Harford from his former club before he’d even started, claiming:
‘With an overwhelmingly negative reaction, no doubt Mick Harford has also got on the ‘blower’ to friends and family in the North East to gauge which way the wind is blowing:
‘On this basis, it would be no surprise to see Harford saying thanks but no thanks. Shame his mentor JFK is slightly thicker skinned when it comes to the reaction he produced on his appointment.’
And to put it mildly, I just couldn’t see the wisdom of that. Joe Kinnear might well be thick skinned, but the writer of the above is just thick if he or she thinks a policy of fans attempting to force out anyone Joe Kinnear tries to appoint to enhance the Newcastle United’s scouting before they’ve even started won’t be damaging to the club. (more…)
Below is a table comparing the main statistics of all of Newcastle United’s main strikers who have played in the Hughton / Pardew years. There are six, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll, Leon Best, Demba Ba and most recently of course, Papiss Cisse.
Please note that this is for Premier League games only. Championship stats have been excluded as they would obviously give the players who played a full season in the lower division an unfair advantage. As well as that, cup games have also been escluded too to make as level a playing field as possible (if you’ll pardon the pun). I think you might find one or two surprises in there, which was partly the reason I did this post in the first place.
I suppose I could have included Kevin Nolan too, as his goalscoring and assist figures would also stand up with the names below after Chris Hughton moved him further forward into the “hole” as they say, however this one’s for strikers and Nolan has always been a midfielder, albeit a highly attacking one in recent seasons. (more…)
Below you can see two Newcastle United “teams of the season,” which I have assembled based on player statistics from whoscored.com, OPTA and transfermarkt.co.uk.
The first (and most important) is based on performances in the Premier League, with the second based on performances in the Europa League. The figures below the player’s names are their ratings from whoscored.com, which are based on a range of performance metrics based on OPTA stats. To put these into some kind of perspective, whoscored’s most highly rated Premier League goalkeeper last season was Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet with an average of 7.0. In defence it was Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen with 7.6 and in midfield the honours were shared between Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, both with 7.9. Finally, up front, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez narrowly pipped Manchester United’s Robin van Persie (7.8) with his 7.9 rating.
Getting back to Newcastle United though, although the goalkeepers, defenders and strikers were pretty straightforward overall, things became more complicated when it came to midfielders who had been played in several different positions during the season, gaining different ratings in different positions. However, after some work, I have finally managed to sort it out. (more…)
However, rumours have (re)surfaced that despite receiving an absurd fee of £35 million for Andy Carroll when he was sold to Liverpool in January 2011, Newcastle United would still be due to receive 25% of the agreed £15 million fee if he completes a move to West Ham.
This is not true.
The truth is that Newcastle United will only receive a sell on bonus in the highly unlikely event that Liverpool sold him on a higher sum than the ridiculous £35 million they paid for the player. Of course, there is more chance of hell freezing over than this happening, especially now that Liverpool finally seem to be on the verge of putting the Carroll saga behind them.
There was also no substantiation whatsoever for the media stories that Andy Carroll has been “stalling” on the West Ham move in the vain hope that he could make a glorious return to St James’ Park either. (more…)
In his latest defence of his French players, this time against alleged criticism in the media, Alan Pardew’s continued with his latest “inexperience” offensive, which seems to have replaced injuries and Europa League fixtures as his main explaination for Newcastle United’s poor form, which now has the club in a relegation dogfight.
Seemingly relishing the chance to shift the the cold finger of blame from himself to the players in the guise of defending them, the silver one reacted to Luke Edwards’ Observer story which alleged a rift in the dressing room and earned the former Journal hack a ban from Press access to the club. On this he began:
“Some of the criticism of the French group has been so unfair on them.”
He then went on to explain that the latest reason for the club’s recent hammerings has been the Premier League inexperience of his January signings (Debuchy, Gouffran, Sissoko and Haidara), along with Cheick Tiote’s “overmotivation” apparently. On this, Pardew continued: (more…)
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.
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…)
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…)
“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…)
Many thanks to “ToonBano” from the Toon blog www.toonbano.com for his sixth guest blog here – wt.
As I get over the shock of actually winning a game from behind for the first time in over two years and trying to get my head around winning back to back victories for the first time this season, something amongst our latest turn in fortune has jumped out at me (apart from the new signings) and that is the system. A formation of 4-2-3-1 has been paramount throughout recent weeks and it’s about bloody time. Maybe it’s because Demba Ba is no longer in a black ‘n’ white shirt as he gets his head kicked in by Coloccini but the ‘Hoofball 4-4-2’ days seem to be over. Are they over for good?
If this is the case and we are no longer subjected to the nonsense of lumping it up to the strikers, even when we are losing, then Pardew deserves some credit for finally seeing the light. After all it’s in my opinion that it was this factor of a pre-historic style of football that was holding this club back over anything else. Not the injuries or the Europa League, but the totally cowardly non-attempt at even trying to play to our strengths and actually play some football. Our long ball stats are dropping like a stone with every game that goes by. Thank the Lord. (more…)