Newcastle United – A Half Season Summary.

Posted on December 22nd, 2009 | 38 Comments |

Toon supporters: Happier than last season?
Toon supporters: Happier than last season?
As you’re probably aware, Newcastle United’s Boxing day trip to Sheffield Wednesday will mark our 23rd league game of the season, marking the half-way point in what is turning out to be a fantastic season so far! This article takes a look at some of the happenings since the season began way back on the 8th of August.

With a team seemingly devoid of confidence, direction, application and the uncertainty surrounding the owner, managerial position, and who was next to be sold, the toon set off for the season opener at West Brom. After being 1-0 down at half-time, a superb finish from Damien Duff earned us a share of the spoils. That was to be Duff’s only appearance for us this season as he was quickly snapped by Fulham and he followed the likes of Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins, Seb Bassong and Habib Beye out of the club.

A week later, our first home game welcomed Reading to St James’ Park. A superb hat-trick from Shola Ameobi -which he later dedicated to the late Sir Bobby Robson – sealed the points in a 3-0 win. A few days later, Sheffield Wednesday visited SJP and were seen off 1-0, another strike by Shola Ameobi was enough on the day. Wins away at Crystal Palace, at home in a Carling cup tie against Huddersfield, and another league win against Leicester at SJP ensured an unbeaten August – something that was widely unexpected given the summer turmoil.

Our first September match wasn’t until nearly 2 weeks into the month. A tricky looking fixture away at Cardiff City’s brand new Cardiff City stadium. We won this 1-0, Fabricio Coloccini grabbing his first goal for the club. Just 3 days later we experienced defeat for the first time this season, going down 2-1 at Bloomfield Road to Ian Holloway’s rejuvinated Blackpool side. A 3-1 home win against Plymouth made amends for the slip up, with Andy Carroll scoring a belting left foot half-volley from near the corner of the penalty area. A 2-0 midweek Carling Cup defeat to Peterborough put an end to our participation in that competition for this season, our youth side being unable to match The Posh on the night. On September 26th, a very emotional and poignant meeting between two of the late, great Sir Bobby Robson’s favourite teams – Ipswich and Newcastle – ended in arguably our best result of the season so far, a 4-0 win away and a Kevin Nolan hat-trick doing the damage. September drew to a close with a 1-1 draw at home to QPR, but with still only having tasted league defeat just once, things were starting to look quite nice for us.

To start October off, a home game awaited us against Bristol City, giving us a chance to put the dissapointing draw previously behind us. We were unable to break The Robins down that day and the game ended 0-0. Back to back defeats away at Nottingham Forest and Scunthorpe United followed, and meant we were experiencing a disappointing month. Rumours of Chris Hughton being made permanent manager divided the fans opinion, some saying he was doing an excellent job with others saying he would just act as a puppet for our owner – Mike Ashley. October drew to a close with a hard-fought, injury time win over Doncaster Rovers at SJP, and a new full-time manager, as the rumours about Chris Hughton were confirmed.

Sheffield United awaited our visit at the start of November. A wickedly deflected Ryan Taylor shot combined with a string of excellent saves from Steve Harper meant we ground out a 1-0 away win. A 3-1 win against Peterborough followed and it clearly looked like our ‘blip’ was well and truly over. This view was enforced as we built on that with wins away at Preston and home to Swansea. We were starting to build up a very nice cushion over 2nd and 3rd place in the table.

Now we arrive in December. A 2-0 win over Watford at SJP – Fabrice Pancrate scoring a stunning goal – followed by another 2-0 win away at Coventry City kept up the momentum. A 2-2 draw away at in form Barnsley offered our promotion rivals a chance to close the gap, but they were unable to capitalise on that. Finally, our last match which was the ‘derby’ against Middlesborough on Sunday, winning 2-0 was enough to bring us nearly half way through the season, sitting top of the league with a 10 point gap to 2nd place.

In summary, I don’t think many of us expected us to be where we are now. We knew it was possible but when you look back to the summer, you realise what a great job is being done, whether we like it or not. The support has stayed with the team and things seem to have settled down for the moment. Lets just hope this continues and we can celebrate Christmas with a boxing day win, and hopefully a big promotion party at the end of the season.

Howay the lads!

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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38 Responses

  1. So much for doing a leeds! steady progress this season and we lost players that NEEDED to go, owen, martins, viduka and duff, and lost two players that wanted to go in baye and bassong. we have a solid platform to build on for a change, instead of being mad and building our castle on a swamp.

  2. Have to say it is damn good watching skysports news on a Saturday and not seeing us losing 5-0 to Liverpool etc every other week. I have probably watched more (tv) games and highlights this season than any other in the 13 years I have supported the Toon. Long may it continue!

  3. I’m quietly confident, but I’m still reserving my full opinion until the Jan. transfer window is firmly bolted shut. I’m sure Ash right now has realised that he needs to throw some money at us rather than selling, and the increase in revenue is only going to help that.

    Also glad that we finally done one over the Mackem’s record. We all knew it was going to happen, but it was just a case of when (and that’ll only increase now). I was BEAMING when I heard “49…” over the PA system.

    The feeling is getting back to the club and in a strange way I think getting relegated may have been the best thing for us in the long run. Now let’s keep building on this momentum…

  4. Good craic toons. Keeping the blog alive!

    Been snowed-under (literally) with graft and Christmas preparations. I’ll have to get something out tomorrow though and help the cause.

    Are you at the Sheff Wed game? I’ll give you a shout on email and see if you want to do a match report. Obviously I’ve been doing them this season but always good to have a story behind it, if you’re going?

    As for the article, I think it’s hard for any of us to believe where we are.

  5. We still need to live within our means if we get promoted, a thing which i think ashley will do, as we already know he doesn’t like spending much in transfer windows. does anybody know if st james’ is suitable for further devolopement as this is the way to produce the massive turnover required to challange in the premiership without getting in to a downward spiral of debt.

  6. Does anyone else think Colo is gone in the January Transfer window? I suspect there’s an opportunity for revenue savings there for Ashley. I am not encouraging it by any means, but I could see a sale of Colo for a much more affordable Killgallon. I hope not, but it may be a gamble he’s willing to take.

  7. Could it be Mike Ashley now believes having unloaded and possibly will continue to unload high salaried players,(Butt & Geremi)it is in his interest to hold onto a club that was in the top fifteen earners of 2007 (in Europe and therefore the world).
    First promotion with it`s access to high earnings, the rebuilding, both of the side, that and setting the club on a sound financial basis for the future, could very well result in a club which could generate profits in a PL who`s earnings are projected to continually increase well into the next decade.
    It would`nt be difficult to win over a present anti Ashley fan base, after all it`s not long since people like Houghton, Ameobi and Smith were pariahs, but since the team is now on a winning streak, all is forgiven, not only that they are (almost) heroes.
    Obviously winning means everything, No ?

  8. Why doesn’t Hughton try to get Nobby to come back? He would be perfect for us right now. Nobody puts better crosses in than Solano. My all time favorite Newcastle player.

  9. @ Jill….Nobby was a superb player in his day; as was Robert. However it’s now time to look towards the future and to the rebuilding of the newcastle united team for years to come.

    We must;

    1. Secure Danny Simpson on a permanent transfer.

    2. Ensure that none of; S. Taylor, Harper, Collo, Enrique, Nolan, Smith, Jonas, Ameobi or Carrol are sold in January.

    3. Invest in the current playing squad with some talented young players with pace; I’d love to see us sign Victor Moses from Palace; i can see him becomming the next Ashley Young in a season or two! Others i’d take a serious look at would be Jermaine Beckford, Joe Ledley (cardiff) as well as brining in Killgallon.

    If we need to slash the wage bill to do so then for me the likes of Geremi & Butt will be earning somewhere in the region of 5-6 million a year combining their salaries.
    I doubt we will be able to get rid of Geremi; he will probably sit tight until the end of the season after having swanned off to the african nations (cheers big sam).

    However; someone will likely take Butt and with having Smith, Nolan, Guthrie who can all play centrally as well as Joey Barton returning from injury we should be well covered in there.

  10. Normally I’d agree with what you are saying about Nobby, Northern_Jedi, but the Championship is a massive step down, skills wise, from the PL and sign him on a free and play him sparingly, possibly on a pay as you play contract and he might be able to do something for us.

  11. So far so good – it aint been pretty but winning is a great habit to have.

    Don’t think Ashley needs to invest that much to get us out the championship but we’ll def need to recruit for the prem. It all comes down to jan transfer window, if we sell any of our regular first teamers we’re likely to be in trouble.

  12. well we are now on the top of the table
    however don’t forget we are now in championship but not in pl .i am worry about the next season in pl as our squad is not enough to fight against pl team can u see stoke city,etc .after they promoted they buy lots of good player. hoe about us ?is it really strong enough?

  13. Toonsy, remebering what all the doom mongerers in the summer had to say we should now be fighting relegation, so it’s pretty sweet that we are top of the league! After watching that fractured ‘team’ play last season, hand on heart, none of us would have thought we would be top and 10 points ahead at this stage. Credit where it’s due, Hughton, Calderwood and the lads have pulled it around and with some strategic investment in the squad, hopefully we will do ok

  14. No time for complacency yet! Don’t forget Leeds finished in play-offs their first season down – it was after that, when they missed out on promotion, that they fell like a stone.
    However, must admit I was expecting mid-table at this point – so well chuffed – so far!

  15. I agree, cant wait till the 1st of Feb. Hope to god ashley sees sense and keeps the best players at the club it is only with a hope and these players that we have a chance in staying up next year!!!

    Colo, Enrique, Nolan, Smith, Taylor, Jonas and dare I say it when he’s back fit Barton this lot should build the solid spine of our team and help us push on in the premiership.

    BUT, I dont see any of our strikers being premiership quality. Yes shola is scoring but how many times have people said he is not the striker to score us 15 plus goals in the Premier League, I think we need a pacy striker to play with the big men we have….and loverman isnt it!!

  16. I am happy with the current position and think that with sensible investment in January we should be promoted.
    The football is very dull though and has been all season and the current squad would be in the bottom 3 in the premiership or there abouts.
    I reckon Mike will take the economy route in January and continue to sell assets bringing in cheaper players and more loan/ageing rejects, him and his cohorts could blast £50m in January and the hate I feel for them would still not go away.
    Great to be winning games despite it being ugly to watch but deep down things will never be quite right with the current ownwer and his band of puppets on our backs.

  17. Agree with Eyeball our Strikers are miles from premiership quality…Loven,Ranger,Harewood,Shola,Carroll would struggle to hit a cow’s backside with a banjo in the prem.
    If we do go up some serious rebuilding would be essential as well as new manager.
    The Championship is very poor quality and has surprised me just how bad most teams are.

  18. Sir Jason Toon

    Agree regarding the strikers. They’re doing a job for us this season, but definetley not premiership quality. However why would we need a new manager? Isn’t swopping a changing managers what has got us into this mess? (as well as OTT spending on washed up has beens etc)

  19. Yeah it’s ugly football but hey its been like this for sometime bar the odd good game. I pray that we only lose the likes of Butt in Jan as no one will take Geremi as he’s at the ACofN I personnaly would not bring anyone in who would only be a fringe player if we are to go up next year, January is when you pay through the nose for average players, wait till the summer and fingers crossed will be a stepping stone in the right direction. The first one for a very very long time.

  20. i’d like to wish everyone a very merry xmas & a prosperous new year x

    ..though the footy has been very painful viewing – a big pat on the back to CH , good look for 2010.

    ..& to big mike – this time next year , i hope your staring out of your cell window.

  21. We have the best support in the country 49.000 at championship game like to see manure or liverpool getting relegated and pulling in a crowd like that

  22. YEah geremi and butt have to go maybe bring in somebody like mcfadden to link with strikers he be worth 40 to 50k a week

  23. I don’t think Houghton has the tactical genius to out fox premiership teams and with the type of players we have right now we are like brazil compared to most of the championship opposition…Collocini is more expensive than most starting 11’s combined : )Nothing against CH credit where credit is due but at the end of the day he is a yes man for the regime and always will be.

    Mike likes yes men…that is why we have not got KK still at the club and have CH instead.

    Like Komfort said I would love to see Mike banged up that would make me a very happy boy.

  24. Geordie Deb-Isn’t swopping a changing managers what has got us into this mess?

    I think swopping managers is to blame…but if Keegan was still here and had total control over Transfers and 1st team affairs non of this would have happened so the buck stops with the regime in my eyes.

    KK wasnot my ideal choice of manager but with backing 100% I don’t think we would have been relegated and pushed on to better times.

  25. Not sure who said we should get Moses from Crystal Palace but if we got him a would love it!

    Simpson S.Taylor Coloccini Enrique
    Moses Nolan Smith(c) Jonas
    Ameobi Carroll.

    Subs: Krul, Kilgallon, R.Taylor, Guthrie, Barton, Lovenkrands, Ranger.

    I know Moses is a mostly a striker but i think he would do a great job on the wing especially in this league and with Kilgallon, Moses and Simpson costing about 6 or 7 million, it would be great investment for the future and with Geremi and Butt leaving in the summer, there wages gone will be massive so all in all, if we signed these 3 players, guaranteed promotion imo.

  26. By the way folks, I’ll stick a ‘Christmassy’ article up the morra, so everyone can get arl festive n that…

  27. We still need to live within our means if we get promoted, a thing which i think ashley will do, as we already know he doesn’t like spending much in transfer windows. does anybody know if st james’ is suitable for further devolopement as this is the way to produce the massive turnover required to challange in the premiership without getting in to a downward spiral of debt.


    He has put £20m in every season like he said he would to be fair to him, the problem is our finances have been such a black hole that that money has been spent on operating costs, when we get back into the Premiership we should be in much better shape due to the massive clearout in the summer, add to that some new sponsorship deals that we haven’t seen any money from in the past 5 years.

    The Gallowgate could be redeveloped and will be if England get the World cup, not sure if the club would do it without funding (which they would get for the world cup) as I don’t see them selling the extra seats.

  28. It’s hard to say how Carroll and Ranger would do in the Premiership next season, it wasn’t long ago that Carroll looked out of his depth in the championship when he was on loan at Preston so it will be a case of see how they develop.

    I think Carroll would do well especially in the air where he’s just too dominant, Ranger’s younger and still a little raw to make such a leap next season.

  29. I think if you compare our strikers to the players doing the business in the premiership week in week out they are miles away from being top class.

    Shola has had plenty time in the premiership and looked awful most of the time so if we did get promoted and kept our current strike force I could see us breaking another mackem record of finishing on less than 15 points.

  30. Rangerman – I just dont get Carroll at all – yes he flicks headers on – but to where? Also his control and movement is poor – very poor – and a loose cannon big time charlie too.

    Ranger for me is far more composed than all of our strikers and shows the greatest promise.

    Whilst risking an avalanche of abuse – if we got a decent offer for Carroll I would seriously consider it.

  31. Aye,
    moses could be the fore-runner to a new ‘messiah’?
    Didn’t he do that once before?

    Just my little xmassy joke.

  32. Yea Stardust,
    i agree with ya’ on Ranger.

    & you’re right Carroll needs to seriously sort his head out & double quick. If it isn’t already too late?

  33. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    December 23, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    moses could be the fore-runner to a new ‘messiah’?
    Didn’t he do that once before?”

    That was John the Baptist, Clint. I don’t know if he’s available ATM though.

  34. Lotta people looking @ Moses, the new Rooney, doubt if we have a chance there.
    It may be a good idea to give Mancini a call, see who he is looking to unload, get that mouthy little Welshman back.
    Understand theres going to be a few let go and if we can get one, there`s some decent talent @ Citeh !
    Seems the overall plan is to acquire players who`s contracts are about to run out and others on loan.
    A cautious financial approach at this time, but the club will have to spend a bit more if promoted and it would behoove them to start looking and lining up the necessary reinforcements that we will need in order to compete in the worlds most competitive league.