Sam – It’s So Soul Destroying

SAM Allardyce fears Newcastle’s players could soon develop a ‘paranoia’ about playing anywhere other than at St James’s Park should the club’s dismal record on the road fail to improve.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Reading means Newcastle have picked up just 4 points out of an available 15 points on their travels this season – with the club’s last three away fixtures all having been defeats.

Having seen his side perform so well at home, Allardyce is unable to explain why the team has become like Jekyll and Hyde, great at home but woeful away from St. James’ Park.


Sam Allardyce – Newcastle’s away form causing Sam some problems


But the 53-year-old is concerned that, should he fail to discover the answer soon, Newcastle’s travel sickness could turn into a full-blown phobia as he talked to the Newcastle Journal this morning:

“We don’t want to get paranoid about it but we have to do better,” “I don’t detect paranoia at the moment, but the longer that it goes on, the harder it becomes to turn around.”

“This result means that we will get even edgier as time goes on because we’re still not able to get a result away from home. We have to learn to take something from these games and build our confidence.”

“Had we drawn this game, it would have given us some confidence. But we didn’t and I’m getting concerned about it. Our home form has been great, but the inconsistencies are a big problem, and it’s something we have to turn around because it’s a huge concern.”

“It’s something that we must work harder at.”

Michael Duberry’s own goal appeared to have gifted Newcastle their first point on the road since August 26. But Shane Long’s dramatic late effort restored a lead that Dave Kitson had initially given Reading.

“It’s soul destroying when you throw it away,” “Whether we deserved it or not – and perhaps we didn’t – we had a point. The point would have been great for us.”

“At least we would have gone up the road with something, something we haven’t done for a long time. It (Long’s goal) was a real killer and I’m so disappointed.”

“You need to have that resilience when you’re not at home and, when you don’t, you make mistakes and you get punished. We’ve got to become a side that goes back to basics and works out how to stop our opponents from playing.”

Claudio Caçapa and Habib Beye challenged for the same ball and, with neither having won it, Jose Enrique then allowed Long to snatch all 3 points for Reading by planting the ball high past Shay Given. Newcastle’s new back line all contributed to that terrible second goal and they were left in no doubt as to their manager’s feelings.

“If you concede stupid goals like that, you’re not going to deserve anything,” “It was a stupid mistake, a basic thing. That’s two more goals we’ve conceded and unless we stop, we won’t win games.”

“We killed ourselves with that goal. It’s such a basic situation to deal with but we didn’t deal with it and we lost. It was another disappointing performance and another disappointing result.”

If we are do anything this season we cannot continue to struggle on our travels and this deficiency has now overshadowed recent achievements at St James’s Park. Sam continued:

“We’ve done fantastic at home, we look great there,” “But away from home we don’t look very clever.”

“We have to get players who perform well on a consistent basis, week in week out, not one week okay, the next week not so good.”

Well said Sam. When Newcastle scored their equalizer, or should we say when Reading (Duberry) put us back on level terms, we had been outplayed by the home side. But with just 15 minutes to play we could have got a point out of the game. By that time we had Milner and Zog penetrating down the wings and if any team was to score a second we thought it would be Newcastle.

If we could have pressed and scored a goal we could have done a dramatic smash and grab raid – getting all 3 points having been completely outplayed on the day. We didn’t deserve any points but as Sam said – we should have at least accepted the point that was offered to us.

Good teams – with 15 minutes to go in a similar situation – would have snatched all 3 points – even though none was deserved. Just to finish on an appropriate note, there was a great TV shot right at the end of the game showing Sam rubbing his face with his hands – he looked like he hadn’t slept for a couple of nights and to say the least – didn’t look good. After his talk after the game we suspect a number of his players didn’t feel too well either. 😀

But let’s keep things in perspective – better things lie ahead – we hope   😀

Comments very welcome.

21 comments so far

  • indian toon

    Oct 29, 2007 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #1

    the palyers would hav got some thrashingfrom sam after the match…. i wouldn want to be facing sam after those mistakes.. .sam should drop the player’s and go by his word after the man city game.. drop cacapa and give roz a chance..

  • Rich

    Oct 29, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #2

    What is soul destroying is the tactics away from home! We should take a look at Arsenal, they play the same home and away no matter who they are playing!Why play defensively minded against a team with farr less ability as ourselves just because we arent at ST James, they would have been shaking if we attacked them with 2 wingers and actually played football to win the match! The sooner Sam realises this the better!

  • Andy C

    Oct 29, 2007 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #3

    The second goal came from a knockdown after we didnt win the header. Faye had been winning those headers all day but Sam took him off. Our tactics on the day meant we were under constant pressure and the inability of the midfield to keep the ball made this worse – the defence are still gelling into a unit and getting used to playing for us and each other. Switching them around game to game is going to do us no good. Cacapa did not have a bad game on Saturday, the guy has so much experience and captained Lyon for a good few seasons, his positional play and the way he tracks and controls the forwards off the ball is something weve missed at newcastle for a long long time.

    Knee jerk reaction and critisicm is something that newcastle fans are often guilty of, it puts extra pressure on the players and manager and gives the press the ammo it needs to try and knock us down, it really doesnt help the club move forward.

  • Magpie Neil

    Oct 29, 2007 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #4

    Rich – Well said i agree completely!

  • Craig Allen

    Oct 29, 2007 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #5

    What’s concerning is not once did Sam admit we had no width. Not once did Sam admit that going there with a draw on our minds smacks of negative mindset. Not once did Sam conced that MAYBE the tactics on the day wasn’t the right choice – he could even use the words – in hindsight, we understand Sam (well most of us – the ones not calling for your head) Now that’s more concerning to me than trying to find answers elsewhere and bringing up phobias – come on. Call a spade a spade Sam, learn from it and let’s move on. You have options – let’s make use of them, please.

  • Tooninexile

    Oct 29, 2007 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #6

    I just think that Sam should wake up to a few home truths. We play attacking football at home and are unbeaten (only dropping 2 points). We play negative football away from home and we lose. If the team is playing well then why change it? I’m not defending the players but it must de-motivate them to be told to go and make it hard for the likes of Derby and Reading for God’s sake!

    After all what message is Sam trying to send to his players, “You’re doing allright but you’re not as good as bloody Reading and Derby”? Come off it Sam, you must take some of the blame for these performances as well mate.

    By the way, top Blog Site, best for NUFC IMO, keep up the good work!

  • evildick

    Oct 29, 2007 at 12:52 PM

    Comment #7

    I agree we should go and attack the teams below us in the table. It’s ridiculous to go to reading for a point! C’mon, it’s *#^@ Reading not AC Milan!

    if we can win the next two games we’ll be back on track.

  • Rob kirton

    Oct 29, 2007 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #8

    Rich and Craig have summed this one up perfectly.

    We have to play our own game and try and dictate terms to the opposition whoever it may be. We may not succeed against the better teams, until we can match them in terms of quality – however this should not prevent us from trying.

    What is doubly annoying, is that if Sam had picked Milner and N’Zogbia from the outset – would he not think that they would have done their stint defensively for the team? When we are under the cosh both of these lads will work their nuts off and track back and do their bit helping defend a position.
    The key fact of course is that they also give us attacking options.

    When playing either of these two Given / Harper should be told to throw / pass the ball to them at every opportunity where suitable and not just lump it up field. They have the skill to carry the ball and find a forward with the pass.

    At the moment lumping it up from the keeper or relying on a 50 yard pass from Enrique seem to be the main options. Sam simply has to pick players in their right positions and play to their strengths. Systems may look fine on paper, however at times this season seeing Milner and Emre play wide left and Smith and Geremi play wide right as well as on a couple of occasions after substitutions leaving Oba as a lone front guy – proves otherwise. Playing formations where players feel uncomfortable in their positions or where we seem to invite the opposition to attack us, due to defending too deep can do us no good whatsoever.

    PS the guys at the back do look to be accomplished footballers, just a few more English lessons will not go amiss….

  • zogmuststart

    Oct 29, 2007 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #9

    Ed – how long have you been watching Newcastle? You can’t keep writing these throwaway sentences like “better things lie ahead” without some concrete reason to back them up. Aside from Bolton this season, and to a lesser extent, Boro, our away “performances” have all been complete dross. Add to that that we haven’t played anyone good yet, then Sam’s best start for ten years has a very hollow ring to it. 17 points out of 30 is simply not good enough. Our home results have been pretty good, but even there we were cutting it mighty fine against Wigan and Everton and were lucky to get a point off Villa. Also Sam needs to play his players in their best positions – not rocket science. The improvement needs to be dramatic. I haven’t seen any evidence thjat we are going to get it.

  • malaysian youngster

    Oct 29, 2007 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #10

    give the players and big sam a break.the great arsenal at the moment also consist of the same players they had last season. they need time to understand and gel to each other. we must continue support big sam and let him experience the team himself. imo big sam is the best english manager. martin oneil isnt english rite?

  • Ru

    Oct 29, 2007 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #11

    No, he’s from Northern Ireland mate.

  • Magpie Neil

    Oct 29, 2007 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #12

    We need to start playing the same formations both home and away. That way at least the players will gel faster. Lets face it if you are switching systems with players who are still learning basic English you are going to struggle.

  • greg

    Oct 29, 2007 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #13

    What is wrong with him?

    Everyone knows Reading play gung-ho football at home, and are shaky/slow at the back.

    So instead of playing the brilliant counter-attacking football our squad naturally leans to (n’zogbia, milner, emre, barton, owen, martins) we play lumpen hit it and hope defensive garbage.

    You don’t have to be The Entertainers, but please don’t make us into a cowardly bunch of Watford-esque players. This kind of negativity spreads to the players who will question the confidence in their creative ability.

    If players’ form gets them dropped, why was Rozenhal dropped? He was keeping the team alive early-season, mopping up, passing cleanly, surging forward, having stinging shots.

    Cacapa and Rozenhal would be ideal in centre, with Taylor and Faye as back-up.

    Midfield NEEDS to be Milner Barton Emre Zoggers.

    If it’s against a tough team, replace emre with geremi/butt.

    And get Smith the frig away from a shirt.

  • indian toon

    Oct 29, 2007 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #14
  • Ed Harrison

    Oct 29, 2007 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #15

    zogmuststart – about 60 years – and I have to agree that’s a throwaway sentence – but I wanted to end on some positive note. I agree we’ve played nobody good yet – certainly none of the top 4and just watched the Liverpool – Arsenal game yesterday and they both looked great teams. But it’s still a decent start – and hopefully we will get better. You cannot just wallow in the defeat – you’ve got to go forward.

  • Jóhann

    Oct 29, 2007 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #16

    One thing I´m absoloutly sick of is that after every losing game our beloved captain and our manager comee and say we must improve(“on our away form” often follows that line). Stop talking about it and do something. I don´t really care what team we play, this performance was just not acceptable, simple as that.

    One thing I hate about oba is how inconsistent he is. One great game and then nearly guaranteed the next is bad. Of course the tactics were all wrong but I remember so well how good Geremi was at boro on the right wing. Emre can play the left wing just as easily, they just don´t dare to take on their man like Milner and N’Zogbia. There lies the difference. Enrique´s long balls are also annoying but I like the look of the team and the players. I´m very positive that Allardyce is only bedding players in and will soon play a gung hu attacking tactic.

    Given hasn´t impressed me at all as most of you know.
    Beye has been okay but I expect more from him. Cacapa fantastic, feye as well(don´t think it was their fault the display last game, we defend as a team and thought the full backs were awful).

    Butt can only play one way, that´s when the pressure aint on him and he can spread the ball at will(that means when we attack attack attack). I can´t wait to see Smith play with Viduka otherwise I don´t really wanna see him play. Owen been great. Viduka can be fitter. Milner been Fine.

    Zogbia been our shining light really. I have never been impressed with Emre, though he has his tricks not much has come out of him especially when defending. Look forward also to see Barton in a few games.

    In the end here comes a team that will win games.

    Beye Faye Cacapa Enrique
    Martins Barton Zogbia Milner
    Owen Viduka

    I have a strong belief that this team will work very well. Zogbia needs to be on the ball and if we can put discipline into him(for him to stay defending when Barton goes in the box) then it will work. Even both of them could go forward and Milner could cover. All about tactics. I´d like to see this team play. Lot of quick players as well to bounce of Viduka which makes him very very effective.

  • Leo

    Oct 29, 2007 at 3:13 PM

    Comment #17

    nah that team is madness


    beye cacapa faye enrique

    milner emre barton nzogbia

    owen martins

    terrorise the defence lots of speed and lots of skill…

  • ToonKing

    Oct 29, 2007 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #18

    Both of u are wrong 😉 :


    Beye Faye Cacapa Enrique

    Milner Barton Emre Zog


  • malaysian youngster

    Oct 29, 2007 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #19

    all of you are wrong
    —- robbie keane— owen—-

    lolx simply choose.

  • Leo

    Oct 29, 2007 at 5:06 PM

    Comment #20

    oh that would be a good team malaysian youngster… except you dont have a keeper, i could slot goals past that lot if there is no one in goal

  • Jinal

    Oct 29, 2007 at 6:25 PM

    Comment #21

    Changes for next game –
    -Drop Cacapa and Beye and bring in Rozenhal and Taylor both as CD.
    -Play Geremi as LB and Faye as CDM.

    Geremi Rozenhal Taylor Enrique
    Milner Faye Emre Nzogbia
    Owen Viduka

    Subs : Harper,Cacapa,Barton,Butt,Martins

    Last time Faye played in midfield, we owned it. I was hesitant to put Smith or Butt in 11 because I think its about time we tried some other options. Butt has been playing well so he’s included on the bench.


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