Newcastle Still on Right Course for Success

Sam Allardyce has been in charge of Newcastle United football for 14 games now. That number includes two Carling Cup games in addition to two Carling Cup games.

Our record is won 6, drawn 3 and lost 5. In the league we’ve now played 12, won 5, drawn 3 and lost 4 for a points total of 18.

That’s not a great start for us but it’s not too bad either, when you look at the dispirited squad Sam took over in May.

Sam has proved with little money he can build a side that is very hard to beat at Bolton. What Sam is obviously concentrating on first on Tyneside is to build Newcastle into a similar team that is hard to beat. To do that you have to first concentrate on defense.


Sam Allardyce – needs time with Newcastle but is doing all the right things

That’s especially true for Newcastle, who have never had a strong defense for many years, and some would say our defense has been comical at times with some of the stupid goals we have let in over the last 10 years, by stars we paid far too much money for.

Sam has come in and bought 9 players and 6 of those can play in the back four. They are Beye, Faye, Rozehnal, Enrique, Cacapa and Geremi. The other players Sam brought in are Viduka, Smith, and Barton

If you look at these 9 players, each one of them is pushing for a starting position this season, which shows that Sam spent well during the summer. Are we doing as well as we would have hoped right now? No, and the defense is proving much more difficult than Sam thought, in tightening it up so we don’t give silly goals away.

We’ve conceded 18 goals in our 12 league games so far and that’s far too many and we still just have two clean sheets in the league. Sam has rightly said he will gauge our defensive performance by the number of clean sheets we can achieve. That’s a good target – as many as possible this season. Sam points out that the team with the most clean sheets usually wins the league so that’s a good measurement for us to follow. We haven’t done well so far.

We still have a way to go to sort out our defense but if you look at our overall performance this season, it’s really just the last 3 games in which we have let ourselves down badly. One point from away games at Reading and Sunderland and a home game against high flying Portsmouth.

If you ask Newcastle fans about Sam’s buys in the summer, a large percentage will say it’s what we needed. Strong big players that will not crumble under pressure. But we know (and Sam knows) we will have to keep building and the January window is approaching and having judged how we’ve done so far leads us to be able to identify the players we need and those we can now let go.

We can allow Babayaro, Carr and Ameobi to leave in January, if we can get buyers and there’s a simple reason for that. They’re not good enough for where we want to go.

We can then bring in a bunch of youngsters that Chris Mort has promised and we’ve already reported on four of them we are linked with. The four are Red Bull’s 18 year-old striker Jozy Altidore, Real Madrid’s 20 year-old Polish Under-21 international Krzysztof Krol, Ajax Amsterdam 21 year-old defender Urby Emanuelson and Wesley Ngo Baheng, an 18 year old striker from Le Havre.

But also we need 3-4 more experienced players who can immediately be drafted into the starting line-up. A midfielder, a big striker up-front and a top class defender.

  • For midfield – let’s get Andrei Arshavin, the captain of the Russian national side or Villarreal’s Riquelme – or both.
  • For striker we could do no better than get Nicholas Anelka who would jump at the chance to join us, or Peter Crouch, who is hugely under-rated at Liverpool
  • For a defender we can bring in Barcelona’s center back or defensive midfield player Edmilson

Those 3 or 4 players would be just what the team needs. A player to challenge Mark Viduka, who is injured a lot and we seem to miss his presence when he’s not there. We can also add some extra creativity in midfield, and bring in another top class defender to our ranks.

The Newcastle fans will have to be patient, and while we’ve been told that so many times before, Sam and chairman Chris Mort are building up steadily, and let’s not get too down because we’ve had 3 poor results on the trot.  Hopefully, this time, we have the right people in place who know exactly what they are doing.

We think so.

Comments very welcome.

34 comments so far

  • indian toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #1

    bad start.. losing to teams like derby, reading really cost us our points..if we had won those matches we would hav been in the top 6.. it will all be placed as points dropped at the end of the season when the race for the top 6 hots up!!

  • SW

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #2

    Can anyone offer a comparison of the first 12 games under Sam with Roeder and Shamness?

    Let’s see a full breakdown, numbers don’t lie.

  • Ed Harrison

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #3

    West Ham demolished Derby yesterday – a game I watched and Solano was just fabulous. But Derby are hopeless and getting beat 1-0 was terrible – I agree with you – but that’s water under the bridge now I guess – and hopefully we can pick up from now on – we need to beat Liverpool to start things rolling – we can do it.

  • indian toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #4

    yes..we need that attitude .. we CAN beat any team in the league. we have the ammunition the desire the players the stadium as any of the big 4 and of course we hav the world’s best supporters in the geordie faithful.. just need that winning spark to ignite a dream run for us this season..

  • Alex

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #5

    E – i would not call yesterdays result poor it was allways going to be a hard fought battle .Of course we wanted to win but it was in the end a well earned point away from home.As for bringing in good youngsters sam should send his scouts to watch Jonathan De Guzman a very skilfull midfielder that knows how to score goals and create chances for others he plays for Canada so david Edgar will proably know him.

  • Alex

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #6

    He plays for Feyenoord and Canada

  • ross

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #7

    Sam’s going to England and we’ll have King Kev back to spend some cash and attack teams like we should. Losing to Derby and Reading was an embarassment. Not just for the result but for the way we set out to play. We should be taking teams like that appart.

  • Rob kirton

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #8

    Agreed with the sentiment that the team that lets in the least goals tends to win the league. It’s called keeping the ball at the other end. Kevin Keegan gave us the tightest defence we have had in modern times. Check out the figures – its true. Sam should do that – he’s good on stats

    His implementation of this seems to be making the goalie hoof the ball as far up field and hoping the ball sticks, either with a big man up front or midfield who will not let the opposition past once they inevitably get the ball back. It got Bolton into Europe one season out of eight – it must work.

    He is right in saying that it is better having players with the right character who will not crumble under pressure from the opposition. Pressure applied to the defence will happen at least occasionally in any game. Funny enough going back to the first point – the team feel a lot less under pressure when the ball is the the opposition half.

    Sam is a good manager in as much it seems he has the man management skills,though it must be said that the current tactics aren’t working. We cannot break down the mighty defensive fortresses at Reading, Derby or Sunderland. Mind you maybe creating one or two opportunities may help. I don’t know if all of the on target efforts at goal in these games tots up to double figures or not.

    Either he has to change the tactics deployed with our current squad of players or he needs to go out and buy the entire Bolton team from two seasons ago. I know which I would prefer.

  • Lloydie

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #9

    Why not get Johan Elmander from Toulouse, not very old, big, international quality and will not be for outrageous money – £5-7million. Any comments?

  • yh

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #10

    Yeah Derby was left out of the ‘disappointing games’ section (tending towards shameful really?)

    Would like Arshavin and Crouch! (used to think he was sh*t but seriously looking at his recent performances and how Benitez treats him like dirt it would be a wonderful purchase)

  • Islander

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:38 PM

    Comment #11

    This webside has so far been very positive and gloriously told us about the new fantastic manager. I hope you are right, but he still has to prove a couple of things, before I can believe, he is the best for our club, which is big and ambisious. He is rebuilding a team and we all hope, he will succed with that, but I am beginning to think, that his tactical-abilities sometimes could have been better.

  • Jerry

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #12

    Ed am sorry but you are starting to be an apologist for Sam Allardyce. You just want us to ignore the fact that we were beaten by Reading, Derby and Portsmouth, and drew wit Sunderland just like that because its water under the bridge??? If that was the yardstick every past game would be water under the bridge and no manager will pay the price for past performances!!!


  • Ed Harrison

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #13

    Jerry – I agree the Reading, Derby and Portsmouth performances and results were just hopeless. After watching WHU demoilish Dervy yesterday the 1-0 defeat at Pride Park looks even worse now. Let’s see how we do through December – we have 8 games before January 2nd and we play some top teams during that time. I’d really like to see us tighten up the defense – and then we have to strengthen the squad in January.

  • Tom_Toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 2:08 PM

    Comment #14

    Alex – I recommended De Guzman Ages ago
    Lloydie – Toulouse rejected bids of around that they were holding out for 15 mil.

    While we are at it we should really take a look at Axel Witsel or even defour although he is already half discovered.

  • Eve

    Nov 11, 2007 at 2:12 PM

    Comment #15

    It’s not just drawing with Sunderland though, Sunderland should have won, and they were hard done by. I don’t think we’re giving Sunderland enough credit. Keane had them ready, they were ready for the fight, we weren’t, they faught like hell and they’ve been honest and hardworking working under Keane. They no that they wont be played in the next match if they don’t give it their all. He had them ready, I don’t know what Sam did for the last week. But we weren’t. But then again, Keane lived for these days.

    That said we were alot better in the second half then the first. You ride your luck when you get it and we did.

  • Ant

    Nov 11, 2007 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #16

    Sam Allardyce needs time? So did Roeder and Souness, but fundamentally all 3 are useless tacticians. We’ve got a very aggressive set of players and if Allardyce wants the lads in the top 6, because of the joy Man City, Blackburn and Portsmouth have had, we need to attack. Right now Big Sam has to play Beye, (Faye or Cacapa if they’re not injured) and Enrique at the back. Charlie and Milner HAVE to play EVERY game charlie on the left and milner on the right and in the middle of midfield Emre should be there with Barton or Butt. Martins should also be playing as one of the finest plyers in the premiership at the moment and our best striker he can’t be left out, with these players playing we will not draw so many…3 draws is one win so why not go for the win I’d take 2 wins and a loss from 3 games over 3 draws! Or even an unbeaten run of 2 draws and a win. Play to win, and win well against the top four maybe change a bit for the defensive stand but overall these players MUST play for newcastle to reach europe, and next season and the season after. If we can keep charlie, milner and martins at the club we could be challenging for the champions league, FA Cup and eventually even the premier league if Sam knows what he’s doing!

  • Bill f

    Nov 11, 2007 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #17

    Good one Ed I agree with most of what you say, I would like to add Gomez PSV to the list and the young LeHavre goalie Mandander.

    I think we have to get through this saeson and somehow get into Europe before quality players take us seriously (the younger ones rather than the ones coming to the end of their career and possibly looking for a little money earner)

  • micepie

    Nov 11, 2007 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #18

    I would only disagree with Edmilson. I’m not saying that he would necessarily not be a success. but Ben Haim would be far better if we could get him!

  • valle

    Nov 11, 2007 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #19

    I really think the defender needs to be a EPL player, since we need someone who can make an instant impact… Perhaps think of Edmilson as a defensive midfielder and then buy a player like Laursen of Aston Villa, who’s contract is up in the summer or try for some of blackburns defensers, Nelson for instance.

  • Alex

    Nov 11, 2007 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #20

    Micepie and valle -your both spot on we need a defender from the premership that can make an instant impact and not another that needs more time to adjust. Ben Haim would be the obvious choice already knowing sams work methods ,it has also been reported lately that liverpool would listen to offers for John arne Risse he would be a good signing for the right price.

  • Tom_Toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #21

    @ Bill f why mention two goalies when we dont need any 🙂

  • Bill f

    Nov 11, 2007 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #22

    Tom-Toon I realise your comment is tongue in cheek but you may be right, if Sam was to bring back Krul and he played like he did in Europe. Could be a good short term (possibly long term) answer. Meanwhile why not get Oliver Khan as a stop gap. 😉

  • Bill f

    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:21 PM

    Comment #23

    It may sound a bit off the wall, but if we need a stop gap forward to provide chances for Oba then Hartson might be worth a look. Big, strong, skillful (yes) and well able to mix it.

  • Lloydie

    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:24 PM

    Comment #24

    No Bill F, Hartson is too lazy and really overweight now, do not agree at all. Tim Krul may i say isnt possibly a longterm solution but in fact ‘is’ our longterm solution, the lads still playin international football for Holland U21s, of course he is longterm.

  • Tom_Toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #25

    Yes hartson is a fat lazy basatard, Axel Witsel for our right wing please.

  • Bill f

    Nov 11, 2007 at 6:16 PM

    Comment #26

    Must admit I hav’nt seen him for a while but I thought he was having quite a good run out in the chamionship, otherwise I stand corrected. It’s a pity we didn’t keep Sibierski.

    Possibly/probably I meant the same thing re Krul. I still think the present two aren’t up ot it any more so Sam might as well bring him back now.

  • Leo

    Nov 11, 2007 at 6:24 PM

    Comment #27

    tom toon Axel Witsel for our right wing please

    i thought you wanted dario srna???

    ed i think we need a right winger in there also take the place of milner for the time being atleast

  • Tom_Toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 8:23 PM

    Comment #28

    Id play Geremi on the right wing consistently, Darijo Srna is likely and Witsel is only 18 so im suggesting hiom for a talent he look better than milner already and id be happy to have someone like him playin gon our wing instead of an experienced player.

  • Andreas

    Nov 11, 2007 at 9:20 PM

    Comment #29

    “yes..we need that attitude .. we CAN beat any team in the league. we have the ammunition the desire the players the stadium as any of the big 4 and of course we hav the world’s best supporters in the geordie faithful.. just need that winning spark to ignite a dream run for us this season..”

    Only problem is that our mangager won’t play to win but rather try not to loose.

    Still think that BSA might get things going, but I must admit I have been dissapointed with him (tactics and selection wise) so far. When it comes to man-management he seem to be very good, but as said thought he would go for tactics that suits the squad (i.e attacking in our case) and not stick with the dull long-ball shiite.

    Time is not yet up but we really have to improve rapidly.

  • Eve

    Nov 11, 2007 at 9:47 PM

    Comment #30

    Krul played very well in Europe for us once and he looked promising but that was one match, I remember (shockingly) Bramble having a good game before. What I’m saying is that maybe we’ll have to wait and see with him.

  • Brisbane Mag

    Nov 11, 2007 at 10:09 PM

    Comment #31

    Ben Haim or Laursen would be tremendous purchases for the defence.

    I’m not a Riquelme or Crouch lover, so would prefer Andrei Arshavin and Nicholas Anelka in our side.

    Bringing in several youngsters is good for the future but we need also to build for today as European football next season is not impossible!

    However, we must give BSA time to rebuild the side; it’s too early to call for his head guys, please get behind the team and the manager……..

  • Tom_Toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 10:25 PM

    Comment #32

    We dont need a right winger or a creative midfielder if Arshavin comes, hes both in one his little dinked corsses are superb and his running at defenders is also that. After arshavin i cant really see what we need, bring in a few younguns stick em in the reserves for a bit an see what happens and also a back up rb and lb then we are sorted.

  • iain

    Nov 11, 2007 at 10:46 PM

    Comment #33

    i wouldnt be worried about the reults/performances if they wernt down to sam making the same old mistakes as souness/roeder did.

    players out of position, odd formations, playing unfit players, not picking players on form, tactics wrong for the oposition on the day.

    sams not even changing it when hes wrong, take the long throws, what have we got from them apart from geremi being made to like a fool becuase he cant throw the ball more than a few yards to an oposition player every time he takes one.

  • Nobby's dad

    Nov 12, 2007 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #34

    We all seem to be going on about tightening the defense. Yes it’s needed – but Sam needs to sort out all areas of the field. We all know we lack creativity and pace in midfield. At this point DON’T come back with Emre can do this, that and the other – he’s not the answer he’s part of the problem.
    Our attack is not functioning at all. Martin’s being used as an impact player is a waste of his talent (I’d actually like to see him put on the left wing if that’s the only way to get him on).

    My thoughts come across as negative – but it’s how I see things. Even thought the season is in it’s infancy I did expect more clean sheets and greater organisation when Sam arrived. We are creating nothing in games – I expected more from Viduka and Owen as they should complement each other – but in their defence our play is one dimentional and very predictable.


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