FT: Newcastle 2 Derby 2 – It’s Not Good Enough



Newcastle United today just scraped a draw against the bottom of the league team Derby County, in a terrible display in front of their fans, who again packed St. James’ Park to the rafters. To say this performance wasn’t good enough is a huge understatement.

In what was probably a warning of things to come Derby County scored only their 6th goal away from home after only 6 minutes when Derby’s exciting young midfielder Giles Barnes rifled a half chance from from 28 yards past a diving Shay Given.

Newcastle came back into the game and were pushing forward to try to correct the situation and after several half chances Mark Viduka fired home a half chance inside the penalty area following great work by Alan Smith.

Newcastle pressed hard to go ahead before the interval but Derby played well to keep the scores even.

In the second half we had expected Newcastle to win the game, following the scare they had in the first half. However, Derby were having none of it and after 52 minutes Kenny Miller scored his second goal against Newcastle this season. Miller somehow went through in the inside right channel and somehow got past both Cacapa and Rozehnal. Sam will be pulling his hair out at the schoolboy defending that conceded this goal for Newcastle. Rozehnal again looked responsible for the goal.

So the impossible had happened and a team that had only gained one point away from home this season were winning against the hapless looking Newcastle United side, supposedly full of star players. Newcastle pressed hard after Derby’s goal and Sam brought on Taylor, Duff and Emre during the second half to get more attacking from the home side. Why he waited over 70 minutes before he brought on Emre, to add some creativity in midfield we have no idea – no idea at all.


Mark Viduka – two quality goals from Mark today

Then near the end, when Newcastle were becoming more frantic by the minute, Viduka slotted home after 87 minutes, for his second goal of the game, and another excellent goal it was from the Australian. That goal saved the blushes of Newcastle United this afternoon.

Newcastle went all out near the end for the winner, but they could do it this week, and didn’t deserve the win. Derby played extremely well and some may say even deserved to win the game – Newcastle were that bad.

But Sam has only himself to blame for the way Newcastle played today since he continues to play our players out of position in an impotent 4-3-3 formation. Here’s some things that were very wrong with our formation today:

  • Milner was out on the left – and James can only cross with his right foot.
  • Martins was way out on the right wing – when he is our top goalscorer this season with 7 goals.
  • The potent N’Zogbia was at left back when – as the commentators mentioned near the end of the game – he looked our best attacked and most likely to score
  • Alan Smith was out wide on the right and impotent in that position – as he always is

So with all the good players Sam had at his disposal he managed to tie their hands behind their back by asking them to play in those positions, in his 4-3-3 formation.

Sam has to take the full responsibility today – not only for not winning what every other team has done this season bar one (beating Derby at home), but also allowing the worst team in the league to take 5 points off us this season.

Sam is doing it his way, but it’s simply not good enough, and will not do for too much longer if we continue to play like this.

Comments very welcome.

46 comments so far

  • sparetheman

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #1

    My player ratings:

    Given – Didn’t do anything wrong. 6.
    Beye – Got forward well but looked sloppy at times. 5.
    Rozenhal – Started the season well but seems to have lost confidence. 4.
    Cacapa – Shakey and as much at fault for the second goal as Rozenhal. 5.
    N’Zogbia – Looked good going forward. I guess he’s a left back for good now though unfortunately. 7.
    Martins – Played out of position on the right in the first half, improved when he was moved up front. Control was poor today though. 5.
    Butt – He’s just a rubbish player. Stop playing him. 5.
    Barton – Disappointing, didn’t contribute anything going forward. Needs to start playing better. 5.
    Milner – In and out of the game. 6.
    Smith – Anyone who anaylses his game close enough will realise he hardly does anything right. He’s had one good game (against Arsenal) all season. He is a token player – he can’t score and he can’t tackle. STOP PLAYING HIM. 4.
    Viduka – Managed to score twice even without service. How can Allardyce justify not playing him for the past two weeks? 8.

    Taylor – I expect him to start next game. 6.
    Duff – Gave us the balance we’ve been lacking all season simply because bringing him meant Allardyce finally shifted Milner to the right. Thank f**k. 6.
    Emre – Looked more dangerous in the middle in 10 minutes than Barton, Smith and Butt did all game. Start this man. 7.

  • Howie

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:44 PM

    Comment #2

    shocking and i know its hard at the moment but lets just put it behind us and look forward to wigan. i probably wont be on this again till boxing day so happy xmas to all yee nufc fans

  • Arthur Prince

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #3

    Absolutely Ed you cant blame the players all the time when they are played out of position . Sam really is struggling to convince anybody that he is up to solving the Enigma that is NUFC . I cant see him lasting much longer if the performances like this afternoon are the only ones we see . How many chances and time does he need . Sven is doing Ok isnt he ??!!!!

  • ToonKing

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:47 PM

    Comment #4

    pls stop bringing up Sven, i u guys want a criminal for an owner and a pussy swede for a manager than go support Man City.

  • Arthur Prince

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #5

    At least he is 4th in the EPL Toonking !!

  • ObaFan2

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #6

    Duff brought a better balance and good to see him back, Milner I’m sure is happier down the right.

    Barton had a shocker.

    Defence, Taylor from the start?

    1 point pffff

  • Tom

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:50 PM

    Comment #7

    ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. embarressing performance from the lads today but i think the blame has to go on Big sam. hes just putting square pegs in round holes. Martins was ineffective on the right – a bit of a gamble in a time when we need to be picking up points, especially when hes our top scorer. N’zogbia was again wasted at left back – whats the point in spending over six million on a new left back if we’re not going to play him? We also lacked creativity in the centre of the park. BSA has to take the blame for this – shocking performance!

  • looney toon

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:52 PM

    Comment #8

    pathetic i fink BS can be a sucess at newcastle but he needs to stop tryin to be soo clever with a 433 and play a simple 442 n i noe we will win more games

    drop either butt/barton

    and how come we beat both tottenham and everton(two tops teams) with a 442 n noe he trys to change to 433 wot an idiot

  • wsq

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:55 PM

    Comment #9

    we can’t keep clean sheets that’s a given.. start off matches with that in mind. so play the whole game like the last 10 min. i wonder if we cut out the first 10mins of each half, where we’d be in the table.

  • looney toon

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:56 PM

    Comment #10

    Toon King – da chairman aint a criminal – well it is kinda contreverisal – i read a article in da paper he is an honest man but he didnt lk da army and he royal family in thailand n dey made up lots of stuff about corruption n kicked him out – but sven would be a mucher better manager dan BS

  • wsq

    Dec 23, 2007 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #11

    i think he’s trying to fit his promises to players into his formation.. anyone thinks so?

    He must have made promises to make the players sign their contracts.

  • iain

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:00 PM

    Comment #12

    same old sam.

    if enrique isnt good enough to play vs derby at home, then why did he pay 6m for him ???

    balance in the team is all wrong.

    we had no mf today just 2 cm and 4 forwards. – i turned to my dad and said watch them create chances from long shots on the edge of our d, 2 mins later shay was picking the ball out the net from a pick your spot shot from barnes from 18 yrds. if i and most of the people around me can see it why cant sam ???

    milner/zog/martins wasted again. what good is oba out wide if the only player that will pass to him is butt.

    our wide players get isolated too easily always getting double marked. all 3 forwards bunch together on the edge of the box.

    why was smith put back into mf, has sam forgotten the poor games he had there all season. but as hes captain he has to stay on. what a joke. if he isnt the focal point or leading targetman of our attack he useless.

    big sams xmas list – a book on football tactics/some ball boys that actually get the ball to nufc players and a few more in numbers so we can have ball boys on 4 sides of the pitch instead of just 3 sides/the my first putting square pegs in rounds holes game for the kids, although sam will probably hog that toy as it seems to be his favorite/a dugout in the directors box/a better fitting hat/

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:00 PM

    Comment #13

    he is a fkin sick fascist, he is a fkin murderer

  • Soren

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:01 PM

    Comment #14

    Must say I am embarrassed about today. How on earth can it be, that we now have lost points to Derby twice in a season where Derby has been utter bad throughout. Derby fans must be sad to only meet us twice this season? We are almost the only points they are getting.
    More on the game.
    Sad to see Martins on the right as he doesn’t get on goal from there.
    Great seeing Duff back on the pitch again, he will definately help to lift the play offensively. Also Barton should’ve been brought off sooner. He didn’t look ready all day and seemed slower than usual.
    Back on the horse again for us!
    and hopefully it will be better against Wigan.

  • Edd Case

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:06 PM

    Comment #15

    Its the same every damn week.

    Same people, same reactions…and Im one of them and I can’t help but agreeing.

    Mainly, it’s the rotten tactics that Sam keeps on playing.
    What exactly is this idiot trying to do? We do not have the players for some clever 433 type system, Barcelona, we certainly aint.

    What we do have is a good 11 for a good, solid looking 442.

    We have Duff back, but even when we didnt, we had Zoggy – which leads me to another point – why arent we seeing Enrique?
    Zoggy is an average left back but a blinding left winger.
    Play Milner on the right for christ sake. We’re lucky if we see 1 in 5 crosses from Milner on the right look half decent, on the left, after he’s tangled himself up in knots and then managed to latch on to the lucky bounce of the defender, it’s somethig like 1 in 10 for a decent cross.

    Martins is a striker, end of.

    Smith is an average striker and a poor midifelder – no matter how much heart he wears on his sleave.

    Barton is dreadfull, end of.

    Emre is quality, end of.

    Butt is playing relatively well and just about deserves his place – while Geremi, obviously does not.

    Rozy is not a Prem defender, he thinks he’s too clever and too smart when he plays, but too many times he gets caught wanting.
    Derby’s second today – Rozy was utterly appauling, no challenge and rightly taken off.

    Beye – my player of the team at the minute, really showing that he is a quality right back.

    The bottom line though, is that every soddin week we’re rattling on about the same thing.
    Sam’s tactics…

    What is this baffoon on?

    Sam, you pig-ignorant, self-obsessed, arrogant muppett – LISTEN TO THE FANS…


  • Rob Kirton

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:14 PM

    Comment #16

    People shouting for a 4-4-2 formation are right. However they must realise what it really means, Allardyce first picking up a cheque to walk.

    It seems clear to me that he will never play this way with Milner and N’Zogbia playing more suitable roles. I find it worrying that people seem to be demanding Emre and Duff to be given run outs or thinking they will prove to be our saviours. How short our memories are. They are two players who have only ever flattered to deceive in their Toon careers to date.

    The fact that they undoubtedly give us something better than what we have been served to date, just goes to show how far our standards have fallen this season alone.

    The last few weeks have shown how lucky we have been against bottom of the league types of teams, and infact how well we are matched to such teams. To date Allardyce and our team have had a huge lucky streak, getting much more rewards than we deserve. I dread to think what will happen when that luck runs out.

    Losing by a wide margin to a top team (maybe Chelsea?) with at home defeat against another team we should comfortably beat, will see crowds outside of the Main stand shouting for Allardyces head. It will duly be delivered. It’s a script we’ve all seen acted out before.

    Talking about scripts, I’m off to the panto next week at to see Joey barton at the Theatre Royal. I’ll join in with the rest shouting “He’s behind you!”

  • Andreas

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:18 PM

    Comment #17

    ToonKing – we all know you’re a die hard SA supporter after a crap load of your “hail-the-great-BSA-posts”. It’s also quite obvious that you also are one of the common idiots who deem everything English (or at least British) to be superior to anything else in football (i.e. managers, players etc.).

    I don’t think Sven-Göran Eriksson would have been right for NUFC, but at least his track record is 10 times better than our present manager and personally I would prefer if NUFC went for TOP CLASS managers – even if they happen to be “Swedish pussies”, “Italian faggots”, “German facists” or any other of ToonKings xenophobic descriptions.

    Note: ToonKing has not stated “Italian faggots”, “German facists” as far as I am aware but I would not be surprised if we see such remarks in the future.

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:18 PM

    Comment #18

    fact is id rather have a half technically sound emre and duff rather than two manaics who play with passion but to much carelessness with not one iota of talent on the pitch.

  • ourman

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:19 PM

    Comment #19

    Smith is a player that appeals to the morons. A fist shaking, fouling, big mouth – but he offers absolutely nothing.

    Sam has finally dropped Geremi. Now must come Smith, followed hopefully by wingers playing on their right wings.

    Oh and Rohzenhal just isn’t up to this standard.

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:20 PM

    Comment #20

    Wp andreas, just like their fkin national team, english managers and footballer think they have a god given right to be good without playing proper, annoys the hell out me.

    Im hoping for a new manager for christmas.

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:22 PM

    Comment #21

    Just like to add, n’zogbia in the centre would be nice he’d be a great player in the makelele role and better than diarra who alot of you are crying our for.

  • dan

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:30 PM

    Comment #22

    One comment from me…

    I’m getting sick of stupid Fat Sam and his idiotic team selections!!

    Why do Wenger, Ferguson, even Eriksson never play that many players out of position?? ….because they’d end up looking like schoolboys!!!!!… like us!!!

    what a MORON!

    …ok thats more than one comment, sorry.

  • Rob Kirton

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:32 PM

    Comment #23

    Tom_Toon: Off Course Zog should play left CM. That’s where he started (including for our reserves) and no doubt he’s now up to handling the role in the Prem.

  • ToonKing

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:32 PM

    Comment #24

    Andreas the “Swedish pussy” only refers to Sven and not everyone swedish and for the record i’m not even english.

    You are right that i’m a big Sam fan there is no denying that but if you read my earlier posts you’ll see that today’s game was even too much for me.

    and unless your Sven himself i don’t understand your attack.

  • Dingo

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:32 PM

    Comment #25

    2-1 down and Sam brings on Taylor…. this it Sam… tayls bring much more attacking options to the team. what a tw@t….. My patience is wearing thin with BSA, and although his man management skills and fitness ethics are undoubtably good his tactics are woefull.

    Jose M for the new year please santa

  • steve

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:40 PM

    Comment #26

    we’re in a false league position – on this display I really can’t see anything other than defeat at Wigan
    its hard to see where we’ll pick points when we’re outplayed by derby, you really have to blame the manager for poor team selection & tactics
    I totally agree with the viewpoint that smith just isn’t good enough, barton has been poor all season
    Sam needs to sort his act out asap or we’ll be down with the strugglers pronto

  • Islander

    Dec 23, 2007 at 5:56 PM

    Comment #27

    Our problem is, that our manager have bought players, who are not good enough. After every game I was convinsed that Smith, Butt, Barton and Gereme are no good enough for our midfield. They are not creaters, and that is the reason for our poor performance, because of our non-creative midfielders, there are to little connection beetween our attack and our defence. BS seems to bee a desperate beleaver in players, he has bought. Everebody can see it, but our manager seems not to be villy to admit it. Other team supporters are laughing, and for the last two months, I have felt embarressing. He have creative players, but he dont use them.

  • Dragoner

    Dec 23, 2007 at 6:02 PM

    Comment #28

    Tom Toon what are you talking about? just talking crap now, n’zogbia better than diarra as a holding player??? You criticise sam playing players out of position, and then you went a left winger playing as a Defensive midfielder? i hope that was a joke. By the way n’zogbia is not better than diarra, a player does not play for the senior French international team by being average, get a grip man!

  • jeremy9

    Dec 23, 2007 at 6:07 PM

    Comment #29

    How the hell do we draw against the worst team in the league at home??? What the hell is going on at SJP? Get in a new coach or something. This is beyond embaressing.

  • natsirtNUFC

    Dec 23, 2007 at 6:08 PM

    Comment #30

    Ok Mike Ashley/Chris Mort if your reading this please do these things before there’s a fan’s protest at St James’s Park

    1)SACK SA before January please and bring in a manager who has better tactics and buys better players than the dross we’re getting linked with Arsenal rejects rather than Gilberto buy a Van persie or an arteta and knows that a right winger can’t play left midfield,an amazing left winger’s wasted at LB and an average forward can’t play as a holding midfield
    Mangers I would like to see
    Marcelo Lippi-Amazing Experienced, world cup winner
    Jurgen Klinsmann-German yes but he knows how to play attacking football and understands a right winger plays on the right not a striker!!
    SBR-Ok getting on a bit but a great guy and fantastic knowledge of the game.
    basically someone who can play players in there natural positions and get them to attack.

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 23, 2007 at 6:30 PM

    Comment #31

    N’zogbia started his career as a central midfielder.

    My realistic choice would be Javier Irrureta or Slaven Bilic

  • ToonKing

    Dec 23, 2007 at 6:32 PM

    Comment #32

    natsirtNUFC – keep dreaming

  • Swede

    Dec 23, 2007 at 7:18 PM

    Comment #33

    Can someone please tell me why the hell Allardyce doesnt use Emre more in midfield???? That he only makes the bench is beyond me….

  • The black in the blacknwhite

    Dec 23, 2007 at 7:26 PM

    Comment #34

    Everything i have been saying for the past several weeks is starting to get the consensus view-
    And it does not satisfy me one bit- for again a season is wasted(one that satrted so promising)- mored ridicule from my friends (and remember I am black&live in london- with Spurs, Aresnal, chelski and of course United Scum)

    It has been about the football for me, the style of football- route one and no posession play- i thought big sam would really step up at NUFC- Bolton i gave him the benefit of the doubt because i thought he was being economical with his resources- at newcastle he doesnt need to play in the air, we have Nzogbia- Martins- Owen, Viduka(whose one touch is a joy to watch) off course we did have Dyer, parker et al.

    I really want to see an improvement- people say he is juist bedding down the basics-what?!!! theus players are on an average wage of 20k a week- your talking about bedding basics- what the need to be doing is passing and moving and ball retention- basics

    if there is no improvement, and we have chelsea coming soon and a few tough ones,- i dont know, but i would not give sam any money- he looks as of he doesnt know what to do with decent players-

    im gutted so far this season- and looking or even listening to sam is almost a upsetting as listening to souness- f**k i need to become rich and buy the toon ARGGGGGGG

  • The black in the blacknwhite

    Dec 23, 2007 at 7:57 PM

    Comment #35

    last week i said it- Smith as Captain was a disgrace-

    it was a disgrace to day-

  • Frankieboy

    Dec 23, 2007 at 8:08 PM

    Comment #36

    Just cannot understand team selection and tactics.
    4 points out of 7 this season from us nowhere near good enough.

    SAM is not the man for the job.

    Slavan Bilic IS the man.

  • Tom

    Dec 23, 2007 at 8:20 PM

    Comment #37

    ive been saying this for some weeks now, but Sam’s tactics are all over the place – if someone thinks that playing a striker in right midfield, a left midfielder in right midfield, and a left midfielder at left back is going to get a win there is something seriously wrong.

    We’ve got the players to destroy teams like derby, yet we find ourselves struggling once again. mort and ashley have to realise that this man isnt the way forward for newcastle.

    We have had a constant stream of mediocre management since SBR – isnt it about time we got a proper, world class coach in???????


    Dec 23, 2007 at 8:22 PM

    Comment #38

    Why dont big sam keep people happy by playing a 4-4-2 this season with players in the favoured positions

    Then next season sell most of them if he wants to play his 4-3-3 buy players who fit his system

    He would buy himself time

    and Butt isnt useless and N,zogbia would be even more wasted as a defensive midfielder!!

  • Southern_Magpie

    Dec 23, 2007 at 8:22 PM

    Comment #39

    Slavan Bilic is no doubt a quality coach but would not be available until the summer at least, an even then he’d probably be given an extended contract as Croatia coach. We need someone else urgently NOW before we find our season over because its heading down that road fast. I just hope Ashley and Mort see sense soon but recent media interviews with the latter have shown that they are fully behind him.

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 23, 2007 at 8:26 PM

    Comment #40

    Klinsmann, Irrureta, Houllier, Bilic is available whenever.


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