Duff – Blame The Players Not Sam

Damien Duff has fessed up and said it’s the Newcastle players that the Newcastle fans should ne after and not exclusively Big Sam.


Damien Duff
– tells the absolute truth this afternoon

Duff said in an interview with the Evening Chronicle this afternoon, that it’s Sam’s under-achieving players that should take the blame for the club’s woeful Christmas performances. We think Damien has a point.

The 28-year-old left winger will play against his old club Chelsea in the Premier League tomorrow afternoon, as Newcastle attempt to get back on track in the league after two disastrous performances.

Duff said this afternoon:

“Newcastle is obviously a big club, but we all love the gaffer.” “We are behind him and we just want to put it right for him. He cannot take all the flak.”

“We are the ones on the pitch – so don’t hammer him, hammer us.”

Duff is right to come out and place some responsibility onto the players, because too many of them just don’t turn up for the games. It’s hard to tell who that will be beforehand, and it has to be frustrating for the big man. The 27-year-old Irishman, who made his very first start of the season on Boxing Day against Wigan, following his very serious ankle injury, continued:

“The players have to stand up and be counted as well.” “We are all in this together and we need to knuckle down and start getting positive results because we owe that to him.”

Duff will play against his former club admitting he feared his career may have been over after dislocating his foot at Portsmouth in April. Duff continued:

“Yes, I did fear my career was over. It was a career-threatening injury and, from a personal point of view, it is great to be back.”

And Duff freely admits that his Newcastle career has yet to get off the ground and that he has so far under-performed at the Newcastle club:

“I know I have.” “It was for simple reasons, really. I know I never got going myself. I didn’t do a pre-season, and if you’re involved in football, you know what a massive thing that is.”

“With the injuries, I could never cope after that.” “I’ve been out for eight and a half months now and I’ve had a pre-season. I’ve got that strength and base, and I can build on that. I’m fine.”

“I’ll be first to admit I was never fine last season. I never felt sharp and I never felt fit. I gave 200% even though it never looked like it. I couldn’t really get around the pitch.”

“But I’ve loved every minute here, even though it hasn’t really gone that well.” “As far as my operation is concerned, you have only got a certain window to do it and I just got it in the nick of time.”

“A top surgeon in London did it. It’s been a while now, and I’m back 100% fit. I just want to get sorted with Newcastle.”

“I feel fit. My body feels great – I could run all day.” “I maybe ache some days, but with regards to my match fitness, I’m fine now. There’s no problem.”

There’s a certain whiff of fresh air when you hear someone tell the plain unvarnished truth. And Damien is right that our players have to take responsibility. We hope they will do just that, and that they will give a fighting display to remember, at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

Comments welcome.

36 comments so far

  • Jack Franklin

    Dec 28, 2007 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #1

    Well said Duff. I just want to see a good display tomorrow, don’t care about the result if we play well. Although, if the boys play well, we have a decent chance with Chelsea’s injury worries.

  • carl

    Dec 28, 2007 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #2

    shut up duff, its obvious to see his team selections and tactics are shit.who you trying to kid, 50 000 of us! i think not

  • Dragoner

    Dec 28, 2007 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #3

    Finally a player owns up to not playing well enough

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 28, 2007 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #4

    blame both, end of.

    Maybe it was the players fault that game but in general allardyces’ formations, tactics, decisions and a few transfers have been shite.

  • Howie

    Dec 28, 2007 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #5

    ye they are playing crap but id imagine its hard to be motivated when you are played in different positions every week e.g smith or played out of position every week e.g milner,zogbia. we couldnt face chelsea at a better time so lets hope he plays a sensible team and formation and we could get a result

  • Dragoner

    Dec 28, 2007 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #6

    I have been saying all along, blame both the manager and the players, lets stop blindly defending these mediocre players

  • Eve

    Dec 28, 2007 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #7

    Now, now, there’s enough blame to go around for everyone.

    No, no infairness, Sam’s a good head or two above the others when it comes to handing out blames. How does he expect his players to play well when he changes everything almost weekly, has dyer tactical ideas and has little if not any confidence in the players. I’m still waiting for Harper or Given to be played as an outfield player.

  • The Big P

    Dec 28, 2007 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #8

    Will players play at thier best when they are told to play like the underdogs against struggling teams???
    Negative tactics, negative players.
    Milner should be dropping in crosses from the right consisently, but how often is he playing there?
    Our top scorer for the season should not be warming up the bench, he should be on the pitch up front with another striker (not smith).
    Smith, butt, geremi….. creative attacking???? No!
    Zoggy at the back????
    Let’s face it nobody knows what Allardyce is up to with these tactics, especially when using them against derby, fulham. wigan.
    Even if we get a good result against chelsea as far as i’m concerned that would be a short lived experienced unless allardyce plays people in the right positions consistently.

  • Eve

    Dec 28, 2007 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #9

    I know this sounds, well sad like, but when you see teams go out, at whatever level, you want to see them enjoy themselves to a certain level, well they should atleast look happy to a certain extent. They shouldn’t look miserable. And I’m not talking about being 5 nill down, then ya sure, then they can look miserable but whenever I see the players playing they all look miserable, like half of them don’t want to be there.

    Like Ronaldinho is constantly smiling, all the time, Ronaldo, Rooney..etc. Ya there in top teams and they’ve it easier but it shouldn’t mean that our lads have to look completely miserable every time they take to the pitch.

    Maybe I’m reading too much in to it (which in fairness I’ve done before) but the players just don’t look happy, confident or comfortable. I refuse to believe that it’s about the pressure their under from the fans, that’s part and parcel of football. They just don’t look happy at all. And IMO it comes down to the atmosphere in the camp, the things that go on in the backround. I just get the feeling that something isn’t right.


    Dec 28, 2007 at 4:34 PM

    Comment #10

    Never wanted old fat face, however I was prepared to give him my support. However he is devoid of ideas & out of his depth. How do we find ourselves in this position once again? robson, daglish, guillet, souness, (ignore roeder) & now fat sam. . . It’s a joke!!! We have the support, the stadium & now the backing. Come on man get it right on the pitch FFS!!! Everyone laughed at man city & Sven – look what they’re doing, how well are pompey doing???

    We need stability on the pitch & at the moment we aint got that. Duff you need to prove yourself mate & do your talking on the pitch like the rest of you. . .

  • JP from The Rock of Gibraltar

    Dec 28, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #11

    It seems to me that Sam is trying out players out of position to see how they handle themselves there just for him to know which players are more versatile. I think it’s about bloody time he stopped doing that crap and played the players in their proper positions. Only then can I see us going up the table. His subs have beeen effective recently, but placing players out of position never really works as we all know too well from past managers messing things up that way. The only player that doesn’t look too uncomfortable out of position is N’Zogbia who does a really good job there. With him and Duff in the same flank we could really cause the opposition problems, from what has usually been our weakest area of the team. All Sam has to do is place Milner on the Rgiht with Beye behind him and the rest is EASY!!


  • JW

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:11 PM

    Comment #12

    The following is what Toon Legend Peter Beardsley said in his column in The Journal on the 30 November 2007, after the Liverpool game :-

    It is perhaps inevitable that Sam Allardyce has shouldered the blame, although the criticism that he has taken has been disproportionate. The buck stops with the manager and Sam understands that. But he has come in for some harsh treatment. To be discussing Sam’s future after just 15 games in charge is ludicrous, but that’s football these days. I have no doubts Sam is the right man for the job and I’m sure he’ll get it right. But he’ll need time in order to succeed. He’s said that all along.

    Sam’s a good manager, he has proved that, but he isn’t a miracle worker. I remember Chris Mort, the chairman, saying that there could be no quick fix during the summer. I agreed then and I still do because the disruption has been huge.

    This ought to be a free season for Sam, a time for him to assess and to evaluate, and to determine what needs to be done. It’s much too soon for people to be judging him. I’d rather be patient and look at things this time next year.

    It’s sad, but patience and the Premier League don’t go together. It’s not even December yet six top-flight managers have lost their jobs. I find that quite frightening. It isn’t always the answer. Changing your manager doesn’t guarantee success.

    I hope the trend can be bucked at Newcastle. It has to be. Managers here haven’t been given time in recent years – look at Glenn (Roeder), Graeme Souness, Ruud Gullit and (Kenny) Dalglish.

    It can’t be a coincidence this club has been at its most successful in recent years when the manager has had a decent crack at it. Sir Bobby (Robson) and Kevin (Keegan) both had decent spells, and both did great jobs. When you change your manager on a regular basis, it can cause problems. Time is so important, but it’s becoming rare in the modern game. Sir Alex Ferguson is perhaps the best example. He came close to losing his job. Had he done so, Manchester United might not be the club it is nowadays. Sir Alex had time. Sam needs the same.

    I hope he gets it. I’m sure that he will because Chris appears to be an astute chairman. He should listen to people in football. They’ll tell him that Sam’s the man. I’ve got no doubts about that.

    Sam’s popular in footballing circles, people in the game understand his qualities, people in the game rate him. That goes for Newcastle’s players, despite Saturday’s result. Those players love working under Sam because he has such great enthusiasm. Those players have let Sam down, but I’m sure they’ll make it up to him. I love Sam’s character and I think that could be an important factor in recovering from this. He can be aggressive, but he can also have a laugh and a joke at the appropriate times. Glenn (Roeder) lost that in the end, he no longer had a laugh and I think perhaps he became too serious. That can happen to people under pressure but Sam is different.

    I don’t think that it’s all doom and gloom at the training ground and that’s important. Sam is great at handling people and he’ll do what it takes. That said, the players will be under no illusions.

    I spoke to Kevin Keegan about it this week. I said to him ‘In the main, it’s about the players’. He said ‘It’s not in the main, Pedro. It’s about the players. Full stop’. It’s unfortunate for Sam but the players didn’t perform against Liverpool. The players have to stand up and be counted. Against Liverpool eight or nine didn’t perform. That’s unacceptable.

  • Dragoner

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:15 PM

    Comment #13

    JW im 100% behind the comment you just posted. It is one of the most sensible comments i have seen on here for ages mate

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:17 PM

    Comment #14

    im actually now depressed!

    Fulham can get Hodgson, a pretty good manager and we get stuck with sam, wdf is up with this!

  • JW

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:22 PM

    Comment #15

    Tom-Toon when do the schools start back? Are you enjoying the lie ins? Have the batteries run out on your dalek-voice changer yet?

  • Ben

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:24 PM

    Comment #16

    same old pass the blame by us toon fans, u call urself fans…anyone hear man utd fans booing after the defeat to bolton?think not, it achieves nothing and neither will this witch hunt of big sam, well be managerless shearer will come in and do average but we wont say anything about it because hes shearer!big sam needs time and support not half hearted so called toon fans building up the pressure on him every week!get behinde the toon for gods sake!

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:28 PM

    Comment #17

    Ben – i heard the boos in london 🙂

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:29 PM

    Comment #18

    JW, id love the lies in but sadly i have to revise for my A-Level Modulars 🙁

  • Ben

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:33 PM

    Comment #19

    mate was at the game as my mates a bolton fan and all i heard no boos, the only reason they were annoyed was not because of the performance but because of the rough and tumble tactics of bolton.

  • scott 9

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:34 PM

    Comment #20

    i would give sam 2 seasons however if he is sacked i think we should bring in van gaal or bilic so everyone stops F8cking moaning about us not playing nice football but i am a bsa fan hell bring success in the end i no it.
    put it this way we aint getting relagated the worse we will do is 11 th wich is an improvement so bring somewone in now they aint gonna get us into europe in that space of time.

  • Rob Kirton

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:39 PM

    Comment #21

    JW: A well fought argument for giving Sam time.

    However I beg to point out what has been ommited.

    a) Alex Ferguson was given time at Man U because he had previously achieved unbelivably well at Aberdeen and shown himself to be a winner.

    b) Keegan and Bobby were both given time because in the first instance they got results and improved the standing of the club immediately

    For Sam to have equalled SAF time at Aberdeen he would have had to won the league, the cup and a European championship with Bolton (in a 2 year period).

    Likewise neither Bobby or keegan pleaded for time. They didn’t have any time to spare.

    There is a good argument for givimg Sam more time if he was of the calibre of SAF / Bobby / KK. His achievements to date in his quite long managerial career have come nowhere near theirs.

    I have the feeling that they never will.

    By the way. If the whole of your long post is a quote from Pedro. You must read it in light that his current job at NUFC is in Public relations.

  • JW

    Dec 28, 2007 at 5:58 PM

    Comment #22

    Rob, I didn’t argue for anything, mate, Peter ‘Pedro’ Beardsley did, not me! If you don’t agree then take it up with him!

    As for your last comment, what can I say, people like you always find a reason to deny the facts just to support their cock eyed view. Your name’s not Winston, you’re were not played by John Hurt in the film and you weren’t created by George Orwell. You can believe people!

    By the way, hasn’t Allardyce come in and improved the club straight away too, just like Keegan and Robson? Isn’t 11th better than the 13th we finished last season?

  • Sinead

    Dec 28, 2007 at 6:27 PM

    Comment #23

    I agree that managers should be given time. Time to prove themselves, like imagine what would have happened if they didn’t give Fergie time at Man U, it would have had a MASSIVE impact on football as we know it, but they’d the backing of good history, of previous success. It gets to a point where the manager isn’t improving, he’s not learning, the team or the results aren’t getting any better. If anything they’re getting worse. He’s little backing with the fans or the media. He doesn’t seem to have all the players support or backing. He’s getting things wrong. Now if he was improving, if things were getting better then I’d have no problem giving him more chances. But at the end of the day, he’s not. Things are just getting worse and he’s loosing the fans, and when they loose the fans, the manager is screwed.

  • Rob Kirton

    Dec 28, 2007 at 6:29 PM

    Comment #24

    JW: Please take my comments constructively. It was poor wording on my behalf, I didn’t mean to suggest the words were yours.

    There is no need to call my views cock eyed. You’ve no right to say “people like me…” you just don’t know me

    I quoted absolutely facts. Simple to check up, if you weren’t around at the time.

    You have copied an official press release from a club PR official. You would expect it to sing the managers praises

    PS re improvement: When it comes to opinions, I belive we’re now playing the worst football since the late 80’s and we will finish lower than 13th given the current “rate of progress”

  • George

    Dec 28, 2007 at 6:43 PM

    Comment #25

    Is Damien Duff deaf and blind. We supporters have been blaming the players aswell as Sam Allerdyce, but SA does not listen. The players here us but can not do much sitting on the bench or playing out of position.
    We were glad to see DD back after injury, but dont forget that he has not impressed since his transfer including prior to his injury.
    Im sick of the excuses

  • ObaFan2

    Dec 28, 2007 at 8:01 PM

    Comment #26

    Duff you’ve only played 1 game and a bit so yeah blame your team mates CHRIST whats going on……………….

    and Steve Bruce giving BSA his backing……. like what have you done in management? I think NUFC is about to implode………….. Just get out there, play some football and all will be well……

  • iain

    Dec 28, 2007 at 9:26 PM

    Comment #27

    er i dont get why so many people cant grasp this most of all fat sam.

    yes the players are too blame, but the worst offenders are all his signings and you can see most of the players look confused as to what there roles in the team are by the tactics given to them by the manager.

    the whole point of the manager is getting the best out of what youve got, finding a system of play that works with those players thern adding to or adapting that over a period of time.

  • Dragoner

    Dec 28, 2007 at 9:34 PM

    Comment #28

    first of all you would expect his signings to be the worst offenders as they are the new editions. some new to the team, some new to the league. However, i disagree that the worst offenders are sams signings. Many players who started the season well (Martins, Milner, N’zogbia, Taylor, Given etc) have not been consistently putting in the performances required, when they should be. You can say all you want about not playing in position etc etc, but then i what do you say about Taylor and Given who have played in their natural positions and still been poor. Also, everyone should stop defending Milner saying he is no good on the left, because regardless of playing left or right the fact is the guy cant cross. He is one of the worst crossers of the ball i have seen in the league, and that is not me being over the top, he really is terrible at delivery.

    Cacapa has only really had one, maybe two bad games, Beye has been great, Enrique has been good from what we have seen, and Viduka has also been good when he has played.

    Fair enough Smith, Geremi, Barton and Rozehnal have not been consistent and it is not good enough as 3 of those 4 are used to the premiership and should be reaching consistent performances by now. The funny thing is, out of those 4 Rozehnal has been the best and he is new to the league.

  • Dragoner

    Dec 28, 2007 at 9:54 PM

    Comment #29

    Not that i am blaming players performances 100% on quality, because we do have some decent players who are not even performing at an average standard. However i do not feel it is just to due to the position they are playing in, obviously that contributes, but i feel its more to do with fear. It is clear to see when players take the ball to midfield and then quickly pass back to the keeper that their is a fear of making a mistake currently going around in the team. Creative players can not be creative as creativity generally involves risk, a risk no player is wanting to take as they are scared of the aftermath. I feel this is why the players who come on as subs tend to be better than those who start, they know they will not be judged as harshly as they have not played the whole match. Just a thought

  • Dragoner

    Dec 28, 2007 at 9:57 PM

    Comment #30

    Oh and not forgetting Faye, who i knew would be one of our best when others were saying he should only be cover for Taylor. How laughable is that now eh

  • Dragoner

    Dec 28, 2007 at 9:59 PM

    Comment #31

    Overall, Sams signins have been more successful, than a failure with more than half of those he brought in seeming to possess a fair amount of quality. Not bad considering none of them were probably his first choice.

  • Dragoner

    Dec 28, 2007 at 10:05 PM

    Comment #32

    Also, If the fans cheered Newcastle regardless of the result at Blackburn then that trully shows that players are just as responsible as sam for bad results. This is because players were played out of position then and they still showed commitment and effort. If they can show it there, why can they not show it against the teams like derby, wigan. Sam cant make the team put the work in. He can only guide them. Lets give him a chance lads, at least a year and a half or something.

  • ObaFan2

    Dec 29, 2007 at 1:00 AM

    Comment #33


  • Tripp

    Dec 29, 2007 at 4:14 AM

    Comment #34

    Dragoner, I agree with what you’re saying. I’m very frustrated with the tactics, a lot of us are, but sacking managers every year isn’t going to be our undoing. Know one will touch NUFC, save the desperate ones who got binned elsewhere. Like it or not, we need the stability now. We need solid efforts from the lads week in/week out. The Toon Army needs to realize that if we’re ever to get anywhere we’re going to have to let go of our ambitions and high hopes for the short term and start building a solid foundation. I find it highly unlikely that we’d be able to get a top flight manager, who’d want the stick that SA’s getting? I think that he really needs to just go for it. Most of his tactics DO seem motivated by a fear of failure. That’s going to be his undoing. He needs to be more flexible and willing to drop certain player (cough Smith cough) when the situation calls for it. What I don’t understand is why we’ve stopped using the 4-4-2 that worked well for us earlier in the season.

  • Hadji

    Dec 29, 2007 at 6:20 AM

    Comment #35

    JW..Lets put it this way….Roeder didnt have such an easy fixtures from the begining of the season and plus he was playing in the Uefa cup which he brought us there in first place since taking over from Souness.Also,every transfer he made was good for us,just look at Sibierski,Martins.He had so so many injured players last season and we finished with 100% in our group in the Uefa Cup.
    For me Roeder is not a the best manager but he proved so far that he’s better than Fat Sam.

  • RyanTeh

    Dec 29, 2007 at 8:02 AM

    Comment #36

    I think changing manager won’t represent success straight. As, the change in players. Each manager demands different quality of players. Each manager has his own way of controlling in either tactics, training and more. So far, BS haven’t prove himself to us. But, the injury problems has being bit better. Playing in different types of tactics maybe a solution for us if against big team like Arsenal, Man Utd and more. Not that i’m backing BSA but it is wise to maintain the tactic over and over again?


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