Crisis at Newcastle – What Crisis?

Any neutral observer watching today’s game between Chelsea and Newcastle United, would have seen a good competitive game that was good to watch.


Sam Allardyce – there’s no crisis at Newcastle

And anybody suggesting Newcastle United were a team in crisis before the game, would have had a hard job convincing anybody about that. The team played quite solidly, although we could have done better on Chelsea’s first goal. At half time it had been fairly even with Chelsea just beginning to get on top, in the last 20 minutes of the half.

But Newcastle came out fighting, like they had to in the second half, and were all square after 56 minutes. The goal followed great work down the left wing, by Charles N’Zogbia. The young Frenchman got to the byline and put in a hard cross that was finally bundled over the line. While Nicky Butt got credit for the goal, Wayne Bridge actually back-heeled the ball into his own net, which was clearly seen in TV replays of the goal.

And then surprisingly Newcastle raised their game further, and had Chelsea on the back foot for the next 30 minutes or so, as they went after the winner. The Magpies had Chelsea rattled several times during that period. But like all good teams, Chelsea came back into the game near the end, and scored the winner through Kalou after 87 minutes, although he was clearly offside, as TV replays continued to show (endlessly it seemed).

So a neutral observer would have seen a solid and spirited performance from a quite skillful Newcastle side, and if they had been told the club was in crisis, they would have rightly wondered what that was all about.

We think Sam’s right and too much has been made of our two pathetic performances against Wigan and Derby last week. We were hopeless in those games, so let’s be clear, there’s no doubt about that. 🙁

But this spirited performance will be a tonic for our supporters, even though we got nothing out of the game. There really didn’t look too much wrong with the lads today, and Michael Owen even returned from injury.


Michael Owen – returned in second half, after 6 weeks out with thigh strain

Maybe, just maybe, things will start looking up again. But against teams lower down in the league we must produce levels of performance like we did today. That’s going to be the key to whether this season is all we had hoped for.

If we had played like this in the last two games we’d have easily taken all 6 points. But we didn’t and that’s just one challenge Sam has with this group of players – making them consistent, game in game out. We could start with 3 points on Wednesday night against Manchester City.

That’s also likely to be a great game for the fans, and we have a good chance of getting all 3 points with more great support from the Newcastle faithful, who will be there in force, filling St. James’ Park to the rafters, as usual. They at least deserve another committed performance from the lads – let’s hope they get one.

Comments welcome.

50 comments so far

  • Callum

    Dec 30, 2007 at 2:13 AM

    Comment #1

    Chelsea were a hugely weakened side that started with not one striker..We did dominate the second half but SA made stupid subs and tactical decisions that lost us the game.

  • Rich

    Dec 30, 2007 at 2:36 AM

    Comment #2

    Agreed, Rozehnal should never have replaced Smith and Martins shouldn’t have been subbed. And why give Viduka only 2 minutes to make an impact?

    What first seemed fantasy became reality as it became more and more a winnable game, the whole crowd sensed it. Not our manager though. Idiocy…

  • ObaFan2

    Dec 30, 2007 at 2:42 AM

    Comment #3

    Again some strange substitutions and formations but we played better however, we’ve had to suffer more than 2 pathetic performances this season and stats of :

    played 19 won 7 drawn 5 lost 7 @ 36.84 win% isn’t setting the league alight !

    Crisis maybe not but there’s still a mountain to climb.

  • Chris Bunton

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:00 AM

    Comment #4

    We will never get consistency because of Sams tactics. His tactics are all about stopping the other team from playing and he seems to have some success against the better teams, but this doesn’t work against the lower teams who can’t play. Until Sam shows me that he can mix it up and change tactics to suit the opposition, ie, play a more attacking way against the bottom teams, I will never be a supporter of his.

  • wsq

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:05 AM

    Comment #5

    Big Sam took away the result from us! Not the linesman!

    how many times does it have to take for him to learn the lesson..

    after getting pegged back 1-0, he then decides to play smith upfront, which made us play better get better possession.

    Why can’t we start with this with considerable amount of discipline!!

    Then we revert back to negative tactics that made chelsea get back at us!

    Who’s fault is it really..

  • wsq

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:15 AM

    Comment #6

    Our set pieces attacking and defending wise is no better than roeder’s times.

    I thought he’s famous for getting his teams well drilled in these situations!

    We shouldn’t be discussing and criticizing the manager’s tactics if nothing is wrong with it! Never used to do this as much, ever since bobby left, there’s been endless bickering about the right tactics!

  • Coolsmurf

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:19 AM

    Comment #7

    the game was there to be won really and his subs failed to work.

    it’s no use harping about this until we can do this against the wigans/derbys….

  • Ausgeordie

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:22 AM

    Comment #8

    Both goals against us were shit. The team played well and deserved at least a point. Sam made decent substitutions and managed to get the team firing. Credit where credit is due.

  • wsq

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:25 AM

    Comment #9

    i hate his excuses.. u can’t control the linesman.. but u can control the subs and tactics!!

    over the 90 mins they had the better chances.. that’s the other side of the coin!!! they deserve the win as well you know.. that’s their point of view.. even impartial ppl think so! we had luck for our goal.. so they had luck.. it all balances out.. but what doesn’t is stupidness stupid ppl are losers!

  • wsq

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:26 AM

    Comment #10

    decent subs my ass.. u weren’t even watching the match!! he got team firing??!! what the el?? ur the only one that thinks so.. what did michael owen do? what did rozehnal do? what did viduka do? came in at the wrong times, for the wrong person, stupid tactical changes that brought unwanted pressure..

  • Chris F

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:27 AM

    Comment #11

    sorry, but i may not have liked his subs either, they were too negative for me, considering we looked like we could nick a win, but you can’t blame the subs or his decisions for their 2nd goal.

    if anything, you can only praise the defence, and team as a whole, because they did exactly the right thing in that situation, pushed up and played them offside.

    sadly a blind linesman did us in, i hope he gets sacked for that!

  • Dragoner

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:28 AM

    Comment #12

    wsq you sound like a spoilt little 12 yr old, relax

  • Adam B

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:28 AM

    Comment #13

    sam is learning aswell, he may seem arrogant and resolute…but he is human, he is learning! He isn’t used to being the gaffa of a team with expectations…all this takes time!

  • shirts

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:34 AM

    Comment #14

    I disagree about the subs.

    First sub was excellent. Smith OUT (because he was useless), Rozenhal IN at left back (because he’s a real defender), allowing the mighty N’Zogbia to charge into the attack (because that’s where he belongs). That was excellent.

    2nd sub: Long range thinking & perfectly fine. Oba’s leaving town for the African Cup of Noodles (!) and Owens lacks match fitness, so he got some minutes at the end without being over taxed and spontaneously combusting (he’s saving that for the Man City match.)

    3rd: Viduka for Duff? Well, it was too late, I’ll grant you that, but lord knows Viduka can’t run for a full game without stopping for a bottle of stout, a fag and a meatpie, so perhaps there’s method to that madness too.

  • Ross

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:36 AM

    Comment #15

    the substitutions werent right, i’ll say that fair enough.
    but end of the day, he made them and the game went on. we were then robbed out of a ridiculous goal.
    had that goal (quite rightly) not been given, we’d have drawn 1-1, and nobody would be mouthing off about the substitutions! fair enough, the substitutions didnt get us a second goal, but they didnt lose us the second either.

  • Dragoner

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:38 AM

    Comment #16

    i agree Shirts

  • Ross

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:39 AM

    Comment #17

    reading that after writing it, i think i’ve sorta changed my mind in what i wanted to say,haha.
    maybe me saying the subs werent right was wrong after all.
    i finished saying they didnt get a second goal but they didnt cost us chelsea’s second..and they were of a strengthening defence whilst attacking…maybe allardyce had the right idea.

  • Jaypro

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:44 AM

    Comment #18

    Shirts spot on!

  • shirts

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:45 AM

    Comment #19

    It just occured to me that Adam B may be right: Sam is learning how to manage a real honest to goodness Big Club (TM).

    He was so used to battening down the hatches at Bolton and sweating and grunting out joyless 1-0 wins and 0-0 draws that he doesn’t realize there’s a better way: The Kevin Keegan Raisin Bran Method!

    Let the superb attacking players that we have act like fiber, Sam, and clear out your constipated, conservative bowels so Newcastle United can “run free.”

    Not that I’m advocating diarraheal outbursts or anything. Maybe Sam just needs to loosen he f***k up a little.

    Though perhaps not quite as loose as Mr. Joey Barton.

  • wsq

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:46 AM

    Comment #20

    u are all oafs!

  • Dragoner

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:51 AM

    Comment #21

    relax wsq, stop being so narrow minded

  • wsq

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:57 AM

    Comment #22

    Almighty n’zogbia let loose, but as a consequence it invited pressure upon us.

    he was already doing a good job before hand bombing up and down.

    What did rozehnal do that n’zogbia didn’t do.. SWP still got the better of rozehnal!

    With oba off, michael owen who can’t play on the opponent’s defender shoulder’s anymore to terrorise the opponent with pace, invited more pressure upon us as they could defend a high line.

    How much does a few minutes of defending football actually help michael.. right! don’t be stupid. there are better things that he can do to improve his match fitness than chasing after closing down like a headless chicken.

    Putting on viduka along with michael owen could’ve been better. There was absolutely no one to hold up the ball upfront. To waste a few minutes or just retain possession.

    So why didn’t he bring Shola along? he could still do a good job of running around throwing his body around to retain possession. Tho he can’t score a goal!

    What was he thinking of bringing viduka along if it wasn’t for security purposes or insurance if we went down 2-0 in the first half so we could salvage something out of the game. So???!!! he was going to put viduka on anyways if we had’t scored the equaliser. He only put in viduka cause we went down 2-1.. not because it was right to do so. So if we had went down 2-1 earlier he wouldve put viduka in earlier, there goes ur “too late” reason!

    so don’t be stupid fools!

  • JP from The Rock of Gibraltar

    Dec 30, 2007 at 3:57 AM

    Comment #23

    We played well and the subs weren’t bad but I would have put Viduka with Martins up front from the start. We played well today but unfortunately once again we were unlucky to lose. How on earth could that goal be allowed!! Damn chelsea are really lucky and we weren’t, again.. but the performance was brilliant from us. We only have to play like this all the time.. with balls, passion and pride!!

  • shirts

    Dec 30, 2007 at 4:09 AM

    Comment #24

    There’s definitely something in the argument of more attacking formations from the start.

    That said, Sam ain’t the guy to do that. I didn’t like him as our choice to begin with, but now that he’s here it’s short sighted, instant gratification generation knee-jerkery to hit the ejector seat button so quickly.

    I think Adam B’s right. Big Fat Boring Sam may be learning how to run a bona fide Big Club (TM).

    I think he’s so mentally constipated from years of running Big Fat Boring Bolton, grinding out stingy 1-0 wins, that he needs a big healthy attacking dose of Kevin Keegan Raisin Bran to let his gifted attacking players actually attack.

    But rather than do that in one shot, he’s slowly coming around to the idea. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems the last several squads he’s put out have been SLIGHTLY more attacking sides.

    And if we’re lucky, he’ll come around. But in the mean time, I think he’s building a foundation that can be very strong… next season.

    The defence IS solidifying. Beye’s been excellent. Cacapa had that terrible week, but he’s looked quite good since. Faye was excellent today in front of the defence.

    Rozenhal and Taylor? I’m not convinced.

    Still have no idea about Enrique, do we? He definitely seems to play more slowly–spanish style, dare I say? But maybe he will get used to the English pace and come out well. Seems like a thoughtful player, but he needs to be quicker.

  • joe

    Dec 30, 2007 at 4:33 AM

    Comment #25

    Definitely got the subs spot on. Wsq what would you have done? Leave nzog at left back and let SWP come at him? Let me break it down to you bit by bit. You need it!! We needed a bit of flair, and smith’s bad at that. So we push nzog up am I right? Now smith’s at left back, which is even worse! SO, we put rozenhal on for smith! What do you not get by that!? And us being oafs!? Dragoner’s right u DO sound like a 12 year old. And btw, this so called ‘negative’ substitution did not allow chelsea to dominate towards the end. It was them who brought on sinclair which gave them width on both flanks, thats why we had to move back. This post is not only directed to wsq, but whoever that thought we actually WANTED to be negative towards the end. Get a grip on football man, its not all about attack attack attack!

  • Pi55 Off Sam

    Dec 30, 2007 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #26

    There’s some absolute rubbish written on this site, how do you get away with it? Things are not looking up at all, as long as that Fat Mackem is still in charge we will never compete.

    His tactics and substitutions are baffling to say the least! He’s the most negative manager I have ever seen! Out of his depth with his prehistoric idea of football!

    To Joe….. you seem to think we have the ability to defend, defend, defend which we clearly don’t. Owen as a lone striker what a joke, and to bring Vids on for 1 minute to go is useless, stick to Barbie sonna!

  • GalloMate

    Dec 30, 2007 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #27

    To Pi55 Off Sam.

    Lets go all out and attack just like England did under Keegan. Its only when you look back then that you realise the importance of soaking up pressure and adopting a more counter attacking approach.

    Get off SA’s back…he is the one who wanted the challange of trying to bring us success when the job is considered to be a poisoned challace…he is addressing years of under development…and attempting to build a solid foundation.

    But what the hell, lets just slag hom off for being fat…thats so constructuive….

  • Bobby Ollox

    Dec 30, 2007 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #28

    So did anyone notice that Mark Lawrenson was left to do the summary of the Chelsea Newcastle match, while Shearer kept his mouth firmly shut.

    The biggest sign yet that Shearer, doesnt want to be seen to be instrumental in Sam’s downfall – which is a good sign for anyone who feels he should be taking over.

    Personally, I remember Willie McFaul, who had been at the club for a hundred years, in a number of roles, finally took over as manager – and either wasnt ready for it or wasnt up to it. He had to leave and then couldnt have anything more to do with the club he loved and the club that loved him.

    I would hate that to happen to Shearer.

  • Sandy McNair

    Dec 30, 2007 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #29

    Is it summer already?

    One sunny day does not mean summer.

  • TB

    Dec 30, 2007 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #30

    I get sick of all your STUPIED commentars!

    Or hey you may be right. It´s absoulutly shit that Sam dident start with


    Beye – Taylor – Cacpa – Enrique

    Milner – Emre – Zog

    Martins – Viduka – Duff

    and then in the secoendhalf took out Enrique for Owen.

    Sack SAM!

  • Zx

    Dec 30, 2007 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #31

    We can no longer deceive ourselves that things are looking up. We are far too inconsistent this season. Everytime there is a good performance, we tend to think we will win the next game, but is it true? We lose the next game and wait for a better performance to once again tell ourselves, “Hey, things are looking up again.” Oh com, on…

  • Pi55 Off Sam

    Dec 30, 2007 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #32

    We had 1 shot on target people……. If that’s looking up we must really be bad!

  • Robert(From Serbia)

    Dec 30, 2007 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #33

    stop blaming the Manager !!!! look what you did to other managers…give him time !!!! and shut up !!!

  • Nick Dryden

    Dec 30, 2007 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #34

    Ed you’re taking this living in denial way too far. No Cech, Carvalho, Terry, Cole, Lampard, Drogba or Shevenko. Up to 10 players out for Chelsea. Wigan and Derby were hardly one offs.
    We had a brief window where we played half decently but what does Sam do? He takes off Smith and replaces him with Rozenthal.!!!
    The guy has zero ambition whatsoever.
    A good manager would have put on Emre. If you always play for a draw, more often than not, you will lose. With 3 points for a win, what is the point of shutting up shop when you can get caught in the 90th minute. It’s a total no brainer. I don’t know why Sam has signed Smith and Barton (£12M.) They are both aggressive with colourful private lives. No I am not homophobic. just wonder why this is the blueprint for Sam?
    If Sam won’t resign, as I say get in a director of football above him and keep some of the physios and alternative therapists.

  • scotty

    Dec 30, 2007 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #35

    Howay Ed, this was against a Chewsee B side at best. No doubt in my mind if they were at full strength the scoreline would have been embarrassing!!!

    With more negative storys this week surrounding Barton. The glue is surely running out for the paper that is covering the huge cracks in this football club.

    I see Alex ferguson has stepped in to defend Sam. My question is, how many games should you lose or draw before you get the sack? The next five game include Man U, Arsenal and Stoke away in the FA cup

    As i keep saying to all of you – Stoke away in FA cup will be his last game in charge if he loses.

  • Pi55 Off Sam

    Dec 30, 2007 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #36

    Robert take your 3rd world country ideas and stuff them!

  • Edd Case

    Dec 30, 2007 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #37

    Some latest quotes from Sir Bobby – he’s hit the nail on the head.

    “To break into the top six, you need flair as well as method. Big Sam’s challenge is how to become a top Newcastle manager, even if it means sacrificing some of the things that have made him successful in the past.

    “Organisation and stability can take you so far but I don’t think Newcastle fans can be satisfied without cheering on players that can attack and entertain.”

  • carl

    Dec 30, 2007 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #38

    shoud of brought emre on for faye, and owen for duff, and leaving roz left back as he did with zog in mid. that would of surely put chelsea under more pressure.either way, a better performance, the linesman should get the sack! as if i got something that wrong at work id be gone or disciplined

  • sparetheman

    Dec 30, 2007 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #40

    It’s amazing how upbeat you are again Ed. Have we learnt nothing from the Arsenal game a few weeks back? I learnt putting in a good shift against a weakened top 4 club doesn’t mean a lot!


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