Sam – Trying To Keep His Focus on Players

Sam Allardyce was able to meet up with owner Mike Ashley before the game last night with Stoke City.


Mike Ashley – at the game last night at Stoke

Newcastle played quite well but still only narrowly avoided going out of the competition at the first hurdle. Some plain good luck and great defending in the second half saved the day for the Magpies, who can breath a sigh of relief to still be in the competition for today’s 4th round draw. Some pundits were saying a defeat last night would have been the end for Sam at the club, but we think that’s just made up nonsense.

Sam said after the game last night:

“It would have been a shock if we had lost, that is for sure,” “But other people were putting more onto the result than they should have done.”

“There is nothing I can do about that. I just have to keep my focus on the players and try to ensure they perform at their best.” “We need to put a few wins on the board and we need to find more of a cutting edge.”

Allardyce refused to talk about the subject of his meeting with Ashley, other than to confirm that Mike, who now sits among the Newcastle fans at most games, is looking fit and well after a recent vacation.

Newcastle had the better of the first half and should have been at least a goal ahead when Michael Owen was clean through on goal but goalkeeper Simonsen saved his attempted lob. But then Stoke launched their own onslaught in the second half and the central defensive pair of Steven Taylor and Abdoulaye Faye played really well.

They combined to somehow keep out Stoke’s best chance, when substitute Jon Parkin tried to drill the ball home from Ricardo Fuller’s pull back from the bye line. But the ball was amazingly cleared off the line we think by Taylor with help from Faye.

However, Newcastle had some good opportunities in a game they dominated for long periods, especially in the first half. Steven Taylor came closest in the second half when he bundled a close-range chance against a post following a corner.

But it’s another game without a win and some fans are still insisting that Sam should be replaced. But we saw definite signs of some good play from the lads last night. We have to support the club in this difficult time period, and we think they’ll come through for the club.

What do you think?

Comments always welcome.

24 comments so far

  • indian toon

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #1

    i hate to see newcastle play the bolton way. ysday even though the result was good , it was a pain watchin nufc play the way it did ysday. i think its true that sam has lost half his dressin rooom. sorry to say this but its hopeless. sir alex should hav been thinkin 3 easy points for man u against us.


  • indian toon

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #2

    i didnt see any improvement . we were just plain lucky to get that result.

  • Karl Fenham Hustler

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #3

    for the record.. we NEVER deserve to lose..

  • Ausgeordie

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #4

    I can see a place and a reason for every player on the team but Smth. No one passes too him and he holds no threat to the opposition that they can see. I love the guy for running his heart out but that dont make him worth keeping.

    Whats letting us down at the moment is our first touch. In midfield and up front it is just not good enough and we are not creating real chances.

    In defence well what kept us the FA cup was luck. If it was good defending it would not have gotten that close.

  • MattyDread

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #5

    Hey at least Taylor and Faye played well together in central defence – that has to bode well right? Oh hold on, isn’t Faye going to the ACN?

  • Rob

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:14 AM

    Comment #6

    Faye played well, thats his position, not CM, needs too many touches on the ball, doesn’t move it quick enough when in CM. Bit like butt

  • Davey G

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #7

    a la Alan Smith, I am 110% in agreement with you Indian Toon!!
    Nothing there yesterday to show any signs of improvment!!
    We played exactly the same as against Man Citeh, Wigan, Derby………..
    Absolute Bilge!!!
    I had a debate on here a week or 2 ago with Dragoner, Before the Derby Game.He said we were an improving team. I disagreed,I said tell me that in three or four games time, by then we should have won at least 2 or 3 games??? Thats IF we were improving………
    Oh dear oh dear….I do hate being right!!!
    No improvement whatsoever……………
    I predicted Smith would always get his game when fit…………Right again, I predicted we wouldnt win any of our three games, starting with Derby………….yip you got it!!
    Dragoner, where are you now!!!!!!!!

  • adam

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #8

    lets see what ashley thinks after the games coming up. i hope hes sitting near sam to ask him

  • steve

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #9

    There was a lot of arguing between players yesterday, Owen, Viduka and Duff shouting at Butt & co to play to feet rather than lump it. However there is not a lot of movement from the forwards (especially Viduka) and so they aren’t creating space or drawing the opposition.

    Isn’t Sam meant to be sorting this out?

  • adam

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #10

    i agree davey g

  • James

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #11

    Lets play Devil’s Advocate here – how can we improve or show signs of improvement if he continues to field the same lack of quality players who have no pace or creativity. Until we get better faster players we will never improve regardless of manager

  • Gooderz

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #12

    Yesterday Taylor and Faye put forward a solid case to be the first choice pairing. Enrique showed that he is coming towards the English game, but still needs to develop and gain in experience. Rozehnal has played himself right out the team imo and should be left on the bench or further out and trained harder to cut out the mistakes.

    The game also signalled the need for a playmaker yet further. Mort is targeting young players who can possibly do a job now but can also develop and have a sell-on value. Maduro and Arshavin fit in here, with the Russian about to come into his prime and could still move on in 5 years and recouping a decent portion of the fee and Maduro is still only 21 but could play now and play the passes we require to get the attacking players in.

  • Andy C

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #13

    I know im not the first person to point this out but we really need to buy an attacking midfielder. Someone who holds a position well in front of Butt but isnt shy of tracking back. Some1 like Van der Vaart although id be shocked if we could get him. Swap him for Smith yesterday and i think it would transform the way we play. At the minute when the ball hits that area in front of our defence Butt and Smith are killing our attacks.
    Smith especially had a nitemare yesterday. I though the movement from Owen and Viduka was crap as well. They werent inviting any balls in to them or over the top – although id be surprised if theyd got them! not that thats an excuse to stop wantin it. Was disapointed Beye and Milner didnt get games.

  • Andy C

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #14

    PS – James I like the way you play Devils Advocate!

  • Graeme

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #15

    Smith has no place in midfield whatsoever, he is useless. If they have to play him (and I cant see any reason why they should) it has to be as a striker, or not at all.

    I think I prefer the second option myself!!


    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #16

    Smith up front in place of Viduka would have given us more mobility and options for the pass forward from midfield.Emre couldve been chosen as our creative midfielder.We desperately need Arshavin or someone of his ilk.
    On the plus side it was good to see Carroll and Lua Lua getting a run out last night and i thought our defence played well.

  • doby the mag

    Jan 7, 2008 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #17

    I think Smith is an absolute waste of space and also I can’t remember seeing Duff take anyone on all match. It was like watching Ray Wilkins!!

  • Bill f

    Jan 7, 2008 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #18

    Doby I thought Duff had a good game and he was trying to take the defence on but Stoke were doubling up on our wingers and making it hard to do this. Considering he has just come back from a long injury I reckon he put a lot into his game and spent a lot of effort in helping out the defence on the right side. For me he was a positive in the game.

    I agree with you about Smith though he looked lost where he was playing. He is not a MF player and not an inspirational captain. Faye might be better in that role.

  • doby the mag

    Jan 7, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #19

    Hello Bill F, don’t get me wrong, I think Duff did pretty well all in all, I was just disappointed that he didn’t seem to want to take anybody on on the outside and get to the line to knock a cross over.

  • Tom Cairns

    Jan 7, 2008 at 1:12 PM

    Comment #20

    i thought duff was alot better than zog especially in the first half, in the second they both seemed to disappear.

    as everyone could see last night there was a huge need for creativity in centre mid, although i dont think, at least on last nights game, you can blame sam’s selection considering the midfielders available to him. milner barton and emre all out so its not like he had many other options.

    just shows our desperate need to bring in some more mids.

  • Davey G

    Jan 7, 2008 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #21

    Doby, Duff couldnt get the byline for a cross as he was played by BSA Out of position on the Right wing, when you are a 2 footed winger, it is easy to get to the byline and get a decent cross in. Duff is best on the left, he would have done well there if he was allowed to play there all game, but he was never gonna get to the byline and cross in with his right boot. He had to keep checking back, which the Left back sussed and plaed him quite well.
    Duff has looked one of our better players recently, and should be played in his best position. Left wing, with Zoggy in the middle and Milner on the right…..Smith in the stands!!!!!!!

  • Obafan

    Jan 7, 2008 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #22

    Thanks to Taylor and Faye (and Shay) we are able to play Stoke at home (which is not guaranteed as a win!!!). What the hell was that;

    1. Rozehnal is no way a RB; why doesn’t he put Taylor at RB (tho he was fantastic in the center) and play Faye and Cacapa in the center.
    2. Smith needs to play every f*cking game when he is fit and as our captain. I start to think when SA will see that he is no midfield player?????
    3. Butt a total waste of space. He is over his top years and should be on the bench over all the other midfield players we have.
    4. Duff played very good IMO
    5. N’Zogbia is selfish and wants to force things on his own.
    6. Enrique played well; not easy, but needs to start passing the ball into the feet (he is not the only 1)
    7. Viduka worked descent IMO, but he is the type of player who defo needs the ball in his feet. He is so dangerous with his back to the goal, but what do our midfield players do, they try to send him into space, he has NO PACE FOR THAT!!!
    8. Owen worked hard but like Vid he does not receive descent passes so very hard to judge them I think. Missed a fantastic chance in the 1st half.

    9. After the game SA made me so angry. Walking like a d*ckhead who had won 4 or 5 to nothing, waving to the fans as if nothing is wrong. EVERYTHING IS WRONG AT OUR CLUB!!!! WIF ONE TEAM DESERVED THE VICTORY IT DEFO WAS STOKE CITY!!! All credits to them!!

  • Leo

    Jan 7, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    Comment #23

    duff is a whining not just a winger, nzogbia tries to force it because no one else does, you need players like that

  • Leo

    Jan 7, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    Comment #24

    that last posts first sentence didnt make sence.


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