Like most Newcastle fans weâ€™ve been thinking deeply since yesterday’s latest capitulation in the second half, this time against Aston Villa as to just what is wrong with this side and the players.
Jonathan Woodgate – can you imagine that display if he was in the team?
And what we have come up with is not surprising and itâ€™s something that manager Kevin Keegan has been talking about since he arrived.
We need more leaders in the team.
We played awfully well in the first half yesterday, and we were noticeably more relaxed at half time thinking that even if we couldnâ€™t hold out for the win we were starting to play well and time would see us pick up more points â€“ at least with the form we showed yesterday in the first 45 minutes.
The only thing we had to do in the second half, as we mentioned in our report at half time, was hold onto our 1-0 lead as long as possible, and the more difficult it would get for Villa. We could even attack them on the break to get more goals.
But then the very worst happened â€“ again. Within 6 minutes we were actually behind, conceding two goals, and both goals seemingly being preventable. And then â€“ as everybody knows, and we donâ€™t want to go over it again, we let in 4 goals in total and in the end were well beaten. We even caught Aston Villa on a bad day yet they still ran out 4-1 winners.
The frustrating part to supporters and apparently to Keegan, was that we didnâ€™t have a response after going a goal down.
Letâ€™s imaging, as an example that we had Taylor and Woodgate at the heart of the defense yesterday. Can you imagine Woodgate allowing what happened yesterday to occur? Weâ€™ve seen him play twice for Tottenham, and heâ€™s looked a mountain at the back every time. When Woodgateâ€™s fit heâ€™s a phenomenal player. And to be fair to Keegan, who tried to bring Jonathan to the club last month, it looks like he was almost signed by Spurs when he went after him, and it was just too late.
But thatâ€™s the kind of thing we are talking about â€“ leadership on the field. Good examples are Bob Moncur â€“ who would never have allowed what happened yesterday to ever happen, when he was playing on Tyne-side. And John Terry is another example at Chelsea and both Gerrard and Carragher at Liverpool.
The dangerous position Newcastle find themselves in now, is that weâ€™ve let the transfer window go by without strengthening the side â€“ in fact weâ€™ve weakened the squad by allowing Rozehnal and Babayaro to leave the ranks, at least as far as numbers go.
So we need players to step up and take responsibility on the field when things start to go wrong. Kevin also needs to pick the strongest sides, and not play players like Stephen Carr out of position â€“ just drop them. Thatâ€™s the mistake Allardyce made, and he paid for it.
So the question now is who in the team, apart from young Steven Taylor, will step up to be counted?
We donâ€˜t see many, to be quite truthful.
Please let us know â€“ comments very welcome.