Newcastle Need More Leadership on the Field

Like most Newcastle fans we’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 it’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 couldn’t hold out for the win we were starting to play well and time would see us pick up more points – 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 – again. Within 6 minutes we were actually behind, conceding two goals, and both goals seemingly being preventable. And then – as everybody knows, and we don’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 didn’t have a response after going a goal down.

Let’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? We’ve seen him play twice for Tottenham, and he’s looked a mountain at the back every time. When Woodgate’s fit he’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 that’s the kind of thing we are talking about – leadership on the field. Good examples are Bob Moncur – 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 we’ve let the transfer window go by without strengthening the side – in fact we’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 – just drop them. That’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 don‘t see many, to be quite truthful.

Do you?

Please let us know – comments very welcome.

16 comments so far

  • Davy

    Feb 10, 2008 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #1

    I think Faye would have made a big difference yesterday.

  • bailey

    Feb 10, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #2

    Perhaps you were not around for the 1974 Cup Final but please never hold Moncur up as an example of “he would never allow that”.

  • e

    Feb 10, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #3

    this should be our team…

    beye faye taylor enrique
    milner geremi emre nzobia
    owen martins
    play the ball on the ground and use their pace up front…


    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #4

    This should be our side for the rest of the season (barring injury) in my opinion i know lots will disagree but


    Beye Taylor Faye Enrique

    Milner Barton Emre N’Zogbia

    Owen Martins

    Subs:- Harper, Ramage, Duff, Lua Lua, Viduka

  • Jeff

    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #5

    Ed I think not getting anyone in january (First team players) Could come back to haunt us…It was alot of money to pay for Woodgate especially with his injury record.We were screaming at the screen for Keegan to put Faye on when Harewood came on…..Did you see Faye when camera went on him….He was sitting shaking his head probably thinking what the hell am I doing here…..
    Another thing Ed have you read about Allardyce claiming Newcastle are not big enough for him….He’s making himself look a Tit.

  • Callum

    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #6

    I agree with E – Geremi is in good form for Cameroon and hopefully can bring back that to Newcastle he speaks all those languages he has a wealth of experience, which would be good in our current situation so swap him for Butt imo.

    Duff has been poor, he can no longer take on players and always cuts back and tries to pass backwards too much so swap Zog for him.

    Faye is a rock at the back and i cant imagine carew bullying him like he did cacapa yesterday – I dont blame cacapa because not every striker in the league is as tall and powerful as carew.

    Then why Sam and KK both dont like to use enriques, who was nicknamed ‘thebull’ remember for his hard tackling. I just dont understand why Carr played instead of him yesterday.

    And for gods sake – drop Smith – Hes our worst player – Ok he tries 100% all the time but he brings nothing to the team except giving fouls away – He cant hold up the ball, he cant pass and he cant score so why does he always start? KK is making the same mistakes as Allardyce in starting Smith and Butt – Man utd rejects…

    If KK does all these things then we will improve i guarantee it – We’ll pick up a scrappy 1-0 and the confidence will flow back and we should have a good end to the season! 😀

    But forget next weekend – thats a loss already but after that we need to win and apply those changes


    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #7

    I read that about Allardyce.
    I cant wat to see who his next club is
    he wont get another chance like he had at toon but he hasnt got the tactical ability or play attractive football to manage one of the top 4 so i assume he will go abroad

  • Matthew Tom

    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #8

    I thougt our team selection was terrible, almost Allardesqu in fact. When I saw Enrique, Emre, Faye & Viduka on the bench I thought every one of them should have been starting. Including in retrospect Steve Harper, who was a real bright spot when Shay sadly had to come off.

    What exactly Carr, Butt & Smith had done to keep their places I do not know. Cacapa OK he had a good-ish game last week, but within 5-10 mins it was clear he was having another one of his all too regular bad days and KK should have replaced him with Faye at half time or shortly afterwards. Carr was OK against Boro but he just can’t play left back and I don’t believe KK put him there.

    Not seen a worse 2nd half capitulation in some time.

  • Guinea Mag

    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #9

    Very surprised to see Carr in place of Enrique yesterday, and Faye needs to start more games as Cacapa is toooo slow!

    I can’t see us winning many games this season unless KK starts playing a settled defence of Beye-Faye-Taylor-Enrique.

    Alan Smith did little in the second half but neither did many of the team. Just can’t understand why Viduka (or Faye) did not come on to try and change the game?

    KK will use the rest of the season to sort out who goes and who stays at seasons end. Let’s just hope we are not relegated!

  • Geordie Joe

    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #10

    The bottom line is our team is no where near good enough to match the rest of the clubs ambition. Out of the whole squad there is only around 4 or 5 players i would definatly want to keep.

  • Dragoner

    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #11

    “So the question now is who in the team, apart from young Steven Taylor, will step up to be counted?”

    Ed you aint got a clue mate, stop with the blind admiration for taylor

  • Ed Harrison

    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #12

    Jeff – yes I read what Sam Allardyce said – I’m not going to comment on that – think he’s busy trying to set himself up for another job.
    I think the bottom line is he probably wanted to bring players in and they wouldn’t cough up the money for him – but that’s because they didn’t like what they were watching on the field under Sam, and were getting ready to sack him.

  • Ed Harrison

    Feb 10, 2008 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #13

    Dragoner – you are probably right. 😀

  • floridafan

    Feb 10, 2008 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #14

    Did you see Duff giving the Brazilians a hard time in the week?

    He was absolutely outstanding and a pleasure to watch. If only Newcastle (or England) could play such a fluid, passing game.

    An inventive, stronger center midfield and defence enabling Duff, N’Zogbia and Milner to tear up defences would supply more chances for Owen and Martins than they could handle.

  • Tom Cairns

    Feb 10, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #15

    I agree Dragoner. Taylor plays his heart out but he is not a team player, he doesnt organise the defense whatsoever and is often out of position.

  • Leo*

    Feb 10, 2008 at 7:29 PM

    Comment #16

    ed harrison, i am telling you and everyone else that sam allardyce will be the next republic of ireland manager…

    faye is a leader, plus can do well at dmf and pass a ball!

    unlike that ball bag butt


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