Les Ferdinand, one of the nicest guys ever to play for Newcastle United, is now an analyst with Setanta Sports, who have the game live and exclusive on Saturday.
Les Ferdinand in in his playing days at Newcastle
Ferdinand of course played under Keegan, during Kevin’s first time around at Newcastle. He has a good idea what Kevin will be telling the players before they take the field with Manchester United.
Manchester United drew 1-1 with Lyon last night in the Champions league, with an 87th minute goal from Carlos Tevez getting them the vital away goal.
Les talked about Saturday’s game against the Red Devils today.
â€œI think Iâ€™ve got a pretty good idea what Kevinâ€™s team talk will be before the game because I can remember the words he used before we beat them 5-0 all those years ago,â€â€œYou have to remember that when we went into that game, we had been humiliated in the Charity Shield against them and, before that, they had beaten us 1-0 at St Jamesâ€™ Park on the way to pipping us to the title.â€
â€œWe owed them one and we knew it. Kevin reminded us of that and he also reminded us that, when we had lost at home, our fans had applauded us off the pitch. When we had been awful against them in the Charity Shield, the fans stayed behind to applaud us off the pitch.â€
â€œThat was all we needed to hear from him, we knew the rest, we knew we owed them one and we couldnâ€™t wait to settle some old scores. When you are a professional footballer you hate being humiliated by another team and Newcastle were well and truly humiliated by Manchester United at Old Trafford.â€
â€œThe memories of that 6-0 defeat will still haunt anyone who was playing for Newcastle that day and they will be desperate to get it out of their system, to try and put things right. Whether they can do that, I donâ€™t know. I donâ€™t think anyone will give them much of a chance outside of the dressing room, but they will certainly not need any extra motivation. That 6-0 defeat will be enough.â€
â€œManchester United are in form and playing well. Newcastle United arenâ€™t playing well and they havenâ€™t won a league game this year, nobody thinks they have a hope of winning. But you only have to look at the FA Cup this season. Football isnâ€™t always that simple.”
“You can be struggling in the league and then, on the day of the cup game, everyone raises their game and everything comes together suddenly. That is what Newcastle have got to hope for on Saturday.â€
â€œIt is the sort of game which can transform a season, which is what they need at the moment. They are the underdogs, but if they win, it is a massive lift and could just be the spark Kevin needs to ignite things again.â€
â€œI think Kevin will be wishing heâ€™d watched a bit more football before he took the job again. He admitted he hadnâ€™t watched much and, if he had, he would have realized where he needed to strengthen the team in the January window. He has quickly discovered what a tough job he has taken on.â€
â€œNewcastle are still two or three wins away from safety and itâ€™s going to be a struggle between now and the end of the season. I still think he is the right man for the job, but heâ€™s got a big job on his hands.
â€œThe good thing is, he can have a good, long look at the players he has got there and he can see what sort of characters they are when its tough and who falls away. Heâ€™ll know exactly who he wants to keep and who he wants to get rid of by the time transfer window opens in the summer.â€
Good words from Les, but we will have to see which team turns up on Saturday. Not sure we can stand another inept performance from the lads and we hope to see some significant improvement because of the 2 weeks Keegan has had with the squad.
But even if we don’t get any points on Saturday, it’s not the end of the world. Our next game is at home to Blackburn Rovers the following Saturday. Maybe we can get something out of that game, although Blackburn are 4 places above us in the league in 9th place, but still a massive 11 points ahead of us. If we don’t get any points from Manchester United or Blackburn it will look like the end of the world – at least to Newcastle fans.Â Â 🙁