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News and Commentary On Newcastle United Football Club By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Painful Observations on Newcastle Red Devils Game

8:36 pm, Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 by Ed Harrison · 52 Comments


Here are some thoughts and observation on another terrible loss in the Premier League today.

  • Our team selection was not good and as we had been half expecting Kevin started both Butt and Smith, even though their past performances should not warrant them a starting spot.
  • The team selection was even more weird when both Shola Ameobi and Andrew Carroll were on the bench, yet one of our most experienced tall forwards, Mark Viduka didn’t even make the bench. And Jose Enrique, our 21 year-old £6.2M left -back from Villareal, also didn’t make the bench.
    Note: It seems that Mark was out injured today but Kevin says he should be fit for next week’s game against Blackburn – we need Mark to start up front and for Smith to be benched. Why? Because we want to win.


Abdoulaye Faye – second goal for Newcastle today

  • This is the result Newcastle fans had nightmares about. That the Red Devils could take us apart again, only weeks after our humiliating 6-0 loss at Old Trafford. That was one thing we didn’t even want to think about. But it happened this afternoon. :(
  • We stayed with Manchester for only the first 20 minutes and then we were very much second best. One thing that is especially worrying is that Beye Faye Taylor and N’Zogbia is close to our best back four we can put out. Maybe Enrique for N’Zogbia would be better – but we still looked very poor and somewhat disorganized in defense, and gave away more sloppy goals.
  • We played decent enough football, but one of the big differences was that when Manchester attacked they looked dangerous and as though they could score with any attack. We looked to have no penetration at all up front. We must start a tall forward with Owen and give Smith a rest – he cannot get the job done up front despite his efforts.
  • We have now conceded 52 goals this season with 11 games still to go. Last season we conceded 47 goals in the entire season, which was our worst points total in the Premier league (43).
  • The Red Devils are so far ahead of us now that it’s almost impossible to think that 12 years ago we could give them a run in the league – those days are gone and Kevin will need to completely rebuild, assuming we can avoid relegation.
  • Teams below us in the league such as Sunderland, Fulham and Derby County all lost but Birminghan drew 2-2 with Arsenal at home, after being reduced to 10 men after just 3 minutes. Middlesbrough, who are one point above us also lost at Liverpool.
  • The fact we are still 6 points above the drop zone should stand us in good stead, but our goal difference is not good at -22.
  • Who would have thought we would have been in this position in late February following the euphoria at the club last August?

Comments welcome.

Tags: Match Reports · Newcastle News


52 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bob Aer // Feb 23, 2008 at 8:39 PM

    I don’t see much changing before the end of the season, just hoping that we don’t get relegated!

  • 2 catchy // Feb 23, 2008 at 8:51 PM

    painfull very painfull…… was barton playing. zog at leftback smith starting.

  • 3 Tripp // Feb 23, 2008 at 8:56 PM

    The sooner this season’s over the better. The good news is that Fulham, Mackems, and Boro all lost. Brum managed to nick a point, which sucks, but it’s just a point. Sadly, DC couldn’t help us out today, but that’s hardly a surprise. Given the fans (me included) discontent with the starting eleven (basically every week) I’d really like to know what the fook is going on in the dressing room. What the hell has happened to Enrique? Why Butt and Smith every week? Two managers were doing this and their styles are quite different so what gives? Trying times indeed. As least we put a point on the board, but the side is utter shite at the moment. Just hope we can make it through to next season and then tear the team apart and start over.

    As for mort and ashley. They certainly seem amateurish in certain respects. They’ve had a positive impact in other ways (got rid of the debt, seem interested in laying a good foundation) but they’ve got a lot to learn.

  • 4 e // Feb 23, 2008 at 9:02 PM

    i swear faye has already scored for us?? correct me if im wrrong

  • 5 Ed Harrison // Feb 23, 2008 at 9:08 PM

    e – you’re right – it’s his second goal – changed it – thanks :D

  • 6 magpie // Feb 23, 2008 at 9:11 PM

    i think we should get rid of butt and smith, play faye in def midfield instead of butt and carroll upfront with owen. Cacapa should partner Taylor at the back, for me Faye looked good at def mid when he played there and offers us aerial threat at set pieces, something which butt doesn´t. Also i´d love to see enrique at left back, the boy deserves a shot under keegan and that would allow Zog to play att mid infront of Faye. But mainly get Butt and Smith out, they don´t do much for me but pick up yellow cards and argue with referees. Come on NUFC!

  • 7 Big Gaz // Feb 23, 2008 at 9:16 PM

    Can anyone tell me why we stick with Smith, Barton and Taylor at the minute. They are all rubbish. No argument, its a fact.

  • 8 Rich // Feb 23, 2008 at 9:16 PM

    Are the managers being TOLD they must play Smith ?? He is just a passenger. And what about Barton ???? The worst player on the pitch; did he make a completed pass ???? If Keegan is being told who to pay, he won’t be around for long !!!

  • 9 Big Gaz // Feb 23, 2008 at 9:23 PM

    And I hope they all read this fine web site and read my comments above. Rubbish. The team is broke so lets try fixing it with other players. Of Quality not just on a name.

  • 10 Zoggy // Feb 23, 2008 at 9:39 PM

    I’m currently finding the whole Newcastle saga very interesting. Although I have no sympathy for you I at least know what it feels like being in such a dire situation.

    Your next game looks massive against Blackburn as you need 12 points for the magic 40 which should see you safe. I don’t see you winning away except maybe Birmingham. Other home games against Fulham, Reading and Sunderland should be wins. Obviously there is little or no chance against Chelsea. A loss at Blackburn would mean panic stations.

    Face it Keegan is not a great manager and the further this season goes on the more he will find himself out of options. The team, team selection and tactics are terrible. If you avoid relegation it will be clubs finishing below you which saved you and not KK.

    No disrespect intended. I’m often looking at football sites like this one. I’m finding it quite shocking what is happening right now to your club.

  • 11 jimmer // Feb 23, 2008 at 10:03 PM

    good job there are so many shit teams this season. if we played like this last season we would not be in the premiership. easy as that. keegan out

  • 12 Whitey // Feb 23, 2008 at 10:26 PM

    Ed Harrison and e – Who did Faye score his first goal against?

  • 13 hanzemre // Feb 23, 2008 at 10:33 PM

    hard to stomach the result & even worse to see Butt, Smith,Barton to start yet again & played the entire game. Alas N’Zogbia in LB again? Just usual early signs of getting beat.

  • 14 Leo* // Feb 23, 2008 at 10:44 PM

    hahaha just watched motd and gallas is crying like a baby about not winning the match…

    imagine what it would be like if he was in our team! lol

  • 15 die hard toon // Feb 23, 2008 at 11:03 PM

    it is time to give some of NUFC young blood a try what is the wrost thing that can happen get beat 6-0 or 5-1

  • 16 Dazza // Feb 23, 2008 at 11:13 PM

    We have too many battlers and not enough quality, our best back four looks a shambles and we struggle for creativity and goals at the moment. Complete overhaul needed if we stay up!

  • 17 ToonJon(PSN ID: jnufcuk) // Feb 23, 2008 at 11:20 PM

    What really annoys me is everyone saying Milner cant pass but is it just me or can Nzogbia not pass.
    For wingers none of them can cross. Not only them two but the rest of our players cant cross or pass when they get in good positioins.

  • 18 ToonJon(PSN ID: jnufcuk) // Feb 23, 2008 at 11:22 PM

    I hope Mark does play next week
    i would like to see this team played:
    beye faye taylor enrique
    milner geremi nzog duff
    viduka/martins owen

  • 19 CJ // Feb 23, 2008 at 11:31 PM

    Carroll showed when he come on he has a great touch good in the air big and strong with a bit of pace something Alan Smith never had or never will have.

  • 20 AdamCF // Feb 23, 2008 at 11:38 PM

    Why didn’t Enrique start? At least play a defender in a defenders roll. Get N’Zogbia forward or we’ll lose him next season. (But, by the way it looks, we mightn’t have the choice).

  • 21 CJ // Feb 23, 2008 at 11:49 PM

    Adamcf- 100% agree play Zog on the wing him and Milner are the only midfield player’s at the club that can cause teams problems with there pace.
    I don’t think Enrique is injured the only thing i can think of is KK doesn’t think he is prem lge quality what i have seen of him i would agree but surely he is a better defender than Zog.

  • 22 Ausgeordie // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:22 AM

    We need an official statement on Enrique! Lets the fans know whats happening.

    What do these managers see in Butt and Smith. They win the ball occassionally yes but thats where it ends. They have no distribution skills and are not scoring goals.

    The Man U players could always find each other in attack because the ball carrier and the receiver were running whilst passing. Apart from the odd Duff and Milner moment 90% of our attacking runs involved us meeting a man u player, stopping, passing to another static player.

    Their goals came from Zog not being where he should have been, a faye mistake and Taylor playing like shite. His attempt to take out ronaldo rather than go for the ball was one of the most pathetic pieces of defending I have ever seen. Yeah he is from toon but he does not deserve to be in the team.

    My team for Blackburn


  • 23 Jon // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:22 AM

    Taylor sucks and I’ve said that for many weeks now.

  • 24 Jon // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:24 AM

    I wonder where Enrique was today. We need N’Zogbia in midfield.

  • 25 CJ // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:28 AM

    Jon- I have been saying for a while that Taylor is an overated player and fan’s are starting to realise he is not so good that is why player’s like Dawson Curtis Davies and Matthew Upson are being picked ahead of him for senior England squad all at best average defenders i rate David Wheater ahead of Taylor anyday.

  • 26 Jon // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:29 AM

    I really like Harper over Given because Harper knows how to kick a ball and that’s very important.

    My team for the next match:

  • 27 Jon // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:32 AM

    Smith runs around like a headless chicken.

  • 28 singapore geordie // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:35 AM

    Um.. guys. Maybe voting for the messiah’s return was never going to be the solution. It was just a move to appease the fans. Watching the match it seemed like our players were mere bystanders and they were not really tactically briefed on how to handle man ure…

    Another disappointing defeat and I fear that we might be relegated this season. . .

  • 29 valle // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:52 AM

    Too many bad players to single any one out actually… ah well, lets try.

    Given: Liability… Painfull that this great servant have become one of our flaws, start Harper, he if anyone has been a better servant and deserve it.

    Zog, Taylor: Liability to defense.

    Butt, Milner, Barton and Smith: Liability to the attack.

    That kinda leaves us with Owen,Duff, Faye and Beye from the starters and Harper from the bench for todays match.

  • 30 Macca // Feb 24, 2008 at 1:00 AM

    What really gets me, is that we’ve no one to win us the game, no one, looking at Man U, they’ve game winners everywhere, we’ve a hopeless midfield, a headless defense and a poor front line, how are we supposed to win with that.

    Another thing struck me tonight when I was watching the highlights and I wasn’t really paying attention, they were praising Rooney, Ronaldo..etc, probably the last thing I wanted to here, not to mention I’ve had one or two too many at that stage but then they said something that made me very upset at the thought of it. They were saying how Newcastle need to fight off relegation and one of the main players they’ll need for that fight is Given, and they said that they’re worry is that this injury, the reoccurring injury could well force him in to retiring a lot earlier then anyone would want him to. And that just hit me really hard because it’s true.
    Like some people complain about him but like I physically can’t imagine the side without him in it. That’s heartbreaking like.
    Looking at Eduardo’s injury today it’s unfair because while he may never play again, Taylor will go on and continue to play and to think that one moment of stupidity from Harewood has really damaged Given. He can’t really kick it well because of his reoccurring groin injury, which he can strain like we saw with something as small as a slip, like all in all I think Given is a better keeper then Harper but what do you do, maybe surgery on it would fix it I don’t know. But that really hit me because I don’t know about ye but that’d hurt.

    My God I ramble when I’m post-drunk.

  • 31 Macca // Feb 24, 2008 at 1:02 AM

    Valle..the only liability is the fact he can get injured so easily, so do you play the better keeper or the one who’s not likely to get injured as easily. It’s not a decision I’d like to have to make.

  • 32 marcus owen // Feb 24, 2008 at 2:00 AM

    If KK keep his faith on some useless players. We will be like playing 8 men vs 11 every match.

  • 33 scotty // Feb 24, 2008 at 4:07 AM

    The thing that worries me is that KK is selecting the exact team that FSA would select.

    Unfortunately, this means only one thing. KK is NOT picking the team i’m afraid to say – but if he is……… he has truly lost touch with this sport!

    Either way we are in soapy bubble!!!

  • 34 jj // Feb 24, 2008 at 4:34 AM

    Macca given is shit total rubbish

  • 35 AdamCF // Feb 24, 2008 at 4:37 AM

    Can we all put in 50 quid each and buy the f’in club MyFootballClub style?

  • 36 Gooderz // Feb 24, 2008 at 7:48 AM

    I agree that Taylor has not been performing of late but I still think he’s a good defender. The problem we have have is that are defenders are all fairly similar and are all trying to do the same thing, and not in the good organised way that actually works.

    As for Milner being an attacking liability, he was our best player today and put in some wonderful crosses. Unfortunately Owen wasn’t there because he kept having to come deep to get involved with Smith being either ineffective or passing backwards, or the play breaking down before he had a chance .

    Hopefully Keegan dispenses with this 2 defensive midfielder tactic of Allardyce. It doesn’t galvanize the defence and it takes away from our attacking threat. Also Parker and Butt never worked together, and surprisingly Barton, Parker’s replacement, doesn’t work well with Butt either.

    Carroll did well though; big and strong like Viduka, but with the effort of Smith and actually has some confidence in his own ability. He has yet to put a foot wrong in the first team so far in his career.

  • 37 Dave Atkinson // Feb 24, 2008 at 8:54 AM

    KK has to drop his reputation players. Butt must go, Smith must go, Barton must go. None of these has the pace, guile or touch to warrant a place in the starting line-up. Keegan must play Charlie left wing – he’s far more penetrating than Duff. If he insists I’d play Duff on the right and put Milner in Barton’s position. Relegation a possibility and you have to start asking the question as to whether it might be somewhat poitive in that it truly would be a fresh start. And don’t quote Leeds at me. There’ll be 50k there if the team started winning again.

  • 38 Alan Parkin // Feb 24, 2008 at 9:21 AM

    Lets hope the young Sky generation of fans stick with the club if we get relegated and return to the Bobby Shinton/Billy rafferty years

  • 39 Man u // Feb 24, 2008 at 9:40 AM

    Lets hope they go down Newcastle arnt Premiership material , go back to ship building

  • 40 Toon Barmy // Feb 24, 2008 at 11:32 AM

    Man u
    Go back to cockney land you glory hunter, youre comments arnt welcome you Mug

  • 41 toon4lyf // Feb 24, 2008 at 11:32 AM

    in all fairness smith played welll today he souldnt start tho….the main problem was nicky butt he contributes nothing to the team barton constantly gave away possesin…..we need emre enrique and martins
    that is a great team if we played this team from the beginning we wud be pushing for europe

  • 42 scott9 // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:16 PM

    emre and zog in midfiled now we dont want to get hammered even more do we i think this should be our team for next week.
    beye edgar faye enrique
    milner geremi emre zog
    owen viduka
    bench forster oba taylor carol lua lua
    we need to change the origonal team cuase there confidence is low people geremi edgar emre viduka all have a point to prove so hopefully they will provide for us stillc ant see us winning blackburn though

  • 43 Paul R // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    Man U

    U sad T*at F*k off back to whichever sh*t hole you come from if your team is so f*cking wonderful then look at thier forums these are our problems not yours and the onlyreason you beat us yesterday is down to big fat up his own ar*e sam big headed allardyce. we will stay up this season as derby fulham and birmingham or wigan will go down then we will be on our way back and you are only on here because you know we have the fans the stadium and the set up to give the so called big 4 a run for their money.. now pee off here u silly pr*ck

  • 44 Mson // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    My team vs balckburn:



    V= forward arrow
    A= backward arrow

  • 45 Tom // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:37 PM

    why dont we play the youngsters? I wouldnt say pack the team with them but i think that putting edgar, lua lua, carrol, and even kadar or zamblera in would give the team a lot more drive and motivation, than sticking with the useless clowns we’ve got at the moment. Remember a couple of years ago with souness, because of injuries he put milner, zog and taylor in the team and we started playing better. Glad we’re all agreed that butt needs to go – he is absolutely sh***.

  • 46 Tom // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:39 PM

    oh and paul r – well said

  • 47 Viper // Feb 24, 2008 at 3:26 PM

    Butt out. Smith out. Barton Out. And thats for starters before getting shot of rest of sams shite.
    Oh, and Carr for me always average at best. So out.

    Christ, when to stop!

    Did see Faye playing in midfield the once and seemed better there than at back, and better than Butt. Geremi? Another big team reject, had good start, but thereafter? Aye. Nowt.

    I know we don’t get to see them in training like, but we’re all collectively picking better teams than KK!

  • 48 ScottyT // Feb 24, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    agree some of our youngsters should be given a chance to gain a position in the team. id love to see edgar carroll and lua lua given a chance over people like barton and smith and butt. we need new blood so try the youngsters.

  • 49 Ryan Syahril // Feb 24, 2008 at 3:59 PM

    if KK don’t mind losing 1-4, 1-5 0r 0-6 in every game, better give the teen players chance to play every week. NO PLACE SHOULD BE GIVEN TO BUTT, BARTON and SMITH until end of the season!!!!

  • 50 jeff // Feb 25, 2008 at 7:18 AM

    Does anyone know whats wrong with Enrique?What is it with Spanish players coming to Newcastle?Marcelino,Viana,Luque & now Enrique…do they not train or something!!!Everyone of them was bought for alot of money yet probably havent played 50 games between them for the club absolutley shocking!!!!
    We’ve got too many players not good enough at newcastle & the worrying thing is what we do have isnt good enough to fight a relegation battle..
    Can someone answer me this…over the years many managers have said we have got 2 of the best goalkeepers in the league,yet on saturday Given had to have a fitness test to see if he was fit enough….WHY!!!!?Why didnt Keegan just say look shay give this one a miss Harpes can play this one and then not waste a substitute place…It was a joke that he had to go off at halftime…….Im not saying we wouldve won by having that other substitute tho………I though young Carroll done well when he came on,put himself about.Id also wish people would stop going on about Taylor as if he is like tony adams…..He isnt good enough!!!!He has made some shocking mistakes,I mean trying to take ronaldo out what the fook was all that about?Ronaldo ended up making him look like a dick………Massive clearout is needed…Massive!!!!I agree that a few younger players should be drafted in

    all not good enough to play for the toon…

  • 51 JS // Feb 25, 2008 at 11:10 AM

    I agree with a lot thats been said on our performances of late! But does anyone other than me think that if Big Sam had been her now we wouldn’t be in this shit! We are playing with no organisation or tactics! When sam was here we weren’t losing 6-0, 4-1, 5-1 were we? We went to Arsenal in the league cup and should have beaten them, if oba could have put his 2 chances away. But we go there 2 times in a week and surrender 3-0 on both occasions. What was our b iggest defeat under sam? I know we weren’t pretty but at least we had organisation. Taylor will never be a centre half as long as i’ve got a hole in my arse. Smith must be up there with the worst players i’ve seen in my 18 years of nufc. Milner and N’Zogbia are willing runners and i admit charlie has some flair but get this aren’t wingers supposed to be able to cross a ball? Sam has bought some good players in e.g Enrique, Faye, Beye (class). Keegan is not the man to help this club! Look at spurs now, a manager who knows football and tactics wins you things. Sam put into place some fantastic things like the sports science end at nufc, but kk has sacked that off! whats that about? gone are the days when 5 a side in training can win you games on the pitch! Seriously guys, look long and hard at our situation and the way we are playing at the moment and tell me 1 thing. Would we be in this mess with Sam? I think if your honest you know the answer is NO. KK is rapidly wiping out his legendary status at st james’, not his fault i know! Why the hell did we apoint him when he failed the 1st time? We only had man utd to beat in his last reign, with more money and we still couldn’t do it. Now Blackburn, Everton, Spurs, Villa, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and blood Pompey have all overtaken us. What made Ashley think KK could win us something this time around? There are so many options we didn’t look at. Ottmar Hitzfeld, Gio Trappatoni, Marco Van Basten, Didier Deschamps, Alan Shearer, Jose Mourinho, Louis Van Haal, Martin Jol, Jurgen Klinsmann, Felix Magath, Scolari, Marcello Lippi, Paul Le Guen, Gerrard Houllier, but get this 1 guys. Why not give ALLARDYCE t least 2 seasons to get it right. Our club is a complete joke and will be forever if we dont give our managers not motivators sorry KEV time to get it right. Sorry SAM you were treat like Shit by all of the so called supporters. You continue to have my respect.

  • 52 JS // Feb 25, 2008 at 11:20 AM

    Our team should be

    Krul GK
    Kadar RB
    Edgar CH
    Beye CH
    Enrique LB
    Faye CM
    Emre CM
    N’zogbia LM
    Lua Lua RM
    Carroll CF
    Martins CF

    This team gives us pace, power, craft, height which is seriously lacking, goals from all areas, hunger and desire. This is the team KK should pick now and see what happens. That is a seriously top class back 4, Kadar looks like a real find and will be a legand at nufc as long as we keep him. Edgar looks like a rolls royce at centre half for the reserves. Krul is 6ft5, agile, great with his feet oh and get this can come and take crosses. Stick with these boys, and build for next year!

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