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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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Newcastle Fans’ Dismay at Inept Performances

11:59 am, Sunday, February 24th, 2008 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 34 Comments

The inept performances of Newcastle United since December 15th, when we last won in the Premier League, have come as a total shock to most Newcastle fans. Not that the performances before that were too much better.

chris-mort-1243.jpg

Chris Mort – Newcastle Chairman looked depressed yesterday

As we keep pointing out, our form over the last 10 league games has been catastrophically bad, and we have lost 7 of those games and not won any.

And our performance even that day at Craven Cottage, to be truthful was awful, but we got a 92nd minute penalty that Joey Barton slammed home. We haven’t seen a league win since.

Yet if the squads in the Premier League were rated we’d be in the top half – easily.

So why is it that we see the type of performances from the lads in our last 2 league games, when we’ve been walloped 4-1 and 6-1. We remember last season when Harry Redknapp criticized Glenn Roeder for not having more points on the board, with the good squad of players he had.

Since then the squad is supposed to have been strengthened with the acquisition of 9 players in the summer.

It’s a mystery to us that apart from Bobby Robson’s rein, Newcastle players have continued to under-perform for the club. We thought when Sam Allardyce came in he would be able to get the best out of our squad, because he was an excellent motivator, but even Big Sam struggled and Kevin Keegan struggling right now.

We’re all in this together but the players have to look at themselves and start showing some courage and guts so we can get out of the mess we’re in right now.

We noticed in the TV shots in the second half Mike Ashley and Chris Mort sitting together, and it looked like Chris was not too happy. It even looked like Mike was trying to cheer Chris up, after another demolition at the hands of Manchester United. Yesterday’s performance and result is exactly what we didn’t want to see.

Relegation this season would be just a complete and utter nightmare for the club. Let’s hope we can turn this thing around, and next week’s game at home to Blackburn will be so important. We need at the very least a draw, but this is a game we could win too. A win would be manna from heaven.

The Newcastle fans yesterday were great – it’s easy to support a team when they win all the time. But true supporters support the team when it isn’t winning – that’s the real test. And boy Newcastle United have not been winners for 40 years and still 42,00 fans turn up for every home game.

Such magnificent support and such woeful performances – what a contrast.

Comments very welcome.



Tags: Newcastle News



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34 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tom_Toon // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    They are trying to build for the future but we dont have a solid first team. Chris Mort knows bugger all about the glorious game.

  • 2 Leo* I HATE NICKY BUTT // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:06 PM

    two different points of view

    we should have overspent in the winter and got some players in to stop this rot

    we should not have spent money (like we didnt) and allow keegan to assess the squad.

    we should have spent, we now risk being relegated

    keegan now can get rid of all the crap players

    but why is it that everyone on hear can see that nicky butt alan smith stephen carr and joey barton are no where near good enough for our club

    or the premiership

  • 3 Ian // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:13 PM

    Martins will change the team overnight, as long a we see him as number one and put the players round him that compliment him, I hope Martins and Owen team up well, but if they dont Martins should be priority and surround him with the players he needs, ie Nzogbia and Milner, Gerami central midfield, Smith central midfield if they are playing four, if they cant find a striker to partner Martins then they should try Nzogbia at the front as a striker alongside him, it is no good if he makes those runs and no players are keeping up with his speed of play.
    Barton shouldne be first choice.

  • 4 Bill F // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:14 PM

    Talking about ineptness, Ed Iam a little curious as to why you are still running the cr*p down the side column about Duff wanting the prime duffer to stay. I doubt if there is any one who reads this blog who agrees with with this sentiment. Time to get rid of that rubbish?

  • 5 George // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:14 PM

    We are indeed in dire trouble, but we were also in dire trouble when KK arrived the first time when it went to the final game against leicester.
    The difference this time is can we afford to wait until the last game, i dont think we can.
    Once again bad defensive mistakes cost us yesterday. The midfield was not strong enough and for some reason whenever a player is free and in loads of space on the right wing, our midfielders turn and try and pass to the left were a player is being marked. Surely others must have noticed this. Yesterday i counted no less than 7 occaisions when the easy ball to the right would have had Milner free with no opposition ahead of him, but the balll goes to the left and to Duff.
    Is there in fighting at the club. Is there discord.
    What is moral like after the departure of SA. Did the players even like SA. What is the Viduka situation. The rumour i have heard is that he does not give 2 hoots during training and KK is concerned about his fitness and attitude.
    Given comes back for half a game and then we are forced into a substitution, when had Harper been left in place due to Givens dodgey thigh, we would have had another option on the bench.
    Building for the future is great, but not at the expense of now.

  • 6 Dragoner // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    the simple fact of the matter is we deserve to be relegated more than birmingham, fulham or wigan do, and they have every right to feel like it is an injustice if any of them go down and we dont.They are all playing better football than us right now and if fulham hadn’t been robbed so many times at the beginning of the season by some awful decisions by the officials then they would definitely be above us right now. Wigan will be abvove us soon and maybe even birmingham.

  • 7 scott9 // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    haha were in for aiden mcgeady would be an exelent signing but dont know if he would come in our position at the moment

  • 8 Paul M // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:31 PM

    Hey what an abysmal performance by Newcastle.Something is definitely wrong with the mindset of the players because they have no apparent understanding of the word TEAM.I am sorry to say it but relegation is a possibity and that would be a catastrophe for NUFC and the premier league.I say all this being a big Everton fan and knowing full well NUFC are one of the few teams who always sell their allocation for games at our place.Good luck for the rest of the season because for sure it looks as if the club needs it.

  • 9 Martins // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:40 PM

    IMO Martins is our saving grace is the only player we have that is unpredictable. Butt is shite no passing ability, cannot score, old, no pace, no athleticism etc etc. Cannot wait till we get rid but he will probs be offered a new contract. Cum on Martins get fit we need you.

  • 10 Punk Skunk // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:46 PM

    Right!..

    What the Hell was Given doin’ on the pitch?..He’s either lost it or injured…Please grow some balls & stay off ’til your fit or got it together. another game waltzing off at half time after we’re behind & phuk’d!..Ta!..GET HARPER ON!..He’s fit, can actually KICK a ball!..
    Beye…Played well, let down by those around him!..
    Taylor…Oh dear, played crap!..Maybe Edgar is worth a place?..or Cacapa?..
    Faye…Couple of dodgey moments, but still played ok, & at least scored!..
    Zog…What’s he doin’ at LB, allowed the 1st goal!..Why no Enrique?..
    Milner…Played pretty well, got some crosses in, no-one there…Ran his ass off!..
    Butt…Not the worst player on the pitch, but, no speed, no creatitvity!..Emre please!..
    Barton…Was he playing?..Zog here please!..
    Duff…Played well, didn’t get much support tho’!..
    Smith…One word, WHY?..
    Owen…Got no service, again…Should’ve had a pen, again…& they score the 1st directly from that ‘lack’ of decision, again!..
    Carroll…Came on changed the whole feel of the attack, for the better, well done lad!..
    Cacapa…Not much time to impress in a shambolic defense!..
    Refs…Once again we’re victims of bad/none decisions. i counted 10 crap ones in the 1st 15 mins, enough to make us back off & allow them too much time/space to play football, ta!..

  • 11 ToonJon // Feb 24, 2008 at 1:23 PM

    at least if we have martins he will be able to get on to the end of butts long balls rather than trying to hoof them to owen and smith who cant run.

    We need MARTINS fit and QUICK!!!!!!

    Atleast some good news.
    Reading are losing to villa

  • 12 MiMo // Feb 24, 2008 at 1:35 PM

    From the home games Blackburn and Sunderland (1point each}, Fulham and Reading six points, Chelsea none. Away to Birmingham 1 point all the rest nothing. That gives the Toon 37 points or 39 max if they can beat the Mackems and that might still not be enough. I think that is if anything a very optimistic points haul and underlies why they are beginning to look certainties for the drop. Get ready for the trap door because it is about to open! Mort and Ashley have demonstrated their naivety in the football world by bringing in the wrong manager at the wrong time and have compounded the problem by not strengthening the first team. If the dreaded drop occurs probably the best thing would be to get rid of all the deadwood and that includes KK and Terry Mac. The club is crying out for a top quality manager and no expense should be too much to pay if we can get the right man. To the manager’s supporters I’d say stop living in a Keegan wonderland try the real world where a club the size of Newcastle would always be challenging at the top.

  • 13 Macca // Feb 24, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    Punk Skunk..Keegan said he takes full responsibility for playing Given. It’s Keegan who makes the decision to play the player, Given past the fitness test so he played Given. You know we conceded more when Harper was on. I agree though he should have never been played if he was injured and it’s not the first time that Newcastle have done that and it’s not fair on Given or Harper.

  • 14 Macca // Feb 24, 2008 at 1:41 PM

    I don’t think we’ll go down, I think we’ve enough to pull away, just. I don’t think Reading or Sunderland will go down either.
    But no we really need to cop ourselves on or there’s a very good chance we could go down.

  • 15 Toon Yaka // Feb 24, 2008 at 1:52 PM

    Blame the players, they are rubbish.

    Given was a joke, he wants to be top man, the fact is he is injured and shouldnt be playing. Even when he’s fit he’s crap. A glorified shot stopper. Cant punch to save his life, nor kick. His distribution is terrible and puts the midfield and defence on the back foot at every touch, through his refusal to play from the back. He is one of the main weaknesses at the toon. I can’t believe not 1 manager has noticed it. He needs to go. Harper was much better and tried to work it from the back. Unfortunately, Given had already done the damage.

    So on to Taylor (the big I am). Not good enough for NUFC, forget the geordie link. He is sub standard, can’t tackle and cannot read the game. Get Rid.

    Next up Smith, Butt, Barton and Geremi – all not good enough to play under Keegan. Get rid. All players guilty of the same thing, they are crap. Smith is the biggest waste of space I’ve ever seen playing in black and white, barton is close behind him. Faye is also not even premier league.

    We need to get real and get rid of these players, in the summer. All of the above sold please asap.

    Owen is finished, I dont care what the pundits say about distribution etc. He’s not good enough, let him fleece some other club.

    The vast majority of these players are getting paid a foturne and are simply rejects and misfits from the former teams. Yet we payed good money.

  • 16 jj // Feb 24, 2008 at 2:00 PM

    Macca f**k u given is shit he is scared to come for the ball

  • 17 Punk Skunk // Feb 24, 2008 at 2:56 PM

    Macca, fair enough, but it’s happened in the last 2 games. & to be honest, it all started to go wrong when Shay came back after 10 games or so…Harper was doin’ well & if i remember correctly, it was our best 1st 10 for yonks & all that BS about picking players on merit from SA was well…BS, wasn’t it?..
    …Also, as per usual, Shay started bleating about leaving when he wasn’t playing…Not very pro!..After all Harper’s only played 100 times, but Shay obviously feels under threat!..It’s not what i call loyalty!..Plus, Shay just doesn’t look confident & has gone back to when gullit was here, when he looked the same & also couldn’t kick!..D’y’knowarramean?..

    M8, i love Shay, but all i’m saying is: If he doesn’t feel fit enough to play a full game he should have the balls to say so…We can’t afford to carry anyone right now, least of all the goalie & we’re wasting a sub every friggen game!..

  • 18 scott9 // Feb 24, 2008 at 3:04 PM

    everyone had a go at allardyce but at the end of the day he would not have been beat 5-1 by man and 4-1 by aston villa he should have been given time just think we could have had diarra in midifled possible wes brown at the back and arshevin we would have finished about mid table if allrdyce was still incharge i love keegan and im glad hes back but big sam should not have had the sack he needed to time just like people are now realsising it aint no quick fix and keegan is gonna need 2 years at least to get us back in the top 6-8

  • 19 Cheeses // Feb 24, 2008 at 3:19 PM

    @MiMo:

    What’s the point in getting rid of Keegan at this stage? He’s still learning the ropes again at this point, and what manager of the quality we need is going to come and manage a championship (or near Championship) side? Stick with Keegan, he is still working with a demotivated Allardyce side.

    Admittedly Allardyce could have been given more time, but I can’t see there being any difference. He presided over a boring 0-0 draw with Stoke, that we should have lost, and that’s just the start. What is it, 10 games without a win now? Keegan hasn’t been in charge of all of them.

    Provided we survive, we need passers of the ball. What price a Solano or Dyer in the team now? I’d even take Parker over Butt, at least he could pass.

    I don’t want relegation but I can’t see it being the end of the world. We could theoretically buy the best squad in the Championship, and all of the selfish egos at the club would move on – good riddance. Here’s hoping for survival though…

  • 20 ScottyT // Feb 24, 2008 at 3:34 PM

    scott9 would he not? im not so sure he basically layed down and died when we played liverpool at home and 3-0 masked what really should have been about 9 or 10. the only difference between allardyce and keegans teams displays yesterday were that keegans had a go and tried to attack while allardyces would have just defended bored us to death and then eventually let man u into their goals. remember we played sams system under pearson and lost 6-0

  • 21 boater // Feb 24, 2008 at 3:59 PM

    One of the most worrying aspects of the toon set up has to be the continuing selection of – not only smith, butt, barton – n’zog at left back, but also an unfit given and TAYLOR!!!!! the idea that he should be our first choice centre half is born out of a worrying local sentimentality and I fear may be one of the key factors should we go down…. he just aint up to it – accept it people.
    owen may well finish good movements off – but we don’t look like producing good movements so he’s useless to us … along with half the side….
    sentiment aside – a 1st team shake – up must take place with our attack geared around martins up front supported by n’zog and duff… geremi, emre, milner in midfield and faye, cacapa in central defence… enrique has to be played as our only natural left back and beye at RB- between now and the end of the season…. smith, butt, given, barton, taylor- and in a way – owen all need to be worked out of the first team if we have any hope of survival.

  • 22 scott9 // Feb 24, 2008 at 4:10 PM

    people have to understand when allardyce was in charge is that you cant play nice passing football when u dont have the players who are comfortable and good enough passing the ball like we wanted.
    big sam needed time but i suppose there is one good thing now is that people will give keegan the time and so will ashley as its hits man

  • 23 MiMo // Feb 24, 2008 at 4:12 PM

    Cheeses, what I’m saying, is it was a mistake to bring KK back. Everybody outside of Newcastle knew what the “loyalists” refuse to accept, Keggy was never good enough and will never be ; there is no such thing as a wonderland. Of course there is no point in sacking the manager at this stage but if and some would say when relegation occurs there must be a new start and that includes getting rid of all deadwood. If they stay up fair enough let him have more time even though in my opinion it will be time wasted. On the other hand if they are relegated lets have a proper manager who can really compete with the better clubs.

  • 24 Cheeses // Feb 24, 2008 at 4:41 PM

    Admittedly, and I agree KK was probably a mistake. But if we do get relegated and need a fresh start, I can’t see who we’d attract who would be any better. Bare in mind we’d only be championship material, but there’s an even bigger problem: Sacking Keegan would show the new board to be even more axe-happy than the previous one – no manager’s going to want to be involved there. Especially since if we do go down it won’t particularly be Keegan’s fault.

  • 25 Macca // Feb 24, 2008 at 4:59 PM

    I don’t know where I read it, can’t remember but em, it said that Allardyce has put the club back five years, what do ye think of that?

  • 26 ScottyT // Feb 24, 2008 at 5:06 PM

    probably true a manager who goes for draws against teams such as derby and wigan he really was unbelievable. thats the reason where going to be near the bottom we should have them extra 12 points alredy.

    we are going to be down there thanks to the results fat sam got against the lower clubs in the league. 2-2 at home to derby 0-1 away to derby – thats embarassing enough! then we have a defeat away to reading a defeat or rather a surrender away to wigan a lucky draw versus the mackems and tbh 2 lucky wins against birmingham and fulham

    he was an embarassment to our football club for the way he went about his business of gettin results and without the luck we got at the start of the season we’d be right down there alredy. allardyce was a complete and utter disgrace end of.

  • 27 Reb // Feb 24, 2008 at 5:50 PM

    ScottyT, you have a good point. Those dropped points against Derby are becoming important now (let’s be honest, NUFC should have had at least 4 points off of Derby — like everyone else!). With those four points, Newcastle would be at 32 points — still 12th, but close to Tottenham on 11th (only goal difference separating) and a more comfortable 10 points off relegation. Also, dropped points against Reading (should have beaten them — going for draws away against such clubs was ridiculous), another 3 points which would put Newcastle on 11th, and 13 points clear of the bottom three (or more because Reading would have 3 less points).

    The worst results were under Allardyce, imo, not Keegan. Before the season started, it was obvious that this stretch was going to be hard — players away at ACoN, and ManUre (twice), Arsenal, Villa, — still to come, Blackburn and Liverpool. Yes, Newcastle got tw@tted by ManUre, but does no one else remember the match v. Pompey? Just how horrific it was to watch the match v. Liverpool (despite a more flattering scoreline that day of only 0-3)? The wonderful feeling of losing to Derby, and drawing AT HOME? Personally, I’d rather get beat 5-1 by ManUre than lose 1-0 to Derby — it was actually less embarrassing for me.

    Interesting to see Owen’s interview on the Setanta site. When asked about the run of bad form, he says it’s because of the opposition and if you read between the lines, it’s clear that the confidence of all the players started low and it’s hard to raise it when they have to play the likes of Arsenal away twice, ManUre (now twice), and Villa away all-but right in a row. Also, Owen mentioned that it seems the general idea now is to get that first win, get a few more results and just stay up this season so that Keegan can get his “own players in” and make some changes. Owen called it a “baptism by fire” of the new manager, and himself as the new captain.

    In a sense, I agree with Owen. Right now, the club just needs to get that first win and hopefully build some momentum and confidence again. I also think that Keegan has to be very careful in his sales — it’s a small squad, and he has to have replacements in line before selling almost anyone (exceptions to be made for Ameobi & Carr) simply for coverage. And it’s unrealistic to replace 10 players or anything like some of the numbers being bandied about online.

    I’d like to see STAY: Given, Harper, Faye, Beye, Enrique (and PLAY him), Taylor, Cacapa, Geremi, Duff, Milner, N’Zogbia, Owen, Martins, Viduka. Also the young lads like LuaLua and Carroll, of course (but not yet in the XI).

    That means the following GO: Carr, Ameobi, Rozenhal (clearly doesn’t want to be at NUFC), Barton, Butt, and Smith.

    Players IN: LB cover, RB cover, one CB to free Faye for DM and one CB for cover, and at least two new proper CMs (one of whom is “attacking”, at least) and only one new striker, preferably more towards the Viduka mold. That’s the minimum needed in, at least in my opinion. A third CM, for coverage, wouldn’t go awry. The club has decent wingers, if they are played there, but could use coverage for the rather young wingers — like Milner and N’Zogbia — as well.

  • 28 GEORDIE69 // Feb 24, 2008 at 8:22 PM

    Out = Given (Kicking reasons alone too costly) Harper (Time to move on) Carr (Shite), Cacapa(Not prem class) Ramage(Not good enough) Rozenthal(Soft as shite) Barton(To many off the field issues) Butt(Off prem pace) Emre(Dosent want to be here) Geremi(Not good enough) Duff(Not the same player as when with Blackburn) Owen (Two yards too slow) Viduka(Not interested) Ameobi(Shite) Smith(Workrate class but simply offers nothing else)

    Keep = Krul Beye Enrique Taylor Faye Edgar Milner N’zogbia Martins

    In GK RB LB CD RW DM DM AM AM LW CF CF CF

    World class position needed = GK LB CD RW DM AM CF

    GK
    RB Beye
    LB
    CD Taylor
    CD
    RW
    DM
    AM
    LW N’Zogbia
    CF
    CF Martins

    Subs
    GK Krul
    CD/DM Faye
    MID Milner
    AM
    CF

  • 29 Paul // Feb 24, 2008 at 8:47 PM

    42000 ??????

  • 30 London Mag // Feb 24, 2008 at 10:15 PM

    Given has been injured for some time, but he has been woeful this season. If you know football, you will be aware that any centr half will expect a keeper to come for crosses which are head height in the six box. Shay doesn’t, he stays on his line. As a centre back you need your keeper to be vocal. Shay isn’t. So you can understand to a degree why the back four are unsettled. We have some good defenders, but with a jittery keeper they look out of sorts.
    As for Harper, it would have been eight if it hadn’t been for him.
    Krul is the future. Big lad full of confidence.
    As for the current situation. I would bring some of the kids in. Carroll caused problems yesterday, apparently Edgar is playing superbly as is Kadar. Kids have no fear. They pulled us through the crap over Xmas last year if you remember. Get them in now.

  • 31 daiv // Feb 24, 2008 at 10:18 PM

    Keep playing Butt abd Smith Kev and see where we end up. KK is playing the same team as Sam with worse results. Hopeless. But KK can do no wrong. Yesterday’s man. KK or Ramos?

  • 32 hanzemre // Feb 25, 2008 at 8:02 AM

    A win is what due to stabilise things right now.That’s it & the sooner the better. KK is just in & lately have had very difficult fixtures against in-form teams e.g. ManU,Arsenal, Aston Vila even Middleborough & Bolton were having a good run of their own when we met them. But coming are consideraby much easier fixtures it’ll change & we’ll more vivid soon after a win hopefuly against Blackburn to start collecting points we need to survive this horrid season as well as transition period.

  • 33 thelongshanks // Feb 25, 2008 at 10:13 AM

    The amount of people saying we need martins back are the same people who were slating him a month ago saying sell him he cant hit a barn door.If we had him at man utd we wouldnt have won but we would have been alot more threating.We desperately need him back and did anyone seriously think we were goona beat utd,they(utd) went out there knowing they cud score a handfull and they did.We still have time to turn it around and unless the teams below start winning we should be ok.I am hoping for a win on saturday and before we play liverscum.

  • 34 steve k // Feb 25, 2008 at 10:21 AM

    Lets face the horrible facts, as much as we would all love KK to succeed we must know in our hearts that there simply isn’t a hope.

    Things are looking dire for us, and with a billionaire owner who behaves like a penny-pincher I have absolutely no hope for next season or any in the foreseeable future.




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