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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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Sam Reacts Sensibly To Fitness Jibes

10:20 am, Thursday, March 6th, 2008 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 27 Comments

Sam Allardyce has reacted sensibly to the claims, principally by Damien Duff, that Newcastle players were not physically fit enough under Big Sam.

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Sam Allardyce – fitness is also a mental thing

Sam said yesterday:

“There wasn’t anything wrong with match fitness when I was there. That’s a bit of an excuse. Sometimes fitness is a mental thing.”

“The fear factor can drain an awful lot out of players so that may be the problem at the moment.”

“There’s also a lack of confidence and it can boil down to that, not a lack of match-fitness.”

“Newcastle have experienced and talented players but they must get a result pretty soon.”

“They have Birmingham City and Fulham in the next few games and they could be the big matches – the turning point for Kevin and the team.”

“I’d like to come back (to football management), if I had my way, in the summer. But we’ll have to wait and see what turns up.”

Sensible words from Big Sam and it’s so true we need a win sooner rather than later. Unfortunately Liverpool, who we play on Saturday, look to be in good form as they took West Ham apart last night 4-0, with a hat trick from Fernando Torres – what a player this boy is.

We expect Big Sam to be appointed as a manager at some Premier club in the summer, but right now Sam will just need to wait and see what turns up in terms of opportunities.

Comments welcome.



Tags: Newcastle News



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27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 obafemimartins // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:33 AM

    the thing about torres is he is the only world class striker @liverpool so chances are he wont play because of the champ league match 3 days later :D i am hoping they play that stupid french keeper who is useless aswell :D

  • 2 obafemimartins // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:34 AM

    i never noticed you were from newcastle ed. :D i thought you were newcastle fan from the states

  • 3 Big Phil // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:35 AM

    Whether they were fit or not they played terribly in every game he was involved in. He coached out any creativity they may have had and Keegan is having to attempt to restore it which takes time. His signings weren’t up to much as we’re now only too aware, what was he thinking signing Joey Barton?????

  • 4 ELFER // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    what a perfect chance then to beat liverpool? ;-)

  • 5 obafemimartins // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    if we play like we did then we will becuase that french guy is worse than derbys keeper. i think he makes lots of mistakes and doesnt make easy saves. most of the games liverpool lost he played in :D

  • 6 Archie Brand // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    Anyone who watches the TV coverage of the premier league cant help but be unimpressed by the repeated use of cliches – and I’m not talking about the Arsenal back four.

    Particularly irritating has been the term “in the ascendency” closely followed in recent months by the completely non-sensicle “just about” – as in “the keeper just about pushed it round the post” when he obviously did push it round the post, so what was “just about” about it?

    Ed – you have fallen into the old trap of using a mega-obvious footballing cliche.
    “we need a win sooner rather than later”.
    Be honest – would anyone actually prefer a win later rather than sooner?

    About the article – yes , it’s nice to see Sam being mature about it all.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if Sunderland took him?

  • 7 Eric // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:47 AM

    So “Wham Bam Thank You Mam” Sam is sounding off again. Fitness? Confidence? I think it was to do with his up and under style of play coupled with the crap he brought in to play it. He should forget about football – he did at St James Park.

  • 8 staffsmag // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:58 AM

    Well his £4 million pound pay off didn’t keep his useless fat trap shut for long did it ? W***er !!!! lol

  • 9 Leo // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:05 AM

    sensible as it might have been the big cnut is still bigging himself up, he was cr@p and i am glad he went

    many pundits say they were the fittest in the league merely because they stayed in their own half and punted the ball up to the strikers in the hope for goals.

  • 10 adam // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:09 AM

    big sams job was to get the players focusing on the games and making them work as hard as they could using theyre supposed fitness for getting results. period

    he is a muppet

  • 11 Davies // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:21 AM

    Big Sham was an arse at SJP. We’re stuck with a lot of crap that he bought and, for some reason, Keegan keeps using.

    Keegan: Excuses excuses excuses

    Big Sham: Blame blame blame!!!

    Leo, have you stopped hating Licky Butt?

  • 12 Leo // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:25 AM

    nope but we probably need him against liverpoo. still think he is a waste of a position, but if he can proform i will not throw any jibes his way

  • 13 Micky Toon // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:27 AM

    Biggest mistake Sam made was leaving Bolton. He was worshipped there and they were gutted to see him go. Forget the odd fan saying good riddence that was just sour grapes. If he had stayed his reputation would have been intact and we would not be suffering his legacy.

  • 14 Dragoner // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:49 AM

    his reputation IS still in tact, it is OUR reputation that is in tatters, people don’t say “sam was rubbish” thats just some nufc fans, majority of people say, “you should have given sam more time”

  • 15 Whumpie // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:50 AM

    I can’t stand BSA as a person and I think he should keep it zipped. BUT you have to admit he did some things right. Ok, ok: one.

    I’m worried that we’re undoing the one good thing he achieved while at SJP, which was taking us from the top to the bottom of the injury league. That was quite a task and there’s no doubt it made a big difference. Note that I’m talking about injuries here, not aerobic fitness, mind.

    I think every player should have their own conditioning coach, do shedloads of yoga to make themselves impact-proof (just ask Gary Speed), and that during the season they should only consume what their nutritionist tells them to. Sam had that right, and it showed. What worries me is that by kicking out all his backroom staff we’ll soon be back up to having 6, 7, 8 or more 1st-choice players out at a time.

    So yes, he’s an arrogant, inflexible git – but let’s recognise the one thing he did right and keep it going.

  • 16 Scott Hodge // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:54 AM

    Roeder’s regime was stroll in the park compared to Fat Sam. The problem with Allardyce is they were burnt out under him and it was plain to see on the pitch. Instead of playing golf in the afternoon some players were going home and crawling into bed !!

  • 17 Michael // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:01 PM

    Exactly what I was going to say Dragoner. Clubs are head hunting Sam, he has a recent reputation, he was not a Total failure at Newcastle. The Barometer to access if Sam was a failure or sucess is results, not how entertaining he was. Perfect example is Arsenal, have not won anything in three years but have been the most entertaining team in the league. It is like writting an exam. You access performanc e on results, not that you had an entertaining exam.

    I have said this before and will again, you know what take offence to it if you wish,. Sam is far better for the job than Keegan. He has recent exoperience and more recently beter results, I am talking about the past two years. He has experience with this modern brand of football and he has tactical awareness. Keegan makes him look a genius.

    This blame game starts when a manger has no excuses left. First confidence, something so (abstract) now Keegan has the audacity to blame Sam for an apparent lack of fitness. Pressure is already mounting on this so called messianic king Keegan should know it is not Championship manager on the PC and devise better excuses then that. His rudimentary approach to football is not sufficient especially in an age of sophisticated football. You silly fans salivate when Newcastle dance on the pitch but do not score a goal. As far as I am concerned winning football is entertaining.

    I agree with Sam, it is all an excuse, is Kevin Keegan only noticing this now that the players are not fit, Sam revamped their diets, Mort says Ashley likes to have a drink with the players after a game, Keegan has taken them back to those days where a profesional footballer could binge drink and still play football. I have branded his style of management as Pub like, There is more evidence to suggest this is the case. No tactics and drinks after games. Tavern more like it.

  • 18 George // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    No matter how much SA try`s to defend himself , he cannot get away from the fact that from the Bolton opener, every game we gradually got worse, there was only SA and his team doing the training, so why does he not open his eyes and realise he is behind our present situation. Lets face it Bolton were never a nice team to watch, and look at Kevin Davis a striker SA never dropped, he only recently scored his 100th premiership goal after 11 seasons, so who was teaching him to play football.
    Little Sammy Lee tried to make a diference with all his knowledge from SA and made a balls up, and of all people, under Gary Megson they are playing some decent football, alas the fear of the drop is hitting home, just as it is with us. Can any one see a connection here??????

  • 19 Whumpie // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:25 PM

    I think trying to label KK or Sam as “good” or “bad” is a bit misleading. What matters is how well they are suited to the club.

    BSA definitely did well with Bolton (better than KK would have done, I suspect), because his approach (and he only has one – that’s the problem) was suited to a bottom-half club trying to get to the top half. But he was a dreadful mismatch at NUFC, who are a top-end club stuck in a decade of under-acheivement. Sam will never – EVER – take a team to the Champions League. It just isn’t in him.

    Bottom line (and Michael – this is where I disagree with you):

    BSA: performances steadily getting worse
    KK: performances steadily getting better.

    Remember that Bond film where he sky-dives into a plane and just about pulls it up before it hits the bottom of the canyon? That’s our KK right now.

  • 20 Michael // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:55 PM

    Steadily getting better, prior to our 1 – 0 loss to Blackburn at home, we were thrashed 5 – 1 by manchester united at home , thrashed 4 – 1 by aston villa, Thrashed 3-0 by Arsenal, Thrashed 3 – 0 by Arsenal again and you say progressively better. We entertained in the Blackburn game. Note: I chose my words carefully, I said entertained. The reason I skeptical about your accesments of the game and branding the game, as one in which we supposedly played well, is because ther is no tangible Barometer to measure playing well. I measure playing well by looking at the points we have accumilated and our position in the league. You on ther other hand have an opinion, even if agreed upon by the masses of obliviously lost supporters we have on this forum save a few.

    Opinions do not win you points. We lost on Saturday and as far as the league table knows, Blackburn played well as they achived thier objectives and that is to get all three points, we on the other hand failed to achieve our objectives.

  • 21 Whumpie // Mar 6, 2008 at 2:30 PM

    What are you, German??

    Results under BSA were terrible and getting worse. We were going out to defend against the worst teams in the league and even failing to do that. Each game showed a bit less passion, structure and creativity and it was getting clear that BSA didn’t have a system that worked as he madly chopped and changed.

    Look at the list of matches quoted: Man-U, Arsenal (x 3), and Villa – who are in 6th. Do you honestly think that the man who got us a string of results like:
    Man-C: Lost
    Chelski: Lost
    WIGAN: Lost (for chrissake)
    DERBY: Drew (what??)
    Fulham: Won 1-0 (wow)

    Would have beaten Man-U, Arsenal and the Hammers? Dream on.

    Sorry to be harsh, Michael, but if you judge everything by a recent string of numbers then thank god you’re not running a football team. If that was all it took why aren’t we all doing it? Do Fergie and Wenger just add up better than everyone else?

    (No offence meant, but you hit my buttons with that last post.. which means it’s a good post, I think..)

  • 22 Michael // Mar 6, 2008 at 2:45 PM

    DAmn right that is what Furgie and Wenger do. They know points points win the league, not entertaining football. Points. Chelsea under Jose were boring to watch but they won two sucessive league titles and the FA and carling cups.

    When a new manager comes to Newcastle we talk of Newcastle have not won anything in So many years, not Newcastle have not been entertaining in so many years. Forget passion, forget thrust, energy, points are the objective. You only complicate the task by talking about these immeasurable and abstract things.

    To consider Someone a success we look at how well they achived thier objectives. What is the objective of a football team in a game? we can agree that the ultimate objective is to win the game, entertainment is is a secondary consideration. minimal is to get 1 point, failure to get anypoints is a failure, is this not so?

    So to say we are getting better should be measured with a tangible irrefutable barometer. People differ in opinions, as such some will say we played well others will say not. The League does not lie, what ever position you are in the leagu is how well you performed, that cannot be debated.

  • 23 Whumpie // Mar 6, 2008 at 3:05 PM

    Ok, this is fun, so on the basis that I hope you won’t take any actual offence, let’s continue…

    There’s a saying: “weighing the pig doesn’t make it any fatter”. All your nice, tidy figures tell you is that there is a problem. Wow. Genius.

    Those figures do not tell you:

    1. What the problem is
    2. What the solution is
    and crucially…
    3. Whether that solution is already there and needs time to take effect.

    So, Michael: what do your figures tell you to DO ABOUT IT?? Is it the manager? The board? The facilities? The players? The training team? The medical people? And those are just the top-level categories. If you do know which it is, then which particular details are you going to adjust, and how?

    This is a huge, complicated, all-about-the-detail art form, and knowing whether you won or lost the last few matches tells you very little about how to win the next one.

    All you’re saying is “we’re not winning”. Brilliant. Got a degree in stats for that? We all know that we’ve won nowt in a long time, but these discussions are all about why and what to do about it. If your only thought on it is “we’re not winning – sack the manager” then it’s not going to get us far.

    BSA’s results were dreadful. KK’s so far have been bad too – but mostly against teams we should not expect to beat at the moment. Arguing that BSA would have done better is pretty much as untenable as it is irrelevant.

  • 24 Michael // Mar 6, 2008 at 3:34 PM

    I concede.

  • 25 Whumpie // Mar 6, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    Ah, tis a pyrrhic victory (I’ll look up what that means a bit later). But probably more to do with you having a more interesting job than me, and having better stuff to do than keep typing on this board.

    Anyway, let’s hope for both from here in: results and performances. Howay and all that.

  • 26 Stamford Toon // Mar 6, 2008 at 5:40 PM

    Whumpie, how can you say Sams results were dreadful and KK’s only bad. KK’s results have been dreadfull and the team have conceded more goals under KK than BS. Just compare the Arsenal results. No doubt you will say that it was Bs’s fault that KK’s team conceded so many goals but that really does not make sense. It merely shows a bias and lack of detatched judgement.

  • 27 Whumpie // Mar 7, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    I see your point, Stamford Toon, but I think KK has had a far tougher run of fixtures, and I think people are underestimating the hangover from BSA’s influence.

    What we are seeing now is the result of several months of BSA hammering square pegs into round holes, and destroying confidence and cohesion in the process. That takes time to fix, but we have seen a very clear and steady improvement in the past half-dozen games.

    So yes, I think KK leaves a lot to be desired in his tactics, especially definsively. It worries me, and I was not happy about the timing of BSA’s sacking at the time. But what he’s said since has convinced me that he would have continued his one-trick-pony approach until we were relegated, so perhaps with hindsight it was a good move by Mort and Ashley.

    I think it’s very, very hard to claim that BSA’s results were going anywhere but down the toilet. If you look at the steady decline in PERFORMANCES (not just results, which paint a similar but less consistent story) it’s pretty clear that we were in for a mauling with the top teams regardless of who was in charge.

    But at least I’m looking forward to creating some chances against the reds tomorrow; under BSA I would be dreading another ‘put the wall up and hope’ pain-fest. Could you honestly see BSA going to Anfield with anything but damage limitation in mind? KK wll go there looking for 3 points. He’s the only one who’s got them there in 10 years, so why not?

    But I still admire what Sam did in terms of injuries – quite a feat in such a small time. I’ve a nasty feeling we’ll be back up the physioroom.com table before long.




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