Newcastle Still Well Positioned For Automatic Promotion

Jonas Gutierrez, our Argentine International, has two goals this year.

Jonas Gutierrez – two major goals this year

The first is the see his club team, Newcastle United , promoted back to the Premier League, and the second is to make the Argentine squad for this year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Both goals are certainly still within reach, although last night’s poor performance at Derby County, when the side lost for the first timne in the league since last October 20th, didn’t help our promotion chances, and WBA took over at the top of the Championship.

And Jonas was involved last night in Derby’s critical second goal, as he gave away the penalty after 59 minutes that put Derby two goals up.

Jonas talked about the game today, as he told the Evening Chronicle today:

“We didn’t play very well and it is frustrating as we were so much better against Cardiff.”

“We all really thought we could come here and get three points, so to be going back home with nothing is just very disappointing.”

“I thought the penalty decision was a close call. It could have been given, it could have not.”  “The player was clever – as I went to touch the ball he put his leg in the way and then fell down.”

“He got the decision from the linesman, not the referee, but there was nothing we could do about it after that.”  “It was a silly penalty to give away and I should have been more careful.” “Hopefully I can learn from that mistake and not make it again.”

“You have to try to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes twice.  “I think the penalty came at a really bad time.” “We were on top and I feel bad for my team-mates and for the fans.”

“It was frustrating because it gave them a second goal when we were looking to equalize.”   “I must say I am very sorry for my part in it.”

But the worst reaction to this bad defeat would be to panic.

Much better take a deep (make that very deep) breath, and look where we have put ourselves so far this season in the league.

We are level on points at the top, with a game in hand over leaders WBA. And we are 4 points clear of 3rd placed Nottingham Forest, with a superior goal difference, and again with a game in hand.

Win the game in hand and we are still essentially 8 points clear of 3rd place, in an automatic promotion place – and 16 games to play.

That’s the way to look at today’s situation, however disappointing and frsutrating last night’s result and performance was.

And hopefully the lads will again come again, and start putting together another gutsy winning streak.

And the fans can help big time by supporting the team in their upcoming home games against Coventry City next Wednesday and Preston North End the following Saturday.

We have 8 home games remaining, and if we can win them all, which is not impossible, we can amass 83 points, and that has to be close to an automatic promotion place.

And we still have 9 away games to play – and we should surely start to pick up some wins away from home, hopefully starting at Swansea City on Saturday afternoon – KO 12:45pm.

The team still has a wonderful chance of promotion, and the very worst thing we can do is to panic, or to overreact to last night’s defeat – bad as it was.

We’d have taken this situation last July – after 29 games played  – joint top of the Championship – and remember at the time –  all those football experts were predicting we’d be relegated.

Nothing like kicking a club when they’re down.  It’s a good job they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Howay The Lads – we can still do it!!

17 comments so far

  • listie

    Feb 10, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Comment #1

    I like Jonas, but he needs to learn to cross the bloody ball!

  • dutchy

    Feb 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Comment #2

    so we’ve had a little blip in form. I still believe it’s gonna be us n WBA going up automatically, i don’t care if we get first or second, i just don’t want to be in the playoffs as that might just give me a heart attack!

  • Zangwill_Ho

    Feb 10, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Comment #3

    Like Joans so much!


    Feb 10, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Comment #4

    after seeing jonas’s tackle to concede the penalty, i was very disappointed, btu now, reading his comments, its good to see him put his hand up and take it, it was a bad tackle on his part, stupid to give such a penalty away, that turned the match.

  • jimiley

    Feb 10, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    Comment #5

    On current form over the last 10 matches we are in deep trouble. Cardiff was the blip. Swansea is crucial. If we lose that one, confidence will melt.

  • Sav

    Feb 11, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    Comment #6

    Listie, well said.

    And instead of just ‘two major goals’, for the season, Jonas should have scoring goals as a major goal.
    And I couldn’t care less whether they are major goals or your common garden variety. I’ll settle for the final tap-in to complete a 10-0 rout. Howay, Jonas, lad.

  • Jezza

    Feb 11, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    Comment #7

    I just can’t see us going up. We’ve won 2 of our last 7 games, WBA have won 6 of theirs and Notts Forest 5. Both those teams are hitting top form while we’ve going into a noesdive. We’re continuing the downward spiral we’ve been on for the past few years ever since the disastrous appointment of Souness as manager. Ashley’s ineptitude and penny pinching has left us with a team of mercenaries, premiership rejects and third rate journeymen with a non entity of a manager. I can see exactly where we’re headed, beaten by Middlesboro in the play offs this season and the third division within two years.

  • psb

    Feb 11, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #8

    I must reply to to the above nonsense !

    Firstly, WBA have only won 4 of their last 7 games (drawing with us and Ipswich and losing to Forest). Secondly, we have taken 17 points from our last ten games. An average like that would see us ending the season on 87 points.

    Thirdly, who ae the mercenaries in our team now ? Owen, Martins, Geremi, Viduka, Beye and Duff have all gone. Those who have stayed have shown an honourable attitude. Smith, Nolan, Steven Taylor, Guttierez and Coloccini could all have gone. They have stayed and played with commitment and got us to where we are now, in the top two. Would you have preferred the shocking performances we suffered under Shearer ? He was unable to motivate those mercenaries to get just one measly point from Fulham and Villa !

    Premiership rejects? Well, let’s look at the WBA an Forest teams you seem to admire so much – Robert Earnshaw, Dexter Blackstock, Scott Carson, Jerome Thomas, Roman Bednar, Chris Brunt etc etc Premiership failures to a man. You cannot hope to attract good premiership players to play in the Championship. We are damn lucky to have the likes of Steven Taylor, Harper, Coloccini, Guttierez, Smith and Nolan playing for us. Damn lucky.

    Nonentity of a manager ? Oh yes, bring back Shearer. What great perfrmances he coaxed out of the team against Stoke, Spurs, Liverpool, Postmouth, Fulham and Villa. When we really needed it.

    We have lost ONE game in three months. Anyone would think we were floundering like Boro, Coventry or QPR !

  • nightfa11

    Feb 11, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #9

    psb – well said.

    and as for shearer for thanks..least not yet. he had a chance & he blew it. we got relegated cos he was to afraid & he didnt play the best team, but the best team on PAPER & we know noone can get mad at u if u loose like that.

    btw…i’m not saying us getting relegated was a bad thing..not at all, but shearer showed he’s not ready to be a manager..for now.

  • Jezza

    Feb 11, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #10

    Ok so WBA haven’t won as many as I thought, but on current form both they and Notts are doing a lot better than us and I fully expect them to be the two to get automatic promotion. Just wait and see.

    Yes the likes of Smith, Nolan, Enrique, Guttierez and Coloccini could all have left, and to play at a higher level too, so why did they stay at Newcastle for Championship football? The answer in one word: money. Which makes them mercenaries.

    Ask yourself truthfully who would you rather have playing in their respective positions for Newcastle:

    Steve Harper or Shay Given
    Danny Simpson or Habib Beye
    Fitz Hall or Sebastian Bassong
    Wayne Routledge or James Milner
    Leon Best or Obafemi Martins
    I rest my case.

    I’ve nothing against Chris Hughton personally but he is a non entity of a manager. He’s just another Glenn Roeder, nice guy, reasonable coach but totally out of his depth as manager of Newcastle United. I would also add that I never said anything about wanting Shearer as manager. To suggest I did means you are the one talking nonsense.

    Just wait till the end of the season or better still the end of next season and we’ll see who’s right. If you think everything is hunky dory at Newcastle United you are sadly mistaken.

  • chris6033

    Feb 11, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Comment #11

    Well said psb, I like your style.
    What really winds me up is people on here slating Ashley, how can he be pennypinching? He’s bought decent players in last month. Strengthened us hugely. If he had caved in and paid stupid money and wages for Moses, beckford and the other big names people on here want we would be proper fooked! Look at Pompey, screwed by big wages and silly transfers. MA has showed good buisness by spending wisely. The bloke can’t win. I think people should realise what he is doing and back off him. We are a team. And he is part of it.

  • psb

    Feb 11, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Comment #12

    Jezza you need a bit of a reality check mate !

    Those players you mention TOOK US DOWN for Heaven’s sake !

    Shay Given was something of a special case and deserved his few years in the sun. However, Bassong’s contribution to the cause was questionable to say the least. As for your lionising of Martins – words fail me ! Even Milner flattered to deceive in many of his performancs for us over several years.

    Danny Simpson is a good player. Man Utd do not take on people who can’t play, even if they allow them to move on. Your veiled criticism of him is wholly unfair.

    I am sure some of the “mercenaries” you mention could have equalled their SJP wages elsewhere. I truly believe Kevin Nolan and Alan Smith felt genuine guilt at their non-achievement last season.

    I didn’t suggest you wanted Shearer, I merely put him forward as a popular alternative. Similarly would be the dross we played under Keegan part two.

    I think Chris Hughton has done an admirable job so far, an yes he may be out of his depth in the Premiership, but we are not there, are we ?

    Everything, actually, is pretty hunky dory when you consider the shambles this club was in at the end of May ! People predicting relegation and all the “new Leeds” guff. To be equal top with 17 games to go, only having lost 4 games and having one of the most successful defences in the country. Yes, that’s NUFC with a successful defence ! I call that ok, so far. Quite remarkable in fact.

  • Jezza

    Feb 11, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Comment #13

    Six short weeks ago we were 10 points clear at the top of the table, now we’re in second place. You may not be worried by that but I certainly am.

    Given, Milner and N’Zogbia never took us down. We were 6 points above the drop zone in mid season when Ashley cashed in on Given and N’Zogbia and Milner was sold at the start of the season. Had any one of these players played the full season for us last season I have no doubt that we would have stopped up. You may think Milner flattered to deceive but look at the player he has been for Villa. Do you really think we’re now better off with Wayne Routledge in that position?

    I never made any criticism of Danny Simpson, thinly veiled or otherwise I just made the point that he’s not as good as Habib Beye, who incidentally was out injured for most of the second half of last season when we slipped to relegation.

    As for your belief in the loyalty of the likes of Smith and Nolan, let’s just see if they’re prepared to stay for another season in the Championship if we fail to go up in May

    You may think there is no danger of us becoming the ‘new Leeds’. Remember this, Leeds were also at the top end of the Championship throughtout their first season after relegation from the Premiership in 2004/05, and very nearly went straight back up, only losing to Watford in the play off final.

  • psb

    Feb 11, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Comment #14


    When we were 10 points clear, WBA had a game in hand, so in reality it was only 7. You cannot expect not to be challenged and just run away with things, surely ? Chelsea were 7 points clear at one stage in the Prem, weren’t they ? Leeds have been pegged back in Div 1. Other teams aren’t going to just lay down and let us win. If anything teams are more motivated against us than against WBA or Forest, as it is the “big game” on their fixture list.

    Surely you are not seriously claiming that keeping N’Zogbia would have kept us up ? He put in some appalling displays for us, both attacking wise and defensively. Yes, Milner has flourished and matured and we miss him but he really did put in some average showings for us. His goalscoring contribution is still poor at Villa.

    We still should have been good enough to get the ONE POINT we needed to stay up. Owen, Martins, Viduka, Beye, Duff, Bassong were all still around in those last eight games.

    Yes, if we fail to go up, we may well implode like Leeds. You are right about ther first season, but they were in a financially even more parlous state by far than us. However, do you think Boro will do the same if they don’t go up ? Or Sheffield United ?

    You seem to have a taste of nostalgia for the great days of last season ! Of course, playes of Milner’s quality have to be exchanged for the Routledges of this world, just as Keegan brought us up with lower tier players in 92-93. You cannot seriously expect us to populate our teams with proven premiership players ? The ones we have got are the best we’re gonna get.

    By the way, JFK would have got us that one extra point, without a doubt !

  • psb

    Feb 11, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Comment #15

    OK Jezza put your cards on the table and answer me this as best you can if you feel so inclined:-

    a) where exactly do you think we have gone wrong this season ?
    b) which players have under-performed ?
    c) If YOU were manager at the beginning of this season, what would you have done ? Who would you have sold, kept, bought ?
    d) With that in mind which players do you still feel should be in our team ? Smith, Nolan, Routledge, Simpson ? Or should they all have been sold ? Which of our squad are substandard FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP ?

  • Jezza

    Feb 11, 2010 at 11:48 PM

    Comment #16

    OK I’ll try to give straight answers

    a. We haven’t gone too badly wrong this season as such and in fact have done much better than I expected. The major mistakes were not appointing an experienced manager (and I don’t mean that clown Kinnear) in the summer. The real damage had already been done over the past few years but in particular over the preceding 12 months . If I could pinpoint the moment it started to go wrong it would be the day that Ashley (on advice from the poison dwarf Wise) sold James Milner against the manager’s wishes.

    b. I wouldn’t say any players have underperformed, they’re just by and large as good as some of the players we did have before Ashley began his asset stripping policy. In fact some players such as Smith, Nolan, Gutierrez and Coloccini seem to have found their level in the Championship.

    c. It’s a moot point because the manager at NUFC has no say which players are bought, sold or kept. The point is that we ended last season with a squad that had been too small for a 38 game Premiership season and reduced that squad by a further 6 or 7 players when we had a 46 game season in a more physical league ahead of us. That was just madness.

    d. As I said Smith and Nolan seem to have found their level in the Championship though it has to be said Nolan has gone off the boil in recent weeks. I’ve got my doubts about Routledge, his career has been on a rapid downward spiral ever since he became a £5 million flop at Spurs a few years ago and every move he subsequently made before coming to Newcastle was a downward one. Simpson looks OK but has been inconsistent. These players are all Championship standard but whether they are top two in the Championship/promotion winning standard is another matter.

  • psb

    Feb 12, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #17


    Thanks for your time in writing these views. Much appreciated. In reply I would say that :-

    a) JFK was a panic fire-fighting appointment in just the same way as Keegan and Shearer were. Atrociuous appointments all three of them.

    Just let it go about Milner ! He’s gone, so has Andy Cole, so has Terry McDermott ! Milner was present in many an eleven on the receiving end of a mauling. Personally, I don’t rate Milner, never have. I know you’ll call me crazy but I believe he was inconsistent for us. He has no pace, is leaden footed, can’t shoot (apart from the occasional wonder hit which is far outweighed by the woeful row z’ers), can’t head. I believe if he is first choice in the World Cup, the Italians, Germans or Brazilians will find him out.

    Furthermore at the point Milner was sold, were things that great ? We’d just taken a 3-0 humiliation at Arsenal (again). Have you forgotten some of the dross Keegan served up when he nearly took us down the season before ? Even our wins were hardly good performances. Rember Bolton at home, Man Utd at home, or the first half at Birmingham ? Some of the worst stuff served up in years !

    b) Correct. Most of our players are peforming up to the standard necessary in the Championship, with the exception of the appalling Guthrie, and Pancrate, and, (when he played), Joey Barton.

    c) Our squad is pretty large and well equipped for the Championship. Whenever we beat someone, the opposing manager always trots out the “We can’t expect to compete with the size of Newcastle’s squad” line. Best exemplified by Neil Warnock recently, also Malky Mackay, Darren Ferguson and Alan Irvine (while at Preston). I believe even Gordon Strachan has made similar comments.

    How many more players do we need ? Surely we now have enough for this league.

    d) I agree about Routledge. I have never rated him at all, for years, same as you. Ditto Fitz Hall. I’m surprised we didn’t sign Emerson Boyce or Mikel Legertwood who fall into the same category. However, so far, and I mean so far, I have been impressed by him. He was excellent against Cardiff. Certainly better than Pancrate and as for the hapless tortoise-like meanderings of Guthrie in that position, well I would have thought the difference was clear against Cardiff.

    Our squad has proved so far they are top two in the Championship standard because that is where they have been for virtually the whole season and are probably going to finish, even if they cock it up, in the top four. The fact we have won 17 and only lost four, avoiding defeat in 25 out of 29 games proves that.

    By the way how would you have felt had we signed Robert Earnshaw ? Or Dexter Blackstock ? Routledges both of them. (I’ve always thought Blackstock to be poor man’s Ameobi – the ultimate insult). Or a couple of unknown Poles or Slovakians ? Forest and WBA are doing pretty well with exactly the same type of players you criticise us for having, minus the premiership experienced old heads like Butt, Smith, Harper and Nolan.

    None of us can fill our teams with Shaun Wright Phillips, Carlton Cole, Ngel Reo-Coker, Emile Heskey, Paul Scharner type players. They want the Premiership, even if it is the bench. We can’t even hope to attract Victor Moses. Neither could Forest or WBA. We all have to make do, unfortunately.

    There are 17 games left. Like the 20 -20 league in cricket, things change every few days. WBA
    have closed 7 points on us, so did Forest, we could do the same to them. A draw and a defeat for them in two games and two wins for us and it’s all change. Lots of water to flow under the bridge yet.

    Personally, I am just enjoying going into each game knowing we have a chance of winning as opposed to at least 10 premiership games every season where even a draw was off the agenda. You know the ones. Wasted weekends. I was fed up of waiting 3 weeks for Bolton at home.



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