Last season we got only one point off local rivals Sunderland, and we were walking it at the Stadium of Light until Cheick Tiote got himself sent off, and it looked as though we could have held out for the win but Sunderland got a late goal – an own goals from Demba Ba.
Alan Pardew – in aggressive posture (to say the least)
And maybe the least we say about the game at home to Sunderland in April – the better – it was a disaster and a huge embarrassment to Newcastle fans, and one daft fan after the game decided to have it out with a police horse (called Bid), for heavens sake.
It wasn’t Bud’s fault – the horse that is.
And bear in mind it was then Sunderland’s manager Paolo Di Canio’s first (and only) derby game and one of only two wins he had as Sunderland manager in 12 games – and even more reason for Geordie fans to be upset.
Newcastle have been up and down this season, but we cannot lose at Sunderland a week on Sunday, that’s for sure.
Alan Pardew talked in the local papers today about the derby game and Sunderland’s new manager Gus Poyet:
“Gus will find it difficult there. The side that he’s managing need a bit of maintenance. They need their confidence building up.” “That first derby will be a shock to him. He might think he’s ready for it but it will be a shock. I thought I was ready for it.”
“He’s a good manager, I like the way he sets his teams up to play football.” “Sunderland will be asked to take risks against us and there’s a big gain in that, but there’s also a big downside and that’s what we want to capitalise on.”
“For our fans the build-up starts the Saturday after Liverpool – probably at about 8pm when they start going out and discussing it.” “Nationally it’s an important game but locally, between the two cities, it’s huge. Every debate, everything on the radio, every Tweet will be about it.”
“On derby week it goes mad, there’s all sorts of rumours put out, all sorts of stuff going on and it makes it really, difficult.” “I have to say, one of the real highlights of my managerial career is leading my team out in that derby. It’s electric. If you’re a player, that’s the sort of game you want to be playing in.
“My first trip to the Stadium of Light – I had never seen anything like it. The passion, the furore; there was almost like a mist over the pitch of expectation.” “If you’re a great player, that’s the atmosphere you want to play in.”
There’s Alan again motivating his players in the press – so if you are a great player at Newcastle, you will be ready for the game.
But first things first, and we have to hope that our players come back unscathed from the International games tomorrow and on Wednesday, although there will be precious little time to prepare for the game at home to Liverpool on Saturday.
That’s another game where the corresponding game in April was a complete and utter disaster.
Our players need to be ready for both of the next two games, both of which will be very difficult.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org