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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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What A Difference A Year Makes – 8760 Little Hours

9:31 am, Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 17 Comments

What a difference a year makes – last year at this time we were struggling and 13 points worse off than we are at the moment after 17 games, and we are even 3 points better off than we were two years ago, when we eventually finished in 5th place in the Premier League – the highest position Newcastle have attained since Bobby Robson was sacked by then Chairman Freddy Shepherd back in 2004, because 5th place just wasn’t good enough for Newcastle in those days. :(

Newcastle v West Ham

The great Sir Booby Robson while at Newcastle

And great credit has to be given to Alan Pardew for turning things around so dramatically, after we were almost relegated in May, and only narrowly escaped the drop in what was also our return to the Europa League.

Alan was asked in the local papers today, if he was looking forward to the busy Christmas schedule, and this is what he said:

“I didn’t last year when I didn’t have a fit team. We looked a bit tired.” “We are the complete opposite this year and we look a fresh team.”

“We have all of our best players available and as a manager you want to be going into those type of games in that type of mode.”

“I think when we get to Stoke we will have everybody available again.”

And as we’ve mentioned a number of times this season, and a few readers have sent us emails on it – Faye Downey has to be given credit for how much fitter and injury-free our players have been this term, and it was a masterstroke to appoint as Faye the Newcastle Fitness Director in the summer.

Now if we can only beat Stoke City on Thursday afternoon, the magic at Newcastle will continue.

Howay The Lads!!

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Tags: Coaching · Fitness · Newcastle News · Premier League


17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Transfer Sage // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    stoke should be beaten, yeh they aren’t the easiest side to play but these are the type of homes games to win if you want to be in the mix for the top4/6 at the end of the season.

    I expect us to be too much for them, they haven’y really got a goal threat in their team so should deal with them.

  • 2 Douglas // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    I hope the club are planning for next season already. It will start after a world cup and frankly I expect a few of our blue chip players to be tired. Without reinforcements season 2014/15 could be as poor as last season. Add in people like Cabaye could be gone…..

  • 3 Black and White with an army lol // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    we should beat Stoke since we have the advantage over them and like what TS said they haven’t got a real goal threat players ( bit like Spurs at the moment )

    and we could also get a result against Arsenal unless they play dirty like Manure, a few times iv’e seen Arsenal go down in and around the box leading to deadly free kicks this will be our downfall

  • 4 Black and White with an army lol // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM


    only to be sure that Newcastle are setting up for next season is that we get these out of contracts players in January like Ince, Gomis, Matunda – spelling – PSG midfielder, and many others.

    and also then we could compete in Euro or Champions League with a good rotation of players

  • 5 70TWO // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Just like the fans and Ashley, Pardew needs to like it and lump it when it comes to playing in the Europa League. Learn to live with it and make the best of it as it stands.

    The only opportunity will be if the Premier League lobby UEFA for changes to be made when the next round of TV contracts are made. I would assume that the competition would be more attractive to TV companies and therefore more profitable for clubs if it took place in the CL off season. Thereby offering continuity of football in the Tuesday / Wednesday slot and maintaining the commercial revenue stream. For this to take place the competition would potentially need to be slimmed down in terms of the number of matches played, maybe returning to the knock out format. A positive consequence for (PL) teams involved and could be further enhanced by pooling regions of European teams for the earlier games, to reduce travel.

  • 6 Spoof // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    70 Two
    from previous thread, I can’t see Shola playing v West Brom, when away Pardew expects teams to come at us which is why he packs the midfield and tries to stop them from getting at our defence, however at home he still seems to prefer 4-4-2, which is why I feel Shola will be in v Stoke, Arsenal might be different, even though we are at home he may believe that Arsenal will treat the game as a home one and come at us which might make him go back to 4-5-1, especially as Tiote will be available, I only wish he would adopt the away formation at home as well as I feel we really do have a better chance whoever it is we are playing as we do seem to control the midfield against most with the 4-5-1 formation, that formation also allows Cabaye to play between the striker and the midfield which is where he is best, in a 4-4-2 Cabaye has to play deeper and we lose some of our edge.

  • 7 Transfer Sage // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:49 AM


    as somebody else suggested a good idea for europa league would be the tues/wed between champs league games….so one week champs league, one week europa….keeps it fair for all teams with domestic games and also there is european footy every week.

    Can’t see it changing

  • 8 Black and White with an army lol // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    i think we all can agree that we need a good set of rotation players, AP so far has played a 4-4-2, 4-3-3 & 4-2-3-1 so we need natural wingers since we only have 1 ( Obertan )

    so i think we need –

    3 – Wingers x2 natural left foot & 1 right
    2 – defenders – 3 if/when Colo leaves or Saylor gets sold
    3 – Strikers – Remy won’t sign with & Cisse should be sold & Shola should leave leaving us with Gouffran as the only 1st team Striker

  • 9 Black and White with an army lol // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Transfer Sage

    it’s a good idea but you got to consider other cups games in different Country’s plus it would take even longer for CL to finish maybe around June/July it would finish and not leaving much time for the new season to start

  • 10 Spoof // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    I suggested that on an earlier thread, it would be a quick fix, long term some work needs to be done to galvanise the EL as it is a poor competition, what I suggested was 1st and 2nd from each league going into the CL which would still create a wonderful competition with the 3rd and 4th going into the EL, so this year we would have both Arsenal and Chelsea in the EL, doing that with the Spanish, German and Italian league’s as well you would really up the standard of the EL if you also took something like 30% of the CL prize money and transferred it to the EL then you would have a much stronger competition which would be worth winning.

  • 11 Black and White with an army lol // Dec 24, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    also with the WC & International cups & ACON most players would be far to tired to get into there home nation team

  • 12 Transfer Sage // Dec 24, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    black and white

    how would it take longer for champs league? they only play every other week so just sticking the EL in the gaps anyway. (unless i’m missing something then i apologise)


    I knew somebody had, i couldnt recall who. I think the champs league is fine as it is. Get a lot of the top teams which makes a good comp. I think the EL needs to be slimmed down massively, there isn’t much interest as can be seen from tv viewing, only really fans of the clubs watch it, apart from the odd game/team.

  • 13 Black and White with an army lol // Dec 24, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Transfer Sage

    when you stated one week of CL then one week of Europa, meaning 2 CL games a month and 2 Europa games a month which could take longer to finish

  • 14 Transfer Sage // Dec 24, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    black and white

    thats how it works now though…champs league is one week on, one week off….so there is a natural gap there already. It doesnt take place every week.

    can you reply on next thread, closing this as 2 is playing havoc with my phone haha

  • 15 Douglas // Dec 24, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    B&W Army
    I’ve no problem getting (almost) out of contract players but hope we dont tnd up with 8 new players. History (NUFC, Spurs) suggests its a (settling in) problem.

  • 16 Douglas // Dec 24, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    A thought: would FMA sanction a 20 mil spend if we win our next 5 games (including Cardiff) putting Champions league riches within reach?

  • 17 toonicle // Dec 24, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Lets not forget that 2 years ago we brought in a striker in january that scored in every game that season. We need another striker in january, wouldn’t mind seeing us try for Bendtner maybe?

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