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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Howay The Lads!!

The Time For Talk At Newcastle Is Almost Over

8:31 am, Friday, February 12th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 65 Comments

Steve McClaren thinks Newcastle will only get better as the new signings are integrated into the team – and that should be the case – but hey, the proof of the pudding is always in the eating – so we shall see.

There have been too many statements recently by both players and pundits that remind us too much of our relegation season, when there was just no way that Newcastle team would be relegated – so we have heard it all before.

steve mcclaren - cheslea had just equalized

Steve McClaren – yes – we remember that game too

In the lead up to the game at Chelsea tomorrow this is some of what Steve McClaren has said – and we should point out there are only 13 games to go – not 14 as Steve says  once in this piece:

“We have good talent in this squad but we have to get more consistency. Performances like Everton have surprised everyone, we have to eradicate that.”

“With 14 games to go we have to be consistent with our performances. We have fans demanding a performance of character and so do I.”

“This squad is stronger now, it’s far better than it was. We have been in the bottom three, we are kind of used to being around where we are.”

We know we are in battle. We have continue that battle for the next 13 games. You never know what will be needed.”

14 games to go – then 13 games to go – maybe Steve also thinks we have 35 points?

And yes the squad is stronger than it was – no doubt about that – but is the mental strength any stronger than it has been so far this season?

There’s a  reason we have a measly 24 points from 25 games this season and we are 4th bottom of the league table and only one point above the relegation zone.

When we were relegated 7 years ago everybody kept saying the Newcastle squad was far too strong to go down.

They were all dead wrong then – so we take with a pinch of salt what people say today.

We need the points and wins are what will do it for us – but really – what the manager and players say in the lead up to the games means absolutely nothing.

We need the win tomorrow at Stamford Bridge and that’s possible if all our players turn up for the game.

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Tags: Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Poll · Prayer · Premier League · Press Conference

65 responses so far ↓

  • 1 sing in the corner // Feb 12, 2016 at 8:36 AM

    You said it Ed!

  • 2 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    I am glad McC thinks it can only get better, because can it really get much worse!

  • 3 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    Adam Johnson finds new line of work

  • 4 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    Mark…do you got something on your mind 😉

  • 5 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:12 AM


    Nope, but Adam Johnson does 😀

  • 6 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:14 AM

    Mark…touche 😉

  • 7 Lindisfarne // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:16 AM


    4) Newcastle need a win on the road
    Whenever Newcastle United win a game these days, Steve McClaren appears to not so much sigh, as virtually collapse with exhaustion in relief, the fear of taking this team into some serious trouble and the damage it would do to his already pock-marked reputation etched across his face. They are, of course, in some serious trouble already, a single point above the relegation zone they left last weekend after beating West Bromwich Albion at home, and the pressure on McClaren will have only increased after the money spent on his team in January. That’s the bad news, while the good news is that the spending has at least given McClaren options; last weekend his bench featured Seydou Doumbia, Ayoze Pérez and Henri Saivet, welcome additions to take the pressure off Gini Wijnaldum et al. The thing that would really relax things at Newcastle though, is an improvement in their away form. Their home record is passable (four wins and five draws from 13 games), but on the road they have won only twice (only Aston Villa have a worse away record), and if both of those games were replayed another ten times, they’d probably lose nine. “It just shows, football sometimes can be unexplainable and sometimes during a season you get that,” said McClaren after the first of those wins, a 1-0 victory at Bournemouth in which Newcastle scored from their only real attack and took the points thanks to a heroic performance by Rob Elliot in goal, while their mugging of Tottenham back in December increasingly feels like a mirage. In a normal season it might be a little too much to expect them to improve their away record at Stamford Bridge this weekend, but this is not a normal season, so a victory over Chelsea is not out of the question, and in fact looks increasingly important, to stop their struggles on the road, if they are to stay up. NM

  • 8 Lindisfarne // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    Diego Costa has been in stunning form under Guus Hiddink, netting six of his nine league goals under the stewardship of the Dutchman. Against a Newcastle side that struggles to deny the opposition (opportunities).

  • 9 Wandering Geordie // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    Graham Carr has been scouting in Brazil recently and has tried to sign Zica.

    Wouldn’t it be karma if Johnson were to be locked up in a cell with a Geordie physcopath.

  • 10 Lindisfarne // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    Spurs away 2-1 win, formation 4411

  • 11 beermonkey // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:29 AM


    how do u know that

  • 12 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:35 AM


    Locking AJ in with any father of a 14 YO daughter would be enough, in fact anyone with kids. I am not sure I could prevent myself from splitting his heed like a water melon if the chance arose. Horrible little sh1t that he is.

  • 13 mad-serb // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    I think this could turn out to be a cracker. The message all week has been about taking the game to Chelsea and doing the things we are doing at home away from home.

    I am actually expecting some goals in this one. We have played well away from home against all the big teams and should have won at Arsenal, drew at Manchester and apart from the horror second half at city we played well in that first half.

    I think Chelsea might have some problems at the back and are in a similar boat to us. They dropped Cahil for the simple reason that he as Terry together have problems with pacy forwards and balls over the top. For that reason Cahil was replaced with Zouma to help cover Terry. Now Zouma is injured and I guess they are forched to play that combinations again that leaked all that goals.

    I think there is goals in this one. 2 – 2 would be my prediction. i believe we will be unchanced apart from maybe colback in for Arons. we will see Doumbia in the second half depending on how things are going to try and exploit there problem against pace.

  • 14 Wandering Geordie // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    Should also take the following off the shelves at supermarkets immediately

    Johnsons baby oil and Johnsons baby wipes

  • 15 toon kk // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    We’ve been playing in the premier league for years with a average squad but we’re in a relegation battle because we are playing without a goal scoring Striker.

  • 16 hibbitt // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    where’s Ron ??????

  • 17 AncientC // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    Ed setting McClaren up for the big fall against Chelsea. Let’s be honest, there is a big difference between the squads. Some unfairness has crept in, with regards to judging the quality of the opposition.

    Would losing away to Everton, beating West Brom, and losing away to Chelsea, be anything other than the likely results?

    I will not be pulling my hair out if Chelsea get a win, on their own ground, with one of the world’s most expensive sides. I do believe Stoke are overrated, anything but stampede football against Stoke would give fair grounds to ask serious questions.

  • 18 AncientC // Feb 12, 2016 at 9:59 AM

    Ed “There’s a reason we have a measly 24 points from 25 games this season and we are 4th bottom of the league table and only one point above the relegation zone.”

    There certainly is. Pointing the ‘reason’ out would have enriched the article.

  • 19 AncientC // Feb 12, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    “And yes the squad is stronger than it was – no doubt about that”

    By how much though?

    We lost 4 senior players in the summer, Santon & Ben Arfa were let go prior to that. Sammy Ameobi was sent out on loan. < That is your squad reduction.

    Now for the additions:
    Mitrovic – a 20 year old, known temperament problems that would need to be worked on, no Premier League experience.
    Mbemba – 20 year old CB, zero Premier League experience.
    Wijnaldum – the only senior addition… we hit the jackpot with his goals and would be lost without them
    Thauvin – Cannot truly be mentioned as strengthening the squad whatsoever.

    The result – the team with the worst form in the division was strengthened in real terms by a couple of 20 year old rookies and Wijnaldum. The squad lost numbers and experience overall.

    The next transfer window – two additions with Premier League experience come in.
    Since Shelvey has signed and added creativity to the midfield we have won 2 out of 4 games.

    So, in all fairness, since the team has been strengthened to where it is now, we have a 50% win record, with Ed holding the axe over McClaren if he does not beat Chelsea away from home.

    Some perspective wouldn't go amiss.

  • 20 magscar // Feb 12, 2016 at 10:39 AM


    Ed may be but I doubt Ashley is – yet.

    As you said earlier the recent results and a defeat tomorrow wouldn’t be outside reasonable expectations. Saying that I think performances also need to enter our thinking and we need one (and goals) tomorrow if only to keep up the good vibe of last week. Hoping for score draw but neither side are predictable at present.

  • 21 AncientC // Feb 12, 2016 at 10:47 AM

    magscar – It is not outside the realms of possibility to go to Chelsea and win, just unlikely. I want nothing more than a win, a draw would be great, but I have little expectations.

    Chelsea although recently out of form, are in the UEFA top 4 club sides in the world.

  • 22 hibbitt // Feb 12, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    if McLaren was going to get the push he would be gone now the board have backed him in the window and now will give him the time he needs …….a good performance / result tomorrow would help but wont change his position he’s here till the end of the season at lest

  • 23 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    McClaren should take note of how keegan approached away games… set up the same as home games.
    We have one of the worst defences in the league, sitting tight and deep clearly isn’t the way forward and it stops our best player in Gini from being affective.
    Not sure how fit doumbia is but hope he gets 20 minutes. Chelsea struggle with pace.
    Similarly Townsend vs Ivanovic will be interesting. I’d be tempted to keep Aarons at left back and just have him overlap constantly. Ivanovic gets seriously isolated when teams play 2 attacking players on his side, think it was Swansea that targeted that area to good effect at the start of the season.
    No Zouma is a big plus as Chelsea will naturally have to play deeper which gets mitrovic closer to goal. Hiddink will well know that shelve has the ability to find people over the top and in behind.

  • 24 AncientC // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    Mikel looks odds on to start for Chelsea. Obi can be sloppy at times, it would be an idea to close down Mikel’s defensive midfield partner and force Mikel to play more with the ball.

  • 25 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    hibbitt…maybe we have to send an APW for Ron? 🙂

  • 26 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    Jay…I totally agree, we have set up our game in way that takes the pressure of the defense. Both when we are in possession and the opposition are in possession.

    But one of our other major problems which also comes from our lacking defense, is the inability to play it out from the back and our non attacking ability from our LB position.

  • 27 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:15 AM

    who’s nailed on for LB tomorrow? anyone back or Aarons the only choice again?

  • 28 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    Ancient…there’s 14 games left that’s the reality and be need wins regardless of who we play. That’s the reality for McC!

    I get what you are saying about experience or lack there of, but I cannot help thinking you are either simplifying this or giving McC to much credit. He should be doing so much better with what’s he’s got.

    For me Leicester is testament to that.

  • 29 magscar // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:21 AM


    Local press have been querying whether Gini should be “rested” and try different formation. I think that would be an over-reaction to the problem which is tactical not simply personnel. Having said that if McClaren had gone with Mitro instead of Perez at Everton and managed to play higher up pitch for longer spells then we would ahve had a better performance for sure and possibly a different result.

    He has to find a system away from home that doesn’t make us pushovers but allows us to carry a threat. Gini has to be part of that solution.

  • 30 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    @magscar – have to agree, Gini is our best player for me and needs to play. I’m not really convinced with Perez starting games, for me he flatters to deceive often. Always looks far more dangerous coming off the bench!

  • 31 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:28 AM

    magscar…personally I think you need to change things around at this level. No one should be first pick regardless.

    I could see the idea of dropping Gini away st times, but it depends on the game.

  • 32 AncientC // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:33 AM

    jesperfuglsang – Yes, we need wins. Realistically, they are not going to come at places like Stamford Bridge.
    I wouldn’t expect us to go and beat Juventus, Atletico Madrid, or Borussia Dortmund on their home grounds either.
    That is comparable to the size of task the club faces on Saturday.

  • 33 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    realistically anything on Saturday is a bonus point wise. I expect to see the team put 100% in and have a go mind.
    Stoke away, Bournemouth at home after Chelsea are much more important. Biggest games of the season are Norwich and Villa away games for me.
    Willing to bet that McClaren will still be manager even if we go down because ironically he’d probably be one of the better choices to bring us back up

  • 34 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    Ancient…Chelsea is not an easy game I agree…especially not away from home. But there are that maybe easy games left!

    He should have done so much better to begin with.

  • 35 Ron Knee // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:45 AM


    I’m here!

  • 36 TroubledToon // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:46 AM

    Why does Macca always seem to think we have an extra game in hand? I think this is the 2nd or 3rd time he’s done so.

  • 37 magscar // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:47 AM


    I agree no one should be untouchable ( Sissoko?) but I am not convinced that his relatively poorer performances away are due to his being a “homer” player. His goal stats in Holland suggest different. It is how we set up.

    McClaren does have different options now and might find away to get him more involved away from a congested midfield – Townsend and Shelvey may be key here.

    Whilst no player should be undroppable even for tactical reasons I think better managers can find away to integrate players to the benefit of the side. It is becoming a real topic for discussion though.

  • 38 AncientC // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    jesper – McClaren cannot have many excuses after the Chelsea game. I don’t think the squad got the sufficient additions it needed in the summer, but with Shelvey and Townsend now through the door, McClaren should have enough to make a fist of it.

    Off for now. Have a good day one and all.

  • 39 WWSBRD // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:54 AM

    Drop Gini bring in Colback and stick Lascelles at LB

  • 40 magscar // Feb 12, 2016 at 11:56 AM


    Well Derby did last season and regretted it 🙂

    Joking apart there were other factors at play there not least key injuries and our interest.

    I remain of the view that if McClaren doesn’t get the away points sorted out Ashley only has the dismissal card left to play to rescue situation ( and will consider it) but it won’t be after tomorrow’s game. Having said that Stoke and Leicester away are tricky as well especially the latter so can he afford to leave it as late as Norwich on 2 April to make up his mind?

  • 41 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:01 PM

    magscar #37…can’t pick flaws in that statement mate 😉

  • 42 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:10 PM

    reckon well see 3-5-1-1…again…
    Taylor Colo Lascelles
    Janmaat Sissoko Tiote Shelvey Townesend

    None of our Centrebacks are quick enough to cover full back, Willian is their best player this season and is very quick whereas they don’t have much available pace in the middle, Lascelles and taylor will be well suited to costas physicality.
    3-5-2 is interesting because we’ve lost every time he’s tried it, but at the same time been the dominant side each time.

  • 43 manxpie // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:11 PM

    Just seen payet has signed a new contract for £125,000 a week!!!! jesus no wonder Ashley didn’t go for him
    our top earner gets about half that!
    The next few seasons the money that’s gonna be thrown about will actually be sickening and most of it going straight out of the game

  • 44 Ron Knee // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:12 PM


    Do you think Ashley would consider “new manager’s bounce”? And who would Charnley appoint to replace McClaren – there’s a frightening thought!

  • 45 WWSBRD // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:15 PM

    Dummett isnt fast and hes been our LB for 2 seasons now

    If he plays 3 at the back again he needs to be put out of his misery

  • 46 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:17 PM

    @Manxpie – I shot a very average PL players girlfriend for a lads mag this week. She told me the player was on £47k per week upto 60k per week in win bonus and that when said team originally entered negotiations to buy him that he was looking for around 5-6k per week and thought the offer of 47k p/w was a typo…
    Crazy money going around

  • 47 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:18 PM

    @WWSBRD – I think the fact that Dummett has been the most regular left back for 2 seasons is astonishing. Geordie lad and that but I’ve not seen many that look less like a premier league player than him play for us

  • 48 WWSBRD // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:21 PM

    I would agree with u but plenty will be unimpressed with our opinions. For me he is a CB and should be playing there but that would mean getting a LB I suppose

    Still I dont see why Lascelles would do a worse job than Dummett at LB in a back 4

  • 49 manxpie // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    Jay i was thinking for a minute there should you be admitting to that lol
    yeah and it’s only gonna get crazier Ashley is gonna have a heart attack when the next wave of demands come in regarding players and contracts
    sickening that the only people who benefit from the huge money is the players and owners while fans still get ripped off

  • 50 magscar // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:25 PM

    Ron Knee@44

    Well he has previous – Shearer but it is his only card if he feels intervention is needed. JFK and Carver are still out of jobs I believe 🙂

    If it is Charnley and Carr making call then you might as well stick I think but who knows with Ashley.

    If we stay up I would love it if Ashley could find a true football man who he can trust ( is there such a man?) to make DOF.

    This season’s fiasco despite money spent must make him look at the “board” and it’s fitness for purpose.

  • 51 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:26 PM


    If Willian has been chelseas best player this season, then i am not surprised they have struggled this year. I find him over rated personally. Another player who tries to do too much himself.

  • 52 toonincheek // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    Any points at Stanford Bridge would be a fantastic, and unexpected, bonus.
    What we MUST have is a totally committed performance, every game.
    Anything less is NOT acceptable.

  • 53 manxpie // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    Well that’s jinxed us YCMIU willian to score a brace is a given now thanks

  • 54 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    @manxpie – yeah, seriously can’t stress how average this player is too! To think he takes up to 60k a week was just staggering. Unfortunately his side have only won twice when hes played so he’s not cashing that bonus ha
    Heard Austin at Southampton broke the 100k p/w barrier too
    With Payet, To be fair next year in Olympic stadium, in London, west ham are probably going to grow into quite a huge deal! Good manager, owners that love the club, think they’ll have a few years closer to the top end of the table than the bottom. Serious potential for economic growth there

  • 55 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:35 PM

    @manxpie – on a funny note from that job. when his team is relegated the players going to move and his G/F is terrified he’ll end up in and I quote “a sh*t city like sunderland” made me laugh a bit

  • 56 magscar // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:39 PM


    Am guessing you could be talking Scott Sinclair? No need to answer 🙂

    He nearly ended up here I think or more accurately was linked in Summer but who wasn’t.

  • 57 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    @magscar nah mate, its a foreign player. Nice guy, right club though

  • 58 manxpie // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    Haha she sounds a good sort then
    on west ham yeah can see them doing well unfortunately but they’ve hit the jackpot with that stadium too lucky barstewards

  • 59 beermonkey // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    headline reads

    Newcastle legend and former World Cup striker signs for Fleetwood Town

    it the reads

    FLEETWOOD TOWN have pulled off quite a coup by securing the services of former Premier League and World Cup striker Shola Ameobi

  • 60 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:42 PM

    Sholas gone to Fleetwood?? Amazing! It was only 2 years ago he was keeping players like Hatem ben arfa out the side and even Cisse at some points.
    Pardew that. 😉

  • 61 magscar // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:43 PM


    I’ll drop it I think – club wasn’t too hard and knew Sinclair’s partner was in photo shoots previously.

  • 62 magscar // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:50 PM


    On Sinclair another promising young player swallowed up by PL giants like Man City ( and Chelsea) and spat out without as good prospects as when moved there. Always cautionary tales but no one seems to learn.

    Could be worse though look what happened to Johnson and Rodwell after Man City

  • 63 jayphoto // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:51 PM

    @magscar to be fair players not important, just to find out he takes 47k per week before bonuses really astounded me! That was the point I was making, in ability the guy is probably comparable to someone like Gouffran if not slightly worse. (though apparently he takes home nearly 50k p/w.)
    Be interesting if the club moves its rails when it comes to wages. I suspect they’ll have to break the barrier to get the striker they want. 25m strikers come with wages that reflect their ability and price.
    Suspect at some point Gini will need a raise to stay too if he keeps notching goals

  • 64 Mag52 // Feb 12, 2016 at 12:55 PM

    I won’t feel confident of our chances of avoiding the drop this season until we show we can come back in a game to get a draw or a win from a losing position.
    That’s a pretty good indicator of the spirit in the team and how much they are playing for the manager.

  • 65 JamRec // Feb 12, 2016 at 1:12 PM


    I’d rather we made sure we don’t go behind! I think we need to be aiming to get 2 to 3 goals each game…

    I know we have struggled to score lately but I think if we keep playing like we did against West Brom then the goals will come!

    I’d keep the team the same as against West Brom and hopefully get Doumbia on the pitch for 20 minutes. I think Aarons and Townsend will cause problems down the left and we all know what Janmaat can do down the right, hopefully Sissoko will turn up… get some good crosses in to Mitro and Gini for 2 neatly placed headers 🙂 I think 2-2 is most likely score but I’m optimistic for a 2-1!

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