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Smith – It Could Have Been All 3 Points

On Saturday, for the very first time at Newcastle, Alan Smith found himself on the bench at the start of the clash at the Madejski Stadium, after missing the Tottenham game on Monday night through suspension.

Sam had told Alan he was not in the starting line up because the team had done so well on Monday night, with Alan just a supporter on the night.

And Alan is right when he said after equalizing that we could have ended up with all 3 points – but then the defense went to sleep … again.


Alan Smith – disappointed to be on bench but gave Newcastle bite in the latter stages of the game

For the Alan Smith doubters out there, and we know there are some among the Newcastle faithful, Alan provided Newcastle with some real bite up front once he got on the field.Subs James Milner, Zog and Smith all made a big difference when they emerged in the latter stages of the game to help fashion an equalizer. But then, rather than go forward and even win the game, we gave away such a stupid goal – it was unbelievable when we were watching it on the TV.

Alan told the Newcastle Chronicle today:

“We cannot win away from home at the moment and that’s disappointing.” “We need to rectify the problem as soon as possible.”

“We can’t just blame them – all of us as team have to take responsibility for this defeat.” “And we all have to take the responsibility for the amount of goals we are conceding.

“I am not going to come out here and blame one player for it.” “Each and every one of us knows that we are responsible for our own form.”

“The away form is disappointing.”

Smith admitted he was hoping to get into the game all the way through but wasn’t sure he would. The Newcastle fans were not happy at the way Newcastle were playing and continually chanted “attack” during the second half.

Smith added:

“I was still sat on the bench when fans were shouting.” “They are used to seeing attacking football and sometimes the best form of defense is attack.”

“But we know that we have enough players to score goals.” “Everybody is aware that we have to defend much better.”

And reflecting on manager Sam Allardyce’s decision to start him on the bench Smith was OK – and we already know what a great team player Alan is after his time at Leeds United and Manchester United. Smith continued:

“I had to accept it.” “The gaffer told me that the reason I wasn’t playing at Reading because the team did so well against Tottenham.”

“I then had to just try to make an impact when I came on as sub, which I did.” “James Milner has played every game and I missed out in the last game through suspension and we made a difference.”

“We got the equalizer and I thought we looked the most likely to get the winner.” “It could have been all three points.”

“I won’t claim the goal.” “It was an own goal, even though I got a touch.” “Dubs managed to get the touch and it was an old pal doing us a favor.”

“But we are disappointed with the game overall and we have to take it on the chin.”

Dubs (Michael Duberry) was of course a team mate of Alan’s during his time at Leeds United. But we’re sure he wasn’t trying to do Alan a favor. Apart from the own goal Michael seemed to have a solid game at the back for Reading.

In fact from the Reading reports we have seen – that was Reading’s best display of the season. Pity it had to come against Newcastle, but there again – maybe our display had something to do with it. We think it did.

Comments welcome.

10 comments so far

  • Mal

    Oct 29, 2007 at 6:57 PM

    Comment #1

    I think sam is doing a good job but we aren’t going to be transformed overnight. He is still getting to know which are his best combinations and it is clear there are still language problems at the back – not surprising with 5 different nationalities (including shay). Personally I think we are giving too much respect to average opposition in away games and are setting ourselves up to try and get a draw rather than win it. But I’m sure we’ll get better as the season goes and I still think we’re on the right lines long term.

  • Steeley

    Oct 29, 2007 at 7:12 PM

    Comment #2

    I dont have a clue what Sam was thinking when he chopped and changed the squad against Reading. We must have the wingers on the field whenever they are fit rather than playing a whole midfield of CMs.

    I really do hope to God as well that Sam isnt telling players that away from home a 0-0 is a good result. I fully understand the confidence that a clean sheet would give the team, especially away from home, but we will continue to get punished if the team get the mindset that they dont have to try to score! If we want to be challenging for a UEFA slot (let alone anything more than that) we have to attack away from home where we can. Obviously against the bigger teams (Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea) I reckon shutting up shop could be a good thing, but against bloody Reading…

    Here’s hoping Sam see’s the light and changes his thinking…

  • Tripp

    Oct 29, 2007 at 7:14 PM

    Comment #3

    I agree. We should probably be more attacking on the road (at least against teams like Reading). In theory I think the overall strategy made sense (attacking on the break) but it didn’t pan out. But the defensive gaffes were really the problem. The second goal was pretty bad. Can’t be doing that sort of thing and expect to finish above 10th. I’m pretty confident that we’ll do alright this season. It’s a building year, after all. It’s going to take time to sort it all out.

  • Mighty Mouse

    Oct 29, 2007 at 7:58 PM

    Comment #4

    Building year me ashe. This season is there to be had. Sure the usual suspects are solid but almost every other team hoping to contend went through big changes.

    We now have a big and experienced team and should be thrashing teams like Reading. Their energy levels were massively better than ours and we were lucky to have not been beaten by more.

    Get rid of the wasters and rid of the excuses. Emre cannot start away from home he is a liability.

  • Ross

    Oct 29, 2007 at 8:52 PM

    Comment #5

    i dont think we should be thrashing teams like reading, especially away from home.
    fair enough they are games that we are more than capable of willing, and reading at times have looked somewhat vulnerable, but they’re still a good football team and proved that against us. i am not however making excuses for the performance our lads put in, we were nowhere near as good as we could, or should have been.
    emre (whether its worthy or not) still nees time this season, and BSA clearly has faith in him. he has had a few excellent games for us thus far, and i tihnk he has the ability to do that away from home aswell as st james’.
    hope for a better performance this week against pompey. it’ll be a tough game but at home we’ve looked and theres no reason we cant keep up current form at sjp.
    then,to the scum for our next away game..lets just hope form on the road improves greatly for that one, or we all know how tough it’ll be to read the comments on here, and elsewhere.

  • hadrian

    Oct 29, 2007 at 9:26 PM

    Comment #6

    i dont get sam , in the summer he was singing the praises of beye and jose cos they were proper defenders , then he go’s and lines a team up with a stacked centre midfield thats demands wingers for it to work .
    this was obviously to get the ball thru the centre of the park more and play to our two strikers strengths , he must have forgot to tell the team this tho as all the back line had on their mind was hoofing the ball again .
    its all very well for us to harp on about having wingers , but say they get a cross in … without viduka , most times than not we aint gonna get anything from it .
    stupid idea to try and prove a point and not concede aswell , what made sam think we were gonna pull that off when we havent all season .
    best form of defence is attack , especially when our back 4 are still gelling .

  • Aussie Geordie

    Oct 29, 2007 at 11:58 PM

    Comment #7

    Ahh the drama of football. Blackburn are having a great season, We are having an average season and Reading are having a shocking season. We are all about 6 of 7 points apart so lets stop worrying. Arsenal and Man U will pull away but we can keep up with the rest and with some decent away performances and our soild home form we should be okay.

  • Leo

    Oct 30, 2007 at 12:27 AM

    Comment #8

    back to the saying rome waste built in a day, its a work in progress. one defeat and we get on our teams back big style thats why the players have to give such interviews to reasure the fans, it is unnessesary and unhelpful that we get on the teams back… give it time

  • Aussie Toon

    Oct 30, 2007 at 4:46 AM

    Comment #9

    If we play same tactics away like at home we will achieve better results. I love Big Sam and are hoping the tactical changes he is applying is due to different players he is trying. Same attitude home and away to take the three points 🙂

  • Stami

    Oct 30, 2007 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #10

    Leo – i couldnt agree with you more. losing a game here and there is not the end of the season for us, sure we should be beating the ‘smaller’ teams, but Reading are no push over, and we have almost completely re-vamped our squad. it will take a while for the team to become the well oiled machine that we know they are capable of being. lets give them a break, not be over critical of BSA and let him do his job. he is a TOP FLIGHT manager after all!

    lets bounce back from this litte upset on the wkd!



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