Archive for August, 2012

Mr Marmite

Posted in NUFC on August 21, 2012 by tegtalk

Andy-Carroll, an idiot, but he’s our idiot.

January 2011.
 Out of the blue £35 million pounds was thrust upon us by Liverpool for the privilege of signing one Andrew Octavious* Carroll.  We jumped on it faster than you could say “LOL’ and he jumped on it for x3  his wages and the honour** of playing for Liverpool and a few mutual back rubs with Jose Enrique. Look how it ended up.
Under the ousted King Kenny, Carroll managed to get game time and towards the end of last season, actually started to do a bit for them grabbing a few league goals and more notablebly perhaps, the winner in th FA cup semi final vs Everton and one in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in the final.
  Rewind a little to when he came back to SJP, he looked nervous, and rightly so, but he tried as hard as he could to be the best he could be , it almost looked to me that he felt he had to prove to us he was doing ok,  that he loves us by scoring against us. The determination was there from the second he appeared on the pitch. Yeah, he took a silly dive  but he was trying, really trying. Probably too hard but all the same, it really meant something to him.
With Dagliesh put out to pasture at the end of last season, the question then became, who could replace him. The man brave/ stupid enough for the job was announced as Mr Brendan Rodgers.
I don’t quite understand what Liverpool saw in him to make him the outstanding candidate, but to be honest, nor do I care. Rodgers came in and for whatever reason and pretty much from the get go decided Carroll was not for him and made it known he might be available on loan or for sale. Bids were lodged, a cheeky one from us and later on in the saga, a more sensible one from West Ham, sensible money that is not sensible transfer policy though. While this was happening Rodgers changed his mind and decided , no loans only cash and that he was fine with Carroll staying at the club
Roll on the first match of the season vs West Brom. Liverpool had chance after chance that went begging, including a couple of headed efforts from the Toothy McCheat that should have been buried. Rodgers had a plan, the front line needed some support. Enter Joe Cole.
  WTF?!?. Even more so when you realise Cole wasn’t fully fit and within 9 mins was substituted off again. FInally Carroll gets on the pitch.
Now if I was Andy Carroll I’d be wondering what the hell I did to deserve that. You can only assume that the lad works hard in training, says his prayers and eats his vitamins and generally tries to be a model professional. Rightly or wrongly , the lad is Englands current No9  and probably deserves better than being treated the way he has by Rodgers so far.
I’d love to see him  back at NUFC and I make no bones about it. I think we are the only club he really wants to play for, he realises he fucked up going with the big money to Liverpool and has had some real life lessons in these short 18 months. It was one of these things that probably needed to happen to make him realise what a opportunity he blew when he took the money and ran. I’ve been involved in some discussions about him questioning where would he fit in to our system, and comments like we are better than long ball football nowadays. Maybe we are , but then again so I believe is he. As for his ruck with Tayls, I’m going to file all that under things that need to be properly managed. Lucklily we have one of the best men for the job in Pardew. if anyone can mend fences and is tactually astute enough to know how to deploy Carroll , its him. Cisse, Ben Arfa and Ba won’t be fit all season, you can take that as gospel and much has been made about our lack of strength in depth by the good old pundits everywhere. He’s going to be relatively expensive, probably 15m, but for a 23 year old England international who represents £20m profit to us in 18 months. I think its worth paying. Teg has said on more than one occasion, he reckons its the sort of deal Ashley would love, mainly because he loves the idea of sticking it to a rival.  Add to the mix its the EPL’s most beloved team***, then there are plenty of fans who enjoy the idea of it as well.
Liverpool have recently announced that Carroll has until the end of the week to decide upon his future, he can either be sold or spend the season on the bench. That Rodgers fella is such a charming man****
So thats my current thoughts on Mr Carroll, like the title suggests, you either love him or hate him., either way  I’d enjoy your thoughts.
Grim
*possibly not his real name
**there is honour amongst thieves so I am told……
***this is an outright lie
****I actually mean he is a huge cockgobbler
Advertisements

Let me make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Posted in NUFC on August 14, 2012 by tegtalk

Have the grey skies gone?My Season Tickets arrived yesterday.

I know a lot of people were still waiting for theirs which seems like madness four days before the start of the season but as someone who had to sit in a different part of the ground for a season after the ticket office royally bollocksed up my renewal, I am hardly surprised. Hopefully everyone is sorted by Spurs on Saturday.

Anyway to the design of the ticket, I’m impressed. The three historic club crests set against the back drop of the East Stand on the front. The back of the card is perfunctory but carrying the Virgin Money and Sports Direct.com logos.  Ah, the Sports Direct logo, because obviously the East Stand is emblazoned with not one, but two Sports Direct.com logos.

That got me thinking: Have we forgiven and forgotten? Does it matter anymore? Did it matter in the first place all the furore and bile that came with the stadium name change? I mean we all still call it St James’ Park and even the Olympic Committee insisted it was changed back to SJP. Do we even bother anymore when Match of the Day broadcast “live from the Sports Direct Arena” or makems take the mickey?

I do. Not because of the history and tradition of the best stadium on earth for me.  What bothers me is that Sports Direct.com is appearing on everything to do with Newcastle United. Look at the new training kit. DHL are paying Man Utd an obscene amount of money to sponsor their training kit. Yes the training kit.

In our last set of accounts it showed a nominal fee paid to NUFC from Sports Direct. Why?

Mike Ashley does not own Sports Direct like he does Newcastle United. True he is founder and majority shareholder and will always be Mr Sports Direct.

When they changed the name last season, Mr Llambias assured us it was to showcase what could be done. “That could be your logo up there and over there and across there and on top of there and on the back of them”.

They would find a sponsor for the stadium who would invest around £10M into the club. That he assured us would buy another  Cisse or a couple of Cabayes. At the time I fell for that. It was a smart business move, take the bad feeling hit and then a shiny new sponsor could takeover and throw out the horrid Sports Direct logos and name.

Now I know it was a hierarchy smokescreen. No intention was ever there to find a sponsor. It will remain the SDA until the day Mr Ashley decides he can’t be arsed with business and football anymore and buggers off abroad.

Ironically enough, any thoughts I had that they may look for a sponsor in the close season disappeared the day we guaranteed ourselves a place in Europe last April.

No doubt Mr Ashley is looking forward to his garish logo being shown all over European televisions. That surely can’t hinder the plans he has to move SD into further European countries. You could argue he already has the income and exposure from foreign television and his brand is seen worldwide anyway.

I just think this gives him the chance to have his logo seen in different countries. A lot of people watch European football simply because it is on. They don’t watch Premier League games because they are played at the same time their own teams are playing.

I have seen it argued a lot that without Mr Ashley’s money we would be in the mire. I tend to agree but I am sure he will recoup that money if and when he does eventually sell. He will want back for NUFC what he paid, plus whatever money he has loaned the club plus whatever else he can drag out of an unsuspecting Saudi Oil Baron.

Again, I don’t think any of this would really bother me if I was sure NUFC would benefit financially from the logo bandied all over everything associated with our great club.

I guess all we can do is wait for the next set of accounts to be released to see how much Sports Direct have invested? Or haven’t as the case may be.

Teg.

PS. I have refrained from calling Mr Ashley the FCB, as I have heard he has lost even more weight since the end of last season. A feat that has resulted apparently in him winning a million pound bet!

I Love Ron Burgandy

Posted in Film and TV on August 14, 2012 by tegtalk
Everyone has a film that they absolutely love, but is divisive between others. I’m coming right out and saying Anchorman is that film for me. It ranks right up there with the Star Wars trilogy , the oldest one, I’m still not even sure i should acknowledge the existence of the new one, and Ghostbusters as arguably my favourite films.Well, for today anyway.
Now, I’ll be honest I saw the DVD cover many times and thought “that looks a right crock of shit” instantly forgot about it. Back then I was mildly aware of Will Ferrell as being part of the Saturday Night Live posse and starring in Elf., Steve Carell wasn’t known for the comedy gold he is now and the rest of the main cast almost without exception I was ignorant of.
It took the ever inspired Mrs Grim to buy it one day and make me sit down and watch it, and so begrudgingly I did.
Fast forward to now and I have probably seen Anchorman about 15-20 times.I don’t think I have ever laughed so much at one film, especially not consistently over multiple viewings. I get carried away and start giggling and chuckling early on and very quickly progress to full blown belly laughs and the occasional laughter tear ruling down my face. Every time I watch this film, it gives me something new to laugh at, 60% of the time.  (ok thats a little in joke)
If you haven’t seen it the plot is this. Its 1970’s San Diego and Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team are the top news channel. Ron is the titular Anchorman and very much the man everyone wants to be. When a driven female news presenter with aspirations of being the very first female Anchorlady is recruited by the network it becomes obvious that the status quo is going to be upset. I’m not going to pick it any further apart, mainly because if you haven’t seen the film and decide you want to after this, it will be as new to you as it was to me.
If you look hard at the cast, you should be able to recognise more than one or two faces and not just front and centre, there are a few people who are much more famous now in relatively minor roles.
So, why do I love this film? It is stupid, dumb, schoolyard humour done by adults. Its every dumbass antic you have ever done distilled and added to the formula of the film. Set back in the 70’s it doesn’t have to be as PC as the world demands of us now and the film flourishes because of that. Its a hark back to a time when news wasn’t just found on the internet, when cell phones and satellite images were still Sci Fi. When it was the people who brought you the news and not the technology were almost as important as the news itself. Its a film about friends, about social change , changes in the workplace, but most importantly its a film about Ron Burgandy. As it turns out, that is still more than enough for me. I defy even the most humourless of you out there to watch this film and for it not to raise your spirits and summon the odd bout of laughter.
Well thats it, for a film I truly love, its a pretty short review right? The thing is if I really start going at it, i may as well just send you all a copy instead, which would be expensive.
You can buy this though for about £3 nowadays in any supermarket or music shop and probably less again online. Take the punt its worth it.
Grim

Is there any room at the back?

Posted in NUFC on August 9, 2012 by tegtalk

Smells like team spirit!The season is fast approaching. The new home kit has gone on sale today and no doubt will sell by the mega-load. It’s always great to buy the new home shirt even though the quality of them is sometimes questionable.

But to the point of this article then. Who will be in that shirt when we kick off against Spurs and more importantly when we play Villa (and hopefully smash six past the miserable twats again) on the second of September.

I firmly believe now none of our ‘blue-chip’ players will leave. They all seem settled and clubs that could possibly come in for them at the top of the Premier League seem to be filling their squads up without eyeing our players enviously. Obviously I am talking about Krul, Cabaye, Tiote, Ba and possibly HBA and the curly-haired Capitano.

Tiote was the one player out of that lot that I most expected to go. I fully expected Chelsea and one of the Manchester clubs to come in for our lion-hearted enforcer. Now though, I expect him to stay. Mainly because he seems to love it here and doesn’t seem like the kind of person to jump ship for a few extra (ok granted, a lot extra) quid. I may be wrong and he may be gone by the Villa game but I seriously doubt it now.

I have pondered this thought in the last days of transfer inactivity (failure?) if no one goes and no one else comes in would I be satisfied, happy even?

Obviously if none of our ‘big’ players leave I would be ecstatic. Our first eleven at the minute can compete with most teams in the league apart from maybe Man City. I also believe we are a hell of a lot better than the majority of the teams in the Premier League. And Sunderland.

The problems I think lie below the first team. If Ba or Cisse get injured, what is there below that? We all love Shola but we know he can’t do it week in week out. There is the ‘ticking timebomb’ of Ba’s knee as Grim has already covered. An injury to Cisse would completely knacker our season possibly anyway!

I would love another striker to be brought in. Whether that is the big lad currently sitting in Melwood giving the evil-eyes to Brendan Rodgers, who knows? I think the debate around that issue is for another article entirely, possibly after the transfer window is shut.

However, I still think we should bring in another specialist striker. I still have to be convinced by Vuckic or Sammy. They are great squad fillers and subs but as of yet I dont think they can play 38 Premier League games. Are they strikers or attacking midfield players? I’m not sure anyone really knows!

I think that the midfield is fairly well stocked. Losing Guthrie was a bit of a blow but not fatal. Gosling has to step up this season, remain injury free and to be honest, play a darn site better.

The two new lads Amalfitano and Bigirimana, while not only giving triple-word score bonus points at Scrabble, look like astute signings. Both have not cost a lot and have points to prove for different reasons and have replaced older more expensive players.

Younger, better, cheaper.

Now to the crux of this blog. The defence. I am stunned. Yes stunned, that we have not brought in a new defender yet. I dont include Curtis Good in that by the way. He is only 19 and new not only to the Premier League but also England. No way should he be thrown in yet.

You have Streete, Dummett and Tavernier competing for first team places too. Tav seems to be closest and I like the lad immensely but I’d like to see him get game time in the cups and Europe first. The problem with him is what is he? Right back or centre half? He needs to nail down a position.

Coloccini is probably one the finest defenders I have ever seen wear Black and White but I dont expect him to play every game this season. We dont seem to know whether Simpson is staying or going and we definitely could do with a better right back. He is steady but get’s caught out far too often.

I’m not convinced by Santon yet. Hopefully he has the second season improvement that a lot of past foreign players have had. I would like to see him at right back though and a natural left-footed player bought. Pieters would have been ideal but he seems perpetually injured.

Steven Taylor is an excellent defender on his day but this is a big season for him to prove he can stay fit. Then you have Williamson, Perch, Ryan Taylor and a couple of others. All good to have around the squad but definitely not top Premier League standard. If Mike Williamson plays 20 games at centre half next season something has gone badly wrong with the transfer policy!

We need a top quality centre half. A big, hard, no-nonsense lad who can deal with the likes of Crouch, Carroll, Stephen Fletcher (okay, that was a joke). It is the one area Colo struggles and this season in certain games, I would like to see Taylor + new big lad at the back. Hopefully the Douglas deal can be resurrected.

As for Debuchy. If he comes in and Simpson goes out. Again, I would be delighted. I think a lot of this to & fro malarky with Lille is because they are still pissed we took The Dreamboat off them for peanuts.

I still believe we will have a decent season and are capable of challenging in and around the last Champions League/ Europa League slots we did last season. I am also happy I am not a Spurs or Liverpool supporter, knowing their new managers could spectacularly fail.

Anyway. There are the inane ramblings of a (slightly) frustrated Mag. Whether you agree with me or not? Leave a comment and let me know.

Teg.

Questionable Methods

Posted in NUFC on August 6, 2012 by tegtalk

Lowball? I’d run a mile bonny lad

Seems the deal for Mr Debuchy may have gone south of the river, due partly to Lille playing silly buggers. A bid for De Jong ended with him signing for Borussia Mönchengladbach.. A bid for his team mate Douglas has pretty much been ignored.. Mariappa at Watford, back in January ended up biding his time and moving to Reading this window. Anita and now De Weil have come into focus and its believed that a £10m bid has been lodged to land the pair.
Anyway the point being this. In our quest to sign players at the value WE have assigned them, are we guilty of cutting off our noses to spite our faces?
I do not know of a NUFC fan that does not think Debuchy would make a quality addition to our side, and yet the club insisted on opening the bidding with a in Lille’s words a derisory bid. If I was Lilles chairman, that would have put my back right up to start with and I would make myself as difficult as possible to deal with. Which he has. If we had come in with a bid of 6m straight away instead of letting the saga run on a few weeks, I would dare say that there is more than a good chance that Mattheu would have been paraded at St James Park and  played in a preseason game or two by now.
I am not denying what some clever spending last season and to some extent the season before has brought us. However the fact we finished in the top 6 and gained entry into Europe should maybe have called upon Dekka , Charnley et al to rethink slightly their transfer tactics. I’m not advocating over spending on players at all, those were the good/ bad old days and we can’t be seen to be going back to that, but instead of insulting the vendors, perhaps just going in with THE bid off the bat and saying ‘Look this is what we are willing to pay, there isn’t any more money to be had, but we will restructure to any deal you want to make this transfer happen’ That way we present as a club who are eager to work with clubs to buy their players in deals that everyone is happy with. I’m not saying that this approach will work the first or second time, but once word gets around that we have changed how we do our business, then maybe clubs will be more inclined to sell to us than they currently are. Not only that ,but if we started this transfer window this way, I can’t help but feel that we would have one or two new 1st team faces in the squad by now.
Even if you disagree with the above strategy, it doesn’t make sense for us to continue to go on ‘lowballing’ clubs to obtain a player. Perhaps just lodging a fair, but slightly low bid and then upping it depending on the player, again Debuchy anyone?, would be enough to let negotiations flow freely and without resentment. As the team progresses and continues to re-establish itself in the EPL as one of the bigger clubs and no longer mentioned in the same breath as Stoke and Wigan ( yep that was only last season folks) the price of the player is no longer as important as the value the player brings to the club. Our scouting network has won plenty of praise and accolades, and I am sure that given a concrete budget Mr Carr and his minions could have scoured the globe to bring in the next Newcastle legends at sensible money.
At some stage, something will have to give. Either clubs will accept that in the economic climate they cannot demand the top end of their valuations of a player, or we change how we do our business. For me the best solution is maybe a little bit of both. Lets see what the next 25 days bring.
Grim

Ted ! Ahhhhhhahhhhhhhh  Saviour of the Universe!

Posted in Film and TV on August 2, 2012 by tegtalk

Well maybe not.

Seth McFarlane’s effort to transcribe his lightening in a bottle formula of comedy, from small screen animation to big screen movie falls a bit shy of the mark for me.

I’ll not bother too much with the plot, mainly because its poor and if you have seen an episode of American Dad or Family Guy, then you will get the gist pretty quickly, and I’m going to try my best not to divulge too many spoilers.

The film itself has a few good set pieces and I will not deny I had a bit of a giggle at some of Ted’s antics, the Supermarket sex play with another cashier was amusing, mainly because I don’t think I have seen a Teddy Bear do that before.

Thats the main crux of the film, Ted does a lot of things you haven’t really seen a Teddy bear do, smoke Pot,  have sex, swear like a trooper, but in reality, if this film was about 2 guys, it would never have even been pitched, never mind made.

 

Its the actors that I want to talk about though.  MacFarlane voices Ted, and that gives me immediate problems. He sounds like Peter Griffin, Brian the Dog and Stan Smith. Because he is.  MacFarlane’s voice is perhaps too distinctive and he is a victim of his own success in a way, and knowing that Ted sounds like them ( Ted even says at one point that he doesn’t sound like Peter Griffin) its hard to pull out of that universe.

A task made no less easier by the inclusion of Mila Kunis.  Hard not to look at her and think ” Wow what a stunner she is!”. All I think is ” Wow Meg Griffin got ALOT of plastic surgery”. They aren’t the only Family Guy/ American Dad cronies in the cast though. Patrick Stewart pops up as a narrator, Alex Borstein as Johns mother, I’m going to stop listing them. But seriously ,just compare the credit list of Family Guy and American Dad to Ted and you will see where the problems lie.  MacFarlane has essentially made himself a movie with his mates from his other shows, and as such the film suffers from a weird sort of character displacement, where you are not entirely sure if you are caught in a live action version of his other shows or a stand alone movie?

A quick note on Mark Wahlberg though. He’s probably the best thing in the film, even with it being about a talking Teddy. He plays John Bennett pretty well and carries a lot of the heart in the film, from his loathing of the C-word to his fear of thunder and lightening, and has arguably my favourite line in the film, which to be fair is typical Macfarline.

 

Lori: Can I give you a ride home?

John: No thanks I’ll walk. I might get raped but if I do I’ll know its my fault because of what I’m wearing

 

MacFarlane’s comedy is hit and miss. If you like his other shows you will enjoy the crude laughs and rude jokes,  but there is nothing subtile here, and as previously mentioned, quite a few of the laughs come from seeing the bear do his thing. ( literally in some places)

 

If Seth MacFarlane made this film with a less nepotistic cast, and allowed his ego to step aside and let someone else voice Ted, this film might have been one of those that was a bit more than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately it is what it is really.  A few good laughs set in a vaguely familiar universe with a competent if not overfamiliar cast. Personally, I’d wait for the DVD to come out and have a few beers while watching it to pass a quiet Friday night in.

 

Oh one last thing. The title of this piece. Sorry but you are going to have to watch the film. I did say no spoilers.

 

 

Grim

 

Ted wasn’t happy with the studio’s choice of voice actor.

Beware The Moon and watch this film. Now.

Posted in Film and TV on August 2, 2012 by tegtalk

Crikey, my nails need cutting.

I don’t know about you, but there are certain movies I gravitate back to. Nights when you aren’t tired enough to sleep and you want to stick a film on you are familar with, a film that you dont have to concentrate too hard on plot, characterisation or dialogue. A film you could probably recite and certainly have seen end a thousand plus times. Some are obvious to blokes of my age: The Great Escape, Escape to Victory, Alien, Die Hard, The Godfather, Goodfellas etc etc.

One film I never tire of was released in 1981 and is mainly about two American lads in their late teens, who come to England for a summer vacation and ultimately die. Both of them. It is directed and written by John Landis, while he worked as an assitant on ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ in Yugolsavia and witnessed a gypsy burial where the corpse was buried feet first, covered in garlic as to not rise from the grave.

The film is ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and I love it.

From the opening set up of meeting the Americans and establishing they are good mates simply by piss-taking, nose-running dialogue through to the final distraught sobs from the lovely Jenny Agutter (Unusually for any film, it was filmed completely in sequence) the film is a joy to watch.

It moves at a hurtling pace and is relatively short at 1 hour 37 minutes, but it establishes characters and relationships (David and Nurse Price do jump into bed in a relatively short time but you understand why and how it happens) and includes some of the most tense moments of 80s cinema and a whole boat load of quotable lines (“Mummy a naked American man stole my balloons”) and of course the piece de resistance, the werewolf.

Designed and created by Rick Baker and based on his dog Bosko, it still stands out now as a piece of technical brilliance. So much so that the Academy Awards created a Best Make-up Oscar and awarded it to Baker. Have a look at the werewolf transformation clip on Youtube and if you are seeing it for the first time I challenge you not to go “Bloody hell”.

Apart from the two American actors it is packed with established, top-notch British actors and an early appearence from a young Rik Mayall.  The script contains great dialogue and elements of surprise and pathos, the sight of Jack decaying before my eyes gets me every time. Oh and for people brought up on films like Saw and Hostel now there is still gore aplenty, each subsequent werewolf attacks get bloodier and bloodier.

I really can’t recommend this film enough. It is up there in my top 5 of all time and no doubt can be picked up for a couple of quid on ebay or amazon or wherever (try and get the 25th Anniversary edition as there are some great extras on it).

A couple of more things, every song in the film is about the moon and has that word in the title and like every Landis film, it features a movie within a movie ‘See You Next Wednesday’. Here in the guise of a 70s porno viewed in a seedy Soho cinema.

Finally. Beware the Moon and stay on the road when you walk around at night because you never know if something has strayed from those moors.

Teg.