Archive for April, 2013

Grim-iver’s Travels

Posted in NUFC on April 30, 2013 by tegtalk

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Saturday 27th April.
I Set off to go and take in the spectacle of a match at St James’ Park involving my beloved Newcastle United and The Forever Victims/ Cannibal Clan who eat from the bin, Liverpool FC. The exhaust started blowing on the motor. I should have known right there and then that the day was not going to go well. So me and pumpy Clyde (the Mrs named him) rattled on down the M62 and up the A1 headed home.

Other than an idiot in a Corsa trying to wipe me out, the trip was pretty uneventful. Got to Teg’s house dumped the car and headed off into the Toon. Due to my umming and ahhing I missed the boat on booking a hotel or anything so I had no digs and was looking at an afternoon out, the match and then a few hours in the evening all with no ale. Not my best decision, but still, I could cope with it, anything for the chance to see the team stride out on the hallowed turf and meet a few of the twitterers I have been chatting to for the last year or so. All good eh? I’ll cut to the chase, met the guys, brilliant, went to the match took my seat. The next 70 minutes were like being circumcised and then castrated without any anesthetic. Our formation as it was, in a phrase coined by Teg, 4- Squiggle- Scribble. I have never seen such a disorganized shower of shit in my life. Now I haven’t watched MOTD of MNF because I can’t stand to look, but from the stands we were diabolical. Everybody was out of position and ball chasing, but not closing men down or playing into space or at times even looking. Tiote appeared to give a shit, but even that was a temporary affair. 2-0 at the end of the first half and I still believed, I believed Pardew would give them the hairdryer and gee them up and we would still be in with a shot of getting something from the game. That first 10 minutes after half time we give them a right good blasting, we were all over the pitch and dominating(ish).

And then someone scored, and it wasn’t us. And that was it, we fell apart quicker than a house of cards in an earthquake. Complete and utter capitulation. When number 4 went in, Teg was just on the verge of leaving, when 5 went in, I was on my way out of the ground. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t watch while fucking Liverpool gave us such an ass fucking you could have mistaken our collective arseholes for the Tyne Tunnel. Oh and singing “He bite’s who he likes’ about Suarez, you dirty classless fuckers.

Outside the ground it was quiet. Nah it was silent except for traffic, it was odd. Then a roar went up, had we managed to at least do something redeeming and score? No, that was Debuchy getting sent off. Which leads me on to the referee. He was as useless as we were, king of the card and mostly for no good reason other than he wanted to show who was in charge, which incidentally appeared to actually be the linesman. I don’t think a good ref would have made that much difference to the result, but it was just another example of the piss poor performances that referee’s have been giving all season. I’m sure next weekend he will be relegated to the lower league’s like the others who made an arse of themselves, and good riddance to him.
Anyway I digress, I’m strugglingto convey how everyone I met straight after I left felt. Shocked, stunned, disbelief I don’t think even come close, it was more like the instant onset of Post Traumatic Stress. Men, women boys and girls all shuffling along with that 1000 yards stare, silent, lost in the horrors of what they have witnessed. In one of the best places in the world for banter, where laughter is never far away it must have been an hour before I heard anyone crack a joke or risk a giggle. I’ve never experienced anything like it or wish to again involving Newcastle United. There are plenty of articles doing the rounds about who was to blame and what is going on with the team, read them because I was left baffled and still cant form an articulate opinion.

Several more glasses of coke later and in the Berry, the only highlight of the day was seeing Teg on the big screen and poking fun at his 80’s style look of windswept hair and his bodywarmer, sorry I mean gilet. Then it was time to head home, the day couldn’t get any worse could it? Some dirty cow threw up on the bus back to Teg’s, and it stank the place out, dirty dirty dirty beast. After a bit of a natter it was time for me and pumpy Clyde to hit the road and get home, hopefully without the exhaust falling off, which thankfully, it didn’t, because I would have lost my shit entirely if it did.
And so it ended. 300 miles round trip. 13 hours out of the house, not a drop of alcohol passed my lips and I had to watch in disbelief as Newcastle United once again broke my heart. That’s the hardest part, they chew me up and spit me out and I still come crawling back for more. I’ll never understand why but I reckon a lot of you feel the same. As to where do we go now, I have no idea, all hope is gone at the minute the only thing we can do is get this horrid bastard of a season done and see where we stand.

Grim

Where do we go from here?

Posted in NUFC on April 30, 2013 by tegtalk

Saturday was the worst I have felt in a long time watching NUFC. Far worse than the derby. At least in that game we created chances but were hit by two fabulous strikes that the goalkeeper had no chance of getting.

Against Liverpool we were truly awful.

Far worse than the second half Reading capitulation at home. After 15 minutes I asked my mate what formation did he think we were playing? “4, f**k knows,1” was his answer. It seemed the players didn’t have a clue either. We veered from 4 at the back to 5 at the back to Cabaye playing behind Cisse to him playing behind the midfield holding players Tiote and Perch. Defensively we were an absolute shambles. Four lads pulled out of the stands would surely have communicated better than our back four. Why was Gouffran dropped for the under performing Jonas? What the holy hell has happened to Tiote?

The finger has been well and truly pointed at the manager and the coaching staff. They have a squad full of talented International footballers who look like they have never met, never mind trained and played together.

What has gone wrong?

The Internet has been rife over the past couple of weeks with rumours of dressing room unrest, players whinging, cliques and Pardew being a dead man walking. Whatever the truth is, it is extremely worrying.

We have hit an abysmal run of form at precisely the wrong time and our rivals in this relegation battle, at least some of them, have picked up points and seem capable of scoring goals.

Villa’s 6-1 tonking of Sunderland last night has taken them above us in the league on goal difference. Even that minor crumb of comfort has evaporated. Like the majority of supporters I am looking at the run ins of the teams around us.

Wigan, five points below us have two away games at West Brom and Arsenal and home games against Swansea and Villa. Because of their annual relegation battles, I feel they are capable of getting two wins out of those four games. This may finally be the year their luck runs out, especially with an FA Cup final appearance on the horizon, but they worry me.

Villa’s win last night was huge and while they are still in as much jeopardy as us, I can see them winning one other game before the end of the season. Probably Norwich away on Saturday.

Sunderland have two home games with Stoke and Southampton and while last night will be a huge dent to their new-found confidence, I expect them to win at least one of them.

Our future, fortunately is still in our own hands.

Surely we are capable of a win at QPR where the fallout is continuing after their relegation? That game to me is our one big chance.

Before that the coaching staff must come up with a plan for West Ham’s aerial bombardment this Saturday. An in form Carroll must be well marked and one of our centre halves has to be up for that physical battle. Colo will return. Steven Taylor seems the most likely to be directly up against Carroll or maybe the much maligned Williamson will be brought in for his height against West Ham’s number 8?

We simply have to defend better than we have been.

Gary Neville on Sky last night absolutely ripped our defending from Saturday to shreds. Rightly so. But as I stated earlier the players he had a go at aren’t bad players. In my opinion they are just being coached badly. Basic errors in positioning should be eradicated by drilling the players on the training field (or SJP away from prying eyes now it seems).

Neville also raised the question as to whether we have too many French players who aren’t in tune with the fans and don’t understand how to cope with the rigours and demands of the Premier League.

I understand his sentiments. Maybe we have gone too far and have lost the core element of a squad who had the nous to deal with the dog fights that some games are?

I would rather think that the players do understand and are hurt by the recent embarrassments. They are professionals. They live in the city. They leave the pitch to the cheers and sometimes the boos.

The buck has to stop with the manager. I tweeted after Saturday’s game that if you lose a game in that manner, you lose the backing of the fans and ultimately you will lose your job.  Today’s local papers are stating that he will be backed until the end of the season and then his position will be reviewed.

That is understandable. No new coach would accept the job of coming in for three games with the remit of winning one. Certainly not any coach looking for the job to be given to him full time.

If Pardew was sacked now, then the same people would be coaching the players as are doing it now. Questions have to be asked of them in the summer too. Is Carver purely a buffer? Does he actually work on anything with the players? What does Steve Stone do? Certainly not work on crossing if our corners are anything to go by? Is it not sensical to bring a French coach in to get the best out of them. We hire interpreters why not coaches?

Personally I think Pardew will be replaced and we will begin a new era. Hopefully with Ashley releasing more funds to replace the departing players with better players.

One interesting point raised in The Journal today was Cabaye is also under scrutiny from the board. His performances have been way below par and it has been revealed he is one of the players questioning the manager and tactics. Who could blame him to be fair?

Maybe the power struggle in the summer will be between who goes? The Manager or the French midfielder?

Good luck to all who are going to West Ham. No doubt the manager will have called for your support before Saturday. That support is never in doubt and should never be questioned.

Howay the Lads.

Teg

Lay Your Hands On Me?

Posted in NUFC on April 25, 2013 by tegtalk

“Heavy handed” seems to be our manager’s favourite phrase at the minute. He has used it a few times since that disastrous afternoon on April the 14th. I don’t think he is levelling the accusation at the fans (I doubt he would dare with the precarious position of faith he holds with a vast majority of them) but at the media.

This seems rather bizarre.

Granted the national press seem to have forgotten about our neighbours new manager’s unsavoury political beliefs and have hailed him as some kind of footballing breath of fresh air (one I expect to blow out as soon as the pampered millionaires on the Wear achieve safety this season and realise they don’t particularly like doing extra training sessions and being slapped about by an obviously crackers Italian).

I think the local press have been pretty fair with someone they have to work with on a very regular basis. Did Pardew expect to get an easy ride from press or fans when the derby performance was completely lacklustre and unacceptable? It is the job of the local press to not only report on news and matches but report back to the club the feelings and attitudes of the thousands of paying customers of the club.

Constantly harping back to the derby and stating that he wants the players to feel hurt and realise the huge implications that defeat has had on the club is the wrong thing to do.

Negativity breeds negativity.

Nor was the cack-handed vitriol dished out by him in the days following the defeat. I for one am not bothered by thoughts of revenge next season or finishing above them this season, when we have a more important and current problem facing us i.e. survival in the Premier League.

I was more worried about what he didn’t say or do. He moved training to the stadium last week but didn’t even consider looking at a different formation or even tactics for our game at The Hawthorns, apart from the old ‘get in their faces’ malarkey which is fine for 60-70 minutes but players can not sustain that for a full game. Hence we blew ourselves out and were hanging on for a point at the end.

The point of these musings.

I’m worried Pardew has blown himself out. He is struggling to get the best out of a squad of very good players, mainly by playing them out of position or not playing them at all.

Cabaye in my opinion is operating way too deep and we aren’t seeing the killer passes we all know he is capable of. On many occasions in the derby he took the ball from a centre half twenty yards inside his own half.

Sissoko looks a shadow of the player we first bought. Confused as to what position he should be playing or hampered by Pardew’s instructions? Both I reckon.

The substitution of Gouffran for Ameobi is the easy option to take and our plan B of simply lump it to Shola has no place in how we should be playing.

I believe Pardew is under pressure from an owner who’s plans are in tatters if we are relegated for the second time in his tenure. I don’t think he is under immediate pressure of the sack this season though.

We have had a few huge games this season. Saturday’s game against Liverpool without the now suspended biter from Uruguay is the next on the list. Win and we are safe and  likely to pick up a couple of more points this season and maybe jump a few places up the league.

Defeat doesn’t bear thinking about.

Two trips to a West Ham team with an on-fire Andy Carroll and the always clever Nolan and a Premier League leaving do at QPR worry me. Defeat after Saturday with only one away win all season? I have knots in my stomach just thinking about it.

We could go into the last game of the season needing to beat an Arsenal team still needing points for Champions League qualification. Gulp.

What I want to see on Saturday is a game plan. I want to see the team get at Liverpool from the off. Quick, attacking football turning their ponderous centre halves. I’d like to see Cabaye playing in advance of Sissoko in a front four with Cisse, Gouffran and Marveaux or Ben Arfa.

Most of all I’d like to see a win because if we lose, Mr Pardew will get “heavy handed” criticism from more than just the local media and fans on social networking sites but from his employers too.

And I do not think he would recover from that blow and we will have yet another manager in the hot seat.

Teg

P.S. I apologise for another Bon Jovi reference but it seemed apt as I am sure we will have more “Keep the Faith” pleas to come between now and kick off