Friday, 31 July 2009

Super Bobby Robson - A Hero For Always

Sir Bobby Robson has died aged 76.

The legend passed away in his bed at 6:30am, on the morning of July 31st 2009.

The news will devestate thousands of fans, including this one.

The nicest man in football and possibly the world has graced many a life with his warm smile and welcoming honesty but lest not forget he was a true great of the game for his ability as well.

After a succesful playing career Sir Bobby took upon an even more succesful career in management as he managed clubs and country to success on the world stage.

Moulding the career of a young Jose Mourinho at Barcelona and crafting a succesful reign at boyhood club Newcastle United.

There are many more but the tears that fill my eyes and the lump that is weighting my throat, prevent me from giving the great man the tribute he truly deserves.

As I watched a tribute to the great man this morning a commentator on some grainy black-and -white footage of Sir Bobby scoring for West Brom stated "...and a header flicks it on to that great player Bobby Robson."

But Bobby was more than that, he wasn't just a great player but a great person, and the world is a worse place without him on it.

Sir Bobby Robson - Great Player, Great Manager, Great Person.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

It Can't Get Any Worse, Oh Wait...

Just when you think it is safe to allow a molecule of positiveness back into your mind, the pre-season campaign really kicks-off.

For those of you who haven't already been confronted by a 'friend' or attacked by a sibling that can't contain their excitement, Leyton Orient lay-ed the smackdown on Newcastle as they produced a stunning 6-1 win.

Whilst I have little optimism over the current off field affairs at the club, it appeared that the players had at least decided to knuckle down and play some football, sadly not.

The live text from this game was brought to us on the club website by Craig Hope, something fans have got very little left to cling onto.

And Hope uncannily pointed out before the match, "Kevin Nolan and Oba Martins get the game underway. Earlier sunshine has now made way with clouds gathering above Brisbane Road."

However, he couldn't possibly have predicted the storm that this cloud would contain. Newcastle were level for just four minutes of the fixture but perhaps it was just one of those games?

Live text exerts

3min - United spring an early attack down the left...

4min - LEYTON ORIENT GOAL (1-0)

9min - This is all Orient in fairness...

23min - LEYTON ORIENT GOAL (2-0)

29min - United are on the back foot.
..

30min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (2-1)

36min - United are clearly buoyed by their goal and you wouldn't bet against them finding a leveller before the break.

38min - And that equaliser almost comes via the right boot of Kevin Nolan...

41min - Steven Taylor sets off on a cavalier charge from halfway, but it's keeper Jones who again thwarts the visitors.

43min - This keeper Jones is proving unbeatable from open play!

HALF TIME

48min - Andy Carroll unleashes a fizzing 20-yard drive which is saved by Jones just inside the left-hand post - good work from Big Andy.

50min - Damien Duff's run and left-wing cross-cum-shot draws a subsequent "oooh" from the away fans as it flashes into the side-netting.

52min - Kevin Nolan comes close to netting his third of the summer with a shot which drops the wrong side of Jones' crossbar.

53min - LEYTON ORIENT GOAL (3-1)

55min - LEYTON ORIENT GOAL (4-1)


66min - Jones travels outside of the area at the expense of a free-kick. But the keeper redeems himself with a fine full-length save from Guthrie's dipping strike.

69min - Xisco rattles the opposition woodwork with a measured left-foot strike.

77min - Guthrie fizzes a rising strike inches above the frame of the goal - that was close and should have been a goal.

83min - LEYTON ORIENT GOAL (5-1)

86min - LEYTON ORIENT GOAL (6-1)

Full-time, United soundly beaten.

The score tells one hell of a horror story, but the 'highlights' perhaps tell a slightly different one. It seems the youngsters of Carroll, Guthrie, LuaLua and the like are desperate to play attacking football and when it works it works. (See Darlington 7-2)

However when it doesn't it leaves us very, very exposed at the back and, as ever, we just can't cope with it.

The team sheet provides no excuse, Krul, Beye, Colo, S. Taylor, Enrique, Jonas, Nolan, Barton, Duff and Oba were led by captain Smudge (Why not Taylor?) and that is almost certainly our strongest team in terms of experience.

All I can put this down to is a freak result, but maybe that's just because I can't bear to accept the alternative possibilities.

Ah well, friendlies don't mean anything anyway.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Do The Bookies Know Something We Don't?

This morning some disturbing 'news' emerged from the bookmakers. This news was twofold.

Firstly, Chris Hughton was introduced to the pool of betting on who will be in charge of Newcastle on the first day of the season. The caretaker came in at 6/1 third favourite behind Gianluca Vialli [5/1] and of course big Al who still remains firm favourite at 1/2.

Whilst this is not too surprising due to the constant lack of activity on the rudderless ship that is St. James' Park, after all Hughton has been handed the reigns before and he knows the team as well as anyone.

The more worrying news was the speed at which Hughton's odds were slashed to 100/30 and brought down to second favourite.

Hughton may indeed still be behind Shearer in the stakes but the likelihood of his introduction at a short price suggests the bookmakers at skybet have caught wind of something at SJP. Pair that with the news that there is indeed a frankly, quite terrifying back-up-plan in the minds of Fat Ash and Llambias.

Now you may need to be sitting down for this but the news on the grapevine is that Ashley plans to 'weather the storm'.

This means holding on to players, paying their wages and praying we get promoted at the first time of asking.

For the first time I really believe that this season could see the end of the club I love.

Anything other than promotion will bankrupt the club and leave Newcastle destroyed.

If the bookies believe Hughton will be in charge at the start of the season then they must believe a takeover is some way off. If a takeover is some way off then Fat Ash must still be in charge come the season start. If Ashley is still in charge come the start of the season then we may not have a club by the end of it.

The plans to launch FC United of Newcastle start here.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

It's The Not Knowing That Hurts The Most

It was announced today that Joe Kinnear would not be appointed as Newcastle manager, after newspaper reports had claimed that the former Toon boss was set to regain the right to sit in the hottest of seats.

The most surprising thing? That after weeks, months even, of silence a sudden and abrupt response was forthcoming from the club.

In an item named simply "NUFC Statement" was the following;
REPORTS in the press this morning that Joe Kinnear is to be appointed as Newcastle United manager are not true.

The position remains that the Club is still in the market to be sold and is still negotiating with prospective buyers.
Cold, and to-the-point.
But why? After so much silence over the futures of players, agents claiming they can't get in touch with club officials, relentless defiance to reveal even the slightest information on the ownership and potential takeover of the club.

Why speak out on this, quite frankly, weak paper talk?

Despite being an optimist, I fear the worst, and I can only think of two reasons to explain it.

1) Fat Ash and Llambias are trying to keep the fans spirits up as they know that it is probably better to have no manager at the club, than to hir someone other than Alan Shearer.

OR

2) Fat Ash and Llambias are trying to keep the club as buyer friendly as possible. They know that the potential buyers of the club will want to be able to instantly hire their own manager and don't want gossip to put of any of the bidders.

Now the second option is more than likely the pick of the two, why would they start caring about our feelings now?

The most worrying part of this means that bids are unlikely to be any further than the initial stages if they are worrying about scaring of investors.

If anyone had made any progress with a bid, the club would still be staying quiet and ignoring any gossip that comes along as Ashley and Llambias would be confident that it wouldn't be their problem for much longer.

They say, no news is good news.

I say, it's the not knowing that hurts the most.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Turning A Blind Eye

It's been a tad quiet on this blog recently, which to be fair, has almost perfectly represented the amount of news coming out of SJP in the past days, weeks and months.

However whilst my fellow bloggers and bloggees concentrate on the endless takeover gossip, I just can't bring myself to raise the hopes of myself or any other Toon fan.

Instead I'd like to take a look at the apparent advantage we have from being a 'big' team in the Championship, or more importantly, the complete bunkum this is.

First off, we are regarded as a big scalp in the league with various players and managers admitting they were looking for Newcastle when fixture lists were released.

Secondly, I was looking forward to a return to 'real football' with relegation to the Championship. You know, three o'clock, Saturdays, young hungry British talent.

So far we have seen very little of any of this, with no players brought in, very few shown the door and just one three o'clock kick off in our first seven fixtures.

That's right, one in seven!

In a time where we thought we could wave goodbye to the television restrictions of the Premier League and faced with even more in the Football League.

Our kick-off times include a 17:30, 17:20, 19:45 and possibly the most ridiculous of the lot, 14:05.

It appears we've become something of a hot property for Television companies and the big fish is always the one that they want to catch.

Whilst I'm happy to be able to watch my beloved Newcastle from home, I'm worried that my hopes of a chance to rebuild the club out of the spotlight may be completely destroyed.

This may be me making a fuss over nothing, but I was hoping for a bit of traditional footballing values returning to SJP. It seems we could be a couple of relegations away from that.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Getting My House In Order

Apologies for the lack of activity but unfortunately I've been hampered in my crazed obsession of writing about the Toon Army by a rather irritating need to move homes.

Anyways, for the next few days there may be somewhat less frequent posting and updating of the blog, but fear not, just think of me as Mickey O: Back to full fitness soon! (I'm so clever)

Anyway on the subject of the departing players five were released at the start of the month (check the sidebar) and international competitors were given an extra week off, oh and Obafemi managed to turn up twenty minutes late for the first day of training. Good to see Hughton has put the fear in the players.

Mickey O is joining Manchester United...seriously...no I swear...he's having a medical today...check Sky Sports News.

Oh and apparently some Malaysian consortium are getting close to buying us, which means we're unnervingly close to something actually happening at the club soon. Can't say much about the new owners really, as I know nothing about them, but at least we'll have some tough pre-season fixtures against the likes of Kuala Lumpur FA and Negeri Sembilan FA to look forward to next season.

Maybe some free tickets to Sepang for the Grand Prix too. The possibilities are endless.

P.S The header picture will be changed soon, unfortunately the replacement is hidden in a memory stick, which is hidden in a box, which is hidden in a room, which is hidden in my house...somewhere.