Saturday, 29 August 2009

Window Watch: T- Minus 72 Hours

It suddenly occured to me how worryingly close the transfer window is to slamming shut for another four months.

Not counting the half day left as I write this we are left with just three whole days before the chance of any more permanent sigings before the year of our Lord 2010 dawns.

Worth noting that would only be two days if the bank managers wern't too busy earning their wages to open on Monday.

With our paper thin squad already appearing to show signs of tearing at the top after Shola, Carroll and Xisco all preparing for their monthly trip to the treatment table that leaves just youngster Nile Ranger to lead the line.

"No worry," I thought, "We'll get someone in," but will we?

The dripping tap of information from St. James' has been firmly turned off once again with no news to report on the possibility of club ownership switching hands.

Hughton claims to be confident of holding onto players but back in May i'd have never believed you if you'd have told me i'd be sweating over the future of Kevin Nolan.

The scouse star has pulled a Shola and gained a lot of fans, including this one, for his exceptional effort and (whisper as not to curse it) goalscoring touch.

However rumours of Gary Megson being interested in taking his former midfielder back to the Premier League are hopefully, some way off the mark.

So, no new owner, no permanent manager, no permanent signings.

Nothing ever changes.

Monday, 17 August 2009

You Don't Give Up Ameobi

Shola Ameobi's hat-trick against Reading has completely won me over, so much so that I can't think about anything else.

I'm more excited for Wednesday night's game than I have been for any game for quite some time.

This excitement may be born from desperation, the desperation to have someone to rely on, or it may just be nerves.

Either way, the butterflies flutter every time I think about Ameobi's lunging strides into the box to meet an inch perfect cross and fire home a fourth...wait, keep the feet on the ground.

Anyway, this new found high led me to remember this classic clip from 'I'm On Setanta Sports' where 'Dave' confides in Wayne Rooney over his addcition. Enjoy.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The 78th Minute

A heart-filled and spirited performance cascades across St. James' Park, Shola looks a man reborn and we are promised an end to takeover speculation by the time we walk out against Sheffield Wednesday...on Wednesday.

Two out of three ain't bad. Whilst prospective owner Barry Moat's choice of seat gave the Sky Sports commentary team plenty to speculate over, I just can't bear to get my hopes up just to see them dashed once again.

There are plenty of pictures of Moat and Ashley, side-by-side from past fixtures, the only difference is that we know who we are looking at now.

But as much as I nail my shoes to the ground, I can't help but loosen my shoelaces and allow myself to drift of the ground just slightly, to think, "It can't exactly be a bad thing, can it?"

At least on pitch the Toon Army continued to show the fighting spirit that was showcased at The Hawthorns on the opening day.

Shola nabbed three goals and seemed to become a new man the instant his first header bounced, rather gracelessly, into the net.

The second of his trio was an accomplished powerful header(Below), fired into the opposite corner of the net whilst on the run, as if he'd been doing it for years...which we all know he hasn't.

Special praise reserved for Kevin Nolan who has really stepped up his game since relegation. Setting up Duff's equaliser against The Baggies with an inch perfect pass and then chasing a ball everybody else had given up on against Reading to bring about that crucial second goal.

"Who's that big lad wearing 23? It sure ain't Ameobi!" my Dad jovially ventured.

"His name's Shola, Dad," I replied, "Hopefully you'll be hearing it a lot this season."

But a noteworthy occurance took place during this encouraging victory. For the first time in a long time whilst watching the Toon, in the 78th minute of the game, I sat back in my seat. Sunk into the sofa and relaxed as the game was won.

In fact the last time we produced this scoreline, away at Portsmouth last December, is the last time I can remember a game being 'safe', before the referee blew his whistle.

Perhaps a sign of change? I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Watch extended highlights of the game here.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Oba's Sincerity Strikes A Chord

Former Toon hitman Oba Martins has revealed that he left St. James' with a heavy heart and that he had to depart Tyneside to keep his career alive.

Whilst it sounds like the usual drivel that each and every departing player would churn out just out of courtesy, there has always been something about Oba that makes his words seem so much more sincere.

Now it's been a long day and i've written 15 stories for the slave drivers at today so I can't bring myself to write anymore.

So here it is, another David Kifford original.

Newcastle United Will Stay In My Heart Forever - Obafemi Martins

VFL Wolfsburg striker Obafemi Martins has revealed that he found it hard to leave Newcastle United, but says he had to in order to relaunch his career.

The former Toon frontman left the club for the Bundesliga after a devastating season saw the Magpies drop into the second tier of English football.

However, Martins claims he will always hold a special place in his heart for the fans and the club.

"Newcastle United will forever stay in my heart but I have a whole lot of work to do now for Wolfsburg," The Nigerian international told BBC Sport.

"I gave my all to the club and the fans know that, unfortunately things went awry on and off the pitch.

"I had a wonderful time with the fans, players and management of Newcastle United but once I spoke to Wolfsburg, I saw a fresh start."

Takeover turmoil has engulfed St. James' Park this summer as owner Mike Ashley desperately attempts to offload the grief-stricken club.

With manager-in-waiting Alan Shearer admitting he has been "left in limbo" over his future, and no new signings, the club is ill-prepared for the new season.

Martins joined Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Habib Beye, Sebastien Bassong, David Edgar and Peter Lovenkrands by heading for the St. James' Park exit when he joined Wolfsburg for £9 million.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Moat Makes Media Waves

Newcastle United are all over the media, The Sun, Sky Sports, BBC and it's all the same story, that the Toon have a major contender to take them over.

Local businessman Bary Moat is leading a consortium and the widespread media coverage puts a warm fuzzy feeling in my belly.

News of all other potential takeovers has trickled through the press, replicated and repeated in turn but this news has come out of the blue and been splashed over everykind of media, press, TV and Internet.

The fact that this takeover is by a local man only adds to the joy and, whilst the fact that he claims apointing Shearer will be his first piece of business is nothing new, for the first time it just feels possible.

Maybe, just maybe, Moat can keep our heads above water. (Had to be done!)