MATCH REPORT: Oxford U 3 Newcastle United 0, Kassam Stadium, FAC 4th Rnd, 28/Jan/17, KO: 3pm, ATT: 11,810

by • January 28, 2017 • Match reportsComments (48)2853

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There’s a lot to tackle here. If your head has already fallen off probably stop reading now.

I travelled down to Oxford today in high hopes of progression in the FA Cup. The sides selected in the games against Birmingham (both of which I attended) and Rafa’s pre match comments left no doubt in my mind about the type of side that would be selected. We need to get promoted, and with two massive home games this week before a string of difficult away games, we all knew what the priority was and is. Didn’t stop me from travelling.


A 7am drive down was straightforward enough and 1,800 Mags descended on a sold out Kassam Stadium, which is miles outside of town. The starting line up came through and (bizarrely) raised some eyebrows. Three youngsters in again although Curtis Good game in for Findlay. We lined up 5 – 4 – 1with Haidara once again playing at CB. Gamez came back in from injury to play on the right and Mitrovic returned to lead the line ahead of Murphy or Goufrann. Isaac Hayden could be described as the only starter in a full strength team (with maybe Perez) so we were as weak as could be.

The first half started slowly with neither side getting hold of the game. United played some reasonable stuff and threatened to break on a few occasions. Oxford offered very little going forward and I can only remember one half chance for them from a poorly defended corner (more of those later) as United grew into the game and controlled the half. El-Mhanni curled a good effort which was parried by the keeper and in reality Oxford, whilst defending OK, weren’t offering anything going forward.

I have an issue with our centre forward today. It’s not that he stood on the ball when ideally played in by Hayden with just the goal in front of them. It’s not that he missed two further one on chances that half that simply had to be taken, or indeed that he missed a well won, but poorly taken penalty in the second half. I can live with him being not good enough (if that’s your take on his ability). What I’m tired, no, bored of is the pathetic and unnecessary arguments and spats with the opposition. Mitrovic commuted a foul on his opponent, pulled himself up (moving quicker than he did all afternoon) to push himself into his opponent. The game stopped for minutes. Players pushed, Grant Hanley had to speak to the ref – the whole spectacle stopped for our centre forward who once again given the referee a decision to make. He’s 22 you know. Didn’t see any of the teenagers playing today risking a booking or worse by being a coward. I’m sick of it. It’s boring. It got Oxford’s crowd going. Their centre backs targeted him. I just want him to score goals, not miss sitters. He’s split the support down the middle. I think he has ability. He’s been here 18 months and gotten worse. He’s still a liability. Truth is it’s easier to be a liability when you don’t miss all of the chances. In the second half bar the penalty win, he hardly broke into a sweat.

Rafa Benitez has played a weakened team today but his biggest mistake was selecting Mitrovic ahead of Goufrann. That’s my opinion based on watching him miss all the best chances and once again giving the referee a decision to make. We created enough chances in the first half to win the game and didn’t.

Mitrovic takes penalty against OxfordThe second half stated badly and got worse from there. A badly defended short corner saw them all bundled home at the back post. One nil and I worried it was going to be one of those days. It was and worse. Oxford (sensibly) began to sit in even more and play for the counter attack. United improved after the goal and started to pin Oxford back. Barlaser got into the game for and began to spray some fantastic passes and come into the game. The ball was fed into Mitrovic on ’65 and a powerful run was halted by a foul from the defender. Penalty. Right decision. Well done Mitrovic and a chance for him to put right the wrongs of missing those first half chances. It wasn’t to be. A good save but soft penalty was saved and that was that really. Two further goals followed from crosses into the box and The game we controlled and played well in the first half, turned into a nightmare. The defending was shit.

A young team fell apart pushing for an equaliser. It was a really poor second half performance. Oxford deserved their win (despite only having three chances) and credit to them. I wish them well in the rest of the competition.

I didn’t enjoy today for many reasons. Following this club away from home has been far from straight forwards ever since I stated doing it. This season, in a lower division, has been the exception. The away support today was practically non-existent apart from a spell at one nil down until the penalty. It was a talking point at half time and it was put ‘well the team need to give us something to shout about’. If that’s the craic then away games are as fucked as home games. United controlled the first half and should have gone in at least one ahead.

The reaction to the defeat by many was as expected but no less disappointing. Booing. Aggression. Swearing at Jamal Lascelles and De Andre Yedlin who came across to applaud the support. Aye, it was shit second half. I was there. I’m still here writing this, in Oxford. It pissed me off.

But this team owe me nothing. The manager owes me nothing. I’ve been at away win after away win this season. I knew the craic coming down today. We’d play a weak team as the priority is getting promoted. I thought we’d win, there was a chance we’d be beaten. We lost, badly, in the second half. Screaming abuse at the team (and the subs that didn’t play) just makes you look like what you are. People at each other’s throats all game. Arguments about loyalty points, Mitrovic and ‘Ashley doing it again’. Get a grip. A fight broke out in front of me at the end, there were three lads under the age of ten to my left and sensibly their Dad got them out of there ASAP. I wonder what they’ll take from this game. I hope the people throwing punches because someone disagrees about how shit United’s now third choice striker is, are banned for life.

If it’s not enough for you; getting promoted, a cup quarter final and a fourth round exit, it’ll never be enough. We capitulated on the pitch for the first time this season. The first time, with a reserve side out as we need to get promoted.

A stinking day. Little can be taken from it. Sels has failed to make a save of note, again. His kicking was really poor. Curtis Good did OK as did Barlaser and El-Mhanni. Haidara looks like a good ball playing CB. That’s it. Brighton suffered an even greater humiliation than we did. At least that fixture won’t be moved at short notice.

On to Wednesday.

Newcastle United: Sels 3, Gamez 5, HAIDARA 6, Hanley 5, Good 5, Lazaar 5, Perez 2, Hayden 6, Barlaser 5, El-Mhanni 5, Mitrovic 2

 

ALEX HURST – FOLLOW ALEX ON @tfalex1892 

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48 Responses to MATCH REPORT: Oxford U 3 Newcastle United 0, Kassam Stadium, FAC 4th Rnd, 28/Jan/17, KO: 3pm, ATT: 11,810

  1. Paul Smith says:

    Well no match report yet but I suspect Rafa will be exempt from any blame here as usual.
    I think the saddest thing about this whole sorry episode is that it confirms what people have been starting to whisper namely that Rafa has been bought and paid for.
    Long distant memories now are his promises to try in the cup and have any autonomy in transfer dealings. The Mirror article saying Ashley had reconfirmed his policy of buying young and cheap for sell on was laughed at on here but it sounds about right to me.
    In Rafa we trust you say? I don’t think so pal.

    • Steve says:

      Ahhh come on Paul, whilst it’s a poor result, with the injuries and AFCON you can’t blame the fact we needed to rotate heavily. We have bigger fish to fry, and Rafa will have found a few things out about the squad players. And FFS all the Mitro lovers out there, he’s not on fire, in fact he’s really rather poor at his job.

  2. Neale says:

    The Team put out could and should have beaten Oxford If Mitrovic had played anywhere near the standard of an International Striker we would have won comfortably, he was utter shite and must be considered 3rd choice behind Gayle and Murphy. The fact that the players bottled it is not Rafa’s fault
    Our task this season is to get promotion and that’s it, Cup runs can come next year but lets get back to the PL first. I have just been on The Mags website and the number of sad whinging Tarts throwing hissy fits is frankly comical.
    We lost a cup game that does not matter, lets get behind the Team and help them win the upcoming League games that DO matter.

    • Gareth says:

      Spot on.

    • mike says:

      when have we NOT got behind the team? Home and away? 52k each home game over 30k at cupgame who else get this type of support? its about time the support wasnt taken for granted by the club. its not easy or cheap to go to away games and to field a 3rd rate team isnt on if that was going to be the plan then i wouldnt have wasted my hard earned cash. players get a fortune to play, and pulling on a shirt for one of the best managers ever, including the support should be enough to spur them on if not get rid. Once upon a time the FA cup was magical now its just a mickey mouse competition that no one cares about.

      • Hoglan says:

        “when have we NOT got behind the team?”

        When some people boo players for mistakes/misplaced passes.

        For example: Colback and Hayden during Shelvey’s suspension.

  3. Paul Smith says:

    Try in cups next year ? I’ve been hearing that for12 years now. He’s a fat greedy prick

  4. Paul Smith says:

    Alex you write well and your view is far more valid than mine as I no longer go to games. That said I think the disrespect shown to fans is unacceptable and no apology from Rafa. ??
    I’m an outsider looking in but it now seems a distant memory when he was telling us we’d try in the cup and buy the best players that he alone identified for the team. If Alan Oardew was still manager you’d be going berserk.

  5. Chris B says:

    Let’s have this right. If that was a Pardew or a McLaren lineup/performance, there would be murders and rightly so. No excuses about the manager being a chimp, or having no autonomy – that was a surrender going in against a perfectly beatable side from a team so far ahead of the rest of the chasing pack in the league you could afford to lose the next three straight and still be odds on to go up.

    This was the day that NUFC officially gave up trying to win anything, ever again. That isn’t a knee jerk reaction against a tremenous manager who will get us promoted no bother this season and who has done many good things. It is a reflection of the reality that we had an ideal opportunity to progress and gave up before the team bus had parked up.

    This is Newcastle United. The club of Milburn, Harvey and Scoular. Players who gave up very real chances to win the league title to make sure they kept themselves for the FA Cup final. The club that has the FA Cup running through its marrow. I might be in the minority, but I’d stay in the second division for the next ten years if it meant seeing us lift something shiny at Wembley in that same time.

    I don’t follow the team around the country to watch us win pots of cash. I want to see us win pots.

    • Mike says:

      The team selected was similar to the one that beat Birmingham and could have/should have won this round as well. I don’t believe we have to play a 1st choice team every round of a tournament to win it. Players like Barlaser need their chance, as does Mitro who frankly needed some goals to move ahead of Gayle and even Murphy in the selection order. From the sounds of things, Mitro waisted that chance today. Rafa was let down by that as well, it’s not as though he selected a team to lose today and the flack is unnecessary

      • Rob says:

        Mike, you could argue that if that team was good enough to beat Oxford away then it should have been good enough to beat bottom of the league Rotherham at home last week, yet we got a full strength side for that game. We play QPR on Wednesday, QPR like us had a game yesterday but in the league so put out their first team. We would have suffered no disadvantage in terms of tiredness putting out a better side than we did. It’s not just us doing it obviously, Liverpool fans not too happy with Klopp I see so it’s up to the FA to sort this out or they may as well just scrap the competition.

  6. Andrew Hoggins says:

    Sorry Alex you’re wrong. Promotion which, incidentally we have not yet achieved although I’m sure we will, the fourth round of the FA cup and the quarter final of the league cup is not enough.
    I’ve had a belly full of there’s always next year and I have a canny big kite.
    We had an outstanding opportunity to reach the fifth round of the cup for the first time in ten years and blew it.
    I don’t condone the lads that have travelled down having a pop at the players or fighting with other supporters but the supporters down there on Saturday where the hard core. The bed rock fan base. I think at the end of the game the supporters should suck it up even when it hurts. However it easy for me to say as I haven’t been to an away game for years, I gave that up a long time ago.
    I’m getting a bit fed up of you and your mates taking the moral high ground each time someone dare criticise Rafa or the players.
    I, like you think it is unbelievable that Rafa is our manager however that does not make him beyond criticism. He has fucked up and no doubt he will fuck up again. What makes him good at his job is that he gets it right more time than he doesn’t.
    Nevertheless you need to take a bit more of a objective review and stop believing Rafa is above reproach because he has let you sit on his knee for a couple of hours.
    I respect your opinion and by and large enjoy your reports and podcasts but your blinkers are making you blind. Stop being so judgemental of your fellow supporters. Not everyone has the same outlook and opinions as you.

    • Rob Douglas says:

      Absolutely spot on. The reason the fans were fighting each other may well be to do with the fact they were pretty fed up paying to go all the way to Oxford to watch such a load of self induced rubbish. They might not be as sanguine as our author because they might -quite rightly in my opinion- have thought we may try and win. The absolutely hopeless performance and clear lack of application from the players AND manager may well have been something they take issue with. Rafa is clearly our best manager for years but he needs to be honest BEFORE the game. We all know the Promotion is the key but it would be nice to know if we’re going to treat other competitions so shabbily before money is spent on tickets and travel. (By the way, we should’ve beaten Hull and that was due to rotation of the goalkeeper.)We’re not demanding and stamping our feet that we lost. We’re demanding either we try properly or are transparent in our aims before tickets are bought.

  7. Nick m says:

    Really poor performance yesterday but the support was shocking – placid and negative throughout. I saw one prick videoing himself hurling abuse at the players at the end – WTF? Fair play to Lascelles for coming over and fronting up to the fans rather than disappear up the tunnel.

  8. Rob says:

    Seen a lot of comments doing the rounds in defence of Rafa about the league being the priority. Isn’t that what Ashley and Charnley got absolutely slated for saying a couple of seasons ago?. So in what circumstances will it be worth putting a full team out for a FA Cup game?. Not if we are in danger of relegation from the PL, not if we are chasing a European spot, not if we are trying for promotion. So maybe if we are between 8th and 12th in the PL we might think about having a go, no wonder the FA Cup is dying on it’s arse.

  9. Steve says:

    Ahh the sound of knees being jerked…awesome. Dismayed to hear about fighting and players being abused. Should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Chris B says:

      Lol at ‘the sounds of knees being jerked’. When was the last time we made the 5th round of the FA Cup? Ten years or so?

      For a club of the stature of Newcastle United, our recent FA Cup record is nothing short of a disgrace. What makes it far, far worse is that it is the result of a conscious, deliberate strategy of deliberately not trying to win.

      Remember how angry SBR was we we lost at Wolves in the FA Cup in 2003/4? He was absolutely incandescent. He didn’t seem to think that the FA Cup was a waste of everyones time, and he had teams chasing league titles.

      People can make all the excuses they want but Pardew or McLaren would have walked into an absolute shitstorm if they had done the same thing Rafa did yesterday. Rafa gets a pass because he is Rafa. Why should be be beyond criticism just because we cannot believe our luck to have actually got a manager of his stature?

  10. kenny says:

    i’m 48 & have been dreaming of winning this cup since I was 6, every year we go out to a shit team hurts as much as ever but, you know what ? I get it this year ! our squad full of shit/average players because for years now we have bought badly. Haidara, good, tiote, should be gone, others to who have stealing a living like Sammy & vuckic, crap injury prone liabilities that Rafa has to try to utilise now & again. It will take time to get anywhere near having a squad fit for purpose.
    A note on Grant Hanley, this lad is a real class act, waits patiently, when he gets in, his positional play is spot on, he never gets himself isolated. Also done a great job babysitting in his last two appearances. Top man

  11. Paul Smith says:

    Rafa can’t pick Murphy or Shelvey. Fat Mike dimply won’t let him. Simple really.
    Rafa looked really embarrassed in that interview shown on MOTD
    I think he is being horribly undermined and hung out to dry.
    That said I genuinely thought he was a bigger man.

    • Rob says:

      If the chronicle report of his press conference about the transfer situation was accurate then his words were

      “My priority is to be sure that the team is strong enough to compete from now until the end of the season. I will do that until the last day of the transfer window and after that I will coach the team until the end of the season. I don’t have any problem with that”.

      Very deliberate mention of until the end of the season. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s off in the summer.

  12. Tomb says:

    Every decision in football is made to make as much money as possible. The reason why most clubs arent interested in the FA cup anymore is that theres no money in it. Success for a club is finishing 17th in the Premier League and receiving a vast anount of money for it which is why the likes of Mike Ashley have got into football. Thats the depressing reality.

  13. Tomb says:

    And today Watford Hull and Leeds have all crashed out of the cup to lower league opposition, Leeds to non league Sutton after making ten changes. It highlights the point made earlier that if clubs arent interested in winning the games supporters will think twice before buying tickets

  14. Rob says:

    They need to give the 4th champions league place to the FA Cup winners and bring in financial/points penalties for teams that play severely weakened sides otherwise they may as well not bother with the competition. It in danger of becoming like the Simod/Zenith Data Systems cup if anyone can remember that ever existed.

  15. Peter Shearer says:

    Yes we can all keep things in perspective-it is just one game and Rafa is a great manger for us to have. But the criticism is fair in my view, we should not be blind to a failing when it is obvious to see. I agree entirely with all those that say fans want to see footballers trying and clubs with ambition to win things. If we as fans buy into the modern malaise of football being solely about money, then we may as well all just stop caring. Perhaps that really explains why only about 1000 fans ever really joined the anti-Ashley protests and why there is such poor atmosphere at so many games now.Too many have bought into the modern malaise and now even repeat the usual stereotype excuses themselves. Maybe the fans are deciding which games they will try in too!

    It is a far cry from the days when the F A cup was all that mattered to NUFC and yet another trophy-less year passes by. Not only that but it passes with full acceptance from many of our fans.Let’s face it – we are part of the problem. We have accepted Ashley’s vision for our club and although Rafa makes it bearable we have lost the passion that made us special. We have accepted the modern version of football and sacrificed that for the soul of the club. I have affinity with those fans who think a football club should be something different and I have very little sympathy with those that have bought in to the modern vision of a money-making business.

    It is one game-but it typifies so much of what has gone wrong.

    • Phil B says:

      I hope the party line about the league being the be all and end all doesn’t continue next season, simply swapping the word “promotion” for “avoiding relegation”. If the same selection policy continues for cup matches when we’re in the Prem then the club is as dead with a great manager in charge as it was with shite like Pardew and Carver before him. This club has to exist for more than the sake of Premier League existence.

    • Paul smith says:

      Absolutely nailed it.
      I hate what Ashley has done to the fans of this club. I’ve even seen this creeping malaise of not trying in cups permeating the fanzines. Fans openly delighted we got hi listed again yesterday. They should be fucking ashamed.

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Peter out of interest, how many away games have you been to this season?

  16. AndyMac says:

    3 things
    1. Rafa could have and should have managed to field a senior team without affecting too many First XI players for Wednesday night. Even with four first teamers on display we could have seen off Oxford in the first half and subbed three of them in the second half
    2. Every team in the Championship this week will play three games whether they’re in the Cup and League or just League so we’re all in the same boat. The fact that neither Leeds, Brighton or us managed to play a decent side says everything we need to know about priorities for these clubs
    3. If Rafa is having issues with the Fatman then let the fans know about it asap. Either we’re working together for the good of the club or we’re not ? In which case the fans need to ensure that Fatman knows we wont put up with this shite any more. If its a choice between Rafa and Fatso there is no doubting the outcome.

  17. Simon says:

    This is the worst comments section Iv read. Bigger picture with Rafa in charge is clearly far too big for most of the little minds on here to comprehend. This was the one season where the attention seekers and their little weekly meltdowns just weren’t needed. Cup runs are great but Rafa has saved us from the brink of oblivion and is fully, FULLY transforming things from top to bottom.
    Not getting promoted this season puts the work he’s doing at risk. Of course he’s protected a few first team players for a cup game THIS SEASON. And yet we should have won if Mitro wasn’t so shit. (He is shit).
    “Rafa’s not immune to criticism”…. nobody said that. That’s mental. But this criticism today is farcical. Hes making decisions for the best of this club over years to come. It’s called management. If you’re angry about this weekend then that’s why he is a football manager who’s won it all and you are not.
    “This was the day NUFC gave up trying to win anything, ever again” – hahahahaha give yourself a shake….
    “Promotion, which incidentally we have not achieved yet…” – ITS FUCKING JANUARY YOU DIVVY.
    “Rafa can’t pick Murphy of Shelvey. Fat Mike won’t let him. Simple really….”
    – if you think Mike Ashley has any say whatsoever in Rafa’s matchday selection then you are too stupid to watch football. Find another hobby.

    • Chris B says:

      ‘Transforming things from top to bottom’? The word in the press is that Fashley has told him to start signing young, shite players again and yesterday Rafa did exactly the same thing the FIVE previous managers before him did when told to do so by the fat man – chuck away the possibility of progressing in a cup, deliberately, by fielding a hugely weakened team to save players for the league.

      Last year and the year before it we got ‘we need the players to try and stay up’. The year before we got a ‘statistical analysis’ from the CE of how damaging it is to try and win trophies. This year it is ‘we need players to try and go up’.

      52 years since Newcastle United last won a major domestic trophy and the official club position for the last ten years is that we have actually stopped trying. Don’t worry, though. It’ll all change next year, once Mike is back on the gravy train. As a supporter, the most important thing to me is ensuring that our billionairre owner is able to start milking our club of millions of pounds once more. I’d hate for the pursuit of pesky trophies to get in the way of that.

      • Simon says:

        ‘when told to do so by the fat man’

        Again. see previous comment.

        “– if you think Mike Ashley has any say whatsoever in Rafa’s matchday selection then you are too stupid to watch football. Find another hobby.”

        I’m not talking about last year or the year before. If you read my match preview, I was in agreement that Pardew, Carver, McClaren were terrible in the cup and DID disrespect it. Rafa didn’t do that. The side HE picked played well except for the terrible international striker we had up front and should have won the game. (Many of the same people who are outraged by this result also love that striker).

        Rafa has 1 goal this season. Promotion. Cup runs THIS SEASON were a luxury. We had a league cup run to the QFs and it went to the wire at Hull (with a weakened team).

        On Saturday the same happened. He rested key players in a week where we also have 2 league games. It’s called management. Promotion is just far too important THIS SEASON. Listen to him speak. He knows what he is doing and I’m under no illusions as to who is in control. The game was close as per somebody who was actually there ^^^ (don’t just quote the score).

        “It’ll all change next year, once Mike is back on the gravy train”

        – It’s like you want that to happen. You’re so consumed by your anti-Ashley agenda (none of us like the bloke) that you’re almost willing this to happen. Why live like that? Why not believe that Rafa, who has already saved us from oblivion, really has got a bigger plan for our club and will put success back in reach. Give the guy more than 6 months to achieve that for fuck sake.

        • Chris B says:

          I was there, as it happens. You’d know this if you’d read my earlier posts instead of presuming I wasn’t. Even if ‘we played well’ (debatable from where I was and considering we got humped three nowt) that is irrelevant to the fact that the manager made NINE changes to the side he put out in the prior league match. He did so to preserve his ‘best side’ for ‘more important’ league matches. In doing so he disrepsected the opposition and the competition. He should not get a pass for this just because he is Rafa and because he is a great manager who is doing good things at the club. The others before him who did the same were pilloried and rightly so. So should Rafa.

          He did not play a weakended side at Hull. If anything, he rested players in the Blackburn league match beforehand (including Diame and Gayle) only to play them in the Hull match. I loved him for doing that – it looked like a proper statement of intent on how priorities had been reconfigured around the club, and for the better.

          The rest of your post is a presumptive attack based on nothing. I’m not insulting people or questioning their motives. My motices here are clear. I am now 39 and am starting to genuinely think I’ll never see this club win an actual trophy. It would make my year to see us win just one major honour and I’m one of those who would see us stay in division two for the next ten years in return for winning even the League Cup.

          I believe that professional football is about trying to win things and that professional clubs like Newcastle United should try and win the competitions they enter.It is one thing to try and fail. That has been the story of this club for a good chunk of my lifetime. It is quite another to not bother your arse with trying.

          That, in my view, is unacceptable.

          • Marlon says:

            Chris B you talking complete sense. Simon is talking like a lot of silly fans I see around on NUFC threads, that may even be in the majority but whom I can not understand. Its the type of fan that has a go at other supporters with insults and has no understanding of the FA cup and its history in this football club we all support.

            I think you are 100% correct, something has changed at the club since the Hull match and the only change that I have seen so far is the return of Ashley.

            Very disappointed with Rafa treating the FA cup in the same way Pardew treated the cup (something Rafa never did at Liverpool).

            I wish Truefaith would analyse what is going on at the club a little better.

    • Paul smith says:

      I could not disagree more with this article above.
      Rafa Benitez told Newcadtle fans he would try in the cups, I’ll seek out the direct quotes if you insist. He promised he would bring in players, including senior players.
      Somewhere in the interim he has been bought off by Ashley as his perspective is entirely different now and he appears to have forgotten these pledges as though they never happened.
      You think promotion is a priority to all fans? Why ? So that horrible badtard can make more money for us sitting 15th in the Premier Keague ?
      He still won’t allow senior players to play in cup ties and he will never spend enough for any success.
      Why do you feel Rafa Benitez despicable cowardly complicity is acceptable?

  18. Peter Shearer says:

    I have been to one Alex- as I have stuck to my Ashley boycott, unlike most of my fellow supporters. I am not knocking those that still have the passion, but everyone can see (and hear) it is not quite what it was. I was at the Derby away game because I thought I should support my son who was trying to instill supporting NUFC into my grand-son and I thought I should look at the bigger picture just for that game! I was also one of the 1000 who protested against Ashley and me and my wife were 2 of about 20 people in Leazes park protesting during the Spurs game that year! I am probably one of the relatively few NUST members too.So I have done all I can to do my bit to get rid of Ashley, but not enough supporters had the fight in them to see Ashley off. I still think we will regret that. And yes, I still love watching and hearing the away support at its best,and joining in if I am close enough, because it brings back happy memories.

  19. Peter Shearer says:

    Unlike Simon above (!) I think this is an excellent thread – showing that people have different opinions, which I think is the point of a fansine! The trashing and insults of the opinions of others is Trump like, maybe fashionable but in no way makes your opinions stronger. We all like to make a point, me included, but your comments seem to imply if we are not Rafa do not comment. I like reading all the opinions, but I have to say-not yours Simon!

  20. Alex says:

    I’m sorry but any fan who thinks not trying for major honours is OK is not a footballing person for me. Shelvey rested, bloke had a far nicer Christmas off than the rest of us couple of games needs a rest come on. Not sure if he’s (Rafa) trying to make a point or just decided to chuck it but for me why enter not to try and win. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I’d lose the next league game to still be in this competition happily. A glimer off fun and hope from the daily grind of the championship. I think we’re lucky to have Rafa and I will forever admire him for sticking with us but this feels like that first argument in a relationship thing for me.

  21. Chris Nappin says:

    I can sort of see both sides here but I think some perspective might be needed rather than us turning to some fairly extreme hysteria/conspiracy theories. Oxford are mid-table in league one, even our weakened team yesterday should have beaten them pretty comfortably. We definitely could have beaten them as well judging by the highlights. Did Rafa really plan to lose this game under duress from Ashley or did he make a judgement call to try and play lower level squad players who would still be able to win?

    It’s obviously sickeningly repetitive having to think that this is it again for another year, but the admittedly tiresome excuse of the league being a priority is more significant this year than any other in our recent history. If we fail to get promoted then we’re completely fucked. The financial implications destroy the club if we fail and transform the club if we go up. Rafa would leave obviously. We have to also remember that we’re actually a fairly poor side as well, we’re hardly storming the league are we? Imagine the sheer terror of playing in the playoffs. It is a joke that we lost in that fashion but let’s think about our reactions for a second first.

    As for Mitrovic, he’s completely immobile, can’t finish, isn’t a target man and in terms of discipline and fitness is a complete liability. He might be radge but is that all you have to be to achieve cult hero status? Howay man. Nice to see we still don’t bother insisting that professionalism is an attribute of our new signings. Congo losing today might mean that rumoured swap deal for Townsend could be on with Mbemba. Whatever people might think about him personally he would certainly help our cause, as would McCarthy who would also be ready for the Premier League.

    Let’s look forward now, have a few pints on Wednesday and try and help the team get back on track.

  22. Steve says:

    Im shocked at some people on here. Comments like “a club of our stature” should be winning trophies is exactly why we get the piss taken out of us. Ffs, what is our stature? A championship club, who are sitting 2nd, and desperately need to avoid playoffs. Thats it, thats what we are. We have NO divine right to beat anyone, no matter what some of the idiots in the away end at matches seem to think.
    Yes losing games like this is shit, but if any of you think for a second that Rafa would pick a team under pressure from Ashley you are in need of a good doctor. Hecis a man of too high a calivre for that, he would simply walk away. We need Rafa, he does not need us, and a lit of fans would do well to remember that next time ya hurling abuse at the team because we aint won 6-0.

    • Chris B says:

      No-one said ‘a club of our stature should be winning trophies’. I said that, for a club of our stature to not reach the fith round of the FA Cup in over a decade, is a disgrace. And it is.

  23. Rob says:

    Don’t know why so many people believe that side should have beaten Oxford. Oxford put out a set of players who play competitive football week in week out and more importantly play that football TOGETHER, they are a team. The lads we put out there, even if you believe they are miles ahead of Oxford in talent (which let’s face it some of them aren’t) are virtual strangers in football terms and apart from Perez and Hayden have hardly played any competitive football this season. It was a we don’t care about the cup much side.

  24. Marlon says:

    Lets get this straight, something changed at this club in December as soon as Ashley came back and put 33 million into the clubs coffers for some reason.

    No Signings so far (with one day to go) in January when Rafa said he wanted 3 players in January (was he just lying).

    Not taking the FA Cup seriously at all, to the point where some fans were saying there hoped we lost so that we did not have games to interfere with the League (what has happened to our fans).

    True faith will not criticise Rafa, however I think this is the moment he needs to be criticised for an error in not taking the FA cup seriously. This was a cup he always took very seriously with Liverpool, so we expect the same thing (and better) as the scousers.

  25. Tim says:

    Some of the comments on here are unbelievable. We need to get promoted, simple as. Nothing else matters. If we don’t , we’ll more than likely lose the manager, have the core of the squad ripped out and find ourselves stuck in this league for the foreseeable future. The FA Cup can wait.

    • Chris B says:

      The FA ‘has ‘been waiting’ eleven years for any NUFC manager to actually make half an attempt at progressing in it. Eleven years since even making the fifth round. This from a club who has won the thing six times and had made two finals and two semi-finals in the ten years before the deliberate policy of not trying was implemented.

      How much longer do you want to wait before NUFC make a genuine attempt to win the most prestigeous competition they have any prospect of winning in the next ten years or so?

      Newcastle United should be trying to win the FA Cup every year it enters it. Simple as that. Kevin Keegan thought so. Bobby Robson blew a gasket one year when his title-chasing, Champions League progressing side (at full strength) went out in round three. Rafa said he would try and win cup matches – what has changed?

      What the fuck is the point of it all if there is no-one trying to actually win trophies?

  26. Peter Shearer says:

    The comments that I find “unbelievable” are the ones that think supporters who want us to try and win something are somehow odd/misguided. That is what supporting your team is about. That is why Keegan and Sir Bobby shared our dreams. They were not subscribing to this modern football malaise -they were fighting against it. But now the practical fans have it all worked out. We get promoted (again) and then we try to win the F A cup (again). Ashley will do something he has never done so far (ie spend proper money) and all will be well. Then we all wake up.

    In the True Faith special today, we are excusing Rafa from any criticism and heeping the blame on the shoulders of one man-Mitro! I think Rafa himself tried to stop people doing that. Surely these pragmatic minds can see it is not the fault of one player that we lose a match.Whatever you think of Mitro he is not single-handedly to blame for us going out of the F A cup. It seems that some people just cannot accept that some of us just want a team that tries to win games, win competitions and maybe entertain us. If that is “mental” then happily we still have a few mental followers. I think we need far more “mental “people and far fewer pragmatists. (apologies if I am misusing the term “mental” -I am just quoting from the article)

    • Rob says:

      I’m with you Peter. Don’t know if this cuts across generational lines with us oldies putting a lot more importance on the FA Cup than the young uns. Was talking with an Oxford fan this morning and he couldn’t believe that we had made so many changes . As he put it, “it was the only chance of winning something you had this season”
      As you say, if we go up then what?. We are a £250m of players away from having a squad that could get anywhere near the top 6.