Living on the south coast, I’ve seen my fair share of awful Newcastle away performances, the last three games at St Mary’s alone, we’ve conceded ten and scored zero.
In fact last year after taking my partner to her first ever match, we had the piss ripped out of us by a homeless man, who even in his negative circumstance, had the pep to dish it out, as we walked away to the chanting of “4-0” for a good 20 yards down the road. Southampton really is a community club.
On arrival to St Mary’s, the fans were in high spirits, fans were singing and laughing, there was many a chorus of “Mitro’s on fire” and “La Bamba”. Both in the stands and below at the bar. There seemed to be a feeling that actually survival began here today and that the previous disappointment of last week’s result against Norwich was forgotten and a healthy amount of goodwill for the team remained.
As I took my seat for the first half, I noticed a fan a few seats in front of me wearing, of all things, the ‘98 away kit with Guivarc’h on the back! Which was bizarre to say the least, in fact I was still pondering about that when Southampton scored their first goal, which came from the woeful defending of supposed professional footballer Steven Taylor.
The mood of the fans didn’t dissipate, after all, if last week proved anything, it’s that Newcastle United don’t take the easy route to doing anything. Taking the positive approach that at least conceding so early, it would hopefully light a fire under the players and perhaps if we were lucky Southampton would take their foot of the gas.
However this was not the case, as just 3 minutes later, Mane has a volley deflected out for a corner and Pelle hit the deck, causing a collective holding of breath. The diving bastard! Then shortly after that a pathetic pass by the dreadful Taylor, nearly put Southampton in again, luckily Darlow channeled his inner Manuel Neuer and rushed out to clatter Long and clear the danger.
The game was put to bed 7 minutes before half time, when Daryl Janmaat did his best Steven Gerrard and slipped, (allegedly) injuring himself in the process, allowing Tadic to feed Long, who gave Newcastle a chance to make up for the mistake, but yet again pathetic defending, let the ball fall to Pelle who put a neat finish in and put an end to all good will in the stands.
Following half-time I was glad to see Taylor had been taken off, but disappointed that Anita remained. Even though we had used two substitutions by that point. There was at least three time to my recollection that Darlow had the ball, looked up, saw Anita in yards of space and decide against trusting the hapless dutchman with the ball.
The third goal came from yet another poorly defended corner, not be dealt with, allowing Wanyama to calmly finish past Darlow, in what was only his 2nd goal at St Marys. Managers and players come and go, but Newcastle can’t ever seem to defend corners at one end, or put them to good use, at the other end.
Two players that impressed me for Southampton, were two who we’ve been linked to multiple times in the past few years, Long and Van Dijk. Based on today, both would vastly improved our current first team. Long is alway lively and what he lacks in goals, albeit not today, he more than makes up for in his ability to cause a nuisance and his electric pace. Whereas Van Dijk, can actually play the ball, has a huge frame, which he used to bully Mitrovic out of the game and at one point even had the confidence to charge forward, beat a man and then take a shot at distance.
Wijnaldum pulled his usual disappearing act, but this time had help from Mitrovic who did his best to vindicate Rafa having not started him last week, despite outrage from the fans who are now lauding him as some sort of deity.
Shelvey, Mbemba and Perez showed signs of life, but never really stepped up and Darlow did little wrong. For my money Townsend and Sissoko were the only two players who you could say tried to make something happen all game. With Townsend scoring a beauty in the top corner on 65 mins. Leading to chants of “we’ve scored a goal” and “we’re gonna win 4-3”.
The main conclusions I drew from this game were, Anita isn’t a footballer, more like one of your mate’s younger brother who asks to play with the big boys, so you stick him at left back, hoping he’s out of the way. And Taylor, well, he is WORSE than that.
Finally, Janmaat, who two years ago was part of a Dutch side that came 3rd in the world cup, now looks like garbage, whilst a player who played his position for Newcastle, in Danny Simpson is about to lift the Premier league title, what a world we live in!
Much to my disgust some sections of fans turned on Fraser Forster to vent their frustrations, but fortunately that was a minority, one guy in particular who I spoke to was convinced that Elliott is ten times the goalkeeper Forster is, to which I said: “he’s not though is he?”
Yet again we’re left deriding an embarrassing defensive performance. From the moment i saw that bloody Guivarc’h shirt I should have guessed we were doomed.
Newcastle United: Darlow (6), Anita (3), Mbemba (6), Taylor (2), Janmaat (3), Townsend (7), Winjaldum (4), Shelvey (5), Sissoko (6), Perez (5), Mitrovic (4).
Subs: De Jong (5), Lascelles (6), Cisse (5).
Rafa Watch: Can’t seem to get anything out of the players in the first half of games, had no options with subs, given the two early injuries.
Our Fans: Stood all game long, tried to get behind the players, even gave the benefit of the doubt after the first goal, lots of singing and optimism, all gone by the third goals, to chants of “we’re going down”. And one very angry and abusive welshman stood next to me, who liked to call anyone and everyone a see you next tuesday.
Their Fans: As is my experience of St Mary’s, a very quiet and lifeless set of supporters, who don’t really do much of anything, bar the occasional verse of “oh when the saints go marching in.”
GEORGE COOK – FOLLOW GEORGE ON @C00kJnr
There’s some stiff competition, but that was one of the worst wasn’t it? It’s not the scorelines as such but the manner of the defeats, Newcastle were beaten by the 4th minute yesterday. And we should of been 1-0 before that, Southampton with two free headers in the box from a corner. Inevitably it was Shane Long who opened the scoring, Steven Taylor is still turning around and Coloccini still wakes up in cold sweats screaming Long’s name.
foot of the gas and the game petered out. Southampton did take their foot of the gas but still found themselves 2-0 up at halftime. Collectively, the Newcastle squad have been so atrocious this season its pointless singling players out, but I’ll make an exception for Daryl Janmaat for doing the single most cuntish thing I’ve seen from a Newcastle player. Having been turned inside out by a cross field pass which he tried in vain to intercept, he simply walked off the pitch feigning injury after Pelle had punished his haplessness. The Newcastle players went through the motions yesterday, Janmaat didn’t even have the human decency to do that. I sincerely hope that I am wrong and Janmaat genuinely has a career threatening injury, naturally I’d wish him a really slow and painful recovery.
By turning on my laptop and writing this match report I have now put in more effort today than the vast majority of our players did all game yesterday. Yesterday was another dark day for Newcastle United, although I’m not sure I even care anymore. I feel no pain or anger when we concede just a numb sense sadness.
If you missed the issue of The Special for this game don’t fret, you can get it by just clicking here.
As you might have seen elsewhere on the TF site, Alex and the lads recorded a Podcast-cum-Radio Show on Friday night ahead of the Southampton and you can get at by clicking here.
In case you are wondering, The Special and the Podcast are absolutely FREE.
This last week also saw us publish the latest issue of true faith (TF125). true faith is now Newcastle United’s longest running and by some distance most popular fanzine. It is the most widely-read, independent, fans-led publication in the UK. Its also absolutely FREE and its also available in digital format. You can download true faith to your PC, lap-top, Smart-Phone, i-Pad or Tablet. Its excellent on any device but I’ll confess my preference is to read it on a tablet. Anyway, just click on the image below and its all yours.