Last week was somewhat eventful but that’s not to say we all enjoyed what went on, on the
park. The Villa game may have been tedious but it gave us the right result and it pushes them closer to relegation. Good.
I think many of us, me included over-estimated Man Utd and imagined we would be taken apart as we have been on too many occasions I’d care to recall. This isn’t the Man Utd of old – the one where Scholes would cut us to pieces from the midfield or the never-ending passing, moving, pressing and flashes of brilliance that would leave us breathless and leaving SJP secretly admiring a Ferguson team that had excelled. That is not what Louis Van Gaal has at present despite the riches lavished upon his squad.
That’s not to say we deserved to beat Man Utd. They had far too much of the ball for anyone to seriously claim that but we could have beaten them but for moments of blind incompetence.
I felt we missed three golden opportunities to score. The hapless Riviere had two and Cisse had one. All three were horrendous misses. There was a fourth opportunity but that was missed by the referee who had a terrible game and failed to give a penalty for a nailed on foul on Riviere in the box. An appalling decision.
It wasn’t his only bad decision. I felt he was incredibly harsh on Jonas to give him a yellow card for his first challenge and I also felt in the run up to their goal, he had given two throw-ins to Man Utd that looked clearly to have been ours.
Anthony Taylor is from Wythenshawe in Manchester. His Wikipedia page has him being a fan of non-league Altrincham. That stretches credulity and there is evidence his Wikipedia page has been changed and originally it detailed Man Utd as the team he supports – that would be more believable. You have to wonder how he got this game given the traditional geographical neutrality that is almost always intended. Having watched the closing moments of the Villa-West Brom FAC QF I’m not suggesting Taylor is a cheat though, just that he is incompetent. That said, how Taylor can get a game officiating a team he clearly has an affiliation to is bewildering.
But United lost the game on Wednesday because we couldn’t do the basics of defending. Goufrann is way out of his depth in the PL and Abeid looked ragged on Wednesday night, frequently behind the play and playing blind balls in the midfield. Krul had had a really good game on Wednesday and had looked solid. That was undone with a dire clearance that fell to Young, who then just won the game for the visitors. Life’s shit, then you die.
There were two moments however during the game that showed both sides of the sport we
follow. The exchange in hockles between Evans and Cisse is hardly good for the image of the game. Let’s be straight – Evans started it with a snide kind of spit designed to provoke a reaction. Cisse behaved completely unprofessionally and has given the FA a very easy task in imposing a ban. He and United had no alternative to cough up to it (probably an unfortunate use of words) whereas Evans’ denial was typical of that club. The ban imposed is the tariff and personally I agree with it notwithstanding how it compares to more violent or racist offences. Spitting is plain disgusting and should be stamped out.
The impact of this ban upon Newcastle United is far more severe than it will be on Man U however. Cisse is the only player on our books who looks like he might get near to scoring a goal for us. With the injury-prone de Jong missing all season, Perez looking exhausted, Carver will have to unleash his secret weapon – the Riviere-Ferreya strike-force. I can’t wait.
The second moment was altogether more life-affirming and that was the arrival onto the pitch of Jonas Guitteraz. Now, I happen to believe that Jonas was treated appallingly by Pardew and United in the earliest stages of his illness. Why he was ever farmed out on loan to Norwich City has never been convincingly explained and I believe it won’t be until after Jonas has left the club until we will learn the truth. But that was forgotten on Wednesday night when SJP rose to pay tribute to a man who has overcome a terrible illness to not only preserve his own life but hopefully his own career as a professional footballer. I’ve no idea what the future holds for Jonas but obviously I wish him and his family all the very, very best as I am sure everyone reading this does too. It was the best moment of the season bar none and I can’t imagine it being topped.
Off the park, it was no less eventful. Some of us have been keeping an eye on the affairs of
the artist formally known as Rangers FC in Glasgow on account of the manouverings of one Mike Ashley and his minions in the Ibrox boardroom. I’m in no position to comment upon what might come next at Rangers but it wasn’t what Ashley expected and I’ll take some pleasure at the man not getting what he wants at a club that is central to the lives of thousands of its followers.
Ashley himself was again in the news for his refusal to attend a House of Commons Select Committee to answer questions regarding the zero hours contracts of his employees and his disgraceful treatment of employees at his former USC warehouse in Scotland.
See here for further details –
If ever there was an example of the arrogance and lack of accountability of the super-rich then this is it. This comes from a man who has brusquely waved away the invitation of Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah’s invitation to meet him at the House of Commons for a civilised discussion about our club, his running of it and the legitimate concerns of the club’s supporters and other stakeholders.
On a personal level, it is rude and boorish. I doubt he is bothered about his own image but it tarnishes the name of Newcastle United by association. We look a tawdry, classless outfit with him at the helm.
Then there was the minutes of the Fans Forum. Sighs. If ever there was a completely pointless exercise then this is it. It has been running for the thick end of two seasons now and for those who participate in it, I’d really be interested in learning what they think it has achieved in tangible, measurable terms.
I don’t intend to go into the detail of it all but if the minutes accurately record what happened then the questioning from fans on the forum is somewhat beige in colour and if the fear of producing an alternative account on the grounds of incurring the displeasure of Kommandant Charnley and a likely expulsion from the Forum then it’s all getting a bit North Korean. And completely pointless!
But let me have my two pennorth on what I’ve seen.
There has been some discussion about public transport on the Bank Holidays over the Christmas / New Year holiday period. Here’s a thought, why doesn’t Newcastle United get in touch with NEXUS and offer to contribute to the costs of paying transport staff for those days United has a game on at St James’ Park? Why should the cost of providing transport on a Bank Holiday for the interests of a private business fall upon the tax-payer?
It is my understanding that when Sunderland AFC puts rock concerts on at the SoS they make a financial contribution to NEXUS for extra trains to run between the regional capital where most of the hotel amenities are etc. and Wearside.
Newcastle United can help resolve this issue but only if it puts its hand in its pocket. I’ve just seen a pig fly over the Milburn Stand.
The tax-payer did not decide to pick Bank Holidays where there traditionally has never been public transport on for a major sporting event. Tax payers should not subsidise further Mike Ashley’s businesses.
Then of course there was the rather trite answer to the issue of Newcastle United not paying its staff the Living Wage and a bone-headed response that it stays within the parameters of Employment Law. Fantastically, it claimed this is a new issue. That has not prevented Hearts, Everton, Chelsea, FC United of Manchester and Portsmouth FC all stating publicly they are now committed to paying the Living Wage for their ancillary staff – the cleaners, shop staff, box office employees and groundskeepers. Add also to the list the Football Supporters Federation, hardly an organisation with the income of a major Premier League football club. Wonga on the shirt, minimum wages paid to staff, a zero hours Victorian mill-owner as the bloke in charge? This is a toxic brew at Newcastle United.
If you want to read the lot, click here –
Not for the first time I read a piece about Newcastle United in The Chronicle and wondered who had authorised it to go to print / online. I’m referring to this piece – click here
This has to be one of the most poorly researched and confused pieces written in quite some time by The Chronicle. It has a staggerringly poor grasp of the facts. Let me summarise what I understand are the pertinent points:
- The registering of St James’ Park as an Asset of Community Value by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust is irrelevant to this issue
- The land in question surrounds the St James’ Metro Station.
- NEXUS own the land. NEXUS STILL owns the land.
- The LEASE on the land had been previously purchased by Newcastle United (under the ownership of Hall and Shepherd) as preparation for the intended development of the site including a Casino and a mooted extension to the Gallowgate End as per the Milburn and Leazes Ends.
- Mike Ashley now wishes to sell the LEASE on the land
- A developer is in the process of buying the LEASE on the land
- The Newcastle United Supporters Trust wishes to discuss any development on the site and persuade it that it should be sympathetic to a future extension of the Gallowgate End, perhaps at some point in the future when the club has rediscovered its ambition and is exploiting its potential.
- The developer is currently bringing schemes for the land to discussion to the City Council
Maybe had The Chronicle attended the NUST’s Public Meeting, only a short walk from Thomson House last year, instead of googling stuff on an i-phone on the way to work on the Metro, maybe even spoken to the Trust about it, then they might have avoided a garbled and misrepresentation of what the whole thing is about. Bah!
We are going to have the new issue of true faith (TF119) out for you tomorrow. It really should have been out last week but we held back because we believed publication of the club’s accounts were imminent. They appear to have been held back. Only a cynic might suggest that was because the Fans Forum was last Monday and there was a game on Wednesday night.
We are really proud of it and think it continues to be one of the best fanzines, pound for pound in the country. We’ll have a separate piece detailing its contents online tomorrow but you can take a subscription here.
As was alluded to in the promotion we gave to the Northern League Division 1 game between West Allotment Celtic v North Shields, Saturday gone this fanzine like a number of other people involved in the NE football scene – non-league clubs, fanzines, supporters organisations and God knows what else have been targets for a local crank whose motivations can only be explained by experts in mental health in my opinion.
His speciality is in my opinion at least obnoxious dissembling and at its worst abuse, bullying, smears and lies with accusations of the most heinous kind. He brings a unique poison into the lives of people who without exception have done little to deserve it.
Over the weekend, we noted he took some evasive action and doubtless has convinced himself he has covered his tracks. He hasn’t. Far, far from it! His targets, who are many but who I believe have often endured, some times for years, his vile harassment, have felt isolated and hoped it would just stop (that pretty much sums up my own feelings) and he’ll go away have latterly realised, well after we should, that is not likely to happen. I believe the abuse he fires at others in some way provides him with a weird gratification.
What is bewildering however is that he keeps the company of one or two who appear otherwise plausible and who frequently rub their hands bemoaning an apparent schism in Newcastle United-based fan-activism, rolling their eyes in a why-oh-why can’t we all just get along schtick, feigning an ignorance of the activities of their fellow traveller who acts as the single biggest impediment to an improvement in atmosphere between those bruised by the insults of their bessie mate.
Newcastle United – you couldn’t make it up!
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