The optimistic amongst us forecast this at Old Trafford. The more morose (hello there) imagined of the two games this last week in South Wales and the Borough of Trafford, it would be the former that would provide the greatest likelihood for points and despite the absence of Rooney, a less than 100% fit RVP we would succumb in front of the Stretford End as we always do. Best case scenario and we’d be railing at the injustice of Red-friendly refereeing but returning up the A1 with nothing as is our default position following the trip to the Champions. Not this time.
Man Utd are on the wobble. The defeat they sustained in the week to Everton and previously less than convincing performances and results this season is sending a tremor of doubt throughout the evil empire and fair play to everyone at Newcastle United for taking full advantage. I felt it was midfield where we won this game with Cabaye and Tiote reprising their performances of the 11/12 season when we bashed the Reds up at SJP in a 3-0 win for United. They were excellent. Once again, Pardew is at this season’s best when organising a team against superior (sic) opposition when a tactical conservatism is acceptable and the average Mag understands we’ll have long spells without the ball and on the back-foot.
Tactically and motivationally we were spot on. Pardew has now achieved something the celebrated managerial heroes KK and SBR never did: a win at Old Trafford over Manchester United, albeit they always faced Ferguson rather than a David Moyes who has the aura of Frank O’Farrell the more I look at him. I dare not tell you the pleasure I would take in this lot entering a truly barren period that would sort out every small-time loud-mouth “Red” from every-where-ville. How delicious it was to see the stands emptying and hearing the booing at full time. Ferguson exhorted the Man Utd following to support Moyes as he bade exit stage left and they promised they would. They would have kept the promise had the wins kept coming but Old Trafford yesterday was witness to a collective smacked arse face of a support unable to keep its word to a club and a man who has given them the riches, the likes of us, will never see. It was fabulous.
This was the result that settled the debt of an abysmal derby defeat. We’re all square now.
The win at Old Trafford is all the more baffling given it came after a defeat to an under-strength Swansea City when we played within ourselves, seemed lacking in confidence, made some mistakes and ended up blaming the persistently shit refereeing of Howard Webb. We all know we didn’t lose that game in Wales just because of Webb’s shit refereeing.
Still, after winning at Man Utd, I don’t want to dwell on that and deny ourselves any satisfaction of a win at the home of the current PL Champions – our first since the days of Joe Harvey (1972).
Obviously, being on 26 points before we reach the middle of December is a good return and sets us up for a big push in the New Year. Before we get to the half-way stage however, we have games up and coming with Southampton (h), Crystal Palace (a), Stoke (h) and Arsenal (h). What this season is telling us is no game can be taken for granted and all those games present formidable challenges in their own different ways. I like the way Southampton play – they are well-organised, keep the ball well and work-hard. I also think they have a fair bit of talent in attacking positions and their Italian manager (okay, maybe Argie) seems to possess a good tactical awareness. They will take some breaking down and containing at SJP and I see this type of game as one which tests our manager and coaching team given the expectation we do most of the attacking and put them under pressure throughout the game. For me, I’d hope the SJP congregation stays patient and doesn’t expect too much, too quickly. We’ve been at these After The Lord Mayor’s Shows many times before haven’t we? Southampton is a good side. They should be treated with respect in the dig-out, on the pitch and from the stands (please, no more of this SHOOOOOT crap whenever we are on the edge of the box – it puts pressure on players and well, it’s a ll a bit fucking X-Factor isn’t it?).
Of course, with things, generally going well on the park, we’re braced for some bollocks up and coming in the transfer window. Whether that means, Ashley will continue to starve the squad of investment or worse, cash in any one of our saleable assets, remains to be seen but what is certain is I find it incomprehensible, we wouldn’t invest in a position of strength. But then, like you, I view Newcastle United as a football club rather than something altogether different as Mike Ashley does. These opportunities have presented themselves before and they have not been taken. Mike Ashley is NOT a fan of Newcastle United FC. Never will be!
The second meeting of the Fans Forum is on the horizon – on the 16th of December if I’m not mistaken. Let’s see if something that begun life as a half decent idea hasn’t been completely castrated by the club’s disgraceful decision to ban the Newcastle United Supporters Trust over a tiff about protocol. Just to reiterate, the NUST is the ONLY members-based supporters’ organisation with elected officials, connected to Supporters Direct, in itself funded by the Premier League and supported by national Government. It is accountable to NUST members whilst others on the Fans Forum are a mixture of the unknown, unaccountable and most definitely unelected. Of course, I would not wish to question the motives of all of those remaining on the Forum i.e. those representing Disabled Supporters have a clear and worthy purpose. There are doubtless others who are well-meaning and unaware they are part of a box-ticking exercise. But others? Hmm, I’m not sure what their agenda is beyond “improving communications” (Jesus, does anyone really need to be told what Ashley’s motives are after all this time?) but if being suckered into providing PR scoops for WONGA is it, then the likes of me are going to struggle to see beyond them being content to be patronised by club officials every couple of months.
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!
Anyway, let’s see where the Fans Forum gets with the questions we and others have been asking:
Why are all income streams into the club (bar TV) shrinking whilst those around us are increasing?
Has Ashley been paid the £18m identified in last year’s accounts?
Where does the money (from supporters) from NUFC.DIRECT (a company owned 100% by Sports Direct) go?
Why did Newcastle United pay Sports Direct £1/2m as detailed in the last accounts?
Can the club confirm The Academy has achieved its Category One status after failing at the first round?
We’re delighted we are on a good run of results but that should not blind us to what is going on at Newcastle United and questions asked by supporters should be answered.
Many thanks to all of you who have voted for true faith in the FSF Awards! The doo is at The Emirates (home of the Arsenal) and we’ll have a badly behaved shooting party of pasty-faced malcontents in attendance. To be honest, we are all delighted at being on a shortlist of six for the Fanzine Award and for the third time in succession. That’s enough recognition for us to be happy with to be honest but we’ll give you the gen from the night as soon as possible thereafter.
Well, you don’t need me to tell you to have a great week but I will.