Newcastle United will not be relegated because we lost 1-0 at Arsenal. We could be relegated because we couldn’t beat Aston Vile, lost heavily to the Mackems, lost to West Brom, lost to Swansea and lost at home to Everton and couldn’t beat Stoke.
If as one sage commented on social media if the sign of a good team is winning when not playing very well, then it might be the case that bad teams lose when they do play well.
Our performance at Arsenal was what I’m coming to understand as typical McClaren. We are playing containment games against the better sides and we have wrung some decent results and promising performances when we aren’t expected to be anything but cannon fodder. No-one is really unhappy about possession stats, sitting deep and all the rest of it when we lose at a spluttering Arsenal and many of us are now so beaten down by Ashley’s strangulation of our club that we see a result at the Emirates of only 1-0 as not bad.
We could and should have done better at Arsenal. There is no question that Petr Cech is a fine goalkeeper and he could be the difference between them winning the PL or not but I’m not having it that his performance against us was one of any kind of virtuosity. Elliott has been pulling saves off like that since he came into the side and hasn’t had a media slavering at his every move. Do not imagine for one moment I’m suggesting Elliott is the equal of Cech. I’m not. I agreed with Shearer on MoTD when he commented that Wiljandum should have scored – a chip or a shot to the far post as Cech came out to close Gini down was in order. I didn’t think he should have taken an extra touch but rather hit it first time as it came across his body.
But we didn’t score and truth be told there were a few half chances but we didn’t put them away either. It’s no real surprise that we conceded a goal after Colo didn’t win the aerial challenge.
So then, we got a bewildered McClaren scratching his head and trotting out another hard-luck story. Apologies if this seems a little bitter but our club is sinking like a stone and with our next home game against Man Utd on the 12th of this month followed by a strong West Ham with you know who up front and then Watford and Everton away, the prospects look well, er challenging. I’ve decided to try and not even mention the FA Cup 3rd Round this Saturday at Watford because I expect another McClaren promise to be smashed to smithereens at Vicarage Road. They were very unlucky against Man City last weekend I thought.
It’s my belief that signing some promising players from France, Holland or wherever with sell on potential may represent throwing good money after bad this window. For me, it would be folly and Ashley has to intervene seriously to keep us in the Premier League and with something more far-reaching than signing a few cheques for the latest player in Ligue 1 who has caught his eye. He needs to sack Charnley, replace him with a seriously competent CEO with proper football experience, appoint a proper manager rather than a serial failure like McClaren (my choice would be Moyes) and allow him to sign four players who will scrap to keep this club of ours in the Premier League.
I don’t think there is much debate as to where the holes are in the first eleven – we need a proper left-back (we’ve not had one since Enrique did the off to Anfield), we need a central defender in the Shawcross mould who will attack the ball when it’s in the air and reduce our vulnerability to the kind of soft-goals we conceded at The Emirates. In midfield we need someone in the middle of the park who can put his foot on the ball, pick a pass, spot runners and my choice would have been Yohan Cabaye but he’s gone now. Jonjo Shelvey? I don’t know but I do know we can’t play two defensive midfielders when we are up against the likes of Bournemouth, West Brom et al. Do we need a winger? You mean like another one? We have Obertan, Marveaux, Thauvin in various stages of disappointment and don’t forget about Sammy Ameobi down in Wales in some baffling loan arrangement with Cardiff City. Whatever we need, pace is desperately in demand.
But at the top of our shopping list is a striker. Preferably one who knows where the back of the net is and when he does arrive is ready to go straightaway and start banging the goals in immediately. The club have created a situation now which is almost impossible for a player to come in, settle into the team and be gradually be introduced to the first team picture. Hit. The. Ground. Running.
This is the first week of the transfer window, McClaren said the team would be reshaped over three windows. All that patter has been ripped up for arse-paper now God knows how many years of neglect is catching up with us but there has to be action but hopefully it will have an impact.
McClaren? Charnley? Carr? Moncur? Ashley?
Forgive me my serious reservations with that lot.
Just to reiterate there is a book of condolence at St Andrew’s on Newgate Street in Newcastle (nr. Gallowgate).
There will also be a memorial service for Pavel at St Andrew’s Church on Wednesday 13/Jan/2016 at 12 Noon
Anyone wishing to send cards of sympathy should post them to:
Smutecní obradní sín Starý Bohumín 735 81
As a tribute to Pavel we have been selling the t-shirt Pavel Is A Geordie which is similar in design to the one our ex-goalie wore in the sunshine back in the 1992/93 season when we had just battered Leicester City 7-1 on the last day of that wonderful season. The whole atmosphere around United was the complete opposite to what it is now. There was a great feeling of unity between fans and players and I suppose nothing summed that more up than Pav proudly wearing the Pavel Is A Geordie t-shirt to the delight of the SJP crowd who had taken him to our hearts over that season and would do so for many seasons after as well.
100% of the profit raised from the sale of the t-shirts will be divided equally between the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the Freeman Heart Unit and a trust fund that exists for Pavel Srnicek’s children. I don’t expect life-changing amounts of money to be raised via this t-shirt but that’s not really the point. It is just to be hoped some small solace can be wrung from a desperately sad situation.
There are certain players who just seem to click with our support and Pavel was one of them. Pavel was born and bred thousands of miles away from our city but he was a long time servant and all of his former team-mates give testimony to his good nature and his professionalism. He was a good goalie and few would deny that. That he returned to the city regularly after he had hung up his gloves says much for the bond between Pavel and the people who continue to love Newcastle United and hold it dear. He was one of us and we’ll remember him fondly.
These t-shirts are £15 plus P+P.
Just click here to buy one.
As I alluded to above we have Watford away in the third round of the FA Cup this Saturday. I don’t think I’ll be the only one scrutinizing the team-sheet for this game given the apparent and very well publicized change of heart about Cup competitions we were told about at the start of the season by McClaren. Remember also Ashley’s pledge to win a trophy.
At KO Saturday down at Watford we’ll understand if all of that was the bunk many thought it to be.
This is the first of these columns of 2016 and I should wish you all a very Happy New Year. On behalf of the team that puts out this fanzine may I wish you and your families a prosperous and healthy new year. I don’t expect Newcastle United to do anything other than boil our collective piss for the next twelve months but hey, you never know, football can change quickly and hope springs eternal.
All the best to Black & Whiters everywhere.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …