As the whistle blew for half time at White Hart Lane I couldn’t have been the only Mag to ruefully reflect how we were only 1-0 down. Chatting to a mate of mine, we agreed a discussion was impossible about what we’d just seen because there was so much wrong. We wouldn’t have known where to start. We were utterly bereft in attack, completely mundane in midfield and wobbling across the backline. Terrible down the flanks, passing awry, unable to keep possession and on and on! The HT stat of Spurs having had 70% of possession didn’t surprise anyone as we had been ragged all over the pitch and the game had the look of a complete mismatch.
It’s also undeniable that in the run-up to this game, various Mags, well-versed in the ways of our basket-case of a club were predicting either an absolute pasting or a scraped point(s). In the end they were right on both counts – we were murdered but we did scrape some points for the second season running and completely against the run of play. How I love seeing Newcastle United win at Spurs and pricking the inflated sense of self-worth this club has for itself. How Tottenham reminds me of Newcastle United and its thwarted potential.
But six seconds into the game and we were amazingly back into it with a magnificent pass from Colback and superb run and finish from Ameobi, the younger. I have been one of many to criticise Sammy Ameobi and I may do so again but he was magnificent in North London and he provided the example in terms of craft, determination, bottle and energy for others to follow. I loved it. There followed a fabulous cross from Cabella onto the head of Ayoze Perez and we were 2-1 up to the savage amusement of the away-end and those watching in on TV. Happily United dug in and Spurs, as flaky now as at any time in their history were unable to really create many goal-scoring opportunities and we finished the match with something of a dizzy euphoria about us. Naturally, Pardew has taken all of the credit for himself and referred to his Churchillian HT speech and the tactical genius of his mid-point substitutions. Whatever!
Sammy Ameobi will rightly get the plaudits for his contribution to this game (not just for the goal by the way) but I would like to put some praise the way of Steven Taylor. Taylor has done himself no favours in recent years with his panto antics and it has led to him pissing anyone off who is clocking the big phony, I love The Toon Me act. But at Spurs I thought he was excellent and he gave a good reason why I regard him as completely a superior player to Mike Williamson and who should always be in ahead of him alongside Colo. Taylor needs to drop the dancing bear routine and concentrate on playing football as he did at White Hart Lane and if he does, he’ll be showing more commitment to our just and righteous cause than the big Stevie Fist Pumps act which has pissed loads of Mags off. Just play the game Steve.
The win at Spurs is the first on the road since the 1/Mar/14 and only the second of the season as well as the seventh of the calendar year. It is the first I can recall of any Pardew team going a goal down and then coming back to win a game in almost four years of him stinking out the United dug-out. I think the occasion of the win at Spurs was an opportunity for modesty rather than bullishness. He’ll never learn.
The win however, gets us out of the bottom three but er, unfortunately did mean our NE brethren, Sunderland slipped into the relegation spots and I may have mentioned this on social media post-match. How small time we’ve become. By we, of course, I mean me. The win should give us a bit of energy in what will be a very demanding week.
We have Man City (a) in the League Cup this Wednesday night and this is a game we have to take very seriously. At the risk of coming badly unstuck, I’m not my usual pessimistic self going into this game. The same applies to the visit of Liverpool on Saturday. We might, we might get something.
Off the park, the big news of course is Ashley tightening his grip on Rangers. This has raised lots of questions amongst our support about his commitment (ha-ha) to United and the rules regarding dual ownership, the position of our own FA, Premier League and their Scottish counterparts as well as UEFA.
I have only had time to give this the most cursory of reading so I will happily stand corrected. I do not believe there is anything in the PL or the FA’s rule-book to prevent Ashley from having shares, interest or control of a club in a foreign league. The position in Scotland appears a little different where there are rules regarding share-holding but these are hardly of the nailed down, die in a ditch standards of governance which will stand in Ashley’s way of running Rangers as well as Newcastle United. So far as I understand it, the SFA will have to allow Ashley permission to have control of Rangers but I think they will go along with that request and I hope I can explain my thoughts. Scottish football is Rangers and Celtic. The Old Firm defines Scottish football. Although Celtic have left a two horse race for the title and are now involved in a show jumping exercise for the SPL, it is not something which is filling their massive fan-base with excitement. For all of the bluster about not needing Rangers, Celtic’s attendances are dropping like a stone and I would imagine the “product” © sold to TV is suffering as well. The SPL needs Rangers back in it and there isn’t a club in Scotland who would deny that, albeit reluctantly as the Ibrox side carry a lot of baggage.
Give the SPL and SFA the opportunity to have a financially stable Rangers challenging Celtic for the title and they are going to snap your hand-off. That is what Ashley will offer Scottish football and that is what, in my opinion, the authorities will accept.
You might ask why Ashley is interested in Rangers when surely having the followers of one big Northern British club loathing him on Tyneside might be enough rather than Glasgow’s famously passionate light blue following as well. That is a price he will be prepared to pay to get his hands on Rangers’ merchandising operation as well as the opportunity to pump the brands he owns and of course his bloody shop into the living rooms of Scotland every week as well as potentially Europe in the form of the Europa League and possibly even the Champions League – options which are far more affordable at Rangers in Scotland than with Newcastle United in England.
Does this mean he is on his way out of St James’ Park?
Absolutely not in my opinion. Not while he has TV money rolling in, his hands on every part of the United merchandising operation and his companies names beamed across the world due to the popularity of the Premier League. Ashley holds all of the cards.
I would imagine he will start reclaiming the debt United owed to him very, very soon and this was a point alluded to in the recent Fans Forum, where £18m is ear-marked to go from the SJP coffers to MASH.
That said, do think, this story has some legs on it yet and as it walks around, we hope to follow it.
For all of that, the sun is shining, United has won two games on the spin and life on the B&W planet isn’t, for a few days at least one of ever-circling gloom.
Have a great week.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …