Bloody hell, the bounce back from that lacklustre performance and abysmal result down at the SoS a fortnight ago continues though I don’t suppose Alan Pardew would argue that but for the brilliance of Tim Krul we would have been traipsing away from London with absolutely nothing. That probably does a disservice to how well United played in the first half when we were very well-organised, pressed Tottenham all over the pitch and played for each other. I love seeing our team grafting like this and despite fighting a rear-guard action for just about the whole of the second-half, I think our courage and desire, not to mention Tim Krul’s heroics merited the three points. It puts us in a decent position going into the international break and with two home games against Norwich and West Brom up and coming we have every reason to be optimistic of kicking on towards the end of 2013 and put any thoughts of a season of struggle to bed. It’s my contention that any Newcastle United team that finishes outside the top ten of the Premier League has failed and that modest aspiration should be the minimum we expect from those in charge at SJP.
Of course, the manager and his staff will need to guard against complacency. After all, this is a group of players which has lost at home to Hull and away to Sunderland but which has held Liverpool with ten men, beat Chelsea at home with something to spare as well as defeated Spurs away. There is something of a split personality in this side but if we are to climb the table and stay there, we will need to win the bread and butter contests and regard days like Chelsea and Spurs as the added extras.
To be fair to United, those results have been achieved with two of our better players out of form (Cisse and Ben Arfa) as well as Colo (still Newcastle United’s most important player in my opinion), S. Taylor, Marveaux and Guitteraz missing for different reasons. We are in better shape than many of us, myself included, anticipated, though I believe this is more accident than design. There is also, a very long way to go.
Although Loic Remy is receiving many plaudits (and rightly so) I think I’d like to point to two players who have been performing extremely well. The first is Mike Williamson. I’ll be honest and say I regard Williamson as a Championship player in terms of quality but it would wrong to deny he has been putting in excellent performances lately. He is 100% committed and taking his opportunities with both hands. The other is Yoan Gouffran, which I’m sure will delight those who have listened in to my robust (cough) assessments of the former Bordeaux man’s qualities in the true faith Podcasts and took delight in reminding me of them after last week’s Chelsea result. Fair play, it’s all good natured and demonstrates there’s a reason why I’m a gob-shite fanzine blurt and others are gainfully employed as scouts and coaches etc. To be fair to me (Excuse Klaxon) I still don’t believe Gouffran is a good enough striker for us but it would be absolutely churlish not to recognise the spirit, commitment Yoan has put in as he’d played down the flanks, grafting hard and running himself into the ground for our just and righteous cause. If Gouffran is going to be in the team, I think that’s his position and on attitude and work-rate alone, he has something that Fatty .. sorry Hatem Ben Arfa could learn a lot from. Long may it continue.
Shit, we’re doing another Podcast this week and I just know those two big bullies are going to gan on about Rubbish-Gate.
Of course, a couple of decent results should not blind us to what is going on at United and its self-evident there is something wrong at a club which bans the local press as well as expels Newcastle United’s only properly constituted, members-based organisation from the Fans Forum. Newcastle United is far from being a club at ease with itself. That this ridiculous state of affairs has rolled into another week tells you everything about the lamentable manner in which the club is led.
As for the NUST being expelled from the Fans Forum, for what we are told is a debatable point of protocol (publishing their report before NUFC, even though the club was late) – just all seems so petty and adds fuel to the fire that United were pissed off about something else. That something else was probably Lee Charnley and John Irving being sore at the news being laid bare that Ashley pays the club absolutely nothing for wall-to-wall advertising around SJP and the training ground etc at a time when Pardew and Kinnear and previously Llambias have lectured us on the need for United to “wash its own face” financially. Ironic those working for Ashley’s United should lecture us about prudence at a time when United’s commercial income has shrunken dramatically over the six years of Ashley’s er, stewardship and the club is frittering away a huge potential generator of income, which ultimately means we are weaker on the pitch.
I’m afraid beating Chelsea and Spurs doesn’t alter the fact that Newcastle United is going nowhere under Ashley and remains rotten to the core behind the scenes.
In terms of how United operates, we have some key pieces in the new issue of true faith (TF107) which will be out this coming Friday. I don’t pretend this next issue will be an easy read but our relevant writers, all qualified and practising in different fields of accountancy will ably demonstrate, Newcastle United is far, far from being the sensibly run club we have had spun to us by Llambias, Pardew and laughably, Joe Kinnear.
We’ll have full details as to what is in the new issue (TF107) soon but keep an eye out, it will be on sale this weekend. No-one at true faith will claim this is the definitive summary regards Newcastle United’s finances and operations but it will raise questions, the club should be able to respond to but this series is by no means at an end. We have more questions.
We had some good news in the true faith bunker this week and to celebrate we popped open a brand new bottle of Panda Pop. For the third occasion in succession, the Football Supporters Federation has shortlisted us for the Fanzine of the Year in their forthcoming awards. The big night is on 16/Dec/13 at The Emirates Stadium. That’s a short-list of six including the current holders and previous winners United We Stand (Man Utd) and The Square Ball (Leeds United) respectively, who I’m sure will be out front there as leading contenders. The highly respected Sunderland fanzine, A Love Supreme will also be a favourite to take the title as will campaigning new-comer, STAND AMF (Against Modern Football) with Chester’s City’s Blue & White, a refreshing newcomer (in paper format) from the lower divisions and with a growing reputation. It’s incredibly encouraging and a great honour for us to be in such distinguished fanzine company!
We are told the decision to select the winner will be based upon the number of votes cast in our favour as well as by an FSF Panel. We are well aware at least one of the other titles nominated for the award is taking things very seriously and really mobilising to get their vote out. So, we’ll need you lot to help us stay in the race by doing a bit of clicking in our favour.
If you want to vote for us, just click here
And you could send the link to other right-minded members of the Black & White and faithful congregation.
Hopefully, the judges will recognise:
- A 64-page, full colour professionally designed publication, published on top grade paper that has just racked up 107 issues
- Virtually advert-free
- Produced entirely by volunteers working in their spare time around other work and family commitments
- The consistent quality of our writing
- The diversity of our coverage
- The depth of our analysis
- The Podcasts we produce and deliver absolutely free of charge to listeners
- The Saturday Special Newsletter send out weekly to subscribers completely FREE.
- The weekly Video Blog, again at zero cost to our readers / viewers
- The massive amount of content available via our Blogs from true faith scribblers all over the world (Malawi, Senegal, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Greece, Australia with newcomers ready to come on stream in New York and Saudi Arabia).
- The FREE match-day coverage provided online with true faith match reporters at every single game the first team plays
- Our long-established and consistent support for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the back page advertisement we give to the Check ‘Em Lads, the group raising awareness of testicular cancer
- Our support for the Show Racism The Red Card campaign
- Our steadfast support for Kick It Out
- Our real support for FSF campaigns – Game 39, Twenty’s Plenty and Safe Standing.
Anyway, have a great week.