I don’t think it is betraying Newcastle United pride to concede we were fortunate to get a draw in the latest derby with The Mackems. I thought Sunderland were better organised and had a more convincing game plan than us and particularly in the first half when we were finding it difficult to get across the half-way line. Not unsurprisingly Allardyce’s team targeted Jack Colback who was filling in at left-back because the people who run our club have saw fit to start the last three seasons without one. Colback is a very limited midfielder but he’s an exceptionally poor left-back. Obviously the presence of Jermaine Defoe is a massive advantage for them in these games because we have no-one similar.
There was a chill that ran through SJP in the second half when at times we looked desperate and had no answers to the organisation and discipline Sunderland had when it seemed Allardyce appeared to be defending the 1-0. Had hippo head pressed home his team’s advantage and got a second we’d have been finished. Thank God he didn’t but also praise be to Rob Elliott’s brilliant save from Van Anholt’s shot. Had that gone in we’d have all been in a very different mood this morning.
Not that there weren’t positives to be drawn from this game. Few will argue that had McClaren been on the side-lines we would have lost this game, players who have already raised questions about the character and will to win, would have chucked the towel in and we might have been on the end of the kind of humping we’ve had the pain of experiencing under Pardew, Carver and McClaren. That we didn’t face that fate is possibly down to the men on the touchline – Allardyce for his lack of adventure and Rafa, cajoling something from this disparate band of mercenaries in whom the future of Newcastle United will be hanging in the next couple of months. Benitez kept us in the game at Leicester on Monday night until the end and he did the same in the derby where we thankfully got something of a reward and SJP exploded with joy as Mitro’s header crossed the line in front of a delighted Gallowgate End.
But the derby has gone now. We remain in a difficult position but we are still alive and we still have a chance of staying up. We cannot stop fighting. I’m delighted Benitez will have a full two weeks now to prepare this team for the trip to Norwich because little by little he is improving the team. Hopefully Cisse will have two more weeks to add to his recovery and Collocini will return to the back-line. There may be possibly more to add to the Benitez ranks but serious questions have to be asked of Carr and Charnley in what Saviet and Doumbia are doing at our club if they cannot get a sniff of an appearance having come into the club in January given the position we are in right now. Neither McClaren or Benitez appear to believe they are worth anything. Whatever happens at the end of the season – Carr and Charnley have to go because their incompetence as much as the coaches they have appointed and the strategy the club has followed under Ashley is to blame for our predicament.
And now for a commercial break – at long last we’ve taken receipt of a new consignment of true faith pin-badges. By popular demand we have had the Gallowgate and Leazes Soul pins re-made but we’ve also taken in a batch of Durham and Northumberland pin badges which were really popular last year. The new pins are a little bigger than the originals and as a result are more prominent but just as classy and dignified. Only to be worn by great lads and lasses like you. They are online now and ready for sale now.
You can see everything we have on sale here.
This current issue of true faith (TF124) is now the most widely read of any we have ever published at any time since 1999.
The numbers reading the true faith fanzine are easily about five times than the best-selling issue we ever did when we were a printed hard-copy publication. A few things combined to push us down the digital route, not least unreliable distributors, newsagents closing every other week because of diminishing newspaper sales and the sheer cost of postage which was killing our subscriptions. The fanzine was still popular as a hard-copy publication and one of the most prominent in the UK but it’s future in that format couldn’t be secured and to be honest we thought it had gone as far as it could in terms of design, content and lay-out. We wanted to keep our traditional look and feel but we also wanted to do a lot more as well. The feedback from this issue has been fantastic and really encouraging. We are now up to our eyes in preparing the next one which we’re hoping to have out for the end of March. Watch this space brothers and sisters.
We are always on the look-out for new writers and whilst Newcastle United is our number one subject, we are also interested in other football experiences and that’s why we’ll do our best to carry pieces about you lot and your adventures following the game all over the place.
Whatever it is you want to write about, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you to good use and ensure you get a massive audience for your writing.
Have a good week.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
All you need to do to get access to the current issue of true faith (TF124) is click on the image below. true faith works great on any device you care to mention and is increasingly popular on tablets and smart-phones.
Have we mentioned its FREE? Well, its FREE.