So far, our PL campaign has been abysmal at Man City, mediocre to West Ham at SJP, improved at home to Fulham, marvelous at Villa, desperate at home to Hull, woeful at Everton and outstanding at Cardiff.
Even when we’ve been terrible (Hull (h) and Everton (a)) there have been stretches of the games when we’ve looked pretty okay and when we’ve been good (Villa (a) and Cardiff (a)) we’ve had moments of supreme shittiness. It’s very difficult to analyse though there are some things that hold true:
We still aren’t doing anything from corners and set-pieces
We don’t have a central defender who can attack headers
We continue to put ourselves under pressure by a failure to work the ball out of defensive situations efficiently
We give the ball away too often in midfield and put ourselves under pressure (Sissoko being the biggest culprit and only ahead of Tiote on points)
The full-backs are consistently out of position
Hatem Ben Arfa’s prodigious talent is undone by a lack of professionalism and readiness to work for the team. He’s also our best player.
On the positives:
Krul looks like getting back to his best
We can pass the ball nicely and keep possession
The tempo we had at Cardiff and Villa makes it very difficult for most PL teams to live with us
We have loads of pace in the side that counter-attacks very well
Loic Remy is bang in form and knows where the net is
Yohan Cabaye looks hungry again
Colo doesn’t let a bad game upset him too much
Some of these positives and negatives are contradictory but this is a contrary team we have at present and unless the manager can drill some consistency into it, we’ll have a mediocre season and likely finish in the bottom half of the table. Again! If we can three or four on the spin, we’ll be full of the joys of spring, in er, spring.
But a win is a win and before the trip to Wales on the back of the nightmare at Goodison Park, I’d have been happy with a grim Nils apiece draw down in Cardiff in honesty! It puts us in good spirits ahead of the international break where we can prepare for the formidable task of Liverpool at home. The media is going completely over the top about Suarez and Sturridge but they are bang in form and looking more like what those of us of a certain vintage would recognize as a proper Liverpool side. But Alan Pardew knows the wounds of last season’s mauling by the Red Men are still open amongst the B&W cognoscenti and we will be looking for something a lot better this time out.
Before the Liverpool game at SJP, the newly formed Time 4 Change group may or may not be staging a march through the city centre. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve met the principle organizer of the Time 4 Change group and although I’m as yet personally undecided about the merits of the march, mainly because I’m unsure about its aims and objectives, long term strategy and methods, I’m more than keen to give it a platform here to make its argument.
Not that my opinion is particularly important in the grand scheme of things but in any event, I’ve sent a list of questions over to Graeme Cansdale, who appears to be the main organizer and for his own part, as a lad I’ve never previously met or had any contact with, acquitted and articulated himself very well. Hopefully, I’ll be able to publish the answers to those questions sometime soon.
I’m aware Graeme has also met Mark Jensen (The Mag) and Colin Whittle (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) as well as having a conversation with Biffa (nufc.com) also about the march. I don’t speak for anyone other than myself but I think all of us have reservations as well as sympathies and need to be convinced by a cogent, reasoned explanation of the purpose, strategy and methods of the march. I don’t think we are alone. I think many of you reading this tripe, whilst sharing a desire to see fundamental change at Newcastle United and are less than sympathetic towards Mike Ashley’s running of the club, doesn’t necessarily equate to you or I falling immediately behind a newly formed group organized by people you and I don’t know a thing about. Let’s be honest, we’ve all done a bit cringing at some events outside The Milburn haven’t we?
Our support in 2013 is intelligent, sophisticated, nuanced, skeptical and questioning.. If a large swathe of our support is to be convinced that joining a pre-match march is the correct thing to do in the interests of Newcastle United, then they will need to be persuaded by more than slogans and wishful thinking. Our support has been through so much in the last twenty years it no longer gets swept along by anyone imagining all they have to do is wave a placard around to gather the Black & White hordes to their cause. It’s just not like that anymore, if it ever was.
Gaining support for a march or continued cause will require a strong, patient argument expressing strong clarity of purpose rather than hectoring and grandstanding on social media in what currently is a rather unedifying practice.
Anyone who has been involved in any organizing of campaigns etc. knows it’s a long drawn-out and laborious process riddled with misunderstandings, mixed messages, disagreements and it wears you down. I do know this though, I have never known a single person change their mind or be persuaded through anything other than reasoned argument. Certainly not by people being shouted at or abused or threatened. Or worse, by being told they are “passionate” about their cause. Occasionally, I’m suckered into watching the X Factor with the women in my life. I think they love it as much as I loathe it but when I respond to one would-be Karaoke singer pleading with the panel “I want this so much, I’m so passionate about this Louie” my response of a “so fuck” always solicits a couple of nods of agreement before I’m expelled from the living room for being a miserable shite. Being passionate isn’t enough – you have to be clued up as well. But that’s just my opinion.
Of course, Time 4 Change doesn’t need my approval or anyone else’s for that matter. They can just get on with it and do what they want. No-one is in charge, thank God.
Sales of the new issue (TF106) are going really well and a big thank you to all of you who have forked out the necessary to buy it. It’s on sale in all half decent newsagents in, on and around Tyneside but if you can’t easily get to a newsagent you can buy it directly from us here. It’s only £3. Less than the price of a pint in an NE1 pub that doesn’t stink of piss.
More and more of you have got your hands on i-pads and tablets and take your reading material digitally these days. We do a digital subscription to true faith which also works on lap-tops and desk-tops pretty well. We work in partnership with Exact Editions, who are the leading company doing this kind of shizzle and in the time we’ve been knocking the Digital subscription out, we’ve not had a single complaint or negative comment about the service. A Digital subscription will get you instant access to an archive of the last two seasons as well. Get a Digital subscription here.
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But that’s quite enough boasting for the time being.
Remember, we are always after new blood in terms of people who want to write for the fanzine – not just about our dysfunctional football club but the game in general, gigs, books, film, terrace fashion and the rest of it. Since we re-launched the site back in July, we’ve also extended our coverage to cricket and basketball and we’d love to add coverage of The Falcons, NE non-league and NUWFC as well. If you are interested in joining us, please drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
We have established a small but expert team of bean counters (aka accountants and finance experts) who are currently looking at a variety of different elements of Newcastle United’s business operations but we are always after additional expertise to help us make sense of what is going on at United. We’ll have some stuff in the next issue that will give food for thought.
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But if writing isn’t particularly your thing but you want to contribute other skills i.e. graphic design, photography or something we haven’t thought of yet, then again, we can find stuff for you to do. Drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
But that’s enough from me, The Toon have won away for the second time in three aways, the Mackems are bottom, Kevin Ball could get the Chicken Town gig, so cheer your face up and enjoy the moment.
Have a great week.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
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