We are delighted to introduce our new panel of writers who following every game this season will combine to give their opinions on the wins, draws, defeats and the affairs of the Newcastle United day. All five are season-ticket holders at St James’ Park and regularly get on the road following United too. This famous five are rank and file Mags who have written for true faith over varying periods of time and whose views will be independent and varied. We are hoping they will provoke, inform and entertain. There is no party-line for them to hold or hidden agendas for them to follow from this fanzine’s angle.
As with everything you read online with true faith, you will have the opportunity to instantly agree, disagree, add your own perspective or generally just join the craic.
We would much prefer you to comment using your real and full name as we’d like to raise the standard of debate beyond the usual hair-splitting, pointless and tedious wind-ups, yah-boo-sucks knob-headedness associated with message-boards and other forms of social media.
The true faith TIFOSI have a rough word-limit of 300 each so they are charged with being succinct and crisp in their musings on here. We hope to have their thoughts on here as soon as we possibly can after games.
So after the game at Manchester City, on the first game of the season, read on to see what our lot made of the “curtain-raiser” © at The Etihad.
Like many of you, I wasn’t looking forward to this. In fact, I was in two minds about watching this at all and watching WWE Summerslam repeat instead. It was never going to be a good day when Arsenal bid for Cabaye – merely hours before kick-off (Ed: it was Sunday). In my mind, it was pretty rank tactics from Arsenal – but that’s another discussion entirely. We went into this game with the same mindset as last season, and again we were on the end of a howking. Only some great saves from Krul kept the score down. The back four were rank and midfield nowhere to be seen. This isn’t taking anything away from Man City, who were tremendous from the first kick. Every time I watch us surrender to them, I think back to the days when the City owners looked at us before laughing at the state of the club and heading to Manchester instead. The plus points? Ben Arfa looked lively, and hopefully a long run of games without getting crocked will really show us the player we’ve craved to see for the last three years. Sissoko and Cisse tried without having many options. Krul was the keeper of two years ago with some breathtaking saves. I’m going to have to write another 37 of these this season – not sure I’ve got it in me to do so. I should have watched Summerslam
Well, at least that one is out of the way… The biggest disappointment for me is how predictable the whole thing was. Roll up, get pumped, disappear back home. We won’t be the only side to get tonked off Man City this season, but we were terrible. There was no intention to try and cause Man City any real problems, Papisto having as bad a performance I can remember from our number 9. Just completely ineffective. I was a big Pardew fan, but slowly he’s turning me against him with every lame performance and excuse. I put this on twitter last night, but for Pardew to come out after the match and start bleating about the Cabaye bid and how it’d be a different game if he was playing. There isn’t a bigger insult to our travelling support last night than saying that. Does he REALLY believe that? Either he’s deliberately spouting bullshit or he’s more deluded than fucking Kinnear. Another one who I’m coming to the end of the rope with is Taylor. Fuck off with your fancy gimmicks. Fuck off with your fist-pumps. Fuck off with ‘Die For The Cause Cos I’m A Geordie’ attitude. Just fuck off. All in all, a start that we all expected. I said it to a lad in graft last week, our season starts on Tuesday morning, not Monday night. Sadly, United did everything they could to prove me right. The two up top of Gouffran and Cissé has potential to work, I hope he sticks with that, and Sissoko playing a little bit deeper too. Start with Anita in them midfield 3, he can string things along on Saturday, and let Ben Arfa float behind the top two. Already got a bad feeling about Saturday, that fat headed twat always does us over… even when he was our manager! Welcome back lads!
Don’t get me wrong, I like many (all?) of you didn’t expect a win; I didn’t even expect a draw. I predicted 6-0 to City so is 4-0 a bonus? Not really. Our performance last night and the whole pre-match media circus summed up what is wrong with this club. It’s not about Pardew spouting ridiculous vox pops….or being tactically inept…..or looking like he was going to cry before the match. It’s a about something very rotten emanating from the Fat Man at the top. If Cabaye wants to go then so be it, I’m not actually that arsed as long as the money is reinvested in quality players and we get a decent wedge. What I don’t expect is a spineless Manager to roll-over and accept the fact that ‘his head had been turned’. Bollocks, he’s an employee until he is sold so he plays. If he doesn’t, fine him and let everyone know he refused to play. Debuchy looked a liability; Tiote barely touched the ball and then when he did, gave it away. Cisse was awful but to be fair when you are permanently isolated against 6 of the best defenders in the Premiership then what do you expect. Mapou lost his rag and Taylor….good old whacky, Geordie jokey banter merchant….he could have conceded about 3 pens before he walked for being a total tool. Mr Newcastle indeed. Defending with his arms like he has got fucking wings. Positives??? Dummet looked canny and Krul was immense. Ben Arfa, although carrying timber, looked canny but nowt has changed since last season. Tactically inept, no creativity, players lacking cohesion and a Manager who should have a yellow stripe painted down his back. I dont give a shit how good City are…we looked like we had lost from the kick off. The circus is well and truly back in town and I fear there could be a few maulings on Saturday.
Pardew had managed to dodge any comments about the inevitable sale of Cabaye and we were playing 4-3-3. What could possibly go wrong? City began the game with aplomb, their exploits in the transfer window and clear game plan, a direct contrast to our good selves. Attacking down the right with the sublime partnership of Zabaletta and Navas exploiting the combined lack of pace and inexperience of Jonas and Yanga-Mbiwa. It was, however, the other side of the field where they struck first; Dzeko bombing effortlessly past Debuchy and crossing to Silva while Taylor stood, oblivious. This was to become a common theme of the game, both Taylor and Debuchy competing to be Newcastle’s biggest liability.
City’s pace on the counter attack undoing us again on 21 minutes, Cissé losing the ball high up field and Agüero beating the run of Taylor to slot easily past Krul. By then we looked like we’d given up, after every long ball bouncing off Cissé’s shins, he looked like he’d stopped bothering to even try and control it. Taylor gave a classic handball performance which was inexplicably missed by the referee, before making up for it by fist-pumping the back of Agüero’s head to earn him a straight red card.
By the second half it was nothing from United but damage limitation. Aimless balls to no-one in the box, Tioté giving the ball away, substitute Anita giving exactly what he has given to the team since signing: nothing. 74 minutes and Nasri outpaced Debuchy’s ludicrous attempt to be sent off to slot another one home. The inevitable Touré goal came from a free kick that Cissé and Anita, in the defensive wall, both turned their pretty heads from. The only players who looked like they gave a shit and displayed any creativity were HBA and Sissoko, while the rest gave up before half time.
Watching Newcastle was like watching a squid trying to operate a calculator. I didn’t want to be negative tonight, but there was little else to say. Something needs to change. Now.
Defeat was inevitable. Defeat I can take. Problem is in the world of Newcastle United it’s never just that. Naturally there was suspension, injury and a bit of pre-match bad news thrown into the mix. Truth be told I’m struggling to find the words. I just want to forget it ever happened. Since Saturday the excitement’s been slowly building and it was an agonising wait for tonight. Now though whatever bubble I was in (and it was one that somehow enabled me to declare pre-match that we could get a point) has well and truly burst. The evening didn’t start well with the omission of Yohan Cabaye, despite Arsenal’s £10m derisory bid being dismissed out of hand. For the first time in PL history we lined up with no-one on debut, but for once I can’t really knock AP’s team selection. To get anything from the evening we needed to keep it tight early doors. We were one down before the clock read five and two down inside 22 minutes. From then on in it was always going to be a case of damage limitation, particularly when Steven Taylor decided to give us a full demonstration of his brainpower. Having just made a stunning one handed save to deny Aguero, our no 27 dropped his arm into the Argentinians head and was dismissed. Yes it was soft, but it was also needless and won’t get rescinded in a million years. Plenty to mull over for the next few days, with Paul Dummett’s about the only bright spot. A result and a performance are desperately needed on Saturday. Anything less and AP will be sitting rather uncomfortably come the evening.
P.S. Not a clue what Jamie Carragher said post-match