Month: October 2014

26.10.2014… Spurs (a)…

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Newcastle United 2spurs

White Hart Lane… Sunday October 26th… 1.30pm

Attendance: 35,650

Ticket: £31 (£10 Reduction) – Programme: £5 (Special Edition)

Another re-tread, I hadn’t been to White Hart Lane since 1998, the day I gave up away games. Walking up Tottenham High Road following a 2-0 defeat in the pouring rain, I’d had enough. I didn’t think I’d be back, but here I was…

Again it started badly; 09:56 train from Nuneaton to Euston, plenty of time to get to London, catch a tube to Seven Sisters, get to White Hart Lane and take some pictures. Or so I thought…

‘Delayed’, the message no one wants to see, no projected time, just ‘Delayed’. Another London train pulled in that wasn’t scheduled to stop here, station staff told us not to get on, and then they changed their minds. Problems at Watford Junction, coaches from Rugby, 10:40 and we still hadn’t moved, I wasn’t going to make it. Then we moved, then there were trains to London but we were on the wrong line, backwards again at Rugby, then forwards. Milton Keynes, Watford Junction, made it to Euston for 12:30…

A sprint to the tube, no ticket queues, a race down the escalators; timing was spot-on, Victoria Line Southbound, made it to Seven Sisters for 12:50. Another train, White Hart Lane station for 13.10; a rush followed to take a few pictures of the outside of the ground…

tottenham v newcastle...

White Hart Lane: Outside…

It would be an understatement to say that I’m not a massive Spurs fan (always preferred Arsenal) but I really like White Hart Lane; it’s not much to look at from the outside (although the fact that it’s surrounded by something other than a retail park gets it big marks), but it’s great looking on the inside, ands you couldn’t mistake it for anywhere else. We’ll miss it when it’s gone…

Pictures taken, I made it into the Upper Tier of the South Stand just in time to see the teams take to the pitch…

At half-time I was wondering just why I had bothered, another typical away performance. Very little possession, no attacking threat, we were very lucky to be only one goal down. The goal, Emanuel Adebayor took advantage of some appalling defending, a free header during the 17th minute applause. A second goal before the break and we would have been finished, fortunately it never came…

A mixture of boos and apathy from the away contingent as the half-time whistle blew. If anyone had told us what was about to happen after the restart, sanity would have been questioned…

Changes, Sammy and Cabella on, within 6 seconds of the whistle it was 1-1; a great ball by Jack Colback that Spurs should have defended, Sammy left-footed across Hugo Lloris and into the corner of the net. Different flavours of disbelief for the two sets of fans…

And we kept coming, we attacked, what was Pardew thinking? We don’t do this; we put men behind the ball and hit it long to a lone striker. We were playing like a team that actually had some fight, some movement, some belief; a team that wanted to win…

59 minutes, another run by Sissoko, a cross from Cabella and Perez glanced it into the corner of the net, 2-1 Newcastle, pandemonium. Not sure what happened for the next 20 seconds but I have bruises on both legs so I definitely crashed into a few seats…

tottenham v newcastle...

White Hart Lane: Inside…

We could have had a third, Cabella shot when he could have laid it back, would we regret it…?

Spurs picked up but never really generated any concerted pressure or chances, with the exception, that is, of a Tim Krul mishandle that he pushed into his own net directly from a corner. No concern there though, the flag was already up,  the ball had gone out of play long before it reached him…

Five minutes of injury time but again Spurs didn’t really threaten; Sammy took the ball down to the corner flag directly in front of the away end and kept it there. The full time whistle blew and we were out of the bottom three…

It’s crumbs like this that keep us coming back, watching Newcastle these days is generally an experience to be endured but just occasionally we’ll twitch. A little reminder of how it could be, how it was for a short time, how it can’t be until the current regime moves on…

A much happier walk up Tottenham High Road than the last one, overhead a comment from a Spurs fan to his mate ‘They only had two fackin shots’; smiled…

Tube from Seven Sisters to Euston, and a train that flew through to Nuneaton… My voice is just about returning….

Tottenham Hotspur; Llloris, Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose (YC), Capoue (YC) (Kane 67), Mason, Lamela (Lennon 78), Eriksen, Chadli, Adebayor (Soldado 83)  Not Used; Chiriches, Vorm, Dembélé, Davies

Goals; Adebayor (17)

Newcastle United;  Krul (YC), Janmaat, Taylor S, Coloccini (YC), Dummett, Anita (Cabella 45), Colback (YC), Obertan, Sissoko, Gouffran (YC), Pérez Gutiérrez (Haidara 79) Not Used; Taylor R, Ferreyra, Elliot, Armstrong

Goals; Ameobi (46), Pérez Gutiérrez (59)

As usual, More pictures on flickr…

25.10.2014… Hemel H. (h)…

Nuneaton Town 0 Hemel Hempstead Town 0

JPR James Parnell Stadium… Saturday October 25th… 3pm

Attendance: 960

Ticket: £10 – Programme: £2

FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round, the entry point for Conference Premier sides and a chance for a brief holiday from current league related woes. Nuneaton were handed a home draw against Conference South side, Hemel Hempstead Town.

I’m genuinely struggling to say anything about this game other than, there was a first half and a second half, they both started and they both finished…

nuneaton v hemel hempstead...

Before the Match…

Both sides are currently struggling near the bottom of their respective leagues, and it showed. It was a game of very few chances that appeared to be destined to be goalless from the very early stages…

What else can I say? It was a little cold and blustery, first outing for a scarf this season, albeit a non-team allegiance related colour scheme. Black and white or generic, they’re the rules, I didn’t make them but I must respect them…

nuneaton v hemel hempstead...

During the Match…

In summary, unless my memory is worse than I thought, nothing of any interest took place whatsoever. Hopefully Tuesday night’s replay will make up for this and, as well as being a more entertaining game, Nuneaton will come out on top…

Nuneaton Town; Wren, Franklin, Streete, Dean, Cowan, Brown, Dyer (Armson 16 (Smith 82)), Fowler, Dawson, Curran, Hutchinson Not Used; Walker, Starosta, Quinn, McSweeney, Richards

Goals; None

Hemel Hempstead Town;  Walker, Asafu-Adjaye, Connolly, Parkes, Johnson, Diarra, Hawkins, Lobjoit (Lowe 61), Potton, Simmonds (Brighton 81), Toomey (Allen 61) Not Used; Oporu, King, Oli, May

Goals; None

Update:  Nuneaton didn’t come out on top in the replay; a similar game to the first tie, ending in a goalless draw. 2-0 to Hemel Hempstead Town after extra time

As usual, More pictures on flickr…

18.10.2014… Leicester (h)…

Newcastle United 1 Leicester City 0

St. James’ Park… Saturday October 18th… 4pm

Attendance: 51,886

Ticket: £29 – Programme: £3

My fourteenth game of the season and I finally made it home, St. James’ Park, NE1. Still the best ground in the country in my unbiased opinion, and possibly the centre of the universe…

It didn’t start too well, I wandered up to the ground at about two and all of the turnstiles were closed, not a good sign. Had a quick look on Twitter, rife with rumours regarding the safety of the newly installed advertising hoarding; sorry, electronic scoreboard. Anyway, it transpired that a section of the surround appeared to have loosened itself in the high winds so needed to be fixed before the match could get the all clear. Cue much craning of necks at the Leazes End

Very little information given out by police, stewards or the club via the PA system; nothing until close to three when there would have been close to 50,000 people outside the ground, to say that it was busy would be an understatement. You have to wonder about the robustness of the club’s crisis management strategy if this was the best that they could do. One steward appeared to be trying to improve morale by suggesting that ‘at least it’s not raining’, really?

At about 3.15 the turnstiles started to open and we were informed that the game would start at 4pm, at least we were going to see a game but rather unfortunate for those who had pre-booked rail tickets on specific trains and had to leave at half-time. Week by week we become more and more of a shambles…

newcastle v leicester...

The Deepening Ineptitude: 3pm Outside St. James’ Park…

So… to the match itself, Louise Taylor summed it up best in the Guardian/Observer (do you get double the money for submitting pretty much the same copy twice…?), stating that it had the look and feel of a Championship game; I’ve been to a few this season, and she was spot on.

Pretty much nothing happened in the first half, Colo missed an early chance with a real centre-half’s finish. Leicester missed a couple of chances too, Matty James missing a one on one, firing straight at Tim Krul; and just before the half-time whistle Marc Albrighton almost scored with an attempted cross that came back off the crossbar…

Into the second half, Papiss Cisse missed an open goal having launched onto a stray backpass and rounded the keeper, shooting into the side netting; the game appeared to be drifting towards 0-0. Leicester then made the mistake of trying to win it (Roy Keane suggested that this was one of the mistakes he made with Sunderland in their first season up, you get used to winning and forget that an away point in the Premier League isn’t a bad return). Anyway, they pushed on looking for a winner, Cisse broke, passed to Gabriel Obertan (having one of his better games for Newcastle) and he fired it into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.

Leicester still had a couple of chances to level, Krul making a good save and Taylor a good block. Fair play to Taylor, he may be hard to like but he played well today; perhaps if he stuck to playing football rather than making ridiculous statements to anyone who’ll listen about how much he ‘loves the club’ then he may be a little more popular. The fist pumping nonsense after the goal was particularly embarrassing.

newcastlev leicester...

Papering Over the Cracks: The Players Celebrate Gabriel Obertan’s Goal…

The final whistle sounded to scenes that would have lead you to believe that we’d just won the league, is this how much our stock has fallen? The reality is that this was our first win of the season, eight games in, after what couldn’t even be described as an adequate performance.

Three massive points then, ahead of a tough run of games. I still have this uneasy feeling that we’re just papering over the cracks though….

Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat , Taylor, Coloccini, Dummett (Haidara 72),  Anita (Pérez Gutiérrez 59), Colback , Obertan, Sissoko, Gouffran (Cabella 92), Cissé Not Used; Ferreyra, Elliot, Abeid, Armstrong

Goals; Obertan (71)

Leicester City; Scmeichel, De Laet (YC), Morgan, Moore (YC), Konchesky, Cambiasso (Knockaert 79), Albrighton (Vardy 56), James, Drinkwater, Schlupp (Nugent 56), Ulloa (YC) Not Used; Hammond, King, Hamer, Wasilewski

Goals; None

As usual, More pictures on flickr…

17.10.2014… More NS…

I wanted somewhere to put scans of complete programmes  but didn’t want to add any more noise to the main flickr page; so this is the result, More No Silverware. In this instance, however, the title may be slightly misleading. Some of the scans within relate to those rare moments when silverware was achieved…

Just the 1968/69 Fairs Cup run at the moment but hopefully it will grow over time…

Click on the programme covers, or this link to be transported to flickr…

11.10.2014… Carlisle v Stevenage…

Carlisle United 3 Stevenage 0

Brunton Park… Saturday October 11th… 3pm

Attendance: 4,011

Ticket: £19 – Programme: £2

Back home for a week, international break, Gateshead away at Forest Green Rovers,  I decided to go to Carlisle in search of football…

An admission, even though it’s only a 40 mile trip, I’d never been to Brunton Park before. In fact, the only time I’d ever seen Carlisle play was in a 5-1 defeat at Newcastle during our 1983-84 promotion season…

I have much clearer (and less fond) memories of Stevenage, or Stevenage Borough as was. I was sat in the rickety temporary stand (or to give it its technical name, ‘pile of scaffolding’) behind the goal at our 1998 FA Cup fourth round tie. To say I spent the whole match up there isn’t quite true, I spent most of the second half stood by the pitch fearing that the stand would fall down every time our fans stamped their feet.

Anyway, I digress, Carlisle versus Stevenage….

carlisle v stevenage...

Brunton Park: Outside…

Definitely getting old as I really enjoyed the trip across on the train through the Northumbrian / Cumbrian countryside, makes you very proud to call this part of the world home…

After a ten minute walk from the station I found myself outside Brunton Park, and impressions were good. A walk around the ground confirmed this, plenty of character and proper floodlights; another reminder of the grounds I used to visit with Newcastle in Division Two in the early nineties. Inside the ground was just a pleasing, a mixture of seated and standing areas with terraces behind both goals, although one of them appeared to be closed…

The teams were read out leading to another Newcastle connection, Dave Beasant was on the bench for Stevenage. Apparently they had so many injuries that they had to name their 55 year old goalkeeping coach as a substitute…

The match itself was a very one-sided affair. Carlisle dominated the early stages before Brad Potts put them ahead on 17 minutes with a shot from the edge of the box, Steven Rigg then made it 2-0 on 28 minutes from close range. The second half drifted for long periods, Stevenage finally had a spell but Carlisle gradually took charge again before Mark Beck made it 3-0 on 87 minutes…

The win took Carlisle out of the League Two relegation zone, on this evidence they should keep on climbing…

Brunton Park: Inside...

Brunton Park: Inside…

The trip back home wasn’t quite so relaxing… 1. First off, it was getting dark, so no view… 2. By the time we got to Hexham the train was absolutely rammed with middle-aged revellers in varying states of p*ssed… 3. I will never forget the simulated sex act performed by the 50+ couple to my right till my dying day… 4. Someone pulled the emergency brake at Hexham station, strangely enough the train wouldn’t move, not the most fun way to spend half an hour in Hexham…

The trip back aside though, a great trip and a great ground, I will definitely be back…

Carlisle United; Hanford, White, Archibald-Henville, Thirlwell, Grainger (YC), Dempsey, Dicker, Potts (Symington 90), Brough (Robson 73), Beck, Rigg (Elliott 76) Not Used; Sweeney, Gillies, O’Hanlon, Caig

Goals; Potts (17), Rigg (28), Beck (87)

Stevenage; Day, Henry, Charles, Wells, Deacon, Whelpdale (Johnson 30), Bond, (Calcutt 83), Parrett, Pett, Lee, Beardsley (Ashton 65) Not Used; Richens, Dembele, Conlon, Beasant

Goals; None

As usual, More pictures on flickr…