Month: February 2015

28.02.2015… Aston Villa (h)…

Newcastle United 1 Aston Villa 0

St. James’ Park…… Saturday February 28th… 3pm

Attendance: 51,573

Ticket: £29Programme: £3

Another awful game but three very important points…

If there is a plus side, it’s that we’ve hopefully helped the Vile on their way. I won’t go on and on about why as it’s getting boring, I just want to see them rot. If it came down to an either/or, I’d rather Sunderland stayed up. When we came straight back, large sections of the press underplayed Chris Hughton’s achievement, let’s see if this lot can manage 43k and 102 points…

Nice to see that they’re still being creative with the bed sheets too…

newcastle v villa...

2.15pm: Inside St. James’ Park

Anyway, I guess I should mention the game for once. The usual unimaginative dross, barely beating the team currently second bottom of the league…

The first half just sort of happened, Villa having marginally the better of it before we scored with our first attack…

The second half wasn’t any better; it’s coming to something when you’re wishing that the game would end so that you can get home. We don’t enjoy anymore, we endure; week after week, month after month, year after year, we endure…

Surely we deserve better than this, or would that suggest those ‘unrealistic expectations’ that we allegedly possess…?

newcastle v villa...

Second Half Action…

Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat, Williamson (YC), Coloccini, Haidara (Taylor, R 61), Obertan (Gouffran 78), Abeid, Sissoko, Ameobi, Cissé, Riviere (Pérez 73)

Not Used; Anita, Gutiérrez, Armstrong, Woodman

Goals; Cissé 37

Aston Villa; Guzan, Hutton (YC), Okore, Clark (YC), Lowton (YC) (Bacuna 82), Cleverley (YC), Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor (YC) (Weimann 73), Benteke, Sinclair (N’Zogbia 66)

Not Used; Sánchez, Gil, Given, Grealish

Goals; None

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

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21.02.2015… Man City (a)…

Manchester City 5 Newcastle United 0

Etihad Stadium…… Saturday February 21st… 5.30pm

Attendance: 45,602

Ticket: £44Programme: £3

Let’s get the misty eyed niceties out of the way early, my first trip to Manchester City since I paid £12 to watch the famous 3-3 draw at Maine Road in 1996; the less happy bit follows below…

Unacceptable, completely unacceptable. Getting thumped I can take, follow any football club for long enough, particularly away from home, and you learn to accept that occasionally this will happen. What I will never be able to accept is a lack of effort, character or any semblance of team spirit. All of those ingredients were missing today, along with even the most basic tactical awareness; this was as bad as it gets…

John Carver’s excuse was the early penalty but does that really excuse the ineptitude of the 89 minutes that followed?

So I’m going to ignore the game, most of our players did, I don’t see why I should be any different. Let’s just say, they turned up, played very badly, got back on the coach and went home….

Instead, I’m going to focus on ‘the product’…

man city v newcastle...

Millennium People…

The stadium… My first trip to The Etihad; not impressed, it doesn’t impose, it’s just there and it has sky blue seats. In fact, it wouldn’t be out of place in a JG Ballard novel, corporate, sterile, overly regulated, football attendance as leisure activity. Big screens everywhere, all giving out the same thinly veiled messages to consume, numerous official outlets throughout ‘the campus’ in which to do so. An ‘Arsenal approach’ to history, images all over the shell of the stadium, any references to Manchester City v1.0 hidden at the back. It fools no one, and it’s never really going to work when there’s an Etihad Airways logo stamped across Dennis Tueart’s arse..

The stewards…  I thought Chelsea were heavy handed but at least they were polite. Outside the the ground… Sniffer dogs, coats undone, full body search, full bag search (including every pocket within the bag) and the opening and searching of the HMV bag inside my bag; the guy in front of me was even asked to remove his hat. Just a thought, but could a Belle & Sebastian album ever be used as an offensive weapon, can you twee someone to death? Inside the ground… A steward (wearing safety glasses?) to every row of seats during the match, no access to the toilets via the gangway next to the home supporters during the game, constant abuse from a very easily identifiable minority of home fans going unpunished… ‘Welcome to Manchester’…

And Manchester… The embarrassing appropriation of one aspect of mainstream laddish ‘Manchester Culture’ throughout; New Order, Oasis, James, Richard Ashcroft, The Happy Mondays, Doves (don’t play anything too left-field, you may frighten people)… Who are you trying to fool? This is a rootless football franchise, it could just as well play its home games on the moon, I’m sure that one day, it will…

So, this is it, the new, improved Manchester City, a designer zombie club destined to play in a European Super League,  ‘Manchester Thanks You, Sheikh Mansour’….

man city v newcastle...

Rushing To Paradise…

What next for us then, where do we fit in? We’ll continue to drift under the current regime but our long-term fate is still to be decided. One day, when Ashley goes (and takes his hangers-on with him), we will have an opportunity to be something better. We must never be seduced into buying into this airbrushed nonsense as an alternative though; without it we can never win the Premier League, we can never qualify for the Champions League but we can win a far more valuable prize, our heart and soul. We could have our club back…

The fate of this franchise has already been decided, they wear sky blue shirts, they win matches, they win trophies but they’re not Manchester City. By contast, we’re currently on life support but we do have one thing that they don’t, the tiniest glimmer of hope that one day we can recover and return to being what we should be, Newcastle United…

Manchester City; Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (YC), Mangala, Kolarov, Nasri (Lampard 70), Fernandinho, Touré (YC), Silva (Jesús Navas 59), Dzeko (YC), Agüero (Bony 60)

Not Used; Fernando, Caballero, Clichy, Demichelis

Goals; Agüero (2 pen), Nasri (12), Dzeko (21), Silva (51, 53)

Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat (Taylor, R 71), Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara, Colback (YC), Anita (YC) (Abeid 45), Gouffran (Obertan 86), Sissoko, Pérez, Cissé

Not Used; Ameobi, Riviere, Armstrong, Woodman

Goals; None

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

07.02.2015… Wolves (h)…

Nuneaton Town 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

JPR James Parnell Stadium…… Saturday February 7th… 3pm

Attendance: 255

Ticket: £5 – Programme: None

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon that ended in a 4-0 win for Nuneaton Town; hopefully some confidence can be taken from this and carried over into the remaining league games. I’m not expecting miracles but a few wins before the end of the season would be nice…

nuneaton v wolves...

Birmingham Senior Cup: First Half Action…

Nuneaton went in 1-0 up through a goal from Andy Brown. Brown then added the second early in the second half, before Theo Streete added a third and Rob Ogleby a fourth just before the end…

Next round, away to Causeway United in the quarter-final on Tuesday 3rd March…

nuneaton v wolves...

Birmingham Senior Cup: Second Half Action…

No match for me next Saturday. Newcastle ‘not prioritising’ the cup; Nuneaton away to Gateshead, just a little too far. Would find myself another game closer to home but nursing a serious wallet hit as a result of three of my next four games being Newcastle games; Man City away (£44), Aston Vile home (£29), Manchester United home (£47 for the same seat), that’s Premier League prices for you. Throw in some train fares from the Midlands and you’re talking penury…

Surely, following the announcement last week of a new £5.14 billion TV deal, the very least that the Premier League clubs could do is to listen to the FSF and adopt the Twenty’s Plenty attitude to away ticket pricing. I paid £5 to get in today and the game was a lot more entertaining than the vast majority of top flight matches that I’ve attended this season…

Nuneaton Town; Dibble, Wheeler, Franklin, Streete, Dean, Whitehouse, Mafuta (Walker7 7), Maris, Armson (Dyer 60), Nardiello, Brown (Ogleby 60)

Goals; Brown (18, 47), Streete (65), Ogleby (88)

Not Used; Sodje, Cowan

Wolves; McCarey, Matinyadze, O’Hanlon, Weeks, Upton, Matgreitter, Reid, Kellerman, Wilson, Enobakhare (Rainey 39), Hunte

Not Used; Hyden, Burgoyne, Ortrega, Graham.

Goals; None

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

31.01.2015… Hull City (a)…

Hull City 0 Newcastle United 3

KC Stadium… Saturday January 31st… 12.45pm

Attendance: 23,925

Ticket: £35 – Programme: £3

Another odd day; I couldn’t get a ticket in the away end, so had to sit quietly in the main stand, very difficult when Remy Cabella scored…

My first trip to Hull since 1990, they still played at Boothferry Park back then and were relegated to Division 3 at the end of the season, although on the day they beat us 2-1 in front of 8,375 supporters. They showed footage of the game on the big screen before the match, funnily enough there was no footage of our two meetings from the previous season, a 3-1 league win and a 1-0 FA Cup Third Round victory

Not going to get carried away though as Hull were inept, all we had to do all afternoon was sit off and wait for them to give the ball back…

hull v newcastle...

Pre-Match: Outside a Very Cold and Wet KC Stadium…

Ninth away game of the season, six trains there and back, on a ticket costing £65.50 but that doesn’t entitle me to a loyalty point because I’m not a season ticket holder…

It’s getting to the point where I’m losing interest again, maybe it’s my age but retracing my steps this season hasn’t been as much fun as I was expecting it to be. Something has definitely changed, maybe it’s the disconnect between fans and players, maybe it the soulless stadia or how corporate everything appears to be, possibly a mixture of the three and more. I guess that’s the Premier League for you, it’s not going to change so what can I do…?

hull v newcastle...

The View From the Main Stand: Kick Off Approaches…

Hull City; McGregor, Elmohamady (YC), Dawson, Davies, Robertson (YC) (Brady 71), Meyler (YC)(Aluko 56), Livermore (YC), Huddlestone, Ramírez, Hernández (YC), Jelavic

Not Used; Bruce, McShane, Harper, Quinn

Goals; None

Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara, Anita (YC), Colback, Cabella (Gouffran 72), Sissoko, Ameobi (Abeid 92), Pérez (Cissé 82)

Not Used; Santon, Obertan, Riviere, Alnwick

Goals; Cabella (40), Ameobi (50), Gouffran (78)

As usual, more pictures on flickr…