Month: January 2016

23.01.2016… Watford (a)…

Watford 2 Newcastle United 1

Vicarage Road… Saturday January 23rd… 3pm

Attendance: 20,611

Ticket: £25 – Programme: £3.50

A second trip to Watford in a fortnight, and a very similar outcome…

According to Steve McClaren, ‘Apart from the two goals, the performance was terrific’. Comments like that are deeply patronising to the fans that travelled, as well as clearly not being true.

The good performances continue to be the exception, the poor performances continue to be the norm…

watford v newcastle...

Fantastic Voyage: Not Today…

We played reasonably well for fifteen minutes without ever really troubling Watford’s goal, a half chance from Aarons excepted. The remainder of the first-half was massively forgettable, it was very easy to see why it is that we continue to flap about aimlessly in the relegation zone and why Watford had lost four of their previous five league games…

The second half had barely started before Watford went a goal up, it was barely fifteen minutes old before they had put the game to bed. We did pull one back through a Lascelles header from a corner but we were never going to score two…

watford v newcastle...

Second Half Action: Time Ebbs Away…

There were some small consolations,  no rain on the walk back to Watford Junction, a reasonably short trip back to the Midlands, the new Suede album… but they were about it…

It’s getting increasingly boring to labour the point, I know, but we need a centre forward and we need one now…

Watford; Gomes, Paredes (Nyom 89), Cathcart, Britos (YC), Aké, Behrami (YC), Capoue, Watson, Jurado (Abdi 77), Deeney (Amrabat 93), Ighalo

Not Used; Prödl, Guédioura, Pantilimon, Anya

Goals; Ighalo (46), Cathcart (58)

Newcastle United; Elliot, Lascelles, Coloccini (Riviere 88), Mbemba (YC), Janmaat, Shelvey, Saivet (Pérez 59), Aarons (Gouffran 59), Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic

Not Used; Thauvin, Darlow, Taylor, Marveaux

Goals; Lascelles (71)

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

16.01.2016… West Ham (h)…

Newcastle United 2 West Ham United 1

St. James’ Park… Saturday January 16th… 3pm

Attendance: 50,031

Ticket: £33 – Programme: £3

It’s been a bit of a strange week. Last Saturday, travelling to Watford, listening to Blackstar, oblivious. Then Monday happened and it made sense, it sounded different, it had been staring us all in the face. It was good to have those two days where it was just the new Bowie album…

Anyway, the events of last week and other things happening closer to home had put me in a pretty reflective mood prior to the match, so spent a couple of hours on Saturday just wandering through Newcastle and reminiscing. The quayside, Dean Street, Grey Street, Leazes Park. A fairly circuitous route to the match I guess…

Findings…? Even on a cold, damp day, Newcastle really is a beautiful city… and none of us is getting any younger…

newcastle v west ham...

Pre Match: View of St. James’ from Leazes Park…

Following the bracing walk, there was a football match, a pretty good one too. In fact, I enjoyed the game far more than I have in ages…

We played with a tempo, and this was largely down to the introduction of Jonjo Shelvey. His ability to spray passes accurately, and at speed, gave us a cutting edge (and a half a yard) that hasn’t been there in a very long time. The quarterback analogy is a good one…

Two up after fifteen minutes, two cracking goals. The first a great shot from Ayoze Perez, following a Shelvey pass. The second, a beautiful move. Shelvey to Janmaat on the right flank, a great piece of control, a first time cross behind the back four to Wijnaldum, bang…

We dominated for the remainder of the first half and should have been out of sight, a striker anyone…?

newcastle v west ham...

First Half Action: Newcastle Take a Corner…

We conceded early in the second half following a defensive error but we didn’t fold. Although West Ham pressed, we had as many chances to go 3-1 as they did to equalise. Rob Elliot made a good save late on from Kouyate but any result other than a Newcastle win would have been more than a little unfair…

In summary, a much better performance and a very welcome three points. But that’s all it is, three points. We’re still in the bottom three, there’s still a lot of work (both on and off the field) to be done…

Travelling to Watford next weekend in a slightly more positive frame of mind, Bowie on the headphones…

Newcastle United; Elliot (YC), Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett (Saivet 57), Colback, Shelvey, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Pérez (Gouffran), Mitrovic (Lascelles)

Not Used; Aarons, Darlow, Riviere. Toney

Goals; Pérez (6), Wijnaldum (15)

West Ham United; Adrián, Tomkins (Jenkinson 75), Collins, Ogbonna. Cresswell, Noble, Kouyaté, Obiang (Jelavic 45), Antonio (Moses 70), E Valencia, Payet

Not Used; Randolph, Reid, Song, Cullen

Goals; Jelavic (49)

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

09.01.2016… Watford (a)…

Watford 1 Newcastle United 0

Vicarage Road… Saturday January 9th… 3pm

Attendance: 18,259

Ticket: £18 – Programme: £3

So that’s it then… Yet again, our season is over in January, it’s going to be at least a 62 year wait for a domestic trophy. All we have to look forward to over the second half of the season is the very real prospect of relegation…

Was it ten games that McClaren wanted or twelve? And after we beat Liverpool and Spurs unconvincingly weren’t we supposed to have turned the corner? Well now it’s another four defeats on the trot but not to worry, apparently we’re playing really well, we’re just not getting the breaks in front of goal…

We’ve all got stick together through this? Well I didn’t see Steve and the lads on the walk back to Watford Junction Station in the torrential rain. I don’t imagine that they had to negotiate three trains home in a considerably damp state, and I was lucky, I only had to travel as far as Leicester…

We mustn’t show our disaffection though, it’s not fair, we mustn’t boo, we’ve got to get behind the team…

watford v newcastle...

Pre-Match: Outside Vicarage Road…

Well I didn’t boo, I’m too old for that, I’ve seen it all before. But what does McClaren expect…?

The general booing ‘was harsh’…? Really? We could have played till midnight and we wouldn’t have scored a goal, that’s what happens when you play in slow motion…

‘We’ve had 25 crosses’… So what, exactly how many goals resulted from those crosses…?

Then there was the booing and chanting specifically directed at Florian Thauvin. A little unnecessary but my feeling is that it was aimed more at our current transfer policy than the Frenchman, although it certainly wasn’t a coincidence that the abuse started following a ridiculous bout of play acting on his part. Anyway, through no fault of his own, he symbolises the typical current Newcastle signing. He wasn’t bought out of necessity or as part of any over arching plan (unless it’s the  plan that results in Mike Ashley making a tidy profit), he pretty much epitomises  the ‘under 26 with a resale value’ model. In fact, I’m sure that Thauvin (or more likely his agent) was told as much during the transfer, we’re very much intended to be his stepping stone. The money which brought him to the club could have been used to buy the centre forward that we’ve needed for at least two seasons or the left back that we’ve been crying out for since Jose Enrique left the club in 2011, on Saturday he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time…

What McClaren should also realise is that we haven’t got past the third round of the FA Cup for four consecutive seasons. Brighton, Cardiff, Leicester and now Watford, is that really acceptable for a club of our size? Or is that just our ‘unrealistic expectations’ coming to the fore again…?

watford v newcastle...

Second Half: Watford Take a Throw In…

Anyway, somewhere in the middle of all of this there was a football match, a bloody awful one but a football match nonetheless. I’ll keep it brief. We had a lot of possession without creating that many chances.  The chances we did get, we didn’t take because we don’t have a centre forward because we didn’t buy one in the summer. Watford got one chance, it fell to Troy Deeney, a centre forward, who buried it because he’s a centre forward…

So that’s it, no trophies to play for so let’s all look forward to the relegation battle instead. Safe in the knowledge that, even if we do stay up, we’ll just have to endure the same joyless experience again next season…

Watford; Gomes,  Nyom, Prödl, Cathcart, Holebas, Jurado (Ighalo 73), Guédioura (YC), Watson, Berghuis (Abdi 63), Deeney, Oularé (Anya 45)

Not Used; Britos, Ibarbo, Capoue, Arlauskis

Goals; Deeney (44)

Newcastle United; Elliot, Mbemba, Coloccini (Lascelles 45), Dummett, Janmaat, Sissoko, Tioté (YC) (de Jong 82), Wijnaldum, Mbabu (Thauvin 52), Pérez, Mitrovic

Not Used; Gouffran, Darlow, Toney, Sterry

Goals; None

As usual, more pictures on flickr…