2014-15

24.05.2015… West Ham (h)…

Newcastle United 2 West Ham United 0

St. James’ Park… Sunday May 24th… 3pm

Attendance: 52,094

Ticket: £29 – Programme: £3

Premier League status retained for another season, Jonas Gutiérrez etched into folklore…

Nothing much to celebrate though, for the the third year running the second half of our season was written off, for the second time in three years we’ve been dragged into a relegation fight. It’s not good enough…

Pre-match…

Ashley appeared on Sky before the game and said some words that, on closer analysis, didn’t really mean anything and in some cases just weren’t true. It wasn’t really an interview, that would have involved some level of interaction, some interrogation of responses from the interviewer, it was more of a pre-prepared statement. ‘Continued Investment’, ‘Continued’, really? ‘I won’t leave until Newcastle have won a trophy’, although fourth place constitutes a trophy, does it? So does this mean we will take the actual cups seriously or not? I’m guessing not…

Just how achievable any of this will be without a top quality coach, a substantial investment in players and the retention of the few good ones that we have remains to be seen. Actions speaker louder than words, so over to you Mike…

newcastle v west ham...

Safety Assured: 2-0… Jonas Gutiérrez…

The match…

The first half was tense, the pattern was typical of home games this season, lumping it long to no one, losing our way as the half dragged on. Elsewhere, Hull were playing well against a distinctly understrength Manchester United side, a couple of goals disallowed, wobbling…

The second half couldn’t have been more of a contrast, we looked like a different side. Vurnon Anita was unrecognisable, he chased every ball and left the field to a standing ovation. Daryl Janmaat was outstanding too, the man has been pretty much the only highlight of an awful season, good in defence, strong coming forward, great temperament; keep him and make him captain. One player stole the day though, Jonas Manuel Gutiérrez. How ironic that a man who has been treated so appallingly by the club should be the one that saved it, and how fitting that a man who has been through so much should score the goal that almost brought the roof off St. James’ Park…

That second-half performance is what I would expect to see from a Newcastle side, playing at home, against a side outside of the top four. Attack in numbers, create chances, get the crowd behind you and teams will fold. When this place gets noisy it overwhelms lesser teams, it always has. It won’t always work but we’ll win more than we’ll lose, and we’ll entertain; and isn’t that what football is supposed to be, entertainment? We certainly haven’t been entertained this season, particularly at home; this was the first time in all of our nineteen home league games that we’d won by more than a single goal margin, that says it all really…

newcastle v west ham...

Post Match: Now Follow Through on Those Words Mike…

Post-match…

As promised, the fans got behind the team throughout the game, saving the feedback on the previous nine months until after the final whistle. The response to the occupy protest was more than disappointing, 500 supporters at most. To think that we’re still accused of harbouring unrealistic expectations; on this showing it appears that the vast majority of our fanbase have become very easily pleased…

What next then? A top manager? Big signings? Player retention? I wouldn’t have thought so, maybe a few more vague statements of ambition before the extended season ticket deadline passes. But after that? More of the same old half-truths and unfulfilled potential I would imagine…

Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Anita (Gouffran 89), Colback, Sissoko (YC), Rivière, Gutiérrez (YC), Cissé

Not Used; Taylor.R, De Jong, Pérez, Cabella, Ameobi, Woodman

Goals; Sissoko (54), Gutiérrez (85)

West Ham United; Adrián, Jenkinson, Burke (Tomkins 69), Reid, Cresswell, Kouyaté (Lee 77), Song, Downing, Nolan, E Valencia (Amalfitano 63 (YC)), Cole

Not Used; Jarvis, de Carvalho, O’Brien, Jääskeläinen

Goals; None

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

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16.05.2015… QPR (a)…

Queens Park Rangers 2 Newcastle United 1

Loftus Road… Saturday May 16th… 3pm

Attendance: 17,608

Ticket: £38 (Restricted View) – Programme: £3

Another Saturday, a first trip to Loftus Road since 1995, another defeat; to be honest, why do any of us still bother?

The long journeys, the expense, the soulless grounds, the over officious stewards, and the desperate football. If we had a decent side the appeal  would be hard enough to explain, with the rubbish currently on offer it’s bordering on masochistic…

I’d much rather not talk about the game but I guess that is the point, so…

A reasonable first half performance should probably have brought more than a single goal lead, but it didn’t. When the half-time whistle blew, the only thing we had to show for our dominance was Emmanuel Riviere’s first, lucky, and probably only goal for Newcastle United…

The half-time interval brought an appearance on the pitch from Darren Peacock (and Trevor Sinclair), a reminder of a time when we used to look up rather than down, a time when there wasn’t a very strict set of limitations enforced upon our expectations. The man with the hardest job in mid-nineties football got a great reception from our end, even if the announcer preferred to focus solely upon his time at QPR. The mention of Les Ferdinand’s name brought back some memories and a few chants too…

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Before the Match: Some Idiots…

Then it all went downhill rather rapidly…

Chris Ramsey, rather sensibly considering the pattern of the first-half,  made a couple of changes at half-time. John Carver, having learnt most of what he knows from the Alan Pardew ‘No Plan B’ school of football soon found his side 2-1 down. As usual, two sloppy, entirely preventable goals. I haven’t said that much recently…

The game then meandered towards its conclusion; as usual, no measurable response from our lot, anyone would think that they couldn’t give a toss…

Then the final whistle blew and the pitch invasion began…

qpr v newcastle...

After the Match: More Idiots…

Not to worry though, as the BBC reliably informed us in their match report, the pitch invasion was ‘good natured’, so that’s alright then. Bollocks, along with every other pitch invasion I’ve ever witnessed it wasn’t ‘good natured’ and ended up with a group of bored locals, not quite sure what to do next, deciding that their best course of action would be to taunt the visiting support. Again, as is always the case, the police and private security decided that it was best not to get involved, that may involve actually doing some work, and possible confrontation. I mean, it’s not as if that’s what they were actually being paid for, I assume that their wages account for some portion of the exorbitant ticket price…

Just to clear it up, anyone who invades a football pitch is committing a criminal offence and, more importantly, anyone invading a football pitch is also a massive bellend…

Whatever happens next Sunday, stay off the pitch…

Queens Park Rangers; Green (McCarthy 34), Onuoha, Dunne, Caulker (Yun Suk-young 45 (YC)), Hill, Phillips, Barton (YC), Henry, Hoilett (Grego-Cox 45), Fer, Austin

Not Used; Wright-Phillips, Doughty, Furlong, Comley

Goals; Phillips (54), Fer (61)

Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat, Coloccini, Dummett, Gutiérrez, Taylor.R (Aarons 64), Colback, Pérez, Sissoko, Cabella (Ameobi 73), Rivière (Cissé 63 )

Not Used; Anita, Gouffran, Abeid, Woodman

Goals; Rivière (24)

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

09.05.2015… F.A. Vase Final…

North Shields 2 Glossop North End 1 aet

Wembley Stadium… Saturday May 9th… 3pm

Attendance: 9,674

Ticket: £15 – Programme: £4

Newcastle, Gateshead, North Shields… A win at Wembley at the sixth attempt…

A sunny day, a Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, North Shields’ first visit since 1969; what more could you possibly want? Well, ideally to be able to give the game your full focus; unfortunately, this wasn’t the case, well not during normal time…

When I first bought my ticket, Newcastle were sitting comfortably in mid-table, they aren’t now. This resulted in a multi-tasked view of normal time, i.e. half watching the match in front of me whilst trying to keep up with goings on at St. James’ on Twitter…

north shields v glossop north end...

The Equaliser…

Normal time…

A bad start to the afternoon, Sunderland winning 2-0 at Everton, a result which put us in sixteenth place…

First half at Wembley, not a great spectacle, neither goal really troubled. Elsewhere, Leicester quickly went 2-0 up at home to Southampton, down to seventeenth place. Then, disaster; Newcastle went a goal down, eighteenth place, the relegation zone. Just before half-time, some relief, Ayoze Perez equalised and we were back up to seventeenth…

Second half at Wembley, North Shields hit the crossbar early on before Glossop NE went a goal up. North Shields equalised ten minutes from time, the game was going to extra time. Meanwhile, Hull went a goal behind at home to Burnley, a two point gap, unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise any further as we couldn’t  find a second goal. So, at the final whistle we were seventeenth, down two places and two points above the trapdoor, albeit with a vastly inferior goal difference to Hull…

Multi-tasking over, extra time was going to get my undivided attention…

north shields v glossop north end...

North Shields… FA Vase Winners 2015…

Extra time…

North Shields went early, substitute Adam Forster with the goal. Just before half-time Glossop captain Dave Young went down with a head injury. Following medical advice he was withdrawn, and as Glossop had already used all of their substitutes they were down to ten men.

Then it was just a case of hanging on, and North Shields did just that…

To finally see a side win at Wembley brought tears to my eyes, it’s just a shame that it’s something that Newcastle will never repeat…

North Shields; Bannon, Donnison, Grey, Parker, Hughes, McKeown, Richardson (YC), Morris, Holmes (Forster 69), Luccock (Carr 59), Bainbridge (Wrightson 106)

Not Used; Coppen, Lancaster

Goals; Bainbridge (80), Forster (96)

Glossop North End; Hall, Bowler, Russell, Lugsden.Kelvin, Young, Parker, Blackshaw (Grimshaw 69), Hare (YC) (Hind 82), Bailey, Moran (White 61), Lugsden.Kieran

Not Used; Richardson, Gresty

Goals; Bailey (55)

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

02.05.2015… Leicester (a)…

Leicester City 3 Newcastle United 0

King Power Stadium… Saturday May 2nd… 12.45pm

Attendance: 31,576

Ticket: £35 – Programme: £3

23 years to the day since ‘that game’ and along came the polar opposite. An absolutely terrible day all round, probably just about as bad as it gets…

It didn’t start well. As I always do, I went for a wander around outside the ground pre-match. Took some pictures, same as always, but had the feeling I was being watched. It turned out that I wasn’t being paranoid, I was soon stopped by two stewards asking me if I had a press pass (outside the ground?), some further waffle about amber security warnings and a request for identification followed. So, switched from phone to camera phone and went on my way, it all seemed a bit pointless to be honest…

The ground… A new one for me having not visited since the move from Filbert Street. Not impressed; a typical, functional, soulless bowl, with blue seats. Externally, the same on three sides, each of the stands draped with advertisements. The only stand that appeared to be any different in design was the main stand, which appears to double up as a car park

Welcome to Leicester…

leicester v newcastle...

Before the Game: Outside the King Power

The match itself? I’m not going to waste too many words. A lot has been said in the aftermath, much of it I haven’t read, avoidance is my usual response to this sort of situation…

From a purely factual perspective it wasn’t too dissimilar to Derby County in 1992. The East Midlands setting, a loss by a 3 goal margin, multiple sendings off, relegation looming. The reality is that it was worlds apart. 23 years ago, the remaining eight players showed heart, spirit, character. My overriding memory of that day is the image of David Kelly and Gavin Peacock, physically exhausted, battling for the cause…

There was none of that today, how any of this shower had the nerve to come down and patronise the fans with limp applause following the final whistle was quite beyond me. We’ve had far less talented groups of players but this was the most spineless, heartless, gutless 90 minutes I’ve ever witnessed from a Newcastle United side…

A special mention must go to the idiots who came up with the Adam Johnson chant, some things you just don’t joke about. If that’s the level that you wish to sink to then don’t bother coming, it’s not ‘banter’, you’re an embarrassment and we don’t need you…

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After the Game: A Forlorn Hope…

Post-match it just became surreal. Carver, as usual, wasn’t prepared to take any of the blame, throwing accusations here there and everywhere instead. A ‘Fighter’ apparently? I saw absolutely no evidence of that yesterday, a clueless bully at best. Is it coincidence that he offered up the fans’ scapegoat as a sacrificial lamb…?

Reports of ‘disagreements’ on the team coach followed, twitter denials from Mike Williamson regarding John Carver’s ridiculous accusations were next. Finally, an open letter allegedly from Fabricio Coloccini (of course it was) to the fans urging us to get behind the team. Yeah, right…

The most annoying thing about the whole situation is that, try as I might not to care, I do, and far too much. I really don’t want another relegation, we won’t come back this time. Sadly, at this point, I really can’t see any other outcome…

Leicester City; Schmeichel, Wasilewski (de Laet 68), Huth, Morgan, Albrighton, James (YC), Cambiasso (Hammond 74), Schlupp, Mahrez, Vardy, Ulloa (Kramaric 78)

Not Used; Konchesky, Drinkwater, Schwarzer, Wood

Goals; Ulloa (1, 48 pen), Morgan 17

Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat (RC), Williamson (RC), Coloccini, Dummett (YC), Colback, Taylor (de Jong 58), Gutiérrez (YC), Sissoko, Pérez (Armstrong 74), Riviere (Anita 64)

Not Used; Cabella, Ameobi, Abeid, Woodman

Goals; None

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

18.04.2015… Woking (h)…

Nuneaton Town 1 Woking 1

JPR James Parnell Stadium… Saturday April 18th… 3pm

Attendance: 709

Ticket: £14 – Programme: £3

The final home game of a very underwhelming season…

Woking arrived needing all three points to keep alive their slim play-off hopes; based upon this performance, it didn’t really show…

nuneaton v woking...

Woking Players Warming Up…

One Conference game left at Chester next Saturday, then it’s back to Conference North / South. The general consensus appears to be that South would be preferable as it would involve trips to the South Coast. I’m hoping for North though, as I really fancy a trip to FC United of Manchester…

nuneaton v woking...

First Half Action…

Nuneaton Town; Crocombe, Franklin, Cowan, Ogleby (Smith 62), Wheeler, Dean, Dawson, Gordon (Walker 60), Rees, Nardiello (Maris 46), Sodje

Not Used; Brown, Wren

Goals; Gordon (18)

Woking; Cole (YC), Jones (Murtagh 75), McNerney, Payne, Arthur, Saah, Ricketts, Goddard (Oyeleke 78), Betsy, Obudabe (Sole 75), Rendell

Not Used; Newton, Crowe

Goals; Betsy (53)

As usual, more pictures on flickr…