The only other game we played in August was a League Cup R2 match away to Accrington Stanley - a highly entertaining game that we won 3 v 2 with Vuckic and LuaLua shining in a young Newcastle team. http://blogs.soccernet.com/newcastleunited/archives/2010/08/the_future_is_bright_asfc_2_v_nufc_3.php
Our first September league game was a stinker at home to Blackpool (0 v 2). James
Perch had an absolute nightmare which would become the norm for the unfortunate full-back.
Hatem more than made up for the performance next time out with an absolutely raking goal in a 1 v 0 win at Goodison Park - a tremendous performance and result. Cheick Tiote also shone that day with a pass completion % in the high 90's. A sign of things to come from the Ivorian but sadly not from Hatem.
We headed to Stamford Bridge in the League Cup 3rd round and I went along to the game expecting little more than a sound thumping and a few pints - we had not won there in 24 years. Chelsea fielded a strong side but we were outstanding. Shola was unplayable whilst Ferguson shone at left back vs Anelka and Vuckic again looked a dominating presence in the middle of the park. Shola's late goal capped an unbelievable 4 v 3 win. I have been to many away games in my lifetime - this one was right up there with the best of them. http://blogs.soccernet.com/newcastleunited/archives/2010/09/what_a_game_cfc_3_v_nufc_4.php
September was to end on a low with another very poor home showing vs Stoke. In a classic game of two halves we were comfortable and went in at half time leading 1 v 0. In the second half Stoke hammered us led by Jones and they took all 3 points in a 2 v 1 win.
In other September news Sam Allardyce declared himself as Inter Milan or Real Madrid quality as a manager. Little did he know that a little while later he would not be manager of anyone..... http://blogs.soccernet.com/newcastleunited/archives/2010/09/the_ramblings_of_a_fat_man.php
City away was unforgettable for all of the wrong reasons. Money obviously buys you referees favour and we had already been on the end of a couple of very poor decisions when Nigel De Jong flew into a tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa smashing his leg.
Hatem almost had to have the leg amputated - the referee played on.
The Dutch national team dropped De Jong for his tackle, an act that says it all to me. We put up a brave fight but the ref awarded the billionaires a penalty for a dubious foul that happened outside of the box and then turned down an appeal for a blatant foul on Shola in the City area. Well done that man.....(Martin Atkinson) (3 v 1 City)
The City game was the final game for assistant gaffa Colin Calderwood who departed to take over the reins at Hibs.
More points were dropped as Wigan came to town though most of us considered it a point gained after an awful first half. Old boy (and current target) Charles N'Zogbia destroyed us scoring twice before our late revival. Coloccini (one of this seasons heroes) equalised in the 94th minute and the photograph of his delight is one of my all time favourites (2 v 2).
We travelled to West Ham amid speculation that Chris Hughton was on the verge of the sack and that Ashley's friend Alan Pardew (or, God forbid, JFK) would replace him http://blogs.soccernet.com/newcastleunited/archives/2010/10/back_him_or_sack_him.php (incidentally, if you posted the comment as 'beatski' get in touch and let me know your thoughts.......) We played very well and took away all 3 points thanks to a 2 v 1 win. 'Pards' would have to wait another few weeks.
We crashed out of the League Cup to the eventual runners up - Arsenal beating us 4 v 0 at our place.
Halloween. 5under1and. One of the greatest days of my NUFC supporting life. 5 v 1 slaughter. It was absolutely hilarious. I don't really know what else to say. Kevin Nolan scored a hat-trick adding him to Newcastle folklore forever more and Andy Carroll gave them a battering that Turner and Titus Shambles (who was also sent off!) will never forget. Cheer up Stevie Bruce.....
Andy Carroll also put pen to paper on a new long term deal in October. No idea why. He was also arrested again for alleged assault and later ordered to stay at club Captain Kev Nolan's house - where his car was torched on the drive.....
Kicked off with a tremendous 1 v 0 win at The Emirates. Barton delivered the angled ball and Carroll beat the hesitant Fabianski to head home. Enrique marked Walcott out of the game like a man playing against a little boy and Arsenal's best chance, a strike from Samir Nasri, was well saved by Tim Krul.
Inconsistency was to rear its head again in the next game - a midweek 1 v 2 loss to Blackburn at home. It was an ugly, ugly game and brought back horrendous memories of Allaryce's tenure as Newcastle manager. Bad times. St Joseph received a ban after TV footage caught him jabbing Pedersen in the stomach off the ball.
The following Saturday Fulham came to down and we played out an uneventful 0 v 0 draw.
One of the worst performances of the season came with further indiscipline in a 1 v 5 hammering at Bolton. Coloccini was sent off in the game and Williamson also picked up a ban for another off the ball incident.
The final game of the month was played out in heavy snow vs Chelsea. I doubt the game would have gone ahead if it was not televised but we were pleased it did when we took a point from the defending champs in a 1 v 1 draw and played some decent football. Andy Carroll's 6th minute goal was his 9th of the season - he was having no difficulty in finding the net be it against the 'big' teams or the also-rans.
An error strewn 1 v 3 defeat at West Brom proved to be Chris Hughton's last game in charge. He was sacked a couple of days after the match. Ashley and his cronies promised that they were looking for a more 'experienced manager' to replace Chris who was disgracefully (and unpopularly) sacked as we sat in 12th place. As predicted in October, Ashleyâ€™s pal Alan Pardew was given the job and inexplicably awarded a 5 1/2 year contract. If Hughton was replaced by a top class manager then many of the fans would have been pacified - as popular as Chris is he still has a lot to learn as a manager. To replace him with who they did though - not good enough and pointless.
A couple of days after Pardew was appointed we hosted Liverpool at Gallowgate. Minor protests took place before kick off but nothing on the scale that had been planned. A close game was turned on its head with the introduction of Nile Ranger. Ranger hassled and harried the reds back 4 and we capped a 3 v 1 win with a fine long range strike from Andy Carroll. None of us considered that he'd be a Liverpool player within weeks.
Most people add this result to Pardew's Newcastle record but as Barton said in his post match interview - he was only at the club for a couple of hours so it had nothing to do with him. "That was Chris's team".
I would regard Man City at home as Pardew's first game in charge. We were 1 v 0 down in 2 minutes after a Krul howler then 2 down a few minutes later when Tiote was caught out for the 2nd time in a couple of months. City reverted to classic Mancini tactics and although we fought well, we were never going to get anything. We lost 1 v 3. Carroll picked up a knock that meant although he would play a full 90 minutes v Spurs later in the week, he wouldn't play much more
Pardew's 2nd game was a tough trip to White Hart Lane. We were abysmal and did not manage a shot on goal until stoppage time. 2 v 0 defeat.
The New Year began with an excellent performance in a 2 v 0 at Wigan and a few days later a depleted forward line destroyed West Ham 5 v 0 - I admit, when I heard our starting forward line I thought a 0 v 0 would be the best we could hope for but Best burst on to the scene with an accomplished hat-trick - the back to back victories helped us up to 8th in the league.
08/01/11 - the date of one of if not the poorest results in the history of Newcastle United Football Club. League 2 Stevenage - a team we have history with in the FA Cup beat us 3 v 1 and knocked us out in the 3rd round. It was an absolutely disgraceful performance only made worse by Pardew's mental decision to bring on Cheick Tiote when things were slightly heated and we were chasing the game. Cheick was dismissed and banned for the upcoming Derby game. Pardew trotted out a few more excuses about tiredness afterwards, but this performance and result will haunt us on FA Cup 3rd Round weekend for many years to come.
We went in to the Derby on Wearside rocked by the absences of the banned Tiote and the injured Carroll. Steve Bruce spent all of the build up talking about what song he was going to play over the tannoy when they beat us. I wonder what he would have chosen. We battered them and should have taken all 3 points but Gyan snuck an equaliser deep into injury time - a goal that they celebrated like the winner in a World Cup final. One local yokel got so carried away he ran on to the pitch and pushed Steve Harper in their annual hick pitch invasion that the FA never do anything about. They're a classy bunch down there.
After the game Pardew commented on Andy Carroll: "He is not for sale. I am going to say it for one last time, he is not for sale." Righty oh Alan.....
The following weekend we entertained Spurs and unfortunately Pardew and the lads did not learn the lesson of the previous week and we conceded yet another injury time equaliser (1 v 1).
This appears to be a theme with Alan - from his West Ham cup final to a big Derby, the Tottenham game and the final day of the season. On a positive note this game took us up into 7th place. A few more players and we might even have whispered about Europe!
Tino provided the half time entertainment coming onto the field to participate in a crossbar challenge. On his first attempt he slipped and crashed down onto his backside in comedy style. Obviously being a Legend he got up, brushed himself down and launched his 2nd attempt straight off the bar. Sign him up.
In true Mike Ashley style he sold our best player and replaced him with a rotund fella who was all set to sign for Barrow on a free. It is also worth noting that we signed Stephen Ireland on loan. Actually, that is not worth noting at all.
Typically one of our old boys put us to the sword in our February opener - Damien Duff scored the only goal of a poor game at Craven Cottage and put more effort into his celebration than he did in to any game he ever played for us. Of all of the relegation failures he comes only behind Owen in my book of dislike (I can't publish my true feelings towards them on here).
This was followed by the most mental game of football I have ever been to in my life. Arsenal were amazing and absolutely embarrassed us, until they choked. Racing into a 4 v 0 lead I spent the half-time drinking a beer with my mates discussing how many more they would get. Instead of turning on the team our fans created what was initially a party atmosphere. Wor Joey seemed to believe we were still in the game and after Diaby was sent off for being an idiot, all of a sudden we were. Barton was incredible pulling the strings as we fought back to 4 v 4 - the equaliser coming from an unforgettable Cheick Tiote volley.
I have never known a goal celebration like it - on and off the pitch. Whilst we dived around like lunatics in an asylum, Cheick ran 90 yards with tears streaming down his face. We very nearly won it too - Nolan slotted a chance wide which was probably just as well. If he'd scored it is quite likely that my heart would have packed in and I wouldn't be typing this now. These rare gems are the reason that we love football.
We went to Ewood Park with a spring in our step but couldn't find the back of the net and had to settle for a 0 v 0 despite totally outplaying Blackburn. Our need for a creative spark and a finisher was obvious.
The bandwagon rolled on to Birmingham. The hosts had one eye on the cup final that they were about to win a few days later. Not many of them will have considered the longer term outcome from this and their surprise relegation in May. It will be interesting to see how they adapt to a 46 game Championship season whilst playing European football. On the night Leon Best was superb - Roger Johnson has been talked up as a Â£10m International centre half but Leon destroyed him. Jonas was outstanding too. http://blogs.soccernet.com/newcastleunited/archives/2011/02/spiderman_plays_the_blues_bcfc_0_v_nufc_2.php
February came to a close with a 1 v 1 home draw vs Bolton. Dan Sturridge was superb for the visitors. Hindsight is a great thing but there were a few of us who suggested that we should have taken Danny on loan from Chelsea before he joined Wanderers. Ryan Taylor, making his first start in ages, lasted only 54 minutes before being sent off for a poor lunge. The fact that he started in midfield in the first place again showed just how little depth we have.
Everton at home was awful. Pardew tinkered and we lined up with several players playing out of position and they spent much of the first half running around looking confused and not certain of their roles. Steven Taylor in particular was hung out to dry - he was asked to play out of position at right back up against one of the best players outside of the top 4. Arteta had a field day in a 2 v 1 Everton win. Leon Best nabbed our goal - his 6th from 10 games.
Worse was to come on the 'Tinkerman' front. We went to Stoke and Pardew opted to throw a 532 formation onto the field. He recalled Sol Campbell from out of nowhere and his odd decisions backfired badly in a 4 v 0 hammering. Most concerning was his post match reasoning in claiming that he selected Campbell, Colo and Williamson in his back 5 whilst omitting Taylor 'to combat the aerial threat'. Anyone who has ever watched Newcastle could tell you that of the 4 Steven Taylor is easily the best in the air. Unfortunately Steve Harper also looked like a goalkeeper on the wrong side of the age hill. Stoke only scored 46 goals this season - 6 of them were against us.
Mackem Mick brought his Wolves team up to the Toon for April's opener. They were abysmal and we hammered them 4 v 1 in a confident, attacking performance. At no point in the season did I feel that we were relegation fodder and this game pretty much guaranteed that we wouldn't be.
We lost 1 v 0 in a Sunday afternoon snooze-fest at Villa - neither side looked particularly interested in that one though a draw would have been a fair result.
The soon-to-be-champions came to town and we more than matched them. Tim Krul pulled off an excellent early save but we then went on to play 20 minutes of excellent football keeping them on the back foot. Again, if we had a striker of note we may well have won the game. Lovenkrands had a penalty appeal turned down as did Hernandez - both managers claiming that theirs was a penalty and the opponents was not. Michael Owen made an appearance as a sub and was greeted as you would expect and as he deserved. After the game he spent a couple of hours tweeting numerous messages about how it didn't bother him..... Hopefully we
wonâ€™t see him on Tyneside again. Quite a track record he has - despised by Liverpool fans, irrelevant to Real fans, despised by Newcastle fans, irrelevant to Manchester United fans. Loved by no one.
I hate Anfield. We picked up our annual defeat there in a 3 v 0 reverse taking us to 518 minutes since we last scored there. Despite having the majority of possession and 12 corners we did not manage to get a shot on target until stoppage time. Andy Carroll featured as a sub but didn't do anything. He was slaughtered by the away fans - something that really upset Dekka Llambias who used his programme notes ahead of the Birmingham game to have a dig at the fans again.....
We claimed our maximum return from Birmingham in a 2 v 1 home win with Steven Taylor contributing to the scoring. Gallowgate scrapper Lee Bowyer scored for the visitors but they posed little threat and we cruised home. We took maximum returns from both West Ham and Birmingham this season. Such a shame that we wonâ€™t get to play either next season. Super Cheick Tiote picked up another soft booking which effectively ruled him out for the rest of the season. The booking was his 14th - a 15th would mean a 3 league game suspension rolling into next season.
Our final away game of the season came at Chelsea and was the ideal time to play them with their title chase ending the week before. Even so, a full strength Chelsea at the Bridge are formidable. We more than held our own fighting back well despite conceding an early goal. A Ryan Taylor free kick deflected in off Jonas pulled us level. We dominated the midfield and Fat Frank scythed through Joey and should have been sent off (he was a good player once), however he wasn't and Match of the Day didn't bother highlighting it. And if it was the other way?..... Anyhow, Alex put Chelsea ahead right at the end after Krul badly mistimed a cross and all looked lost. Prolific Steve Taylor (3 in 3) didn't agree and nutted home a dramatic and deserved late, late equaliser.
A pleasing season was to come to a disappointing end. 3 v 0 up at home to West Brom and we were sitting in 9th place. However Pardew the Tinkerman had other plans. His inability to hold on to a lead was badly exposed once again - a series of bizarre substitutions including the introduction of Alan Smith into a midfield that were comfortable and a late West Brom resurgence saw 3 v 0 quickly become 3 v 3 and we dropped from 9th to 12th losing a much needed Â£2.4million in the process - money we cannot afford to lose. It is a funny old game - in any other business an employee's poor decisions costing a company Â£2.4million in a matter of minutes would mean a sacking - but this is the game where over weight, over rated, disgusting football serving managers are compensated with Â£4million for being losers.
The team deserved a full house lap of honour at the final whistle but the capitulation led to the majority of the ground leaving on the whistle.
So another exciting but turbulent season has ended. We could have an interesting summer ahead. Many believe that Ashley will be good to his word and reinvest the Carroll money though personally, nothing that he has done in the past 3+ years makes me think that he will. Already we have hit a brick wall in the Joey Barton contract saga and sadly it looks like we will be lucky to see JB in a Newcastle shirt for 1 more year. Enrique remains quiet and most think he will be off too.
Positive sounds about signing Cabaye from Lille have emerged in the past week though I wonâ€™t believe that we have signed anyone until I see them wearing the shirt!
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