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Newcastle United
August 26, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/26/2011

I've gone through a wide range of emotions since it was revealed that Joey Barton was on his way down to Loftus Road to discuss terms with newly promoted QPR on Wednesday afternoon. They're still a bit confused, so here we go.....

Anger and (begrudged) understanding.

At first I was furious. Less because we were letting Barton go, more because he is another very good player that we have let go. You could build quite a side from the players that have departed the club during Ashley's quite ridiculous ownership:


I'm bound to have missed others and more will follow Barton out of the wide open door - that is guaranteed.

Perhaps the pull of playing alongside Clint Hill, Shaun Derry and One Size Fitz Hall in front of 15,000 at Loftus Road was just too good to turn down? Or maybe it was the passionate home crowd of 4,755 that watched QPR crash out of the league cup vs Rochdale earlier this week? Or maybe it's for security of a long contract. I keep hearing Newcastle supporters questioning his ambition but let's face it, it's hardly Barcelona that he is leaving.

In his defence the club made it painstakingly obvious that he was not wanted - they wanted to GIVE him away to a league rival without even asking for a penny in return. His next contract (the one he just signed at QPR) is his last big contract. It's easy to say "yeah but he should have played out his last year at Newcastle" - what if he opted to do that, broke his leg in January and struggled to find any contract at any club when he recovered? Sure, he's not paid peanuts and probably would be comfortable even if he didn't earn another penny in his life, but in his situation, all things considered, I'd have left too and I'm Newcastle born and bred.

This is when I get even more confused.

Why all the patter from Barton? The 'loving the club' and 'loving the area'? Absolute balderdash (expletives not allowed).

Joey appears to view himself as some sort of revolutionary character. He has vaguely aligned himself with all sorts of revolutionary figures from history over his past few mental Twitter-months. He said no one could force him out and that he would stay and see it through:

"Just because ur told to jump, it does not necessarily mean you have to. I may choose to stand perfectly still. It's my right...just a thought"

What he neglected to add to that was "until any club comes along and offers me some mega wonga".

He quoted Orwell in tweeting "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." Hmmmm.

He also tweeted "if only we as players could tell the fans exactly how it is, without them above fining us lots of money. There will be a time and a place."

Well Joey, surely that time and a place is now?

What we will miss is his presence on the football field. Last season we won 34% of the games that he played in and 0% of the games that he missed. The amazing Arsenal comeback was driven by him.

We can't just keep shipping these players out and expect to challenge for anything other than Premier League survival.

Confused of Tyneside

You can follow me on Twitter for football chat (and other random nonsense!) @MarcSDuffy

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August 23, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/23/2011

Kevin Keegan brought Shaka Hislop to Newcastle in August 1995 for a fee of £1.575 million from Reading. Shaka went on to make 53 appearances for Newcastle including a number of games during the season when we came oh so close to winning the Premier League title.

He played for Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup 2006 and collected 26 International caps in total (as well as making one appearance for England U21's!)

Shaka can now be seen working on ESPN Press Pass and is a very highly regarded pundit. You can also follow him on Twitter @ShakaHislop

I recently caught up with him to gather his thoughts on The Entertainers, Newcastle United now and a whole lot more.....

Shaka in a rather colourful NUFC keeper shirt

August 21, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/21/2011

It is nice having a team in the league that gives you easy points every season. It's even nicer when they are your most fierce rivals. For the second time this calendar year their widespread threats and promises of 'revenge' for the 5 v 1 humiliation last Halloween proved unfounded as we picked up our first three points of the season.

Before I get into the game I'll comment on the performance of World Cup Final referee Howard Webb. As he demonstrated in that game, the biggest stage of all, he seems absolutely terrified to make big decisions.

First of all he totally missed an absolutely blatant handball on the goal-line by Sebastian Larsson. His assistant also missed it and suggested to Webb that it should be a corner. Larsson ran to the same assistant moments earlier and clearly told him that the ball hit him in the face. Despicable cheating - let's see if it provokes as much debate in the national media over the coming days that last week’s incidents vs Arsenal did..... Though Larsson/ Sunderland may not be significant enough. The home side should have been reduced to ten with a lot of time to go and Ameobi would have put us one up from the resulting penalty (he never misses!) Thankfully it didn't cost us anything in the long run, but it was not good enough.

Webb took the same approach with Cattermole as he did with De Jong in his awful World Cup Final display. His refusal to book him after two terrible first half tackles meant that the regularly banned midfielder was free to carry on his assaults of our players in the second half - Jonas taking the worst of them and Cattermole finally went into the book. Cattermole is an absolute liability for that lot - not just because of his regular bans but his foul on Jonas gave us the free kick that we scored from. He injured Beye and Barton for the long term the year that we went down and I fear that it's only a matter of time before he puts someone else out of the game for a long the long term. He would have been sent off by a referee who called what happened rather than constantly trying to appease the home fans.

The luckiest man on the park was Coloccini. Our captain could easily have spent the night in hospital following an absolutely brutal, cynical tackle from Bardsley. Slow motion replays show Bardsley look up at Colo a split second before going in hard with his studs up on Colo's planted leg. It's amazing that he didn't smash it. Webb, true to form, gave him a second yellow card - not the straight red that the tackle so obviously deserved. Bardsley will now pick up a 1 game ban rather than the 3 (minimum) that the foul deserved. Replays also showed Webb apparently picking up a comment in his ear piece before judging what had happened - shame he couldn't have done that on the penalty call. All in all it was a 0/10 performance for Howard. Fortunately for him the game was not on live TV.

Tim Krul won't enjoy many easier games than this one. A couple of routine saves were required and not a lot more.

Sunderland had quite a bit of early possession and territorial advantage but they offered little threat. I think I could play up front for Sunderland. Gyan's (a very poor man’s Oba Martins) game involved taking ridiculous shots from anywhere and everywhere - most of them barely even reached Krul.

August 17, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/17/2011

It is far too early in the season for a Tyne/ Wear derby and a trip down to the darklands. For starters we still haven't signed our new, big money superstar striker that the boss promised us 200 or so days ago!

We don't even have a senior left back on our books - but don't let all of that concern you - I'm sure both positions will have been adequately filled by the time the transfer window closes *cough splutter*

Of the new boys who played in our season opener against Arsenal last week, Gabriel Obertan was the most impressive. He showed an exceptional turn of pace and played a couple of lovely short passes - he may well find himself with a starting place.

Marc Duffy Marc Duffy is a National Account Manager in the alcoholic drinks industry - a career in alcohol was obviously the natural step after following Newcastle United for all of his 32 years. Marc blames his father for his obsession with Newcastle United - since attending his first game at the age of 4 Marc has endured many ups and downs, and despite the lack of silverware remains positive that a trophy will be won at some point in his lifetime! (Wait, does the Intertoto cup not count?) Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

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