soccernet blog
Newcastle United
September 23, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/23/2011

For all of Ossie Ardiles’ faults as Newcastle manager, his legacy was the blooding of some excellent, young, local talent in the first team.

Steve Watson, Steve Howey, Alan Thompson, Lee Clark and stylish left-back Robbie Elliott all got games when most other managers wouldn’t have taken the chance and all of them went on to pick up England honours at one level or another.

It would be easy to argue that these lads represent the best generation of young players we have produced in decades. Encouragingly, the current crop could well surpass those lads but the difference is that, unlike the league of nations players that we enjoy watching today, all of ‘the Class of 91/ 92’ were local.

Robbie made his first team debut in 1991 and went on to make 142 appearances scoring 11 goals over two separate spells – not a bad return for a full-back. He also picked up a couple of England U21 Caps.

Robbie is probably best remembered for his reaction to scoring his first goal for the club in a 3 v 1 win at Filbert Street on the opening day of the 94/ 95 season – The Funky Chicken was born. (If you can’t remember, think of the three goal celebrations Kevin Nolan demonstrated on October 31st 2010!)

These days Robbie is working for Nike and US Soccer. I caught up with him earlier this week…..

Nobby and Robbie

September 19, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/19/2011

Before our second round tie at Scunthorpe and ahead of Tuesday night's Carling Cup third round tie at the City Ground in Nottingham, I have read a lot of debate on Social Media sites and Newcastle United forums about how seriously we should take the Carling Cup this year.

We HAVE to take it seriously. Why?

First and foremost, we have not won a domestic trophy in a ridiculous 56 years. 56 YEARS! Who are we to turn our backs on a tournament that offers a trophy at the end? Of course there are no guarantees and to go all of the way we need the luck of the draw and some luck on match days, but when you consider that seven different sides have won this tournament in the past ten years it is not altogether unrealistic. 22 different teams have won the trophy in its 50 year history and sadly we are not one of them.

One of the main arguments that I have read against us taking this competition seriously is that we should be focussing on the league and that we have a thin squad. Despite our fantastic start to the season (we sit in fourth place as I type) I think we all know that a top four (or even top six) finish is a pipe dream and will not happen. We have the quality to finish 7th but our lack of bodies means that we could finish anywhere from 6 to 16th! So lets have a crack at this!

Forest are in the Championship relegation zone after a difficult start to life under Schteve McClaren – they might be looking to rest players in this one as they look to revive their awful league form. Then again they might also view this as an opportunity to revive their season. Either way we have more than enough to win the game.

I was encouraged by Pardew’s strong selection at Scunthorpe and I would go with much the same here – the vast majority of the players who have been stating games this season supplemented by the players who have shown real promise – Marveaux for example. Hatem Ben Arfa may also be in contention, which would be fantastic.

A good run could give us a great day out at the new Wembley Stadium. I have attended every game that we’ve played at Wembley in my life time (sadly that is not too many games!) and, despite the fact we haven’t won any of them, I had a fantastic time.

And finally, Europe. The Europa League has its knockers but I would love to see us playing European football again. I had some amazing trips abroad during our many European years and would love to travel to watch the Mags again.

Come on lads, lets have a go.

You can follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter and Facebook

September 17, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/17/2011

One thought as I looked through the options from the bench during the half time break – if Steve Taylor or Colo take a knock we could end up with a back four of Simpson, Perch, R Taylor and Colo/ S Taylor. That is a very worrying prospect. Surely Kadar on the bench would be a safer option?

I wouldn’t mind seeing Marveaux get some extended playing time in the final 45. Maybe Sam Ameobi too.

46 – Ball played into Agbonlahor’s feet. He easily brushes Simpson off the ball, swivels and shoots wide. Most of the ground thought it was 2 v 0.

49 – The linesman gives a free kick for an imaginary foul on Bannan. Fortunately Krul takes it easily.

52 – Tiote robbed by Bent 25 yards from goal – he really needs to stop lingering on the ball. Fortunately S Taylor and Colo mop up and clear the danger.

55 – Tiote caught in possession on the half way line – Bent breaks and crosses but Krul again claims easily.

56 – One of these days Cabaye is going to score a world class goal – Obertan plays a sideways pass and his lash is saved by Given.

Leon Best! Fantastic cross in by Tiote from the left. Besty gets his nut on it, Given saves but Leon knocks in the rebound. 1 v 1 and more than deserved.
I might be wrong with this stat, but I am sure that is Bestys 9th goal in 13 league starts.

60 – The heavens have opened and it is pouring down! I wonder if that will have any impact on the game.

62 – Petrov booked for a foul on Best 25 yards from goal. It looks like that one has hurt our goal scorer. RT lines it up and this time it is Ryan Taylor over the wall. Unfortunately its over the cross bar too.

66 – Demba Ba has looked pretty good today. He collects the ball, dummies smartly and strikes a shot that Given saves.

67 – Bannan and Petrov off, Ireland and Albrighton on. The Villa fans aren’t impressed so they aim a few BOOOO’s at the former Birmingham gaffa. A few boo’s from the away end aimed at Ireland too. One of the most pointless signings in Newcastle United history and there have been a few!

68 – Best off, Shola on. Leon clearly didn’t recover from the injury sustained when Petrov was booked.

71 – Steve Taylor miscues and Bent is through. Krul rushes from his line and Bent lobs him but it’s a poor effort that Steve Taylor gets back in to clear.

74 – Flashes of lightening overhead and it looks like a storm is brewing. I assume this is the result of a microclimate caused by having two Ameobi’s so close together.

76 – N’Zogbia skips past a couple of players and whips the ball across the area. Well defended.

78 – Cabaye over runs the ball and loses it. Tiote then cuts out a through ball but plays it straight to Albrighton who shoots wide of Krul’s left hand post.

79 – Ba off, Marveaux on. Ba can be pleased with his efforts today. He is improving and looking a bit more like the player I was expecting.

80 – N’Zogbia plays a short corner to Albrighton who crosses and Krul does well to punch clear under pressure.

82 – A long throw from Ryan Taylor is chested down by Shola and well struck at goal by Cabaye. Given saves, though I don’t think it would have stood as there was a whistle.

85 – Jonas off, Sam Ameobi on. Bent off, Delfonueso on. Bent had two superb chances and blew both of them. That’s why he’s not England class.

85 – Another cracking strike from Cabaye and it ends with something I have seen hundreds of times before – a phenomenal Shay Given save!

86 – Sam Ameobi netted a brilliant goal chipping Given from a very difficult angle way out left. Unfortunately play was stopped for yet another Villa free kick but it looked good all the same!

89 – Obertan absolutely skins Warnock knocking the ball round him one way and chasing after it around the other. It doesn’t come to anything but it was a nice bit of skill.

90 – Marveaux plays the ball to Cabaye who opts to shoot from the angle when there were players lining up for the pass! I will let him off though, he’s been brilliant today.

In summary:
A very, very encouraging performance. We totally bossed the game and Cabaye was once again outstanding. Admittedly it wasn’t the most exciting game I’ve ever seen, but I wasn’t sure that we would take anything out of this so I am pleased with the point and the performance.

The crowd? 34,248 – the biggest crowd of the season at Villa Park(!) and many of them prefer booing to cheering as they demonstrated at full time.

Follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter and Facebook

Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/17/2011

I enjoyed the ‘as live’ blogging that I did for the QPR game, so today will be much of the same with a half time match report posted and then a full time second half report uploaded when the game is over.

Tough game at Villa Park today. I know they are no great shakes, but our recent record down there is poor. They have a lot of pace in attack which is something that we struggled to cope with at Loftus Road on Monday night – lets hope we can keep a clean sheet again today as we did then.

Starting lineup:
Shola apparently has a slight knock so is downgraded to the bench.

Newcastle legend Shay Given keeps goal for the home team. N’Zogbia starts too.

Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, Colo ©, S Taylor, Tiote, Cabaye, Jonas, Obertan, Best Ba

First observation – empty seats. Very poor fans these. There can’t be more than little over 30,000 in the ground.

5 – Quiet start from both. Newcastle look quite settled and the first chance of the game is a lash from Cabaye that looked like it might sneak in, but it snuck wide of Given’s post.

8 – Best fouled by N’Zogbia. Ryan Taylor has a lash but this time fails to get it over the wall!

13 – GOAL: 1 v 0 to Villa. The ball comes off Colo and falls perfectly for Agbonlahor who finished well. Krul had no chance. Against the run of play. Colo could probably have been tighter to the Villa man and certainly should have been stronger. Agbonlahor’s third of the season.

15 – Bannan takes a lash with his left foot and it is not far away at all.

23 – Through ball to Ba who was flagged off side. He caught Given on the wrist in the incident. Given seems OK, but one to watch.

24 – Newcastle look short on ideas again as Tiote and Simpson repeatedly knock the ball between each other leading to the inevitable hoof. Best mis-controlled, Villa broke and Darren Bent misses an absolutely brilliant chance to make it two.

26 – Corner – Cabaye swings the ball outwards, Taylor does very well to get a shot on target saved by Given. Comes back out to Taylor but there’s little he can do with it. Goal kick.
28 – Cabaye slips a ball through to Leon Best. He’s off side – the first of many I’m sure.

29 – Petrov takes a pot shot from about 35 yards. Not too far away.

30 – Ball into the box from Simpson, flicked on from Best and falls to Jonas who lashes wildly high and wide.

So far this is panning out as I fear many games might this season. We have played well, but there is an obvious lack of cutting edge in the final third.

32 – Steve Taylor clears with a header and Obertan breaks. Ball is played into Ba who swivels and shoots. Deflected for a corner. Not a lot achieved from the resulting corner.

33 – Ryan Taylor beats his man and whips it in left footed. Corner off Petrov. Cabaye takes a great corner right across the area but Obertan puts it wide with no conviction at all. Again – no cutting edge.

Despite trailing it is the away fans generating all of the noise – as you would expect. They’d have a lot more to sing about if we had a striker.

40 – Fifth corner of the half for us. Cabaye crosses, headed clear.

We are dominating possession and a lot of it is in dangerous areas. Villa, true to the McLeish way of football, are relying on long hoofs in the direction of Bent aiming to get in behind.

Half time and we trail 1 v 0. We have been by far the better team and as much as I hate to repeat myself, if we had a goal scorer in the team it could be very different.

It will be interesting to see how we come out in the second half. It will be difficult for Pardew to keep the lads heads up as it is frustrating enough watching, let alone playing. If we can maintain this performance we should sneak a goal, somehow.

Follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter and Facebook

September 12, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/12/2011

Well here we go for round two. I still think we can win it!
No half time changes from either side. I know I would have.

45 – It took QPR all of 25 seconds to get their first shot at goal of the half. Easy take for Krul.

46 – Shola pulled back by Ferdinand on the edge of the area after Jonas loops a ball over. The officials missed it and then Paddy Kenny fell over like an idiot.

Can we not get Shola to envisage Ferdinand in a mackem shirt?

48 – Cross in from Danny Simpson, Best gets half a head to it and JONAS…. Well you know the rest. It sort of went upwards and slightly backwards.

50 – Traore picks up an injury and is replaced by Connolly – who is ushered onto the field by Keith Curle. Where’s Tino when you need him?

Continued pressure from QPR. We are continuing the trend of HOOOOFF. I wonder what was said at half time? Not much apparently.

A scrappy period of the game and a couple of stoppages – Jonas receiving some treatment.

61 – Corner swung in from Cabaye – Kenny beats Colo to it and punches clear.

62 – Tiote booked for a foul on Barton who rolled about like those cheaters he so despises.

63 – Shola off, Ba on. Shola can just take off his top and keep it for the weekend. Probably won’t need a wash.

65 – QPR corner finds Shaun Derry. Great chance, awful technique. That’s why he hasn’t scored a goal in five years.

Our players seem terrified when the ball is at their feet. Just now (68), Danny Simpson picked up the ball just inside of the QPR half and hoofed it hard and low as far as he could into no mans land.

Since Pardew arrived we are regularly poor after long international breaks.

69 – Barton plays in Wright-Phillips (I’m going to copy & paste that name) , he looks for Bothroyd again but thankfully the big fella cant reach it again. And to think that this bloke has played for England.

Barton has been much more involved in the second half. Starting to look threatening.

72 – Derry gets his bonse to another corner but Tiote’s coverage prevents him from doing anything.

74 – The ball finds its way to Jonas 19 yards out. Another abysmal swinger from the long haired Argentinian. Look out row Z.

76 – Ball whipped in and Obertan is on the end of it. He shoulders it wide.

77 – Jonas drives on forward into the corner and pulls it back down the line to Ryan Taylor who misses the ball. Its one of those nights for him. I’d still fancy him lashing a free kick in from 25 yards though.

78 – Bothroyd off and Newcastle nemesis DJ Campbell on. Not a good thing.

80 – Ryan Taylor cross, half chance for Obertan but he headers wide.

81 – Best off for Marveaux

82 – Wright-Phillips skips past Tiote with a drop of the shoulder and curls a shot wide of the top corner.

84 – Free kick to us, 23 yards from goal. Could it be?
Nope – its Ryan Taylor, into the wall.

86 – A yellow for Steve Taylor as Paddy Kelly, looking in the opposite direction, runs straight into him.

87 – Sam Ameobi on, Obertan off.
Puncheon on, MotM Wright-Phillips off

88 – Tidy triangular football between Tiote and Marveaux ends at Ryan Taylor who, under pressure, half slices half clears it.

89 – Barton fouls Sammy in the corner but the officials don’t give it. Barton then gives him a nudge on the floor and does a bit of a square up. Big man.

Full time: Queens Park Rangers 0 v Newcastle United 0

Not pretty and very fortunate, but I will take it.
This lifts us up to fourth in the table.

Sean Wright-Phillips was the best player on the park and I’d struggle to name a standout from our lads. Steven Taylor maybe?

Joey Barton? 6/10 and asked to swap tops with Leon Best after hugging most of our players. He got a great ovation from the away end at the end with chants of “There’s only one Joey Barton”. I will never boo him nor will I ever sing his name again.

Entertaining first half, pretty poor second half for the neutrals. We need to vastly improve.

Follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/12/2011

OK I am writing this as the game goes on – a minute by minute account of how it goes. Lets see how this idea works out!

Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, S Taylor, Colo ©, Jonas, Cabaye, Tiote, Obertan, Shola, Best

No place for Gosling on the bench, though not yet sure why. Santon on the bench.

Barton Captaining QPR…..

2 – Decent show of pace by Obertan and his cross finds Best, who handles it. QPR free kick, but encouraging.

4 – Ryan Taylor fouls Wright-Phillips. That is a mismatch in terms of pace and could be a problem. Shola booked for refusing to retreat 10 yards.

5 – First shot is a long ranger from Taarabt. No problem for Krul. We respond with a big boot that almost catches them out as Best lurks, but Kenny gathers it in.

8 – Cross from the QPR left (Simpson well out of position as he has been a lot this season), but fortunately it lands on the head of 2 foot 1 Wright-Phillips. Great chance, but he missed.

Some pretty big units in this QPR side. We need to limit set pieces in and around our area.

10 – Corner to us after a quick counter attack. We take a short corner (one of my pet hates) and don’t even manage to get it into the box.

12 – Absolute class from Leon Best. Great turn and a superb early strike very well saved by Kenny down to his right.

Jay Bothroyd is wearing bright yellow boots. Shouldn’t be allowed.

14 – Seconds after I commented on his boots, Bothroyd missed a brilliant chance. Ball in from Wright-Phillips who is looking lively. Ryan Taylor nowhere to be seen.

15 – Brilliance from Taarabt takes out three men. Wright Phillips shoots wide. Warnock almost cries on the touchline because he wanted a corner.

I wonder how far Anton Ferdinand would have gone in the game if he had a different surname. Not very I suspect.

19 – Barton collects the ball on the edge of the area, gets booed by the away fans, gets tackled.

21 – More brilliance from Taarabt with a turn of Colo and a meg of Tiote. Again the ball goes to Wright-Phillips who whips one in and again Bothroyd misses, unable to reach it.

24 – Tiote commits his third foul of the night – this one on Barton. Probably get booked for his next one.

26 – Ryan Taylor skinned again by Wright-Phillips, scramble in the box – Steve Taylor does a great job on Bothroyd. Corner
Simpson clears off the line from that corner – Bothroyd beating Steve Taylor in the air. We are all over the place.

32 – Wright-Phillips shoots from long range and it goes miles over the bar. Quite impressive that the little lad can kick the ball that far.

I will write about one of our attacks when we have one, I promise.
At least their incessant attacks have subdued.

34 – What is Alan Pardew doing on the pitch? No wait, its Shaun Derry and he is booked for a very poor tackle on Leon Best.

38 – Another great threaded ball puts Wright-Phillips away. He lobs Krul from an angle but Steve Taylor heads off the line. How we are still level is a mystery.

On the odd occasion that we get the ball our tactics appear to be HOOOOOOFFFFFFFFF and hope for the (Leon) best.

43 – Another free kick for another Ryan Taylor foul on Wright-Phillips. I like Ryan but he has to go off at half time. They swing the ball in and a few dive at it but it drifts out of play.

44 – A half chance for us. Decent ball in from Ryan Taylor but Best fails to connect properly with the header.

45 +3 - A little bit of pressure after a run from Jonas, but it comes to nothing.

Half time – 0 v 0 but all QPR.

Pardew needs a serious tactical rethink. They seem to want it more and our constant, desperate hoofs are a waste of some very good technical players. Jonas also hobbled about for the last couple of minutes after taking a knock

Follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

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

RSS feed

Recent Posts