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Newcastle United
February 24, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 02/24/2012

Settling into the Premier League proves to be tough for many footballers when arriving from overseas. Sometimes they settle after a rough spell - Colo and Enrique are great examples of that, but other times they are gone before we really even noticed they were here.

Over the years we have endured more than our fair share of imported flops and here is a team that pound for pound are arguably the worst of them!:

February 21, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 02/21/2012

Danny Guthrie's stock has been rising in the opinion of many Newcastle fans recently with some solid Premier League performances.

So how do his numbers stack up vs his two heart-of-the-midfield comrades?

I have taken a look at Danny's stats (individual, team and only looking at games started in the Premier League) this season and compared them to Cabaye and Tiote - there are some interesting learnings:

February 10, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 02/10/2012

Below are some questions that I answered for the excellent Spurs supporters site 'What a Fantastic Run'

Check their site out at

WAFR: Welcome back once more to What A Fantastic Run. After a little dip in form in December (4 points out of a possible 18) you managed to pick up another good run in January and find yourself back in the mix for a Top 4 finish. You must be pretty pleased?

Absolutely. I was expecting some improvement this season after some shrewd signings, but to be where we are right now exceeds the expectations of even the most hardcore optimists!

WAFR: In your last interview you felt that Newcastle would perhaps have an upper-mid table finish, are you stating to believe that Newcastle could maybe push themselves in to at least a Europa League spot now we have crossed the half way mark?

A lot depends on our injury situation. A starting XI of Krul, Simpson, Santon, Colo, S Taylor, Jonas, Marveaux, Cabaye, Tiote, Ba, Cisse would be a match for anyone, but beyond that we don’t have great depth. Taylor and Marveaux are now out for the rest of the season with Ryan Taylor and Leon Best picking up knocks last week we are very thin. To be fair to the lads who have stepped in (Guthrie and co) they have done very well hence our decent past month, but it will be tough to maintain our form. I think we will finish 7th with an outside chance of Europa – that would be improvement vs last year and we are moving in the right direction.

WAFR: It has been a remarkable season so far for Newcastle, with all the focus directed at Tottenham this past week and in light of recent events down at The FA; Pardew for England?

No. Pardew is doing a great job up here, but he has been in the role little over a year. He needs to achieve a lot more in his career than he has for him to hit those heights in my opinion! That’s also the reason I don’t think Harry should be given the job. Another foreign coach would be my preference – Hiddink.

WAFR: We talked a few times about Mike Ashley and the fans perception of him, his dealings with the club and so on, I am guess the way things are right now the heat is off him?

Yes, things are suspiciously quiet. Even quite positive with the arrival of Cisse and no major out-goings. People are starting to buy in to Ashley’s current policy of buying low priced/ high potential players (Tiote and Cabaye combined cost £12million less than Jordan Henderson) but it takes a long time to forgive and forget relegation. In previous quiet periods he has unleashed bombshells such as the Hughton sacking or the stadium renaming, so a lot of people sometimes worry about what might be around the corner. Hopefully nothing…….

WAFR: With Spurs certain to leave White Hart Lane in the next few years what was the Newcastle fans response to the recent name change at St James Park?

Mixed – the majority were angered by it as were a lot of supporters of other clubs and some of the media. The local council refuse to acknowledge the new name. My thoughts are that if they bring in money that is properly invested, then crack on! However at the moment it appears to be a free advertising vehicle for Ashley’s company, which I am not comfortable with. Besides, it will always be St James’ Park to most.

WAFR: Papiss Demba Cisse’s Newcastle career got of to a flyer against Villa last weekend which naturally has got a lot of pundits very excited. Goal aside, did his overall performance give the impression there is more to come or is he potentially going to be your version of Danny Rose?

Considering he had only been back from the ACoN for a couple of days and he came on earlier than expected, he looked very promising. His touch was decent and his movement very good. It would have been nice to ease him in, but we may not have that luxury now. In many ways he looked very Andy Cole-like.

WAFR: Typically Harry Redknapp couldn’t keep his mouth shut when asked about Djemba Ba with a lot of talk around this minimum release clause in his contract. Do you think Newcastle will move to make sure they do not lose him during the summer?

Having failed medicals within the past 18 months in both Germany and England, there is obviously a problem there. It is one thing taking Demba on a free as we did, quite another paying ÂŁ10+m for him as someone else would have to, so for that reason he might well stay. Not to mention the fact that Cisse is a good friend of his. Having said that, who knows what is going to happen?! The bloke is a phenomenon.

WAFR: What has been the highlight of your season up to this point?

Probably the Man United game. Quite a few of us fancied a result, but to obliterate them in the way that we did was tremendous. Ba and Cabaye’s goals were incredible and the atmosphere was as good as it gets.

WAFR: Like Newcastle, Spurs fans are generally pretty surprised as to where we are right now – what is your assessment of our season?

Superb. After missing out on the Champions League last season, a few Spurs fans that I know feared that the club had missed the chance to progress and were questioning Redknapp. The Modric scenario then came in to play and to bounce back from those things and move on in the way that you have is quite exceptional – I was particularly impressed by your performance at home to Liverpool.

WAFR: And as always, let have a score prediction

As good a season as we are having, we go in to this game without Steve Taylor, Cabaye and Tiote –I fear the worst. 3 v 1 (my record of forecasting NUFC defeats this season is working brilliantly for us in the other direction!)

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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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