Blowing in the wind‏
By Max Flinders
Wednesday 01 Feb 2012 09:50:00
Browse all Max Flinders articles

From Issue 7


The Toon kicked off this season with many concerns, mostly on the lack of ambition by the upper echelons of management and the seemingly desperate need to sell all our best performers from recent campaigns. This sort of behaviour does little to appease the loyal-est supporters the world has ever had.  However there were many fans excited about the new signings - Santon, Ba, Obertan,,Marveaux and Cabaye.  Being rather a cynical sort these days, I was not so sure. I had many questions that needed answering and only time could offer those answers. One of the more profound ones was why would these so-called quality players be coming to Newcastle United under the stewardship of Ashley and Pardew? They don't exactly shout ambition now, do they? The only ambition I see is the need to make money or pay back their mistakes. Whatever the situation, these players are now black n white and we will be watching them for the rest of the season and maybe more. 
Ba has had a proven record wherever he played, scoring for fun. He started painfully slow and looked well off the mark. Playing during the religious time of Ramadan, he had a decent excuse. Ba has now come good, scoring his first goals, three, against Rovers then again against Wolves and Spurs and in doing so getting us vital points. The Spurs game has to be our best and maybe only good performance this season and Ba in my eyes was Man of the Match by a country mile. He was fully committed to everything, fought hard and went for absolutely everything. He was literally a pain in the neck for the Spurs defence. On a performance like that he deserves the Number 9 shirt. Dare I say it, he looks better than Carroll. His partner on the day, Best, has improved too. He has come up with goals and quality displays that have kept him in the first team and rightly so. Shola was injured and he had something he wanted to say when he came on against Spurs, and so he did -  that was a sublime goal. How does he do it? Ameobi has scored some brilliant goals but sometime makes a right pig’s ear of a simple tap in. He has had a lot of stick off his own fans but not after the Spurs game. 
Cabaye, a French international, got his chance after the pathetic appearance of the French in the World Cup when big changes occurred. He comes to St James' with a reputation. I have not seen it this season. Well, not consistently anyway, I have seen some quality tackles passes and shooting but few and far between. He goes missing in games where he should be grabbing by the scruff of the neck and Tiote has suffered a little as he has been taking up the creative mantle. Tiote's start was poor for his usual endeavour but he seems to be getting back into the swing of things now. Cabaye really should be the creator and link up player but that's not happened yet. Fingers crossed he will step up and start creating and scoring. You can’t doubt his commitment though, he is in it for the long haul, is a fighter and is not scared to put his body on the line.
Obertan came from Manchester United and with it, a certain expectancy. The pace he holds is incredible but sadly that's about it. He is not the player some were talking up pre-season, far from it, and I can’t see him making it at St James' – he’s more suited to the Blaydon Races.
The other signings have not made many appearances between them so would be difficult to say but Marveaux has been looking quality in the Reserves and I've heard lots of calls from the fans for a first team start. I certainly would like to see him start. Santon has surely got to start playing at left back as Taylor proved against Spurs that he is playing out of position.
So the players have so far been committed but I have to say up until the Spurs game we have had a generous helping of luck served up. You can’t knock us for that as over the last decade we have had none absolutely none. We are blowing in the wind at the moment and it’s taken us to 4th in the table. 4th, can you believe it and only Manchester and Chelsea above us. We should have had the points against Spurs. They were a little lucky but I think we were all happy with the draw and point after going behind twice. Can we keep this up? I don't think we can. We play some tough games in November and luck will not see us through those games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United. 
I don't think we are far off challenging the likes of Everton and Spurs. Just a few decent additions in place of those who are not good enough and we could be a difficult team for the top teams to beat. Of course, that's not going to happen and although I hate sounding negative while we are doing so well, I still think Pardew is no more than a puppet and is riding on a wave of luck. I will admit though a lucky manager is not a bad thing to have. 

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