Geordie vuvuzela
By Max Flinders
Thursday 17 Feb 2011 09:45:00
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So we cleared the Mackem hurdle without any problems whatsoever and in doing so put an end to the constant Mackem dribble about the slack cats being top dogs in the North East. A gallant performance from every single Toon player gave us what we dared ask - the total humiliation of Steve Bruce and his shite football team. The atmosphere at St James' Park was electric, the Geordies put aside the rift with fat boy Ashley and filled the stadium. God, how much we missed the derby day last season was all too apparent.

So the Mackems made their annual trip to Newcastle for some culture, education, fine architecture and more to the point, lesson in football. The lads started with a little nerves, understandable as the mere thought of defeat in this fixture could bring the bravest souls crying like a kid who has lost his ice cream. What happened next we all know about and have probably watched it again and again. It still brings a smile to my face when I think about it. Thinking of those SMB leaving St James' Park early, HAHAHAHA.

The game had too many heroes to mention but Joey Barton stands out. He has come to Newcastle under a cloud with many critics, including Newcastle fans. I, for one, have never condoned what has gone on in the past but always maintained he was a class footballer and how important he will be this season; a key player, arguably our best player. He has said many times that he owes this club and that he wants to pay us back for sticking with him. He has certainly been doing that and over the last few weeks his performances have been second to none. What has impressed most this season is his temperament (up until the Blackburn game). While he is a tough tackling player he takes a lot of bad tackles just to see if he can handle it. When challenged hard he takes it, he does not roll around and try getting players sent off. I’ve even seen him shake hands with his opponent after a heavy challenge or shake his head in displeasure but he gets on with it. Yes, he gets stuck in and yes, he can still go a little too far but when others do it they don't get half the attention as Joey does. It's been said that this should be taken out of his game. Take that away from Joey though and you have a different player, certainly not the player he is. I think many at Newcastle are now Joey Barton fans and I am sure everyone wanted him to get on the score sheet against the Mackems.

I heard a song in a recent derby game that really should have been sung before. The song goes like this: "THERE'S ONLY ONE CHRIS HOUGHTON, ONE CHRIS HOUGHTON, WALKING ALONG, SINGING A SONG, WALKING IN A HOUGHTON WONDERLAND". How funny was it also to see our Manager getting so excited on our Captain's third goal? Quality manager and getting better all the time. The question should be can WE hang on to him? Personally I don't think he would go anywhere at the moment. He is not that kind of man and anyway what better job in football is there?

So from the high of beating the Mackems, we then had a long trip to the Emirates to ponder the outcome of that lunchtime KO. After Arsenal put four past us at home in the Cup, Nolan was voicing our intentions of revenge. Nobody actually thought we could go there, win AND keep a clean sheet. Well, not anyone who has been down to the Arsenal games over the last few seasons anyway.

We made the trip to the capital amid a media circus of fresh allegations and reversed psychology from non other than Arsene 'I didnt see it' Wenger. The point was to take Newcastle's eye off the ball and fall into the trap. The pre-match broon ales were flowing and the Toon were sitting comfortably in 9th with the weekend fixtures going our way. Anything more than a loss would see us climb above the Mackems, Super splutter Spurs and Bolton. During the build up to this early Sunday kick-off, I almost uttered the words, "If we wi... " but was given a quick "don't bother" look by a few of the lads so I shut up mid sentence and kept what I should have said to myself. The post game talk seemed to give the impression that success would be if we kept the number of goals down. If we could grab a late equaliser then great, that would do to take us up to 5th. All in all, there did not appear to be any high hopes from us or from the media for points coming North.

So we headed down toward Gilespie Road for the game with about 20 mins to go. When we took our seats, standing up obviously, the Geordies were in good spirits and the battle of the stands looked to be over before kick off; it is the Emirates after all. The game kicked off with pressure from the home side and a free kick by Flabbyass that hit the wood work. Arsenal came close again but this time Timmy Krull made an astonishing save to tip the ball over from Nasri for a corner. Newcastle played an epic match and threw all we had at the ball to snuff out anything Arsenal could come up with. We even took the game to them and the after-match stats tell the story of how we came to the Emirates and played Arsenal well and not of a performance where we sat back and hoped for a 0-0. Great performances again from the likes of Tiote, Barton, Ameobi and Carroll but more to the point all the boys especially the defence played their role in this encounter.

Arsenal got their slice of revenge served up cold by local hero Andy Carroll - one that was promised by captain Nolan after the heavy defeat sustained at home to Arsenal only a few days earlier. With the game at 0-1 to Newcastle the ref blew his whistle for half time. The atmosphere in the away end was good and the second half kicked off to the sound of the Geordie Vuvuzela. We carried on the battle as in the first half but Arsenal were the team to come closest. Walcott, who scored two in the Carling Cup, picked the ball up in a packed 18 yard box and let go a shot that once again struck the cross bar. AFC 0-1 NUFC the score stood at and with the game coming to a close, Flabbyass was lucky to stay on the pitch with some awful challenges the like of De Jong would be proud. Ameobi came off towards the end for his second standing ovation in a week. Young Nile Ranger came on and could have sealed the match when he decided on an overhead kick instead of squaring the ball to Kevin 'Funky Chicken' Nolan. Two minutes later, Ranger chased a ball down the right and beat his man only to be professionally fouled by Koscielny. The Arsenal defender was rightly shown the red card and the home team played out the last few moments to the sound of boos and jeers from the home fans that remained. Meanwhile the Geordies boys are jumping for joy in the away section singing "we all live at Nolans" as the lads come across the pitch to throw their shirts and applaud the support. The applause were all for Newcastle as we put in a memorable shift with emphasis on team work.
One more thing, good on the Gooners for taking the defeat well, they all said after the game we deserved it, they were not happy about it but they gave us credit. I applaud them for that.

We then had what was considered to be two easier games at home but only collected one point for two games. However, despair has not set in yet. On the contrary, there is hope and optimism still. We have Hughton and England's number 9, we have shown we have what it takes time and time again, we have a team who are hungry and keen to prove Newcastle are a force to be reckoned with again. I am convinced we will be here next season I just hope we can keep the assets we now have.

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